Getting Personal #62: February Goals Recap

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Image Credit: Quotlr

The end of February snuck up on me! Wow!

Here’s the link to my February Goals post:

Ready?

Here we go!


  1. Begin my journal adventure. – Did not accomplish.
  2. Finish my 2012 NaNoWriMo endeavor. – Did not accomplish.
  3. Donate blood. – Did not accomplish.
  4. Celebrate our 6,000th donated pint at our blood drive on February 4th. – Accomplished!
  5. Finally see Hidden Figures! – Accomplished!
  6. Buy a desk. – Did not accomplish.
  7. Buy a shelving system for my dolls! – Did not accomplish.
  8. Move my huge bookcase, books, and dolls from Mom and Dadโ€™s to our house. – Did not accomplish.
  9. Make at least three new recipes! – Semi-Achieved.
  10. Successfully co-host the PEO meeting on February 13th. – Did not accomplish.

Here’s the breakdown:

Begin my journal adventure. – Did not accomplish.

  • I didn’t write one single post!

Finish my 2012 NaNoWriMo endeavor. – Did not accomplish.

  • I didn’t write a single new word.

Donate blood. – Did not accomplish.

  • I got close! But, my iron wasn’t quite high enough. Here’s to April!

Celebrate our 6,000th donated pint at our blood drive on February 4th. – Accomplished!

  • Hooray!
  • Mr. Barry Katz was lucky #6,000. He’s been a regular donor for years.

Finally see Hidden Figures! – Accomplished!

  • We went to Cinebistro in Hampton – It’s a great place!
  • If you haven’t seen it, it comes highly recommended!

Buy a desk. – Did not accomplish.

  • I finally started to make space for this desk in the Lady Lounge, but I haven’t 100 percent decided what I want to buy.

Buy a shelving system for my dolls! – Did not accomplish.

  • See above – I’m still not happy with my options at the moment.
  • Any tips for a shelving unit that has at least 20 inches of height?

Move my huge bookcase, books, and dolls from Mom and Dadโ€™s to our house. – Did not accomplish.

  • See the above two!

Make at least three new recipes! – Semi-Achieved.

  • For the Super Bowl, I made Pillsbury’s S’mores Pretzel Cookie Bars!
  • Tonight, we tried Campbell’s Skillet Meals for the first time!

Successfully co-host the PEO meeting on February 13th. – Did not accomplish.

  • Unfortunately, the week before the meeting, I came down with the flu!
  • Although I was feeling better by the day of the meeting, I didn’t want to infect anyone.

Final Thoughts

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to two out of 10 goals. I’ll take it!
  • The one goal that was Semi-Achieved: I want to get back to home cooking! We ate a lot of pre-packaged food this month (frozen pizza, Bertolli meals, etc.), so I want to get back on track again.
  • The seven goals that I didn’t accomplish: This one hurt, a lot. But, I’ve been busier this month for several different reasons (See more in tomorrow’s post!). Plus, being sick for the better part of a whole week was frustrating!

Did you have any goals for February?

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for March!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth ๐Ÿ™‚

Book Review #29: “The Whistler”

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Image Credit: Amazon

This was another book that I picked up with the generous Barnes and Noble gift card from my parents. John Grisham has always been one of my favorite authors – I give partial credit to his writing for getting me interested in the legal field!

When I bought this book, this marked one of the first times I bought an author’s newest book within a few months of its release. With Grisham, I’ve typically found copies of his books at libraries and thrift stores. However, as I’m wrapping up my Paralegal Studies degree, I’m finding that I want to read as many new legal-themed books as I can get my hands on, even if it is fiction.

The Whistler is a powerful thriller, full of twists and turns. I liked the setup of the Board on Judicial Conduct (BJC) – Grisham followed a different angle of the legal profession with this one. 

I liked Lacy and Hugo working together. I’m partial to books set in Florida, too.

No spoilers – But there’s a big bombshell almost smack in the middle of the book that made me stop reading for almost a whole week. It was too painful!

To be honest, I almost gave up on the book altogether.

However, once I picked up the pieces from the bombshell and soldiered on, it got better. At the end, I felt it was a very long book. I thought it could have been about 100 pages shorter. There were several characters that weren’t crucial to the overall story, and they muddied the waters quite a bit. It got a bit confusing to keep up with, and that always bothers me with novels.

Despite a few pitfalls, I liked the structure of the book. When I got completely engrossed, it was really hard to put the book down. I found myself flying through 4-6 chapters for several nights in a row!

Grisham disappointed me a bit with this latest work, but The Whistler had enough drama, mystery, and intrigue to keep me interested!

3.5 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth ๐Ÿ™‚

Hot Topic #18: What’s Up With Washington?

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Image Credit: InspirationSeek.com

Disclaimer: This post contains strong language.


Sigh.

I’ll admit, I’ve put off writing a post like this. I try to be an optimistic, positive, and enthusiastic person. I also try to bring those qualities to my writing, and the blog. There’s so much doom and gloom and bad news!

However, I cannot be silent anymore.

My shock has finally lessened, and I’ve accepted that Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States.

Does “accepted” that mean that I agree with it? Does that mean I’m okay with it?

Absolutely fucking not.


What I mean (or what I’m trying to say) is that I know / understand that Trump is our President now, and we all have to deal with it.

As I’ve attempted to write this post in a coherent manner for a great many days, I’m just stunned at how literally everything has changed since November.

Nearly four months ago, our country was preparing for / bracing itself to find out whether a billionaire businessman, or a powerful woman, would be elected to lead our great nation.

When I woke up on Wednesday, November 9th, my greatest fears were realized. I immediately felt sick. No, scratch that. I felt like shit. I could barely process the barrage of CNN News Alerts on my iPhone. I didn’t want to go to work. I wanted to curl up in a ball, terrified of what just happened and scared as hell for whatever was going to come next.

But, through it all, I held my head high.

I’ve had several fascinating, informative, and civil discussions with my husband, my dad, my manager, and a handful of others. I’ve attempted to swim through all the media coverage and social media discourse, and come to my own conclusions.


I want to share what I think.

Bear with me, this may get a bit lengthy.

Yeesh, you guys. I can’t even number this list – I just have no clue where to even start.

Okay.

Deep breath.

Here we go.

  • Healthcare: It’s maddening to think that they think they can simply “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. It took SIX YEARS – Yes, that long – to enact what’s currently in place. I want evidence of their so-called solution. For more, see Hot Topic #17.
  • Jobs / The Economy: It’s nice that certain companies have said, “Yes, we’ll keep our plants / facilities in the U.S.” Will that actually happen? Who knows.
  • Immigration: His immigration ban already failed once. We shouldn’t be focusing on the countries he’s listed. The U.S. has its own problems! Plus, there are millions of refugees trying to escape terrible wars, famine, and more. Shouldn’t the U.S. government be a bit more compassionate? The FBI and the military have been focusing on terrorism since September 11, 2001 – We shouldn’t be stopping immigration based solely on fear.
  • “The Wall”: I roll my eyes and snicker every time I hear about this. This is not the answer. This is not the solution!
  • LGBTQ Rights: I’m going to borrow a quote I’ve seen on social media in the last couple of days: “It’s not about bathrooms, just like it was never about water fountains.” More to come about this, in a future blog post, or two.
  • The Dakota Access Pipeline: Everything else in Washington seems to be pushing this issue to the back burner, which makes me mad! For more, see Hot Topic #16.
  • Crime: Trump needs to get over himself, attend his daily briefings like all other Presidents in the history of our country have done, and stop using alternative facts and/or fake news. The inflated crime statistics, the 45-year-high murder rate – Nope. Try again. FALSE.
  • Relations with Russia: Once again, John Oliver is fucking brilliant. Check out his most recent episode of Last Week Tonight: Putin.
  • The Media: I lead you to John Oliver again: Trump vs. Truth. Also, the most recent frightening development – Yesterday, when several news organizations (CNN, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, and the BBC) were outright BANNED from the White House press briefing? Yep, that’s absolutely terrifying. In that same article, Trump was quoted as saying that “… much of the press represents ‘the enemy of the people.'”
  • Planned Parenthood: Voting to de-fund Planned Parenthood because they perform abortions? Oh, my God. Give me a break! ZERO federal funds are used for abortions – Not one penny. Here’s the simplest explanation I could find: How Federal Funding Works at Planned Parenthood. For more, see Hot Topic #12.

Well, readers, this is all I can muster to write, for now. Thanks for reading / listening. You all mean the world to me.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth ๐Ÿ™‚

Awesome Authors #2: Lois Lowry

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Image Credit: QuotesGram

This installment of Awesome Authors is all about Lois Lowry. She is a prolific writer. Fun fact: She lived at Fort Jay on Governors Islandย for a while, which is where I lived for the first two years of my life!

She’s written over 30 books!


A Summer to Die (1977)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I can’t remember when I first read this one (probably in high school), but it’s always stuck with me. This is one book that I think about often, and I definitely want to get my own copy. Without fail, I always cry when I read this one.

Anastasia series (1979-1995)

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Image Credit: Amazon

I loved these books as a kid! They were so funny. There are nine books in all.

Lowry also wrote a four-book series about Anastasia’s brother, Sam (1988-1999).

Number The Stars (1989)

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Image Credit: Amazon

I was assigned to read this in either fourth or fifth grade; I can’t remember which one. At the time, I struggled immensely in understanding this book. I remember how frustrated I was with the quizzes and tests on it!

A few years later, I re-read it, and it struck me how she beautifully told the story of a little girl in a tragic time. This is a hard book for me to re-read, but I have read it multiple times. I find that I gain a greater appreciation for it each time I do.

The Giver (1993)

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Image Credit: Amazon

Confession: I’ve never read this book the whole way through. I started and stopped several times while I was in school. The last time I tried, I think I was in high school.

However, I watched the movie adaptation (2014) with Al last year, and seeing that inspired me to finally read it all the way through. It’s on my TBR!

The other thing I learned, in researching for this post, is there’s actually a full quartet of books:

  1. The Giver
  2. Gathering Blue
  3. Messenger
  4. Son

The whole quartet’s going on my list.

I’m also a big fan of the Dear America / My Name is America / The Royal Diaries books – I want to own all of them, someday. Because of this post, I just realized that Lowry wrote Dear America: Like The Willow Treeย (2011).

Another book of hers that I want to read is Autumn Street (1980).


What about you? Have you read any of Lois Lowry’s books?

Come back in late March for another installment of Awesome Authors!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth ๐Ÿ™‚

Writing Prompt #46: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 8)

Week #8: Express Gratitude to Three People.

  1. To Stephanie – Thank you for being amazing! I’m so grateful that you agreed to be a bridesmaid in my wedding. You are a wonderful friend and a great pastor! Thank you for always greeting me at church with a smile and a big hug! You are loved and treasured, friend.
  2. To Kristian – You are an awesome woman. From the minute I saw your blog, I knew we had a connection. Thank you for your support. Thank you for turning me on to this challenge! I’m so excited to meet up with you later this year. No excuses!
  3. To Diana – I’m grateful that you’ve shared your life and world on your blog. Your faith is amazing to me. You are a pillar of strength. Thank you for being so open and honest. I’m grateful to be able to read your words. You’re a beautiful friend!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth ๐Ÿ™‚

Getting Personal #61: My Skin & Makeup Routines (Part 2)

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Image Credit: The Odyssey Online

As promised, here’s Part 2 of my skin and makeup routines!

If you missed Part 1, here’s the link to the post:

Ready?

Here we go!


Makeup

Like I mentioned last week, my makeup routine is pretty simple. I’ve tried both foundation and powder over several years, and I’ve finally decided that I don’t want to use either one!

Here’s my current makeup routine, in four easy steps:

  1. Blush
  2. Eyeshadow
  3. Eyeliner
  4. Mascara

I remember getting introduced to Mary Kay products back when I was in middle school. Between my mom using their skin care products (She still does now!), and several friends having free facials and makeovers at sleepovers, I loved their makeup back then.

Think of a early teenage Laura Beth experimenting with shades like Cotton Candy, Lime Green, Icy Blue, and more …

Years ago, a friend started selling Mary Kay to help pay her way through college. I bought several things at that launch party that I’ve loved since:

I still like a lot of what Mary Kay makes, but I don’t have a regular rep that I buy from right now. Most makeup that I’ve bought in the last year or so has actually come from the Dollar Tree, Walmart, Target, or your average drugstore (Walgreens, CVS/pharmacy, etc.)

Three Mary Kay items that I currently use actually came from a local Goodwill store:


So, back to my current four-step routine. This is what I do, and use, on an almost daily basis:

  1. Blush – Either Sparkling Cider or Cherry Blossom. With my skin tone, I can be liberal with Sparkling Cider, but cautious with Cherry Blossom. Too much of that, and I turn into a porcelain doll!
  2. Eyeshadow – I use the Eye Definer brush for either Truffle or Chocolate Kiss, on my eyelids. I use the Eye Crease brush for Spun Silk, on the skin between my lids and my brows.
  3. Eyeliner – I normally like/prefer a crayon or twist-up black eyeliner, but recently I’ve been loving my L.A. Colors liquid eyeliner. This came from my local Dollar Tree!
  4. Mascara – I used a few different types of mascara from Mary Kay until it ran out. Then, in 2015, while planning my wedding, I found L’Oreal Paris Telescopic Original Mascara from Walmart.com. I loved the look so much on my wedding day, that I bought a second tube!

This morning – Fresh face, no makeup.

Just ten minutes later, all four steps complete.




I definitely love my Mary Kay brushes, don’t get me wrong!

But, I recently found something amazing:

Wizard Wands!!

I ordered these from Storybook Cosmetics a while back, and they are awesome!


Makeup Tips

  • Pay attention to your eye color.
    • I have hazel/green eyes, so I naturally lean toward more brown/beige/suede tones for my eyeshadow.
    • For eyeliner and mascara, I tend to go back and forth between black and dark brown. Both colors work well for me.
  • Always moisturize your face before applying makeup.
    • As mentioned in Part 1, I use Enzymion and Tea Tree Toner from LUSH Handmade Cosmetics. I’ve found that this combination, right now, works the best for my skin. I highly recommend for you to research your skin and test (and re-test) until you find something that works best for you.
    • When I wear makeup (not every day), my skin still feels hydrated and fresh all day.
  • Always take your makeup off before going to bed!
    • I cannot stress this enough – It’s so important. Your face will thank you.
    • This has never happened to me (knock on wood), but one of my friend’s wives got a terrible case of blepharitis (eyelid inflammation) the week of their wedding! It happened mainly because she wasn’t taking off her eye makeup before going to sleep. Lucky for her, she received prompt treatment and everything cleared up for their big day!
    • I currently use oil-free makeup wipes, but you can also make your own.
    • You can also use Coalface or Dark Angels from LUSH. I want to try one of these products next, primarily to cut down on the waste that wipes create.
  • If you’re interested in learning more about makeup, I definitely recommend contacting a Mary Kay representative near you. However, two other good places to learn and explore are Ulta Beauty and Sephora. If you decide to go with either of those, I suggest going into a store. I’ve found that employees at both are not only knowledgeable, but super helpful! Sephora even has the Color IQ test, where you can find out your exact skin tones (red, yellow) and the employees will help you with specific product recommendations for lips, foundation, and concealer.
  • Learn how to wash your brushes/applicators properly, and how often.
  • Make sure to read expiration dates on all of your makeup. Most companies are now required to have a jar symbol with an indicator such as 6M (six months after opening), 12M (twelve months after opening), and so on. There are different recommended dates of use for different types of makeup.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth ๐Ÿ™‚

Tag #17: School Subjects Book Tag

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Image Credit: iStock

The ladies over at Thrice Read did it again! Another fantastic book tag!

Here’s the link to their post:


Math- A book that left your head spinning in circles.

Allegiant. It was such a frustrating book!

English – A book you think has beautiful written expression.

The Great Gatsby.

Physics – Your favorite scientifically minded character from a book or film.

Dr. Victor Frankenstein.

Chemistry – Your favorite literary couple?

Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.

Biology – Your favorite book/series/film character.

Harry Potter.

French – Your favorite foreign book/film/program.

The Millennium Trilogy – Specifically, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Art – Have you ever judged a book by its cover, even if you werenโ€™t meant to?!

Oh, yes. I’ve found that I’ve judged covers more as I’ve gotten older.

History – The last historical book you read.

The War That Saved My Life – I highly recommend this one!

Geography – A literary destination you would really like to visit (real or fictional).

Definitely Hogwarts!

Drama – a book you think has a lot of over-dramatic hype

The Twilight series. I tried to read them, but I didn’t get a lot out of any of them.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth ๐Ÿ™‚