Friday Favorites: New Cards in my Etsy Store + Elf Cereal

Happy Friday! It’s felt like a long and busy week for me so I’m looking forward to the weekend. I don’t have much planned other than spending some time with my boyfriend, but that sounds perfect to me. It’s been awhile since I’ve last written a Friday favorites post, so I’m excited to share the items below.

New cards in my Etsy store

I don’t share it very much here on the blog, but I have a stationery shop on Etsy. I have everything from notecards to stickers to lined envelopes for sale over there. This week I picked up a few new notecards that I designed. I think my favorite out of the bunch is the flamingo notecard. It’s always exciting to pick up new products from the printers – I’m never totally sure how they’ll turn out. I’m really happy with these ones though.

New library book

I picked up a couple holds this week at the library and The Drowning Kind (affiliate link) by Jennifer McMahon was one of the books waiting for me. I think I’ve read 4 of her both books and I enjoyed them all. Jenifer manages to write books with the perfect mix of mystery, thrills, and paranormal. I’m only a few chapters in so far but I’m enjoying it so far.

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

When social worker Jax receives nine missed calls from her older sister, Lexie, she assumes that it’s just another one of her sister’s episodes. Manic and increasingly out of touch with reality, Lexie has pushed Jax away for over a year. But the next day, Lexie is dead: drowned in the pool at their grandmother’s estate. When Jax arrives at the house to go through her sister’s things, she learns that Lexie was researching the history of their family and the property. And as she dives deeper into the research herself, she discovers that the land holds a far darker past than she could have ever imagined.

In 1929, thirty-seven-year-old newlywed Ethel Monroe hopes desperately for a baby. In an effort to distract her, her husband whisks her away on a trip to Vermont, where a natural spring is showcased by the newest and most modern hotel in the Northeast. Once there, Ethel learns that the water is rumored to grant wishes, never suspecting that the spring takes in equal measure to what it gives.

Elf Cereal

My boyfriend sent me a picture of Elf cereal when he found it while grocery shopping this week. He knows I’m a huge fan of Elf (really who isn’t?!?!). I ended up popping into the grocery store to get a box. I love that it says it includes elves’ favorite food – candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup. While I haven’t actually tried any of the cereal yet, I really hope I like it.

I read somewhere that Elf was released 18 years ago this month. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long. I remember going to see it with friends when I was in university. Apparently it’s been 18 years since I was a university student! It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long though.

I don’t have much planned for the weekend. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be spending some time curled up under a blanket reading The Drowning Kind. Spending some time at my boyfriend’s place will also probably happen as well. I’ve had a busy week with a bunch of appointments, so I’m looking forward to enjoying my down time.

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Birthday Weekend

I’m another year older as of Sunday!

I celebrated by birthday this last weekend. Next year will be a big one for me, so I’ll be enjoying this year before I move up to a new decade. Below is the artwork that a friend’s daughter drew inside my card. I told her that I was impressed with all of the details she included. I was able to spend some time on Saturday night with a few friends. It felt so good to see them – it had been awhile since I’d seen a couple of them.

It was another low key birthday thanks to Covid. It’s hard to believe that this is the second pandemic birthday for me. I’m really hoping that next year things will be closer to normal. I celebrated Sunday night with my dad and brother. We ordered Shawarma for my birthday dinner which I really enjoyed. It was really good. We finished off the night with a vanilla birthday cake that I had made earlier in the day. I’m still trying to figure out how I want to spend my birthday money. On the list is a black quilted Kate Spade bag from a consignment store downtown. Does anyone else have a hard time deciding how to spend money or gift cards that they’ve been gifted?

This week has been busy so far. I’ve had a bunch of medical appointments with a couple more to go later on this week. I’ll be glad once they’re done. Most of them are tough appointments with tough conversations. I was able to get in some quality time with my boyfriend and his dog yesterday. We went on a walk and then hung out for a bit afterwards. It always feels good when his dog gets so excited to see me – he gets so wiggly and full of kisses.

Friday Favorites: Garden Harvest + Vote By Mail

I’m sharing a few of my favorite things in this blog post.

Happy Friday! Another week is just about done and I’m looking forward to the weekend. I don’t have much planned for the weekend, but I do know that I’ll be working on getting some more products listed in my Etsy store. I’ll be sure to share on the blog once everything is up!

Garden harvest

This week I picked the last of what was left in the garden. The forecasted overnight lights were supposed to get close to freezing, so I figured I would pick everything (even if it wasn’t quite ripe yet) than risk it freezing and ruined. I picked a couple pounds of potatoes, a bunch of tomatoes (the green ones will ripen nicely inside), a couple small peppers and even two teeny tiny broccolis.

When I was picking the tomatoes I was shocked at how many there were. I kept thinking I had gotten them all off a plant and then I’d find another bunch or two on it. My dad has already made pasta sauce with a bunch of the tomatoes. It was so good! You could definitely tell that it was made from tomatoes that had only been picked 24 hours ahead of time. It just tasted so fresh. I’m looking forward to lots of tomatoes on sandwiches, salads, and even pasta sauce as the green ones ripen.

Voting by mail

Back in August a federal election was called by the Prime Minister. Election day is Monday, September 20th (it must be seem like such a super short process compared to federal elections in the United States). I’ve been doing my best to keep my risk of getting Covid as low as I can, so I was feeling hesitant about going to vote in person on election day. I decided to vote by mail for the first time. I’m happy to say that it was super easy and definitely something that I would do again. You’re instructed to seal your ballot in a couple different envelopes. One of them has your voter info on it so that they can verify that I’m an eligible voter. That envelope is then removed and the inner envelope that holds my ballot is unmarked, so it’s cast anonymously just like if I were to vote in person.

On Wednesday I dropped my ballot off at the post office. I’m glad that it’s done and I don’t have to worry about waiting in line or going into a polling place on Monday. My brother decided to try voting in advance. He went on the first day that it was offered and was happy that there was no one else there voting while he was there. My dad also decided to vote by mail. I would definitely vote by mail again. It was super easy to do, and I was able to do it on my own time. The only think you have to make sure you do is request a mail in ballot ahead of time.

If you’re a Canadian who hasn’t voted yet, make sure to get out and vote in advance or go to your polling place on Monday. It’s so important that your voice is heard. You deserve to have a say in how things are done in Canada.

Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend? Let me know in the comments below.

My Favorite Peloton Instructors

In today’s post I’m sharing some of my favorite instructors on the Peloton app.

I haven’t been to the gym since February or March 2020. It’s hard to believe that it’s been so long already. As much as I’m missing it, I don’t feel comfortable going back yet. Cases are rising here in Calgary and additional restrictions were put in place on Friday due to the increase in Covid hospital admissions. I decided to sign up for the Peloton app (check out my review of it here) because at home workouts are a lot easier for me if I have someone else telling me exactly what to do. It’s funny because if I’m working out at the gym I don’t have a problem with motivation. But at home it feels like there’s way more distractions. In this post I’ll be sharing my favorite instructors.

One of the very first classes on the app was with Andy Speer. Since that class I’ve been hooked on his workouts. I’ve done more of his workouts than anyone else on the Peloton app. He does all kinds of classes – from strength to treadmill to cycling.

Kristin McGee is my favorite yoga teacher on Peloton. I’ve been a fan of hers for 20ish years. The fact that she had classes on the app was a big reason that I decided to take the plunge and sign up. She’s well known in the yoga community. I really enjoy her classes and she has a great presence when she’s teaching.

Chase Tucker is a down to earth instructor, which draws me to his classes. He’s really good at being encouraging without being annoying. I think just about everyone has taken a fitness class with someone who’s just over the top peppy and it just annoys you. That’s definitely not the case with Chase.

As for treadmill workouts, I really like Matty Maggiacomo’s workouts. I don’t have a Peloton treadmill, but I do have a treadmill. With the app I’m able to do the treadmill workouts just as good.

In terms of the mediations that Peloton offers on their app, my favorite instructors are Ross Rayburn and Chelsea Jackson Roberts. They both have soothing voices, which makes them easy to listen to. The meditations vary in length from just a few minutes to longer ones. I think they’re a great introduction to meditation if you’re new to it.

Who’s your favorite instructor on the Peloton app? Tell me in the comments below.

What I Read: August 2021

In today’s post I’m sharing what I’ve been reading lately.

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

I found The Book of Lost Friends (affiliate link) to be heartbreaking, yet also a book that I just couldn’t put down. It’s set in the time and place that I haven’t read many books about before. Lisa does a great job of weaving the two timelines together.

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Louisiana, 1875 In the tumultuous aftermath of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now-destitute plantation; Juneau Jane, her illegitimate free-born Creole half-sister; and Hannie, Lavinia’s former slave. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following dangerous roads rife with ruthless vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and eight siblings before slavery’s end, the pilgrimage westward reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the seemingly limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hope.

Louisiana, 1987 For first-year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt–until she lands in a tiny, out-of-step Mississippi River town. Augustine, Louisiana, seems suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled oaks and run-down plantation homes lies the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

I read two Elin Hilderbrand books back to back. Silver Girl (affiliate link) is inspired by the story of Ruth Madoff, who was married to Bernie Madoff. He’s known for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that stole billions of dollars. I can only imagine what it would feel like to be ostracized by not only by people who knew you, but also strangers because the Ponzi scheme had obviously been in the news.

Here’s what Goodreads had to say about it:

Meredith Martin Delinn just lost everything: her friends, her homes, her social standing – because her husband Freddy cheated rich investors out of billions of dollars.

Desperate and facing homelessness, Meredith receives a call from her old best friend, Constance Flute. Connie’s had recent worries of her own, and the two depart for a summer on Nantucket in an attempt to heal. But the island can’t offer complete escape, and they’re plagued by new and old troubles alike. When Connie’s brother Toby – Meredith’s high school boyfriend – arrives, Meredith must reconcile the differences between the life she is leading and the life she could have had.

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

The second Elin Hilderbrand book I read was The Identicals (affiliate link). I don’t know what it was exactly about this book, but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I usually do with Elin’s books. Maybe it’s because I read it right after Silver Girl which I really liked? It’s definitely not a bad book, I just wasn’t drawn into it like I normally am with her books.

The Indenticals follows the lives of four women – two twin sisters, their mother, and one of the twin’s daughter. It was interesting to read each person’s perspective. It made it easy to empathize with all four characters.

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

If you’re looking for something fun and easy to read, Wedding Night (affiliate link) is the book for you. The characters make silly decisions (that at the same time are completely understandable) which leads to quite a few funny and weird situations. I think that’s what I like the most about Sophie Kinsella’s books. Even though the characters get themselves into trouble you can understand how they got there.

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad — not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married . . . right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. But Lottie is determined to say “I do,” for better, or for worse.

Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes

I really liked reading Sheltering Rain (affiliate link). I’m a huge fan of Jojo Moyes so when I saw this one on a shelf at the library I knew that I wanted to borrow it.

It’s set in Ireland and focuses on the relationships between a mom, grandmother, and daughter. Families can be tricky and get complicated fast, and this one is no different. All three of the main characters felt very believable to me, and I could relate a bit to all of them.

Share a book that you’ve read lately in the comments below.

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