November was simultaneously fast and slow. I enjoyed the first half of the month by going to concerts, finishing up my third Online Editing Class (woohoo!) on the weekends, and resurrecting my love of coffee-shop-reading! It was fun being in a different part of town for my classes … so I took advantage of my lunch breaks and tried out new (to me) cafes and coffee shops! The second half of November was filled up with weekend work, helping friends out with editing projects, and a full rainy week off during Thanksgiving! I can’t even express to you guys how much I needed that mental break! I got to spend my week off being creative with lots of sewing and weaving projects, spent lots of time at the beach and track, and actually slept-in and took my mornings slow!! What a vacation, indeed!
Something In The Water, by Catherine Steadman. I was recommended this book by a friend back East, and luckily for me, it was ready at the library almost immediately! This is a thriller about a couple on their honeymoon who suddenly finds something mysterious in the water that will test their marriage and change their entire lives … I don’t want to give too much away because it can really throw you for a loop! While I breezed through this plot line (I love mysteries/thrillers), I was somewhat disappointed by some of the main character’s decisions as a woman… but I guess not all protagonists can make smart choices all the time or else you wouldn’t really have a storyline, right? I think I was just hoping for a stronger female lead. But, that being said, this one was super fun!
Mostly Dead Things, by Kristen Arnett. The cool thing about this novel is that it is this author’s first! Dead Things takes place in Florida and follows a family as they bereave their deceased father in very …unique… ways. Jessa, the protagonist, does a lot of self-reflecting while trying to bring her brother out of a slump and understand her mother’s weird artistic habits. The family owns a taxidermy shop, hence the title 😉
Daisy Jones & The Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This is hands-down, one of my favorite novels I’ve read this year…so good that I spent an entire Saturday over the break reading and finishing it! This fiction-novel focuses on a rock band of the late 70s as their record label pairs them up with an up-and-coming solo artist, Daisy Jones. The entire book is told through interviews of the band members, their families, their friends, agents, etc. Anyone at all related to the band. If you didn’t know this novel was fiction, you would probably find yourself looking up Daisy Jones and The Six to find out more about them or listen to their music. I loved the unique style of this novel, the character development, the twist at the end … it was all so good. A perfect vacation read, weekend read, whenever read! Some girlfriends and I are even organizing a book club meet up for this one!
This Is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper. A male author, finally! This novel is about an estranged family of six who have just lost their father/husband, only to find out that his dying wish was that his family Sit Shiva for seven days, under the same roof, to mourn him together, as a family. The novel follows the second oldest brother, Judd, as he navigates his father’s death while simultaneously learning that his wife has cheated on him. This book is family-dysfunction at its finest. And while it might sound like a total downer, there’s actually a lot of humor in it. When I finished the book, I quickly found out that there’s been a movie made too, starting Jason Bateman! I gave it a watch the next day, and I gotta say, I was equally impressed with both the book and the movie…which doesn’t happen often! I’m told Tropper’s other books are great, too!
This month has been a menagerie of creative projects! I only took two weaving commissions this holiday season, as I’ve been focused on other work-related things, but I finished the first one up over the holiday break! I’ve been doing a little bit of crocheting while we hang out with the neighbors in the evenings, and I spent two days sewing some cool bags for friends! I’m currently working on a second weaving and a weaving-turned-stuffed-bunny for my niece … so we’ll see how that turns out! fingers crossed!
I can’t talk cooking this month without mentioning Thanksgiving! We celebrated Thanksgiving this year at our friend, Vince’s, place with a handful of other friends without family in the area (there were 7 of us, total). Vince handled his first-ever turkey, while my friends Zach and Alicia, and myself handled all of the side-dishes. Mashed potatoes, maple bacon Brussels sprouts, gluten-free stuffing with homemade cornbread, a homemade pumpkin pie, sweet potato bites, green bean casserole … you name it, we made it! And then I pretty much spent the remainder of the night lying on the couch in a food-induced coma 😉
Perhaps one of the most delicious recipes I’ve made thus far has been TheModernProper’s chili recipe … guys, this is the freaking bomb. And it’s weirdly easy. While it calls to let it sit on the stovetop for eight hours, they also give you the option to let it sit in the crockpot for eight hours…so I went the crockpot route. Make. This. Soup. !!!
If you’re looking for an easy alternative to Chinese takeout, this easy orange chicken is perfect. I paired it with white rice and a side of broccoli and it felt like the only thing that was missing were the white takeout boxes 😉
This skillet chicken pot pie gives the perfect comfort of pot pie without the long baking time! You prepare everything in one skillet and then pop into the oven for 30 minutes … it doesn’t get much easier than that. It was so good, I made it twice this month!
If you have a Trader Joes near you and you haven’t yet tried their frozen cauliflower gnocchi, then what are you really doing with your life!? This site offers six easy recipes to make with TJ’s Cauliflower Gnocchi, which has been great for us because there’s a TJ’s right near my work. If I’m not sure what we’re having for dinner that night, I’ve just been swinging by there to pick up the gnocchi and a handful of other ingredients (none of these recipes call for much!) and suddenly I have a full meal whipped up in 15 minutes! Definitely a game-changer in our household.
A new coffee shop opened up in the Riviera Village in Redondo Beach, called HiFi Coffee. And while I haven’t made it to that location yet, I did try out their Hermosa Beach location for the first time! It’s not huge inside, but they make a great latte!
We took a Saturday morning trip down to Huntington Dog Beach for our first-ever Bull Terrier Meet Up! A few other bully owners in the greater LA area contacted us to organize the first LA Bull Terrier Meet Up. It was fantastic. We don’t come across many other bull terriers in our day-to-day, so to be surrounded by a bunch of goofy little football heads had me smiling nonstop. Add in the fact that the beach is Marty’s favorite place ever, and the promise of delicious SubCulture subs afterwards, and it was guaranteed to be a great morning. We’re excited for more meet ups in 2020!
Not only did we go see The Menzingers downtown at The Regent on a Sunday night, but we also trekked downtown to the Arts District to see a Pink Floyd Tribute Band at Wizdome! Wizdome is both a music venue and an art installation … you lay back on these recliners in a medium-sized dome, and while the band plays, all of these crazy cool images and patterns are displayed on the dome roof moving along to the music. It’s pretty trippy. It was definitely one of the coolest musical experiences I’ve ever had! You can go to the art-installation only, but I would recommend definitely seeing a concert there too!
In the chill-music category, I’ve been enjoying Caamp‘s album, “By and By.” It’s been the perfect rainy-day companion this month 😉
Not only did we spend a beautiful Thanksgiving day with close friends, but then the following Saturday, we had a spontaneous evening at home with friends all in the name of drinking wine and decorating our little Christmas tree. It was such a simple gesture, but it just felt like everyone was fully in the Christmas spirit … we were all just happy to be there together. Even just thinking about it right now has brought a huge smile to my face! It’s moments like this one that always remind me what the holidays are really about — about giving thanks for the people in your life who make every day feel like a holiday. We’re so lucky to be surrounded by so many people who do just that.
thanks for stopping by!