Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Amber Can Read : October 2020 edition

This should have been the perfect year for reading. We've been ordered to stay home as much as possible. I work from home and have a job that, unlike my last one, does not require any external preparation or work done outside of my Monday-Friday, 8-4:30 hours. I'm not in school, teaching, or doing anything that requires any type of solid commitment. The list goes on and on.

But, 2020.

(I think I'm just going to use that to explain away anything or justify why I haven't been productive in certain areas of my life.)

I had a lofty reading goal this year - 150 books. I started the year pretty strong, but now I've stagnated, and Goodreads tells me that I'm currently around 65 books behind where I should be to reach that goal. I'm not surprised. I've had so much trouble reading and focusing on things. I know I'm not alone, but it's frustrating because I love to read, but I'm falling short on actually doing it. I'm trying to give myself some grace and get back into the swing of things, so I'm joining this linkup for the first time in a while! Maybe this will help me jump back into reading again and knock that snarky little message off of my Goodreads tracker...

Disclosure: If you click on the picture of the book, then it will take you to an Amazon purchase link. If you choose to buy the book from that link, I will earn a few pennies from it. It won't cost you anything extra, so it's a win-win situation! 😉 If you click on the title of the book, it'll take you to a Goodreads link for the book. Last thing - if you want to be friends on Goodreads, add me



Number of books read in October: 7 

Number of books read in 2020: 64 

1. Too Much and Never Enough by Mary Trump 

  

I had high hopes for this one. I wanted her to dish some dirt, spill some tea, give up the scoop, etc. Unfortunately, I found it kind of meh. She did reveal some history about the family that I wasn't aware of, but there wasn't a ton of information about Trump himself. She gave good information about how his personality was shaped as a child due to his family, and there were some other interesting parts in the book, but overall I didn't find it as scandalous or controversial as I expected it to be. 

Recommended for: nosy people like me who enjoy reading about public figures (I almost said celebrities, but so help me, I can't call this man a celebrity...). 

2. Melania and Me by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff 

The three Trump-related books that I requested from my libary's eBook app all came in within a day of each other. There's an option to delay holds, but since I'm trying to get back into the reading habit, I went ahead and checked this one out as well. This one was more interesting than Too Much. Wolkoff spent time explaining her relationship with Melania and providing insight into her as a person; well, as much insight as she could. It turns out that Melania is kind of a closed book. Shocking, right? There was a lot of political talk in this since Wolkoff worked in the administration, so I glossed over those parts, but I did enjoy the personal insights.

Recommended for: same as above - nosy people. Also, people who have wondered about the dynamic of POTUS' and FLOTUS' relationship. This book doesn't tell much about it, but it gives a tiny bit of insight into their lives.

3. The Art of Her Deal by Mary Jordan 

The final book of my Trump-related trio! This book focused on Melania's background and how she went from being a fledgling model in Europe to the wife of the 45th president of the United States. There were a couple of themes that came up, such as her being very focused and serious about things, as well as her neglecting people from one stage of her life each time she moved on to the next stage. This book gave me a better picture of how and why their relationship works. 

Recommended for: see above two statements! 

4. The Farm by Joanne Ramos 

Now for a palate cleanser! Ha! I can't decide if I really enjoyed this one or if I'm kind of meh about it. The concept of it seems unique and a little terrifying (check out the description by clicking on the title or image above), but there were a few things that just didn't quite click with me. On the flip side, it did keep my attention and kept me guessing until the end, so there's that. 

Recommended for: those who like "could this actually happen?" type stories or anyone who needs a little bit of fiction after reading three Trump-adjacent books in a row...

5. A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost 


I'm a lukewarm fan of modern SNL (I'm a lifelong Will Ferrell fan, and I will fight you about it), but I do enjoy the Weekend Update portion of the show. Also, as I mentioned above, I'm a fan of books by and about famous and infamous people. His book was funny enough, and it was interesting to read more about the SNL writing/rehearsal process, but I just kind of made my way through this one without being super invested in it. 

Recommended for: SNL fans, fans of comedians/writers/celebrities, people who read celebrity autobiographies or biographies regardless of the subject (that's me!)

6. Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel 

I think I read about this one on another blogger's post, but I can't remember who it was! I enjoyed this one, so thank you random person! This is a story about a mother and daughter reuniting after the mother is released from prison for aggravated child abuse against her daughter. Phew! This story has some twists and turns that kept me guessing!

Recommended for: mystery fans, fans of complicated family relationships, anyone who likes a good revenge story...

7. The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren  


This one was my lightest fiction read for the month, which I needed after those other couple of heavy fiction titles! It tells the story of a couple who have a remodeling television show and a new book coming out...I'm not going to say it reminds me of anyone in particular, but I definitely think it was supposed to be a certain Texas-based couple who have a magazine, books, bakery, silos, etc. Catch my drift? The story is told from the perspectives of the assistants to the man and woman, and I'm sure just by looking at the cover, you can tell that there is going to be some kind of romantic involvement...

Recommended for: fans of light romances, fans of semi-generic "chick lit", people who want to speculate if the people this book seems to be modeled after actually act like the book characters (guess which camp I fall into?!?)

Did not finish:

1. Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker 

I'm not sure where I read about this book, but I received a notification that my library eBook hold was available. The concept of this book was interesting - a family with twelve children and half of them diagnosed with schizophrenia - but I just couldn't get into it. Maybe I'll try it again down the road. 

2. United States of Socialism by Dinesh D'Souza

In the interest of full disclosure, I consider myself a pretty left-leaning liberal. However, I've been trying to seek out viewpoints from "the other side" in order to try to understand where some of their thoughts and rhetoric comes from. When I saw this one available for a fast-track checkout on my library's eBook app, I checked it out. Then, another title I had put on hold became available, and I had already reached my checkout limit, so I returned this one in about half a second to be able to read the one I had actually selected. This is another "maybe eventually" title.

This month's favorite book: This is a tough one because I enjoyed all of the fiction ones pretty equally! I think I'll go with Darling Rose Gold because I didn't figure out the twist in it. They all were good and meh in their own ways though! 

This month's least favorite book: Too Much and Never Enough - it wasn't a bad book, but it just wasn't my favorite this month. 

Have you read any of these books? Tell me what you think about them if you did! 

Linking up with Steph and Jana



Monday, November 9, 2020

10 on the 10th : November 2020

I used to love doing weekly and monthly question posts like this, so I'm glad that my blogger friend Leslie decided to take over 10 on the 10th posts this year. I've got a reading linkup post planned for tomorrow, so I decided to put this one up a day early. I believe this is the only time in my life that I've ever been early for anything! 


1. Will you watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade? Football? Movies?

I *think* that I read that the Thanksgiving Day parade is cancelled this year. We usually had it on our TV, but we didn't really pay attention to it. We actually were always just waiting for the Westminster Dog Show (is this still happening this year?!? Guess I need to check on that now so I have time to whine about it if it's cancelled...). We watch football too. My dad is a huge Dallas Cowboys fan, so it's always fun to see them get stomped play a good game each year. We might watch a movie too. We're having a small discussion in our house about whether I've seen the movie Up or not (I HAVEN'T, DEAR HUSBAND), so we may watch it on Thanksgiving if we haven't before then. 

From Char's first Thanksgiving in 2016!

2. Who does the cooking? Fix anything ahead of time?

Usually my husband and I both do the cooking. We'll each do certain parts of the meal. I think Char will probably want to help this year too! We don't make anything ahead of time since we stay home for Thanksgiving and keep the meal kind of small. 

3. What time do you eat the big meal?

We usually eat in the early afternoon. We'll put the turkey in the oven around mid-morning and let it start cooking, then we'll throw everything else together when the turkey is almost finished. We never have a specific time since we keep things pretty laid-back around here! 

4. Do you set a formal table or keep things more casual? Place cards? Children's table?

We definitely keep things casual around here! Thanksgiving is the one holiday that we have kept strictly to just our household family, so we don't set the table or do anything formal. We don't always even eat at the table on Thanksgiving; it really just depends on what kind of mess our table is on that day! Ha!

5. Is the food placed on the table or served buffet style?

It's served buffet style, and we keep everything in the kitchen. Since there are just 3 of us eating, it's pretty easy just to make all of the plates in the kitchen and then carry them to wherever we're eating!

6. Ham or turkey? What's for dessert?

Turkey!!!!! The first year Will and I were married, he asked for ham for Thanksgiving. I had some kind of sinus bug, and he had to work a half day overtime. So, when he got home, he was exhausted, and I didn't feel well. I remember being so upset that he didn't want to eat the second he got home and that we had to eat "stupid ham instead of turkey," 😂 Now I'd just tell him to make a ham if he wants it because I'm team turkey! Dessert is usually pumpkin pie because that's one of Will's favorite desserts, and I don't really so no to any sweets!

7. Does your family have a Thanksgiving tradition?

I guess our tradition is that we stay home and keep Thanksgiving to our own house. We might start decorating for Christmas, but that's not really a must do for us every Thanksgiving!

8. Yay or nay to leftovers? Favorite leftover recipe?

Yay for me, nay for Will, and it depends on what the food is for Char! Will usually eats one plate of leftovers, and then he's done. I'll eat it for a couple of days before I'm sick of it. However, we've gotten better about not buying/making too much for Thanksgiving, which cuts down on the amount of leftovers we have (and makes it cheaper for us!). I don't really have a favorite leftover recipe that I make, but my mom makes my great-grandmother's turkey hash, and it's really good! I also may try making "The Moist Maker" this year too with this recipe


9. What will everyone wear? Dress up or comfy?

Comfy, comfy, comfy!!! Since we stay home, we have no reason to dress up! Plus, if you don't wear elastic band pants, then you're doing Thanksgiving wrong! Ha!!

Don't you wish they had comfy outfits like this for adults?!? From Char's first Thanksgiving, 2016.

10. For what are you most thankful this year?

My family. Hands down. I'm always thankful for them, but this year has been a year for everyone, and it's been crucial to have my family. Love you all! 

My favorite daughter and favorite husband!

Linking up with Leslie! Take a look (tomorrow!) and see how your Thanksgiving compares...and maybe get some new recipes for leftovers!




Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Currently : November 2020

Welcome to my first linkup on my old/new space! I used to blog at amberiam.com, but thanks to a list of events, including not renewing my domain, not downloading my backup site in time, and letting my site get purchased (hacked? who knows?) by what appears to be someone in China, I'm back here! This space used to be named AmberCanRead, but I updated the name so all of my adoring fans (hahaha) would kind of recognize me! 


Appreciating : My family! I have a great support system who takes care of me when I do things like dropping my entire lunch on the ground! Ha! I'm so grateful for my husband, daughter, dog, parents and in-laws, especially this year! Love all of you! 

Ordering : Groceries online for pickup. Even before the pandemic, I didn't like shopping for groceries, so it's been really nice to order through an app and just go pick them up at a designated time!

Perfecting : Our daily and weekly routines. This year has been full of changes for us, including career changes, so we've had to figure out new daily and weekly routines to suit our new lifestyle. It's all trial and error, and I'm sure it'll change 100 more times before we get it down, but maybe if I say we're perfecting these things, it'll convince me that we're doing okay! 😜

Planning : Things to do in the wintertime. Between the pandemic and flu season, we're going to be indoors and home more than we have been in the past. We want to make sure that we're being careful, so we're planning fun things to do around the house this winter. We're also looking at local parks that we can go to since we can keep our distance from people, plus our winters are usually pretty mild (until around mid-to-late January). Watch us have piles of snow since I said that. Maybe I need to order some snow toys...ha!

Wearing : Lots of leggings, stretchy clothes, and warm clothes! Working at home means wearing whatever is comfortable, and since our basement is feels like a freezer, even in the middle of summer, I'm usually wearing (mismatched) layers, under a shawl, and running a heater! We usually venture out of the house once a week for our grocery pickup and a change of scenery, and I'll wear "actual clothes" then, which always remind me how much I snack during the day now...

How about you? Have you ordered anything fun lately? Have any comfy and warm clothes recommendations? Leave me a comment, or if you published a Currently post, drop your link so I can come visit! 

Linking up with Anne!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Fresh start for fall

Hey.

It's time for me to dust off this ol' blog.

(No, this has nothing to do with the fact that I messed up my Wordpress blog by not renewing the domain and having a weird URL redirect set up that I can't figure out how to undo). 

So, what's changed in my life since 2014*? Not much...just a couple of career changes, moving to another house, celebrating more anniversaries with my husband, keeping our doggo alive, and the little task of raising our daughter, who was born in 2016!

Phew!

I haven't been writing much on the blog that shall not be named. I haven't been super motivated, and like most people this year, I've been in a funk. But, recently I decided that I am in charge of my attitude and shaping my life into what I want it to look like. I make the decisions about what I want to do, who I want to surround myself with, and how I spend my time. Of course, there are things that I must do, and I have to be respectful to my family, but I have to pursue things that make me happy.

Wow. That's a pretty deep and rambling way to say, "I felt like blogging again."

Here are my goals for this space :

  1. Clean up/delete/hide old posts - Some of my old posts are just clutter that are taking up space on here. Since I've been reading approximately 17,000 books about clutter lately, I want to unclutter this space.

  2. Figure out what I want to use this space for - I think I want to make this a space for writing random posts about marriage and motherhood, joining linkups, book reviews, and sharing some of my at-home side-hustles. I'm open to suggestions though! 

  3. Make and stick to a posting schedule - Part of being more organized is actually creating a schedule and sticking to it. There are so many content creators who stress the importance of creating a manageable schedule and sticking to it, rather than making big, lofty goals about how often you're going to make something new. I'm so, so, so, so bad about having an all or nothing mindset, so I'll tell myself that if I can't post 8 days a week, I might as well not do it at all. That's ridiculous. Some beats none any day.

  4. Earn a few pennies - There's no shame in wanting to make a little ad revenue. Help a girl out here. Iced coffee and Hatchimals get expensive...
If you're still with me, thanks for reading! As I get things more solidified, I'll share my plans here. I know you'll be waiting on pins and needles until then! 

*I haven't published original content on here since 2014, but I'm in the process of bringing my Wordpress posts over here, so it'll look like I've been way more active on here. Fascinating, right?

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Sentence A Day : March 2020

 I haven’t participated in this since July 2018! Wow, I didn’t realize it had been so long! Let’s get back to it, and then abandon it again for nearly two years. Ha! I missed a few days of sentences, so fill in those days with any cool sentence that you want to!

1 – A new month and new possibilities!

2 – Char and I both got new glasses on Friday, and I need mine adjusted because the earpiece is digging into the side of my head!

3 – Tornadoes hit the Nashville area around 1 AM; we were spared from any damage and just had a power outage, which makes us feel so thankful!!

4 – Seeing the damage to the local area on the news today makes my heart sink; our former junior high and one of the elementary schools I went to are completely destroyed. The electricity came on again around 5 PM.

5 – Char stood on a skateboard that a girl in Dunkin Donuts had, and she was so proud of herself!

6 – Target with the family and Panera girls night!

7 – Forgot to write my sentence today!

8 – Forgot to write my sentence today!

9 – Happy 7th anniversary, Will!! I love you!! (Yeah, two sentences…I think I earned an extra one today!)

10 – Day home after going to get a haircut, glasses adjusted, and a couple of places with Char yesterday!


11 – Char got her second haircut today and looks so stinking cute!!

12 – Another day at home today!

13 – Friday the 13th…ooh spooky…lol

14 – Char sleepover with my parents, and Will and I went grocery shopping for our date night!

15 – Will and I got a lot of housework done today, thanks to the 90s Alternative Station on Amazon Music!

16 – Char and I are staying home as much as we can, but unfortunately Will still has to work.

                                    

17 – Taught Charli that you have to wear green on this day, or you will get pinched; this concept works better when you’re not minimizing human contact!

18 – Charli and I baked and decorated a cake today; I won’t quit my day job…

                           

19 – Char and I went to my parents’ house today and spent time on their screen porch since the weather was nice.

20 – Will is going to be off work for the next two weeks while his job runs on a skeleton crew.

21 – Char is having a sleepover with my parents, so Will and I did what any adults with a child-free night would do…rented Lego Batman on Amazon Prime! 😉

22 – We slept super late this morning, and it was fantastic!

23 – Another week of being home, but with Will here also!

24 – Lots of playing and not lots of housework…oops…

25 – Charli suckered my parents into a sleepover, so I finished Love is Blind and stayed up waaaaay too late!

26 – IT’S WARM AND SUNNY TODAY!!!!!!

27 – Char and I stayed outside for several hours today, and it was fantastic!!!

28 – Happy anniversary to my parents!

29 – Beautiful weather today and house cleaning helped me feel a little less blah than I have been!

30 – Today was a rough day, and I felt really discouraged for most of the day.

31 – Happy birthday to Will and Koopa!!

Here’s hoping to a better April! Linking up (prematurely) with Leslie!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Life Lately : Volume 6

I haven’t done one of these updates since July! I’m sure all of you have been waiting for the next one with bated breath! 😉

  • The fall semester at work has been really busy! We’ve got a record number of students enrolled, and we’re implementing a new system, along with a lot of projects that have carried over from the summer. Not to mention there’s this freshman student that just will not leave me alone. He even has followed me home before. (It’s my husband!)

  • Fall TV is back! Since we don’t have cable and use an antenna, we don’t get NBC. I have to stream This Is Us a day behind everyone else. Although, my mom did offer to FaceTime me last night while she and my dad watched it! Ha!! Some of the new ABC shows look pretty good too. Anything you all are excited about watching?

  • Somehow I’ve gotten involved in three Bible studies this fall! Two are online, and one is at work. Will and I went back to church last weekend for the first time in over a year. Perhaps, someone is trying to tell me something…perhaps…

  • Charlotte has been sick all month with various things, but she’s growing a ton of teeth! She has a huge one on the top in the front of her mouth. It looks like an adult tooth! I guess it’s time to start looking for a dentist!

  • Do you ever look up how old celebrities are? I usually start with just one (like Cher after seeing her Gap commercial), then I fall down a rabbit hole. I lead a busy and productive life, obviously.

This was well worth the absence in August, right?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

School Foods : A TBB Talks Linkup

 I’m a day behind on this because I took a pause from my regularly scheduled programming yesterday. I’m about 2% serious and 98% frivolous. Everyone okay with those ratios?

This is the last TBB Talks of September, and I hope they keep it going in October! I love having a theme to look at every week! This week’s theme is school foods – what we serve and what we ate. Since Charlotte isn’t in school yet, I don’t serve anything. If I did, it would be mac and cheese and sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are her thing right now. She definitely gets that from my mom!

I was a child who appreciated food, so I didn’t turn down a whole lot at school. However, there was one food that stood out above all other school cafeteria foods : the school cafeteria pizza.

Maybe I’m alone on this, but school cafeteria pizza was the best! There was something about those rectangles of pizza that made them more delicious than anything else in the cafeteria. But, part of me wonders if I had one today what I would think about it. I think it’s better to just keep it in the nostalgic past.

The other school food that stands out to me is curly fries. I know that’s really weird, but there’s a story behind it! When I started high school, we had so many options. There were sandwiches, hot lunches, side items, and probably more than my brain can remember. It was such a big deal to me that we could pick and choose what we ate. My “meal” of choice was curly fries and chocolate milk. Oh high school Amber, enjoy eating like that.

What were your favorite school foods? If you have kids, what do they like to eat at school?

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