November Reading

With our slower pace of life, my reading time has gone way up. Which I love! We got me a library card and I’ve been so excited! The Duluth selection of books isn’t as vast as we had at our last library, but we make do!

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

I talked about this one a bit previously in a 7QT, but my goodness this one is so good. I hadn’t read much fiction in a while, and this book is what got me started. The story is loosely based off of Kate & William, which is fine by me – I love the Royal Family. It’s of course a bit drama-filled, but what did I expect, really? For a super secular read, I’d say it was pretty harmless. Obviously, the characters have some moral flaws, but it didn’t ruin the book for me. This was an addictive read that I completed in 3 days (outside of work time). The story and the humor were on-point and I’d totally recommend this one! I had a hard time even thinking about reading another book in the week following because I wanted another just like it.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling

Before reading this book, I didn’t know too much about Mindy Kaling except that she played Kelly on The Office. I haven’t seen anything else she’s done, to my knowledge. But I really enjoyed her book. It was a super quick and light read. I was quite impressed with her background – Massachusetts native, close-knit family, Ivy League graduate, screenwriter…I knew none of it. And she doesn’t seem like a trashy, Hollywood actress at all. She actually seems like a pretty cool person. I enjoyed how well she spoke of marriage as well as her desire to get married and have children. This book didn’t change my life or anything, but I liked it. Simple as that.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

What a fun & different read. I had no idea what to expect with this book, and wasn’t terribly thrilled with it in the beginning – it seemed a bit odd. But it quickly peaked my interest and kept me wanting to figure out where the story was going. This book is about a wife & mother who is perpetually escaping whatever might draw her back into real life. It centers around her relationships with her daughter, her daughter’s school, and her husband. This book is full of surprises. Just when I thought I knew where it was going, it took a turn. I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did, but that surprised me as well!

Against All Grain by Danielle Walker

Not to be confused with her other book: Against All Grain, which I also own and love. I needed to get Danielle Walker’s first book to see the recipes I missed! This girl is so good. Every recipe. Golden. I especially love her dessert section in this book – the macaroons are delicious. She also has more basic recipes, which I was stoked for. Like coconut milk yogurt – I can get it on pinterest, but I now trust this woman so much that I only want to follow her recipes.

That’s it for now. What have you been reading lately? Any good recommendations?


Collections // 4

Reading // I’ve been on a reading kick as of late and I love it. I finished Fellowship of the Ring (a classic one that’s good to re-visit!), I devoured The Royal We (a post for another time on books I’ve read, but I really just enjoyed this one so much!), I’m working my way through Theology for Beginners  by Frank Sheed for a more informative read, and now I’m also onto The Two Towers (admittedly much harder for me to push through than Fellowship). I also started this book called Where’d You Go, Bernadette – I’m having a harder time getting into it. I think coming of The Royal We spoiled me and I’m just hoping for another one like that, which this is not. But I’ll continue to give it a try!

Cooking // Still having a major stash of fresh zucchini from a friends garden, I’ve been spiralizing the heck out of them and making paleo pasta dishes. I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I do, but gosh is it tasty!

Baking // Paleo brownies! Grain-free biscuits, tortillas, & pancakes! I have been so excited with the flexibility of my schedule because I now get to create pretty much everything from scratch and it’s not a time-consuming burden.

Watching // Since Kevin and I have more of a routine these days, and it is awesome, we’ve been able to settle down for a movie here and there during super, chill, relaxing evenings (heaven!) and still have time to read and/or recreate after! We watched Star Wars (original trilogy) recently – Kevin’s gotten extremely excited over the most recent trailer (like the rest of the world). Also, I was not feeling super great one day last week and went back to the place of joy – Parks & Rec.

Listening // I’ve been really abusing my Lord of the Rings pandora station. I think I now know every possible song that could potentially play. It’s the perfect soothing music for me to have going while working, reading, or whatever.

Wanting // I walked into Target the other day to get a Starbucks beverage (I randomly found a coupon in my bag from a previous receipt for a drink, so heck yes I’ll take advantage!) and was immediately in awe of the clothing section. I feel like Target goes through seasons for me – one day I will love every item, the next I feel like it’s more for young teenage girls. But this trip was a hit. Did I get anything? Of course not. But I was being tantalized by all the beautiful winter sweaters!

Making // I recently made my first batch of kombucha! Living in a much colder climate and being stingy with our heat, it took almost a MONTH for the taste to be what I wanted. But it paid off! Delicious! I’m also trying to re-teach myself how to crochet – it’s getting better! I don’t think it’ll ever be something I’m super skilled with, but it’s a nice hobby to have.

Traveling // This past weekend, we went down to the twin cities for Borromeo weekend at St. Paul Seminary. Kevin was very excited to take me down there since it’s a tradition from his days in college sem at St. Thomas that he loved. We stayed at the major seminary in St. Paul, attended the Friday night Mass, walked in the candlelit procession, and enjoyed some adoration. The next day we went out for a lovely breakfast with our good friend, Deacon Paul, and strolled through some neighborhoods. The city was absolutely perfect. I love St. Paul and cannot wait for our next trip down there!

Seven Quick Takes

It’s been quite sometime since joined 7QT; though, to be fair, I haven’t had the most regular of schedules in a long, long time. So here it goes…

1 // Kevin and I, after a month of intense/crazy/nerve-wracking/risk-taking transition time, have begun to settle in this week. So much has happened in the past several weeks that has prevented us from being at ease, but this week is different and it feels so good. Within a few hours, I had a the living room and kitchen all decorated to my liking, the books all unpacked, and seasonal decor out in the open. Life is already infinitely better just because of that.

2 // The weather here has been very beautiful considering I was prepared to see snow at the end of September. There have been some colder days in the low 50’s, but that’s really as low as it’s been during the day (except for today…). We have been blessed with a number of sunny days in the 60’s and those days are pure perfection for me! I don’t imagine this will go on much longer, but I’ve been taking in the Minnesota beauty while I can.

3 // Sunday was the annual asian beetle invasion here in Minnesota…nuff said.

4 // Kevin and I are now on season five of Gilmore Girls. We go through our shows, typically ones that just bring us joy (like Parks & Rec), which GG sometimes does…but we’ve been heartbroken and let down lately with Rory’s sequence of poor decisions. We’re hoping it gets better. Our main draw to Gilmore Girls, though, especially right now, is the East Coast small town of Stars Hollow. While we are confident in our decision to move out here, we both have been missing our former home. Especially in the autumn!

5 // I began my first ever homemade batch of Kombucha this week! This has been a long time coming. I bought my SCOBY months ago and traveled cross country with it. But given that we’ve been in limbo-ville for quite some time, I didn’t feel the timing was right with fermented products sitting around for a couple weeks. I’m hoping it turns out okay! And maybe when it’s all ready, I’ll add some ginger or lemon flavoring.

6 // I’ve decided I need to read more. I feel like there was a period of my life towards the end of college and engagement when I read a lot. A lot of spiritual reading, primarily. And then life just got way busier and has not stopped. I’ve read maybe a few books since then (embarrassing to admit) and have just not been able to finish many more. First book? City of God by St. Augustine. I’ve owned this monster of a book since reading Confessions back in 2011 (which is one of my favorites). But by golly, this book ain’t no joke. It may take me a few years, but bit by bit. Second book? The Fellowship of the Ring because everyone needs a good nighttime read. I’ve read LOTR before and loved it, but am eager to revisit the story. And maybe some other quicker reads thrown in there.

7 // I made my own shampoo this week, and I just don’t know. I’ve wanted to eliminate store-bought shampoo for a long time, but it’s just. so. hard. I can deal with other product replacements, and I’ve had good success with some. But my hair. I’m sure there’s a decent time period that one is supposed to just suck it up and deal with the greasy and oily hair feeling but I don’t want to. I like the stripping effect of sulfates even if it’s not good for me! I like feeling like my hair has volume and is not droop-town, USA. So I’m still figuring this one out. Maybe I just need a new recipe; I’ll keep you posted.

Collections // 3

Reading // Right now, there is an abundance of books I want to read, but gosh I just have not had the time. And we don’t have library cards in our new place, so hopefully that happens soon. However, I did sit in Barnes & Noble yesterday and read half of this accessible book on economics (something I’ve somehow gotten more into lately). I would HIGHLY recommend this as an intro to the basics.

Cooking // Cooking? Hmm…more like Kevin makes me eggs for breakfast, lunch is omitted, and somehow dinner gets eaten. Life has been not so conducive to routine as of late.

Baking // However, I did make some pumpkin bread lately that got some rave reviews – a mixture of this bread (sans chocolate chips) and these crumblies (the favorite part). It’s not grain-free or paleo, but it’s autumn and I wanted to share it with people (I couldn’t eat it, of course…).

Watching // Gilmore Girls because it’s fall and I’m already missing the beauty of the East coast. Not that Duluth isn’t beautiful! But there’s a certain charm that the East coast has the I don’t think I can find anywhere else.

Listening // Lots of podcasts, per usual. But also, Kevin and I have been listening to this on audio book. Linda Rottenberg is hilarious and has a very engaging voice. It’s a great read on entrepreneurship and how everyone nowadays should be developing the skills of an entrepreneur.

Wanting // new fall clothing, obviously. It’s by far the best season to shop for clothing, BUT it’s not really happening right now. And that’s okay! I’m also craving just some good routine in our life. Hopefully that’s something we will achieve within the next two months.

Making // Essential oil lotions. Gosh do I love essential oils. In addition to some body lotions, I’ve been making some sprays too. We had a wee bit of a fly problem when we arrived in Duluth, but with some rosemary, lavender, and vinegar/water, it seems to have gotten a lot better.

Traveling // We drove out to Minnesota! Our stops included the Philadelphia area to see my family, State College, PA to see the Dills, Ann Arbour, MI to see Elise, Erin, WI, St. Paul, MN, and then Duluth! It was a lovely trip, but far too quick. I’m actually back in PA at the moment because Frontier airlines had SUPER cheap flights from the twin cities. I’ll drive down with my mom tomorrow morning to see my sister in DC who just had her first little girl, Millie!