I Can’t Stop Reading! (Recent Reads)

Hello, hello! Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend so far! I’m down in Houston visiting with my sister and her family which is always fun for me! I love that they’re only a few hours away – I get to see them pretty often and I can catch up on podcasts along the way! I listened to the latest episode of The Gilmore Guys (now the Bunhead Bros) on the way down, and later today when I drive back I’m going to start in on Missing Richard Simmons. Have you listened to it yet? I keep hearing about it EVERYWHERE and from EVERYONE, so I need to see what all the fuss is about!

Like always, I’ve been reading up a storm and I have some more books that I’ve finished recently to share!

Murder on the Orient Express || This is such a classic and famous story (and movie) and it was about time I read it. I saw an article somewhere that they are going to remake the movie soon (I think it’s coming out later this year?), so I wanted to read it before then! The story went by pretty quickly and I was making wrong guesses throughout the entire plot. That Poirot – he is a smart one!

Interrupted || This was the first book I’ve read by Jen Hatmaker, who is a fairly well known Christian author and there were so many good little nuggets in this book. The 2nd part of the title says “When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity” and it really got me thinking about being a good witness and showing God’s love through my actions. I highly recommend that you give it a read or a listen (I got this from the library as an audiobook but kid of wish I had a physical copy to highlight and underline.)

Good as Gone || Ehhhh, this book was… ok. Didn’t love it. It was supposed to be suspenseful and thrilling and kind of a mystery but I just… I just didn’t super care for it. I liked that the cover was bright, but that’s about it. It kind of had the same plot as that ABC show from last year, The Family. A kid goes missing and then out of nowhere, returns home 10 years later. But is it actually the same person?!? I honestly don’t really recommend this one… didn’t love the characters, didn’t love the way the story unfolded or a lot of the elements of the story, either.

Paris for One and Other Stories || This was half book, half short stories, and mostly great. The bulk of the book was one story, “Paris for One” and that story was SO ADORABLE!!! I wished that the entire book was just that one story and we would have gotten to spend more time with the characters! And it was a happy story, not one that will make you cry like a baby like some of Moyes’s other books. The other short stories in the book were ok… but the first one was definitely the best.

That’s it for today! Oh and a quick update on my new apartment – I’m STILL not done unpacking yet!!! I AM SO SLOW!!!! But it’s ok, I’m fine with it. For now. I am planning on hosting a brunch at my new place soon though, so that will get me motivated to get everything put away and hang pictures and things like that. I also need to find my hammer… I know it has to be around somewhere…

Musical Friday

For a long time, I had something at work that I called “Musical Fridays” where, you guessed it, I would listen to musicals on the same day every week. It just so happened to be Fridays. WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED?!?!? Anyway, as someone who really really loves musicals, it was pretty much my favorite day of the week.

What I did originally was make a GIANT playlist filled with basically every Broadway soundtrack that Spotify had. It was gigantic and took months and months to work my way through (remember, I was only listening to it on Fridays!) Some were old favorites, some were new and I loved immediately, some were new and knew I would never listen to again because they weren’t my cup of tea… which is fine. Can’t love em all.

I wanted to share some of my favorite musicals today so that if you’ve never been a huge Broadway fan or you’ve never really given the genre a listen, these are guaranteed to be “good” ones to start out with. At the bottom of the post you’ll also find a little playlist with some of my favorites that you might like. And if you’re a die hard fan, then hopefully it contains some of your favorites, too!

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog

Ok so this one isn’t technically a Broadway musical, but it’s still a short and fun musical so it totally counts… right? This project came out of the writer’s strike in 2007-2008. It was made by Joss Whedon and stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day!

Year it came out: 2008

What it’s about: A wannabe super-villain falls for a nice do-gooder who falls for a flawed super-hero. Will the villain change for the girl or continue down the evil path of evil?

Songs to check out: My Freeze Ray; My Eyes; So They Say.

Dear Evan Hanson

This is a newer musical and I’ve actually only listened to it once all the way through, but I immediately loved the music and added it to my list to listen to again later. This show is getting a lot of buzz, and I can tell why just by listening! (And the guy playing main character was in the Pitch Perfect movies, so there’s that!)

Year it came out: 2016

What it’s about: The show follows Evan, a high school senior with lots of anxiety, as he gets himself into a tricky situation regarding another student’s death. (Yeah it sounds like a downer, but the music is great!)

Songs to check out: Waving Through A Window; For Forever; If I Could Tell Her

Phantom of the Opera

I mean, it’s a classic for a reason! It’s one of the longest running Broadway shows (if not THE longest) and the story just draws you in! I’ve seen it a few times, read the book, played the songs on the piano – I’m a bit obsessed.

Year it came out: 1986

What it’s about: The Phantom of the Opera, duh. An “opera ghost” takes an obsessive interest in a young singer with talent, but she falls in love with someone else. Drama ensues, a kidnapping or two, and people must decide how much they’ll give up for love.

Songs to check out: The Phantom of the Opera; The Music of the Night; Masquerade

Hamilton

Oh, you thought that I was done obsessing over Hamilton? Hahahahahahah wrong-o!

Year it came out: 2015

What it’s about: The story of the life, victories, and ultimate downfall of a very problematic founding father, Alexander Hamilton. Other characters include his wife Eliza, his mentor George Washington, his political nemesis Thomas Jefferson, and his lifelong frenemy Aaron Burr.

Songs to check out: Alexander Hamilton, Wait For It, Non-Stop

Jersey Boys

I grew up listening to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons and I always wanted to see Jersey Boys! I finally went with my sister in November and it was even better than I’d hoped!

Year it came out: 2005

What it’s about: This follows the story behind Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – how they got their start, how they reacted to fame, and how the group met their end.

Songs to check out: Medley: Sherry; Stay/Let’s Hang On/Opus 17 [Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me/Bye Bye, Baby]; Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You

Aida

Ugh this one is SO GOOD! The music! The story! It started as an opera in the late 1800’s, and Disney originally bought the rights to the story to make an animated movie, but that didn’t work out and thus it was turned into a Broadway show. If the male lead’s voice sounds familiar, it’s because he played Roger in Rent!

Year it came out: 2000

What it’s about: A Nubian princess, Aida, is kidnapped and forced to be a slave in Egypt. An Egyptian army captain is about to marry the Egyptian princess, but then he and Aida fall in love, and the princess finds out! Drama!!!!

Songs to check out: Not Me; A Step Too Far; Written In The Stars


Yes, I know that was quite the long list, but believe it or not, I could have kept going! Some other shows that I still love and you should still listen to are Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, West Side Story, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Music Man, In The Heights, and SO MANY MORE!!! Have you listened to any of these before? What one is your favorite?!?

Movies I’ve Seen Lately

I’ve got a real love/hate relationship with the movie theater. On the one hand, it’s so much fun!!! You get to sit in a giant room and watch something spectacular on a giant screen and it’s so loud and bright and it’s a great way to experience something! But then on the other hand….. it’s just the worst. Mainly people are the worst. People sniffing through the whole movie. People coughing through the whole movie. People talking. People clapping obnoxiously to make sure people know that THEY GET THAT JOKE. People texting. People opening loud candy wrappers. People chewing SO LOUD that somehow it’s louder than the very loud movie. So if I could go to the movie theater and be guaranteed to have the place to myself, that would be awesome.

Another thing that I don’t love about the movie theater is the expense. It’s just so expensive these days. And even though that is the case, I’ve been seeing a LOT of movies at the theater lately! I had thoughts about all of them, of course, and I’ll share while trying to be spoiler-free!

La La Land || I loved this movie so much!!! The opening musical number was definitely my favorite, and I just sat with the BIGGEST smile on my face while it was going on! Some might say that Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone aren’t the strongest singers (I am one of those people) but that didn’t make me enjoy it any less- it made it seem more realistic (and less showy) if that makes any sense. The ending, to me, was amazing and was the cherry on top and yeah yeah yeah I know a lot of people hated the ending but I felt that it was wonderful. I have been listening to the soundtrack a LOT and have been loving the Planetarium song.

Hidden Figures || Another great one!! I knew that this was up for all the awards, but wasn’t sure that I’d like it all that much. But I thought it was so great! The acting was phenomenal and the story was so inspiring – I was rooting so hard for these ladies from my seat! I’m always a sucker for stories based on real life events and people. The best part about this movie, however, was the fact that I got a free movie ticket AND free popcorn. Holler!

The Founder || Sooooooooo this movie is not a happy feel good film. Thankfully I knew that going in (my dad informed me and my mom about the life of Ray Kroc before we went to the theater) but still, not necessarily an upper. It wasn’t a downer either, tho. It was just a good representation of events that happened and how McDonald’s as we know it today got started. The actors did a great job and the sets were awesome, it really felt like we were back in the 50’s! Leaving the theater I thought “man, I don’t know if I’ll go to McDonald’s for a while…” yet I’m pretty sure I went there for a large sweet tea the next day, hah.

Beauty and the Beast || Ahhhhhhhh this one SO LIVED UP TO THE HYPE! I want to go back and see it again ASAP!!!!!! The singing was great, Emma Watson was great, and it followed the cartoon version so well! And it went by SO FAST! The movie is over 2 hours but it seriously felt like we had been sitting there for only 45 minutes. Gaston was delightfully villainous (and so handsome!), there was more depth to the relationship between Belle and her father, and ok I’m going to kind of spoil just ONE tiny teensy little thing. I’m sure you’ve heard all the controversy about the “exclusively gay moment” at the end of Beauty and the Beast and that everyone was freaking out and I’m here to tell you that after it happened, I turned to my friend and we both looked kind of confused and said “uhhh that was it?” Because everyone has talked about it to death, I was obviously aware that was supposed to be some big moment, and yes there was “a moment” but if I was an 8 year old watching this movie, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have realized what was actually “going on.” At all. Granted, I was a pretty naive child who genuinely thought the word gay exclusively meant ‘happy’ till I was like 12 and Mike on the bus informed me that I was wrong, but whatever. It was definitely a conscious choice by Disney, and no matter what your thoughts are about that, the movie was great and you should go see it and have a smile plastered on your face like I did!


So have you seen any of these movies, too? What did you think? I still have a free movie ticket I need to use up and I could see a new movie… but also I’m totally fine seeing any one of these again! I’m thinking it might be Beauty and the Beast… it was just so magical!

29 Things I Say Yes To

I refuse to believe that I’m actually 29 right now. Not because I don’t want to get older or I’m freaking out about getting closer to 30, I just actually can’t believe that much time has passed in my life already! Really, where has the time gone?!?! And I know that it’s only going to get faster and faster, too… Yikes! In my mind I swear that it’s still March 2009 and also sometimes mentally I think that I’m still 24… which both of these are actually false but I just seriously can’t believe so much time has passed!

I actually enjoy getting older. I feel like I’m learning a lot about myself as the years go on and I’m having a blast, tbh! I really like that the older I get, the more “ok” it is for me to do the things I like, such as crocheting, reading all the time, sitting down at concerts, going to bed early, etc. (Am I 29 or 79, am I right?!?)

To celebrate my being another year older, I made a list of 29 things I love and always say yes to!

  1. Desserts including peanut butter. Any of them. All of them.
  2. Flying alone. I’m all for having a travel buddy, but airport time is book time and I love zoning out and getting some serious reading done. (In fact, I zoned out so much once that I didn’t realize they moved my flight to a new gate and I almost missed the dang thing! Thankfully I heard my name over the speaker and was wearing good running shoes.)
  3. Spending an entire afternoon crafting. Crochet, watercolor, hand embroidery, you name it and I’ll happy sit for hours working on it!
  4. Buying anything with a llama on it. Not sure where it started, but they’re my favorite and I love them and my llama blowing bubbles watercolor might be my favorite piece of art in my apartment.
  5. Reading full Wikipedia articles about almost anything. I’ll get a subject in my head and won’t stop till I’ve read it all. (I even keep a list of things to look up later because I guarantee I could spend all day at work reading about conspiracy theories or war heroes or plots to scary movies I know I’ll never watch or whatever!)
  6. Doing an at home face mask. People don’t appreciate those enough, because they are amazing and my favorite.
  7. Bringing the dessert. If there’s a potluck going on, you bet I’m going to sign up to bake something sweet and show off my Betty Crocker skills.
  8. Cold blankets. Even when I’m cold. I know they’ll warm me up eventually, but I love the feel of cold squishing and cuddling blankets!
  9. Wearing flats. Heels are fun and all but I am too wimpy to wear heels to work every single day or for an entire night out!
  10. Watching a favorite TV show again. Even if it’s just certain episodes to fit my mood, I have absolutely no problem watching something again and again.
  11. Buying yet another cardigan. I seriously wear cardigans (or as my friends now call them, kelligans) every day and I won’t stop till I’ve got one in every color and style!
  12. Fresh flowers. I’ll take a fresh bouquet on my table any day!
  13. Queso. If I could have queso at every restaurant and every function I would be a happy camper. Don’t be surprised to see a queso fountain at my wedding. (Has that been invented yet?)
  14. Painting my nails a bright color. I’m not a super huge fan of getting manicures, but I love starting the week with freshly painted nails!
  15. Reading outside. There’s just something about reading in the breeze that puts me in such a happy mood!
  16. Trying a new restaurant. But as long as I can look up the menu online beforehand and pick a few things that I might want to try. My friends know I ALWAYS look up the menu before going anywhere!
  17. Statement necklaces. I’m glad these haven’t totally gone out of style yet, because I love wearing them as often as possible!!!
  18. Creating road trip playlists. I pride myself on being able to curate the ultimate set of tunes that will delight every person in the car with songs they love (and maybe introduce them to some new stuff they’ll love!)
  19. Watching HGTV. I don’t have cable (and haven’t had my tv hooked up for more than watching DVDs for 5 years now) so whenever I have the chance to watch HGTV I jump on it! Gimme a Property Brothers marathon and I’m a happy camper!
  20. Hugs. I’m a hugger, and I’ll never turn down someone who wants to give me a hug.
  21. Reading the book before seeing the movie/show. The book is usually better and I like to know what’s going to happen when I finally do watch it on screen!
  22. Texas ANYTHING! Texas shaped cutting board? Gimme! Cute Texas outline on a sweatshirt! I’mma wear it! Cookie cutter in the shape of Texas? Texas sugar cookies coming right up! I’ve got state pride, y’all! (I was born here, lived here again as a child, and now I’m back!)
  23. Attempting a crossword puzzle. I love trying to use my brain to solve the word games, even if I’m not very good at it yet. (I highly recommend the USA Today crossword puzzle that you can do online!)
  24. Pink accessories and trinkets. Pink isn’t even my favorite color (it’s blue!) but I’m a sucker for something bright and fun that will put a smile on my face.
  25. Having a glass of water. I like root beer and moscato and sweet tea, but I really enjoy staying hydrated and can usually be found with a glass of water somewhere in my vacinity.
  26. Car dancing. Usually in an interpretive way. It’s the best.
  27. Making a list. About anyting and everything. I’ve got lists for blog post ideas, books and movies I want to check out from the library, new brands of shampoo I want to try, crafts I want to make, bible studies I want to do- it’s never-ending and so fun (for me)!
  28. Birthday month. I’m a big fan of birthdays and love to celebrate as much and as often as possible! (And it helps when you get lots of free things for your birthday to help celebrate!)
  29. Eating cake for breakfast. It doesn’t have to be my birthday, but it’s scientifically proven that birthday cake makes breakfast 482% more delicious.

Hopefully I mentioned some of your favorite things, too! What was on my list that YOU always say yes to, too?

Recent Reads…

Oh my goodness, the last few weeks have been CRAZYPANTS! Here’s a quick recap:
-I packed up my apartment (so slowly, might I add…)
-I celebrated my 29th birthday (hooray!)
-I got SO SICK with what I’m pretty sure was a gnarly sinus infection
-I spent a few days in Phoenix for a work conference (where I was sick, btw)
-I moved into a new apartment
-I had a friend come visit me in Dallas for a few days

See?!?! Crazypants!! Prepping for the conference meant long hours at work, preparing for a move meant lots of time packing and planning, and moving meant more time doing all the junk that goes along with it. I’m STILL unpacking (I moved like 6 days ago, so I’m still fine… right?!?) but I finally unpacked my TUB OF SHAME!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, what is a tub of shame, you ask? Well, it’s a plastic tub that was packed when I moved to STL in 2013, got shoved in the back of a storage closet when I moved into my apartment there and was never unpacked, then got unearthed and moved to Dallas and once again was stuck in the back of a storage closet and was never unpacked. So finally, here in 2017, that tub has been unpacked. Hoorah.

Being sick and working crazy hours didn’t leave much time for reading at home, but I still got a lot of reading done on airplanes, on the bus to and from the office, and listening to audiobooks while driving around in my car.

The Hopefuls || I know that Jennifer Close is a very popular author,  but I don’t think that I’d ever read something of hers until I picked this one up. I put it in the category of books where there’s really not a big plot but still things happen and I enjoy spending time with the characters anyway. It was an interesting look into marriage, friendship, following someone who is following their dream, and THEY MENTION TORCHY’S so obviously this book gets a thumbs up from me.

Maybe In Another Life || This book was adorable! I listened to it in my car, and found myself taking the long way home on multiple occasions just to listen to more of it. The story follows Hannah who just moved back to LA, and one decision she makes on a night out creates two story lines. Both come with hardships, challenges, victories, and a chance for romance with different people. I liked it because I think you can find happiness in every circumstance life throws your way, and this book was a great example of that.

Talking As Fast As I Can || THIS BOOK WAS THE BEST!!!!! I had been waiting to read it since I pre-ordered it in the summer, and it totally lived up to all of my expectations! Having read it after watching the Gilmore Girls revival was amazing, and this book truly made me love Lauren Graham even more.

The Magnolia Story ||Eeeeeeeeeeeeeh this book was so good (and so short!) Like, seriously, it was very short. My mom and I listened to the entire thing (except for 15 minutes) on the drive from Tulsa to Dallas. But y’all it was such a good listen! I love with authors (especially celebs) narrate the books themselves, and it was fun to hear their voices telling their story. Some parts had mom and I LAUGHING OUT LOUD, some parts made us giggle at how adorable they are together, and other parts made us think wow- didn’t know that about them! They were very honest about their struggles and stayed humble about their success with the show and everything that has come from it.

I think that yes, I would recommend all four of these books to you. Especially the last two. And especially if you want a quick read. Have you read any of these yet?!?