1) A photo of me:
2) Candle scents* this month:
Cinnamon Caramel Swirl (Bath and Body Works). Cranberry Pear. Moonlight Harvest. Amber Glow. Pumpkin Ginger Bark. Cider Web. Fresh Balsam (Bath and Body Works). Caramel Pecan Pie. Red Berry and Cedar. Winter (Bath and Body Works). Farmhouse Apple. Vanilla Snowflake (Bath and Body Works). White Christmas. Luscious Plum. Mandarin Cranberry. Candy Cane Lane. Christmas Eve. Sparkling Pine. Holiday Bayberry. Mistletoe. Jack Frost.
3) What I am reading this month (you can find me on Goodreads!):
The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway) - It's funny, to me, to read books considered classics and wonder, a little, how they got to be such. The book was easy enough to read, although I find Hemingway's style to be a bit clipped and abrupt in its delivery, but it gets on my nerves a little when the characters repeat themselves within the same conversation. His choice of simple text leaves it clear what is being conveyed, so the repetition seems to serve no real purpose. I guess I also prefer there to be some sort of plot, and this was the sort of story that is just like jumping into and out of the lives of these characters for just the duration of the book, without any real point or resolution. There is also something just generally unlikable about this particular generation, at least as they are portrayed in literature. Much as I felt while reading "The Great Gatsby," I didn't find a single character I liked, even in passing moments.
The Diplomat's Wife (Pam Jenoff) - Such a great story. The characters were likable. The story sucked me right in. A little bit love story, a little bit spy mission. I got a sneaking sense, fairly early on, about a key factor in the story, which proved correct, but there were at least two twists I never saw coming. This book was easy to read, difficult to put down, sad to see end, and successfully immersed me so well in the story, I would find myself trying to read faster and faster during some the more intense scenes.
A Red Herring Without Mustard (Alan Bradley) - Flavia de Luce continues to amuse me. She's such a clever, multi-layered character. I enjoyed the plot of this story, but what I enjoyed more was learning more about Flavia, seeing some softer parts to her thoughts, and getting some more information about Harriet. I do remain confused how their last name is de Luce, presumably from their father, and Buckshaw is the de Luce family home. So...why do they remain in danger of losing Buckshaw, because Harriet didn't leave a will? Apparently they cannot transfer ownership to the Colonel and their financial situation would clearly prevent them from buying it, but why was Harriet, only a de Luce by marriage, the owner of the de Luce ancestral home in the first place? Was this explained in book one and I just missed it?
At Wit's End (Erma Bombeck) - With the crazy pace of the holiday season, I opted for something fairly easy and light. Something I could pick up and put down quickly, and would require minimal brain power.
4) Calendar image for the month:
Oh man, this makes me miss the possibility of a white Christmas.
5) New recipes tried this month:
Cheesecake Pumpkin Pie - Fairly easy and *very* tasty!
Cheesy Sausage Balls - A new recipe T tried for Christmas morning breakfast. We want to tweak this one a little though.
Herbed Potato Gratin - We (and by 'we', I mean T) made these for Christmas dinner. They are labor-intensive (so weekends or holidays only, for us, at least) and there is not a single healthy thing about them, but they are super delicious!
6) Restaurants where I ate:
Metro Burger Bar (or something like that?) - it was this counter you sat at that has iPads for ordering and then your food was delivered to your seat within 20 minutes and I wish I remembered anything else about this, but it was late, we had a ton of weather-related delays to deal with, and we had limited time until our connection, so my attention to detail was minimal. Bonefish Grill for our standing New Year's Eve date.
7) Five things I am loving this month:
1. Christmas lights. They make me a perpetual child.
2. Christmas treats. They also make me a perpetual child.
3. Being off work from noon on Christmas Eve until Monday, January 5, and only using three vacation days, thanks to weekends and paid holidays.
4. A Christmas visit from Daniel. Used to be I'd travel west for a few between Christmas and New Year. Now he travels east. It gives me the opportunity to reciprocate all the hospitality he showed me for years!
5. Tracking down the Neige Bubble that I so enjoyed during Food and Wine Fest to be our bubbles for New Year's Eve.
8) Three goals I had this month and three goals for next month:
I want to have Christmas in the mail by December 15. (It was the 16th. Close enough.)
2. It's been a long time since I visited the Disney hotels, to see them decorated for Christmas. Too long. (I almost went, but then it was raining, and the thought of traipsing through the rain, back and forth from parking lots to hotels killed my will. Maybe next year.)
Tackling my To Do List of odds and ends projects while I am off work from noon December 24 through Sunday, January 4. (All but two items! The DVR was reasonably cleared out -- I'm caught up on everything but Grey's Anatomy and Parenthood -- and whittled away at a good stack of magazines. I weeded out some clutter. I got myself nearly current on my blog reading. The only two things I still need to tackle are the music files/iTunes situation on my new-ish laptop, and getting my new planner set up the way I want it.)
1. Finally get my music files sorted and iTunes loaded onto the laptop.
2. Set up my 2015 planner.
3. Get to WDW at least twice, while the crowds are somewhat lower and the weather is somewhat cooler.
9) The best part of this month and the worst part of this month:
The best: Being at WDW when it's all festive and dressed up for Christmas.
The worst: T coming down with something flu-ish right before New Year's Eve. I hate when he feels poorly.
10) A photo I took this month:
*All scents are Yankee Candle, unless otherwise noted.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
1) A photo of me: