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
Maple Festival | The town next to ours hosts a cute Maple-themed festival in March each year, so we invited up our maple-syrup loving friends for the weekend! We bought a looooot of maple food, walked around the little fair, and then showed them around the UConn area (including their amazing dairy bar ice cream!). We went out for Mexican later AND got some Insomnia Cookies because clearly our MO was to eat ALL DAY LONG.
Weird weather | We got a freak snowstorm one night in March. Like… completely unexpected. We got probably 3-4 inches at our house, while about 3-5 miles away there was ZERO SNOW. How is that even possible?! We also got a lot of nicer, warmer weather in the last few weeks too. It’s been a bizarre Spring so far but honestly I don’t expect anything less from New England!
Bridal shower and various plans | My coworker and I went to a brewery for a book club that a local bookstore puts on and it was pretty fun! We got drinks and brought in some amazing pizza for dinner. The author came to the event first for questions (since she lives in Connecticut) and a signing. The following weekend, I had a bridal shower for the wedding I’m MOH in. I’m also sharing some other pizza that Chris and I had the previous weekend before seeing Captain Marvel 😉
Supercard and Wrestlemania | Mania weekend always features some amazing wrestling shows, aside from just the big one on Sunday. We went to NYC at Madison Square Garden to see the first non-WWE wrestling show take place there in 60 YEARS. (Before the event, we got Ichiran Ramen nearby and it was amazing.) Straight up witnessed history and some of the best wrestling in the world. My two babies Kota Ibushi and Kazuchika Okada both won their title matches and my throat was raw from screaming. It was such a long night but worth every minute of the car ride and spending 5 hours in those seats. We got to see a bunch of our favorite Japanese wrestlers in the Battle Royal too, which was awesome and a surprise! Wrestlemania was pretty good too; I’ll talk more about that below in the media section.
Charleston bachelorette weekend | I just returned from Charleston yesterday so here’s the quick low-down! I am the MOH in my best friend from HS’s wedding this May, so I helped plan the bach in Charleston, SC with a lot of her friends from college and her two sisters. It was… a boujee weekend compared to what I personally like, but it ended up being a good time. Not bothering with photos since they’re with a lot of people who I’m not really close with, but I might toss some scenic ones in later or somewhere else!
Silicon Valley | We started Silicon Valley last month and watched a few episodes on one sitting. We need to keep going with it though! It’s really fun but not necessarily LOL-worthy in most places? This may change as we get further but I enjoy the characters and overall wit.
March Madness | I know this isn’t a television show per se, but it’s definitely been on our TVs! I’m a huge fan of college basketball when the NCAA tournament rolls around. Somehow every single games end up so close, in overtime, or with some kind of crazy/fluke ending. It’s the best.
Shameless | We hadn’t watched since season 8 because we were just kind of tired of the shenanigans? The other night, though, right before our big ol’ wrestling-filled weekend, we decided to finally watch something NOT wrestling-related. Shameless it was! Hopefully we get back into this and catch up.
Captain Marvel | We finally saw this a couple of weeks after it came out and it was pretty good! I feel like I wanted to like it a lot more, but it was not bad by any means. The humor was mostly on point, Nick Fury’s backstory was fun to learn about, and I can see a LOT of great connections to the other movies.
ROH/NJPW SuperCard | As I mentioned in the other part of this post, we went to the big New Japan and Ring of Honor show in NYC! It was great to see a lot of our favorite Japanese wrestlers in real life (some for the first time). We bought tickets back when we thought that the Young Bucks, Cody, Kenny Omega, etc. would be there, but they started their own promotion recently instead. Oh well. It was worth the trip to see Ibushi and Okada win their belts!!!
Wrestlemania | Honestly there was only 10% of me that was excited for Wrestlemania this year. The card felt super cobbled together and uninteresting. Pretty much all of the matches didn’t have enough build or intrigue… OR they had too much and had been completely overbooked somehow. I was hoping for a lot of fun swerves from the show like last year. There were some surprises, not as many as expected, but some really great moments too. I think the show had way more good/positive moments than negative ones, which is better than I expected.
The Bellas Podcast | I love hearing from the Bellas each week! I’m still in the process of catching up on their latest season of the show, but it’s really nice to listen to them chat about life every Wednesday. Nothing groudbreadking by any means, but good.
We Watch Wrestling | I didn’t listen to this one before (Chris used to) and I decided to pick it up recently, before Mania. I like that they talk about all kinds of wrestling. They’re both comedians so the show is pretty funny. I probably won’t listen to every episode though.
Classical | I spoke last month about how I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz at work, because it makes for nice background music with little to no lyrics involved. I recently switched to classical music after reading Night Music! It just put me in the mood and honestly it’s been so nice to have on quietly while I work.
Food & Drink
Jalapeno Popper Chicken | Not pictured because I forgot – but this was so good! Chris isn’t a super spicy person but I am. This had just enough heat to be good for both of us! Nice and creamy and flavorful.
Honey Garlic Instant Pot Chicken | This was also pretty excellent. It definitely needed the cornstarch to thicken it but it worked out quite well. I love using my Instant Pot! For the broccoli I added, I just cooked it separately and mixed it in at the end.
Chicken Pasta Salad | I was creeping on some Trader Joe’s-centered meals the other day and bought a lot of groceries to make them. This was one that I enjoyed quite a bit! It was such a weird mix of ingredients but all of the flavors complemented each other nicely. The cilantro dressing was so good. Another item from the linked article was Carnitas Salad with that dressing and it was SO GOOD.
Egg Roll in a Bowl | This was fine. For how easy it was and the fact that it’s zero points, I’ll make it again. Chris didn’t like it because it didn’t have anything super filling, like rice. I think I would add some for him next time if he even wants to bother haha. It literally does taste like an egg roll’s interior, though!
Taco Bake | I made this for lunches one week and it was pretty easy to prepare. I liked the addition of sweet potatoes for something a little different! We added salsa on two of the four containers we meal prepped, so that added more flavor. I really liked it a lot.
Enchilada Dip | I loved this! I think it needs a bigger dish than 9×9 though. We split it into four quadrants, two for each of us to eat at some point during Mania, and it was so good. A 13×9 would likely be better and you can split it up more. Four big ol’ servings was tasty though!
Beef Taco Meal Kit | I saw that Trader Joe’s put out this meal kit and decided to give it a try. The calories equate to some hefty WW points per taco, just so you know. Who only eats one taco???
See more recent skincare and makeup favorites/purchases in this post!
Shampoo Brush | I am loving this thing. It does such a nice job of thoroughly cleaning my hair. I got it to help promote a bit of hair growth too, because I have a lot of baby hairs on the sides of my head. It seems to be actually working!
Clinique SkinID System | I decided to give this a try after seeing some initial reviews and promos for it, and it’s nice so far! I think it makes me skin oilier slightly quicker than my other usual lotion, but we’ll see. Sometimes it just takes getting used to.The combination of the serum thing mixed with the moisturizer is cool. I’ll be curious to see if I notice a difference.
Elf Pore Toner Balm | Sometimes I get sick of applying my toner with a cotton pad, so this has been interesting. I’ve only used it in my nighttime routine so far because I’m afraid it would be too greasy to wear under makeup, but maybe I’ll test it someday.
ABH Brow Wiz | I’ve been a fan of the IT Cosmetics Brow Power for a long time and haven’t diverted from it. I have to say, this one has some hype for good reason! I like that it’s a smaller pencil for a more precise look. I’ve also been using the Essence Make Me Brow again to keep the hairs in place.
Essence Insta-Care Lipstick | I have a problem with super dry lips and I’m trying to be better about moisturizing them or using scrubs. Nothing seems to work. This lipstick with shea butter seemed promising! The color is nice and it lasts all day, but I do still get dry lips and it separates a bit.
Around the Blogosphere
The ABCs of ApollyCon @ Andi ABC’s | Andi retired her ABCs feature a few years ago but decided to bring it back for a special post. It recaps her time at Apollycon last month by highlighting the ABCDEFG (yes, all of those!) of her trip.
Top 9 Must Listen Podcasts for True Crime Lovers @ The Vivacious Bibliophile | I’m a true crime podcast addict, like many others out there, so I have to share T’s recommendation list! I’ve listened to a few on here, am currently listening to a couple more, and was able to add some to my list too.
Thoughts on “Clean” YA Literature @ Girl in the Pages | This topic really gets me going so I was happy to see Cristina address it in a thoughtful way! I’m completely with her on this one. Go check this post out.
Blogging Ta Da List @ Once Upon a Chapter | I only recently heard of a “ta da list” instead of a normal to-do list, when I was listening to the My Favorite Murder podcast. Stephanie talked recently about how she plans on implementing it in her blogging life because it’s worked so well in her real/work life! I think it’s such a good idea. You focus on the things you accomplished or completed instead of being overwhelmed by what you didn’t get to on the to-do list.
Last Month’s Goals & Progress
1. Spring clean the house and organize everything ❌ Okay so we have cleaned a bit and organized some things, but this is mostly a fail. I think the biggest thing I’ve done was take my clothes to Plato’s to sell and donate.
2. Get my passport ❌ Okay so I completed the first few steps of this but my plan is to do it by the next Lauren Lately, because I have too many things to pay for right now! I couldn’t justify spending money on a passport before the Charleston trip. I’ll have to do it between that trip and my California trip.
3. Make a bigger push to reach my goal weight ??♀️ I don’t know that I really did this, but I did try to experiment with eating less of the flex/weekly points each week. After this trip is over, my plan is to only use 18 of my 35 weekly points (in addition to the normal 23 daily points) until I make some serious headway to my goal.
Goals Until Next Time
1. Spring clean the house and rotate my clothes | I don’t do this as much as other people, but I recently found a good method for rotating clothes seasonally. I want to switch my bins around and organize my things, getting rid of winter clothes that won’t fit next year. This is in addition to deep cleaning the house!
2. Get my passport | Yes, this is another rollover goal because I really need to do this in May.
3. Continue using EveryDollar OR finalize a new budget software | I’m trying out the EveryDollar budgeting app as of right now and I like it so far! I want to see how I feel about it for the next month or decide if I want to move back into YNAB. The one thing I like AND dislike about this one is that the money doesn’t roll over into next month for each category. You can duplicate the entire budget structure and make changes, but it’s called EveryDollar because you budget literally every dollar you get in that month, based specifically on that month’s bills. I like that it makes for month-to-month flexibility, but it can be hard because some bills don’t come every month and I’d rather squirrel away money, let it roll over, and keep building until the next propane fill-up, for example.
The rest of April is just the big ol’ birthday section of the month. My sister and mom on the 23rd, my two best friends on the 25th, and Chris’s mom on the 26th. We have birthday plans with pretty much everyone that week or the previous weekend. Natasha and Rahul will be coming along for Easter like they used to also! Early May should be fairly relaxing, without any major plans as of right now, and then I have Paige’s wedding (the one I’m MOH in) on the 11th. PHEW.