What I Read: Jan ’16

As part of my Read Harder challenge, I’m trying to add another layer of complexity – books written by either a woman or a person of color. There are so many great authors that are out there – I just have to seek them out.

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan: I really enjoyed this book, especially after my time in China. I don’t normally enjoy changing narrators but I found that each woman’s unique voice throughly served the broader narrative.

Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #1) by Agatha Christie: I have no idea how I’ve never read a Christie novel before but I really enjoyed this one. While it is definitely of it’s era, I really enjoyed this quick novel.

The Alchemist of Souls (Night’s Masque #1) by Anne Lyle: This has been on my Goodreads for years and I finally put it on my Kindle library loan list and I am SO GLAD I did! I was expecting a straight historical fiction but this involved some fantasy elements that I found really refreshing and engaging. I’ve already checked out the next in the trilogy!

What I Watched: The Overnight, Adult World, Making a Murder series

2016: One Little Word

I’m at it again with One Little Word!

Keeping with the theme, this word also just came to me. Just popped into my head while I was at the gym.

2016 will be the Year of JOY!

Joy: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness, synonyms; delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, rapture;

There are a lot changes headed out down the pike for myself and M this year as we’re expecting our first little one! We are beyond excited!

However, 2016 will have both the second and third semester of pregnancy ahead of me as well childbirth and the first six months of having a baby. Eck! While exciting, these can also be scary changes and I want to approach them with a joyful heart – you only get to have your first baby once and I want it approach it with an attitude of wonder and joy.

What I Read: Dec ’15

Taste of Life on the Gunflint Trail; Recipes & Stories from the Lodges as Shared by the Women of the Gunflint Trail: This is an anthology from several women over the generations who worked at the lodges along the Gunflint trail. It’s far from our family in Minnesota but I would love to visit after reading this. And go for supper – so many hearty recipes were included in this book!

Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles: I read a lot of Civil War historical fiction and this is the first staunchly pro-Southern book I’ve read. I enjoyed learning about the war in Missouri and the use of primary sources at the start of each chapter. But, I do have to attempt, it was sort of a slog to finish.

What I Watched: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Yankee Doodle Dandy, American Graffiti, The Polar Express

2015: Year in Review

Books I Read: 23

Best Non Fiction Book of 2015: Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbot

Best Fiction Book of 2015: Mama Day by Gloria Naylor

Movies I Watched: 80

Best Movies of 2015 (I think I’m just going to have 7 annually, mkay)
1- Mad Max: Fury Road
2- Home
3- Crimson Peak
4- Inside Out
5- Star War: The Force Awakens
6- It Follows
7- Trainwreck

Although, I haven’t yet seen, The Hateful Eight, so….

2015 was the year of Push! I leaned hard into work and I think it was good year professionally. We kicked off a huge refresh project and I earned a new certification in my field.

2014 felt so stagnant and I’m fairly certain I was on more planes in 2015 than I’ve been on in years! There was certainly a push on the travel front and for that, I’m forever grateful. The year started with a week in Minnesota and our annual trip to our friend J’s house for New Year’s Eve. I also had four trips to Chicago for work, one to Madison to see a gaggle of my best ladies and one to DC to see one of my college bests.reunion weekend1IMG_5500

Matt and I took a week long vacation to Hawaii and were lucky enough to stay with his uncle in Kailua. We had such a freaking blast and it was so beautiful. I hope we can go back soon!6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.com

6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.comMore exciting on the travel front though was my two week adventure in Beijing! I went for work but did have four whole weekend days to myself to explore. I got see so many huge landmarks but I’ve found myself missing the food the most. Anyone know where I can get handmade noodles in Columbus? Great Wall08

Forbidden City07Other highlights include hosting two friends from Chicago over the 4th of July for my family’s annual big blow out. I won 3rd place at the Ohio State Fair for my honey oatmeal bread. I’ve already got a few designs on what I’m making for next year.

IMG_5664And now to brag on M for a bit :) He continued to completely kick butt at his job and had an amazing season as an outdoor instructor. I can’t wait to see where he goes in 2016. He also trained for and ran a trail half marathon!

mohican state park ~ thecomynspace.comWe moved apartments! Just down the hill, only about half a mile from where we were but it is lightyears away. It’s bigger, has actual grown up appliances and my parents gave us a washer and dryer so no more trips to the laundry mat! We are also renting a garage so all of M’s woodworking and bike tools now have a home other than our second bedroom. Is this what it feels like to be an adult?

Here’s to an amazing 2016! I am planning on doing ‘One Little Word‘ again, so that will be getting it’s own post!IMG_5208

What I Read: Nov’ 15

Spider Woman’s Web: Traditional Native American Tales About Women’s Power by Susan Hazen-Hammond: I purchased this at the National Museum of the American Indian and I’m so glad I did. I was very glad to read this collection of myths about strong women from a variety of tribes around North America. It also included exercises to go with each story, which I skipped but I think others would get some real enjoyment out of it.

What I Watched: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Elf, A Muppet Christmas Carol, Pixels, Home, The Second Best Marigold Hotel, Mr. Turner, Master of None, Jessica Jones, Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection

What I Read: Oct ’15

The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon: From, Goodreads “at once a gripping whodunit, a love story, an homage to 1940s noir, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is a novel only Michael Chabon could have written.” While it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, I really enjoyed reading it and was glad to have read something outside my comfort zone.

Executive Presence: What Nobody Ever Tells You About Getting Ahead by Sylvia Ann Hewlett: I’ve been eating away at this for ages and am so glad to be finished! It focuses on building executive presence to help you advance your career. However, it is all predicated on working from an office, so while I valued her perspective, it’ll be a little hard to put into action.

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit: I purchased this from Haymarket at a work event. I know so many smart women who have read and loved this book. I found it to be an incredibly depressing rehash of how terrible things are for women and how badly we need feminism. A chauvinist isn’t going to pick this up and learn and change his ways – and us feminists already know how bad it is.

What I Watched: Crimson Peak (so good!), The Others, Pentatonix: On My Way Home (also so very good), Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Ida, Batman Begins,

Weekend Recap / What We Ate Oct 19 – 25

A very different weekend from last weekend! Friday night, M closed so I spent the evening sewing and getting some project done. Saturday was full of errands and when M got home, we carved a pumpkin for halloween. Sunday, we got up early and went to join several of his coworkers volunteering for COMBO. They cut in 1300 feet of new trail and built a bridge! I made him drive us all the way out to Grandville to go to Loops – a Chicago style diner for Italian beefs. They really hit the spot! I then came home and baked two pie pumpkins in a the crock pot for pumpkin blondies.

Monday 10/19 – leftovers
Tuesday 10/20 – spaghetti and meatballs
Wednesday 10/21 – leftovers
Thursday 10/22 – kung pao cauliflower
Friday 10/23 – leftovers
Saturday 10/24 – baked fish with wild rice and collard greens
Sunday 10/25 – chicken with roasted lemon potatoes

Weekend Recap / What We Ate Oct 12 – 18

I sort of don’t even know where to begin with this weekend. It’ll be hard to top, thats for sure. Thursday night I met up with my little sister and her best friend for the Kip Moore concert at the LC Pavilion. It was such a blast! In a hilarious turn of events, my parents were also at a concert (Arlo Guthrie) on Thursday. I’m so happy I’ve been able to catch more live music lately.

Friday night was very chill – M was working late. Saturday, M had a class to teach so I got up with him and did a bunch of meal planning and grocery shopping before heading over to my folks house. I did some work and then my mom and I walked over to Sew to Speak. I almost got out of there with no purchases but a pattern ended up calling my name. We then headed out to Lynd’s Fruit Farm. We each got the big bags of Fuji apples – it was busy but I swear, we were only other for 15 minutes before our bags were full. We then headed to their main market for apple cider and a hot apple cinnamon donut.

There was a new restaurant opening right next to one of the stores M works at so he got a coupon for a free dinner for two! We gussied up and headed over to Chuy’s – omg the Tex-Mex food was amazing! We treated ourselves to cocktails since dinner was gratis. We had time to kill before our movie so we wondered over to a new beauty store, Beauty Brands, as I had a coupon for $10 off a purchase. As we were checking out, the cashier and I were chatting, just being friendly! She surprised me by throwing in a HUGE back of samples for free! I was delighted! We then headed over to use our free movie passes (do you see where this is going…haha) and saw Crimson Peak. I really enjoyed it! While they are all sort of normal things, it was like the universe conspired to give us a great night out! We are such lucky ducks!

Sunday, I got up early and made a cake [I fully blame the Great British Baking Show for this] and then headed over to pick up my sister. We spent the day at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. We used to go every year when we were kids and it was fun to go again. We did a little shopping – but I remember there being more (or I was smaller?). ALTHOUGH she did buy the CUTEST lobster outfit for Levi for Halloween. Everyone then headed to our new apartment for dinner. I made pork ramen and it was a hit!

Seriously, this is the kind of weekend of legend.

Monday 10/12 – spaghetti and meatballs
Tuesday 10/13 – fish and chips
Wednesday 10/14 – tempeh nachos
Thursday 10/15 – S-late night slice M-leftovers
Friday 10/16 – lentil soup
Saturday 10/17 – Chuys!
Sunday 10/18 – pork ramen

Weekend Recap / What We Ate Oct 5 – 11

Friday night, I picked up two of my high school girl friends for a late dinner in the Short North. We had such a good time talking and catching up (we hadn’t spoken since early August!). Due to a kitchen goof, they comped our pizzas so it was even an affordable night out! Saturday, M and I headed down to Cincinnati to go to Ikea. As always, we got lunch there and spent way way too long looking at everything and deciding what we wanted. They didn’t have everything on our list – but given this was our first Ikea trip in three years, we didn’t do too badly! We stopped at the outlet mall on the way home but didn’t have much luck on that front.

Sunday morning, we met two of his coworkers and headed down to the Ohio Renaissance Festival. We had such a fun day – the weather was gorgeous. We took in several shows, did a little shopping and had plenty of traditional turkey legs to last us another year. My favorite was the jousting!

Monday 10/5 – beefy tortellini skillet
Tuesday 10/6 – lemon chicken with broccoli (gosh, I need to blog this!)
Wednesday 10/7 – roasted veggie pizza
Thursday 10/8 – gnocchi
Friday 10/9 – dinner out with girlfriends
Saturday 10/10 – buffalo cauliflower
Sunday 10/11 – stir fry