Friday, December 2, 2016

Books Lately: November

The King's Traitor, by Jeff Wheeler
This was the third book in the Kingfountain Series by Jeff Wheeler.  You can see my review on the first book HERE.  I thought I had reviewed the second book as well but apparently I didn't.  Basically, it's a historical fiction set in medieval times.  Owen, the main character, is taken from his family and raised in the castle as punishment for his father's betrayal to the king.  He ends up earning the trust of the king (who everyone hates and fears) but grows up living a double life because he is not truthful about the magical powers and knowledge he possesses. In this third book, Owen finally finds love after being denied his dream of marrying his childhood friend and first love, Evie.  He also helps to overthrow King Severn and put the rightful heir to the throne in his place. 



Harry Potter, Books 1-6
I've never read any of the Harry Potter books until now.  I was in high school when the books became popular and it wasn't something that interested me at the time.  Now that I'm finally reading through the series, I'm a bit obsessed with it.  I'm finally understanding all the HP references that used to fly over my head before and have used the word "muggle" when referring to some stupid driver who cut me off only to drive 10 miles below the speed limit in front of me.  I regret that I hadn't read them until now as I'm sure I would have liked it a lot more when I was younger.  I'm trying to get my kids to read it too because I'm sure they'd like it as well, but so far they're not taking to it.  Oh, well.  I just started book 7 last night so I should be done with it and the last book in time for next month's book update.


What has everyone else been reading?  Need to add new books to my list for 2017 so I'm looking for recommendations!!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Monthly Mantra 2016: December


We're finally in the last month of 2016!  Can you believe it?  I can't.  I feel like my mind is still back in mid-October.  Anyone else feel like that?

This month's mantra is basically "Let Go".  All the stress I've felt throughout the year, all the toxic people who I really tried to get along with, the countless times I've had an idea but never went through with it.  I'm just going to let it all go.
 
Speaking of letting go, I'll be letting go of my gallbladder in the next few days.  The doctors found multiple gallstones when I went in after a sleepless night of pain last week.  I'm a bit nervous as I've never had any type of surgery done, but hopefully all goes well and I'm back to work quickly - because I'll need as many hours as I can get trying to pay for medical bills AND Christmas gifts all at once.  Yikes!
 
2017 is fast approaching and I'd like to start fresh.  New ideas, new attitudes, maybe even a new look?  Who knows?
 
What have you got going on this month?  Anything you need to let go of?  Have you had your gallbladder removed?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Peace is...


alyssagoesbang

 

Sleeping in on a Sunday.
Checking off that last task on your to-do list.
Christmas lights in the evening.
Curling up with a good book.
A Saturday morning cup of coffee.
Being outside on a gorgeous day.
Driving without the radio on and not even noticing it.
Getting lost in the rhythm of the waves.
Putting the kids to sleep after a long day.
Going through photos you forgot you had.
Sunlight warming your face after being stuck inside.
Blanket forts and bedtime stories.
Genuine hugs.
Corpse pose after a good long yoga sequence.
Taking off your shoes after an evening run.
Exploring your own town.
Floating in the ocean.
Reconnecting with old friends.
Doing a good deed.
Making a child smile.
Morning dew on the lawn.
Sepia tones.
Falling asleep in someone's arms.
Hearing an old song.
Getting packages in the mail.
Finding money.
Clean, soft sheets and pillows.
An afternoon spent painting.
Growing your savings account.
The chatter of siblings after a day spent together.
Family singalongs in the car.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Monthly Mantra 2016: November


We're almost to 2017 so it's time to buckle down and power through.  Don't lose sight of your goals and do NOT compare your life to anyone else's, especially during the holiday season.  Be thankful for what you've got and congratulate yourself on all the hard work you've put in thus far.  Let's do this.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Bando Agenda

Alright, so I've been using my Bando Agenda for a little over 3 months now and I figured it's about time I post some photos as well as my thoughts on it.  I apologize in advance for the crappy photos.  I'd post better ones, but...lazy.


Okay, so first off, besides the gorgeous design (I mean, really, it is so frikken pretty), the cover is great.  It is made with hard, durable cardboard (like a hard-cover book) and has rounded edges so you don't have to worry about it bending out of shape too much.  It is spiral bound so some of you crafty people can create inserts or clip-ins if you're want a more customized feel.



Once you open it, there is a double sided pocket page that contains a cute little code key that you can use to write notes to your friends, or just write stuff that you don't really want others to see.  You can also use the pockets to hold papers, stickers, or whatever.  After the pocket page is the dashboard which says "This Agenda Is Mine" and a blank line to write your name.  Obviously, I kicked it up a notch and decorated the whole page with stickers.



Speaking of stickers, the agendas come with two sheets of them!  They're so cute and functional and I've already used a few, as you can see.



Next up is the yearly overview which shows 2017-2018.  Then, "Dates to Celebrate" where you can write in birthdays, anniversaries, etc. to keep track of them.  After that, there's a list of holidays (traditional and non-traditional) that you can look forward to celebrating all year long.


November's cover design

December's monthly spread (not completed)


Completed monthly spread

Each month has its own spread of artwork and cute sayings which makes going into a new month so much fun.  The monthly spread itself is simple and kinda plain, with just a half sidebar space for notes.  At first I was a little disappointed, but when I realized how much freedom I would have to decorate and customize it, my disappointment turned into creative bliss.


 Weekly spread (blank)

Completed weekly spread

The weekly spread is also plain with a few little notes and cute sayings every week.  I have to admit that I was I little (okay a lot) intimidated by all the blank space in this new planner because I was so used to the vertical layout in my old planner which I designed to mimic the ECLP.  I freaked out the first week I used it because I didn't know how I would fill up all the space.  But thanks to my sticker and washi tape addictions, I can decorate each week as much or as little as I want to.

There are also note pages after each monthly spread as well as several blank lined sheets at the back of the agenda for taking notes, doodling, etc. but I don't really use them.

Transitioning from my old planner to this one took a lot of getting used to but I love that I'm able to customize and decorate my pages however I want to.  It does take time to actually sit down and plan and cut stickers and decorate each page but it adds a little fun and creativity into my work day by taking a few minutes every few hours to add some stickers or break out my washi tape.

All in all, I really LOVE this planner.  I don't know if I could ever go back to the boxy vertical layout that I was using previously.  I also love how durable and sturdy the covers are because that was a big issue with my previous DIY ECLP copy-cat planner.  If durability is an issue for you too (you like to throw your planner in your purse, car, etc.) I think you'd enjoy the covers on this one.  Also, if you love having the freedom to design and decorate to your heart's content, this is definitely the one for you.

What kind of planner do you have?  What do you think of the Bando Agenda?  Are you a sticker/washi tape addict too?

*P.S. This is NOT a sponsored post.  I bought this shit on my own.  All images and opinions are my own, blah blah blah.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

One thing about today I wish I knew one year ago


alyssagoesbang

 

Dear 2015 Duckie,

Guess what?  Even with your hopeful and positive attitude, you're not going to get as far as you think you will by 2016.  Harsh, I know, but you're used to it so I know you don't take it personally.  It's not entirely your fault because you're gonna get some mean ass migraines that will take a lot out of you, so be prepared for that.  Also, you're gonna get a bout of gloominess after the summer ends which will put you in such a funk that you will lose interest in everything and have a hard time pulling yourself out of it.  Actually, you're still feeling it now as you're typing this so try not to burn yourself out during the summer months and hopefully this won't happen.

2016 isn't all bad, though.  You'll have some fun, spend time with friends, create and learn new things.  You won't have reached all your goals, but you'll grow so much as a person from all the experiences you will face that it won't feel like a waste of a year.  Don't let the negatives and gloominess smother that hopeful and positive attitude, no matter how much you want to crawl under the covers and stay in bed.

I guess what I'm saying is:  keep your head up, kiddo.  Things won't be spectacular, but that doesn't mean you should give up.  Continue progressing and moving forward, even if it's at a slower pace than you'd like.

Peace out.


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This post is part of the #backtobloggingAGB non-challenge challenge hosted by Alyssa.

Books Lately: October 2016

The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
THIS.  BOOK.  Okay, first off, I have to say that I had purchased this book on Thrift Books (yes, that is my referral link) back in May but had been putting off reading it because it was sooooo long.  Like, 900 pages long.  Seeing such a thick book on my shelf was kinda intimidating, but I had already finished the rest of the books on my shelf in September so I figured it was time to tackle that beast.  I had initially thought it would take me the whole month to finish, but once I started reading, it was hard to put down.  The story is about the building of a cathedral set in 12th-century England during the middle of a civil war.  A story about building a church sounds boring, but there is so much more to the story than that because of the drama and characters.  Kings, corrupt priests, a witch, a few sadists, an unexpected romance, murder, destruction - no wonder this book was turned into a mini-series!



Evelyn, After, by Victoria Helen Stone
I have mixed feelings about this book.  I really liked the way the story was going at first but the end was kind of a let down.  If I were Evelyn, I think I would have taken a little more revenge out on my husband for all the crap he pulled.  She found out her husband was having an affair after he had an accident so she went and had an affair with his mistress's husband.  Then when all these new facts came out about the accident and she found out the truth behind the affair, the book just kinda fizzled out and cut to her happy ending.  It was an interesting read but the end could have been a lot better had the author given Evelyn more fight instead of just telling her husband that when their son graduated she'd file for divorce and go to the police.


Obviously October wasn't much of a bookfest for me but I'm happy to say that I have read through all the books that were on my shelf.  Now, the only problem is to find space and money to buy more books!  I also finally went to the public library here on Guam and got library cards for my younger kids so they've caught the reading bug too.  I'm currently in the middle of reading The King's Traitor (Book 3 in the Kingfountain series) and a few of my coworkers and I have started talking about a book swap so hopefully I'll have lots more to read in November.