About Me

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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What I Was Into in December

Well - here we are - another year has come and gone. Another year filled with reading and watching and going and doing and seeing...

So, here we go. The final month and 2014 and the things I've been into this past month!

Books I Read

Wild by Cheryl Strayed - I bought this book for $6.15 on my tablet; a splurge purchase if there ever was one, I saw a portion of the trailer on TV and immediately wanted to read it. I'm so glad I clicked the buy button because this book was so fascinating - and while I haven't dealt with any of the serious life struggles that Chery Strayed has dealt with, I do understand the feeling of being a bit lost and unsure about life. I don't know that I'd necessarily think I wanted to walk a 1,000 miles through the wilderness on my own to figure myself out..but then again, there is a part of me that thinks it would be interesting...to say the least. Either way, this book was excellent; an easy read and I practically devoured it.

Excellent book!
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - Another absolutely incredible book! Unbroken tells the (true) story of Louie Zamperini who was an Olympic runner and WWII pilot and prisoner of war. Zamperini was first stranded in the ocean for 47 days before finding land and being immediately captured and then subsequently imprisoned and tortured for over two years until the end of WWII in August of 1945. The true turnaround in Louie's life would come after he returned home from the war but I won't spoil that in case you decide to pick up a copy to read yourself. I can assure you - you will not regret reading this book!

An amazing read - I'm so glad I read it!

Books in the Queue

*Okay - it's at this point that I have to confess that I have taken a break from the Outlander series. I'm on the 6th of the 8 books and I have completely enjoyed them but I'm taking a little while to read other things. So, the last three - A Breath of Snow & Ashes, An Echo in the Bone and Written in My Own Heart's Blood will wait a little while.*

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris - I just started this book and I'm intrigued so far. I do love me some NPH, so I'm sure this will be a good read!

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafun - This is the book that our book club is reading for January; I'm not quite into it yet because I'm sharing a copy of the book with my Mom and she hasn't made too much of a dent in it yet. Seeing how book club meets on the 13th though, if she doesn't start turning some pages I may have to snatch it from her. :)

Can't Miss Television

American Horror Story: Freak Show - That's right, I watch American Horror Story. I go back and forth with each season because I'm not one for too much horror but last season really intrigued me and this season has been no different. Everyone on this show is a powerhouse in their own right and as an ensemble cast, they really create an impressive show. This season I'm not so much intrigued by crazy Elsa Mars and her freaks as I am by the absolutely insane Dandy Mott - you guys, he has taken to bathing in his victim's blood to "absorb" their energy and coerced a cop into being his sidekick. Things are about to get real.

What will the freaks be up to next week?
Christmas TV Specials - Seriously people; it was nothing but a Christmas special free for all! The two that are most splendid to me are two animated specials that have stood the test of time and still resonate and radiate Christmas magic and wonder to me: How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas. We watched both of these together on Christmas night and they just made Christmas all that more special to me.

Christmas classics!
Movies I Watched

Noah - This is a catch-up from last month...I completely forgot that I finally got around to watching this. I wasn't sure what it would be like...but I guess it wasn't at all what I expected. It was...in a word: weird. The story of the flood was there and it was interesting but there were so many random additions that really made it strange. Giant rock-like people called Watchers, an extra man sneaking onto the ark, but what really got me was Noah thinking God wanted him to kill his newborn granddaughters. Nope. Emma Watson was the best part of this movie...and that's really all I can say as a positive for it.

So strange.
Into the Woods - I completely loved this! I ventured into the theater on Monday afternoon with my sister and my Mom to see this one - and two out of the three of us loved it. My Mom thought it was "weird", ha-ha! The story is adapted from a Steven Sondheim musical that takes some classic fairytales (Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack & the Beanstalk) and turn them a wee bit on their heads...with rousing musical numbers added in for good measure. I'll be singing along to this soundtrack for the next few weeks to come, without a doubt.

Be careful what you wish for....
Wild - Yep...I read the book, so I went to see the movie and I really enjoyed it! The movie didn't take too many liberties from the book which really pleased me since I thought the book was excellent. That is always the danger when you read a book and then go to see the movie it's been turned into. However, with Reese Witherspoon in the lead there was quite a lot going for this film and she managed to carry the whole thing on her teeny little shoulders. I did feel slightly scandalized by how much I saw of Reese - but I guess that's what an R rating will get ya, ha-ha!

Excellent movie. of course, I do love almost anything with Reese in it.

Music I Listened To

Christmas music - of course! The new car I got midway through the month had Sirius satellite radio installed in it and so I kept that station tuned to Holly for almost every ride I took in my car. I did take a brief break from the Holly radio station to listen to Idina Menzel's Christmas album and it was also delightful!

Into the Woods Soundtrack - what can I say? Loved the movie, loved the music! I had NO clue that Chris Pine could sing like that! Wow! I didn't know quite a few people could sing as well as they could but Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick and Emily Blunt are all even more talented than I once thought! Some favorite songs are: Agony, On the Steps of the Palace and You Are Not Alone.

Theater & the Like

Nothing in this category this month....

Yummy in the Tummy

Christmas cookies! We make this every year as part of our family Christmas traditions and I look forward to them every year - and this year's cookies were no exception. My little sister and I get very into the decorating process and try to create all manner of different designs on our cookies, from stockings labeled with our names to our very own snowmen - we created Olaf and Bumble this year, in cookie form. And they tasted delicious!

Cheese dip - Okay, that may sound goofy but there is a delicious dip that my Mom makes every year at Christmas and Lindsey and I practically brawl over the leftovers. It is delicious and maybe one day I'll even share the recipe here with you. Suffice it to say that the stuff is ah-mazing and I wish I had some right now...but Lindsey and I have already eaten it all. Oops.

What I'm Looking Forward To

I'm not 100% sure what I'm looking forward to in January. I guess I'm just intrigued to see what this new year and my first full year in Virginia have in store for me. And maybe we'll get some more snow in the new year too? Ha-ha!

Happy New Year!

2014 in Pictures!

Welcome 2014! I feel this is a year for big changes!

Unseasonably cold weather in late January brought snow - and two snow days off from work!

Late January, ready for a night out in the big town of Meridian!

Another round of snow flurries arrived in February!

I darkened things up a bit halfway through the month...

Watching my sweet littlest "sister" in her school beauty review!

A different kind of "snow" - petals fluttering from the tree as it buds.

March evenings visiting with Micah & Hope!

March winds leave Watson trapped on the porch until I moved the plant...

Signs of Spring are everywhere - even in the kitchen!

Facing my fears in the Smokies - I conquered the zip line at over 500+ feet off the ground, soaring through the mountains & above the treetops!

Spending Easter afternoon in the National Park - Hen Wallow Falls is beautiful!

My cousin's graduation - he's the last Watson grandkid to graduate. We're all "big kids" now!

My traveling buddy to Colorado Springs in late May - flying the friendly skies with Nanny!

The family in the stands at USAFA for the Graduation Parade.

The family with our new Second Lieutenant - so proud of her!

One dramatic life change calls for another - I chopped all my hair off in June!

Saying good-bye to my first home - I was Virginia bound for good in June of this year!

Watson proved to be an excellent traveler on our journey to Virginia - he loves the open road & the thrill of adventure!

Settling in to life in the mountains of Virginia.

Exploring the open air walking mall in Winchester - part of my new home.

A Styx concert with lifelong (literally) friends Angie & Rachel.

The Shenandoah Valley from the Woodstock Fire Tower, high in the mountains!

Celebrating July 4th (it was freezing) with my very own Statue of Liberty - Emily!

Meeting sweet Miss Amelia Jane for the first time - only a day old.

Lindsey joined the summer fun in mid-July!

Ready to float down the Shenandoah River on a toasty July afternoon!

I finally made it to Hogwarts in July - part of our family vacation to Orlando the last week in July.

Ready to battle the Dark Side on Star Tours!

Making a pit stop in Dino Land USA - in the middle of The Animal Kingdom.

You've got to have Mickey ice cream while in Disney - it's just what you do!

Tea time with Lindsey before she headed out to Columbus to start her "adult" life.

Cuddles with Amelia - always one of my favorite things.

Lunch with this sweet boy & his Momma - so love all my friend in Virginia...& their precious kiddos!

Touring Movern Park in late August - holy house!

Enjoying the Shenandoah County Fair with Mom in early September - we had to ride the Tilt A Whirl!

My first drive-in movie experience - it was a double feature: Plane Fire & Rescue & How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Touring battle fields with Dad in September...

Helping Francis Scott Key write the Star Spangled Banner at the Bicentennial Celebration at Fort McHenry!

The amazing fireworks display at the Bicentennial - how cool are they?

I made the winning cupcakes at our church's Cupcake Wars...color me shocked!

Late September brought time with one of my oldest friends & her family. 

Apple picking with Ryleigh at Marker Miller Orchard.

Lost in the corn maze with Nickolee & Lyllian.

Turning 30 - how in the world did I get here so fast?

Long Branch Plantation on an Autumn afternoon.

Smiling with Watson at the Virginia State Arboretum.

Happy Halloween from Rocket Raccoon, a wee pumpkin & Princess Merida! 

Spending a rainy Saturday underground in Shenandoah Caverns!

Seeing the Fall colors on Skyline Drive with Dad.

Watson & I ready to take an evening walk in the cold - thank goodness for poofy coats!

Mid-week snuggles with sweet Jimmy after work.

Amelia helping me at Kitchen of Hope - she was trying to serve the chicken!

Watson loves to stare out the windows at the world passing outside...

A pit stop in Starkville over Thanksgiving vacation.

Returning to home sweet home - which was blanketed in white!


Saying good-bye to the Party Wagon after it was pronounced totaled - being smacked by a semi tends to have that effect on cars.

A gorgeous winter sunset.

Taking in the lights at Clearbrook Park & posing as Santa & Mrs. Claus!

My new car - a 2013 Kia Optima. I love it!

The face of someone who survived working retail through Christmas! Yikes!

Christmas 2014 with the family.

A day in DC with even more family....although this is only a picture of DC, ha-ha!

My first time seeing the National Christmas Tree.

Watson says "don't take down the Christmas tree...I'm not ready for the season to end!"

Here's to 2015 and Whatever it May Bring!