Let's Talk · Reading Challenges

My 2023 Goals

Reading Goals

Read 6 non-fiction books, I did this one last year and I really loved it and want to do it again.

Get owned TBR under 10 books, last year I was able to get my owned TBR under 15 books. I really want to continue that trend so I can really embrace my mood reading.

Life Goals

Try or do something new, I really enjoy challenging myself my going to new places or trying something that is a bit out of my comfort zone. I don’t have a specific ideas at this time, but I know I can think of something over the course of the year.

Track my spending better, I am by no means bad with money, but I really want to get in the habit of tracking my spending. Especially when it comes to my hobbies.

Maker Goals

Knit 6 pairs of socks, this is another goal I am stealing from last year that I really enjoyed. I love my hand knit socks so I want to add to my collection.

Knit and create more from my stash, as of writing this I have yarn and patterns ready to go for 34 projects. I would really love to get that number down quite a bit over the new year. The only additions I think I am going to allow is if I sign up for a class and my yarn subscription for sock yarn.

My goals this year are pretty straightforward and I think really simple. In doing this, I feel like I am setting myself up for success. They are specific enough that I am working towards something, but not strict enough where it will be overly difficult and I just become frustrated and give up. While goals are all about pushing yourself, they should also be realistic, reasonable, and doable with a bit of effort. At least in my opinion.

What are some goals you have for yourself in the upcoming year?

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Knitting, Crochet & More · Let's Talk

My Dream Christmas Sweater

Hello and welcome to a post where I share my dream Christmas sweater. I know, I know a silly thing to share, but in sharing it I am hoping to one day actually make it. Almost like a declaration of sorts.

You know how people are really into their Christmas sweaters? Some people even through parties revolving around them as well. At least this is the case around me. I know I have even picked up a few here and there just to have somethings to wear to a friends house or a get together, but if I am being honest, I really never loved or really liked a sweater I picked up. I also have never paid full price, I always wait until the holidays are over to pick one up just to have one. In more recent years I have become more selective in what I buy and what I wear and really want to love what I have. I mean, I have started knitting my own sweater and summer shirts this past year and honestly I want to get into sewing them as well. That being said, I think I found my Dream Christmas Sweater and it is called Betty & Judy Lodge Sweater by PoisonGrrls.

Picture of pattern on model and name of pattern and company logo

This sweater has a 1950s/1960s vibe to it, which I love right off the bat, but I really love how simplistic it is. A lot of the holiday sweater I have come across are, in my opinion, too much. I know, I know a lot of people get them because they want an ugly sweater and tinsil, flashing lights and pompoms galore fit that bill. But, I like that this one is pretty as well as feminine, with just a bit of tacky in a sophisticated way. I think the sophisticated feeling of this sweater comes from the retro feel of the over all pattern, but also the shaping that is being used. I still feel that it is fun, and for sure fits the bill of an “ugly” Christmas sweater, but I feel like I could actually swear this to a ton of things throughout the season. It is not overly baggy, but is shaped really nicely. I was so close to making this sweater this year, but the recommended yarn was out of stock in the color and quality I needed. I was bummed, but now I am hoping to have something fun I can make and use next year and many years to come.

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Let's Talk · Reading Challenges

My 2022 Reading

Hello and welcome to a post where I am going to share some books stats from my reading this year! I did not track too much, but I still think it is fun to take a look at. If you want to see the list of books I read this year, you can find that on my Good Reads Challenge Page. Now I will also say I am taking advantage of the data collected by Goodreads to create this post. In the past I tracked my reading a bit more with a google sheet, but this year I just didn’t for one reasons or another.

I read a total of 9,267 pages

I read 32 books

Shortest book read was 18 pages and it was Willie the Weirdo by Stephen King

Longest book read was 607 pages and it was The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami

Average book length was 289 pages

Most popular book read was One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Least popular book read was Willie the Weirdo by Stephen King

Average rating for a book in 2022 was 3.8 stars

Even though I did not track a lot of other things this year like genre, I am glad to have this data to look at. I am really happy that while I did not read nearly as much as I usually do, I rated books, on average pretty well. On top of that it was kind of fun to see the most and least popular book, based upon how many people have also read the book, not its rating. I am not sure if I am going to track on a goole sheet next year or not yet, but I know for sure I can count on Goodreads at least to give me some fun stats to look at during the end of the year.

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Let's Talk

Some Ornaments and Their Stories

Hello and welcome to a festive post where I am going to be sharing some of the ornaments that are hanging on my tree. I thought it would be fun to pick a few at random while I was decorating and share the story attached to or the memory associated to them.

Snoopy

Snoopy Ornament on Tree

Every holiday in my house growing up had a snoopy decoration somewhere. My Mom absolutely loves snoopy and has for as long as I can remember. So of course there is a snoopy on my tree to represent my mom. Every time I see snoopy, she is the first person who pops into my head and I remember all the lovely memories we share.

Knitting Needles Stuck in a Ball of Green and White Yarn

Ball of Yarn with Knitting Needles Ornament on Tree

This ornament was a gift and I absolutely love it. Not only does it represent one of my favorite hobbies, but it has my favorite color green! In 2021 I decided to give knitting a shot and it really has become a large part of my life. It has helped me carve out some relaxing and meditative time each day and I am able to get something at the end of it to wear or gift to someone, I love this because my friend saw how much this hobby meant to me and I really appreciated it.

Knitted Red Mushroom

Red and White Mushroom Ornament

Before I even knitted, one of my friends gave me this cute little mushroom as a gift to place on my tree. Since then it has been placed in a prominent place on the tree. First, because this is just so dang adorable and it was this friend that gave me the courage to try knitting. Also, she is just so super talented because I could never make something this small and detailed!

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Let's Talk

How I Planned for Blogmas This Year

Hello and welcome to a post where I share how I prepared for Blogmasthis year! This year has been hard blogging wise because I have not done a ton of reading because I have invested my time in other hobbies, which I am not mad about. What I did read I loved, but I found it hard to share things on here when I was not reading. I then decided to start sharing my other interests and hobbies, which I have enjoyed. That being said, I knew last year I wanted to do the full 24 days of Blogmas, so I started preparing early!

Making a List

Very early in 2022 I decided to make a list of posts I could write to help with blogmas. Writing 24 posts in a month is a lot, I figured if I could do some of the brain storming ahead of time I was really going to be helping future me out a lot! So, I ended up writing up a list of about 30 post ideas to use for Blogmas.

Writing Ahead of Time

I know Summer is not the most festive time of the year, but that is when I started writing a majority of my blogmas posts. I like to be prepared and not being stressed out by deadlines and having to write a post a day is not something I would personally have fun doing. I most likely would have just said forget it for my well being. That being said, I wrote posts here and there over the Summer so I had a lot of the posts already written up and ready to go. Once done writing and I was happy with them I scheduled them ahead of time.

Using a Kanban Board

I have been a huge fan of these types of organizing boards for a really long time. How I set mine up is pretty straight forward. I write the steps down I use when writing a blog post; brain storming, write, picture, tags, schedule. Each post has their own sticky note or tab and they move through the board until the task is complete. I can easily see what I need to do and what stage everything is in. You can do these digitally or with something physical like a notebook or white board. I tend to use a notebook because it doesn’t rely on something working properly. I used this for each post I wrote for Blogmas to keep track of how many posts where done and how many more I needed to write and how close they are to being done.

My Thoughts

While I know that planning ideas is not a huge deal with Blogmas, I do feel like some people may think that writing ahead may not be in the spirit of Blogmas. I would like to counter that I have writing 24 posts themed around the holidays, books, winter, reflecting on the old year and looking at the new year. I am a planner by nature so I would have had all these in a notebook anyway. Plus, if I am writing so much in December, how would I have been able to read Blogmas posts by others? I think my favorite part of Blogmas is seeing what other people are reflecting upon, excited about, and just sharing their love of the season. I feel like if I am going to enjoy this aspect, I personally am going to have to do a bit of work ahead of time. Honestly, just do what is best for you. You know you better than everyone else and I think as long as you are getting into the spirit and having fun prep for Blogmas however you feel.

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Let's Talk

My Perfect Winter Day

Hello and welcome my perfect free winter day! Today I am going to take some time to share what I would do if I could plan my perfect winter day. This even incudes the weather, which as we know doesn’t always cooperate. As you read this, I hope you are having a wonderful day and even your own perfect day!

Morning

My perfect morning would include waking up without an alarm to see a light dusting of snow on the ground. I don’t enjoy where there is a ton of snow, but just enough to see its beauty without the mess. After waking up to my own natural alarm clock I would start my day with a cup of coffee, an audiobook, and some knitting. I truly love when I can just ease into the day. As I am knitting I am cuddled up on the couch or chair with a big fluffy blanket and a view of the snow covered yard and trees.

Afternoon

Later on in the day, I would have a really wonderful sandwich that someone else made for me with some potato chips. I don’t know about you, but there are two things I always think taste better when someone else makes it. The first being a sandwich and the second being popcorn. I am not sure why this is the case of me, but it is. For the rest of the afternoon I would be happy spending time with my loved ones, continuing to craft, or reading to my hearts content.

Evening

After dinner and the days activities, I would love to end my day sitting on the couch with my significant other in front of the fire place to keep toasty as the temperature outside begins to drop as the sun sets. We will be sipping on warm hot chocolate made on the stove top with some milk and mix. Other than that I am happy to be listing to a podcast together, playing a game, or just watching something on TV together. Then once we finish our hot chocolate it is time to go to bed.

If I had a free day with nothing planned, I would plan a day that was slow, calm, and allowed me to enjoy the environment around me. I enjoy days where it is not chaotic or go, go, go. I like being able to take a breath and truly appreciate the world and those around me. I think this is why my two biggest hobbies reading and knitting allow a bit of meditative quality. Now, I know that everyone enjoys different things and other people may enjoy a bit more adventure in their perfect winter day. As for me, I enjoy taking a breath and relaxing in my own space.

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How I Destress During the Holidays

Hello and welcome to a little post where I am sharing some ways I destress during the holiday season. I know this time of year is meant to be a happy one, but I also feel like a lot of pressure comes with it, especially if you are hosting anything. I know for me, I make presents and sometimes I get close to my deadlines or I feel like I need to do more. The truth is, at least for me, I feel like this time of year is sometimes built up a little too much and has some very high expectations of baking cookies, finding the perfect present, and a lot of social gatherings. Don’t get me wrong they are fun, but is those are exhausting as well. I feel like with all of that going on sometimes we just need to try and take care of ourselves and remember that this is about having fun and not about being picture perfect. With that in mind, here is what I do to destress when I have a spare moment.

  • Watch a favorite movie
  • Put on music and just enjoy it, you can even sing along and dance if you want
  • Do a 5 min. meditation
  • Go for a walk
  • Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the decorations
  • Go on a drive and see the lights in your neighborhood
  • Take a few deep breaths
  • Break tasks down into smaller parts
  • Look at to-do list and remove things that are not something you need to or really want to do
  • Take a nap, even a small cat one
  • Take some time to do something selfish, even for a half hour

So those are some of the ways that I destress during the holidays, mind you these are what I do and I am no professional. This is just what I notice helps me when things get a bit overwhelming during this time of the year. I do hope that you are and continue having a wonderful month and enjoying the season and are not stressing too much.

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Let's Talk · Life Style · Lists & Recommendations

Just a Few of My Favorite Things 2022

Hello and welcome to a really random post today. I wanted to take a moment to share some of my favorite things that I have discovered this past year. All of which I bought myself! I am going to go threw a few categories of items, so be prepared for a hodgepodge of things!

Reading

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition Essentials Bundle – I bought this bundle this year because I had to downsize and move away from physical books. So far this ereader, cover, and charging dock have worked wonderfully. It is a lot more responsive than my previous kindle and kobo as well as the screen is more sharp, at least to my eyes. I found myself reading more before bed as well.

Post-it Transparent Sticky Notes – when I did read a physical book I loved using these see-through sticky notes. I could annotate away easily without having to change my sitting position very much. Just doodled or jot down something then stuck it on the page.

Crochet/Knitting

Furls Streamline Resin Swirl Crochet Hooks – These are for sure an investment, but I found that this year using these work perfectly with how I naturally want to hold my crochet hook and the hand motion I use. Even when I am knitting I keep one of these on hand for when I drop a stitch.

CYPRA Interchangeable Needle Set 3.5 Inch Size – I started off knitting with larger tipped needles and I found that I knit faster and easier with shorter ones. I picked these up and I feel in love with them for a few reasons. The first being they are made of metal, I am a tight knitter so with this material I had a lot less drag on my work. The second being I was able to maneuver the needles a lot easier because they were smaller and I was not fighting them as much for smaller circumference knitting.

Tape Measure, I know this one is not glamorous and honestly any one will do. I never used a measuring tape more than when I am crocheting or knitting. I have them all over the house so I always have one on hand. If I had to pick one I really love and has held up really well it would be Clover Shiro Spring Tape, plus you can easily find it at a big box store if need be.

Daily Life

Tea/Coffee Handwarmer Ceramic Mug – You can get these amazing mugs left or right handed, but these mugs are amazing. I ended up having a bit of a collection of them. I love these because they are on the larger size, more coffee for me, but also because they keep my hands nice and toasty during a chilly morning or day. Plus, they are dishwasher and microwave safe.

My Bullet Journal, I am not really going to link something specific for this one, but I use it for EVERYTHING. I love that I can make it anything I want or need and is relaxable, especially in comparison to commercial planners. Which, please don;’t get me wrong those are amazing too if you find a layout that works for you. If you want to take a look at my bullet journal you can look at my category called, Bullet Journal Jottings, Writing & More. It is just really nice that you can take a notebook from the dollar store or a nicer one and turn it into something all your own.

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Let's Talk · Lists & Recommendations · To Be Read

Books I Took With Me On Vacation

Hello and welcome to my blog! Today I am going to take a moment to share some of the books I took with my on vacation! I don’t know about you, but I love reading on vacation. The new environment is just a wonderful place to get lost in a book. This summer I decided to only take a select few, even though I wanted to fill my suitcase with only books. Anyway, here are the books I decided to take with me!

Picture of Lapvona hardcover and I’m Glad My Mom Died on eReader

Lapvona: A Novel by Ottessa Moshfegh, I recently picked this book up when visiting a local bookstore that is a mixture of new and used books. I picked this up because of the unusual cover and read the description and it sounded very interesting. It seems like this books is going to be a mixture of fiction and fantastical, but also a little bit of horror.

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy, I enjoyed watching her on tv when I was younger and honestly I saw she was coming out with a book a while ago and knew I wanted to read it before really knowing how dark the topics within the book were going to be. From my understanding, her mother and her did not have a great relationship (I mean read that title!) and was taken advantage of. I am glad that she has written her story and I look forward to learning more about her personal life in her own words.

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Hauls & Unhauls · Let's Talk

My New eReader

Hello and welcome to my little spot on the internet Today I am going to take a moment to share with you my new eReader. My last one, which you can read about here: Let’s Talk | 6 Month Review of Kobo Libra H2O, was one I really loved. Unfortunately, that one has ended up malfunctioning. It was constantly getting stuck in a bootloop and I was not able to use it consistently. So, it was time to move on and get a new one, especially since I have recently had to downsize my book collection to about a forth of what it was. I am planning to really shift to digital books because my lack of space, but I do have about 13 physical books still on my shelf waiting to me to read.

Kindle paperwhite signature edition box

Now, my past eReader was a kobo and I absolutely loved that thing and how easy it was to work with my local library. So, you might be thinking, “why is there a picture of a kindle there?”. Well, with a lot of thought I ended up going back to kindle. There was a lot of thought that went into it, but here are really the main points.

I really loved my Libra H2O, sadly Kobo does not make the model I fell in love with and to be honest I was not really thrilled with the newer models they were coming out with. I went with this model for the physical buttons, backlight, and screen size. They do have a similar model, but it was more money with not a lot of differences for me to personally pay more. The next reason was not being able to go to a store and get a giftcard to buy books. I try to spend within a budget so this is the easiest way to manage how much I spend on books. When I got my kobo I read I could get giftcard at a store, but that is no longer an option. Lastly, the integration with my library was a huge selling point because getting kindle books was so difficult at the time I was buying my last. In recent years, this has changed.

So with all of that in mind I looked at some alternatives and settled on a Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition. It has a similar size screen, I can buy gift cards to load on my account to buy books if I wanted to, and my library has a ton of great books I can load it with. I also had the ability to wait for a very good sale and ended up getting a bundle and saving money.

Contents of the box, kindle paperwhite signature edition, quick start guide, charger/sync cable

So, I made my tough decision, I actually thought about it over a month and waited for a good sale to finally pick it up. I ended up getting the ad free version with my bundle because, well I didn’t want ads on something I own. Inside the box came a quick start guide and a cable to charge the devise via USB or sync with something on my computer. But, my bundle came with a wireless charger stand and a cork cover as well that came in a different box. I have never had anything with wireless charing so I have been having a blast with this, but to be honest I have only needed to charge it once so far and I have had it over a month at the point of writing this. Not to bad!

Holding kindle ereader showing covers of current reads and knitting on lap at the beach. Current Reads: The House Across the Lake, Ninth House, Billy Summers,

I have already bought this eReader out and about with me. I have bought it on a few trips to the beach, it lives in my bag, and has even gone on vacation with me already. It has worked marvelously, I was a little worried about the sun and the screen getting funky at the beach, but all was well. I have found the size to be good for me and the auto backlight is pretty on point as well. I will say the sleep button would have been nice on top because it can be a bit awkward at times to wake up the device. I also have read that people have put their devices to sleep on accident while reading, thankfully I have not done that, but I can understand how annoying it is. As with my previous eReader I will do a bit of an update once I have used it for longer, but for now I am happy with my purchase and look forward to a bunch of reading!

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