Finally October

I live in the South where the first day of October does not mean cold weather and beautiful rust and yellow leaves falling. It is normally not chilly even at night. If I were to cuddle in a blanket on my porch right now, I would be sweating and uncomfortable.

But October is still my favorite month for many reasons. I can still dream of the leaves changing colors and the colder weather, even if that won’t happen for at least another month. October 1st is my amazing mom’s birthday, and it has always been fitting to me that my favorite person was born the first day of my favorite month. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I can now have my Halloween decorations out without being completely judged.

October has always signified the start of something for me instead of the end of summer. It’s the start of the season of celebration, holidays that revolve around family (yes, even Halloween) and a time to lose yourself in the distraction of it all. I love decorating and embracing the new colors of each season.

Fall and Halloween is also the only time of year that buying a vegetable puts me in a good mood. Pumpkins are to me what roses are to other women. They brighten up a room and a doorway in my eyes.

Clemson football being in full gear, Halloween movies, fall spices, baking, and candles are just a few of my favorite things about this month, and I spend the rest of my year trying to recreate the feeling these different activities give me.

I know this month won’t last long (it never does), but I plan to enjoy it to the fullest.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

BOOK LOVERS DAY!

Happy Book Lovers Day!

If you follow my blog, I assume you love books and reading as much as I do. It has always been a huge part of my life, and I would not be the same person I am if it had not been for many different novels growing up. I figured I would update everyone on some books I have recently finished reading to celebrate the day; along with what I am currently reading!

 

Five Books I Have Recently Finished Reading

  1. Death Overdue is part of the “A Haunted Library Mystery” series by Allison Brook. This book follows a girl named Carrie who works in a library in a Clover Ridge, Connecticut. The book is set during Halloween (my favorite) and involves a ghost who resides in the library, and a couple of murders both in and out of the library. It’s an amateur sleuth type of mystery, and I enjoyed the character development for Carrie throughout the book. I will definitely pick up a few more books from this series in the future.
  2. Pet Sematary almost seems like a silly book to write a review on. Honestly, everyone is familiar with this book by Stephen King. I had seen the movie years ago, but after seeing they were making a new one I wanted to read the book. I was absolutely terrified, but it was an amazing book. Again, I really feel like it would be ridiculous to explain to you how good of an author Stephen King is.
  3. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Loveit by Chelsea Sedoti has got to be one of the strangest books I have ever read but I definitely found myself really invested in it. It is a story of a teenage girl who leads an incredibly normal life, and then she inserts herself into a completely insane scenario for no good reason other than because she wants to. Throughout the book she navigates life, death, and love and it ends in a perfectly normal way but the journey through the book is full of twists. I would not recommend it for anyone younger than sixteen, but I am glad I read it.
  4. The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis hit me right in my feelings. I have long been obsessed with the Chronicles of Narnia movies, but as a kid I never read the books. I figured I may as well start now, and I am so glad I did. Reading this made everything in the movies start to make sense. I am a sucker for fantasy type books for kids. Every single kid should read this book.
  5. In Conclusion Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham was so good. I actually did this in audiobook form, because I had heard that she narrates it. Lauren is Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls, and that has been and will always be one of my favorite shows. I was very interested in this book for that reason, but I ended up really enjoying the content. It’s not long at all (probably an hour) but she lets us in on a glimpse of her past and how she got to the point in her career that she is at. It was very uplifting and motivating.

 

My current read: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. My younger cousin Will, who is wise beyond his eighteen years, recommended this book to me. It is absolutely wonderful so far. I love historical fiction, and I think this book will end up being a favorite of mine.

 

A little fact about me: My favorite book growing up (and to this day remains the book that helped me fall in love with reading) was: The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews. It is a book that my future children will read, and hopefully the generations beyond it. Whenever I feel discouraged or in a rut reading, I pull it out and remember the things that book did for my imagination.

 

Happy Book Lovers Day everyone! Enjoy celebrating!

 

Out of my Comfort Zone Book Reviews

Happy Monday!

I have two new book reviews for y’all. I don’t read many books outside of mystery/crime fiction BUT these two books were so good. I’m glad I stepped away from my “norm” for a little while.

Dorothy Benton Frank is from Charleston and is one of my favorite authors. She had a book signing a few weeks ago, but I was sick and couldn’t make it. When I was in Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks ago and was checking out, there were signed copies of her new book at the register. Obviously I bought it, and I am thrilled I did.

By Invitation Only is the perfect summer read.  The book centers around Diane Stiftel and her family as they prepare for her only son to marry into a wealthy family from Chicago. The book gives us her point of view, her future daughter in law’s point of view, and the mother of the bride’s point of view. There are so many issues at play in the book, and the author does an amazing job of bringing it all together. The book has everything you could want in a story: love, heartache, surprise, and surprisingly a little bit of crime. I highly recommend checking this book out, as well as her other ones, especially if you are from Charleston.

The next book is an audiobook titled, A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline. It’s an emotional book told from the perspective of Christina Olson, a disabled farm girl. She is destined to live her life on her family’s farm, partly from her disability but also because of her pull to stay true to her family’s legacy. While her world is small, she does end up having an influence on the outside world. She becomes the muse for Andrew Wyeth as she hosts him for over twenty years at the family farm. She is the subject of one of the most well known American paintings of the twentieth century. The author blends fiction and fact incredibly well, and tells a story that will make you cry for the character one minute and be angry at her the next. This book is not one I would have normally chosen, but I am glad it was available through Overdrive for me to check out and listen to!

piece of the world

Mema’s Rolls

When I was younger, my grandma “Mema” made the most amazing yeast rolls. She was an amazing cook, and she taught many people how to make her yeast rolls. I was too young to really remember anything other than kneading the dough though. I have always wanted to try to make them, but I put it off.

A few weeks ago I found her recipe book and I recreated them. I was pretty concerned they wouldn’t turn out well, because a lot of people in my family have tried to make them since she passed away and have failed. Yeast is notoriously difficult, because just the slightest thing can go wrong and it can fall. If it falls, the rolls are going to be awful. I prepared the dough and I covered it with aluminum foil and put it on my balcony for it to rise. It needs to be in a warm place to rise, and outside in the South Carolina summer did the trick.

I could not believe they turned out so good. The minute I took a bite, I almost cried because it felt like I was back in her kitchen. If you can read her handwriting, I hope you will try to make them as well if you like to bake! Let me know how it goes.

 

recipe

 

recipe2baking

yum

baked

Audiobooks- a Love Affair

Hi, my name is Julie and I love audiobooks. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

I am old school when it comes to reading. I refuse to get a Kindle, because it feels like I’m cheating on my books. Maybe one day I’ll break down and get one, but nothing will ever be able to replace the feel and smell of a real book.

One thing I have no problem welcoming into my life are audiobooks. They are the best thing to ever happen to driving. They allow me to “read” while I otherwise cannot, whether I’m driving or it’s dark in a car I’m riding in. They also give my eyes a rest, and after a day of staring at my computer and going through files, my eyes thank me for not reading a normal book. .

I’m currently “reading” (listening) to John Grisham’s The Whistler. Per usual, it’s an incredible book and he is everything I aspire to be in an author. It’s about judicial misconduct, murder, money, and a whole slew of other topics.

Audiobooks are easy to download and easy to listen to, but my favorite recent discovery is the app OverDrive. It has won me over even more for audiobooks, because it utilizes my library. You enter in your library card information and link your library, and you can check out ebooks and audiobooks onto your phone. I love this, because for me anything that keeps the county library relevant is a good idea in my book. (No pun intended).

What are you currently reading? I would love to hear from you!

The “Get to Know Me Tag”

Thank you so much GaillovesGod for nominating me to do this! I’m excited to share a little about myself with my followers 🙂

Below are questions & answers for all of the nominees  ❤

  • What are my strengths?
    • I’m not easily intimidated.
    • I don’t take no for an answer.
    • I can talk to anyone about anything.
  • What are my short term goals?
    • To continue to blog regularly.
    • To get my health back to normal.
    • I’d like to be accepted onto a baking show that I entered a contest for.
  • What are my long term goals?
    • To write my book and get it published.
    • To run for public office and be elected.
  • Who matters the most to me?
    • God
    • My family
    • My boyfriend Johnny
    • My friends
    • My English bulldog Nugget
  • What am I ashamed of?
    • That I’ve gained weight.
    • That I’m not always grateful for what I have in life.
  • What do I like to do for fun?
    • I love going to Disney World with my boyfriend.
    • I love going to Clemson football games.
    • I love a good glass of wine and a book.
  • What new activities am I willing to try?
    • I’d like to try white water rafting.
  • What am I worried about?
    • Not living up to my potential and wasting the talents I have been given.
  • What are my values?
    • My values come from God and my momma.
  • If I had one wish, it would be…?
    • to be able to talk with my cousin David.
  • Where do I feel the safest?
    • with Johnny
    • the Library
  • What or who gives me comfort?
    • Johnny
    • My mom
  • If I was afraid, I would…?
    • Call my Daddy
  • What is my proudest accomplishment?
    • Passing the Bar exam and being admitted to the South Carolina Bar
  • Am I a night owl or early bird?
    • An early bird
  • What does my inner critic tell me?
    • That I can be better than I am, and I’m not living up to my potential.
  • What do I do to show my self, self-care?
    • I love getting my nails done.
    • I love going to yoga.
  • Am I an introvert or extrovert?
    • I am an extroverted introvert. I enjoy talking to other people and being with other people, but I retreat to my corner as soon as I can.
  • What am I passionate about?
    • politics, a good cup of coffee, and Clemson football
  • What do my dreams tell me?
    • That I need to work on being less anxious.
  • What is my favourite non-fiction book?
    • The only Non-fiction book I read is the Bible. I read some biographies every now and then, but the Bible will always be my favorite non-fiction book!
  • What is my favourite fiction book?
    • This is the hardest question on here by far. I love anything by Agatha Christie, John Grisham, the Hannah Swensen mysteries by JoAnne Fluke, and growing up Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew were all I would read.
  • What is my favourite movie?
    • Beauty and the Beast
  • What is my favourite band?
    • the Beatles or the Eagles depending on my mood
  • What is my favourite food?
    • Burritos
  • What is my favourite colour?
    • Black
  • What am I grateful for?
    • That I have a family that loves me and has sacrificed to get me to the point that I am today.
    • That I have a God who forgives every wrong I have ever made.
  • When I am feeling down, I like to?
    •    Listen to Disney music
  • I know I am stressed when?
    • I feel anxious or my face is breaking out.

 

 

Thanks for nominating me GaillovesGod!

I nominate:

PerfectlyTolerable

Alexx’s Keto Avenue

BaffledMum

Georgia’s Pampering

 

Writer’s Block

It feels strange to call it writer’s block, because there are a lot of things I want to write about. Writing about not being able to figure out what to write about is obviously ironic. I feel like my mind is being pulled in many different places. I want to write murder mystery. I want to write about my trips to Disney. I want to write about every political thought that goes through my head. I want to write about this new Keto diet. I want to write about all of these different ideas, but I don’t know where to start and I don’t know whether anyone even wants to read them. I don’t want to be someone who just writes things for other people to read and then forget about. I have always wanted to write things that leave an impact and help other people.

I think the harshest critic any writer faces is himself. How do I make myself vulnerable enough to share parts of my brain with total strangers on the internet, when half of the time I don’t even like what I have in front of me?

Write what you know. Easy enough right? It’s not, because what I actually know and what I think I know are two completely separate things. I know my opinions and I know my perceptions. I think many people confuse knowing things and thinking they know things, and I strive not to be the person that shares things just because I think I know them as being correct. If law school taught me anything, it was to keep my mouth closed about things I only think I know. Just because it’s my opinion and just because it’s a strong one at that, does not mean that it’s right. Just because a bunch of other people on my Facebook all seem to coincidentally have the same views I do, does not mean it is the right view. It also does not mean it’s the wrong view.

I have been asked by several different people why I don’t talk politics as much anymore. Frankly, I’ve disengaged myself because I enjoy my friends and family not hating me. You cannot say anything in this particular political climate without making someone angry. I choose not to feed the beast. Every time I see a political debate on Facebook it makes me ill, because there are a bunch of people who know half-truths arguing like they are experts in the particular field, and if anyone has the audacity to express a different view they act like the person has committed a crime against humanity. To reiterate, just because you have a different opinion than someone else, does not make you right. There is very rarely a time in life when there is no middle ground on something. If you are unwilling to compromise in your views regarding politics, or anything in life, you will never grow as a person. Our government was not set up for one set of people to always be 100% right. We were set up to compromise and to find solutions.

So it’s tough to write what I know, because although I am not necessarily concerned that anyone reading it would be offended, I do have enough respect for other people to know that not everything I say on a topic will be right. Understand, I still have every strong opinion I have ever had on a subject in any field I have ever discussed before. I am just a little more selective in what I share and who I share it with now. I want to write things that people enjoy, and I am struggling to find my voice about what topic that needs to be in.

I will not set out to lecture anyone on any topic as a twenty-six year old. I do not have the life experience, nor do I have the desire; except maybe about Disney World, I’m pretty good at that.