December 28, 2016

Monthly Book Review: Dec 2016

I did not do a lot of reading this month. Rather, I spent most non-working waking hours listening to Christmas music (duh) and watching two series on Netflix - The Gilmore Girls (all seven seasons plus new episodes) and Parenthood (the last two seasons not seen on cable Mondays since September). I still can't believe I didn't watch Parenthood when it was on - this is the best of the 90s Thirtysomething and the new series This Is Us.

Even with a full month of musical and television festivities I managed to read two books:

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton - soooo long (20 hrs!), but soooo worth it as there's always a twist near the end of Morton's books that you would never have thought of

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan - not sure how I got this in my queue; I would have not only stopped reading but returned it had I not found the author's writing and reading engaging. This is a true story of the author's (New York Post writer) experience with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis (initially misdiagnosed as schizophrenia).

In addition, I did a bible study on the recommendation of another blogger for Advent and enjoyed it more and more as the month went on.

Next up:
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
The English German Girl by Jake Wallis Simons
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Relly
You by Caroline Kepnes
Hidden Bodies by by Caroline Kepnes


December 21, 2016

Sea Bag

This is a long overdue post about my trip to Maine in June where has the time gone?!

My mother summers in Kennebunkport I felt so pretentious typing that and bought me an airline ticket for my birthday. I flew in/out of Portland the other one which provided the perfect opportunity to visit The Standard Baking Company. I've wanted to go ever since I saw it on PBS' 'Best Bakeries in America'. I had a hard time choosing only a couple of treats and settled on lemon polenta cookies and a fruit tart. They were both amazing - definitely lived up to the hype! I may have visited again before my return flight :) I also may have purchased their cookbook from Amazon as soon as I arrived home.

I love most seafood and was super excited to try the famed lobster roll. Who knew there were so many versions?! With mayo, without, butter only, with or without specific seasonings, super spicy, etc. I had four from different places and each was delightful in its own unique way. 

We went to a wonderful farm to table restaurant one night. It was tucked away in the woods on the site of an upscale resort that looked like a TV neighborhood complete with bicycles in front of each vacation "cottage". Yes please!

Of course visiting lighthouses was on the agenda - Nubble-Cape Neddick on on the left and Cape Elizabeth-Portland Head Light on the right.

I fell in love with a place called Sea Bags. They recycle sail cloths into purposeful and decorative bags! It was so hard to pick only one. I bought this bucket bag to use as my workday lunch tote, but have my eye on a large tote in the Coral Reef pattern for the future;)

Can't wait to go back!

December 20, 2016

December 17, 2016

Seasonal Flicks

Sassy recently posted on FB that she was watching her favorite Christmas movie, The Santa Clause. It is good - family friendly with nuances that make it relatable for adults, good elf representation, and Tim Allen at the height of his career (it came out the year Sassy was born).

I have a few of my own faves:
  • Miracle on 34th Street (only the original 1947 version with Natale Wood and Edmund Gwenn) I love the mom - independent and principled
  • The Family Man I'm a sucker for Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni is one of my favorite actresses - they have great chemistry here; a modern day Dickens/Capra redemption tale; one of the best lines is "welcome to earth"
  • The Family Stone Genius casting - multi-layered authentic family dynamics 
  • Love Actually Quirky, multi-layered with mostly happy endings all around; again, genius casting (Andrew Lincoln!); bonus points for use of one of the best Christmas songs ever (Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas is You)
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Two words - Clark Griswald; this is why Chevy Chase is an icon
I know a lot of people would add Die Hard and Elf here, but they don't quite make my favorites cut. This year I'll likely be on my own Christmas Eve so I'm going to watch a classic that I've actually never seen (shocking!) - Meet Me in St. Louis.

December 1, 2016

Royal History

This is a very concise and entertaining history lesson on the British monarchy.