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 ✨
Cooking, relaxing, reading, and coffee shops | The past month has actually been quiet. We went almost a month without skiing, which is weird at this time of year! I’ve been eating healthier and taking more care when choosing recipes/meals. I’ve read decent amount of books (and some really great ones). There’s a new coffee shop down the road (even closer than some of the others I’ve gone to!) and we walked down there on a really nice day before heading home for our February trip. I did a Day in the Life post about it too.
February’s trip home | We stayed home from a Wednesday night to Friday night. We didn’t have a lot to do, aside from my book club and me needing to cover part of my boss’s vacation in the office. We went to this amazing soul food place for book club and discussed Renegades! I saw both of my parents and that was about it. It was really nice to be there for just a couple days, actually.
Escape Room and out for the night | Chris’s sister and her boyfriend came to Portland to visit us and some of her friends from college the same weekend we got back from home. We went to an Escape Room, which was actually a lot of fun! It’s not really something I would care about doing, comparatively, but I ended up enjoying the people-watching and everyone going crazy trying to solve everything. We went out to this cute bar afterwards called The North Point. We had a few drinks and food (this led to my olive tapenade obsession) before heading home. We were going to have breakfast out with Jen and Peter the next day but they just picked it up and came to our apartment, since it was snowing.
Wrestling things | I guess the biggest thing we’ve been doing (aside from getting used to Chris’s weird work schedule) is watching wrestling things. We watch WWE shows and PPVs each week/month but started expanding further into New Japan and Ring of Honor, thanks to the Young Bucks and their Being the Elite YouTube show. It is the most fun and ever and we’re finally caught up on all 95 episodes… eekk… so that took up a lot of our time in the last month! We also had the Elimination Chamber and Fastlane PPVs in the last month; everything is gearing up for Wrestlemania! (Included here is a picture of Chris at Cracker Barrel because I don’t have another one.)
Chloe Benjamin event at Print and dinner at Nosh | I’m also interested in book events AND seeing new bookstores around, so this was a great way to kill two birds with one stone. I haven’t read THE IMMORTALISTS yet, but it was on my Goodreads TBR. Chris came along with me, bless him. I think he was too stir crazy to just sit home! The event was nice and the bookstore was very cute. She was in conversation with an author I’m unfamiliar with, Richard Russo, and they had a nice chat about the book. There was a lot of talk about the concept (finding out the date you’ll die and how that might shape your life) and the idea of your life being predetermined, or if you would act a certain way because of what you found out, etc. We walked over to Nosh to get some burgers and poutine for dinner – finally satisfied that craving.
Being the Elite | This isn’t really a TV show but it’s the only thing we’ve watched in the last couple of weeks, honestly. We binged all of the episodes to be caught up (95 episodes! They’re usually 10-15 minutes long though, so it’s not too bad…). It’s absolutely hilarious. The things that non-WWE wrestlers are allowed to do that WWE wrestlers never could is insane.
Freaks and Geeks | We started this show back sometime in 2013-4 (yep) and have veryyyyy slowly worked through episodes. We may watch a few and then not watch the show for like 9 months. So, we finally decided to finish it up this month! It was really sad getting to the end because (a) this show was cancelled VERY prematurely and (b) they juuust started opening up the other characters a little bit more. I loved it so much though; THIS is the kind of show that needs a reboot.
Baby Driver | We had a Redbox coupon so we decided to watch this movie that everyone was talking about! I really enjoyed it overall. The soundtrack and how they integrated it into the movie was fantastic. I did not expect to like it much, to be honest, but it was a pleasant surprise! I think I expected more twists or something though?
Despicable Me 3 | This was our other Redbox pick, lol. We watched all the other ones so we figured we may as well. It was pretty enjoyable! I don’t remember much about it (or the other DM movies haha) but they’re cute and feel-good for the most part.
Black Panther | MAN this was so good. I loved it so much. I was expecting it to burst into my top five Marvel movies, so I think my expectations were too high, but it was such a great movie. Definitely somewhere just outside the top five. In any case, the casting was amazing, the world-building of Wakanda was so cool, and the story was really good. I think I expected more twists or surprises or something?? (Why is this a problem I have lately!?)
I, Tonya | Chris and I wanted to watch this during the Olympics but completely forgot. I really loved this! I was super young when the whole Tonya Harding incident happened so I didn’t know too much about it. This movie was a really, really well-done story behind the situation. I love Margot Robbie.
Podcasts & Music
WrestleRamble | I don’t have a lot of podcast-y time lately but this one is a staple each week still. My other podcasts are generally still going strong, but this one is my favorite. They have a few episodes a week and I listen to most (maybe all, sometimes) of them.
Unresolved | Clearly I have a thing for podcasts involving “un-” lol. This one is just about unsolved cases (murders, missing persons, etc.) and there’s usually a new case per episode. Sometimes there are multiple parts across multiple episodes. It’s really interesting! I’m being choosier with this one though and only downloading the ones that really interest me so far.
Food & Drink
Trader Joe’s | I’ve loved TJ’s for years but having one so close and easy to get to is a game-changer for me. I have a few staples I buy there every time I go – mini avocado bag, fresh flowers, frozen Indian food meals, frozen fruit, almond milk, and sourdough bread. THE BEST. I would do all my shopping there if I wasn’t a cheapo about some other things.
Poke bowls | There’s a delicious place in South Portland that we’re addicted to. I love poke bowls because the flavors and crunchiness and fresh fish is SO good. I always get mine a little spicy with crispy onions and wontons, tuna and salmon, crab salad, seaweed salad, kimchi… #addicted.
Frozen homemade breakfast sandwiches and burritos | Since Chris started working overnight, I wanted to make sure he had good grab-and-go breakfast options for his break. I made a huge batch of breakfast sandwiches and burritos that I froze for each of us. It’s super easy to prep the eggs, meat, etc. and just keep everything in the freezer. Wrap it in a wet paper towel and microwave for 90 seconds.
Eggplant pizza bites | I’m always looking for new ways to eat eggplant and this is a great one. I cooked up the eggplant circles and added pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and a pepperoni on each one. It was super easy and really good.
Sweet potato bowls | Clearly I’m on a bit of a vegetarian kick for some reason. I make sweet potato chunks in the oven and mixed them in with black beans, quinoa, spring mix, salad dressing, and more veggies for a really tasty and filling meal.
Purchases & Addictions
Plain tees | I have a handful of plain shirts from Amazon that I wear with my printed leggings and I was in the market for a couple more. I still had some money on my Amazon GC from Christmas so I went ahead and ordered this black shirt. I loooove how flowy it is and ended up buying a tan one in a size down. We’ll see how that one works. You can find allll the colors here.
Microfiber makeup remover cloths | I used to use Norwex cloths and they worked okay, but changing my makeup routine allowed me to get something new. I ordered these microfiber cloths and really like them! You technically only need water too. I just soak them up and wipe my face makeup off. Then, for my eye makeup, I squeeze some micellar water onto the cloth and hold it onto each eye for about 10 seconds. Everything wipes off very easily and clean. I rub the cloth on the rest off my face after just to be sure it’s all gone. I have a lengthy skincare routine now so I complete that part of the process next.
Around the Blogosphere
Nereyda’s February Favorites at Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist | I’ve had my eye on a lot of items in this list and even use a few, so I wanted to link over here!
How I Track my TBR & Reading Habits at Girl in the Pages | I need a better system for tracking my ARCs because I’m pretty bad at remembering I have them sometimes! I’m thinking of adopting some pieces of Cristina’s here. I already use a spreadsheet but am thinking I can add another sheet.
Audiobooks: Buy or Borrow at The Opinionated Book Lover | I’m picky about how I acquire books and the format I choose to read/listen to them, so I loved reading about how Kate has a similar rationale! I’m probably going to write a similar post at some point.
Conquering the Star Wars Canon Universe at Super Space Chick | I love the main Star Wars movies but haven’t expanded anywhere else in the universe. I’m keeping this post bookmarked just in case I decide to.
Answers to Your Questions at The Perpetual Page-Turner | I love question posts! If I had a larger following, I would definitely do one. I’m always curious about people’s lives 🙂
A Personal Post | On My Last Day of Work at The Book Addict’s Guide | YAY FOR BRITTANY!! I’m so excited that she was able to quit her day job and make candles a full-time gig. I’ve been loving her candles since the beginning and it’s really awesome to see.
How I Reignited My Love for Journaling at The Perpetual Page-Turner | Another great post from Jamie – I’ve been wanting to do some kind of journal like the ones she lists here. I have a “five years at a glance” kind of journal, where you write a line or two on the page that corresponds to the date and you can see what you wrote on previous years.
Read by the Trope: A Guide to Romance Novels at Xpresso Reads | I love a good romance trope and this is a nice list to pull from!
The Importance of Negative Reviews at Readers in Wonderland | I think negative reviews are so important, especially from people you trust. There are so many elements of books that work for you and not for other people, and vice versa.
About the Latest School Shooting at The Daily Tay | I don’t have a lot to say because I’m exhausted by the lack of real change around this topic. I’m so, so tired of it all. Loved this post.
Last Month’s Goals & Progress
1. Watch as much of the Olympics as possible | PASS-ish | I’m the person who spends every year saying they don’t care about the Olympics, then becomes obsessed the minute they’re on… and then loses interest by week two. We enjoyed some of the figure skating events, some curling, and all of the snowboarding, but that’s about it. Oh well. This is something I’ve come to terms with.
2. Venture downtown for something | PASS x 2 | We went downtown with Chris’s sister, her friend, and her boyfriend, as I discussed earlier, for the escape room and bar. THEN we impressed ourselves by going downtown a second time for the Chloe Benjamin event and dinner out. I think we’re going to attempt to be better about this as time goes on.
3. Get some physical activity going, aside from skiing | FAIL | We managed to avoid doing anything, for the most part. Whoops. Skiing was the only activity and even then, it’s been a while since we’ve gone. The whole working thing has gotten in the way for both of us, and then the days we ARE free are usually filled with snowstorms. So, we can’t win.
Goals Until Next Time
1. Plan vacation time, friend visits, and Portland bucket list | We only have a few months left in Portland and shit is getting real. This time has flooooown by. I’m trying to pack as much in as possible while we’re still here! This means vacation days, having friends come to visit, and figuring out the restaurants, bars, activities, hiking trails, and other things we want to do while we’re here. Some kind of bucket list will be developed for sure!
2. Ski 1-2 more times and get outside for something else | I’m really hoping we can head to the mountains a couple more times before the season is over. I have a feeling we’ll be able to still ski/snowboard in April, judging by the amount of snow we keep getting, but we need to DO IT. I also am including “something else” because that could mean walking down the road for something on a nice day, heading downtown and exploring a little, and/or going for some kind of walk on a trail.
3. Plan meals and grocery shopping better | I love Trader Joe’s and Hannaford for my groceries, so I usually go to both of them (alternating). The problem is that I don’t think it exactly saves me money at all. I need to be better about planning meals accordingly and grocery shopping smarter. Hopefully I can come up with a plan for this.
The end of March will include our visit home for me to see my office people. I have a bunch of plans with friends (surprise bridal shower, secret santa exchange that we’re now calling secret leprechaun, book club, etc.). We’re actually wide open between now and April, which is great. Our lives will get crazy starting in May so I’m hoping to REALLY soak up Portland and other spots in Maine. It’d be awesome to ski more, go for walks when the weather is nicer, and break out the bikes again!