Wednesday, August 31, 2022

August 2022 reads

Another month gone. They fly.

Here's what I read in August:

Engrossing Reads
Stay Awake by Megan Goldin - This kept me up at night, in a good way! I devoured this. Good story and pacing Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

Local Girl Missing (Josie Quinn #15) by Lisa Regan - Continual series excellence, I devoured this in a few hours. Pre-ordered kindle copy, own

The Last Housewife by Ashley Winstead - This is very heavy and psychologically dark. There is a trigger warning that precedes it for a lot of shit and if any of it applies to you, you should heed and not read. I could not put it down. OCNJ hard cover

All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers - When I turned this back in at the library, I said to the librarian, "people are going to be big mad about the ending," and she replied, "no spoilers." What do you think, I'm new? My statement stands. I liked the book though. People are going hard for it in reviews, and I think that's because it was written by what I understand is a fairly well known podcaster? I didn't know anything about her or the podcast when I got it, people on Instagram shared that with me. I saw it in an article back in April and put a hold on it. If this was a standard debut by an unknown author, they would not nearly be as critical or cutting, nor would they be donning their Literary Prof hats for a mystery/thriller. Just a small reminder that books can be what they are which is standardly not Pulitzer-worthy and you can enjoy them in their imperfect state and make no excuses or justifications for the books you enjoy. Ciao. OCNJ hard cover

Every Last Secret by A.R. Torre - It appears I've  had this on my Kindle for a few years and I wonder if it was an Amazon First Reads book? I have no idea. This caused me to raise my eyebrows a lot but it was a quick read that kept my attention quite nicely. Kindle e-book, own

Passed the Time Just Fine
The Family Remains (The Family Upstairs #2) by Lisa Jewell - Maybe I should have re-read The Family Upstairs before reading this, because this was a mess for me to wade through without good recall of that book. So if you do not have good recall of The Family Upstairs, maybe re-read that. If you have not read that, good to read them in quick succession. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

The Last Karankawas by Kimberly Garza - I requested this based on the title alone. For some reason it made me think of people at summer camp and this was absolutely, positively not that and about 508 pounds heavier in spirit. I loved the writing. The book felt a little stilted, and so I put it down. Then I picked it back up and started reading it almost like short stories which I had seen someone on IG say they did (was it you? let me know!) and I zipped through the rest. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Beach Party by Amy Sheppard - Not bad for a debut novel and definitely held some surprises for me. Passed the time just fine, which is what a book read on the beach in the summer should do. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Numbers Killer (An Agent Victoria Heslin Thriller #1) by Jenifer Ruff - Sometimes I get a book from Netgalley that is a series book which prompts me to go back and read from the beginning because only psychopaths knowingly start a series many books in. I rarely love the first in a series because I think the author is still feeling it out and the characters are stretching out. If I like it enough to read more, I do. That is the case here. Paperback, own

Not For Me/Did Not Finish
The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda - NFM. Absolutely nothing happens the first half of this book. It's not bad, it's just....nothing. The action is all at the end. If I was star rating, about a 2.5. Standardly I am a Megan Miranda fan.  OCNJ hard cover

Haven by Emma Donoghue - DNF, Absolutely excruciating Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

The Couple at Causeway Cottage by Diane Jeffrey - NFM This felt like phoning it in and was super casual around rape not once but twice. I said several times in my head did someone really pass this through editing? Cheap "thriller" that was not Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

The Pallbearers Club by Paul Tremblay - DNF, due to writing style OCNJ library hard cover

What have you been reading?

Monday, August 29, 2022

Snippets of the weekend 8.29.2022

Friday I flexed to work 5-10 and took 12-5 off, which I love having the ability to do. It helps my creativity and focus too.

Last regular season turnover Saturday with returning guests who left it in good shape. We are tired and ready for the Labor Day weekend break before we have long weekend returning guests back the next week, followed by family friends, another weeklong returning guest, and family. We're scheduling projects out the wazoo too, many of which were delayed over fall 2021 and spring 2022 due to supply issues or contractor schedules.
I hit the beach Saturday afternoon and fell asleep on the couch with sunscreen on and everything at 6 pm, woke up a full eight hours later at 2 am. Insert upside down smiley face. I was up until 5 then slept again until 9. I must have needed it! I spent a few more hours on the beach Sunday but it was the devil's damp asshole due to humidity. We did a boardwalk stroll at night and ran into Kim and Jojo & the kids, which was a nice surprise. 

Reading and bed after midnight. I hope my sleep re-sets this week!

In addition to snippets here, I've been doing weekending reels on Instagram if you are interested. 

Today is the first August 29 since 2006 that Gus has not been in our physical orbit (he was born in 2005, but we didn't pick him up until October). Happy birthday buddy. I know there are cheeseburgers and so many people and dogs  treating you like the king every day and this year Perry can overfeed you people food and I don't care because there's probably not dinareena where you are and if there is I don't have to clean it up. LOL

Happy back to school for everyone going back this week. Be good to each other and trust teachers to teach and educators to create curriculum because not just anyone can do it. If you know anyone in favor of banning books, tell them to fuck off and do not allow them near your school boards because they are fascists. In case you've been out of school a while, fascism is bad, and what we fought AGAINST in WWII, which I'm pretty sure everyone is still lauding as the greatest generation as the entire world pushed back against fascist evil. Some people might be confused in America or were asleep in class or something because now they are voting for fascists who are running as republicans? You all should stop doing that. 

Anyway fuck fascism, knowledge is power. 

Have a good one!

Monday, August 22, 2022

Snippets of the weekend 8.22.2022

Mid-day trek to the shore on Friday, stopping at the library before I got to my house. Puttering around in the afternoon and flexing my hours to work at night. A nice sunset walk to break that up.

Saturday turnover a little heavier on the cleaning to help our sub cleaner out. Grateful for another long-time departing guest leaving the house in good shape and leaving some gifts behind as well. 

A little under two hours to Melissa's house and an afternoon and evening with two of my BFFs, their kids and Jim in Melissa & Jim's awesome backyard. Always a lot of laughs with these ladies, and a fervent wish that everyone has friends like the friends I have. I hope we can keep this new tradition going.
I got home around 11:30 Sunday and spent the day reading - finished a book and read half of another - and doing laundry. Dinner was Chinese courtesy of Dad & Carol.

In addition to snippets here, I've been doing weekending reels on Instagram if you are interested. 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Thursday Thoughts - But my heart keeps calling me backwards as I get on the 707

Colorful food. My favorite.

Looking for a contractor who works in NE Philly. Dependable, responsive, can work for a woman without being an asshole, and all that jazz. The time has come to put the 1960s blue bathroom out to pasture and get some other interior projects lined up as well. I want to get on someone's schedule ASAP.

Reminder. Via

Wellness. Two months in a row for massage for wellness, and the next booked for September, friends! See my sister in law Sarah at Blossom Massage & Body Work in Langhorne where Chuck E. Cheese used to be. You will not regret it. Lobby lights.

Rethinking what I own and preparing to do a major pare down.

Superb weather this week. The air feels like silk. Windows open is my best life.

Juggling schedules for the next month with MFD of which of us is where when taking care of what.

Counting down in shore weeks. Two more turnovers before Labor Day weekend break.

Understanding this in my bones.

Mr. Teeth's daily food games.
Aging dogs. Mae is losing her sight pretty rapidly we think, and she's confused and aggressive. We have an appointment for her at the vet in a few weeks but until then are trying to talk when we leave the room and approach her when we enter. She bites, and it leaves a mark even with no teeth. Much different than when Gus lost his sight and hearing. 
As for the other two...Bruce turned 5 Monday and Billy was unsuccessful in murdering people on the steps but successful in getting to a long-desired place.

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is Jet Airliner by Steve Miller Band

Monday, August 15, 2022

4 healthy snacks to try this week

Image credit

When eating healthily, keeping up with your 5-a-day can be challenging. Preparing your own snacks is not always convenient or practical. You need something that can be stored and eaten quickly, without spending time preparing. Keeping a stock of healthy snacks in the fridge or cupboard makes for an easy alternative when you need something fast and healthy. Try one of these 4 healthy snack ideas to help you stay on track with your eating habits this week:

Oat and banana muffin

These muffins are quick, easy to make, and much healthier than store-bought varieties. They are great for an on-the-go snack or breakfast if you want something more substantial. They are naturally gluten-free, so they are suitable for most diets. You can add any nuts, seeds, or dried fruit that you like, but make sure you keep the ratios the same. You can replace the banana with other fruits, such as apples or strawberries. You can tell they are still warm as they will have a slightly doughy texture, but they will set as they cool. If you have some spare time in the morning, you can make a large batch of these and store them in an airtight container to enjoy throughout the week. 

Hummus and pita wedges

Pitas are one of the healthiest types of bread but are often overlooked as a snack. Pita wedges make a great accompaniment to hummus and are very easy to make at home. Pita wedges are best eaten warm, but they can also be eaten cold. If you want to keep them warm, put them in a warm oven. You can use store-bought hummus or try making your own using chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and olive oil. You can also make your own hummus using a blender or food processor - try this pickle hummus recipe. If you are using store-bought hummus, try to pick a brand that uses natural ingredients without preservatives or artificial flavors.

Edamame beans

Edamame beans are a great source of protein and fiber. They are easy to make at home for a quick and healthy snack. You can choose to boil or steam the edamame beans, but cooking them in the oven makes for a convenient and mess-free option. The edamame beans can be eaten as they are, but they taste great with a bit of salt or a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Putting the beans in a bowl also makes a great accompaniment to other healthy snacks, such as a salad. 

Greek yogurt with fresh berries

This classic healthy snack can be eaten almost any time of the day. You can swap the strawberries for other berries, such as blueberries or raspberries, but avoid blackberries as they are more sugary. Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein, and fresh berries provide fiber and vitamins. You can add granola or nuts to make it a substantial snack, but try to keep it low in sugar. You can also make your own granola at home using a healthy oil, such as coconut or sunflower oil. 


These 4 healthy snack ideas will help you feel energized and healthy throughout your week. They are easy to make and can be eaten anywhere, so make sure you have a few of them in your fridge. Avoid the vending machine, and make sure you choose snacks low in sugar and high in protein and fiber.

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

Snippets of the weekend 8.15.2022

Shopping at Primitive Beach Boutique (new this year, my first time there), The Islander (a forever favorite, closing this November after 46 years as the owners are retiring), and HomeGoods on the way home (soaps and luggage). A quick in and out at Aldi. Two Shipt deliveries from Target - one for what will be the last or second to last round of shore household products for the season, and one for a new coffee maker after MFD inadvertently cracked the coffee pot.
Library holds finally in. Two books and the start of a third. A spectacular Friday night on the beach, with a big pod of dolphins going by.
Catching up with departing guests who have been with us six seasons now and leave gifts and the house in perfect condition - extra appreciated since I subbed as the cleaner this week. A recycle bin left like new? This is the stuff dreams are made of. I've been looking for a napkin holder and love the super durable one I got from Primitive Beach Boutique!
A quote from a man on windows during turnover - an appointment they never confirmed with me - so I told him I didn't have time to chat as I was the cleaner but here are the windows, I want Simonton, and want the sills and trim redone around each to match the ones we replaced in 2020 and the ones I have on order that are almost a year from order to installation (hence getting new quotes for the remaining four). I told him I understand rising costs for labor and product and supply chain issues. Did he not completely disregard everything I said, question my window and replacement requests, and follow me back and forth between two bathrooms as I scrubbed toilets and showers? I told him to forget the quote. He would not pull this with man.

A perfect 2-7 pm beach day Saturday at perfect peace forgetting about the world after a less than ideal week. We have entered the very close to DGAF part of the rental season. Dinner from Boyar's, lukewarm how I like it. Reading on the porch and catching up with guests who checked in who have also been with us for six years. Nine hours of sleep and I never moved until I woke up Sunday.
The last episodes of The Offer, salmon and salad. Finishing this book (heed the trigger warnings that preface it), and starting another. Windows open and summer breeze.  

In addition to snippets here, I've taken to doing weekending reels on Instagram if you are interested. 

Happy fifth birthday to Bruce Springsteen today! Birthday cheeseburgers for all coming up.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Thursday Thoughts - Everything's all right, I'll just say good night and I'll show myself to the door

Blooms. Monday morning nothing, today something.
I am the toilet paper replacer. Sunday, in a public restaurant. Tuesday, private event at someone's home I don't know. Wednesday, my own home. I need to accept that this is part of my journey.
Summer foods, make me feel fiiiiiine.
Bruce's work day.
Every day is a good way to break generational cycles. Tuesday was my uncle's funeral services. My cousins and aunts did a wonderful job and the day was balanced between truth, grief, and laughter. It was great to sit with my cousins after. We don't see each other like we did when we were young. We are spread out and people have their own lives, families, and in-laws. We can be in touch more, and we're going to get a family weekend on the books next year at the shore. Every time something devastating and unexpected happens, we are all given an extra opportunity to be better going forward. That's ours to take or not.

Fetterman for PA. MFD and I attended a private event in Mt. Airy on Tuesday night with Senator Murphy from CT, John Fetterman and his wife Giselle. It was great to see John out in his typical hoodie as his typical self after his stroke earlier this year. 
I've heard enough from old white men. Period.

Happy birthday Carol! Our family activities director, one of the Musketeers, and a great adventure companion, stepmom, mother-in-law, and Cici!

Happy birthday Jared today also, a member of our framily via Stephen

No, YOU panic lost your bra in a bag at the mammogram place. In my defense, it was early, I was hangry, and I had no coffee. Get your yearly checks everyone!

You can mail your poop. Since I'm 45 and am removed enough from any familial history with colon cancer or issues, my first option was Cologard where your doctor facilitates a box being mailed to you, and you poop in it and send it to be tested and if it's okay you do not have to get a colonoscopy yet. Mailing poop. 2022. What a time to be alive. No photos of this. You're welcome. But take these tests please!

The reaction to this raid from the GOP is Anti-democracy. Anti-America. We are literally talking about a man who hired the current FBI Director, and who made it a point to sign a stricter law about confidential files, making it a felony. The party of Law & Order needs to apply that to everyone, including themselves. You're all fucking dangerous. Stop it.

Beauty this week. In Mt. Airy. Under the burgeoning Sturgeon Moon.

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks, for my uncle

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