What I’m Into December 2014

what-im-into

I’m sending off 2014 by linking up once again with Leigh Kramer for another What I’m Into monthly recap. 2014 was a hard year in parts, but good overall and filled with friends and family and new experiences. Here’s hoping that continues in 2015.

Reading

I did a ridiculous amount of reading this month. I lost count exactly, but I ended up reading about 30 books (vacation is good for that). I’ll spare you all a detailed list, but highlights include Mallory Ortberg’s Texts from Jane Eyre (a quick read, but so funny), Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (which was hysterical. There were times I could barely breathe, I was laughing so hard), the Partials series by Dan Wells (pretty good as far as post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction goes, but I’m kind so over love triangles in YA fiction). My very favourite reads of the month were For Darkness Shows the Stars and Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund. Peterfreund writes reimaginings of Regency and Victorian literary classics as postapocalyptic YA novels, and I could not put them down. I definitely recommend them, and I especially liked how she gender-swapped the leads in her take on The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Movies

I saw two movies in theatres this month: the third Hobbit movie (which was only ok. I live in fear that Peter Jackson will decide to make a ten-part movie version of The Silmarillion next) and Annie (the soundtrack didn’t quite measure up to the original, but Quvenzhane Wallis is pretty brilliant). I also spent Christmas with my in-laws this year, which means I was introduced to a bunch of new-to-me Christmas specials. My favourite was the Muppets’ Christmas Carol.

Television

We’re still watching through The West Wing and Fresh Prince, but I also watched through both seasons of Mr. Selfridge on Netflix. My husband ruined it for me a little by pointing out just how similar Jeremy Piven’s take on Selfridge is to the fake Santa in The Santa Clause II. I enjoyed the show and I’m looking forward to season 3, although the ITV writers really need to find new ways besides adultery to inject drama into their characters’ lives.

Music

The songs on Taylor Swift’s 1989 have been ridiculously catchy.  I especially like Wonderland, which is one of the more underrated tracks on the album. I also picked up a copy of Steffany Gretzinger’s The Undoing mid-month and have been listening to it obsessively ever since. Cecie’s Lullaby is probably my favourite track.

Food 

I didn’t get to cook much for most of the month, since I was away from home, but I did get to do some Christmas baking before I left. My favourites included these Nutella Pinwheels, Banana Pecan Coconut Oil Shortbread Cookies, and these Chocolate and Toffee Bit Shortbread Cookies. I also had a chance to try my hand at this spectacular Pretzel-Crusted Schnitzel. As usual, you can find my favourite recipes of the month over on my monthly What I’m Into Pinterest board.

IRL

We spent this Christmas with my in-laws and, while I missed having my parents and siblings around, I enjoyed getting to experience their traditions more fully (although I’m still not down with this whole getting up early on Christmas morning business. German Christmas traditions are way more night owl-friendly). I also really enjoyed getting to know my eldest niece better, now that she’s old enough to carry on a conversation. She’s a lot of fun.

That’s it for me for this month. Be sure to head over to Leigh’s page to check out more link-up submissions. Happy New Year!

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What I’m Into November 2014

what-im-into

I’m taking a few minutes at the end of a busier than anticipated month to link up with Leigh Kramer and share what I’ve been into this November.

Books:

First Impressions by Charlie Lovett–This was my favourite read of the month. I read Lovett’s debut this past summer at Leigh’s recommendation and enjoyed it, but liked First Impressions even more. Recommended for anyone who liked books, Jane Austen, and a good mystery.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld–This was another novel within a novel, although the two plotlines didn’t interact as much as I expected them to. I read it in one sitting, but I’m not sure how much that speaks to its quality and how much I just didn’t want to do anything productive that day. I did enjoy getting a look behind the scenes at the process of writing a YA novel.

The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa–another fun read that’s cost me entirely too much sleep this month. It’s pretty standard YA fantasy material, but good fun with a likeable heroine (although I’m not particularly wild about how the romantic triangle was resolved. I’d have preferred for the other guy to win out)

Altered by Gennifer Albin–I wasn’t wild about this sequel to Crewel. I found it exacerbated Crewel’s weaknesses but didn’t have any of its redeeming qualities, and when she threw in Albert Einstein it was just too much. I expect that’s why there was never a third book.

TV

After binge-watching seasons 2-4 of Being Erica on Netflix at the beginning of the month (verdict: I still liked Ethan), I stuck to keeping up with the usual shows–Downton (curse you Fellowes–the Christmas special had better be happy), Once Upon a Time (not a fan of the direction Rumple is taking), New Girl, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, and Parenthood (rooting oh so hard for Joel and Julia and growing increasingly frustrated with the lax way Adam and Kristina parent Max).

Movies

Aaron tried to introduce me to Big Fish this month, and I felt like a bad wife for not loving it as much as he did. I found the storyline muddled and was not a fan of Ewan MacGregor’s fake southern drawl. I do get the references in that Yellowcard song now, though.

We also made it to the theatres with friends to see Mockingjay Part 1. Much as I would have preferred for them not to stretch it into two movies, I thought they did a good job realizing the book more fully. Aaron has barely stopped singing The Hanging Tree since.

Music

I’ve mostly been listening to all things Christmas, particularly the Rend Collective Christmas CD and Pentatonix’s two holiday albums. The first part of this especially is perfection.

There were also a few album releases this month that I’d been eagerly anticipating, including Citizens and Saints’ The Strife Is Over and Brooke Fraser’s Brutal Romantic, both of which I’m still savouring.

Also, while I continue to maintain that they can hardly call themselves Newsboys with Michael Tait at the helm (they sound more like a reboot of Tait’s eponymous band), I did enjoy their hymn covers in Hallelujah for the Cross

Food

I had so many new favourite recipes this month, it’s hard to decide which ones to highlight. This halloumi and roasted sweet potato couscous salad was probably my favourite of the month, but this pomegranate breakfast salad, these chocolate-drizzled potato chip shortbread cookies, and this apple cider pulled pork were also contenders. As usual, you can find all my favourite recipes of the month on my What I’m Into Pinterest board.

Fashion

I’ve been eyeing this dress on the Additionelle website for a month, so when they had all dresses 40% off on Friday I had to pick one up. Good thing too, as they’re sold out now. I’ve also discovered that I can make all my favourite sundresses acceptable winter wear by wearing them with leggings or tights and a shrug, so that’s mostly what I’ve been doing.

Draped Dress

Travel

I had a 12-hour layover in Dublin this month, so I took full advantage of the opportunity to see some of the city’s sights. I especially enjoyed looking around Christ Church Cathedral.

Life

The beginning of November was pretty rough for my family. My maternal grandmother passed away shortly after her pancreatic cancer relapsed. She was a wonderful woman, and we’ll miss her, but I’m so grateful to have had her for a grandmother and I’m thankful that my mother, sister, and I were able to join the extended family for the funeral. I’m also grateful that we had the chance to visit with her this summer, and that my husband was able to meet her. Next time in Glory, Omi.

The rest of the month was mostly just ridiculously busy. End of term tends to do that to you. I had the chance to preach again in church (lesson learned: dresses and portable microphones are not a good combination) and to give a lecture on women and the Reformation to an undergraduate class, I’m looking forward to vacation next month, when I can take the opportunity to relax and visit with friends and family.

That’s it for me for the month. Be sure t head over to Leigh’s page for more submissions.