Happy New Year!

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.  I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you are wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.  And I hope, somewhere, in the next year, you surprise yourself.

-Neil Gaiman

I’m happy to say goodbye to 2015: it was full of sadness, endings, and general unwelcome surprises.  So now I look forward to 2016 with hope.

In addition to my personal goals, I will have some blogging & reading goals as well.  I’ll explain more about that on my next TTT post.

Until then, this is my new reading goal!

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Follow me on Goodreads, Instagram, and Twitter.

Happy New Year, everyone! 

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Happy New Year’s Eve!!

As the day winds to a close, I think about the last year and what a truly crazy year it’s been.  A few milestones happened this year but through it all, I still managed to keep reading. And reading.  And reading until I read over 100 books.  I know that may not be a lot of some of you crazy readers out there, but for me, that’s about all I can take while maintaining a blog (& instagram), a semi-social life, and working.

So without further ado, here is my year in books for 2015!

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I know many of the books I’ve read don’t have a review.  But don’t worry! They either will soon or you can just check out my Goodreads page to see what I thought of them.  Some books I can’t write reviews for because the words are escaping me while others are just scheduled for later.

How many books did you read this year? Did you reach your goal?

 

12 Days of Christmas Blogging: Day 12

Merry Christmas!!  Linksmų Kalėdų!!

I hope you all (that celebrate it) had a very lovely Christmas and that Santa left you lots of goodies under the tree!

Since my Christmas celebration was last night, we don’t do much today.  I made pancakes this morning for breakfast (pb & chocolate chip with banana) after we opened our stockings & presents.

This afternoon, my mom and I hope to go see Joy at the movies. If it’s sold out, we’re seeing Star Wars.

Follow me on Instagram or Twitter for some Christmas updates or fun things in general.

Have a wonderful day!

12 Days of Christmas Blogging: Day 11

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

A Lithuanian Christmas Eve is something special. It’s called Kūčios. It’s my favorite day of the year.

Traditionally, fasting occurs all day on Christmas Eve until dinner is served.  It’s not observed much anymore but I (usually unintentionally) keep to tradition. Christmas Eve is usually crazy busy preparing for the evening so it’s easy to simply not remember to eat.  This morning was a little harder for me to adhere to fasting because I had to get up early for work.  I may have eaten some cookies during the day but I was assured by my co-workers that not only do Christmas cookies not count as food when you eat them in small bites so they’re like crumbs, but also, there’s no calories.  Win-win for me!

Before the tablecloth is put on the table, hay is laid down.  After the meal, everyone pulls out a piece of hay and various predictions can be made. However, we haven’t done that in years since it’s very messy.

An empty place is set for those that we have lost this year and doubles as a place to welcome weary travelers.  Because who knows, someone unexpected may show up the door looking for a warm place to stay and something to eat.

The 12 dishes of Kūčios contain no meat (and typically no dairy but I broke that rule ages and ages ago).   Everyone should eat at least a bit of every dish or else bad luck will arrive in the new year (or, I read somewhere that you’ll die if you don’t try a bite of every dish).

I also read that if you’re the first to leave from the table while everyone else is eating, you’ll die.  I didn’t realize how morbid some of the fortune telling superstitions were.

My favorite two dishes are the red fish (haddock in a tomato/red sauce, served cold because all the dishes besides one are for some reason) and the potato pancakes.  This year, we made real bulvinai blynai instead of the other kind we usually have.  It didn’t turn out well because they sat for 20 minutes before we ate them so they got kind of rubbery.  Fresh pancakes are the best way to do it but that’s hard to do when it’s the last dish served for dinner.

It’s typically a solemn night leading up to dinner. Then once dinner is over, it’s time to celebrate.

This year, my family decided to do a Secret Santa for the first time.  It worked out really well since we all ended up with things we wanted instead of weird uninspired gifts during a Yankee Swap (White Elephant).  I got As You Wish by Cary Elwes and The Princess Bride (though, I’m going to see if I can exchange it for the illustrated edition, shhhh).

While the evening was sad, it wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be. I only cried a few times so that went well.  My mom made my cousin and I cry when she was saying the blessing before we ate.  It’s hard to have Kucios when the person who taught you all the traditions for the evening is gone.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas Eve.  Merry Christmas!!

Let It Snow

 

16081588

Rating: 4 Stars
Published: October 2008
Genre: YA //Contemporary Romance

This is a book of three connected holiday romances set on Christmas Eve in the middle of snowstorm.  What first begins as a disaster ends up being magical and special.  An adventurous and hilarious story will light up your night. So grab some hot chocolate or head to your favorite Waffle House (or not, because they don’t exist everywhere) and nestle in for a heartwarming Christmas romance.

Continue reading

12 Days of Christmas Blogging: Day 10

It’s Christmas Eve Eve and I’m not at all excited.  This year is different.  It’s sad.

I lost my grandmother in March.  She was 96 years old and it was her time to go.  But I wasn’t prepared.  You can never be prepared.  This is the first Christmas without her and everything is different.

One of our traditions for Christmas Eve (I’ll talk more about it tomorrow) is that dinner/celebration is held at the house where the oldest family member resides (the matriarch/ patriarch of the family).  For my family, that meant Christmas Eve dinner always took place at my house since my grandmother lived with us.

Not only is this Kūčios (Lithuanian Christmas Eve) heartbreaking but it’s also a little pathetic.  This is the smallest gathering of people I’ve ever bore witness to on Christmas Eve.  It will be my parents and I and then my cousin, her husband, and their two kids.  My uncle who usually joins us is with her two other daughters and their children in Florida this year.  And my other aunt and favorite cousin/closest thing I have to a brother are in Kentucky this year.   Seven people for Christmas Eve dinner.  It’s awful.  Without those other three people here, it’s just a stark reminder of my grandmother’s death.  I don’t mean to sound so whiny but I’m bitter and sad.

For some perspective, when I was growing up, all three cousins from Worcester & their significant other would be here, my uncle, aunt & 4 kids (and their significant others if they had one) would come down, plus my other aunt and cousin, and even sometimes, my aunt & uncle from Chicago would be here.  It was a lot of people. And even if they weren’t actually here for Kūčios, we would have a Christmas party on the 26th for us all. So I’m just used to A LOT of people in my house around Christmas.  That’s why I’m so sad that only four people are joining us.

But besides all that, I’m very aware of the lack of my grandmother’s presence.  Decorating the tree, I found some of her ornaments and decorations for her room and got all teary.

I’m just over all not feeling very happy this season.  It’s a hard adjustment to all these changes.

Thanks for listening to me vent, guys.  I know this isn’t my normal type of post.

 

12 Days of Christmas Blogging: Days 7, 8, & 9

I truly am the worst at this.  But since I actually have today off I’m scheduling the rest of them since I have the chance.   I really need to be more organized sometimes, I apologize people.

Day 7

Favorite holiday drinks:
White Russian
Spiked hot chocolate
Hot Toddy
Anything with RumChata
Winter Sangria
Wine, wine, wine (it’s good all year ’round!)

I found this online and they look delicious, I think I might try them this year. Oh goodness, and these.

Non-alcoholic favorites:

Peppermint Mocha
Caramel Brulee Latte (from Starbucks)
Hot Chocolate (with lots of fluff)

Day 8

Best Christmas cookies:

Saltines (This is essentially my recipe except I use regular sugar & add toppings like sprinkes/m&ms/crushed peppermint or nuts)
Snowballs/ Russian Tea Cakes (not the recipe I use, but similar)
Sugar cookies shaped like snowflakes
Lithuanian krustai/ausuki (or if you’re Polish, you’ll know them as Chrusciki)
Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints (Love love love, recipe here)
Chocolate Chip waffle cookies

Since I don’t bake, I don’t know a lot of different cookies recipes, so I just listed my favorites from ones I’ve either baked or gotten at a cookie swap.  The whole reason for this post was because I just finished making saltines for my work place cookie swap. Can’t wait to see what I get!

Day 9

I am the worst at wrapping presents.  Seriously. If the box is weird shaped, the paper finicky, or something else out of the ordinary, the present ends up looking terrible.  I have the most basic wrapping skills.

I can make a simple ribbon look nice but I can’t make pretty/fancy bows.

I don’t really know how I ended up being the person that wrapped all the gifts (besides the ones I’m receiving, duh).

You would think after lots of practice that something would come out looking pretty. NOPE. I mean, they’re not horrible looking but they’re definitely not picture worthy.

But I am happy to say that we officially put away all the wrapping supplies over the weekend and have nothing left to wrap before Christmas. I think that’s a first in our house.  We do a lot of things last minute but this year we seem to be on top of everything.

I even got all my friends  gifts mailed out last Wednesday and all 4 of them got their gifts by Saturday.  I NEVER mail things out on time. Now I just get to patiently wait for my gifts from them to arrive.

Are you good at wrapping gifts? Do you have all your wrapping done?

Top Ten Tuesday: Santa Please…

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, hosted by The Broke & The Bookish, is Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year.  I have a lot of books on my wish list this year.  However, my mom (or Santa) very rarely give me books for Christmas.  I’d be so happy with just books (and maybe a few clothing items, etc).

  1. Illustrated Harry Potter
    It’s just so pretty! I’ve looked at it many times at my bookstore but there are always other books to buy.
  2. The Princess Bride Illustrated Edition -William Goldman
  3. The Hobbit illustrated Edition- J. R. R. Tolkien
    Can you tell I like the idea of illustrated books? I kinda love the artwork.
  4. As You Wish – Cary Elwes
    I’ve been wanting to read it for so long!
  5. A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab
    This has been on my list for a while and I kinda need it ASAP.
  6. Modern Romance– Aziz Ansari
  7. See How They Run– Ally Carter
    Just released today!
  8. Ink and Bone: The Great Library– Rachel Caine
  9. Ten Thousand Skies Above You- Claudia Gray
    The cover.  It’s just so pretty.
  10. Seraphina – Rachel Hartman
    Why I haven’t read this yet, I truly don’t understand.
  11. Seconds – Bryan Lee O’Malley

Happy Tuesday! What are you wishing for under your tree? Are you read for Christmas?

12 Days of Christmas Blogging: Day 6

If I could have ANYTHING in the whole wide for Christmas, this is what would be on my list.  Things things are mostly unattainable since I am a poor and don’t know excessively rich people. But these are my dreams.

  • Adele tickets to a show on her 2016 tour
  • 5 pairs of Tieks
  • A Lily Pulitzer dress… or ten
  • Broadway tickets to see Aladdin, The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Fun Home, Something Rotten!, and Chicago
  • Tickets to The Cursed Child in London
  • A trip back to Scotland
  • A White Christmas
  • A huge family party
  • Unlimited books
  • A trip to Arizona to visit my best friend
  • A trip to Disneyland, since I’ve never been to the original park, during the 60th celebration
  • A Tiffany necklace
  • Tix to BEA & Book Con
  • A job in my field
  • A best friend that lived in the same state as I do at the moment
  • No student loan debt
  • Unlimited funds for my Lithuania trip next year
  • The ability to move abroad & have a job
  • To stop being clutzy
  • A boyfriend (because if I’m being outrageous, this should be on here even though I am a strong independent woman… I would like someone to date, please).

What would the most outrageous thing on your list be?

12 Days of Christmas Blogging: Day 5

Where are you, snow?

Last winter, I escaped to Florida.  Last winter, the snowbanks were taller than I am (5’3”).  Last winter was one of the worst winters New England has seen in a long time.

Yesterday was December 17th, 2016 and it was 52 degrees (and raining).
I’m going to regret saying this, I know I am, but where is the snow!?

It’s supposed to be even warmer next week. That’s CHRISTMAS week and it’s even warmer?

I just want it to FEEL like Christmas.  Even though the grass is still green, I’d like there to be frost on the ground or a crispness to the air.  Is that too much to ask?

I think I just need to escape to the mountains.  Then I can be cozy around a fireplace watching the snow fall outside.

Does it feel like Christmas to you? Is there snow where you live?