It’s December 31st, the last day of 2015 (can you believe it?) and time for another What I’m Into post! Today I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for her monthly series, as well as with Emily Freeman for her What I Learned link-up.
Books I Read:
Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams
The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell
In this novel, Genevieve returns to Paris where she spent the best summer of her life. While there she investigates her family’s past, and comes to grips with long-kept secrets. I enjoyed this novel immensely and boy, did it make me want to travel to France! 4/5 stars
You by Caroline Kepnes
Yikes. I don’t know that I can really recommend this novel, but honestly, I couldn’t put it down. It’s creepy and weird and is chock full of graphic language and sex. It’s a psychological thriller that explores the mind of a sociopath but also warns of the inherent dangers of social media and voyeurism. Compulsively readable, but in a “guilty little secret” sort of way. 4/5 stars
Winter by Marissa Meyer
Ho-hum. Enough already. I typically don’t do well with long book series, as I think they are more drawn-out than necessary. That is most definitely the case with Winter. I listened to the Audible version and it is long (800 pages in print). Toward the end I was just ready for it to be over. I also happened to finish it right after going to see Mockingjay Part 2 in the theater, and the ending was strangely similar. If YA novels are your thing, however, this will be right up your alley. I enjoyed all the other books in The Lunar Chronicles, but this one was too long and redundant for my tastes. 3/5 stars
What I Watched:
Well, duh. We went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the Friday the kids got out of school for winter break. It was awesome (as expected!) Eric also took me to see Sisters, and as I mentioned earlier, we had to go see Mockingjay Part 2. It was nice to have some free time to go to the movies!
We didn’t watch much TV this month, because my schedule was so crazy, but I’m looking forward to Downton Abbey starting up again this Sunday.
What I Learned:
1. You’ll same time and money by doing something right the first time.
I didn’t do this with my kitchen island. I’ve been struggling with this baby for six months now, touching up and repainting. I had tried latex, but it wasn’t holding up. Then when we had our new floors put in, the painter had trouble matching the paint for the new molding and the whole thing looked awful.
Since we were having family over on Christmas day, I made the trek to Ace Hardware four days before Christmas, bought a quart of oil-based paint in the color I wanted, came home and repainted the whole thing. It took me about an hour, it looks gorgeous, and I’m wondering why I waited so long.
Please excuse the horrible nighttime photo. I didn’t even bother to clear the crap off the top of the island and you can see my shadow in the picture. Sorry. I tried. Sort of. The color is “Texas Leather” by Benjamin Moore and it is absolutely one of my most favorite things in the world.
2. How to make Tex-Mex chili gravy.
We served tamales and other Tex-Mex food on Christmas day. I found this recipe for cheese enchiladas on Homesick Texan’s website, and I made the chili gravy to serve over our tamales. It tasted just like the stuff at El Fenix and I was so happy.
3. Fiber Mascara is my best friend.
To be honest, I’ve been using fiber mascara since my sister hosted a Younique party several months ago. Then I ran out and I needed more and the last time I ordered it took FOREVER to get here. I needed some mascara–stat. So I ordered this fiber mascara from Amazon with Prime 2-day shipping. I like it even better than Younique. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to regular mascara.
If I was a decent blogger, I would’ve posted some before and after photos, but alas, I am not.
4. I don’t need Diet Coke after all.
This isn’t a new revelation. I gave up Diet Coke last January when I did the Whole 30. What’s amazing to me is that it’s been nearly a year and I haven’t had so much as a sip of Diet Coke since. And I was a six-pack a day kind of girl for about 30 years. I guess I’ve learned that I can do hard things.
5. The importance of gratitude and recognizing our humanness.
A huge tornado ripped through our area the day after Christmas, destroying homes and lives in its wake. We have friends and acquaintances whose homes were torn apart by this storm that passed by a mile east of our house. In seeing photos of the devastation, we were amazed at how some houses were left relatively untouched while others were completely leveled. It was such a needed reminder that it can happen to anyone.
My oldest son lost a dear friend to cancer back in October, and I’ve struggled with the knowledge that it could’ve been our family and spent hours wondering why. Why them and not us? We won’t ever truly know the reasons, but we can know this: everything can change in a moment. We can’t know for sure how many hours we have left. Making the most of life then means daily gratitude, recognizing life as a gift, and extending grace to others. Life is precious and what makes it precious are other people.
That’s it for December and that’s a wrap for 2015. Well, almost! I’ll have a few more “year-end lists” coming up in the next week.
What about you? Want to share what you’ve been into and up to? I’d love to hear about it!
Photo credit: Dallas Morning News
Disclosure: Affiliate links included in this post.