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10 Movies I Demand You Watch This Holiday Season

Twas the weekend after Thanksgiving and all through the apartment, not a creature was stirring not even my sleeping cat. Oh, pish posh. This is just a fancy way to say I’m diving into the holiday season by binge watching a ton of made for TV movies on Hallmark and Lifetime channels with cheesy dialogue, fake snow, great tunes, and lots of heart. (I cry at 75 percent of them.) I love just about everything about this time of year but oh gosh, dusting off the DVDs we only watch in December is like Christmas morning all on its own. So today I wanted to share the top 10 movies you MUST WATCH to make the most of your holiday season. (No Hallmark or Lifetime movies included; sorry about that.)

Sidenote: these are in no particular order. I could never, ever do it!

1. Serendipity (2001): Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack bump into each other in a crowded Bloomingdales during the holiday season and both want to buy the last pair of leather gloves. They end up spending one night hanging out and totally connect but they are both taken by other people. Kate’s character proposes they leave their “relationship” to chance and allow the fates to bring them back together. This has been one of my favorite movies since I first saw it in theaters after a shift at CVS. There’s ice skating, Frozen hot chocolate, and lots of tubas. (Seriously.) Such a romantical flick.

Holiday song pick: “Cool Yule” by Louis Armstrong.

2. White Christmas (1954): You may need your tissues handy for this one. An entertainment duo head to a Vermont Inn during the holidays and end up scheming to save the place for their former commanding officer. There’s romance, some misunderstanding, and some beautiful performances from Bing Crosby, Danny Kate, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen.

Holiday song pick: “Snow” by Irving Berlin.

3. Love Actually (2003): Does this movie need an introduction? Six couples around the holidays in various states of relationship: nonexistent, unrequited, complicated, very sad, exciting, and totally happy. I love the way these characters find themselves linked to one another, and how honest these storylines played out. Even though it’s a Christmas movie, not everyone gets their happy ending and year after year, I’m left to contemplate how it all goes down. It’s just excellent.

Holiday song pick: This soundtrack is ah-mazing but I’d say: “All Alone On Christmas” by Darlene Love.

4. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992): This was the first Muppet film released after the death of creator Jim Henson, and it’s directed by his son, Brian. As my husband likes to remind me, the film is so closely resembles the Dickens tale mixed in with some wacky Muppet humor and memorable songs. The Muppet Christmas Carol has become part of our Christmas Eve tradition and it never, ever gets old.

Holiday song pick: The whole album is classic, but I love “It Feels Like Christmas” by Paul Williams.

5. The Santa Clause (1994): If there’s a movie that really makes me believe in the magic of Christmas, it’s this one. A divorced dad and his son rediscover their relationship in the strangest and most wonderful of ways: dad accidentally become the new Santa Claus. A trip to North Pole, lots of doubts, and so much wonder to be discovered. I basically tear up every time I watch. Real talk: I also love The Santa Clause 2 but I pretend the third doesn’t exist.

Holiday song pick: “Away to the Window” orchestration by Michael Convertino.

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December 12, 2015 - 9:25 am

Links Worth Sharing: Week of December 12, 2015 - - […] 10 Movies to Watch This Holiday Season […]

December 6, 2015 - 9:39 pm

Holly J - Ah, quite a few of my faves are on this list! I LOVE the Home Alone movies (except the 4th, I think? Let’s pretend that one never happened). No matter how many times I’ve seen them, especially the New York one (which is my favorite too!), they always make me laugh. I also looove Elf. I mean, who doesn’t? Oh, and A Charlie Brown Christmas! I haven’t seen Love, Actually, but I really want to. And I think I’ve seen Serendipity, but it was a LONG time ago and I don’t remember much about it. But I love Christmas movies and will definitely have to check some of these out.

Great post! 🙂

December 5, 2015 - 9:24 pm

Chrystal - I adore Love Actually. I really do need to buy a copy so I can watch it anytime.

And Elf is another fave!

Great list.

December 3, 2015 - 8:18 pm

Lisa @ Reading, Writing, and Random Musings - I LOVE holiday movies! The cheesier, the better. I’ve watched almost nothing but Hallmark holiday movies since Halloween weekend!

December 2, 2015 - 5:10 pm

Alexa S. - I love this post, E!! My favorite of all the movies you’ve mentioned is Love Actually. I watch that one constantly, at any time of year. It’s almost like comfort food in movie form, now that I think about it 😉

December 2, 2015 - 3:04 pm

Mel@thedailyprophecy - I NEEDED THIS. Thank you so much. I’m always looking for good holiday movies.

December 2, 2015 - 2:01 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - Phew! I am very relieved to know that I have seen all of these at least once. I have to say of your list Miracle on 34th Street is probably my favorite followed very closely by Love, Actually.

December 2, 2015 - 1:09 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - YES! Holiday movies are MY JAM. From your list, every year I watch Serendipity, Love Actually, Elf, Home Alone 1 and/or 2, and The Family Stone (which always makes me cry). Great list, Estelle!!

December 2, 2015 - 11:47 am

Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit - Excellent picks! My faves from this list are Love Actually, Serendipity, and Home Alone 2. I feel like this says a lot about me – my love of London and New York, especially at the holidays.

I have a real soft spot for the original Home Alone as well. I haven’t seen The Family Stone in awhile, I think I need to rewatch it.

Other holiday movies I adore: The Holiday (actually I can’t believe this isn’t on your list! It’s the best!) and While You Were Sleeping. I also love watching the Roswell Christmas episodes because they’re SO good.

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A Toast to Time & the Future

Dear friends and readers,

Happy December 1! I can’t believe it’s the last month of 2015. It feels like just yesterday that we were picking our favorite books of 2014 and getting all excited about the new work we’d be going gaga over in 2015. But here we are and what a year it’s been. So much of December feels like a time of reflection and to tie up loose ends so I thought it was best to post today about the future of Rather Be Reading.

In November, Magan and I hit the 4-year mark with RBR. Four years. I can’t believe it. When M and I started this project all those years ago, we barely knew each other and now we have shared big birthdays, family trips, life milestones, and so many ups and downs together. With this blog, our friendship has become so strong, so important to both of us — despite our distance. When you meet people from far away (which inevitably happens in online communities), it’s so easy to break away from one another (I mean, that’s easy in other relationships) because it takes such effort to stay in touch, bridging time between visits. The blog has always been a way to for us to touch base, our version of coffee dates, the group we belong to, the common interest that brought us together. It’s safe to say 4 years ago, M and I were both searching for something more in our lives and that’s part of the reason why RBR was born. It’s fulfilled so much for each of us: a creative outlet, a platform to express ourselves and share our stories, and a connection to other authors and other smart people in ways we never imagined.

It’s inevitable that four years brings a lot of change too. Think about the four years between freshman and senior year of high school, and then of college. It’s so crazy to think about. Sometimes you don’t even feel like the same person. So many factors have pushed and pulled you in different directions and sometimes the reason why you did something changes, sometimes the way you feel about it changes too.

Truth be told: Magan and I made a video about our feelings on blogging when she visited New York in early October. I was supposed to put it up, but I just couldn’t. So much of what we discussed I’ve said above. How you can love something so fiercely and how that love can change. Sometimes you just want to embark on something different, and in other instances, you just don’t have the time you used to. Without speaking too much for M, I think it’s a mix of both. But most importantly, it’s about being a team. We love working together so, very much but the time just isn’t there like it used to be.

So what am I saying exactly? Well, December will be the last month of updates on RBR. It’s a sad announcement to make, but sometimes things just reach a natural end and that’s where we are right now. (Don’t worry; at the end of the month, I’ll make sure you know where you can reach us both!)

We are so appreciative of your comments, your thoughts, your imaginations, and your friendship for the past few years. Thank you so much for listening to our stories, sharing your own, and also bringing so many beautiful, memorable books in our lives.

Here’s to a wonderful December full of kindness, thoughtfulness, and concluding this chapter on a high note.

xoxoMagan and Estelle in October 2015

December 20, 2015 - 3:06 pm

Retrospectively Reading (24) | The Reading Shelf - […] “A Toast to Time & the Future” @ Rather Be Reading: It’s sad to see that Rather Be Reading is apparently going to close, but it’s great to see that the co-bloggers behind it have gotten so much out of it over the years. […]

December 4, 2015 - 1:33 pm

Alexa S. - I already said this on Twitter, but I want you both to know that I love you ladies fiercely. I’ll never forget how the two of you were two of the first people I really became friends with outside of the Internet, and how you’ve always been so kind, so generous and so wonderful about collaborating, sharing things and just being there. I love you both, and wherever your journeys take you at the end of the year, you know I’ll be there <3 <3 <3

December 2, 2015 - 3:32 pm

Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit - I just wanted to say…I was reading this blog for years before I met you, Estelle (still haven’t met Magan *tears*), and it inspired me so much. I’ve learned about really special books because of you, but I’ve also learned a lot about opening up and being honest on my blog because of you. Thanks so much for sharing your friendship and love of books (I’m texting Sarah crying emojis while writing this).

December 2, 2015 - 11:18 am

Lisa @ Bookish Broads - Okay, how am I not supposed to cry while reading this?!

I live both your faces so damn much. I know we will all keep in touch but I will miss your blog posts!

Thanks for being a sincere, kind, funny and whimsical blog with integrity for so many years.

Oxoxoxo

December 1, 2015 - 9:39 pm

Ellie - What a beautiful post! I’ve loved reading your blog! Four years of insightful and creative posts is a huge accomplishment! You’ve been a wonderful voice in the book blogging community. Best of luck and cheers to the future! <3

December 1, 2015 - 9:12 pm

Meg - I haven’t been as diligent at commenting as I should have been, but know how much I have loved getting to know y’all through RBR over the years — you will be missed! I definitely understand evolution and change and letting things go… sometimes it’s important, even necessary. And I’m sure this won’t be the last we’ll hear from you! <3

December 1, 2015 - 8:26 pm

betty - YOU GUYS! This breaks my heart because honestly, I love your blog… and both of you! But… I TOTALLY GET IT. Life pulls you in a million different directions and with that, things change. I’m sure this wasn’t an easy decision! I hope you both know how many people have truly enjoyed your thoughts, creativity, and getting to know you on a personal level. Please, PLEEEEASE stay in touch! <3 Good luck in all that you do!!

December 1, 2015 - 8:11 pm

Sarah @ What Sarah Read - You two have been such an inspiration to me, and also so kind!! You’ll definitely be missed but I’m excited for both of you and what the future holds! Big hugs!!!

December 1, 2015 - 8:02 pm

Ginger @ GReads! - My blogging life is brighter for having the two of you in it <3 This is bittersweet news to read, but I completely understand. I remember when the two of you first began… I was only a year into blogging at the time. Thanks to the both of you, I have discovered some amazing books. But above that, I've also discovered a beautiful friendship. Thank you for that xxoo

December 1, 2015 - 3:50 pm

beverly - May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past. (My grandmother’s favorite Irish blessing.) Thank you.

December 1, 2015 - 12:13 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - So so grateful to have found you and M through this crazy world of blogging. Wishing you both the best in whatever the future holds.

December 1, 2015 - 10:48 am

ashley - While my heart hurts, I understand more than I could say and look forward to seeing what you guys with your future!!

December 1, 2015 - 10:46 am

Andi - I’m so sad to see you both go! Just know that you always have a home at The ABCs should you ever want one. You both are amazing and I love you guys! XXOO ♥

December 1, 2015 - 8:24 am

Jess @ Gone with the Words - This is so bittersweet! I’m sad to see it come to an end but I also understand. I’m so happy this joint venture brought you two into my life and I KNOW it won’t be the last we see of each of you. I know I’ll be seeing both of you someway, somehow. LOVE YOU BOTH!! <3 <3 <3

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10 Festive Picks for Cyber Monday Shopping

If your mailbox is anything like mine, it’s been stuffed to the gills with holiday gift guide, catalogs, and coupons. I never have a ton of shopping to do but I am obsessed with all the fun jolly stuff that comes out this time of year. In the spirit of Cyber Monday (maybe my favorite day to shop), I thought I’d share a few memorable items from my holiday guide snooping.

No matter what winter holiday you are celebrating, I hope your shopping remains thoughtful, stress-free, and, of course, fun!

10 Cyber Monday Picks from Rather Be Reading Blog

1) Gap logo pom-pom beanie ($24.95): There are a few other hats in this collection with other sayings but this one was my favorite. (Probably because it matches my jacket best.)

2) Patchwork Slipper Sock ($19.95): You cannot go wrong with slipper socks. The person you are gifting is going to be so, so thankful. They are heaven.

3) Loft Owl Sock Set ($19.95): Loft has some of my favorite socks already but their collection has gotten (much to my delight) quirkier. (This year they even have some reindeer ones.)

4) Papersource Merry & Bright Tea ($6.95): Pretty packaging and a really useful gift inside.

5) Julep Break the Ice Lipstick Trio ($24.00): Julep mini lipsticks are probably my favorite add-on they’ve had. I still have the first collection I got almost 2 years ago, and I’m tempted to grab this one too. They are perfect to throw in your purse or travel with.

6) Fossil Journal Multi-Pack ($10): I have a collection of blank journals… why not a few more?

7) Modcloth For the Greater Good Cards ($14.95): I like to make my own cards but I thought these were adorable.

8) Papersource Unicorn Tape Dispenser ($14.95): This is totally silly but I love it.

9) Modcloth Drop It Like Its Hot Mug ($14.95): Um, hilarious & goes perfectly with #4.

10) LUSH Santa Baby Lip Tint ($8.95): I’ve been meaning to get to Lush and this lip tint might be just the thing that makes my visit happen.

Happy Monday, happy shopping! Be merry and bright! (Seriously.)

December 4, 2015 - 1:57 pm

Alexa S. - I love the look of that tin of tea! It’s very festive indeed 😉

December 1, 2015 - 10:27 am

Emma @ Miss Print - Those notebooks are a steal. If only I could justify buying more.

November 30, 2015 - 6:39 pm

Ginger @ GReads! - Ah! How cute are these finds?! I don’t have a ton of shopping to do for Christmas either, but I love to window shop! It’s so fun!! Thanks for these ideas though 😉

November 30, 2015 - 11:35 am

Leah - Beanies! Mugs! Tea! SLIPPER SOCKS. Estelle, you’re killing me in the best way possible.

November 30, 2015 - 10:41 am

Amalfi - Nice picks!

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Say Hi to a Few Librarians | Dive Into Diversity

Dive Into Diversity Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 11th month of the Dive into Diversity challenge! Rebecca and I can hardly believe we are just about done, but here we are. In the last sparkly original post, I’m piggybacking off some feelings I’ve had lately — how the general public who doesn’t spend a lot of time hanging out in the online book community or reading Publishers Weekly is finding out about the We Need Diverse Books campaign. Of course, I immediately think of librarians who work tirelessly to stock their libraries with books their community wants to read, recommend titles when asked, and make everyone feels welcome.

So I asked a few librarians to answer some questions on their jobs and how the diversity campaign has essentially affected how they do their job. Did they feel like the people who aren’t invested in these book/publishing bubbles were knew what was going on? What about the future? I hope you enjoy their insights and give you a little taste into DIVERSITY IN THE REAL WORLD.

Eden - Librarian Dive Into DiversityEden has been a young adult librarian in Kentucky for 3 years. @edenjeangrey

(Diverse) books and authors have you been recommending this year: Mostly books about mental illness, like Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman and My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga.

On how to connect the campaign with patrons: I feel that customizing and tailoring your individual approach to diversity in library collections and services is crucial – just promoting diversity in general isn’t going to accomplish as much. Take time to determine what diversity means for our community, your service area, and your patrons, and work according to their identities and needs.

Bookish - Dive into Diversity LibrariansBookish has been a librarian for 8 years. She has previously worked in college admissions and as a middle school teacher. @bookish & her blog.

On what’s changed since the WNDB campaign became “mainstream”: When I first got into librarianship, if I brought up the need for diversity in YA or kidlit, I’d get uncomfortable silences on listservs and in conversations. Only a few brave souls would answer. There was a deafening silence from the rest. Now that the WNDB campaign is more “mainstream,” many more people are willing to at least listen to the need for diversity.

(Diverse) books and authors you’ve been recommending: Grace Lin, Zetta Elliott, Jacqueline Woodson, Neesha Meminger, Yuyi Morales, Uma Krishnaswami, Mitali Perkins, Janine Macbeth, Misako Rocks, books published by Lee & Low press, Corduroy, the list goes on and on and on!

Patrons and their quest for change: Young parents of color…are keenly aware that they didn’t get to see themselves accurately and genuinely reflected in books as they were growing up, but that they want their kids to have this important connection to literature, in a visceral way. This generation of parents of color are already clamoring for books that represent their lives, their realities, so that they can share these with their children.

On what needs to happen next: …this push for diversity is mistaken as needing to be fulfilled by getting already well-known mainstream white writers to write diverse characters into their books. Don’t get me wrong; this trend is definitely a step in the right direction, for the most part. But what would be WAY more heartening is to see publishers taking chances on a LARGE number of first-time writers of color, to allow the diverse stories to be told through diverse authorial voices.

Pamela - Dive Into Diversity LibrariansPamela lives in Wisconsin and has been a Youth Services Librarian since 2013. @PamelaJean0 & her blog.

Since WNDB how her book ordering has changed: Instead of ordering, say, 4 copies of a book by a popular author, I have diversified my collections by purchasing only 1 copy of a popular book and then using the remaining funds to buy new books that showcase diversity.

(Diverse) books and authors you’ve been recommendingDumplin‘ by Julie Murphy; George by Alex Gino; Princeless by Jeremy Whitley; Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn; Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero, always and forever. <3

How the word can spread even more: Merchandising. Teens love free stuff, especially if it’s LEGALLY free (ha!). The acronym itself would be intriguing if teens didn’t know what it was. And if we can turn it into an identifying rallying cry, like DFTBA? (Editor’s not: I had to look this up. Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.) Then that’s it. Maybe vlogging, snap chatting — whatever social media the teens are on, we need to be there too.

Librarians are some of my favorite people in the UNIVERSE and I’m so glad to spotlight some of them today and hear about their experiences. There are so many layers to this campaign, and I wish I could have featured even more people because I love to be nosey and see how all of this is rolling in the real world. That being said, if you are a librarian, who has tips, tricks, and thoughts to share about the WNDB campaign — please feel free to do so below. Can’t wait to hear from you! Happy Tuesday, and happy almost Thanksgiving!

Oh, and don’t forget to stop by Rebecca’s Dive Into Diversity stop!

(And a big thanks to Emma @ Miss Print for helping me out with this!)




December 18, 2015 - 6:08 pm

Diving into Diversity with the Reading Gals | Browse with Bookish Desi - […] The original blog post in which the above appears is called Say Hi To a Few Librarians Dive into Diversity. I also encourage you to check out the rest of their Dive into Diversity challenge, which went from […]

December 6, 2015 - 5:05 pm

Jessica - Hi Estelle and Magan,
Thanks for the shout out to diversity. These books are truer to life and more entertaining than the mainstream books. You might want to look at Closing the Book on Santa Claus by Ron Chandler. One of the main characters is Ben, an African-American man who loses his home in New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina. There is also a Latino family in the book. Our entire family enjoyed it.

November 24, 2015 - 11:31 pm

Rebecca @ Reading Wishes - Awesome post 🙂 I interviewed a librarian for DID early in the year and it was definitely interesting, especially hearing from an Aussie librarian. Loved this and love that Pamela is spending more money on diverse books, instead of more popular titles. Brilliant.

November 24, 2015 - 1:17 pm

Alexa S. - It’s fascinating to see the different perspectives for each of these librarians! I love how they’ve been integrating diversity into what they buy and promote in their libraries 🙂

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Bring Along the Mistletoe | 2015 Romance Wish List

I’m giddy with excitement to present my first HOLIDAY POST OF 2015. Whew! I’ve been preparing for this for twelve months. Well, kind of. We have about a week to go before Thanksgiving so I thought it was safe to talk about holiday romances. (I swear on Santa’s sleigh I’ve only listened to two Christmas carols so far — one accidentally.) With the end of year getting super busy with presents, parties, and good cheer, there’s nothing like relaxing with a quick read that keeps you interested and relaxes you. (They are especially great when paired with sparkly wine or some hot cocoa.)

First, a glimpse at the two I’ve sampled so far:

Christmas in Mustang Creek by Linda Lael MillerChristmas in Mustang Creek by Linda Lael Miller (9/29 from HQN Books): Charlotte is back home in Mustang Creek for good, and she’s surprised to find her ex, Jaxon, there too. The surprises don’t stop coming with the mysterious Mrs. Klozz, who has been taking care of Charlotte’s ailing aunt. For a cute story about second chances and true holiday magic, Christmas in Mustang Creek is sweet and sure to get you in the mood for a beautiful home cooked meal with only the best sweets. (Seriously, the menu in this book is fit for royalty.)

Buy on Amazon | Buy on B&N  | Add to Goodreads

Evergreen SpringsEvergreen Springs by RaeAnne Thayne by RaeAnne Thayne (9/29 by HQN Books): A single dad with two kids; a doctor who is so used to taking care of everyone else that sometimes she forgets about herself. This is what holiday dreams are made of. Cole and Devin have that opposites attract vibe, and this story is so much about how the spirit of the holidays uplifts the most downtrodden. I love how the town of Haven Point bands together to help their own (even those least likely to be joiners), the holiday traditions (peppermint cotton candy!), and the all around kindness expressed in this book. It’s everything I’d want a holiday romance to be — complete with a hot spring and a tree from the middle of the woods.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on B&N | Add to Goodreads

And now, a few romance picks I’m curious about:

2015 Holiday Romance Picks

9/29: Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery

10/20: Wrapped in Red two stories by Nana Malone & Sherelle Green

10/22: Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan

10/27: Bring Me Home For Christmas by Robyn Carr

11/1: A Copper Ridge Christmas a novella by Maisey Yates | Love, Lies, and Mistletoe by Jennifer Snow

11/11: A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe by Vicki Lewis Thompson

11/17: A Cold Creek Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne

12/1: A White Wedding Christmas by Andrea Laurence


Whew! Are we in the spirit? Just in case you might possibly need a few other suggestions, I had a blast throwing together a similar post last year. Happy reading, shopping, loving, and romancing! Until next time! – e

November 19, 2015 - 5:35 pm

Lucy - I’m ready to do a little holiday reading but I never know where to start. Thanks for spreading the holiday cheer and all the great festive reading suggestions!

November 18, 2015 - 12:11 pm

Hollie - I love Sarah Morgan’s Christmas books! She’s always a perfect pick to get me in the festive spirit. I’ve already started my Christmas reading, and purchased 3 holiday-themed books ready to dive into when I’ve got a spare few minutes. I’ll have to check out Christmas in Mustang Creek (and the rest of the series!) as it sounds brilliant.

November 18, 2015 - 10:19 am

Lauren @ Bookmark Lit - I love seeing other people that get in the spirit before Thanksgiving too! I just love the holiday season SO much and refuse to wait until December lol. Reading holiday romances is my favorite, so I’m glad to see some options for my TBR!

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Hello? Hi. Checking in.

Just checking in to say hello and hope you are well after a horrific past few days, and some unexpectedly unexpected things going on here. It’s like every time I turn around, the month has gotten farther and farther away from me. I mean, next week is THANKSGIVING. And then officially the holiday season. I really need a dose of good will toward people and an extra wave of cheerfulness — and I know I’m not alone in that. So. Bring it on, already.

I officially finished my #30DaysofYoga challenge on Sunday afternoon, and it was surprisingly emotional for me. I’m still not sure why. I wasn’t feeling particularly weepy or anything (what a surprise) but I think I realized how much a relief yoga has been during these stressful few weeks. It may have taken me longer than I thought (a month and a half) but still, I stuck with it and I feel good about this accomplishment. I’ve realized in the past few months that these little missions I have been giving myself really keep me agile and present in life, and I want to keep feeling that way. There’s always work to be done. So for now, I’ll be continuing with Adriene’s videos for my evening work outs. (I really need a new yoga mat; suggestions please!)

#SockSunday November 14Hm. What else has been going on? Not too, too much. My husband and I started watching Jane the Virgin, and Master of None recently and I’m enjoying both a lot. (We are almost done with the last season of Last Man Standing available on Netflix and that’s always a bummer. We speed through those episodes so quickly!) I watched a strange movie with Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks last week where they are half-siblings but he doesn’t tell her and she starts to fall in love with him? No. It was too weird for me. (For reference, it was People Like Us.) I also made a butternut squash mac and cheese, and pumpkin chili. (One of my other November goals is to cook four new meals; checked off that one.)

As for reading: I finished The Trouble With Density (12/8) by Lauren Morrill the other day, and thought it was a hoot — a marching band on a cruise ship trying to win prize money with a ton of hijinks. And as my middle grade kick continues, My Life in Dioramas by Tara Altebrando was a speedy read about Kate, a girl who is very unhappy about her parent’s financial problems and their decision to sell their beloved house. This week, I’m working through some library books with All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brandon Kiely and my first Amy Reed book: Invincible.

Some procrastination material: A fourth grader stands up to her teacher over #GirlCode (Huffington Post). Big Bird gets his shot interning at Funny or Die a.k.a. the absolute best thing you will ever see. Instagram is the new blog (The Cut). 40 books every woman should read from Hello Giggles — what do you think of these picks?

Okay, that’s it from me. Let’s have a good week, shall we? xoxo – e

November 20, 2015 - 1:08 am

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - i tried the 30 day challenge a few times, but I didn’t make it too far. I love going to a yoga studio, and have tried a few new kinds of yoga over the past few years. I love it and it feels like more than just exercise — yoga makes me feel at peace and centred too. I recently found a podcast with 20 minute yoga sessions, and I did the first one tonight. I’m going to try to practice every day (but will be gentle with myself if I don’t). Great post, and I hope you keep writing these check-in posts — I love them!

November 16, 2015 - 8:47 pm

Alexa S. - I love seeing your personal updates, E! I’m sending lots of positive thoughts your way and hoping that the holiday season to come makes your days brighter and merrier and all things wonderful. So glad you achieved some personal goals! And I’m definitely checking out this book list – I want to know what I’m missing out on, reading-wise 😉

November 16, 2015 - 3:51 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - I showed a class of seventh graders some book trailers after my research demo and they seemed really excited about My Life in Dioramas so I’m hoping a lot of them will check it out.

If Instagram really is the new blog, I am in BIG trouble because it’s my least favorite (and to me most cumbersome) form of social media on which I am currently active.

November 16, 2015 - 10:14 am

MK - Bless you for getting through all 30 days. I tried. I really wanted to. I love Adrienne. But I could not get the hang of it and I was always trying to look at the screen and get the poses right and…I gave up! Go you! Hope this week is a good one! xo

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