Small Goals + What I’m Into, October 2017

I'm sharing my small goals and what I'm into for October 2017. | Book reviews by NewberyandBeyond.com
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As always, I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my October 2017 small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

It feels like only a few days ago that I wrote my small goals for September, and now we’re already into October! The couple of weeks of chaos surrounding Hurricane Irma definitely threw off my schedule, but I’m grateful that it wasn’t nearly as awful for SWFL as predicted, and I’m focusing on praying for and supporting Puerto Rico, who are much worse off than we are here.

  • Go for a walk every day after work. Haha, nope. Sadly, I didn’t even get close on this goal.
  • Finish a couple of book series I’ve started but have yet to finish. Yes! You can read about the book series I finally finished reading here.
  • Listen to In the Heights. Yep, and I’ve started listening to Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 as well.
  • Spend time connecting with friends and family. This is the goal that the hurricane interrupted the most. I was in contact with a few friends and family, but only surrounding hurricane plans, and after that things were too crazy and communication too limited for me to even think about doing this. Maybe next month.
  • Scrapbook. Yes, mostly. I found out that I don’t have any photo mounting stickers, so I didn’t actually stick anything down. But I did trash all the photos and mementos I didn’t want and organize everything by event, so all I have to do when I get the stickers is stick things on a page.

So 3/5 during a ridiculously chaotic month? I feel pretty good about that! Now that we’re in October, this is my last month of relative freedom before my schedule gets booked up with holiday-related parties, travel, and rehearsals, so I’m hoping to get a lot of boring household stuff done.

  • Get an eye exam and an oil change. Yeah, these don’t seem related, but they’re actually located close enough to each other that I can drop off my car and get my eye exam done while I’m waiting.
  • Get my piano tuned. During the events of the hurricane, we found out that my neighbor is a piano tuner! I’m hoping to have him over to tune my beloved thrift store piano.
  • Plan a Harry Potter-themed murder mystery party! TBD if this will fall around Halloween or if I’ll have to postpone it until November…
  • Finally make it to the beach! I keep trying this without success. Maybe this will be the month!
  • Contact insurance companies, credit card companies, and transportation services. I want to get all this annoying paperwork and phone calls off my list before the craziness of the holidays starts.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: I have a stack of Newbery books waiting to be read.

TV shows I’ve watched: Have I mentioned my obsession with Father Brown? It has been keeping me sane lately.

Instagram account I’m loving: This hair stylist does crazy amazing colorful hairstyles that I love.

My favorite Instagram:

I didn’t post a single picture on Instagram in September (oops), so here’s a cute photo of my husband and our guinea pig Zoe from August.

Guinea pig snuggles 🙂

A post shared by Monica Fastenau (@monica.fastenau) on

If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and the occasional selfie), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

What are you all up to this month? Let me know in the comments!

What I’m Into + Small Goals: September 2017

I'm sharing what I'm into and my small goals for the upcoming month. | Book reviews by NewberyandBeyond.com
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As always, I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my September small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

Despite the temperature, which continues to hover around 95 degrees here in SWFL, summer is officially over! I spent much of this month battling anxiety, which meant a lot of my plans went undone. But I’m over the hump, and I’m starting to feel ready to buckle down and get things done in September.

  • Get paperwork in order. Yessss. One of my most boring adulting skills is filing paperwork, and I’m happy to say I was able to utilize that skill this month.
  • Go to the beach. Yeah, no. I’ll try this again in September.
  • Gear up for the busy season at work. Sort of… I didn’t prep new games like I wanted to (see above), but I did get my schedule in order. I’ll count this one as half completed.

1.5/3 for August? I’ll take it. Now for my September goals! (Will five goals be too many? We’ll see…)

  • Go for a walk every day after work. When I’m feeling stressed or anxious, I tend to want to curl up in a ball and ignore the world, but I know getting in some movement outside always helps me feel better.
  • Finish a couple of book series I’ve started but have yet to finish. Am I the only one who enjoys the first book in a series and then lets the later installments languish on the TBR list for months?
  • Listen to In the Heights. As obsessed as I am with Hamilton, it’s hard to believe it has taken me this long to listen to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s previous musical.
  • Spend time connecting with friends and family. September always reminds me of back to school and my old school friends, and it makes me realize how long it has been since I’ve spoken to some of them! I want to take a few minutes to text/email/call the friends and family members I haven’t been in contact with recently.
  • Scrapbook. People, I still have memorabilia floating around from my college graduation… which was over four years ago. I want to stick these items in a scrapbook where I can actually look at them.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: I just started book five in the Incorrigibles series, and I can’t wait to reveal some answers to the mysteries in the previous book!

TV shows I’ve watched: My husband and I are finally watching the latest season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I think it’s the funniest season so far.

Instagram account I’m loving: This guy rescues cats in Istanbul and also plays piano with them. It’s super sweet.

My favorite Instagram:

I built an Ikea shelf a couple of weeks ago and was super proud of myself.

I built this ikea shelf all by myself and I'm feeling absurdly proud of it.

A post shared by Monica Fastenau (@monica.fastenau) on

If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and the occasional selfie), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

What are you all up to this month? Let me know in the comments!

August Small Goals + What I’m Into

I'm linking up to share my August small goals and the things I'm into this summer. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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As always, I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my August small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

Friends, I have to say I did terribly on my small goals from last month. But here we go!

  • Relax! Yes, kind of, but even our relaxing plans (see the Harry Potter World picture above!) turned out to be a lot more complicated than we anticipated. (The month started with us having to rent a car and ended with us buying new cars. Not really our plan for our summer vacation…)
  • Watch A Very Potter Musical. No, I still, still haven’t seen it.
  • Get my pants hemmed. Yeah, no.
  • Finish reading my stack of books. I did make a dent in the stack… but it has also grown quite a bit this month.

Okay, so July turned out a bit differently than anticipated. Here’s hoping August will go a little more smoothly!

  • Get paperwork in order. This is my boring goal for the month. We’ve got car information, payment paperwork, and a thousand other papers waiting to be dealt with or filed.
  • Go to the beach. And this is the fun goal! I live close to the beach, but we rarely go because it’s a bit of a hassle. Still, it’s always a fun time, and I want to make an effort to go at least once this month.
  • Gear up for the busy season at work. Back to school time always brings an influx of students, and this year has me particularly booked up. I want to spend some time getting new games, activities, and plans organized before school officially starts.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: I’ve been on a Jasper Fforde kick recently, and I’m on the hunt for the later installments in the Thursday Next series.

TV shows I’ve watched: I found out that the Great British Baking Show has a Masterworks spinoff in which Mary and Paul demonstrate how to make the bakes from the show. So lovely!

Music I’m loving: It has been Bastille all day every day for a while over here.

My favorite Instagram:

You know it had to be this one from our recent Universal trip!

If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and the occasional selfie), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

What are you all up to this month? Let me know in the comments!

July 2017 Small Goals + What I’m Into

I'm sharing my small goals for July 2017 and the things I've been into lately. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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As always, I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my July 2017 small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

June was a whirlwind! I ended up with a lot more work responsibilities than anticipated, so I’m really enjoying my week off for Fourth of July.

  • Finalize summer plans. Yep! Everything is settled, and this month is set to be a super fun, hopefully relaxing one.
  • Get back into cross stitching. Not even a little bit. Sigh.
  • Read through my backlog of books. I read and reviewed all of the ARCs that were still on my Kindle, and now I’m working my way through the paperbacks on my floor.

Now for my July goals:

  • Relax! Enough said.
  • Watch A Very Potter Musical. No, I still haven’t seen it.
  • Get my pants hemmed (finally). This one’s a boring goal, but it needs to be done. Surely I can get one boring task done this month!
  • Finish reading my stack of books. See above…

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: The next book in the Incorrigible Children series is calling my name.

Movies I’ve watched: I finally watched Hidden Figures, and it was wonderful! Just as powerful and fascinating as I had hoped.

Podcast I’m loving: I’ve been listening to the Kind Rewind, in which Travis and Teresa McElroy watch and talk about nostalgic favorites.

My favorite Instagram:

This chicken and waffles was soooo good. Some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.

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If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and the occasional selfie), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

June Small Goals + What I’m Into

I'm sharing my June small goals and what I'm into this month. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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As always, I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my May small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

I can hardly believe May is over! Here’s how I did on my May goals:

  • Survive my dental appointment. I survived! Unfortunately, it looks like I’ll need a follow-up procedure as soon as my insurance kicks in, but the first part is over.
  • Plan something fun for Memorial Day weekend. Yes! My husband and I slept in, traveled to a nearby park, and had a cookout with friends. So fun.
  • Get all the free things to celebrate my birthday. Of course I did this! I took advantage of all the free meals and retail discounts I possibly could.

I took it pretty easy on myself for May because I knew it would be a busy month. Sadly it looks like this summer isn’t going to be any slower, so with that in mind (and the knowledge that we’ve only got three more weeks of June!), here are my June goals:

  • Finalize summer plans. We have a weekend away with friends, a week long trip to visit family, a pet sitting engagement, and all the regular work/church/home stuff to take care of. I need to get our plans down on paper so I can get organized and contact the people who are also affected by these plans.
  • Get back into cross stitching. I’ve mentioned this goal before, but it has been months since I sat down with my cross stitching and actually worked on it (oops).
  • Read through my backlog of books. Not only have I got a large stack of library books and Paperback Swap books, but I’ve also got several ARCs moldering on my Kindle. I need to read and review those soon!

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: The final Septimus Heap book is just waiting for me to read it! I’ve sped my way through the rest of the series, and I’m so excited to finish it.

TV shows I’ve been watching: Death in Paradise just posted season 5 to Netflix, and I’ve been loving it.

Podcast I’m loving: I just started listening to Still Buffering. It’s a podcast with three sisters (two in their 30s, one still a teenager) who talk about teenage life in the past and the present. It is a really fun listen.

My favorite Instagram:

Why do I have this many books? Even I don’t know!

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If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and the occasional selfie), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

May Small Goals + What I’m Into

I'm linking up to share my May small goals and what I'm into lately. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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As always, I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my May small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

First, a quick review of my small goals from April:

  • Prep for all the concerts! Check! The Easter performance and the big recital were a lot of work, but they turned out so nicely.
  • Start volunteering. Also check! I’m volunteering at a local refugee services center, offering my expertise in speaking English to their ESOL class. So far so good!
  • Do a spending freeze. Sort of. I’m counting this one as half complete, because knowing that I was supposed to be doing a spending freeze kept me from several frivolous online purchases, but I still managed to put in one Amazon order and eat out more than I’d like.

2.5/3 is not too bad! Now for my May small goals:

  • Survive my dental appointment. I have many medically-related fears, so my first appointment with a new dentist is at the very bottom of my list of things I want to do. If I can make it through the appointment and any follow-up procedures without passing out, it’ll be a miracle!
  • Plan something fun for Memorial Day weekend. This year I get Memorial Day weekend off (a wonderful bonus, since I work Saturdays and Mondays during the rest of the year), so I want to plan a quick weekend getaway with my husband. (I’m hoping this will give me something to look forward to as I suffer through dental anxiety!)
  • Get all the free things to celebrate my birthday! I’m signed up for so many mailing lists just so I can rake in all the freebies every May when my birthday rolls around. There’s nothing I like more than free food, so this is always a fun part of my birthday celebration.

What I’m Into

Book challenge updates: I’m participating in several book challenges this year, and seeing as we’re almost halfway through the year (how??), I thought I’d offer a quick update on how I’m doing with them. So far I’ve read 34/75 points worth of Newbery books and 1/12 classics.

Books I’m looking forward to reading: The most recent Flavia de Luce mystery is sitting by my bed right now, waiting for me to get a spare moment to read it.

TV shows I’ve been watching: One night when my husband was out with friends, I binged eight episodes of Parks and Rec. Now I’m only a few episodes away from finally finishing the series!

Podcast I’m loving: I finally started listening to S-Town, and I can totally see why everyone is so obsessed with it. It’s not for the faint of heart–there’s a significant amount of coarse language, including racial slurs, as well as described violence–but I’m really enjoying it so far. The story is gripping, of course (I wouldn’t expect anything less from the creators of Serial), but what I’m enjoying most is what a clear picture the podcast paints of rural, small town Southern life. It doesn’t shy away from the quirks, the beauty, the surprisingly intelligent residents, or the horrifyingly ignorant and/or racist residents.

My favorite Instagram:

One of my students brought me flowers for the recital, and I was so happy!

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If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and some of my hand lettering), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

What I’m Into + April Small Goals + My Top Ten Favorite Fandoms

In this month's review, I'm sharing not only my April small goals + what I'm into, but also my top ten favorite fandoms! | NewberyandBeyond.com
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As always, I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my April small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into. I’m also linking up with the Broke & Bookish for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday meme.

I went into the month of March trying to keep my goals realistic. Because of that, I was actually able to complete all three goals!

  • Relax! I tried my best to do the things that were actually fun and fulfilling, not just time wasters. Nothing super memorable, but I am entering the month of April feeling a lot more refreshed than I did last month.
  • Hand letter every day. I’m counting this one as completed. I didn’t letter every single day, but I I got close. As I’m always reminding my music students, it’s amazing the difference that consistent practice makes!
  • Work on my massive cross stitch project. Yes, although not as much as I would have liked. Progress has been slow, but the pattern is starting to take shape.

Now for my April small goals:

  • Prep for all the concerts! I’m the piano accompanist for my church’s Easter program this year, and the week after Easter is my studio recital. I have a massive amount of students participating this year, so I’m going to put in a lot of work over the next three weeks to prepare them (and myself) for the big show.
  • Start volunteering. I work at lot at my church (see above!), and I love it, but I want to do more to volunteer in my community.
  • Do a spending freeze. The past couple of months have been filled with extra expenditures, some necessary and some not so much. I want to use this month, which is well past the holidays but not yet into summer vacation territory, to sock away some extra cash.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: I have a whole stack of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series waiting for me by my bedside.

TV shows I’ve been watching: I finally got my husband to finish watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries with me (it was my second time through and his first). Such a fun adaptation!

Music I’m loving: I can’t stay away from the Hamilton soundtrack. I’m still obsessed (see below).

Best recent purchase: I ordered some cloth napkins a few weeks ago, and they are making my life surprisingly better! It feels so much less wasteful than using paper napkins, and I have enough of them that I don’t have to do laundry every day in order to use them.

My favorite Instagram:

Here’s a part of that book stack I was talking about, plus the Victoria sponge cake I made with my sister when she visited us last month:

 

If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and some of my hand lettering ventures), you can do so here.

In this month’s review, as well as sharing my goals and recent favorites, I’m also including my Top Ten Tuesday response. When I heard Broke & Bookish was doing a fandom-based TTT, I couldn’t resist! In no particular order, here are my current obsessions.

  1. Veronica Mars. My husband and I watched this show well after it originally aired, but I am still in love with it. The series was great, the movie was wonderful, and I can’t wait to read the books.
  2. Hamilton. You know I’m still into Hamilton. The songs are catchy, the lyrics are so well written, and you might actually learn something about history while you’re at it.
  3. Doctor Who. Because obviously. I’m behind on watching the show, but it’s still one of my favorites.
  4. Sherlock. Another British import that’s just amazing. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman don’t hurt, either.
  5. Harry Potter. How could I call myself a book nerd and not be into Harry Potter? (Yes, I know there are bookish people who don’t like Harry Potter, but they’re definitely the minority.) But seriously, even though I didn’t read this series until most of the books and movies were already released, this is the series that captivated my generation. It’s one of the biggest fandoms out there, and I’m glad to be a part of it.
  6. The Great British Baking Show. This show is just fun. Who wouldn’t want to watch a baking competition where the bakers all have great accents, everyone supports each other, and you get to see weird bakes like the Charlotte royale.
  7. Parks and Rec. I resisted watching this show for a while because the first season was terrible. I finally gave it another shot by starting with season two, and I’m so glad I did! The characters are hilarious, but watching them grow is what keeps me coming back.
  8. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I’ve raved about this show before. The costumes, the music, the Australian accents, the wide range of social issues addressed, the will-they-won’t-they relationship between Phryne and Jack–what’s not to love?
  9. Disney. Specifically, Beauty and the Beast and Mulan. These are my favorite animated movies of all time, and the recent live action Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson was amazing.
  10. Jane Austen. The books! The Masterpiece Theatre movies! The countless adaptations (see: the Lizzie Bennet Diaries)! The wonderful book What Matters in Jane Austen?! I love it all.

Leave your links in the comments below; I’d love to read about your latest goals or your favorite fandoms!

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

What I’m Into + March Small Goals

As always, I'm linking up to share my March small goals + what I've been into recently. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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As always, I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my March small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

I tried to keep it simple this month, but I still struggled a bit:

  • Make breakfasts ahead of time. I’m counting this as completed, although I changed the goal a bit. Instead of prepping breakfasts, I decided to prep lunches for the whole week. On Sunday, I’ve been making mason jar salads to take with me to lunch. Not only has this given me quick, cheap, and healthy meals for the whole work week, but we’re not throwing away rotting spinach and broccoli nearly as much as we used to. Hooray for limiting food waste! (For breakfast, I compromised and bought some snacks from Nature Box instead of making my own granola bars–that will have to wait for another month.)
  • Read and review the 2017 Newbery books. This one is about half done. I’ve read three of the books, and I’m waiting for my library to have the fourth available. My sister and I plan to do a joint review of the newest Newbery books like we did last year, which will be really fun.

1.5 isn’t too great, but I am super excited I got my work lunches figured out. Maybe that will give me more time to complete my March small goals:

  • Relax! I started out the month of February with strep throat, and I felt like I never really got my feet under me after that. I’m struggling to find a sustainable rhythm for my new work schedule, and even yesterday I wasted more time than I’d like to admit being frustrated at myself for wasting time! I’m hoping to make March the month I get back on track with all my weekly to-dos, and hopefully that will include time to relax (on purpose, rather than just wasting time and feeling guilty about it…).
  • Hand letter every day. I’m challenging myself to letter every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  • Work on my massive cross stitch project. This has been on my small goals list before, but I think it will go well with my goal to relax. When I’m listening to an audiobook, podcast, or TV show, it’s just as easy and way more relaxing to pick up my stitching rather than trying to multitask by doing paperwork or mindlessly browsing the internet.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: Of course, I’m excited about reading the last 2017 Newbery book. So far, they’ve all been wonderful.

TV shows I’ve been watching: Netflix has a new season of The Great British Baking Show! It’s a lovely show to watch after a long, stressful day.

Music I’m loving: The Hush Sound is my go-to right now.

Podcasts Audio books I’m listening to: I just finished listening to Symphony of the Dead, about Shostakovich, his seventh symphony, and the siege of Leningrad. I knew a bit about Shostakovich from my music history classes, but this book was fascinating and horrifyingly informative. (Review to come soon!)

My favorite Instagram:

This is pretty much my life motto.

Hand lettering by NewberyandBeyond.com
All rights belong to me. Please don’t use without permission!

If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and some of my hand lettering ventures), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

What I’m Into + February Small Goals

I'm linking up and sharing my February small goals, along with my favorite things from January. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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As always, I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my February small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

January wasn’t the greatest month for me. I’ve been battling stress and illness (strep throat is no joke, people), but I managed to get a couple of things done anyway.

  • Start meal planning. …Nope. My husband and I collected a bunch of recipes, but we didn’t actually get to the “planning” part of this goal.
  • Do a joint book review with my sister. You can read it here!
  • Take care of home maintenance tasks. I’m counting this one mostly complete. There’s still a burnt out lightbulb that we haven’t gotten around to replacing yet.
  • Continue to carve out time for relaxation (and reading!). Yes. I’ve been organized about my work schedule and the things I need to do at home, and I’ve worked hard to make space for relaxing and being unproductive.

I’m keeping it simple for my February goals, since January didn’t go as planned:

  • Make breakfasts ahead of time. This is sort of related to my meal planning goal from last month, but it’s (hopefully) a lot simpler to accomplish. There are a couple days a week that I have to get up much earlier than the rest of the week, and I rarely feel like making breakfast when I get up, so I want to pre-make breakfast bars and other healthy, easy options.
  • Read and review the 2017 Newbery books. I’m so excited about this year’s Newbery books! One was already on my TBR list, but the others are books I had never heard of.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: I’m currently making my way through the NetGalley review books I ordered. Lots of YA coming up soon!

TV shows I’ve been watching: Whenever I’m sick or stressed, Unlikely Animal Friends (on Netflix) can always cheer me up.

Music I’m loving: After several months of waiting, because I just can’t handle that level of awesomeness every day, I’m finally re-listening to the Hamilton soundtrack.

Podcasts Audio books I’m listening to: Did you know that the movie Hidden Figures is based on a book? I’m listening to it on audio book right now.

My favorite Instagram:

I love this quote!

Hand lettering by Newbery and Beyond | newberyandbeyond.etsy.com
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If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and some of my hand lettering ventures), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

What I’m Into + January Small Goals

I'm linking up on the blog today to share what I'm into recently + my January small goals. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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As always, I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my January small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

December was a whirlwind of parties, concerts, and family get-togethers, but I still somehow managed to get things done!

  • Organize all my bookish statistics for the year. You can see that post here.
  • Create space to relax. I did this! The first half of the month was crazy, but since I had some time off between Christmas and New Year’s, I was able to do a lot of things that filled my relaxation need: eating out with friends, playing board games with the roommates, watching movies with my husband, and (of course) doing lots of reading.
  • Read through my backlog of books. Mostly. I’m counting this one as completed because I did read a significant amount during the last few weeks of 2016… but I still have a huge stack of books by my bed. Some were gifts or last-minute purchases, but I also have a large amount of library books I need to burn through before I have to return them!
  • Sponsor a businesswoman through Kiva. Yep! (If you want to check out Half the Sky, the book that helped inspire this goal, you can read my review of it here.)

I am absolutely thrilled at completing all of my goals for December! (I think this may be the first month that has actually happened.) Now, for my brand-new January small goals:

  • Start meal planning. I hate the idea of meal planning, but since my husband and I are both getting busier at work (more on that below), I know it needs to happen. Unless we want to continue eating dinner at 9:00 every night. (If you have any favorite recipes that are quick, tasty, and somewhat healthy, please let me know in the comments!)
  • Do a joint book review with my sister. Posting more joint reviews is one of my overall goals for 2017, so I figure I might as well start now! My sister has posted on the blog before, and it’s always a lot of fun to talk books with her.
  • Take care of home maintenance tasks. Why does it seem like the lightbulbs burn out, faucets leak, and doorknobs get loose all at the same time? I’ve been ignoring these small inconveniences for waaaay longer than a responsible home-renter should.
  • Continue to carve out time for relaxation (and reading!). I’ve just added more time to my work schedule, which means I’ll need to be more intentional about getting things done around the house (see above), but it also means that I’ll need to focus on relaxing. It sounds silly, but if I’m not careful, I’ll spend all my downtime spinning my wheels, trying to complete tasks and worrying about things that I can’t change. (Anybody else have this problem??)

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book is still sitting next to my bed. I’m waiting for the perfect time to dig in. I also have some new books from two of my other favorite authors, Jasper Fforde and Shannon Hale.

TV shows I’ve been watching: My husband and I finally finished watching Veronica Mars (the TV series and the movie), and I am totally obsessed! I wish there were more seasons to watch, but I’ve heard the Veronica Mars audio books (written by show creator Rob Thomas and narrated by Kristen Bell) are really good.

Music I’m loving: I can’t stop listening to Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen. (If you don’t mind a bit of raunchy humor, this interpretive dance to the song is hilarious!)

Podcasts I’m listening to: I’m not usually a fan of D&D-related media, but my husband and I are hooked on The Adventure Zone podcast. The McElroy brothers and their dad are hilarious. (Listen at your own risk! There’s a lot of swearing and sexual innuendo here.)

My favorite Instagram:

I love to take part in the Broke & Bookish secret Santa swap, and I got some lovely gifts from my secret Santa this year.

NewberyandBeyond.com
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If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and some of my hand lettering ventures), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

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