Friday, October 30, 2015

what I learned in October

Normally, I'm not a very patient person.  I get irritated when traffic stops take too long.  I'm anxious when waiting for a book or movie to come out.  I want the big things in my life to happen now.  And now it has dawned on me that God has been persistent in trying to break me of my impatience.  I'm the most impatient when I am not, in the least bit, in control of the situation.  But I've slowly been realizing that God's hand is in everything, and if that means that I have to sit in traffic for an hour on my commute to work, then so be it.  I'll just carry my cross-stitching or a book with me everyday (which I do regardless).  

I know this sounds strange, but hear me out.  The time that I've spent waiting (from trying to be patient) I have used to be more productive.  It seems to make the waiting easier.  I can't tell you the countless books I've read or the projects I've completed (or started) in this "in-between" period.

This, as funny as it sounds, was a difficult blow.  I believed myself to be a lover of ALL things pumpkin and pumpkin-flavored.  Oh, how wrong I was...  I had been seeing commercials for pumpkin this and pumpkin-flavored that, and commercialism got the best of me.  I finally broke down, stopped by the establishment offering said pumpkin item, and bought one.  I did the "Emily Gilmore 3-Taste Test."  (One is to acclimate, two is for foundation, and three to judge.)  Then I promptly threw it away.  However awful this experience was, I won't let it deter me from trying other pumpkin treats in the future.

This was an eye-opener.  For real.  So much has happened this month that just has not went my way.  My life, for the most part, has been flipped upside-down, and now I have to put it back together in the right order.  And although Past Me would have wound up crying in a ball on the floor, Present Me is eerily calm with all of it.  Why?  Because I know that My God, My Savior, will take care of me.  So I'm taking everything in stride.  Am I upset?  Of course!  But things happen for a reason, and I believe that this reason is to bring me closer to Jesus, so I'll continue to praise Him in this storm called life.

linking up with Emily P. Freeman

Friday, October 16, 2015

favorite finds: Plant Nanny

A few months ago, I heard about Plant Nanny on the radio.  Someone had called in to tell about this amazing app, and I was immediately intrigued.  Who wouldn't be?  An app that tracks your water intake but makes you responsible for keeping a virtual plant alive?  How fun!  (And honestly, it reminded me of the Tamogatchi and GigaPets I had as a kid!)

iPhone Screenshot 2

What exactly is Plant Nanny?  The iTunes store blurb describes it as this: "Plant Nanny combines health with fun to remind you to drink water regularly.  The cute plant keeps you company every day by living in your phone.  In order to keep it alive and help it grow, you must give it water at certain periods of time."

What are some of the benefits of it?  You keep track of your daily water intake, which is tailored to you, and  you actually feel responsible to drink enough water in order to keep your plant alive.

What is your favorite part of Plant Nanny?  For starters, IT'S FREE! (You can get it for Apple or Android.)  Second, you pick the plant you want.  There are some plants that take certain amounts of seeds to "buy" in order for you to plant, but there are some that don't "cost" anything!  (Like the cute dandelion above!)  Last, you get to pick the number of ounces you drink at a time.  You are not always confined to drinking 16.9 oz of water at a time.  If you drink 8 oz, than you can pick an 8 oz cup to "fill."  It's extremely convenient.

Any downfalls?  For me, I sometimes get to busy to remember to water my plant, and sometimes, I get to busy to even drink water.  The app does provide reminders every few hours if you want them.  

Rating: 4.5/5 stars.

I really love this app.  It keeps me accountable for the water I drink (or don't drink).  Now go and download this app!  For real!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

winter reading challenge!

It's time for the winter installment of the Semi-Charmed Kind of Life Reading Challenge!  There were some very difficult categories this time around!  It took me the better part of the afternoon trying to figure out what to pick!

Here's my preliminary list for the #SCWBC15, which runs from November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2015:

5 points: Read a book that has between 100 and 200 pages.  Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck, 107 pages
10 points: Read a debut book by any author. (The book does not have to be a 2015 debut.)  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson, 465 pages
10 points: Read a book that does not take place in your current country of residence.  The Dovekeepers - Alice Hoffman, 592 pages (Israel)
10 points: Read a book that someone else has already used for the challenge.  Have to wait for the check-ins before I can pick this one!
15 points: Read a book published under a pseudonym (e.g. Robert Galbraith, Sara Poole, J.D. Robb, Franklin W. Dixon, Mark Twain, etc.).  Out of Africa - Isak Dineson (Karen Blixen), 399 pages
15 points: Read a book with “boy,” “girl,” “man” or “woman” in the title (or the plural of these words).  The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larsson, 503 pages
15 points: Read a book with a one-word title (e.g. AttachmentsAmericanahUgliesWild, etc.).  Cinder - Marissa Meyer, 387 pages
20 points: Read a book with a person's first and last name in the title (e.g. The Storied Life of A.J. FikryThe Story of Edgar Sawtelle).  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin, 452 pages
20 points: Read a food-themed book.   The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows, 290 pages
20 points: Read a book with a verb in the title. (For any grammar nerds out there, I mean “verb” in the most general sense, so gerunds count. For non-grammar-inclined people, just use any book that appears to have a verb in the title!)  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson, 563 pages
30 points: Read two books with the same title (by different authors).  The Piano Teacher - Janice Y.K. Lee, 368 pages & The Piano Teacher - Elfriede Jelinek, 288 pages
30 points: Read a nonfiction book and a fiction book about the same subject (e.g. a biography and historical fiction novel about the same person; two books about a specific war or event; a nonfiction book about autism and a novel with a character who has autism, etc. The possibilities are endless!).  The Boleyn Inheritance - Philippa Gregory, 518 pages (Fiction) & The Six Wives of Henry VIII - Alison Weir, 656 pages (Nonfiction) 
I believe that I must be crazy...  All but three of my books for this challenge are OVER 300 pages!  And if my calculations are correct (if I read these books here, and not including the one I have yet to pick), I'll have read 5,588+ pages by January 31, 2016!  I think I have lost my mind!  But I am extremely excited!  A lot of these have been on my TBR list for a long time, and I get to check a couple off the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge too!

Also, I'm not sure if I picked a good book for the food-themed book category, but I guess we'll see.  I have another one in mind if I need to change it.  

Wanna join in?  Click the button below to find out the challenge rules!  Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

currently craving a pumpkin spice latte

I'm a day late with this, but better late than never right?!  

eating:  Any and everything pumpkin.  Well, pretty much.  Pumpkin season is in full swing, and I have eaten everything from pumpkin muffins to pumpkin cookies to pumpkin rolls to pumpkin English muffins.  And I can't believe that I haven't had pumpkin pie yet!

exploring:  God's Word.  Not that this is unusual for me, but God has laid a few subjects on my heart that I need to research.

wearing:  Flannel!  Fall means flannel (among other things).  Definitely one of my favorite things to wear, and you can never have too much flannel, right?!

admiring:  The autumn leaves.  This is my favorite season (as if you couldn't have guessed), and the absolute best part is seeing the leaves turn to orange, red, yellow, brown, and gold.  It's so strange that the point that part of the world is technically dying is the most colorful time of year.  Maybe it's God's way of reminding us to see the beauty in death...

collecting:  Books.  Always collecting books.  It's an addiction.  I should seek help...but I won't!  I've scaled back a bit, trying not to buy anything new or full price, but I can't help it.  I just can't pass up a good bargain on a good book!

linking up with Anne and Jenna

Friday, October 2, 2015

favorite finds: theSkimm

Welcome to my Favorite Finds series!  On Fridays, I will post and share the things that I have discovered--either on my own or from someone sharing it with me--and that I absolutely LOVE.  I'll explain what it is and why I love it so much.  It will always be something that is relatively new to me and my life, but not so new that I can't give you an accurate review of it.

Now on to my first Favorite Find!

What is it?  theSkimm is a daily e-mail newsletter that delivers the news, national and international, in an abbreviated format.  Whatever is the biggest news that day is what you will read about.

How often do you get the email?  Every week day.  Unless it's a holiday.  And it comes first thing in the morning, so more often than not, it's the first thing I read.

How did you find out about it?  A woman that I had crossed paths with professionally recommended it to me.

What's your favorite part of theSkimm?  I have two, actually.  I like that it ties in certain pop culture references and the lingo of today's youth.  And I like actually having the news delivered right to my inbox.  I'm much more informed about the goings-on in my country and my world.

How can I get theSkimm?  Click the picture above and subscribe.  It's as easy as pie.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Honestly, it's probably one of the best things I have ever subscribed to.  I look forward to getting it and reading yesterday's news.  It takes minutes to get caught up on what went on in the world the day before.  My only complaint is that it is a little more liberal than I would like, but I can overlook that to get to the facts.  I highly recommend it to any and everyone!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

new title!

Welcome to my new and improved blog, hello sweet sunbeams!  Nothing about the previous one suited me.  I just wasn't happy.  It bothered me from the start, and I had always thought of changing it.  So now I have!  (Take a look at my About page to see my reasoning behind the title!)

This is something that I honestly felt like God was leading me to do...the change in the blog, that is.  I've been putting it off and putting it off for a while now, and I felt like God was just about to kick my butt to get me to do it.

I wasn't a very diligent blogger in the past, but I have some great ideas for posts and even some series that I would like to implement.  I'll probably even be doing some linking up this go around!

My content is still pretty much the same (as you can see in my About page).  It always seems to be more about books and reading than anything else, maybe because that's what I spend the majority of my time doing!  So I do plan on broadening my post topics, just a little.

For those of you who have been here before, I didn't delete any posts.  You can still find them, including my #SCSBC15 reading list.  Just an FYI.  :)

I'm so excited to be back on the blog-o-sphere with all of you!  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Girl on the Train.

On Monday, I finished The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  I had heard mixed reviews, and actually the cashier at the local Books-A-Million said that people either loved it or hated it...  I supposed that I would be in the latter group...

Reading The Girl on the Train in my new Ravenclaw lounge pants.
Definite nerd, right here...
But I wasn't.  I loved it.  Maybe it's because I adore psychological thrillers where I'm kept guessing who the culprit is right up to the reveal.  Maybe.