Books I Have Read so Far in 2020

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            So something I have for sure been doing while in quarantine is reading, not as much as I want to but still I’m reading. My goal is 36-40 books this year and I’m eleven in, I have a lot more reading to do this year. I have no specific genre that I read, I read mostly anything if we are being honest. A few years ago I read a lot of historical fiction and I burned myself out on that for a while, but other than that I actually really enjoy reading. 

            I read 32 books last year and 12 of t hose were read in December as I made a last ditch effort to reach my 35 book goal. I haven’t hit my book goal since 2017. My goal in 2018 was 35, I read 6. I have been tracking all the books I have read since 2016 and I wish I could say that I have read more than 116 in those four and a half years but here we are. In reality I would ideally be up around 50 books a year but life doesn’t work like that all the time.

            Okay getting away from the long winded introduction,  here are the books I have read so far in 2020:

Spending the Holidays with People I Want To Punch in The Throat by Jen Mann:

            I read this in one day, New Year’s Day actually, I do enjoy reading essays that people have written about events in their lives and bonus points if they are funny or something I can relate to. This book was hilarious to say the least and it makes me want to read her other collections of essays because I think they would be just as amusing.

Star Wars: Bloodlines by Claudia Gray:

            I am a relatively new Star Wars fan, I don’t read a lot of the novelizations, I read a lot of Doctor Who novelizations and even Marvel but Star Wars is still pretty new for me. I was in elementary school when the prequels came out and didn’t see any of them until I was in high school, I spent a weekend in 2018 watching all of the original trilogy and I have seen all of the new ones as well. I know that the new ones get a lot of hate, but I didn’t hate them but again; I’m new. The book was dense, I liked it; it was a pretty good lead up to the events that happen in The Force Awakens and it continues to reinforce the fact that Leia Organa is a certified bad ass. 

I’ve Got This Round by Mamrie Hart:

            Again, a book of essays. I like hearing people’s drunk stories because I don’t really have any of my own and I like it that way. Reading the things that other people get up to and are up to telling others about is amusing to me. Mamrie is a great story teller and she is a very funny entertainer, I used to watch her on YouTube when I was in college; not so much now but I still enjoyed reading the second one of her novels. If you like humor and alcohol fueled adventures this is for sure a good read for you. 

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes by Cory O’Brien: 

            I saw and excerpt of this on Tumblr probably four years ago and I bought the book because of it, I really like myths and stories of the like so reading an almost satirical telling of all of these really heavy myths; it’s just a lot of fun to read. It gives a different perspectives of all of those myths and it makes them a lot more fun to read. 

It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson:

            Like I said, I really like essays and I read his first book I Hate Myselfie in one day in December, I have been a Shane Dawson fan since 2012-2013 somewhere around there and rediscovered him in 2018. It was good and very honest throughout. 

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt:

            This book is going to be the oddity in this list and you may be saying, this seems like an off choice between two autobiographical novels. Well this we read for One School One Book and I couldn’t put it down. I work with elementary school kids and this book was a really feel good novel, it is a great story about overcoming, about embracing what makes us all different and that it doesn’t matter how we learn as long as someone is willing to take the time and figure out that maybe we all learn a little different and that doesn’t make us any less. 

Girl Logic by Iliza Shlesinger:

            I love Iliza’s comedy specials and her podcast is hilarious, the book was fine. I think I would have liked it better as an audiobook but I did enjoy reading it. I know that sometimes my girl Logic gets the best of me.

Mortal Arts (Lady Darby Mystery #2) by Anna Lee Huber:

            This is book 2, book one is That Anatomist’s Wife, it’s based in the late 1800’s in The United Kingdom, this one was in Scotland and once I got into it I couldn’t put it down. I love mysteries, usually of the cozy variety but this one is a little more serious. It wove a vivid tale of how mental health care was drastically different in those times and how that affected the people who suffered with it. 

Lark! The Herald Angels Sing (Meg Langslow Mystery #24) by Donna Andrews:

            This is one of those cozy mysteries I was talking about. I have read every book in this series and I have loved every one. I am going to write a review on the first book for a post alter in the month, when I do I will link it here because this series was what inspired me to try my hand writing mystery. (it’ll happen one day but I think for now I will stick with fiction.) This is one of my favorite series by far though, I actually read the 19th book first because I wanted a Halloween mystery and then I went back and painstakingly tried to buy the rest of the series.

Ghost Hunters Adventure Club and The Secret of The Grande Chateau by: Dr. Cecil H.H. Mills:

            If you want a mystery novel that has just a touch of satire and enjoys breaking the fourth wall between the characters and the author as well as the outside world do I have a book suggestion for you. It does start a little slow but as you get wrapped up in the mystery it becomes compelling and overarchingly funny. It actually had me guessing who the culprit was until it was revealed; I never saw it coming. So good.

Civil War by Stuart Moore:

            I love Marvel, I have the Civil War comic and I have read it so I knew what was coming but I like reading the novelizations because it allows for more detail and the ability for someone to visualize it without looking at pictures. It is nothing like Civil War the film which is one of my favorite Marvel movies, the only real similarity is the Registration Act, that’s about it. If you see them as completely separate entities they are both great. There are a lot more characters in the comic and novel but you know, studio licensing. 

            I hope to tell you more of the books that I read this year because, books. There isn’t much else I have to say in this post so I will see everyone in a few says with a new post.

            Stay safe, stay healthy,

            -MJ 

2019 Bullet Journal Roundup

Hey, hey it’s MJ,

            Welcome to 2020 everyone, I have been rather busy this week so I have been putting off writing this because this was the first week back to school and that meant I was busier than usual. It’s been really busy because yesterday we were under severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings and today it’s sleeting and snowing, it’s bananas. (So I wrote this intro paragraph almost a week ago, almost two weeks back to school now and still just as busy!)

Though I did a post like this last year with my 2018 bullet journal, well I did some things different in 2019 and I am doing even more things different in 2020. I still can’t believe that this is already 2020, it’s bonkers! 

            Year two of bullet journaling is done now and I am on year three and learning new things all the time. I love the evolution of what I can/am doing with a bullet journal rather than a traditional planner or journal.

            So this is really my favorite pages from last year and I am so excited to show some more of my creative pages from last year, granted I did miss November again this year because the latter half of last year was really difficult for me. I am hoping for a much better and more productive 2020. 

Monthly Covers: 

 March: I really let my creativity run with March and I know this was in my Bullet Journal Update post from earlier in the year but it’s still one of my favorite covers for the year. 
May: May was still Star Wars themed and this year I am doing themes more so May will still probably be Star Wars so I am hoping that I get a little bit more creative this year with the cover and the month over all.
June: Again I really took the time on my covers this year and used more than just markers, I actually pulled out my big colored pencil set this year and it really helped me with more depth and creativity.
 July: I think this is my favorite from this year, I spent hours on it and I loved working on it so much. 
August: Was probably one of my other favorites from this year, it was just one of those pages that I would go back and look at throughout the rest of the year because it was something that made me so happy.
September: Loved this one as well, I spent so much time on my covers last year and I am already spending so much on my covers this year as well so seeing the progression of my cover pages throughout the last two years is crazy.
December: What can I say, I didn’t do October or November for covers or November at all so I had to end the year with a good one, I think this one was pretty good. 

Mood Trackers:

January: I love dreamcatchers and I still want to make one or buy one for my apartment because there are some really beautiful ones out there so recreating something that I enjoy in my bullet journal last year was really cool. 

February: A jar of hearts, I really liked this one as well but I was sick most of February so it was a little more subdued than January but I still really enjoyed it.
April: This was another page in my Bullet Journal Update from earlier in the year but again like I said Edison bulbs are amazing and I have always loved the idea of them so being able to recreate them in my bullet journal was a lot of fun.
May: I liked the crystals, I would make them bigger if I ever did this again, I don’t know if it fit into the Star Wars theme but I tried.
 June: It’s a doughnut! I love it!
August: I see enough paper planes being in a school setting but having them in my bullet journal was much less aggravating than having to deal with them in real life.

Monthly Calendars: 

May: Return of the angry porg! I am still really upset that the porgs didn’t make much of an appearance in Rise of Skywalker, they were the best.
October: I didn’t do the cover for October but the calendar was cute.
December: Merry Christmas Charlie Brown is one of my favorite Christmas specials so being able to put Snoopy in my bullet journal was great.

Random Pages: 

 Books Read Page: I love having a bookcase in my bullet journal to chronical all of the books I have read in any given year. Last year my goal was 35, I actually read 32 and 12 of those were in December. 
Movies to see: I didn’t see all the movies that I wanted to but that’s okay, I loved the ones I did see which was two of the seven that I wanted to. 

            My 2019 Bullet Journal was different from 2018 and even 2020 has been different than 2019. Bullet Journaling is such a freeing concept because you can do what you want with your pages and your inspiration throughout the year and even throughout a given month. Last year when I posted this I was going to be working on February and that is one of my plans for this weekend (it will be last weekend by the time this comes out) but I am so excited to see where my bullet journal takes me this year! 

            I hope that everyone has a good week and I will be back later in the week with another post!

Bye,

                        -MJ

Bullet Journal Update

I am going to be completely honest with everyone, I believe in transparency and to be honest the last few weeks have just been emotionally difficult for me. I know why but I don’t really have a reason that I have been feeling the way that I have been feeling. I have all of the rest of the posts mapped out for this month and I am hoping that soon enough I will snap myself out of this funk that I have been in for the last 3-4 weeks. I am also writing this pretty late at night because I am in Northwest Arkansas and today we have been battered with some pretty severe storms and I am waiting for a watch to expire before I even try to go to bed. 

            I just wanted to hop on and post an update on my Bullet Journal, you can read about my BuJo journey in My Favorite Pages from Last Year (2018) and What I’m Doing Differently This Year. 

            I will say this year it has kept me slightly more organized because I have added more trackers and have actually been using it every day. Granted I started out strong in 2018 so I am hoping to actually Bullet Journal all 12 months this year. 

            I have been doing a few different things actually, one was two habit trackers and It’s been helping to remind me to do certain things and for the most part I have been keeping myself more accountable on things because of it. I also am implementing my monthly spread as of this month because I want to have my schedules all in one place not three. Right now it’s just for blog posts soon enough I hope it’s for the restart of my YouTube channel and various other events that I have during any given month (I am a home body, most of the time it’s just, MJ leave the house, it’s been days, you need help.

            I also have been putting a little bit more time in my monthly covers, I have an idea on what my themes will be next year and I am not going to spoil it until I make a post about my Bullet Journal at the end of the year.

            Here are some of my favorite pages so far: 

I switched my weekly layout this year and I am finding that this is actually a lot more functional for me.
I for sure used the same quote last year but it’s still a good quote, like I said I am taking my time on my monthly covers or at least trying to.
I am continually changing and updating my habit tracker because i find that there are things that get dropped from being tracked or things that I need to track and don’t.
Coming up with a creative mood tracker is hard but I am a huge fan of Edison bulbs and I chose this as my theme in April.
That’s right, May is Star Wars themed! Don’t mind my very angry looking porg, I am not super great at drawing. Also if you type “porg” without Star Wars in Pinterest it gets mad at you and thinks you are looking for something else, get your mind out of the gutter Pinterest!

            Side note: I am not going to put these in a “gallery” because it seems that when you do that with a bunch of pictures nothing formats to be the same size an that’s just annoying. 

            I know this really isn’t a long post, I have been writing a lot of what feel like novel length posts recently and I need to step back from that because sometimes that gives me anxiety and I really don’t need more than what I already have. 

            Do you have a Bullet Journal? Do you want tips from me on my experiences? Any advice from more experienced Bullet Journalists (I don’t know what else to call it.)? 

            I will see everyone on Saturday/Sunday with a new post, have a good rest of your week!

            -MJ 

What I’m Doing Different in My 2019 Bullet Journal

            When I started Bullet Journaling I promised myself I would not be one of those people who would make a post of anything like “what I will do differently” “what I wish I knew before I started” but here I am because everyone’s journey is different when you take on the task of bullet journaling. It’s a task, it takes time, it takes energy, and it takes creativity. It takes planning to plan out a Bullet Journal to make it something that is actually useful for your life. For me it became a chore part of the year because I was dealing with other things but I used my Bullet Journal as an anchor point. 

            This year it is a little different, my life is a little different this year and I am going to try and do more with my bullet journal to make it my own not just a copy of some of the cool things that I have seen on Pinterest. Though I am still constantly inspired by the people who I see on Pinterest with these amazingly beautiful Bullet Journals

            This post is not going to be super long because I have only gotten through the set up pages, January, and by the time this goes up I will be working on my February layout.

             I’m adding new pages, I am doing different things and I am really excited to have a chance to do different things as my bullet journaling journey continues to evolve. I am doing a full monthly spread before each month this year so I can eliminate a monthly planner, I use one for blog posts and when I was still doing my YouTube channel I would use it for video scheduling. I am hoping to get back to that this year as well, without spreading myself too thin because I have real life adult things that I have to do outside of the sphere of social media even though I find myself coming back to social media over and over again trying to be a better version of myself. Back to my pages though, I decided that I wanted to eliminate another planner from my life and make sure that everything is just in one place so I can do better at keeping myself on schedule. 

            I am also doing calendars at a glance for each month because I don’t want to rely on my phone when I am looking for a date if I am on the phone, that is why calendars were invented, actually to be real I don’t know why calendars were invented but I can hazard some guesses. Maybe I will research the history of calendars for my own personal enjoyment. 

            I am doing my weekly layouts different as well this year than I did last year, last year is on the right and this year is on the left, even this year I may switch up my weekly layout, I thought about doing that last year but I never got around to it. 

            I’m also doing two habit trackers this year, one general and one beauty/skin care. I am trying to become a better human being and part of that is working on me. I’m trying I promise. Last year is on the left and this year is on the right.

            I am working on a lot of things this year and keeping a Bullet Journal is hopefully going to help me keep more organized, I am consistently dealing with a lot so having something as a creative outlet that isn’t on social media may help me out some. Self-care, mental health, all that stuff.  

            I think that I can say that this is not for everyone and that’s totally cool, in a few years when the trends change maybe I won’t do it anymore or maybe it will evolve into even more of an art form than it already is. 

            I will be checking in with my Bullet Journal every few months, it’s a way to keep myself honest and make sure that I am working on it even if no one else is interested in it, I can’t shrug over the internet but that’s about how I feel. If I am on this journey by myself then here I am on it by myself but if you feel like joining in, you’re welcome to join me. 

            Do you bullet journal? Any tips for someone who is still pretty new at it?

            See everyone on Thursday with another post, I am trying to catch up before the end of the month. 

            -MJ 

Some of my Favorite Bullet Journal Pages from 2018

First of all, welcome back. I have been a little MIA so far this year because of work and just general life stuff. Being an adult is hard sometimes you guys. I feel like January has straight up knocked all the creativity out of my body and I hate it. I miss writing blog posts and even writing in general because I haven’t been doing much of that this month. I am in the middle of my revisions on a few novels so that has kind of been taking up some of my time. Other than that I have just been tired, January is gloomy and even though there have been days in the 60’s down here it’s still just a little gloomy. 

            That is however, not what this post it about. It is going to be more photos than anything else because last year was the first year I attempted the fabled Bullet Journal that has taken over Pinterest. I was mostly successful I missed two or so months because I had some low points last year but when I was using it, it was keeping my sanity pretty well in check. Most of my page inspiration came from Pinterest and blogs that I found through Pinterest for pages ideas. That is one thing that I am going to try to branch away from this year because I have already started my 2019 Bullet Journal. My next post is what I am doing different this year so be on the lookout for that in the next few days. 

            I am not as skilled in drawing as many of the other Bullet Journal creators out there but I try.

Monthly Cover Pages:

January, this was my first cover page and I really liked how it turned out when I started this thing in January. 
 March, so this was inspired by a glass terrarium I saw on Pinterest and I am a huge fan of succulents. My one problem with this was how the glass didn’t line up right because making a 3D object into something 2D can be tricky. 
April, I mean, the old saying “April showers bring May flowers” is super true where I am so I liked the idea of an umbrella. 
August, I don’t live anywhere near a beach anymore but I got the inspiration from Pinterest and it was either a real sign or a monthly cover, I honestly don’t remember but if I did I would give credit to who inspired me
September, this is where I got ambitious, I was feeling better about life and I did a garden scene that was inspired by an actual photo, it was a lot of greens and I tried to make it look realistic, not sure if it actually worked but I tried. 
October, again I got ambitious, this one is probably tied with September for my favorite covers of the year. It was also a photo so making it look realistic was a goal of mine. 
December, the last one of the year. I completely skipped November so I wanted December to be something that I was proud of. It was simple and cute because it was a very holiday inspired scene. 

Mood Trackers: 

            July, it was a hot air balloon and for some reason that screamed mid-summer to me. I used the same colors every month so some months my color schemes made less sense than other months. This one turned out pretty cool in my opinion.

            August, this was one of those months when my colors made less sense, it’s a very weird looking pineapple but overall I liked the pineapple itself even with the multi-colored color scheme. 

            December, of course I had to pick a Christmas tree, there is no other option for December for me. I wish though I would have planned the light placement better. 

Misc Pages: 

            Quotes, I am one of those people who loves inspirational quotes and I picked a few that I liked and filled a page with them. It’s a simple thing but it made me feel pretty good every time I turned to that page.

            Things that Make Me Happy, I did a list like this in my writing journal which was kind of my first foray into Bullet Journaling before I knew what that actually was. I didn’t fill the whole page and that was okay. I think I am going to do it again this year but a little different because I like the list idea more than I like the bullet pointed spread that I had last year.

            There is no title to this page, it’s just a long form quote that I came up with almost in a poetry form, I moved to a place where there is a lot of nature and I wanted to get more into it. I probably actually will this year but I just needed a calm page in my August spread to remind me. 

            One Phrase, I wrote one phrase over and over again in different handwriting and it was a really cathartic experience.

            Holiday Movie Checklists, I did one for Halloween and Christmas and I will be doing it again this year for sure. 

            A bullet journal can be so many things, it is for you to decided what you do with it. I actually really enjoyed doing it and am still enjoying it this year even if I haven’t started my February layout yet. That is my plan for this weekend so when this post goes up I am probably working on my February layout.

            Do you bullet journal? Got favorite pages?

-MJ

Merry Christmas!

Happy Christmas Eve everyone! Happy Holidays! Here are some puppies to brighten your day!

Mr. Oz and Miss. Ginger wish you Happy Holidays!

            I can’t believe that we are a week out from 2019, there were so many things that I wanted to do this year that just fell by the wayside but I will talk more about that in my New Year’s post which I started writing in early November because this year, it’s been a year. I just wanted to take some time with today’s post to take a break from beauty and lifestyle and everything else that this blog usually is and reflect on the season.

            I’m going to preface this, this post is probably going to be more “stream of consciousness” than my usual posts because I don’t really have a set intention for this post, no razor sharp focus today because I just want to get some thoughts out.

            I hope that this holiday season finds you well, I hope that you are spending time with family or friends. I hope that everyone has too much food and laughs too much around a table with people who make you feel whole inside and for some people I know that’s not possible and I am sending love to all of the corners of this place for all of those people. 

            I don’t expect this post to be super long because I am just going to talk about my holiday, in my family it’s just my mom, my dad, our dogs, Ozzie and Ginger, and me. We don’t have a big family but this is this year since we moved from my hometown it’s going to be a small Christmas; normally we would be surrounded by my cousin’s family so there would be about 10 of us, this year that is not the case. I doubt that we even really get out of pajamas this year and I am not mad about that. I’m not making a big deal of Christmas this year because this year has been, I can’t sigh over the internet but that is about the emotion that I tie to this year; just one long sigh. 

            It is something like 50˚ or a little bit below as I am writing this post so that means there is not going to be a white Christmas and that to me is such a strange sensation, I was born and grew up just underneath Lake Michigan and we had snow. We got the lake effect and that meant that usually we got plenty of snow and there is a part of me that doesn’t miss that, I hated driving in it, I didn’t like shoveling, because once you grow up there are no such things as snow days unless it’s a state of emergency which we dealt with more than once because of snow. Or you are in education and then it just means another day on at the end of the year, I’m not complaining, days when they closed school meant that I didn’t have to drive 45 minutes to school. I have been walking around in a sweater, I had my windows open last week, it’s December and I’m just not used to that. I was hardened by the north and all that rot. 

            This year is my first year in a new place, it’s not in the house I grew up in; no someone else owns that now and from what our neighbors have said about the new neighbors who now live in our old house, they are not well liked. (I’m not here to pass judgment on them, I don’t know them.) If I was still in Indiana Christmas would be different, we are still going to be doing many of the same things but it’s just different down here, new house, new town, new everything, and I don’t feel very jolly this year. That is not the fault of anyone but my brain, it’s been a really up and down year for me and I think my mind and body are just exhausted with this year and I know when I wake up on January 1st, 2019 it’s not like I get to press the reset button but I am going to do what I can to make that reset button a real thing, even metaphorically. 

            On a lighter note with no transition because I am not having a very easy time having this post pull together as a flowing piece of prose, but here it is. A brief of Christmas traditions in my family: Christmas Eve is just appetizers, we used to make a full dinner because it would be the three of us, my grandmother (God rest her soul) and my Godfather but several years ago, I think I was still in high school when we started to just have appetizers because it was just the five of us. My grandmother passed away in 2015 and that holiday season was hard because her birthday was Thanksgiving that year, she only missed it by a month so that season was hard and even now I am getting a little teary because Christmas was her favorite time of year, my grandmother and I had a rocky relationship from the time I was about 12 so Christmas was the one time a year when nothing was ever said because we were family and it was the holidays. So lighter note my behind as I fall into a pit of needing a therapist and that is not what this post is for. (I am super scattered this morning, I’m sorry but I am not going to censor myself to say that everything is sunshine and rainbows when that’s not how life works.) 

            Back to traditions, appetizers on Christmas Eve, then we all go do our own thing, I normally watch A Christmas Story and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, if you read my Top 10 Christmas Movies post, or if you would like to do that you can click the link and see my reasoning and recommendations to what movies I love to watch during this season. Christmas morning is presents, breakfast, coffee, and it used to be watching the WGN morning show because that is just a weird tradition in my family. Then it was starting to cook, cooking all day, and then having family over in the evening, and topping it off with right before falling asleep I would watch Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown. This year however, we are still having appetizers, our Christmas will just be us and maybe my mom’s best friend, I’m going to try to squeeze in movies because by the time this is posted I’ll have been at my parent’s house for over a day. It’s odd to have to drive somewhere for the holiday but I am excited to do it, even if it’s only about half an hour away. 

            I don’t really have all that much else to say, I hope that your holiday is merry and bright. I will see everyone on Saturday with another post.

            Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

                        MJ 

Top 10 Christmas Movies

I can’t believe that it is already this time of year! Like 2018 has taken three or four solid years but the last three months of this year have flown right by and we are two weeks out from the end of 2018. Cannot even believe it. 

            I wanted to do a few holiday posts even though we are only a week out from Christmas but this is the time of year for themed movies! I did a post like this for Halloween and so I felt like I needed to continue the trend of the “my favorite movies” but now for Christmas. I did something similar if not the same last year on my YouTube channel but I have taken most of this year off of my channel, hopefully 

            Now I am going into this as the top ten movies that I watch during the season, it doesn’t mean that my number one movie is my all-time favorite, they aren’t really in any order so here we go. 

All thoughts and opinions are my own, per usual.

  1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

There are two movies that I watch every Christmas Eve and this is one of them, usually the first film of the pair that I watch. I have been watching this movie for probably longer than I should have because of some of the language and the themes that are involved but who doesn’t love a good old fashion family Christmas from the saga of the tree, to the Christmas lights, to the reality that is having a big and diverse family around at the holidays. It’s one of those movies for me that no matter the time of year I can pop it in and enjoy it no matter what. It has some really memorable lines that I reference in conversation every once in a while if I know the other person has seen the film. 

2. A Christmas Story

This is the other movie that I watch every Christmas Eve, TBS shows, it or at least used to for 24 hours and I would try to stay up all night on Christmas Eve and watch it over and over, there was a good chance that I actually would only catch about half as I dosed in and out of sleep. Now that I am an adult I prefer sleep to trying to stay up all night like I did as a kid and even as an adolescent, when I was a kid it was the excitement of Christmas morning when I was a little older it was just me seeing if I could do it. I don’t think I ever did. Such a good movie though, whenever I bundle up to go outside and I have a lot of winter clothes on my first reaction is to say, “I can’t put my arms down!” because that is one part of the movie that makes me laugh every single time I see it. Also the word “fragile” neither my father or myself can resist saying it like they do in the film whenever we see the word. 

3. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas 

I love both of the incarnations of this film that have been out for years, I have not seen the version that came out this year but the one I am referencing in this list specifically is the 2000 live action adaptation. We went to the theater I think two days after Thanksgiving to see this and the whole family went my mom, my dad, my grandma, and me (small family). Now I watch it at least two or three times during the season because this is the movie I wrap presents to, normally that means I don’t really watch it so I have to watch it again and usually the second time through I end up falling asleep so a third time is required. I watched it for the first time yesterday and I was only a little distracted while trying to write this post yesterday, it didn’t work. (Then I watched Coco and cried a little.) It’s been one of my favorites since I got it on VHS in 2001, that’s right VHS; let that sink in for those of you who remember what a VHS is. I was 8 when this film came out so I grew up watching it and I still watch it every year.

4. Muppet Christmas Carol

Okay so I have a confession to make on this one, I didn’t see this movie until 2014 in my senior year of college, I told one of my roommates that I had never seen it and she was appalled because this is one of her favorite movies. I may have seen parts of it beforehand but never all the way through so we watched it and I have watched it every year since. It was on Netflix, then it was on On-Demand and then I had to get the DVD because no one else had it on TV or to watch online one year. I love a Christmas Carol; I need to actually sit down and read the original Dickens prose because it’s one of those pieces of literature that is so ingrained in our popular culture in so many different forms. Bah, Humduck! a Looney Toons Christmas Carol and A Flintstone’s Christmas Carol both are on my list to watch every year but didn’t make the top ten, though they were rather close in the running but I didn’t want more than one movie adaptation of a Christmas Carol on here.

5. The Santa Clause

Another movie that I grew up on, I am talking about the original Santa Clause here not the second one which was fine or the third one which I haven’t seen. I’m talking original mid-90’s movie. This was another one I had on VHS growing up so I watched it every year without fail. I love the story that goes along with the film, but there are some pretty dark themes to it that as a kid you don’t see. Like Scott losing custody of Charlie because everyone thinks he’s going insane, the mistrust of things that you don’t understand, and some other things that are at the moment slipping my mind. 

6. The Nine Lives of Christmas

I am a sucker for a Hallmark Original holiday film, even though they all have roughly the same plot formula, I don’t care. I will sit and watch a whole day of the same movie over and over because it just makes you feel so good inside. I actually did read the book for this movie and it is a lot different from the movie if we are being honest. Though my cousin borrowed the book in like 2015 and has yet to give it back, I probably should go buy a new copy because I have a doubtful feeling that I will get my original copy back. This movie is just super cute, I’m not even a huge fan of cats but this is one of those feel good movies that you can’t look away from no matter what. I don’t even get the Hallmark Channel now with my cable so I haven’t watched a single Hallmark movie this year. 

7. Yogi’s First Christmas

            I scoured the internet for this one year because I remember watching it as a kid and it was one of those things that I just couldn’t find, thankfully Amazon had the DVD so I ordered it because I needed to watch it and relive my childhood. There were plenty of Christmas specials on Cartoon Network when I was a kid, they had days dedicated to it or at least evenings about the time the Christmas break for school started and I watched so many things that I don’t remember the names to now. There was one movie about Santa with fairies and I had to look it up because for a while there I couldn’t find it to save my life, it was The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus.This movie is just one of those movies that brings back memories from when I was little so it’s really nostalgic even though it came out over a decade before I was born.

8. Arthur Christmas

            I mean, it’s a cute movie and Christmas is the time of year where animated movies rule the day. It’s a really cute movie about family and acceptance, it has some really good messages and this kind of amazing theory on Santa Claus. The animation quality is great and it’s just a feel good kind of film that takes a realistic look at a family business. 

9. Home Alone

            How could this movie not make this list? I mean it’s one of those movies that gave everyone the thought that they could so take on a burglar if they were Home Alone, though to be honest calling the police would have been a better option than maiming others. It’s a really violent movie if you watch it as an adult, no hate I still watch it every year and laugh throughout the whole film but after watching videos of medical professionals and others talk about the survivability of some of the stunts in the film it makes you question how super human Marv and Harry really are. 

10. The Holiday

            Another really feel good movie, holiday house switch both women find love. It’s very cliché and I love it either way. It has a really all-star cast and a really good story of stepping out of your comfort zone and not dwelling on things that bring you down and letting go of toxic people in your life. It’s cute and has a really great score behind it, if you haven’t given it a watch and romantic dramedy is your thing I would suggest it.

            I want to take just one second and talk about some of my favorite holiday specials growing up, The Rugrats Chanukah episode, it was something that taught me as a kid about a different holiday instead of Christmas and it was one of my favorites. Also the Proud Family Seven Days of Kwanzaa episode, again it was a holiday that I knew nothing about that was showcased on a show that I loved growing up to tell a different story about the season. 

            So have you got any favorite holiday movies, TV episodes, or specials? 

-MJ

Some Current Favorites

Well it’s been some time since I have actually done a favorites post and I kind of missed it. I feel like I have not had too many favorites in the last few months just because my life has been a little busy.

 

So these favorites are over the last few months (April, May, and June) I did do an April Favorites video over on my YouTube channel but I never actually wrote a blog on it (oops, my bad.)  Also, to be honest May and June got away from me. I feel like most of them are beauty related because those are what I have been using and that is why I remember them.

 

First thing is first, this product was in my spring fabfitfun box, the Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion. I use this product every day, I love it so much, there are very few lotions and skin care products so when I find one that doesn’t make my skin irritated I cling to it. I cannot say enough nice things about it, I actually bought the Oli-Control Mattifier lotion as well which is also a sun screen so it has really been saving my skin and I love that just as much. Seriously one of my favorites for the last few months.

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This was one of my favorites throughout April and into the summer months and that is my Lorac Malibu palette, it is four eye shades and two cheek shades, I normally don’t use the cheek shades when they are included in an eye palette but I have found myself using them throughout the summer because I actually have a tan. I love the summery and more neutral colors of the palette, it stays on pretty well and I found myself reaching for it over and over again when I just wanted to do a normal simple every day look when I don’t use my NYX Cosmetic Metals palette. If you want to read my normal makeup routine, you can, here.

 

I not only got tan this summer but I also burned, that is my usual summer plan, burn, and then back to being translucent. I had a friend tell me to use rose water on my burn to rehydrate my skin. It helped so much and I also use rose water with my moisturizer and the one that I have been using is the Soo AE Revitalizing Rose Mist and I have been using it religiously because I do not hydrate my face enough. It for sure helped my burn though and I am happy to say it did tan out which was the hope.

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I am one of those people who keeps lotion everywhere no matter what because I always need it because my hands are always dry, I think part of it is the air conditioning and I have been spending a lot of time outside in the hot. One brand that I can only get in limited form is Zoella Beauty, I have been following her channel on YouTube for quite some time now and I have not been without a tube of Wonder Hand in a while now and it is one of my favorite lotions at the moment.

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So I bought a CD in June that I loved and have been waiting for the release of for quite some time was the new Panic! At The Disco album Pray for the Wicked. I listened to it three or four times on release day and I love its sound. I can’t ever describe Panic! At The Disco’s sound because it has evolved so much since their first album that I listened to in middle school. I have grown up with Panic and I am always happy to hear new music from them, it’s a new sound, it’s a good sound, and I was here for it.

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One final thing in my current favorites. I had to get a new pop clip for my car, I have one so I can put my Popsocket into a holder in my car. I had one that was adhered to my dashboard but in early May it came off my dash. Well when I was in Indiana in May I got a new pop clip that is fitted into the vent in the car instead of sticking to the dash and I have found it so much easier and so much nicer to use because my phone screen is actually visible instead of being toward the sky. I am a huge fan of the pop clip and because I spend so much time in my car it has really saved my sanity in the car, I listen to a lot of music in the car so it’s nice to be able to have a better control over it when I am at stop lights without moving it from its holder.

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There were some of my current favorites, I am hoping that for this month (July) I will have more to share next month (August) when I actually post that blog post.

 

Do you have any favorites this month that you can’t find yourself living without or find yourself reaching for over and over again?

 

-MJ

 

A New Adventure

There are moments that define who we are, these moments can happen every day and we ignore them; I’m choosing not to ignore this moment.

Hey hey, it’s MJ and I have decided to add to the rest of my social media outlets with a blog! Something I have been thinking about for a while now as a supplement to my YouTube channel, by the same name, or by clicking here. I’m new to blogging in this format so give me some time to work out all the bugs.

-MJ