Unboxing: Moterm Veg Tan Espresso

So excited to share with you the newest addition to the planner lineup. A new Espresso Moterm veg tan binder. I also share a comparison to my dark brown Gillio planners. Let me know your thoughts!

August Planner Setup

Hi, everyone – I have been rummaging in my personal ring binders and pulled out a classic to use for a while. Also talking through my August planner setup.

July Planner Thoughts

Chat with me as I ramble about planners and share some thoughts about what’s been on my mind as I’ve been experimenting with other planners in June/July.

A new contender for 2022?

I’ve been trying out a new planner for potential use in 2022. I’m still not sure how I feel about it or if it will work for me. But I wanted to share my initial thoughts with you all.

Let me know what you think!

2021 Books in Review

Way back when I was posting on this blog regularly, I would post book reviews every time I finished a book. I’ve gotten out of that habit, but I thought I would share some of the books I’ve read this year. Ones that captured my attention, enchanted me, and kept me reading to the last page. There were a few others I abandoned, but I won’t bother mentioning them.

I’m one of those people who feels like life is too short to read books you don’t like.

Are you that way?

Or do you read a book and determine to finish it whether you like it or not? I think there are two camps in this department. I’m definitely one of the people in the “abandon the bad book” department. It took me a long time to get to the point where I could give myself permission to do this – but it was so liberating when I did! Once I realized there wasn’t a “book police” who would be giving me demerits if I didn’t finish a book, I began to abandon books that I found I was carrying around but never reading, that didn’t capture my attention or imagination, or whose characters annoyed me.

So, what you will find on this list are books that I enjoyed, whose stories and characters became friends I looked forward to visiting, and who I was sad to see go when the stories were finished. They are in no particular order, except perhaps the order in which I read them.

I hope you enjoy.

The Echo Wife

by Sarah Gailey

This was a very interesting psychological thriller that kept me intrigued throughout. The characters are not particularly likable, but they are not supposed to be. Evelyn is an award-winning geneticist whose husband is having an affair with another woman. A woman who just happens to be a clone of Evelyn. Martine is everything Evelyn is not.

When Evelyn’s husband turns up dead, she and Martine are wrapped up in a situation neither of them can escape from. And what happens is as peculiar as you can imagine. As Martine and Evelyn deal with the fallout, each begins to learn more about themselves, who they are (and are not) and the repercussions of the decisions they both made when Nathan died.

Neither Evelyn nor Martine are particularly lovable. This is not a story with a typical good/bad character profile. The characters are flawed, broken, and driven each by their own needs and compulsions. While I would not want to be friends with them, they each highlight what happens when your own selfish desires are indulged without regard to consequences. Throw in the moral ethics of cloning and you’ve got an interesting story.

The Midnight Library

by Matt Haig

Where The Echo Wife was dark and somewhat hopeless, The Midnight Library is all about hope and second chances.

What if you were given a chance to see all of the potential outcomes of all of the choices you’ve made in your life? The job you didn’t take. The boyfriend (or girlfriend) you broke up with. The trip you chose to take (or not take). All of those roads not traveled… what if you could see the alternate outcome?

Nora Seed finds herself in the most horrible, no-good, bad day there ever was. And she decides there’s nothing more worth living for. As she makes this life-altering decision, she finds herself suddenly in a situation where she has the power to change her life path in ways she had never imagined. Pursue the career she gave up, embrace life in new and exciting ways.

I won’t spoil the plot for you, but I will give this one a strong recommendation for you to read. It’s all about second chances, having hope, and finding joy in your life. Well written, engaging characters and thought-provoking plot.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Another main character named Evelyn but such a different character and storyline!

Evelyn Hugo is a world-famous screen star. She’s lived a life of excess and glamour. And she’s decided to write a tell-all story about her life. Evelyn decides to commission magazine reporter Monique Grant to write her story. Monique is in the throes of a divorce and her life is in shambles. Why has Evelyn chosen her to write her biography? She has no clue. But Monique decides to go ahead with the project and soon discovers that Evelyn has many secrets to reveal.

I’m a fan of Jenkins Reid – I loved Daisy Jones and the Six – and so I was excited to start this book when I received it. The story captured me almost immediately and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The parallel storylines of both Evelyn’s past and the current relationship between Evelyn and Monique were so well done. I can’t help but wonder if Elizabeth Taylor was an inspiration for Evelyn’s character. She reminded me of that age of glamour and classic Hollywood icons.

As the book evolves and Evelyn’s story unfolds, the relationship between Monique and Evelyn grows as well. Even though I suspected the ultimate reveal at the end of the story, I still enjoyed seeing how Jenkins read wove all the elements of the story together. It was a book I was sad to close and say goodbye to the characters.

What are some books you’ve enjoyed this year?

Have you read any of these?

Stay tuned for more story synopses and recommendations from my 2021 reads coming soon!

Review: A6 Zippered Moterm Cover

I finally got a replacement for the A6 zippered Moterm cover I sold a few years ago. Here’s a review of the “new” model from Moterm. Hope you enjoy!

Autumn Adventures: Thanksgiving in North Carolina

We spent Thanksgiving week in a little cabin in the mountains in North Carolina. No cell service, and not much in the way of internet, either. Just the five of us and some beautiful scenery. It was cold (colder than we expected) but we had a great time and really enjoyed taking daily drives to soak up the scenery.

We had an encounter with a lost hunting dog one day – that was quite an interesting time! She came running up to us as we got out of the car at an overlook. Bedraggled, hungry, and cold with three different radio transmitter collars on. As the girls snuggled her and gave her lots of loving, I called one of the numbers on the collar to let her owner know we had her. As we waited for him to come to pick her up, a few gents from the road crew happened by. They knew the owner and ended up hanging around talking to Rob until he came. Polly the puppy got lots of snuggles from Angelina up until her owner came. I think it was good he showed up, or else we’d have been taking her home with us!

We also enjoyed quilt-spotting as we drove around. Graham County, North Carolina has a quilt trail, which we discovered quite by accident! We kept seeing these quilt squares on barns and I finally looked online to see if there was meaning behind them. Turns out there is – they are designed to highlight the area’s history in agriculture and handcraft traditions. Once we realized they were not happenstance, we kept our eyes peeled for them as we drove around.

Thanksgiving Day, we cooked up the best dinner we could given the sparsely supplied cabin. Rob fried our turkey and mom and I made the side dishes. The food was delicious and thankfully, the weather was warm (the only warm day the whole week!) so we were able to eat our meal on the deck overlooking the river. It was sunny and beautiful – a nice day to enjoy family and nature together.

After lunch, we took a ride to the Cherohala Skyway, one of our favorite scenic drives in North Carolina. It got cloudy and a storm was rolling in as we drove, but we enjoyed the views, regardless. Rainy or sunny, warm or cold, that drive is simply stunning.

All in all it was a great, relaxing week, disconnected from the hustle and bustle of daily life. I managed to finish one book, read another book, and start a third! That’s what being disconnected is about! 🙂

Hope you enjoy this video of highlights from our week.

Review: A6+ Moterm Cover

I recently purchased an A6+ cover from Moterm to house my A6 Stalogy. Here’s a quick run-down of my thoughts about the cover. Hope you enjoy!

December Planner Setup

I’m still contemplating what I’m going to do for 2022 in my planner, but for right now I’m happily at home in my A6 rings. In this video, you’ll get a glimpse of my latest acquisition – a new dark teal Moterm ring binder. It’s simply lovely.

Hope you enjoy the video!

Autumn Adventures: Anna Ruby Falls

As we love to do in the fall, we spent a Saturday in the mountains. One of several we’ve done this year as we’ve tried to seize the day and embrace relaxation and adventure more in our lives. After the past year and a half, we’ve realized how important this is to the quality of living and happiness.

On this trip, we invited our oldest daughter to join us. We headed out mid-morning and just pointed the car north. Our meanderings took us to Anna Ruby Falls first and then on to Lake Burton.

Anna Ruby Falls was busy – which was to be expected in the height of “leaf-peeping” season. It was worth the crowds and the long wait to get into the park, however. It was just beautiful. It’s been a long time since we visited Anna Ruby Falls – I think the girls were around 6 and 9 when we went (so forever ago!). I’d forgotten about the hike up there and was pleasantly surprised to see it was a nice, paved walk that was relatively easy to handle. I even saw some people pushing babies in strollers (and puppy dogs in puppy strollers!)

I used the excuse to film a few times to stop and enjoy the view (and catch my breath). Mary Beth left us in the dust as she’s acclimated to the altitude and hilly walks living in the mountains as she does. Rob and I were content to meander and enjoy the fall sunshine and falling leaves. It was a perfect day for our adventure. Not too hot or too cold with a brilliant blue sky and bright sunshine.

After we enjoyed the falls, we headed out to meander some more and wound our way over to Lake Burton. I can’t remember ever going there (although Rob says we have) and it was spectacularly beautiful. The fall leaves, gorgeous sky, and sparkling lake were just a feast for the eyes. I’d like to find a cabin to rent there and stay some time, just to soak in the views some more.

Lake Burton, Georgia

Finally, we rounded out our day with a ride through Helen and a pit stop at a BBQ joint alongside the river as you leave Helen. If you’ve never been to Helen, it’s a kitschy little mountain town that has reinvented itself as an Alpine village/tourist attraction. Lots of shops and restaurants and on this day a TON of tourists up from Atlanta to take in the sights. We trudged through the traffic to roll on through town as quickly as we could. None of us are big on crowds and Mary Beth says she avoids Helen like the plague. Hah!

However, the dinner stop at Riverside Tavern was worth the slog through Helen’s traffic. It looks like a dive from the outside (and it is definitely a hole-in-the-wall kind of place) but it was most assuredly not. Inside, is a small dining area, a bar, and a door to an outside patio dining area. We ended up eating inside because the sun was going down and it was getting cool outside. The Georgia game was on, and Rob and Mary Beth were happy to watch the game while we pigged out on some delicious food. She had a BBQ sandwich and Rob and I split a rack of ribs. It was one of the most delicious racks of ribs I’ve had in a restaurant (Rob’s are the absolute best) and my mouth is watering now just remembering them. There was a plethora of food and we ended up taking about a half of the rack home (which we enjoyed for lunch later in the week).

Then it was off to home, with a surprise along the way. I’ll let you watch our video of the day below to see what that was.

Overall, it was a really nice day and we enjoyed spending time with Mary Beth and soaking up some fall sunshine and beautiful views.