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 ✨
What I’ve Been Up To
Lazy days | We had a few weird weather days in the last month, so we’ve spent quite a bit of time relaxing. We’re hitting the GIVE ME SPRING feels hard right now, guys, but trying to enjoy skiing/snowboarding and snow while we can I guess. Above you can see me learning hand lettering, Chris playing Pokemon, and me reading. That’s about it!
Local bookstore exploring | I went to two indie bookstores and one of my favorite chains at the end of February. I went to Book Club near my office for the first time (all of the pics above are from there lol). I’m going to an actual book club event at a brewery hosted by them later this month. We also went to Bank Square books in Mystic when we were there for the chowder fest, then headed to Books-a-Million (the closest is in the southern part of CT) on the way home.
Mystic – Chowder Cook-off and more | We were looking for something random to do one Saturday when we didn’t have plans and found that there was a chowder cook-off event in Mystic! We headed down there for the day and had a GREAT time. We got enough tickets to try six chowders apiece, voted on our favorite, and ended the visit with chai teas from Alice in the Village. We stopped at BAM on the way home, like I mentioned, and relaxed the rest of the night.
Skiing, planetarium, and snow | I spent quite a few days with my friend Alaina that week! We took Tuesday off to ski at Butternut, which was a nice (albeit windy) day on the slopes. Thursday of that week, Chris and I went to the planetarium again to see another show. It was good but a bit repetitive from the first one. We got about 15 inches of snow at the beginning of the month… what a way to welcome March in New England!
Wolfpack Game | That Saturday, Alaina, Chris, and I went to a Bryant alumni event at the Hartford Wolfpack game. They gave us a buffet, drink ticket, and game ticket (ice-side!) for a low cost. It was really fun! We’re not super into hockey but it’s one of those things that’s fun to go to and get swept up in. The food buffet was decent (sliders and mac and cheese!). Vegetarian Alaina had mac and cheese with salad lol.
Old Wethersfield and Comstock Ferre | Chris and I have taken to visiting random cute towns in the state, exploring for the day (hopefully attending an event), getting food, and heading home. We just need to get out of the house, especially when we otherwise don’t have plans. We went down to Old Wethersfield for a few hours this month. We explored Comstock Ferre, which is a local fresh market and cafe, and got lunch there. We went over to the General Store and saw a cute wine glass based on the fact that a Hallmark Christmas movie was filmed there! (Too bad that movie suuuuucked.)
Birthdays for friends/family | March and April are super busy months for us, as it seems like all of our closest friends and family members have birthdays in this time period! We started March with my dad’s birthday dinner on the 7th and I celebrated a lot with my friend Andrea for her birthday, both on Sunday the 10th and her actual birthday of the 13th. We spent the Sunday at a winery, restaurant, then brewery, and Wednesday was bingo night!
Old Sturbridge Village and meals out | We keep trying to find more local events and decided to go back to Old Sturbridge Village, which is one of those places you walk around and see how people lived in the 1800s. The weird thing though? They stopped doing the whole “we’re going to talk to you as if we’re in the time period and pretend it’s not 2019” … so it was less interesting and kind of jarring for them to talk normally instead! We went to a local restaurant after exploring the village, which was really tasty.
Odds and Ends
A new section to highlight little bits and pieces of the past month of my life.
At Books-a-Million: there are books about the bible in the fiction section lol
On my fave YouTube channel: my name in the credits because I’m a Patreon supporter!
Chris being cute: before I got the new coffeemaker, Chris would put out my coffee supplies each morning <3
Rest in peace, Jack: my sweet dog that Dad got when I was in high school passed away this month
Total Divas and Total Bellas | So I’ve been abandoning a lot of shows lately. Not for any particular reason, honestly, just the various other hobbies I do can take over! I’m trying to be better about catching up on things because I have so many hanging out there. This past month has been me trying to focus on Total Divas and then Total Bellas because I want to see the comebacks of the Bella Twins! I missed these ridiculous shows.
Fighting with my Family | Chris and I went to this on the opening night because we knew we weren’t going to have a crowded local theater! It’s a classic underdog story and it’s actually about one of my favorite wrestlers in WWE, Paige. She was pretty groundbreaking for WWE and it’s a shame she can’t wrestle anymore. The movie was great; I think non-wrestling fans will enjoy it too!
The Incredibles 2 | I never loved the first movie, for whatever reason, but Chris kept bugging me to watch this finally. We ended up REALLY enjoying it. I wasn’t expecting to, with my low expectations haha. It was fun to see all of the different family members trying to get through their latest curveballs. We figured out immediately who the villain was, but it didn’t fully ruin the movie for us. JackJack is our very favorite.
Wrestlemania Season | The few months from the Royal Rumble through Wrestlemania are supposed to be some of the best in WWE television. Unfortunately they’re finding just about every possible thing they can do to make things (natural feuds and storylines) more convoluted and pushing people who don’t deserve it. Every week we watch RAW we wonder why we even bother. My favorite wrestler in the company was the Intercontinental Champion for like two minutes before they fucked it up. Fastlane, the most recent PPV, was… bizarre. I’m just ready to see what Mania has in store.
New Japan Cup | EEEK this is the most fun! NJPW has a lot of different cups and tournaments throughout the year and it really highlights all kinds of wrestling. This one is a way to determine the main event for the Supercard show in April (that we’re going to!!). We filled out a bracket and everything.
To Live and Die in LA | I saw an ad for this podcast through the Up and Vanished feed on my app and decided to give it a shot. I really like the narrator and the story is super fascinating; it feels like it’s happening in real time! I made the mistake of googling the case, so I already know some spoilers relating to it, but it hasn’t affected my interest level.
Jazz | I’ve been into jazz lately for when I’m working. It helps because there aren’t lyrics or singing to distract me. It’s just casual background music that I can play and enjoy all day, so it’s not completely silent in my office.
Food & Drink
Sausage Sheet Pans | My usual go-to a few times a month? Simple sheet pan meals with sausage (cut up into pieces), various veggies from the fridge, sometimes potatoes/sweet potatoes, and topped with some kind of spice and cheese. I made one with feta cheese that was delicious recently. You can’t go wrong.
Tortellini Tomato Soup | I think I mentioned this in my recipe post last month but I made it again because it’s SO good. The recipe is incredibly easy. I did half of it and it still gave us like 4-6 bowls of soup for dinner and lunches.
Salsa Verde Chicken | This was also delicious and SO EASY. I put it in the crockpot when we were home one day and let it cook! The first night, we put some servings of this on top of rice and veggies. The next day, for lunch, we had it on pitas and folded it in half to eat like a taco/sandwich/wrap.
Thai Basil Chicken Bowls | I have so many Asian sauces and spices in my house at all times, which makes meals like these so easy. I had some ground chicken and decided to make a basil-oriented chicken bowl. It has ground chicken, sauces, basil (I used it from a squeeze tube), and some green beans for veggies.
Hashbrown Breakfast Bake | I made one of these over the weekend and it created some great breakfasts for a few days! It was kind of bland (maybe because of the ground turkey?) so I think I’ll make it again with just a lot of bacon and mostly eggs/potatoes/veggies. Chris and I put sriracha on eggs most of the time anyways and don’t really need ALL the meat on it. I made a second one of these with bacon only, no turkey, and it was better! I also added some peppers.
PB and Banana Toast | This is a pretty lame “recipe” to keep here, but I’ve been obsessed lately. I make peanut butter from the powder, put it on 1-2 pieces of bread with some chopped bananas, and top it with cinnamon sugar.
Black and Decker 4-in-1 Coffeemaker | So I’ve been trying to be a little more environmentally friendly or conscious and I never felt great about all of the plastic K-cups out there. On top of that, the Keurig is kind of gross if you read some articles about the hidden, grimy areas that don’t actually get clean when you clean it with the vinegar rinse. I decided to go back to the old school days and just get a coffee machine! I enjoy this one because I can still brew one cup at a time, or a whole pot, or even fit a travel mug underneath to brew into that.
Bathtub | One of my biggest hang-ups about our current house is that we have a stand-up shower… and I love taking baths. I haven’t taken one since we moved last summer! HELP. I got a bunch of bath bombs for Christmas, because clearly people in my life don’t realize I’m sans bathtub right now, so I wanted to use them. I ordered a big inflatable one but it seemed like too much work, so I returned it and got this one! I’m short so I knew I could sit comfortably in this to soak, read a book, and enjoy my bath bombs. It’s not easy to remove and drain because it gets so heavy with all the water, but it’s easier with Chris’s help at least.
Kate Spade Henderson Street Maryanne | I decided to treat myself during a Surprise Sale and get this bag for work. It was a goal of mine to get a new purse and while I didn’t expect to spend that much, I couldn’t resist. It’s been perfect so far! It doesn’t look like you can get it anywhere anymore, so I won’t bother linking it.
Hand Lettering book | This wasn’t exactly what I expected or want it to be, but I need to give it more of a shot. I’m so bad with getting my hands to increase or decrease pressure, so I can never get the letters to look bigger or smaller. Ugh.
Around the Blogosphere
Hot off the Press @ Pop Goes the Reader | Jen puts so much work and love into these posts and I LOVE discovering new books to add to my TBR each month! There are soooo many on here.
Revisiting FTC Guidelines @ The Vivacious Bibliophile | I always feel like I’m doing disclosures wrong on Instagram so I’m glad Tonya put together a refresher course on the regulations!
Monthly TBR List: A Revisit @ Andi ABC’s | I bugged Andi a while back about her old TBR methods, which I loved, because I was putting together a post about it. I drew inspiration from this method (picking TBR categories for the month instead of actual books) for my ARC-related TBRs. She posted an update after we talked about it because she remembered how great of an idea it is 😉
Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer Review @ Life with Kendal | I’ve been loving mine and am so happy to see all of the glowing reviews for this tool! My coworker bought one recently and also loves it.
Last Month’s Goals & Progress
1. Ski at least two more times ❌ As you could see from earlier in this post, I went once with Alaina at the end of February and.. we did not go again. We both honestly just have not been in the mood this year. Maybe we’ll sneak one in before the end of the month.
2. Invest in a new purse or organizational method ✔️ I got my usual email for the Kate Spade Surprise Sale and decided to treat myself. I talked about it above in the purchases section, but it definitely ticks off this box. It has two sections instead, is more structured, fits my laptop easily, and is the perfect size!
3. Get rid of old clothes as I acquire new ones ✔️ I mentioned earlier with my weight loss that I’ve been slowly acquiring new clothes. I need to also get rid of the ones that are too big for me! I keep hoarding everything because I’m like “oh I can still wear this” even though it’s 2-3 sizes too big now. My plan has been (and this has worked so far!) to get rid of clothes at the end of the season. For example, I have these big sweaters that I’m still wearing even though they’re two sizes too big. When winter is over and I’m not wearing sweaters, I’ll get rid of them, and buy new ones next season once I know my size. I did this for my dresses at the end of summer too so I’m preparing to buy more dresses in a few months now.
Goals Until Next Time
1. Spring clean the house and organize everything | We keep forgetting to pick up the file cabinet from Chris’s parents’ house and we definitely need to do that. There are lot of papers everywhere that need to be filed; we’ve been so disorganized after moving! Aside from just paperwork, I want to deep clean the house and get everything tidied up.
2. Get my passport | In all of the moving, my important documents have been in hiding. Long story short, I’m now into step three of getting a passport – the actual passport! I have all of my documentation ready to go – just need to start the actual process. My friend is getting married in Punta Cana probably next year, so I have to make sure I’m fully ready to go. We also want to book a Canada trip ASAP once my passport is settled.
3. Make a bigger push to reach my goal weight | It can be challenging to go out to eat while trying to lose weight, especially the last pesky 10 pounds, so I really want to make strides toward where I want to be in the next month. I don’t have much left to go but it’s taking longer than I want. I’ve found better methods lately for using my weekly points early in my week (on the weekend, technically) and sticking to the normal dailies from Monday through Thursday.
The rest of this month has a bridal shower and other wedding-ish things for people. As usual. I hope to get some nice weather and go outside a lot! Chris has been really in a skate mood instead of snowboard mood, so that’s a good sign that we’ll be outside and exploring a bit more as the weather gets warmer. Early April will be busy, as I head to Charleston for a bachelorette weekend right before mid-month.