What I’m Into August 2015

what-im-into

How is it September tomorrow? Seriously, how? I can’t believe summer is over already (although I could go for the cooler temperatures of fall right about now). As always, I’m finishing up the month by linking up with Leigh Kramer to share some of what I’ve been into this month.

Reading

We road tripped this month, so I got a chance to read a bunch of YA I’d been meaning to get to. My favourite book of the month was probably Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes, a fantasy novel in a pseudo-Roman empire setting. Then I read (and enjoyed, mostly, although I had to suspend disbelief a lot) Pierce Brown’s Red Rising and Golden Son (2 parts of a dystopian trilogy set in an interplanetary futuristic pseudo-Roman empire) and decided that the Roman motif is getting a bit overdone. I also read Lady Thief and Lion Heart, the two sequels to Scarlet, and loved her take on the Robin Hood mythos. Most recently, I just finished Archetype by M.D. Waters and am in the middle of the sequel, Prototype. I’m enjoying the setting (vaguely A Handmaid’s Tale-ish. Come to think of it, enjoying is perhaps the wrong word) but driven to distraction by the fact that the main character/narrator doesn’t use contractions. I think it’s a deliberate choice and linked to the big reveal at the end of book 1, but it’s never explicitly addressed and it makes the dialogue feel a bit stilted.

Watching

TV-wise, we’re mostly watching through (and loving) Psych right now. It’s refreshing to have a procedural show that doesn’t take itself so seriously. I love how deliberately over-the-top it is (although, let’s be real, Shawn is a terrible person and Juliet should never date him, but probably will).

Listening

August featured new releases from two of my favourite acts ever: Nichole Nordeman (first new album–ok, EP–in 10 years, woot!) and Rend Collective, so those have been pretty much playing on a loop for the last week or so. I’m especially loving Rend Collective’s Every Giant Will Fall.

Eating

We spent a week this August road-tripping to Minnesota and back, so there was a lot of eating out this month. Favourites were Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza in Chicago (obvs) and deep-fried breaded Wisconsin cheddar curds at a roadside A&W (don’t judge. They were fabulous.)

When not on the road, I’ve been taking advantage of the fact that peaches are in season here in Ontario right now, and they are to die for. Seriously, definitely a contender for my favourite fruit. I’ve been trying to make one peach recipe per day. Probably my favourite was the first one I tried: Seared Halloumi, Caramelized Peach, and Cherry Arugula Salad. Also pretty freaking fabulous, Grilled Peach, Blueberry, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Salad, Peach and Honeyed Whipped Feta Crostini. As usual, you can find all of my favourites of the month on my monthly What I’m Into Pinterest Board.

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IRL

Aaron and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary this month. We spent the day in Chicago, enjoying some of the city’s museums and capping off the day with a performance of The Two Gentlemen of Verona in Oak Park (I may have found a Shakespearean protagonist I despise more than Romeo!). My favourite stop was definitely the Field Museum. We got there two hours before it closed and barely made it halfway through the permanent exhibits. There’s so much to see!

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From Chicago, we drove on to the outskirts of the Twin Cities, where we celebrated the wedding of Aaron’s youngest brother in a lovely nature park just outside Minneapolis. I was sorry not to get to visit my family the way we usually do in August, but I’m super excited for my BIL and his new wife.

Finally, this month, I got to watch my home church blow me away with their generosity as we collected school supplies and snacks for the children living in the local women’s emergency shelter. We folded the back seats down and still had to try to cram everything into my car. I’m so grateful to call Lamplight family. They are the best.

That’s it for me for the month. Be sure to visit some of the other link-up submissions over on Leigh’s blog.

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What I’m Into July 2015

The end of July has come, along with a welcome respite from last week’s heat wave (I really should live in England. Cool and rainy year round really is my weather sweet spot). As usual, I am linking up with Leigh Kramer to share some of what I was into last month.

what-im-into

Reading

Last month, I started and loved A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan. This month, I devoured the next two books in the series: Tropic of Serpents and Voyage of the Basilisk. The Victorianesque memoir theme is a fun conceit, and Lady Trent is a delightful character. I’m pretty psyched for book 4 to release next year. I also enjoyed Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor a lot. Court intrigue is always good fun. I read Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel  in one sitting and couldn’t sleep afterward. I think reading about the beginnings of the apocalypse in Toronto was just a little too close to home for comfort.

Watching

I watched two whole movies on Netflix this month (somehow I can watch 3 40 minute episodes in a row, but a movie seems like a huge time commitment. Not sure why this is.) I deeply regret wasting the time it took to watch the Maze Runner, which was basically a 2-hour video game sequence void of any real plot or character development. However, I loved loved loved Galaxy Quest, which I had never seen before. Fact: Alan Rickman makes anything he’s a part of 10 times as awesome.

TV-wise, I’ve been working through Psych and Full House. I’ve also been watching UnREAL, although the cynicism is getting a bit much for me. I like my shows idealistic (I miss you, West Wing!)

Food

Culinarily, July is a bit of an awkward month, because it falls smack dab between my two favourite growing seasons: strawberry and peach (you should see the recipes I’ve got on the docket for next month). I did manage to make the best of it, though. These Greek salad skewers are so much fun (and surprisingly healthy). I also love love loved this one-pot orzo with tomatoes, feta, and parmesan (I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money on feta this month. No regrets). My friend Anna and I also rocked this recipe for laminated basil pasta with garlic brown butter sauce (I am trying to talk myself out of buying a pasta roller).The piece de resistance this month, though, was Aaron’s birthday cake: blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream.

Aarons cake

IRL

I’ve been loving hanging out with friends at games nights, karaoke nights, and working bees (I’m not much a construction worker, but I justify my presence on the scene by providing dessert and childcare). I’ve also been taking a stab in earnest at getting my license, which means my longsuffering husband has spent hours and hours with me in the car. Tonight, after a good hour of parking practice, he begged me to stop and go home because “I’m getting motion sickness and this is like the world’s least exciting amusement park ride.” I am getting the hang of it, though. July’s been busy for us, and August is shaping up to be busier. We’re Minnesota-bound (with a stopover in Chicago for our anniversary) for Aaron’s youngest brother’s wedding and looking forward to driving through some parts of the continent we haven’t seen before.

That’s it for me for the month. Be sure to check out Leigh’s blog for some other link-up contributions.