Friday Favorites – 05112018

The list of stuff I’ve been digging on lately. 🙂

1) X-Men

I’ve mentioned before my affinity for digital comics. Well, I’ve been reading a lot of X-Men books lately, at Steve’s suggestion. They’re one of his favorite titles.

I’d read a few X-Men books in the past, but lately I’ve been on more of a kick. Which is good, I guess, since we’ve got plenty of issues for me to choose from (the suggested reading order he wrote up for me me is quite lengthy. Ha.)

 

God Loves, Man Kills was the basis for the film X-Men 2, and Days of Future Past was the inspiration for the movie of the same title. I liked both movies, but I thought both books were even better!

Cyclops

My favorite X-Man, Cyclops

 

2)  This guest post on Becoming Minimalist, about gratitude:

This pretty much speaks for itself, so I’ll just leave the link here:

I liked this quote:

“Think of something in your life that you tend to take for granted. It can be as simple as running water or groceries in your fridge, or that you get to listen to music you enjoy or read books that inspire you. Now consider, for a moment, what your life would be like if you didn’t have it?

Especially at times when I find myself caught up in thinking about how something is not quite right—flight is delayed, garage door is broken—I remind myself to pause and think: Imagine life without this. It doesn’t mean I don’t ever want anything or wish for something to be better, but this simple exercise fills me with deep gratitude for the many amazing things that do fill my life, and it offers a helpful way to prioritize where I spend my emotional energy.”

 

3) Amazon giveaways

Last month, I hosted a couple of giveaways on Amazon. It was so much fun I knew I wanted to do it again, so for my birthday, I gave away a bunch of books. There were winners for everything but one copy of The Princess Diaries, so I’m re-listing it again :). Check it out here:

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Princess Diaries (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/2a9c6dd164ae8cd6 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of May 18, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules. (Claimed! :))

I’m also giving away a copy of The Lunar Chronicles coloring book, because I think it’s cool and I sort of wish I had one. Ha.

Lunar Chron coloring book

(I’ll post the giveaway link when Amazon sends it to me). (Edit: This giveaway was over so soon, I didn’t have time to post the link! Congrats to the winner :))

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that anything I write is particularly similar to any of the stuff I’ve given away. These are just books I really like, by authors I think are talented. They can be counted as influences of mine, I suppose, and definitely as recommendations! 🙂

These giveaways have been a lot of fun for me, and I think I’ll probably continue to host a few throughout the rest of the year.

4) My birthday

I turned 41 last month!

It was great. 🙂

Steve and I usually like to celebrate one another’s birthdays all month long, so…we did a lot of stuff. We attended several screenings of some of my fave horror and sci-fi movies  (The Brood, Videodrome, Nightbreed) at The Alamo Drafthouse, and he also took me to see Jonathan Davis perform when he came through here on his solo tour! So fun. I’m excited for JD’s new album! Only a couple more weeks to go.

Jonathan Davis

JD and his band. Photo by Steve

On my actual birthday, we went out for breakfast doughnuts and then to see The Avengers: Infinity War, which of course was awesome.

 

Then we went out for my fave meal, pizza and beer for dinner (Because I am classy like that. Ha). I had a great time. Steve sent me these gorgeous multi-colored roses.

 

 

5) Chips and Cheese Chili Casserole

Okay, this is probably one of the easiest recipes ever, but it is so, SO GOOD. I always joke that I could probably eat a whole pan in one sitting. I like it so much, this is what I chose to make myself for my birthday meal (a few days before my actual birthday…like I said, we tend to stretch out the celebrations to an inordinate degree around here :)).

chili chips and cheese casserole ingredients

I think this casserole would be great for a pot-luck, particularly if you made it a day ahead because it tastes even better after it’s been sitting in the fridge all night.

chili chips casserole completed

Probably not the healthiest thing you could ever eat, but also not the worst for you. The recipe says it’s gluten-free and with all those beans, it’s got to be high in fiber, right? So there’s that!

chili chips casserole leftovers_1

This is pretty much all that is ever left over.

FWIW, the recipe says there are all sorts of different ways you can make this casserole, and I’m sure that is true, but…the first time I made it, I used (1) 15 oz. can of black beans, (1) 8 oz. can of tomato sauce and (1) 14.5 oz. can of Amy’s brand Medium Chili, and this combo was so tasty, I have never bothered to change it. I think ONE time I tried it with a different kind of vegetarian chili and I just didn’t like it as much, so…these are the ingredients I normally stick with. I also like to use Kraft Triple Cheddar “Creamy Melt with a touch of Philadelphia cream cheese” in this, because it adds more tartness and pairs well with the sour cream (I think). Try it and see!

5) Craft beer

I’m not sure how Steve and I initially got into drinking craft beer, but it’s become sort of a hobby for us. We’ve been lucky enough to visit a ton of breweries around the state, as well as a few in other places.

Recently we went to Family Business Brewing Company in Dripping Springs, which is co-owned by Jensen and Danneel Ackles. The name is a nod to “Supernatural” – “Saving people, hunting things…the family business.” 😀

 

Their IPA, Cosmic Cowboy, was so good! I’m not into this craft beer stuff enough to know all the ins and outs about every different style, but I do know what I like and I am definitely an IPA fan. The hoppier and more bitter, the better IMO.

The day after the Family Business tour, we did a 5K at the Rentsch Brewery in Georgetown, and their beers were really good, too. (This is the Double Dry-Hopped IPA, which was pretty amazing). The race was fun — nice weather for it!

rentsch beer

Pic by Steve

 

6) Concerts with my husband

There was a time in my twenties when I remember being really burned out on going to concerts. I’m not sure why, but they just didn’t hold much appeal for me anymore. Then Steve and I started going to more and more live shows again, and now I love them.

John 5

Last month we went to see John 5…and I took this blurry photo of him.

We’ve been lucky enough to see tons of bands perform over the years. This past week we saw Mastodon. They’re hugely talented and put on a fantastic show. This was especially cool because we’d made plans to see them twice before and both of those shows had ended up being canceled. They said they hadn’t played here in two years! So, yeah…it was great to finally catch them again.

Mastodon

Much better pic of Mastodon by Steve

Okay, I think that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!

XOXO,

Elizabeth

 

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Lots of travel, running, beer-drinking, and rock.

Just a quick update on what I’ve been doing with myself these past few months…:)

I’ve been fairly busy. Steve and I moved cities back in March and we’ve also been on several small trips, so it feels as though I’ve been “in transit” quite a lot this year.

In April we took a pretty big trip to Orlando, FL, to participate in the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge at Disney World. This was a 10K on Saturday followed by a half marathon on Sunday. We also did the 5K on Friday because…you know, that wasn’t enough running for us, apparently :). It was an, uh, interesting experience; one I’m not in a big hurry to have again, frankly! But I’m glad we went. We did have fun.

We flew to FL but drove back to TX afterward. Along the way, we stopped in New Orleans, LA because neither of us had ever been there before. That was interesting and fun, too. We had iced coffee and beignets at Café du Monde (not the super-popular one, but a different location in the city):

cafe du monde coffee and beignets

D-licious…although they kinda skimp on the powdered sugar, don’t they?! 😉

…and on our way out of the city, we made a detour to Oak Alley Plantation, where we took a guided tour of the house and self-guided tour of an exhibit about slavery. Part of the movie Interview with the Vampire was filmed here. The house and grounds were quite gorgeous!

We got back home just in time for my birthday. Steve took me to see PJ Harvey in concert and then the following weekend we went to Dallas for the Texas Frightmare Weekend horror convention, where we met E.G. Daily, Michael Berryman (got those two to sign our The Devil’s Rejects poster) and Dario Argento!(!!)

Steve and I are also doing this Texas 6-pack 5K beer challenge thing this year, where you participate in a bunch of races at different independent craft breweries around the state. Each race benefits a different local charity. We’ve completed five so far, in San Marcos, Goliad, San Antonio, Seven Points, and Katy. These events have all been super fun, even if coming back from Seven Points (about an hour outside Dallas), we got stuck in major traffic for hours :(! Boo!!

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This “Sittin’ Sidehaze” from No Label Brewing Co. has been one of my favorites we’ve tried so far. I had two! :O

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Although I was excited to finally try the “Brew of H,” too — being a UH alum and all :).

Earlier this month we saw At the Drive-In, Metallica, and Iron Maiden in concert (not all at the same time, though, ha). They were all awesome performances and I’m really grateful I got to see them. Metallica and Maiden both have super impressive visual effects and stage shows! If you get the chance to check them out, I highly recommend it!

I think that’s all the fun stuff for now. Aside from that, I have been doing the usual:  being a hermit, doing housework, reading and writing most of the day :). Luckily, these are my favorite ways to spend the time. I’ll post an update on some of the books I’ve finished reading soon. It feels as though there a ton of them. What have you guys been up to?! I hope you’re well. xoxo,

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Puzzling

I’ve had some busy weekends lately.

On March 22nd, S and I completed the Donut Dash 10K in San Antonio, TX. While we were there for the weekend, we saw the new Cinderella movie. I thought it was great! I was pleased the filmmakers didn’t really change the story much from the old cartoon version, as that was always one of my favorite Disney movies. When we got back into town on Sunday, we had dinner with several old friends. We ate outside, which was great because the weather that night was perfect for that sort of thing.

The following weekend we were in Dallas to see The Toadies.

And this past week we stayed in town but were busy doing a little shopping. And I assisted S in making another batch of home brew :). Looking forward to trying that when it is ready!

Getting back to the topic of Cinderella…here is a jigsaw puzzle of her I completed a while back:

Cinderella puzzleAs a kid, I always loved putting together jigsaw puzzles.Recently I started thinking about them a lot and wanting to do one. When I saw this one at the grocery store, I knew I had to try it. I really liked the unique border!

S and I also completed this “best sellers” puzzle recently:

DSCF3456It was bigger than the Cinderella puzzle (1,000 pieces vs. 600) but it came together a lot easier and faster. This was obviously because S was helping me but also, I think, because there were so many different patterns in the design. It seems as though when there’s a large expanse of all one color or pattern, it takes longer to put together.

Anyway, I’m happy to have returned to this hobby. It helps me to clear my mind and relax :). Next, I’ve got a Disney Snow White puzzle waiting in the wings (there is one in this series for every Disney princess and she is my favorite)!

Happy weekend,

Elizabeth

PS – Hmmm…maybe I ought to change the name of my blog. I seem to have fallen away from posting every week :P. I will try to do better.

Scrap Simple

On Tuesdays, I post a little about what I’m currently reading.

I’ve been remiss in posting about books these past few weeks. However, I HAVE been reading a lot. I’ve read 5 books already this month! And I’m in the middle of 3 others.

My mantra for the new year has been “books, not blogs.” Meaning that when I find myself with time to read, I opt for one of the books I’m reading rather than just clicking around, reading random blog posts online. Yes, I realize the irony of writing about this on a blog :). But it’s not that I am no longer reading blogs at all, just that I am trying to be more intentional about what (and when) I do read. I’d have to say it’s paying off! So far this year I have read the following:

Queen of the Dead (Ghost and the Goth Book 2)

Body & Soul (Ghost and the Goth Book 3)

Mr. Darcy’s Persistent Pursuit: A Pride and Prejudice Variation

Love’s Fool: The Taming of Lydia Bennet: What Happened After Mr. Darcy’s Persistent Pursuit

The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: Achieve More Success with Less Stress

I enjoyed all of them, especially Love’s Fool, which is probably the cutest romance I’ve read in quite some time!

One of the other books I’m reading now is Scrap Simple: Using Minimal Design to Create Beautiful Scrapbook Pages. I borrowed this from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library because I was intrigued by the promise of “fresh, clean and uncluttered (scrapbook) pages created with minimal product,” as well as the following description:

Scrapbooking doesn’t have to be fussy to be fun! For those with the desire but just a little bit of time, money or space, Scrap Simple is the must-have guide for chronicling all the important milestones and moments efficiently and economically. Perfect for beginners and veterans alike, this book makes it easy to give your pages that clean, simple look you want.

Sounds good to this minimalist!!

One of my goals for 2015 is to finally start a scrapbook for all of the bibs and other running memorabilia S and I have collected over the years. Right now, it’s all just sitting forlornly in a plastic tub.

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But I’m hoping to transform this mess into something at least semi-cute. I ordered a memory book and have gathered a few running-themed stickers.

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I’ve also still got a lot of other paper crafting paraphernalia sitting around, left over from my deco (mail art) days.

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I knew there was a reason I’d kept so much of this stuff :)!

Hopefully I’ll be able to report progress on this project soon.

Happy reading (and scrapbooking)!

Elizabeth