Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Look it up

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time studying and doing research in the library. A lot of time fucking off there too. But I loved looking things up for projects, etc. Now I do that on Google, of course, like you. What I look up ranges so widely, and google search histories on phone and computer always make me laugh. I don't know why. Some of mine from this past week:

Five gallon water dispenser - our big water cooler shit the bed at the shore and we're not replacing with one that needs to be plugged in. Decided on this one and my Dad sent a coupon for BBB 

Best places to travel this winter - I'm getting the itch, but am not ready to leave leave the area at this time. Check out this guide to the best all-inclusive resorts for families in Puerto Rico - I've only been there once, in a girls' trip long ago in our late 20s that involved endless cocktails, near drowning, Billy Jo-El, and risking life and limb to save a bucket of beers being swept out in a vicious tide...I think a return trip would be quite a lot calmer and I'd also do more island seeing. We are also probably not great candidates for all-inclusive any more since MFD doesn't drink and I barely do, plus I am always itching to try local restaurants not eat all food in one place. Still nice to look on a windy late October day. 

Can dogs eat bell peppers? Yes...they can. And mine do, with gusto

Peel and stick wallpaper for bathroom - your woman is back plotting DIY schemes at the shore

Eleanor Roosevelt - Had to get a picture of her in my mind during Friendsgiving

Caribbean Joe Beach Chair - Dad & Carol have these. MFD and I are in the market for higher beach chairs as age progresses LOL. Possibly not that high though, so I will probably go to a local store on the island for like a mid-height chair

Soup for one - It's me for the next few days, and I'm in the mood for some soup but not vats of it. I obviously know how to halve or quarter a recipe but I will usually search to see what pops up. I rarely know what I want to eat anymore and search will help with that. I might do a mushroom barley soup. 

OCNJ handyman - Continuing the quest to find someone who will show up to give me a quote, actually provide the quote, and then actually commit to doing the work for some small jobs around the house that are out of our purview 

occipital tumor - what is a post like this without an according to Web MD, I'm dying entry? I'm not, of course

Paulina Porizkova Settlement - I follow her on IG and love her. She's wonderful on aging and it's nice to see a supermodel challenge notions of aging and attractiveness as it relates to women. I've been following her since her dickhole Cars man husband cut her out of his will completely a month before he died. I'm glad she got what she deserves

Black-owned spice companies - Carol cleaned out my spices for me at the shore and in Philly and I'm in the process of replacing some, not all, because there were a lot I was not using. I have a few at the shore from Chef Curl Ardee and am expanding more, trying some Kara Felicia this time. The rest will round out from Penzey's or the supermarket because I'm not bougie in all spice ways

Ted Lasso crew - that was an image search but since we're talking about it, I still have not watched season two. I'm going to hold out until the time change so I have something feel good to look forward to. 

when was smoking outlawed on airplanes - it started being banned in 1988 on flights less than two hours and was fully banned by the federal govt in 2000. Crazy, right?

unsplash - if you often need graphics for free, there are some good stock shots on here 

Red's Jersey Mex - a takeout menu for a local Mexican place we hadn't gotten from before - it was excellent and we will be back

What's in your recent search? 

Monday, October 25, 2021

TWTW - the return of Friendsgiving

Friday I stayed up until 1 am Thursday night to finish a book because I thought Friday would be much easier than it was workwise but woof. I finally got up around 1 and picked up library holds and CBD for Gus. After work I took the best friend dogs down to the beach, ordered Randazzo's, cleaned up a bit upstairs, and painted my nails. I was exhausted and in bed by 9:45 when Evan and Jenny arrived. 

Saturday Up by 6:30, showered and to two stores soon after, and I met MFD on the beach for Beach Sweeps Fall Cleanup, which he took over this year. I headed back to the house and made a zillion meatballs, then he did some sausage and I got sauce going. 
We did Friendsgiving at the shore this year and Italian instead of turkey, and I so appreciate everyone making their way down here for the day or weekend. We spent about nine hours together eating and laughing and talking about stupid shit. We don't see each other as often as we used to but I always have a great time when we do. I've known Kim since I was little because she lived on the street behind me, was in elementary school with Jimmy, met MFD in junior high and the rest of them sophomore year of high school, incorporated partners over the years who fit too, and we've been flowing through life together since. You cannot replace friends like these. There are not many people I will stay up until 2 in the morning with or for either - these people are about it. I really missed both Girls weekend with my junior high and high school girls and the Sannelli summer party and Friendsgiving with this crew in the 2020 Covid hellscape - as adults to get everyone together is extra special. Having a professional photographer in your crew to do a group shot is also extra special. Evan Leslie Images if you are in need of product/web/corporate/infant/ indoor or outdoor portrait photography - he's doing some rebranding and getting his studio finished up if anyone is looking for holiday portraits or hated your kid's school photo! 
Sunday Gus's 5:30 am whining was extra extremely unwelcome since we literally just walked the dogs and dropped into bed at 1:45. I was doing coffee by 8 and running to the store for tomatoes for bacon breakfast muffins. Chris and Diana came over by 9:30 and soccer was afoot on the telly. Evan and Jenny left after the first game, and the four of us hung out doing fuck all until about 2:30, then Chris took us out to dinner at The Anchorage in Somers Point. We came back and finished out the Eagles game and watched Saturday's SNL. They left close to 9, we walked the dogs and fell out soon after. 

I am tired tired tired today, but had a lovely weekend and hope you did as well. I am also mostly off work and taking care of some shit I hate doing like mailing packages. 

Happy last week of October. Where the fuck did this year go?

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Thursday Thoughts - there goes the loudest woman this town has ever seen, she had a marvelous time ruinin' everything

1. 'Tis the season for seaglass on almost all walks - these are Wednesday lunch, Monday after work, and Sunday night finds. And me with my trusty shell bag wrapped around me like the dork I am. No regrets.

2. I know people wear navy and black together, but I am not those people, and I am horrified when I am out and look down and see that I am. 
3. After work I took the best friend dogs to Corson's Inlet to meet MFD. It was a warm, quiet night with beautiful sunset color but I will always wish for some clouds during sunrise or sunset to provide interest. My favorite parts are the way the water can look and the way the rising or setting sun hits off the clouds so cloudless scenes feel like a quiet goodbye. Anyway people were riding their horses down there and the best friends are very very afraid of horses. LOL

4. We went down to see the full Hunter's Moon last night as well. It's been a super flat ocean this week.

5. Basically trying to walk as much as possible and spend time outside as much as possible both at lunch and after work. And sleeping in in the mornings. Hydrating. Taking my vitamins. This is my fourth day out of four blogging this week which hasn't happened since I don't know when. And let the record reflect that I have made dinner Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. Last night was just some fridge clearing pork roll, egg, and cheese in a bowl, but still.

6. I'm about 200 pages into this monster. It's 576 pages, and at about 100 pages a day it will still take me at least five days. I am a person who likes to get through a book in two to three days. Pre-Corona I would have said 0-2 but we all know how the brain has changed over the past 19 months. Jana and I also picked SUYB prize winners which you can see on the widget.

7. Buying this week (amazon links are affiliate): Stash Super Mint Tea that I will mix with regular peppermint tea, cheapo $10 sunglasses to replace the same pair I  lost, under sink organizers - this, this, this, three Christmas gifts, Liquid Death sparkling water. Also replaced my NYX micellar water I use at night in lieu of face wash because I am usually lazy. It's a makeup remover but I don't wear face makeup so I can't vouch for that. I might wear mascara once or twice a week which it is good at removing. 

8. I can barely bring myself to speak of the rape on a SEPTA El train in Philadelphia that people watched and filmed for eight fucking minutes instead of intervening in or the brutal violence at my alma mater of a guy beating his ex girlfriend over a long period. Men need to work hard to end the violence and rape culture they have created in this world. Yes, I said men need to do that. We are no longer saying rape and violence against women because there is no men in that sentence and they are the main perpetrators. Men rape and commit violence against women and it is their responsibility to address that with each other. I would of course help any woman at any time but am not an expert and they are out there ready to mobilize and help people. RAINN is the national free confidential sexual assault hotline open 24/7 via chat or phone and you can visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline site that has directions on how to browse and clear your internet history as well as options to call, chat, and text. It's also 24/7 and confidential. 

9. Reminder via artist Kerry Khan - I think this is a hard thing for many of us to accept...that even good things come to an end. Nothing lasts forever. 

10. Ecards
It's another gorgeous day in my parts - hope it is in yours too!

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is The Last Great American Dynasty by Taylor Swift 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Normalize these things


Not explaining yourself to other people

Not finishing books you don't feel like finishing for any reason - at any point...three pages in, 100 pages in, 25 pages from the end

Reading for pleasure, not to learn or improve

Expressing joy even when the world is not a joyful place

Aging in a manner that does not try to re-capture the appearance of youth

Lower income people who get any type of government assistance having things and doing things because everyone deserves to live in some way that is not necessary and you don't get to judge them for it like a sanctimonious asshole

Wearing and re-wearing clothes you’ve had for years 

Relationships and friendships running their course or changing - not everything lasts forever, and not everyone is meant to be on your journey with you forever, and that is okay - there shouldn't be bad feelings about that

The importance of platonic love, investing in it, and telling your friends you love them. There are forever people too. Know who they are and treat them as such.


Actual work/life balance in action

Kids not being good at every subject in school

Kids not liking sports

Saying no when you don't want to do something even if you feel pressure to say yes

Changing your opinion when you receive new information

People not drinking alcohol without you knowing why

Living outside of social media and not explaining where you’ve been if you’ve been off of it 

People not getting married or having children

All body types being the body types for whatever those people want to wear

Not touching and not making kids hug and kiss people unless they want to. Not everyone wants a hug or a handshake in the times of Corona or in like, regular every day times

Contacting elected officials to give them your opinion on anything, especially what their votes should be on big bills

Reusing and repurposing whatever we can 

People loving who they love and being attracted who they are attracted to and hetero not being the only sexuality out there

People prioritizing mental health over everything, including and especially their jobs, even if they are athletes or celebrities, jobs you in your non-doctor opinion think they should be fine doing regardless of health issues

Full sex education in schools

Going to the library - they are great resources for free community events plus all the books are freeeee! And you can get them digitally if that's your bag. If you don’t have a card, sign up for one at your local branch

Treating people and families dealing with addiction with compassion instead of derision because if it is ever your family, you will need that compassion

Wearing what you are comfortable in and not downplaying your appearance to others like you're some sort of slob because you are comfortable

Making all possible accommodations for disabled people and people with limited mobility 

Body hair on women

Valuing everything in women over them being nice and quiet

Having a packed bag in your car with a bottle of water, first aid kit, blanket, power bar, flashlight - bags and flashlights like some of these on EcoGearFX

People using pronouns they prefer without commentary from you

Talking freely about periods, post partum depression, menopause 

Men being emotional people

Talking about race and confronting white supremacy in ourselves and each other

Talking about important shit offline

Not accepting and summarily dismissing harmful shit as a "difference of opinion" you can co-exist around. Co-existing with other people's racism, misogyny, classism, and hypocritical ignorance and refusing to address those things in ourselves when they surface is one of the ways we've gotten to this period in time in this country

Happy happy birthday to Lori, one of my Life Journey People. Related by blood but also a soul connection. We are here together on purpose. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Free time focus

Hello and happy Tuesday, mon frers. I have never been into - and am especially not into now in an exhausting global pandemic - hustle culture. We are not here on this earth to hustle despite what capitalism would like us to believe. Hustle to me means carve out 15 minutes of relaxation in a 24 hour period and act like you barely earned it while spending the rest of the time improving your status. I'm not here for that. I've worked hard for the past few years to rest and relax even if there are still things on my To Do list - because when are there not things on that list? 

When I find myself with free time now, there are some things I'm focusing on to ensure I don't become a pod person always staring at a phone or computer like...

Reducing Stress
Stress can be a killer. It contributes to feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and unable to control your thoughts and emotions. It is safe to make a blanket statement for all people: reducing stress improves your life. 

Stress impacts on the way we think, function, and respond to others. We learn new coping skills by trying out different ways of handling stress. Managing stress better allows us to use our energy in ways that are beneficial and help us be fulfilled in personal and work lives instead of getting overwhelmed or stuck in negative thought patterns.

As stated above this has historically been an internal war in my mind - it's not finding the time to relax so much as it is in thinking it is the time to relax. 

We all have a lot going on. I'm sure most of us could be doing something constructive or productive every waking minute and never feel done. But that sure is a way to feel worn the hell out. Taking the time to relax helps improve your relationship with yourself,  contributes to proper stress management, sets us up for better sleep, gives us more energy, and actually contributes to better productivity and quality of production in "on" times. 

In many ways, relaxation is the opposite of overworking yourself, which can lead to burnout or exhaustion. However, for this concept to be effective, it must be done consistently and not just sporadically.

Considering opportunities to learn new skills
Improving skills and continuing to learn throughout life is a great way to ensure you don't remain stagnant. It's never too late to investigate a new interest.

There are so many opportunities to do this - have you ever looked to see what's out there for free at your local library? Mine has a knitting circle that welcomes beginners and some seminars for would-be investors. I'm considering re-activating my spanish speaking skills through a free virtual class at my library.

There are tons of paid opportunities too like online sports nutrition courses or cooking classes at places like Williams Sonoma. There are still a lot of virtual learning options out there too. Expanding horizons usually means higher happiness levels. 

Sometimes it is easy to forget the importance of exercise, especially when you are not an I Love Exercise person and sit on your ass a lot. Hello, it's me.

Exercising is well more than weight loss or looking good, and unfortunately the world focuses on those two things instead of the fact that exercise can help you to increase confidence, relieve stress, boost your mood, reduce anxiety levels, improve memory, increase stamina, and develop stronger bones so you can lift yourself off the toilet at 75 which should be a shared goal of all of us and why I have re-started for the zillionth time in this life pushups and light arm weights. 

The thing that always tickles me about exercise is even if you do absolutely nothing right now, you could literally be doing some type of exercise in the next 1 minute without spending a dime or having any equipment. The human body continues to amaze.

Did you think I would not  work reading into this list? Reading makes all of my things I do in my spare time lists. I read daily and always have, even logging reading time most days in 2020 when it was not super pleasurable and I lacked focus. If you got thrown off your reading groove during 2020 or at any other time, like exercise you can literally start back on it this moment and it is absolutely possible to do that for $0.

Reading can improve your memory, help you learn new things, lower your stress levels, increase your IQ, on and on and on. But - Jana said something like this on twitter the other day and I've been thinking of it since - you can read just for pure enjoyment and fun. Reading is an escape, a joy, an exercise in relaxation. You don't have to learn a damn thing from the books you read. You can read the crappiest drivel out there according to critics and it's great because you like it and that's all that matters. 

If you find yourself with extra free time, what do you do with it?

Monday, October 18, 2021

TWTW - sunny days

Friday Flex time for the win, the afternoon was beautiful and warm on the beach and ordered 16th Street Seafood. 

Saturday Was gorgeous but windy, definitely not a beach sitting day. MFD is the self proclaimed heel care king so he gave me a driveway pedicure only he does not do cuticles, polish, or any sort of nail maintenance so a heelicure? Painted my toes Essie like a charm and nails Essie payback's a witch/OPI This Shade is Ornamental! My dad made breakfast and then I lolled around reading for a few hours before taking Ben on a walk. Carol had gone through my mugs so we took them to the thrift store and donated them and picked up a few new glasses there. We also did a quick run through Stainton's before coming back for dinner. Carol made pizza American style which I haven't had in forever and I love. I was laying down early. Approaching the time change kills me. 

Sunday I was up by 7 telling scary stories to the animal crew. Carol and I were on the road by 10:15 for Dana's shower at the Mainland in Manahawkin, which was a gorgeous setup. It was a nice day with family I have not seen in person since before the pandemic to sit around surrounded by beauty eating good food and celebrating a happy occasion. Lola got to help with the gifts and she was very pleased. Carol, Aubrey, Lola and I hit HomeGoods on the way out because you always go to a foreign HomeGoods if you can and that one was a good one. I ate a sandwich for dinner and took the best friend dogs on a sunset walk that ended up being good for sea glass. I was done by the time I got home, I am out of practice being in the company of more than a few other people at once and it's great but I'm always very tired after. I blobbed myself on the couch watching the actual Blob movie MFD put on and promptly fell asleep to. It is terrible. 

Monday! Have a good one.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Thursday Thoughts - The ground beneath my feet is open wide

1. Things I do not miss about the train: carrying shit, people's asses in my face because they have to be the first one off the train so they will stand at the door. I'm happy one of my two chosen exits from Suburban Station has reopened. I feel like they'll reopen the other one never so this will do. My entry to exit has always been open. And if you don't take trains you don't understand any of this, nor do you care. There are many entries/exits to my train station in Center City and the majority have been closed since the pandemic began.

2. I took in new to me public art yesterday, part of the Monumental Tour by Kindred Arts. I'll check out the other three pieces before they're gone in January 2022. This is Kalief Browder: The Box by Coby Kennedy. This piece replicates the solitary confinement cell 17 year old Kalief Browder spent most of his three years of incarceration on Rikers Island in with neither trial nor proof of guilt. The United Nations has stated that placements in solitary for longer than 15 days constitutes cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment and that lengthy stays in isolation can constitute torture. Kalief Browder's first extended stay in solitary confinement was over 300 days as a 17 year old child. The charges against him were dropped but the confinement stayed with him and he took his own life two years after his release, although clearly the system took it from him at 16. And no, law and order fucking yahoos, solitary confinement is not appropriate punishment for robbery even if someone is guilty. If you are not questioning what the fuck we are doing in our systems in this country, why not?

3. They were installing Day of the Dead art in LOVE Park Wednesday too, I always love seeing that. And this beauty shot of City Hall.

4. I freaking missed my dear Melissa's birthday by a day last week. Her and John's hard for me to keep track of days. Happy Happy Meliss. Love you!

5. This is true, and Thursday is always the latter for me. I need to be jamming on it because I have to be out on a site this afternoon.

6. For the ladies who pooh pooh feminism

7. My I don't need it but it belongs with me find from HomeGoods this week: this is now in the middle of my dining room table in Philly and I love it. It goes perfectly. Incidentally I also found what I did need which are the storage boxes. 

8. Thanks to everyone who joined us or read through the 7th Anniversary Show Us Your Books on Tuesday! If you haven't, enter to win our  giveaways: one of two $25 gift cards to, up to $25 of merch or books from Harriett's Bookshop, badass reader socks bought at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT, and some books that were pre-ordered via Harriett's: Consumed: On Colonialism, Climate Change, Consumerism, and the Need for Collective Change by Aja Barber and All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris (comes out 11/2 so will ship to you from us around then), and either a book or merch from Harriett’s (limit $25). Click here

9. Reminder - it's true, you do. Check out my boosting happiness in seven ways post from yesterday too if you need to. Also follow atist Tusks & Peonies.

10. Ecards

Keep a good thought for Mae, she's in for a dental today.

Have a good one!

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is Story of My Life by One Direction

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Boosting happiness in seven ways

The global pandemic related struggles of the past two years as well as the racial, social, economic, and political clashes of America that have been brewing since our inception coming to a head in that same time period have made it harder for many people to maintain a baseline happy life. If you’ve found that your natural happiness has taken a hit, you are surely not alone.

We can all do our part to contribute to public health as well as fighting for racial, social, and economic justice, but we do not control any outcomes there that extend beyond ourselves and whatever power and privilege we can lean on to make change happen. 

To get a happiness boost, there are some things we can control though:

Remove financial stress to the best of your ability
It’s very difficult to focus on the positives when the weight of financial problems is on your shoulders, so you can do some winter work inside on seeing if you can do anything different financially. Financial management apps that track your income and spending are helpful in this process. 

Most of us living above the poverty line have some financial waste in our lives. Some things are so easy to trim. Starting with home entertainment packages - what streaming subscriptions do you have versus what you actually use? MFD is constantly subscribing to shit we don't need and I am always unsubscribing. $5 here and there can add up.

Invest in your wellness
Go for a walk, talk about your feelings with someone you can be totally honest with, find a therapist, join a club, read a book, sing loudly and activate your vagus nerve, ground your bare feet to the earth, get fresh air, wear comfortable shoes, stretch, eat good food, sleep, rest, hydrate, say no to things you don't want to do or don't have the bandwidth for without explaining yourself. Adding good habits is an amazing happiness booster. 

Removing the negatives is equally as important when thinking about your happiness. The fallout of persistent bad habits will continue to stand in the way of true happiness. Quitting cigarettes is a popular choice. When that finally stuck for me it was from reading a freaking book our friend Lyndsey mentioned as being the way she quit - if I had known it was that easy I would have done it in the late 90s.

Be with the right people
Human interactions hold the key to our happiness. Giving the most toxic interactions the most time and energy leads to toxicity internally and life is too short for that. Unfollow, let the interactions drift, make a clean cut, whatever works. 

I don't care who they are to you or how long you've known them - toxic friendships and relationships in general do not serve you. Remove these people from your circle and you'll have more room for people who fill you up. 

Likewise, we are not contorting to fit other people. It is not our job or be likeable or palatable to people. It is our job to be ourselves. Your people will love you for you. Anyone who doesn’t is not your people. It is so freeing to be fully yourself. Try it if you are not quite there. 

Do something bigger than you
Volunteer. Donate money. Advocate for equality. Work to abolish oppressive systems. Clean up the park on the corner. We are hyper focused on ourselves, which is good until it isn't. Step away from yourself to gain perspective. 

Paint your nails
Or whatever your nails are in your life.  I am not well with chipped nails. Painting them makes me feel immediately more put together. Changing your look is superficial but packs an immediate flush of happy for most of us. New hairstyle, fresh nails, a little bit of lipstick or mascara, wearing a favorite outfit you love. Simple, easy mood boosters. You can of course go further. MFD got his million dollar teeth as we call them years ago. Many of my adult friends have gotten braces. The average braces cost will give you another reason to smile for years to come.

Social media is not your life, your life is what happens outside of it
Don't let the social media lead to an inferiority complex. You're not perfect, nor is your life, and no one else's is either. Worry about what you're doing. Make sure you're living your life outside of facebook, instagram, twitter, tiktok, etc. How much time are you spending on them? Use them as intended, not as your main life. 

Realize constant happiness is not going to happen
The cult of positivity might have you thinking you should be happy all the time but not only is it not probable, it's not possible. We're human. We have a range of emotions. Your life doesn't suck if you aren't always showing a happy face. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

How to get the most out of a short stop-over

When traveling for business or pleasure sometimes the schedule only allows you a small pocket of time in any one place and while you are grateful you get to visit that place at all sometimes a short layover simply isn’t enough to time do that place justice. So if you find yourself in the position to be able to carve out a 24-hour flying visit in one location here is a guide for how to make the most of that short space of time.

Photo Credit; Vinta Supply Co From Pexels

Do your research on the place you are visiting and note down any points of interest. Chances are your destination will have famous landmarks or well-known tourist hot spots you don’t want to miss out on so make a priority list of must-see locations. It could be climbing the Eiffel Tower in Paris and a trip to the Lourve, followed by a stroll along the Seine. Select a few non-negotiable points of interest and list them in order of priority. Once you have your non-negotiables add a few extra ‘in case we have time options’ that you might be able to fit in if things go your way. While you may not need to research your must-see attractions or locations carrying out a bit of due diligence is always a good idea. It may be that a particular monument is closed or the opening times don’t fit your schedule. Turning up to Buckingham palace only to realize you cannot enter may result in wasting precious time. Your research may also reveal attractions you didn’t know were available or temporary events such as one of Quebec’s infamous street festivals or the Kardashian closet, Las Vegas’s most recent pop-up shop whereby you can buy clothes from the Kardashian’s actual closet. Whatever piques your interest if you do a little research on the town you are visiting beforehand you may be surprised at what might be available to do and see that day. 

Another key component you want to spend a little time researching is the transportation and the location of the different activities you want to squeeze in. It may be you are visiting a bustling town with a great infrastructure network and getting from one attraction to another is as simple as hopping on and off a local bus. Other destinations, however, may pose more of a logistical problem, attractions could be separated by a river, or be opposite the ends of town. If you are sure on the list of things you want to do then you have to plan how you are going to get to them in advance. Spending time figuring it out on the day will eat into the leisure time you have. You also want to be sure you have the time for all of the attractions on your list and that by traveling across town you are really getting the most out of your visit and not wasting what little time you have that could be better spent elsewhere, for example, New York’s Central Park is one end of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty is quite the other. While both are doable in a day getting from one side of the city to another at the wrong time could be quite time-consuming and may result in you missing out on some of New York’s many other world-renowned attractions. 

This post was written with the Life According to Steph audience in mind

Show Us Your Books: October 2021

Seven years of this linkup, friends! Thanks for reading books, sharing what you're reading in comments here or on some other form of media, sharing Show Us Your Books posts with your friends, linking up your posts, and interacting with Show Us Your Books in any way. Jana and I appreciate our reading community so much. The linkup is at the bottom as usual, and we hope you read through each other's posts and be in true book people community together. 

There's also a giveaway to enter at the bottom. The two bigger prizes are a $25 gift card to so you can grab a book or two while supporting a small, local bookstore. Smaller prizes include book socks bought at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT, and some books that were pre-ordered via Harriett's Book Shop (did you know she has a sister shop, Ida's now?) to support Black women authors like Consumed: On Colonialism, Climate Change, Consumerism, and the Need for Collective Change by Aja Barber and All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris (comes out 11/2 so will ship to you from us around then), and either a book or merch from Harriett’s (limit $25). Enter to win at the bottom of the post. 

One more ask - please read my friend Shelby Cohen's short story The Lady of Rever (through that link it's free) and passing it along, and please consider pre-ordering Breonna Brownlee's (bloggers, you probably know her from Bre Writes) book Two Too Many coming out in December. It's $5 on kindle, and the great majority of us can spare a fiver to support a debut author. Debut authors and up and coming authors need those pre-orders when we can afford to do them, especially Black authors who do not get the same play from publishers. 

Here's what I've been reading since the last linkup. 

Engrossing Reads

The Unseen World by Liz Moore - I adored Long Bright River for its truthful and sensitive grapple with addiction and mental illness and its Philadelphia setting, so I was happy to find this one in Liz Moore's back catalog to be quite good as well. TW for alzheimer's, this was so interesting to me on so many levels. I flew through it. OCNJ library
My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson - I’m not typically a short story reader. I'm glad I put that down to read this. The writing was tremendous here. I  devoured all of them quickly. Virginia left me breathless.

Did I Say You Could Go by Melanie Gideon - Here is an example of a book I did not love but sits in this category because it was compulsively readable and hard to put down despite the unloveable characters and holes. These people are fucked up! 

Buses are a Comin': Memoir of a Freedom Rider by Charles Person- Jana texted me about this when she read it a while back and I got my hands on it and she was right, I loved the way that you can love a book about this subject matter. An important read, and one that really brings out all the emotions. I am so proud that humans like Charles Person and other Freedom Riders exist. Angry, frustrated, ashamed, and horrified at why we have come to know them and the fact that things are still not different enough in this country, that we still have not fully reconciled our past here, which is why the present is not great either. 

The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman - Alice did herself dirty with the Owens family saga - the books were written in one order and chronologically flow in another, hugging Practical Magic on both sides which by all accounts is the least favorite of most people. If you read Practical Magic and didn't like it, please try the two books that were written after it that actually precede it (Magic Lessons then The Rules of Magic), then just think Practical Magic movie thoughts in your head because that is one of two instances where I prefer the movie over the book, then come back in and try this one, which is not as good as Lessons and Rules but still worth it. I love the Owens family minus Sally. This is in the engrossing column because I wanted to know the book end of the Owens family, otherwise it would be pass the time just fine. Pre-ordered, own, book publishes 10/12, also received a free copy from Netgalley 

I Know You by Claire McGowan - I had to stay up to finish this one. A quick read and mystery within a mystery which is not always something I love. This was done well. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book publishes 10/19/21

Passed the Time Just Fine

Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas - Very readable, although a little jumbled. I flew through it. OCNJ library

The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski - I couldn't figure out what was what through a lot of this, which is of course the point. Some things fell flat but it was a good heading toward Halloween read. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book publishes 10/12

Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena - Lapena is standardly beloved, and I read her books, but typically feel take it or leave it about them at the end. This one was no different. OCNJ library

Brat: An '80s Story by Andrew McCarthy - Possibly my favorite Brat Packer aside from Rob Lowe, I had to read this. No gossip, just low key 80s focused stuff. I would have liked to hear more stories involving others that weren't gossipy even but it passed the time just fine. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The World Played Chess by Robert Dugoni - A quick read and quite different than the other Robert Dugoni books I’ve read. I liked William’s parts the best. I wish the third POV was the son, but a good read all around aside from some parts that felt self indulgent on the part of the author. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Friends Like These by Kimberly McCreight - Loved Reconstructing Amelia, Where They Found her and A Good Marriage were also good. This one was rough. Readable, but rough. OCNJ library

Not Worth It

Did Not Finish

The Power Couple by Alex Berenson - Stuck in the mud on this one because I just didn't feel like it. Normalize not finishing books because you don't feel like it. It took me a long time to get there but I'm there and it is like book utopia all the time. Kidnapping stories are not my favorite. 

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