Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted about something I’ve read! I don’t have a good excuse really, and there was a good amount of time in February? when I was reading pretty regularly. I think it was around this time that the new season of Outlander was premiering so it was hard for me to keep up with what was going on in the timeline of the show verses what I was reading in the first book. Life just got away from me I guess, but I finally picked it back up and finished!

I’ve been a fan of the Outlander television series for a little while now. Of course this meant that I would have to read the books eventually, but there were always other books that I wanted to get to first. It didn’t help that there are so many Outlander books in the series, and that I knew that they were pretty long.

I finally decided to take them on and I’m so glad that I have, or at least I’m glad that I’ve started.

For those who have watched the show but haven’t read the book, the show did a fantastic job of sticking to it’s source material. From what I can remember the storyline follows what happened in the book almost exactly.

I can’t remember if it left off in the same place or if part of the first book was included in the second season. Part of me feels like it did because there’s just so much that happens I can’t possibly imagine squeezing it all into one season of a series. I might have to go back and re-watch just to check.

This story is so exciting and has so many parts, it’s really hard to even write about the plot and how I felt about all of it. I’m not even going to try.

I will say that I really enjoyed getting to see Claire and Jamie fall in love all over again. They’re just so great together, right? I am curious what the books will be like and if we’ll get to see more of the time when Claire went back to the present. I’m interested in knowing more about what it was like for Frank all the time that Claire was away and I feel like it was just a very short amount of time in the tv series.

I’ve already purchased the second book and I’m hoping to get through this one a little faster. My goal is to read them all by the end of the year, but we shall see.

Bullet Journal – June Cover Page

I’m already doing better because I’m writing my June post right after my May post and scheduling it ahead of time.

It’s not a huge thing, but for me this says a lot. June has definitely been a better month all around and I feel like I’ve worked on myself and turned my attention to myself more this past month.

About half way through May, my boss asked me if I’d want to go to a tradeshow in Greenland. I think the idea of traveling again really sparked something in me. Especially since I’d get to travel to both Greenland and Iceland, and these are both places that I’ve wanted to travel to for awhile.

I was still feeling pretty down at the beginning of June, so I tried to just do things that made me happy. This brings me to the theme for the month. The bullet journal version isn’t quite as nice, but I painted a mural on my bedroom wall.

This was definitely a spur of the moment kind of thing and also partly because I was bored, but I think it came together really nice. I didn’t even have to buy any paint, I just used what I found in my basement.

My bedroom was all white and gray before, so this certainly added a pop of color that was much needed. I’m not going to lie, it also makes me so happy to wake up in the morning and see all these colors first thing. I totally sets the mood for the whole day.

There was a lot that happened in June. My sister and I did a backyard BBQ for Father’s Day, and that was really fun. Father’s Day also just happened to fall on Freya’s first birthday so that was exciting to celebrate her birthday as well. I got her a cupcake from the pet store and she engulfed it, it was pretty funny and adorable.

I also have paid more attention to my health this month. I’ve let myself be pretty bad with eating and drinking, so I’m trying to be more mindful of that. I’m not happy with my weight, so I’m trying to just choose meals that are better for me. I’ve also started drinking less and I’ve been trying to go for walks and exercise more.

I’m looking forward to July. I have some time off work and I’m planning on just laying around my parent’s pool the whole time. Taking it easy and living life.

Bullet Journal – May Cover Page

Man, I don’t know why I’ve been so bad at this lately. It’s been even worse than usual and I don’t really have any excuse for it. All of June I kept thinking okay I need to do it this weekend and then just wouldn’t? It sucks because I feel like so much that I could’ve written about is now forgotten. Oh well…

May was an okay month, it started out pretty good. I took off for a few days around the 5th. My family and I got together for Cinco de Mayo and then my sister’s birthday was also that weekend. It was nice to have a little break from work.

The week after that I had some sort of weird stomach bug. I was having major stomach cramps and felt exhausted the whole time and basically just slept for a few days. I thought it might be COVID, but I took a test and it was negative.

The rest of the month is just a blur. I feel like a lot of my weeks have just been work, eat, sleep, clean, and catch up around the house. I haven’t been taking care of myself in the way that I want to and I’ve let too much from the past get to me.

I chose the sage and “Let it Go” theme for the month because of how I was feeling at the end of last month, and I felt like I really needed that reminder this month. It’s so hard sometimes to deal with everything going on and to not let things bother you. I need a break for sure.

Bullet Journal – April Cover Page

Almost a whole month behind on my April post, is that a new record?

Things have been strange lately. I’ve been in sort of a funk for a little while now and then I’ve been dealing with a weird stomach bug for the last week, so I’ve just been very down and out of it. That’s more of an update for May I guess.

April overall was a pretty decent month. I went with the rabbit theme for Easter. I was painting and feeling inspired, especially at the beginning of the month. I was feeling pretty good.

Things got a little rocky about half way through the month. Not to get too personal, but there was someone who was important to me that I lost contact with about two years ago. I found out some information about them that was shocking to say the least. I don’t know a lot about the situation, but what I learned just seemed so out of character it was hard for me to process and wrap my head around it.

Have you ever felt that way? Like you thought you knew someone so well and then you find out later that they’ve done something that seems totally out of character. It’s like you never knew them at all. It’s not a good feeling. Especially when it’s someone that you really cared about and trusted.

I tried to keep myself busy after this so that I wouldn’t think about it too much. Not sure if that’s the best coping mechanism, but it’s what’s been working for me. I turned my focus onto my home and did a little redecorating with my back porch. It’s pretty cute now and has become a nice little oasis for me.

So that’s what’s been going on with me. I’ll be back soon with an update for May.

Bullet Journal – March Cover Page


March has been busy! I feel like everything has been go, go, go this month and I haven’t had a moment to really breathe.

Overall it’s been a good month. I was happy to get back to a normal routine after dealing with Freya’s spay last month. It just feels like it’s flown by.

For the cover page I didn’t do anything original. If you look up cover pages on Instagram there’s a million like this. I hosted St. Patrick’s Day at my house and made homemade soda bread. It was really good and it was nice to have my family over for dinner.

I really don’t have that much else to update on. Just keeping busy and working. I’ve had plans almost every weekend in March, so I’m hoping April slows down a little. Guess we’ll see!

 

Bullet Journal – February Cover Page

I’m not going to lie, this is not an original design. The beginning of February was really busy for me and I just didn’t have any ideas for what I wanted to be my cover page. I found this on Pinterest and thought it was really cute, so I went with it, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

I don’t think I mentioned it in my last monthly update, but I’ve gone back to work 4 days a week with two days in the office. It’s been nice to have a routine again. I have off every Friday to focus on my art and it feels really good to take that time for myself to do something I enjoy. It’s nice also to have it at the end of the week so I can turn on some music to just decompress from the week and paint.

I’ve been doing a pretty decent amount of painting, but haven’t had many sales yet this year. I’m not necessarily worried about that though. I feel like this year is about building up my portfolio and making new pieces to offer on my website so that next year I’ll have this catalog of products that I can just promote and add to.

The second half of February was kind of strange because Freya was spayed. She did well and she’s so active that I was worried she would hurt herself. I had to sedate her a bit, but she seems to be recovering okay and I’m glad it’s over.

I’m ready for March and hopefully some warmer weather. I’m over shoveling and I really just want a nice day where I can clean up my yard and get ready for spring.

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

I should start this out by saying I was a little hesitant to read this book. I read One of Us Is Lying because I really enjoyed the TV adaptation on Peacock, and the book was just as good. After I finished the book, I realized that the second book in the series wasn’t so much about the original characters but about Maeve and a new group of people that go to Bayview.

At the end of the show, it seemed like the next season would be a continuation of the original Bayview Four’s stories. The book ended differently, so it makes sense that their stories have mostly ended, but I still wanted more of them.

They do make appearances throughout the second book, but the story isn’t about them anymore. This time, the focus is more on Bronwyn’s sister Maeve and her group of friends. A new Simon impersonator has come into the picture and is playing games of Truth or Dare with the students of Bayview.

I was surprised to find how much I really did enjoy this book despite my earlier hesitations. The new characters were interesting and the revelations of secrets kept me reading chapter after chapter. The story had a pretty good twist that was different enough from the first book to keep it interesting. Would definitely recommend continuing the series if you’re a fan of the show and have read the first book.

I’ve seen things about a third book coming in 2023, and I’m pretty sure I’ll read that as well.

Bullet Journal – January Cover Page

This one is super late, but I have a good reason! February has just been super busy for me. Freya got spayed recently, so I’m taking this time during her recovery to finally update the blog.

January was a good month! My theme for the month was “Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving” because I’ve finally entered my thirties!

Being thirty is definitely an exciting and scary time. I feel like I did a lot in my twenties and I’ve looked forward to seeing what my thirties will bring, but it’s also kind of scary.

I’ve been single for a long time, so I think the biggest question I have is whether or not I’ll get married and have children in the next decade. Ten years seems like a long time, but will I really fall in love, plan a wedding, and have kids by the end of it? When you think about it like that, it doesn’t seem like that much time at all.

I feel like I spent a lot of time in my twenties figuring myself out. Who I really am, what I really want, and who I want to be. I’m not sure I have it all figured out, but I’m certainly in a better place and more comfortable with myself going into my thirties.

It’s strange to think back on the last 10 years. I graduated college, made new friends, lost friends, thought I was in love a few times, got a “big girl” job, traveled the world, bought a house, adopted a puppy. It’s been a wild ride.

So here’s to my thirties! And here’s to continuing to grow and learn more about myself!

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Back again with another tv adaptation-inspired read!

The last time I went to a bookstore (which was who knows how long ago) I remember looking at the section of upcoming adaptations and seeing this book. It sounded interesting, but I ended up buying something else instead and adding it to my list of potential future books to read.

I get Peacock for free with my Xfinity account and hadn’t really used it before, but when the Chucky series came out I would go there to watch episodes that I missed and saw One of Us Is Lying had already come out. I binged through the series and had to read the book after that.

The storylines were very similar and I really enjoyed reading the book. There were a few changes made, but overall kept to the same story.

One of Us Is Lying is basically The Breakfast Club with a murder. A group of totally unrelated people end up in detention for reasons that don’t seem to make sense and one of them ends up dead. You spend the rest of the book jumping into each character’s mind and trying to figure out whodunit.

It’s a interesting story with a good amount of twists and a fairly surprising ending. I thought that I had it figured out, but I was only half way there.

I liked how the ending played out in the show better, but it’s always easier to improve on something the second time around. The show also left room to have a second season with the same cast, where I think the sequel to the book is an entirely different group of people. I’m definitely going to read the sequel next, so expect another update soon!

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

It’s been awhile since my last book review, but don’t worry, I’ve still been reading!

I felt like there was a lot of hype for the Hulu adaptation of Nine Perfect Strangers. They had such a great cast and were promoting the show off the success of Big Little Lies. I made sure to watch it every week and it was certainly interesting. I feel like I enjoyed it for the most part. I cared about the characters and was happy with how things ended for all of them. Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Masha was a bit odd, but kind of worked? Overall, I enjoyed it.

I really liked Big Little Lies and have wanted to read more of Liane Moriarty’s work, so it only made sense to read the book. I think it’s important to mention that Liane Moriarty is Australian and both books take place in Australia, so it’s interesting to me that they’ve been adapted to American locations. I guess this is Nicole Kidman’s doing, right? She has to be the reason these Australian books are being made into American TV.

Anyway…I have to say that I liked the show more than I liked the book. It was still a good read, but I almost wish I would have read it before seeing the show. It just wasn’t as dramatic or interesting and we didn’t get to see as much of the personalities of the characters.

There were quite a few changes that were made when they adapted it into a show, and I think all of the changes were for the better. The biggest ones for me for the house they stayed in and Masha’s character.

In the book they’re in an old Victorian house that has cracks in the plastic and gave me sort of an eerie feeling. I’m assuming that’s what Moriarty was going for, but it seemed like it would be a better location for a ghost story than a meditation retreat. Changing it to a modern facility worked better in the show. Although it didn’t have that eerie, old feeling I think there’s still something creepy about those cold, empty facilities. Almost like Kim Kardashian’s empty, white, seemingly endless hallways.

The other big change was Masha. In the book she was an overweight business executive that didn’t take care of herself and had a near death experience that made her change her lifestyle. Nicole Kidman’s portrayal was also unhealthy, but not quite in the same way. They had similar traumas prior to their NDE, so that was the same, but their personalities afterward were very different.

Both Masha’s pushed the boundaries to extremes with their guests, but while Nicole Kidman’s moves were carefully calculated and kept in control, book Masha really lept off the deep end. They both helped the guests in similar ways, but by the end Nicole Kidman’s character was respected where book Masha should’ve been institutionalized.

I definitely liked the way that the show handled everything better. It felt intentional, where the book made her seem too crazy. It was a good read though. At the end I found myself wanted to just keep reading one more chapter. I was glad too that they tied up all the loose ends by the end and didn’t leave the reader guessing what happened to everyone after they left the retreat.