Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Monthly Medley: February 2024

January lasted for 428 days but February pass by in just a little over in four hours, am I right? I feel like I blinked and the month was over, so my offerings for February are little sparcer than they've been the last few months. Hopefully March will feel like a normal month!


Throughout the last year I've become a huge fan of Jodi Picoult, and my most recent read of hers lived up to what I've come to expect. Leaving Time centers around a young daughter's search for her mother, from whom she was separated 10 years prior while living at an elephant sanctuary with her parents. The story shifts between past and present events, weaving together the mother's doctoral research on elephant grief and mysteries surrounding multiple tragedies with the daughter's quest to find answer with the help of a psychic who seems to have lost her gift and a retired detective-turned-private investigator with his own connections to the previously-referenced tragedies. Just like every Picoult novel I've read, the story gripped me from the beginning and the plot twist toward the end was 👏 . But what I loved the most about this novel was how Picoult's in-depth elephant research allowed her to share - in story form - incredible information about how these beautiful and intelligent animals behave and think and celebrate and grieve and live. 


I'm struggling to find a new show to "replace" Suits, so until I do, I'm working my way through seasons of shows in which I'm already invested: Queer Eye, The Lincoln Lawyer, and Virgin River. Any suggestions on a good follow up to Suits?

As a family, we started watching Avatar: The Last Airbender. I wasn't excited about this series at first, but it's not nearly as bad as I expected and we're all having fun not taking it too seriously. Particularly cool to note: one of the show's younger stars hails from College Station and used to do Tae Kwon Do with Will!

Listening To

I finished The Bakersfield Three, and moved on to Swindled, a true crime podcast about white collar crime, corporate greed, and con artists. The content and production are excellent, however in the beginning I wasn't a fan of the host's voice, as it seemed far too monotone and unfeeling for a podcast. I powered through because the stories he tells are that good, and I just recently learned that the host is unknown - he goes by "A Concerned Citizen" - which makes me think that his voice might be slightly modified for anonymity. 


I didn't find any new pages to follow this month...


It's a little late for this (Valentine's Day) red heart sweater, but if you can find it on a Target clearance rack, grab it immediately. It's incredibly comfortable, and I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that every time I wore it, multiple people tell me how cute it looked. 

It was time for new shoes, so I picked up a few pairs of every day, casual sneakers to take me from the cooler evenings into the warmer spring days. I LOVE this Adidas pair and this Keds pair, and I'm giving this Keds pair a try as well. Note: the Adidas pair runs very large - I ended up in a full size smaller than what I usually wear.


While I don't like this boot holder quite as much as my first one (which I can't find the link to - sorry), I needed an option for more than three pairs of boots and so far it's gotten the job done. 

After watching an influencer I follow wash her make up brushes, I decided I should do the same, since I've literally never done so. 😬 The make up brush cleaning mat she used cost a little more than what I was willing to pay as a first-time brush washer, so I went with a smaller, simpler, less expensive version and it did a great job!


It feels like all I do in the kitchen in February is bake for the Lads. 😂 (I wouldn't have it any other way though.) 

  • This Soft & Chewy M&M Cookie Bar recipe was a hit with the Lads and at home. I decreased the sugar by about 1/8 of a cup, mostly because I feel like I need to decrease the sugar in everything I bake, and I used mini M&Ms (sprinkling a few on top of the dough before popping the pans into the oven) because I think they're cuter than full-size M&Ms. If you happen to make this recipe for a crowd, I found that tripling the recipe - which calls for a 9 x 9 pan - works well for two 9 x 13 pans. 
  • With the family, this Beef Shawarma Wrap was a HUGE hit. I made a lot of adaptations because of what I had and didn't have on hand at home, and I won't change a thing when I make it again soon. First, I used about a pound and a half of flank steak (rather than just one pound), and I was glad I did because I cut off a lot of the fat prior to cooking (decreasing the amount left to cook) and the four of us completely finished all of it. Second, I didn't whisk the first grouping of ingredients in a bowl first - I just dumped everything for the marinade into a plastic bag and shook it up - easier, and fewer dishes to wash later. Third, I didn't have coriander, turmeric (which I HATE), or cardamom so I just increased slightly the amounts of the other spices. I also skipped the parsley and pickles as toppings. The only additional edit I'll make next time is to make more sauce - I wanted a little bit more to match the amount of meat.

Feeling Good About

Hope your February was fun!

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