Tuesday, January 31, 2023

January 2023 reads

Lots of reading time this month. I probably won't finish what I'm reading now today, so no reason to delay. Here we go, January reads:

Engrossing Reads

Maame by Jessica George - I really loved this - the writing was wonderful, loved Maddie and watching her grow out of and also into herself. She was a real combo of strong and vulnerable and ugh I just loved the whole reading experience and put the book down feeling warm. ARC paperback from St Martins Press & digital ARC from Netgalley  - I read the paperback

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro - I don't even recall putting this on hold at the library, or where I heard about it? But I picked it up when I got the notice it was in and devoured it. I loved this book. It's so tender and terrible and great. OCNJ library hard cover

The Last Beekeeper by Julie Carrick Dalton - I loved this even though I not read up on it and was not expecting a whirlwind dystopian novel. Really good. I stayed up until 2 to finish this in one shot. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book comes out March 7

Weyward by Emilia Hart - Every time I'd start a section I'd say okay this is my favorite of the three, and every time I ended it I was sure of it, then started the next and the cycle began again. Hart did a good job weaving things together and making the Weyward women real and related despite the years between. Love the play of wayward Weyward. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book publishes February 2

All That is Mine I Carry With Me by William Landay - When I started this I thought I was reading a forward, so I started out disoriented. This was brilliantly pieced together. The second part was the best. I loved the writing and idea behind this. Story-wise it's more of a three for me, but the work as a whole is a 4.5-5 Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book comes out March 7

On the Savage Side by Tiffany McDaniel - I barely know how to describe this book. I didn’t want to put it down but had to. I could read the lyrical writing forever and not for another minute because of what it was describing. A searing look at being a woman in this world, and at addiction, abuse, mental illness, violence, and poverty…and cutting holes in all of those terrible things to let the light in and grasp at life in the face of a deeply disturbing present. A masterful tangled web. A harrowing, heavy, and powerful read. I hope readers who see this billed as a thriller don't expect the surface thrillers we typically get, and that people who read (versus readers) don't read this book because it's being talked about and pan it because it's too much. The world is too much, and that reflects in literature. This is serious shit. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book comes out February 14

Passed the Time Just Fine
The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey - Welp I got this from Netgalley at the end of 2020 and just fucking read it now. I don't know why I was avoiding it. It turned out to be a completely different book than the title led me to believe.  loved this band of characters. Some serious themes in this book, and I liked how they were integrated into Missy’s awakening. Thanks to Netgalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review

Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival by Velma Wallis - This reminded me so much of parables from when I was little. I loved it. Super quick read. Paperback, own

A Burning Obsession (Abby Mullen #3) by Mike Omer - I standardly like Omer novels, and though I prefer Zoe Bentley over Abby Mullen, I was happy to read the end of this trilogy especially with Zoe making a crossover. Kindle, own

Spare by Prince Harry - I am not a Royal lover (although I so enjoyed the Royal Wedding Party we had for Will & Kate's wedding, that was a fun day) but I had to read this so I asked for it for Christmas. If you are not a fast reader I cannot imagine how interminable this book would feel. I get a lot of what he's saying, and the way the tabs have gone after Meghan is awful, but Harry is not anti-monarchy and while I also get that as that's how he grew up and what he knew, I sort of don't, if we're approaching this from a societal advancement scenario. Aside from the glaring imperialist racist colonialist history they have as a family...I do not understand how they function in modern society as they are. It's quite sad to me. Hardcover, own and passed on

The Angel Maker by Alex North - High creep factor, but lessened because the parts of this story felt too disjointed even though the plan for them to come together was definitely a unique and good one. It felt fully like reading and trying to follow more than five separate stories Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review, book publishes February 28

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Harold Fry #1) by Rachel Joyce - I didn't know if I'd have the patience for this book when I started it, but by the time I finished it I felt warm inside. Looking back on it after I read the other two books, it is my least favorite of the three but still solid. OCNJ library hardcover

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy (Harold Fry #2) by Rachel Joyce - I loved this character fiercely, first in glimpses of her in the first novel then as the star of her own here, which I liked more than the original impetus novel. I'll remember her for a long time in reading-years. OCNJ library hard cover

Maureen (Harold Fry #3) by Rachel Joyce - Getting this book from Netgalley was the inspiration for me to start the series from the beginning, and out of the three books, it ranks second in my preference. A nice wrap up to the Harold Fry series. It’s always nice to read people come around to who and where they are in life and love themselves. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz -This was a wild ride, not in a great way? In an attempt to be edgy it gets weird. LOL, I'm still unsure. I'm not sure I've read anything like this before. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book publishes February 21

Hide (Detective Harriet Foster #1) by Tracy Clark - I quite liked Harriet Foster and Li and will read the next. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

Not For Me/Did Not Finish
Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica - I have a checkered past with Mary Kubica books...After four or five of her books, I'd sworn her off because I did not get the draw. I had her last book sent to me unasked for, read it and enjoyed it. This...as I stated in an IG share, the story is held together by Dollar Store brand scotch tape. We are back on a break. NFM OCNJ library hard cover

At Sea by Emma Fedor - One of the least likable characters I've read in a while coupled with a hmm, really story. Loved the cover, title, and the premise was promising but this is a hot mess. NFM Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book publishes March 7

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano - I might be an outlier here given the high ratings on Goodreads. This was very slow moving and it felt like Walter’s parts almost moved backwards. I loved Sylvie, the writing, and some of the family relation stuff but this largely did not hold my attention. NFM Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review , book publishes March 14

We're All Lying by Marie Still -  I thought Cass was ridiculous and was very WTF about how it all went down with the husband and business and it was frankly ridiculous. NFM ebook

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter - DNF OCNJ library hard cover

Kismet by Amina Akhtar - DNF, Amazon First Reads

What have you been reading?

Monday, January 30, 2023

Snippets of the weekend 1.30.2023

Workday spent with Mae and Billy while the best friend dogs were upstairs with MFD. Fresh nails (Olive Ave Pisces - dark purple - and Essie below zero). Knocked off at 4 to head to Cape May Courthouse to go to ReStore and TJMaxx on the hunt for a new side table for the shore main living room. Check, and check on two of my favorite candles that are no longer made, and check on a collapsible sled MFD purchased for...I don't know why. We are 46, do not sled, and in fact have seen no laying snow in Philadelphia this winter. We followd up with a dinner at the Lobster House. I got baked stuffed shrimp and did not like them but not because they were bad, just personal preference. Closed it out staying up late to finish a devastating book.

Since I was up late, I slept in and slid slowly into the day. I packed up some returns and dropped them at the post office, then headed up to the boardwalk to take a walk around. I saw the theater getting ready to make a comeback, which is super exciting. Those of you who grew up going to Ocean City boardwalk movie theaters on a rainy day or during a night of vacation know!
I also checked out the beach replenishment project which was at 11th from the Music Pier, then headed back home to sit out on the winter dirty porch and air out the apartment. MFD went back to Philly to work, and I made slaw for carnitas tacos - pulled the meat off the bone for those as well. I read throughout the day, puttered around, took a long walk with the best friend dogs, and sacked out on the couch at night.
Sunday we had a little lie in and MFD decided he wanted to go home to watch the Eagles game on a whim so we got our shit packed up and cleaned up, took a walk, and headed home. I started laundry and dropped him off at my brother's for the game while I ran errands through the first half - returned a bunch of shit and picked some random needs up. I watched the end of the game outside there and we came home and watched a bunch of Yellowstone episodes. 

As you know, I don't fuck with sports much period, particularly the NFL, but I do love many of the Eagles players, everything about Jalen Hurts including his game day outfits, the story of Jordan Mailata, Nick Sirianni's F bombs, both Kelce brothers and their podcast snippets (not a full podcast listener), how much Philly people love being from Philly and how hard they go for their teams, when players on said teams truly understand what the city and its fans are about, and the humming energy and shared excitement when one of our teams is on a championship run. And of course also football food so looking forward to Frank & Amanda's Super Bowl party already. 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Friday files 1.27.2023

Sometimes I arrive at Friday and have no idea what happened throughout the week overall. Like today.

Monday was National Handwriting Day. I burned through all of my shore candles. Lots of beach trash pickup. Wind and rain made for a miserable Wednesday. I had a persistent sore throat out of nowhere. I read a lot of books. I've been existing on the turkey veggie rice soup I made Sunday, buffeted with a pork roll egg and cheese a la MFD. I've read a lot. I don't think I've left the house since Monday aside from going for walks and that's evident when I look at photos from the week.

Have you tried Tabitha Brown's popcorn from Target? I like the sweet and salty. I cannot locate the garlic parmesan anywhere and I desperately want to. It doesn't ship. The dill pickle doesn't have enough flavor for me. The vegan jalapeno hummus is excellent!

I'm poised for February but surprised at how full my calendar is when that is usually not the case in the history of Februarys. 

Another week passes without the bathroom posts I've been meaning to do for months.

This week the Union League of Philadelphia hosted Ron DeSantis who has supports the state banning AP African American studies curriculum. Local Philly folks, please call on all of your elected representatives to decline to attend events hosted at the Union League and any organizations you are a part of to find another location for events. If you need help on what to say or who to contact, let me know!

Speaking of DeSantis and his fans...you shouldn't be proud of being "anti-woke" without knowing where the term came from. Of course, many people do know where the term came from and are proudly anti-woke. If you don't know, in an unsurprising turn of events, what anti-woke means is anti-Black. Check out how woke went from black to bad

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, which coincides with the date the Nazi death camp  Auschwitz was liberated. Just 78 years ago today, which is not that long in the grand scheme of things. Certainly not long enough for anti-Semitism to be on the rise globally in the way that it is. Fascism rising the world over and it is fucking infuriating and discouraging. When people are trying to stop children from learning history and what discrimination is, that is all a part of the rise of fascism. 

I more than earned my pay this week, putting in some hours at night due to a deadline, and I am really ready to get my plan-less weekend started. I hope yours is super!

Monday, January 23, 2023

snippets of the weekend 1.23.2023

Work work, finish shore contracts for the summer, pay bills, pack pack, wait for 95 traffic to subside, and head to the shore at 7 to unpack and laze around. I slept 10 hours on Friday night and it was glorious. Saturday we did a beach walk and the sky and water were so interesting I could have stayed there all day but the wind was inhospitable and we had things to do.

We had lunch at The Grilled Cheese & Crab Cake Co. in Somers Point (I got the pork belly with muenster), hit up Big Wally's furniture, then spent 1.5 excruciating hours in Egg Harbor Twp. getting the flooring quote right in person for the first floor in the main house because five days of back and forth on the phone did not work. Off-season shore chores! I dropped MFD off and went to the grocery store. Back at home I read, then we watched the Eagles and I made wings in my new (as of December) air fryer - it's 8 qt and lavender, can you die. It's Crux, 8 qt, and $59 at Best Buy. It replaced my shore Cosori that was my original air fryer and died on Thanksgiving Eve.
Sunday I took the best friend dogs on an hour beach walk and we checked out the coastal replenishment At-At in action, found some sea glass, and enjoyed being outside despite the gray. I showered, then went back and purchased the furniture we decided on and did a Target pickup order. 

I contacted a returning renter who wanted to come back in September. We weren't planning on renting in September, but costs for floor replacement are higher than anticipated so now we are. It's good to have options. 

We hung out upstairs while I made turkey veggie rice soup from the Thanksgiving turkey carcass that was in the freezer. We watched Emily the Criminal. I started and stopped two books and finally started a third I think I'll stick with. We caught up a bit on Yellowstone and were in bed by 11.

Happy Lunar New Year despite yet another devastating mass shooting clouding the celebrations. Between that and the non-50th anniversary of Roe yesterday, it was a good weekend to largely be off the internet. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

11 Reasons Why Weekly Meal Prep Is Beneficial

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Weekly meal prep is a great way to ensure that you have healthy and delicious meals ready to go throughout the week. There are many benefits to this practice, including saving time, reducing food waste, and making it easier to stick to a healthy diet. 

Here are 11 reasons why weekly meal prep is beneficial:

  1. Saves time: Preparing a week's worth of meals in one day can save you a significant amount of time throughout the week. Instead of spending time every day cooking and cleaning up, you can simply reheat your pre-made meals and enjoy them.

  2. Reduces food waste: When you plan out your meals for the week, you can make sure that you use all of the ingredients you buy. This reduces the amount of food waste you produce and saves you money. If you know how to make flatbread pizza then it’s easy to use the left-overs as toppings.

  3. Helps you stick to a healthy diet: When you have healthy meals already prepared, it's much easier to make good food choices. This can help you maintain a healthy diet and reach your fitness goals.

  4. Increases variety in your diet: Meal prepping allows you to make a variety of meals, which can help prevent boredom and make it easier to get all of the nutrients you need.

  5. Reduces stress: When you have meals prepared in advance, you don't have to worry about what to make for dinner or whether you have the ingredients on hand. This can reduce stress and make mealtime more enjoyable.

  6. Helps you stay on budget: Meal prepping allows you to plan out your meals and buy ingredients in bulk, which can save you money.

  7. Increases energy: Eating a healthy diet that is rich in nutrient-dense foods can help increase energy levels, making it easier to tackle the day ahead.

  8. Improves digestion: Eating regular meals that are high in fiber and nutrient-dense can help improve digestion and keep you regular.

  9. Enhances the immune system: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-dense foods can help boost the immune system and reduce the risk of illness.

  10. Increases focus and productivity: Eating a healthy diet can help improve focus and productivity, making it easier to accomplish tasks throughout the day.

  11. Helping out: Having meals prepped and ready to go can also make it easy to take a meal to someone in need, such as a new parent, a sick friend, or a family member who could use a helping hand. This can be a great way to show you care and offer your support in a practical way.

In A Nutshell

Overall, weekly meal prep is a great way to ensure that you have healthy, delicious meals ready to go throughout the week. It can save you time, reduce food waste, and help you stick to a healthy diet. With the benefits of meal prepping, it's worth the effort of taking some time to plan and prepare your meals in advance. Not only will it save you time, but it will also help you stay on track with your dietary goals, and make you feel more energized and productive.

This post was written with Life According to Steph readers in mind
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