October Small Goals + What I’m Into

Today I'm sharing my favorite reads and podcasts from September, my goals for October, and a favorite quote. | NewberyandBeyond.com

I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my October small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

My goals for September seem to have all gotten about halfway finished:

  • Make an opera cake. Yep, this one is halfway done. My husband and I were planning to assemble this for his birthday, but since he’s been sick and exhausted, we put it off. But no worries! Several of the components have been made and are awaiting their assembly date this Tuesday. (Photos to come!)
  • Get a significant amount of cross stitching done. Hmm… Sort of. I got some cross stitching done, but I’m not sure you could qualify it as “significant.” I’ve really got to get on this.
  • Actually finish making hand lettered cards for Etsy. That’s partly why I chose this month’s Write 31 Days series theme as Lovely Words, to give me an extra incentive to finish some cards. I’ve ordered almost all the supplies I need, so this is the month! (Watch for a link to the shop’s grand opening a couple of weeks from now!)
  • Buy (and wear) red lipstick. This one is actually completed! I got some advice from a sweet employee at Sephora, and I wore the lipstick to church the next day. I felt a bit self-conscious, but also awesome.

Okay, here’s hoping my October small goals go a little better:

  • Have a TBR reading day. My TBR list has gotten over 425 books, and it’s causing me some angst. I want to request a dozen or two of the quickest reads and power through them this month.
  • Open my Etsy store! See above. I’m almost there!
  • Get an actually significant amount of cross stitching done. Again, see above.
  • Repair, replace, or remove certain household items. My purse, for example, is starting to fall apart, and I have a huge pile of clothing that needs to be taken to Goodwill. I need to just get that done.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: I just got several books from NetGalley that I’m excited about reading, including a graphic novel version of Snow White and The Pho Cookbook by Andrea Nguyen, a Vietnamese chef/blogger that I’ve followed in the past.

TV shows I’ve been watching: I absolutely hated reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, but I’ve always thought it might make a better TV show than a movie. So now that I know it actually is up on Netflix, I’m going to have to check it out.

Music I’m loving: Is it weird that I’ve been getting into Ariana Grande recently?

Podcasts Audio books I’m listening to: I’ve worked my way through my backlog of podcasts, so I finally got a chance to start on Dodger by Terry Pratchett. It’s not at all what I expected, but it’s fun so far and the narrator is great.

My favorite Instagram:

I spent several hours researching and designing a diverse composer card game for my students, and I’m super proud of how it turned out!


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

Favorite quote this month:

In keeping with my Write 31 Days series, Lovely Words, I’m including one of my favorite quotes that I’ve read recently. As a big reader who occasionally embarrasses herself with a mangled pronunciation, this really resonated with me!

Never make fun of someone if they mispronounce a word. It means they learned it by reading. –Anonymous

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.

If you want to read the rest of the posts in the Write 31 Days series Lovely Words, you can find them here.

September Small Goals + What I’m Into

I'm sharing my September small goals and what I'm into from last month! | NewberyandBeyond.com

I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my August small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

I actually did all right with my goals for August:

  • Prepare my students to perform the national anthem. Check! It was a lot of fun, and I was super proud of my students. They did a great job.
  • Review Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. You can check out the review here.
  • Make some hand lettered cards for my Etsy store. I’m giving this one a half check. I got some fancy new Tombow pens–they have made such a difference!–and I’ve been playing with them for the past few weeks. Now, to make some actual cards…
hand lettering | NewberyandBeyond.com
  • Get paperwork done. Yep! Thank goodness. I hate having those nagging tasks looming over me.

And my goals for September:

  • Make an opera cake. This fancy cake has so many steps that it’s going to be an all-day project.
  • Get a significant amount of cross stitching done. December is coming much faster than I had hoped, and the stocking I promised to make for my husband isn’t nearly close to done! I need to buckle down and do it.
  • Actually finish making hand lettered cards for Etsy. Are there any particular words or designs you’d like to see? Let me know in the comments!
  • Buy (and wear) red lipstick. It looks so cool on other people, and I want to try it! But this requires that I go into a Sephora and ask for help, because I have no idea what shade would look good on me.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: I’ve got Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series sitting by my bed, along with Tana French’s book Faithful Place. But both of those are going to have to wait until I finish Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French, which I’m really enjoying so far.

TV shows I’ve been watching: I’m about to start a rewatch of Parks and Rec. I tried watching the series from the beginning a couple years ago, but the first season was so bad I gave up. But I’ve seen episodes from later seasons and thought they were really funny, so I’m going to give the show another shot. (But I think I’ll start from season two this time.)

Music I’m loving: I created a playlist I call “chill” that I’m really loving. Think Bon Iver, The Civil Wars, Hozier, and Jose Gonzalez.

Podcasts I’m listening to: Piano Parent Podcast is right up my professional alley–it has tips for parents of piano students on what instrument to choose, how to help your child practice, and much more. (It’s also hosted by Shelly Davis, my own piano teacher when I was a kid!)

My favorite Instagram:

I went with a couple of friends to do a painting class, and it turned out to be one of the hardest classes the studio offers. Still, we persevered and came out with these enormous, beautiful canvases.

painting | NewberyandBeyond.com
I’m no artist, but I was pretty proud of this piece!

If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and some of my new 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.

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Book Related Problems I Have


This is my first time participating in the Top Ten Tuesday link up by The Broke and the Bookish, and I’m super excited about it!  I love lists, and I certainly have my share of book-related problems.  So here we go!

1. “What are you reading?”  Is there anyone who likes answering this question?  I’m reading; stop talking to me!

2. No book-to-movie adaptation can go uncriticized.  (Except the Lord of the Rings.  Sorry, fantasy fans, but I liked the movies better!)

3. Book recommendations.  I know this doesn’t sound like a problem, but consider this: A friend of mine recommended a book that a relative of his wrote, and I put it on my TBR list.  He keeps asking me about it, but he doesn’t realize that my TBR list on my library account is 350 books long.  Seriously.

4. I’m terribly behind on all my Netflix shows.  I’m just now getting around to watching Friends for the first time ever.  And I haven’t seen a single Doctor Who episode since the 50th anniversary special.  When I have to choose between books and TV, books win almost every time, for better or worse.

5. I don’t know a lot of famous authors.  In fact, I hardly ever remember an author I have read, much less have the ability to talk intelligently about one I haven’t read.  If you ask me about Herman Melville or Mark Twain, I could probably come up with some of their writings, but I couldn’t do an in-depth analysis of either of them.  And don’t even get me started on poets.  James Joyce, Keats, Byron…  No idea.  An English major I am not.  (That’s why the book How to Talk about Books You Haven’t Read is on my TBR list.)

6. On a related note, I don’t understand literary devices.  I can tell you if a plot hangs together and if characters are well-written and interesting, but I can’t tell you what the river symbolizes or what the author was saying about race relations or gender roles in the 1960s.  If a story draws me in, I’ll read it.  But sometimes I feel like I’m missing something, as in my recent experience with The Color Purple (review to come as soon as I can figure out what I thought about it).

My TBR pile. | Newbery and Beyond
My TBR pile.

7. This huge TBR pile by my bed.  It’s full of possibility… and guilt.  Some of these books have been in my pile the entire time we’ve lived in this apartment.  Oops.

8. There are no book clubs in my area!  Sad day, guys.  I don’t have anyone to talk incessantly with about the new books that cross my path.  If any of you reading this list live in SWFL, let’s start a book club!

9. Moving is a pain.  No, I can’t just get rid of my books.  Hey, why does this box weigh fifty pounds?

10. I can’t ever read all the books I want to read.  I have a real problem with leaving things unfinished, and I hate knowing that I’ll die long before I’ve read every book I would enjoy.  I think we need an extra day each week, set aside only for reading, sleeping, and snacking.  Who’s with me?

Do you have any of these same problems?  Any you’d like to add to the list?  Leave me a comment!

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