Because my Bookmark Lit Bulletin wrap-ups got out of hand, I wanted to break up my monthly wrap-ups into two posts: one personal and one bookish/bloggy. I created Lauren Lately here to highlight all of the personal happenings in my life: events, activities, shows I’m addicted to, things I’m obsessing over, recipes I’ve loved, and goals for the next month. I decided to space them out so this wrap-up happens around the mid-point of the month and the bookish one happens at the end of the month.
✨ Check out my most recent bookish and bloggy wrap-up HERE ✨
Christmassy trip to Freeport and holiday things | The middle of December involved a quick visit to Freeport, ME. It’s the home of the LL Bean flagship store, plus a cute holiday market they put together in the middle of their “campus.” We walked around the town, got dinner at Linda Bean’s, and shopped for final Christmas gifts. It had exactly the kind of Maine Christmas vibes I was looking for this holiday season. We did a LOT of holiday movie-watching this year. We saw Daddy’s Home 2 in theaters and watched countless movies at home as well. I did a few round-up posts for movies if you’re curious.
WWE Live event | The same weekend we went to Freeport on Friday, we went to a WWE Live event in downtown Portland. These are non-televised WWE shows and they’re pretty fun. Unfortunately we went to the last Live event before a PPV, so it was a little repetitive when we watched similar matches the following night on TV. I did a little “reporting” after the event by sending a write-up to Dave Meltzer, an incredibly popular wrestling reporter, and my name was featured as a contributor to the article! After the event, we hung around outside the venue and got to see people like Charlotte Flair, AJ Styles, Jinder Mahal, and the Singh Brothers leaving the arena. We walked further downtown to get some slices of pizza afterwards too!
Home for Christmas | We headed home for Christmas the Thursday afternoon before the holiday. I had an office lunch the next day and we wanted to avoid traffic. It was a smart move because we were hit with a HUGE ice storm Friday into Saturday, where driveways and roads became skating rinks. Seriously. Sunday was Christmas Eve. We started at my dad’s house to watch the Panthers game, then had my family over. We went to Chris’s parents’ house afterwards for HIS family party and stayed there as usual. We had Christmas morning at my Nana’s house with my mom and stepdad, then finished the day with my Dad/sister/stepmom for presents. I worked in the office on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (we saw The Last Jedi and loved it!), then we came back up to Portland on Friday morning.
New Years Eve visitors | After getting back to Portland and relaxing the Friday after Christmas, we prepped for some NYE visitors. My roommate from college, Cassie, and her boyfriend, Andy, came up on Saturday for a few days to celebrate the New Year. We drove around downtown because it was too cold to show them by walking, got some good pizza, had drinks, ate at the Holy Donut, went out for Mexican food, watched football, played games, and talked about/watched a lot of wrestling things. It was great to have them up! As you can see in the last picture (maybe), we all wore our wrestling shirts during the celebrations.
Skiing followed by a blizzard | We went skiing at Shawnee Peak for the first time this season! We decided to go at night for a couple of hours just to get our ski/snowboard legs going. It was really cold but a lot of fun. I didn’t love the mountain itself but there’s a smaller one closeby that we’ll try next time. The following day, we got a big ol blizzard here on the east coast. It was NOT fun clearing my car off but I was glad we did it the night before, instead of the morning the plows come. It would have been miserable to wake up early for it. We just pulled right out of the lot and got some breakfast.
Busy weekend in MA and NH | So after some major finagling (you may have read some of this already), we pulled together a busy weekend away for last weekend. My friend that’s getting married in 2019 asked me to come along to some bridal/venue appointments on Saturday in the Boston/Salem area, so I wanted to help out as MOH. We also had a grad party to attend on Sunday in New Hampshire. We ended up going to Westford, MA to stay at a hotel Friday night. Chris wanted to make his way to the local mountain to snowboard while I drove to Newton, where my friend lives, to hit all of her appointments with her. Unfortunately the weather the day before washed snow away and he ended up just having a lazy day in the hotel. It’s a good thing we had a full suite! Saturday night, Chris and I hung around the hotel, watched football, and ate food. The next morning, we checked out, went to a coffee shop to kill time, then went to the grad party (to watch football). Luckily the Panthers weren’t playing (womp – not really lucky at all) so we didn’t have to stress if we missed some. It was GLORIOUS to see the Saints get beat like that. We made it home just in time to see the final 10 minutes.
Black Mirror | We have been pretty bad about watching TV shows so far this year. We haven’t been in the mood for anything except football and WWE. However, we decided to randomly watch this one last week and holy shit. The first episode was incredibly weird and often uncomfortable, so I can see why MANY people stopped watching after. The message at the end was interesting though, so we plugged along. Each season only has 3-6 episodes (longer ones, like 45 minutes to 1.5 hours) and they’re all different stories. I enjoyed quite a few other “episodes” so far, so we’ll continue! It’s really depressing most of the time so we limit ourselves to one per night.
Justice League | I always have lower expectations with DC movies because I’ve only enjoyed one so far (Wonder Woman, duh). This one was actually pretty good! It was a fun movie, not a cinematic masterpiece, and that’s fine. Obviously I loved WW in it and The Flash was pretty funny too!
The Last Jedi | LOVED IT. We always go with my dad, stepmom, and sister to a showing after Christmas and this was great. We all loved it and definitely got teary-eyed at the ending. There was a good mix of action and a few different storylines happening across the galaxy, so it was cool to pull everything together. I hope the rest of the new movies are just as good.
Bright | This was weird. Chris didn’t really like it at all because it was predictable, but I mostly enjoyed the journey? Will Smith did a good job and the whole orc/fairy/etc. thing was interesting to me, someone who reads fantasy books. I can’t decide how to recommend this one but honestly if you were intrigued by the trailer, just go for it. There were some clear political/current event-y undertones as well.
Beauty & the Beast | I loved this and can’t believe I waited so long to watch! My sister has seen this one million times and I figured now it was time to watch (thanks, Netflix!). I think Emma Watson did a great job and honestly the movie was beautifully done. It was very true to the original as well.
Podcasts & Music
Killing on the Cape and Murder on Orchard Street | Both of these are hosted by ABC or CBS or something. I was intrigued by them after seeing a podcast recommendation post (linked in my last LL post) and decided to give them a try. While they’re a bit drier and definitely more “a news company/channel produced this” than others I like, the stories themselves were interesting enough. I liked the Cape one more… maybe just because I love Cape Cod.
Food & Drink
Shrimp / Chicken Tacos | This recipe came from the link over there, but I definitely did my own spin on everything (as usual #LazyLaurenCooking). I decided to make both chicken and shrimp for these and both ended up making delicious tacos. I cooked the chicken in the crockpot with taco seasoning, then cooked the shrimp on the stove also with taco seasoning. I bought fresh mango salsa from the store and did whip up the lime crema from the recipe (a must! So good and easy for this recipe). We compiled our tacos with shrimp or chicken, salsa, crema, and cheese.
Chicken & Blueberry Salads | I don’t know why people hate on salads- they’re so good and there are SO many options for them! I love this combination of spring mix greens, blueberries, blue cheese, pecans, and a honey dijon dressing. Again this recipe was inspired by the link but I didn’t make my own dressing or follow everything exactly, as usual. I just cooked up some seasoned chicken and cut it into cubes.
Purchases & Addictions
iPhone X | I’m not usually someone who cares a lot about the latest phones, but will just get whatever the newest iPhone is when I’m due for an upgrade. The iPhone X is an upgrade I’m soooo glad I decided to make last month! It is noticeably nicer and smoother to use than other iPhones and is the first one that’s really felt different (especially in a good way). It’s actually made it harder sometimes to use my iPad or my work iPhone (6S) because it’s so different! People keep saying the battery life is fantastic but honestly I think it’s the same or a little worse for me. Maybe because I’m playing on it more, maybe because I have an Apple Watch constantly connected via bluetooth. Who knows. I’d be curious to hear what everyone else thinks of the battery life, especially if they have an Apple Watch!
#LILThisOrThat | I’m not great about Instagram challenges and I haven’t even done this one 100% (primarily because I skipped prompts about books I haven’t read), but I’m enjoying it so much! The Lost in Lit girls, who only bookstagram now, are hosting this fun challenge where each prompt answers a this or that question. For example, coffee or tea, hardcover or paperback, shelfie or selfie, etc. I’m enjoying it a lot and I’m super not a bookstagram person. I’m so lazy and don’t care, which is pretty obvious from my pics 😉
Around the Blogosphere
All the Firsts / Not Entirely Perfect / This was really fun to read – I’ll definitely be posting my own at some point! I don’t have good pictures though so we’ll see how I fare…
My Favorite Things / Andi’s ABCs / This post/new series from Andi is what inspired me to do my 2017 favorite thing roundup, as linked in the previous section. She’ll be featuring monthly favorites as a regular feature on her blog, but this specific one was recapping 2017 faves.
Book Buzzwords / Mary Had a Little Book Blog / I’ve written about this before in my read-bait posts, which Marg linked in the bottom of her post!, so you know I have to feature it here. She talks about what books immediately turn you on or off for a book.
Books 2018 Spreadsheet / All About Books / My favorite time of the yearrrrrr. I love new book spreadsheet time from Crini! Check it out if you’re looking for a way to track your reading like I always am.
New to You / Andi ABCs / I’ll be on Andi’s blog later this month to talk about ALL IN PIECES! This is a new feature she’s creating for 2018 that will have other bloggers/readers read her favorite books and review them on her blog. I’m excited to finally read this book too!
10 YA Books as Christmas Sweaters / Stay Bookish / These are so unbelievably adorable that I have to link it here. I’m obsessed.
Home for the Holidays with ME / What Sarah Read / I love being featured on Sarah’s blog during Home for the Holidays… because you know how I feel about Christmas and beyond. This year, I decided to talk about some similar topics as before – my plans for how to be cozy and celebrate all month with books, movies, etc.
Last Month’s Goals & Progress
1. Go for a hike again or ski for the first time | PASS | We were going to ski before going home for Christmas, but it ended up snowing the same night we were going to leave. Because it’s all backroads through windy mountains (duh), we decided to hold off. We did go on January 3rd though! It was nice to see a new mountain even though it’s not really as beginner-friendly as I like.
2. Get ahead on my Goodreads challenge | PASS | It’s funny because I’m definitely not used to this new reading pace. I got familiar with the 150 book goal that every couple of days, it would tell me I was on track or behind. Now that I’m only doing 120 books, it takes a lot longer to get that warning on there. I’ve been suuuuper cozy and in the mood to read so far in the last month, so this has been easy.
3. Cross off 2 items on my 101 in 10001 list | PASS | I have a couple of goals in progress for this, but I did check off a couple of things. One was going to a theater with dining inside, which we’ve now done twice, and the other was learning a recipe from Chris’s mom. She taught us how to make wrap (aka spring rolls). We also attended a WWE event, which was a third item.
Goals Until Next Time
1. Plan and take some vacation days | I currently have 5 days rolled over from last year but I basically need to use them in January/February. I’m going to try to take a few days at the end of this month and a few more toward mid-February.
2. Ski 2-3 more times | We do have some concrete skiing plans for Chris’s dad’s birthday, so I’m hoping that’ll be an easy one. I also want to get at least one more mountain done in Maine when I take those vacation days.
3. Finish the bookstagram challenge strong | I didn’t post all weekend because I was away from my books and was too lazy to take pictures early. So, I hope to get back on track and do a picture for each prompt going forward through the end of the month!
So between the middle of January and the middle of February, we’ll be heading home one more time to celebrate some birthdays over a long weekend. I hope to do some more skiing, like I mentioned. I also want to go out to eat to a couple of new restaurants maybe! My biggest thing between now and the next LL post is that I want to enjoy those vacation days through skiing, hiking (if possible based on snow), and being totally lazy. We don’t have Valentine’s Day plans yet but I suppose I should make a reservation downtown?