Friday Favorites: Thriller + Seeds

I’m sharing a few of my favorite things from the past week in today’s blog post.

Another week is over. The days seemed to drag by this week, but not that I think about the week it feels like it sped by. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the warmer weather this week. While we did get snow overnight and there’s still lots of snow on the ground, it feels like spring is just about the corner. This winter has felt extra long and cold – most likely because of the restrictions due to Covid. I haven’t spent time with friends like I would have otherwise. I’m really missing my people! With the vaccine starting to get rolled out here in Alberta, I’m hoping that we’ll be vaccinated sooner rather than later so that I can get together with people again.

Watching You

I picked up some books that I had on hold at the library this week. One of them was Watching You (affiliate link) by Lisa Jewell. It only took me two or three days to finish reading it. It was one of those books that I kept telling myself “I’ll only read one more chapter”. One more chapter ended up turning into 5 or 6 more chapters. I’ve been slowly making my way through all of Lisa’s books over the past year or so when I first discovered her. I’m really glad that I did because I really enjoy her books. They’re a good mix of thriller and mystery that keeps me interested.

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

The Chocolate Lab

My boyfriend got me a box of fancy chocolates for Valentine’s Day a few weeks ago from The Chocolate Lab. I had never tried their chocolates before, but I was impressed. Not only were they really pretty, but they were also delicious. (I ended up trying one before I took a picture, hence the missing chocolate). They have all kinds of cool chocolate flavors.

The white and pink heart in the bottom right corner was strawberry cheesecake chocolate. It had a later of graham cracker crust, cheesecake, and then strawberry filling all covered in chocolate. It was definitely my favorite one in the box that my boyfriend picked out for me. It’s hard to go wrong with cheesecake.

Seed starting

A few weeks ago I started planted some seeds indoors. Since there’s such a short growing season here in Calgary, I usually start some seeds indoors to get a head start. The first seeds to sprout were the tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes straight from the garden are the absolute best, so I’m really looking forward to having a garden full of food this summer. I also planted some broccoli, brussels sprouts, basil, oregano, parsley, celery, bell peppers, cabbage, watermelon, swiss chard, pumpkin, and zucchini. I also planted some flowers seeds including poppy, black eyed susan, aster, snapdragon, marigold, scarlet flax, sweet pea, and morning glory.

Working in the garden in the summer is such a relaxing thing for me, so I’m excited to get back out there once the snow is gone and it’s warm enough to plant things outside. I’m very grateful to have some outdoor space to call my own and have a garden. I bought my tomato seeds from Casey and my vegetable and flower seeds from Baker Creek.

Do you have any exciting plans for the weekend? There’s up to 10 centimeters of snow in the forecast for today, so I’m probably going to stay pretty close to home. I’m all about avoiding the big dumps of snow if I can. I have a pile of library books to read so I’ll probably spend some time with them this weekend.

What are you currently reading? What’s your favorite thing to grow in your garden?

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Little Luxuries

Today I’m sharing the little things I do that feel luxurious.

I was thinking the other day about the little luxuries that I do. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive. I’m thinking more small scale things that make me smile or that I don’t do everyday but feel like I’m pampering myself. With all the stress I’ve been experiencing (along with everyone else) with Covid over the last year, I’m all about treating myself when I can.

Lighting a candle

For a long time I didn’t want to light candles because I didn’t want to “waste” them. For some reason I felt like I had to save them for the right time. I never had a particular occasion in mind, I just felt like I couldn’t light them just because I wanted to.

Last summer I finally started lighting candles whenever I felt like it – when I sitting at my desk working on a blog post or simply reading a good book. I realized that I don’t have to wait for a special occasion to have a candle lit. I can have one going whenever I want. It makes things feel a bit cozier for me. Considering how much time I’ve spent at home over the past year, it’s been one of those things that’s added a little bit of fun into my days.

Reading

I’ve always been a user of the library, but up until December it had mostly been ebooks that I had been borrowing. When it was announced that there would be increased restrictions where I live in early December, I figured I would put some physical books on hold at the library. Libraries are still closed to the public, but I’m very grateful that I’m able to do curbside pickup for the books that I put on hold. I can still read new to me books while also making the process of picking up books as safe as possible for everyone involved.

I’ve really been enjoying the experience of being able to bold a book in my hands rather than reading an ebook on my phone. I had forgotten how satisfying it is to be able to flip each page and see the progress I’m making as my bookmark gets closer to the end of the book.

Doing my nails

Something that I didn’t think that I would enjoy as much as I do is doing my nails. Not only do my nails look cute with nail polish on them, but it also forces me to sit and be still for an hour or so. I’m one of those people who has a hard time sitting still. I feel like I should be doing something “productive”.

I’ve been all about the Essie nail polish (affiliate link). I’ve tried different brands, but I keep coming back to Essie. It goes on evenly and covers well. That hasn’t been the case with non-Essie polishes. If you’re looking for nail polish that dries a bit quicker, check out Expressie (affiliate link). It’s Essie’s quick dry formula.

Using my notebooks

Like with the candles above, I also have a hard time using notebooks. I’ve recently been using my notebooks more often for everyday things instead of “saving” them for something specific. It feels really good to be able to open up a pretty notebook and use it. It’s something small but it absolutely does bring me joy every time I pull one out to use it.

Now that I’ve shared some of my little luxuries, share one of yours in the comments below.

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Friday Favorites: Valentine’s Day + Historical Fiction

I’m sharing a couple of my favorite things from the past week.

I’m looking forward to the weekend. The weather is supposed to warm up a bit over the next few days. We’ve had some really cold weather this week which has honestly been kind of miserable. I’m doing everything I can to avoid having to go out into the cold. Even my teeth feel cold when I’m outside!

Valentine’s Day

I sent out some Valentine’s Day cards this year, including one to my boyfriend and his dog, Winston. My boyfriend sent me this photo of Winston with the card. Apparently he didn’t want to share it haha. It still feels weird to not be spending time with either of them due to the pandemic. I don’t know what I would do without texts and photos to keep in touch. Winston is just so cute!

Do you have any plans for Valentine’s Day on Sunday? I have some chocolates to give to my dad and brother, but other than that I’m thinking it’ll be pretty low key. It seems to be the way holidays have been going for the last week. Usually I make some cookies with heart shaped cookie cutters. We’ll see if I’m feeling ambitious tomorrow.

The Taming of the Queen

I finished reading The Taming of the Queen (affiliate link) earlier this week. It follows the life of Kateryn Parr, the last wife of King Henry VIII. Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Kateryn Parr, a thirty-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives – King Henry VIII – commands her to marry him.

Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: the previous queen lasted sixteen months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride and Kateryn’s trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court, and rules the kingdom as regent.

But is this enough to keep her safe? A leader of religious reform and a published author, Kateryn stands out as an independent woman with a mind of her own. But she cannot save the Protestants, under threat for their faith, and Henry’s dangerous gaze turns on her. The traditional churchmen and rivals for power accuse her of heresy – the punishment is death by fire and the king’s name is on the warrant…

Just like all of Philippa’s other books, I really liked that the book was from Kateryn’s point of view. It feels like a lot of the time history is always taught from the men’s perspective, and women are an afterthought. I can only imagine how scary it must have been to have been wife number 5, knowing what had happened to some of the previous wives.

Do you have anything fun planned this weekend?

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Workout Playlist

I’m sharing a brand new workout playlist in today’s post.

We’re still in a deep freeze over here. Yesterday it was nearly -50 C (-58 F) with the wind chill! That is way too cold for me – too cold for just about everyone I think. Needless to say we’re currently under an extreme cold warning here in Calgary. I’m really looking forward to when it warms up a bit. I know that spring is on the horizon, I just to want it to come sooner rather than later.

If you’re looking for a pair of wireless earbuds to use during workouts, I highly recommend these ones (affiliate link). I got them for Christmas a few years ago and they’re still working great despite all of the sweaty workouts I’ve put them through. The sound is pretty good and I’ve been pretty impressed with the battery life and range. They’re definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for new earbuds.

This workout playlist is a pop one. I’ve included some older favorites including some songs that I’m hearing on the radio right now. You can find it here on Spotify. I always make sure to add the links to the playlists on Spotify because it’s so easy to listen to that way. I don’t know what I did before Spotify. It’s such an improvement over having to carry around a discman and CD’s like I did back in high school.

Here are the songs on this month’s playlist:

  • Blinding lights by The Weeknd
  • Prisoner by Miley Cyrus
  • Goodbye by Imanbek
  • Kings & Queens by Ava Max
  • Bad Guy by Billie Eilish
  • Rain on Me by Lady Gaga
  • Cheap Thrills by Sia
  • Outside by Calvin Harris
  • Dynamite by BTS
  • Love You Like A Love Song by Selena Gomez
  • Sucker by Jonas Brothers
  • Salt by Ava Max
  • Want to Want Me by Jason Derulo
  • Dynamite by Taio Cruz
  • Give Me Everything by Pitbull
  • All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
  • Thank U, Next by Ariana Grande
  • Havana by Camilo Cabello
  • Pillowtalk by Zayn

Once again, you can find the playlist here on Spotify. Be sure to follow me on Spotify to get access to all of the workout playlists I share on the blog.

What kind of music do you like listening to while you workout? Let me know in the comments below.

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Super Bowl Weekend Highlights

Spoiler: I didn’t watch the Super Bowl.

This weekend was a very cold and snowy one, just like the forecast predicted. I didn’t even leave the house until Sunday to pick up the grocery order that I had submitted online the day before. I had on a pair of winter boots, jeans, 3 shirts, a jacket, toque, and 2 pairs of clothes when I drove over to the grocery store. I was still cold. I guess that’s bound to happen with it’s -32 C (-25 F for my American readers).

I spent Saturday trying to stay warm and cozy at home. I watched a couple movies while knitting. The last project I finished was a pair of red mittens. I’ve been all about the smaller knitting projects lately. It’s been pretty nice to have a pair of mittens done in just 2 or 3 days. Last week I donated a couple boxes of cold weather accessories. It was just in time to get them to the people who need them before the cold weather arrived. I’m hoping to have another box of mittens, toques, and neck warmers ready to go before the end of the winter.

The most interesting part of the Super Bowl for me is the halftime show, and I didn’t even know who was performing until I asked my brother a few hours before the game started. I did take advantage of some of the tasty snack food though. I made a pepperoni pizza that ended up being really good. I decided to go pretty simple with this one and opted for pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni for toppings. Not only is pizza comfort food, but it also tasted really good on such a cold day.

I also spent some time on Sunday reading. There’s nothing better than snuggling up under a warm blanket with a good book. I’m still making my way through The Taming of the Queen (affiliate link) by Philippa Gregory. She’s actually one of my favorite authors. The Taming of the Queen follows Katheryn Parr, who was the last wife of Henry VIII as well as the first woman in England to have a book published under her name.

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