Getting Personal #271: Twentieth TBR Recap

Image Credit: Mommy and the Books

Welcome back!

Here’s what I’ve read since my last TBR post:

  1. Elliott, T.E., Service and Slumber: A Historical Tale Inspired by Sleeping Beauty (The Beast’s Legacy Book 2) — Review coming soon!
  2. Oviatt, Didi, Sketch — Review coming soon!
  3. Skloot, Rebecca, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  4. Yee, Lisa, Lea Dives In

Removing from Laura Beth’s TBR

  1. Mlynowski, Sarah, I See London, I See France
  2. Owens, Delia, Where The Crawdads Sing

Laura Beth’s Updated TBR

  1. Bethell, CM, Forged in Fire Book Two – Ayden (The Guardians Series 2)
  2. Cervantes, Angela, Lead With Your Heart (World By Us series)
  3. Cullen, Dave, Parkland: Birth of a Movement
  4. Davis, Michael, Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street
  5. Land, Stephanie, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive
  6. Macy, Beth, Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America
  7. Patrick, Denise Lewis, See Me, Hear Me, Know Me (World By Us series)
  8. Rosen, L.C., Jack of Hearts (and other parts)
  9. Wyeth, Sharon Dennis, The River and Me (World By Us series)

So, my current TBR is nine (9) books.

Do you have a TBR?

What are you looking forward to reading next?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #270: January Goals

Image Credit: See Jane Write

Welcome back!

Here are my goals for the month of January:

  1. Make progress with editing book #2.
  2. Read at least two books.
  3. Publish my Stranger Things The Upside Down LEGO Set post.
  4. Continue de-cluttering.
  5. Completely clean out my closet and re-organize.
  6. Send certain clothing items and shoes to Cottey College for their professional clothes closet.
  7. Continue meal planning.
  8. Begin book cover designing with Canva.
  9. Continue researching and learning about becoming an author.

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of January?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #269: My Favorite Things of 2021

Image Credit: Quote Master

So, before starting the lists of favorites, here’s my tally for books and Book Reviews for 2021:


Now, on to my favorites!

Favorite Books

Favorite Movies

  • Baby Driver
  • Beanie Mania (HBO Max)
  • Black Widow
  • Coming 2 America (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Don’t Look Up (Netflix)
  • Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (Disney+)
  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife
  • Moxie (Netflix)
  • Noelle (Disney+)
  • Richard Jewell (HBO Max)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • Space Jam: A New Legacy (HBO Max)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • The Tomorrow War (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Without Remorse (Amazon Prime Video)

Favorite TV Shows

  • Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children (HBO Max)
  • Black and Missing (HBO Max)
  • Cold Case – Seasons 1 – 7 (HBO Max)
  • Hawkeye (Disney+)
  • Head of the Class – Original Series (HBO Max)
  • Hoarders (YouTube)
  • LEGO Masters – Season 2 (Hulu)
  • Loki (Disney+)
  • LuLaRich (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Midnight Mass (Netflix)
  • Supermarket Sweep (YouTube)
  • Ted Lasso – Season 1 (Apple TV+)
  • The Baby-Sitters Club – Season 2 (Netflix)
  • The Muppet Show (Disney+)
  • WandaVision (Disney+)

Favorite Podcasts

  • 48 Hours
  • American Radical
  • Auld Lang Gone: The Lost Carmen Sandiego
  • Criminal
  • Cold – Season 2
  • Crimes of Passion
  • Dateline NBC
  • Embedded
  • Harsh Reality: The Story of Miriam Rivera
  • Life After MLM
  • Mind Over Murder – Seasons 1 and 2
  • Operator
  • Over My Dead Body – Season 3
  • Suspect
  • The Thing About Helen and Olga
  • Up and Vanished – Season 3
  • Small Town Dicks
  • StoryCorps

Well, that wraps up my favorite things for 2021!

What about you? What were some of your favorite things of the year?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #268: December Goals Recap

Image Credit: Goodbye Bread and Cheese

Welcome back!

Here were my goals for the month of December:

  1. Give blood. — Accomplished!
  2. Enjoy Christmas! — Accomplished!
  3. Publish my NaNoWriMo 2021 Recap post. — Accomplished!
  4. Publish at least two Book Reviews. — Did not achieve yet.
  5. Work toward finishing the first draft of Book #3. — Did not achieve yet.
  6. Participate in a fun Christmas card exchange. — Accomplished!
  7. Continue decluttering. — Semi-Achieved.
  8. Officially sell or donate all remaining duplicate or unwanted American Girl items. — Did not accomplish yet.
  9. Take some time off work for New Year’s. — Accomplished!
  10. Celebrate New Year’s! — Accomplished!

December was wild and crazy. Sometimes, it felt like time was flying. Other times, it was a slog.

I was able to give blood on December 2nd, after sitting out the October drive because of the stitches in my back. That was exciting. My iron levels have been very consistent since the summer, and I hope to keep that going. We are approaching 8,000 total units collected since we started the drives in April 2000!

I was thrilled with my success during NaNoWriMo 2021. I’m still amazed that I was able to write more than 53,000 words during the month of November! Consistency is key. I had no zero days at all, and I stuck to my plan, and it worked! I also bought the NaNoWriMo Winner T-shirt for the first time to celebrate.

Our original Christmas and New Year’s plans got blown to smithereens because of COVID-19. Al and I are fine, thank goodness, but there were four people that he and I interacted with the week before Christmas that were either exposed to the virus, tested positive, or had symptoms. Also, poor Ferb was having a lot of trouble that week as well, and sweet Al took him to three different vet visits. He was diagnosed with Canine Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (CHG), so we are monitoring him closely. We’re not sure what happened, but he’s doing much better now with a few subcutaneous fluid shots, anti-nausea shots, and an antibiotic. We knew something was really wrong when he didn’t want to eat. But now he’s scarfing down the chicken and rice and begs for treats, so we think he’s fine now.

The Christmas card exchange was super fun! We also received many nice photo cards and paper cards for our fridge!

Al and I also had a blast sponsoring a local child for Christmas. We went to multiple stores and tried to get some clothes, books, and toys that a 9-year-old would like. The child’s mom gave me an awesome list of his interests. Al really got into it and enjoyed it. We can’t wait to do it again next year. The best part was getting a text message on Christmas Day with a photo of him smiling, wearing the zip-up hoodie that we bought for him, surrounded by a multitude of gifts. I nearly cried. It was fantastic.

Al and I enjoyed our own version of Christmas, being together and safe with the dogs. We surprised each other with several nice gifts. My parents came over on the afternoon of Christmas Day with gifts and food! We spent some time together on our porch socially-distanced, and it worked out nicely.

The Book Reviews didn’t happen, and that’s okay. I really struggled with reading this year, especially the second half of the year. I’m determined to get back to it more consistently in 2022!

I’m excited to spend some quality time with my parents and Al’s parents for New Year’s before going back to work next week and starting another year! Cheers to 2022!


What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of December?

Come back tomorrow to see my January Goals!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #267: NaNoWriMo 2021 Recap

Image Credit: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo November 2021!

Welcome back! Here’s my recap of NaNoWriMo 2021. After skipping out on NaNoWriMo in 2020, I was determined to make it happen this year. And, boy, was it worth it!

As of November 1, 2021, I had 20,986 words written.

Personal Goal: Write at least 20,000 new words for book #3, but let’s see what happens.

Full disclosure: Never in a million years did I think I would ever reach 50,000 words in a month.


Day 1 – 1,786 new words, one untimed session and three timed sessions totaling 45 minutes.

Day 2 – 2,089 new words, 50 minutes writing time.

Day 3 – 1,919 new words, 45 minutes writing time.

Day 4 – 1,686 new words, 45 minutes writing time.

Day 5 – 1,948 new words, 50 minutes writing time.

Day 6 – 1,793 new words, 50 minutes writing time.

Day 7 – 2,229 new words, 50 minutes writing time.

Day 8 – 1,688 new words, 45 minutes writing time.

Day 9 – 1,639 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 10 – 1,686 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 11 – 1,687 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 12 – 1,738 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 13 – 1,891 new words, 50 minutes writing time.

Day 14 – 2,102 new words, 45 minutes writing time.

Day 15 – 1,835 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 16 – 1,846 new words, 45 minutes writing time.

Day 17 – 1,835 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 18 – 1,799 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 19 – 1,857 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 20 – 2,010 new words, 75 minutes writing time.

Day 21 – 1,631 new words, 35 minutes writing time.

Day 22 – 1,662 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 23 – 1,596 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 24 – 1,617 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 25 – 1,718 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 26 – 1,726 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 27 – 1,573 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 28 – 1,603 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 29 – 1,752 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 30 – 1,854 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Total for November 2021: 53,795 new words.

Current word count: 74,781 words.


Final Thoughts

Holy shit, I’m just blown away. I’m still stunned that this actually happened. I won NaNoWriMo! For the first time ever!

For those who may be curious, I hit 50,000 words on November 28th.

I went back to my old blog posts. The last November session I participated in was 2019, and I wrote 25,101 words during that session.

I doubled my output for this one. Wow!

My friend Ren continues to be a huge cheerleader for me. They are amazing!

I stuck with my plan from Camp NaNo and sat down every single day before starting work if possible, and then definitely after dinner until I met or exceeded my daily word count.

I’m also a Google Docs convert now.

Al chuckles that he always heard the din of my fingers on the keyboard for 30 days straight. It’s a beautiful sound.

I hope to finish this first draft for certain during Camp NaNoWriMo April 2022, if not sooner than that. I’m excited to continue Camp NaNo in April and July, and then work toward beating this goal in November 2022. This is the book I started during NaNoWriMo 2014. I have several other novels in various stages!


Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #266: December Goals

Image Credit: Pinterest

Welcome back!

Here are my goals for the month of December:

  1. Give blood.
  2. Enjoy Christmas!
  3. Publish my NaNoWriMo 2021 Recap post.
  4. Publish at least two Book Reviews.
  5. Work toward finishing the first draft of Book #3.
  6. Participate in a fun Christmas card exchange.
  7. Continue decluttering.
  8. Officially sell or donate all remaining duplicate or unwanted American Girl items.
  9. Take some time off work for New Year’s.
  10. Celebrate New Year’s!

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of December?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #265: November Goals Recap

Image Credit: pinterest.com

Welcome back!

Here were my goals for the month of November:

  1. Complete NaNoWriMo 2021. — Accomplished!
  2. Celebrate Grandpa’s 96th birthday! — Accomplished!
  3. Celebrate six years of marriage with Al! — Accomplished!
  4. Publish at least two Book Reviews. — Did not achieve yet.
  5. Celebrate Thanksgiving! — Accomplished!
  6. Donate more clothes and unused household items to charity. — Semi-Achieved.
  7. Clean off the dining room buffet, and keep it clean. — Semi-Achieved.
  8. Transition my wardrobe to fall/winter. — Accomplished!
  9. Continue to sell my duplicate and unused American Girl items. — Semi-Achieved.

November flew by. I hit my stride with NaNoWriMo 2021 – It was my best one ever. Look for a Recap post about that coming very soon.

We had a great birthday party for Grandpa’s 96th birthday! My mom outdid herself – Amazing food and delicious key lime cake.

Al and I had a wonderful wedding anniversary. We went to a new restaurant in Suffolk, Amedeo’s, on Sunday night. I also surprised him with a charcuterie board in the shape of a six (6) for six years the following week. It was delicious, and we had leftovers for days. Plus, I was thrilled to support a local business!

Thanksgiving was awesome. I successfully cooked my second turkey. My parents were amazing hosts. And Al’s parents met my Grandpa for the first time! One of the highlights of the day was another Zoom family reunion with several members of my dad’s extended family – Several of his cousins from all over the U.S. (California, Kentucky, Minnesota, Virginia). Can’t wait to do it again soon!

I wrote one Book Review this month: Book Review #97: “The Breach: Devon” (The Guardians Series Book One)

I’m hoping to finish reading several books soon and publish a few more reviews in December.

I’ve donated several American Girl items to charity since it’s been really hard to sell them recently. I’m hoping that I can sell a few things in December as Christmas and other holidays approach.


What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of November?

Come back tomorrow to see my December Goals!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Hot Topic #33: Not Guilty Verdict for Rittenhouse

Joseph Rosenbaum (left), and Anthony Huber (right) were shot and killed on August 25, 2020 in the wake of protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin over the shooting of Jacob Blake. Image Credit: NBC News

I cursed out loud earlier today when I caught wind of the Not Guilty verdict for now-18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse. He was acquitted of all charges today in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Am I surprised? No.

Am I angry, disappointed, and frustrated? YES.


I’m not going to rehash the case here since it’s been such a high-profile case with tons of media coverage.

However, I’m thinking of the families of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, along with Gaige Grosskreutz today.


As I mulled over my own thoughts and feelings today, I sincerely hope that something good will come out of this. According to NPR (article linked below), even though he was acquitted of criminal charges, it’s likely that he faces one or more civil lawsuits in the very near future.

I also think that Judge Bruce Schroeder should be investigated. His courtroom conduct during this trial has been beyond bizarre to say the least. I’m really curious to see what happens with Judge Schroeder now that a verdict has been reached.


Resources

Kyle Rittenhouse is acquitted of all charges in the trial over killing 2 in Kenosha | NPR

Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted on all charges | ABC News

EXPLAINER: Which charges did Kyle Rittenhouse face? | AP News


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #118: “Mom Opens Store and Uses Proceeds to Pay for People’s Adoptions”

Brittany Berrie opened The Adopted Closet in Davenport, Iowa to help cover the cost of adoption for families. Image Credit: Amanda Williams

This is such a cool story that Good Morning America covered!

Mom opens store and uses proceeds to pay for people’s adoptions (November 11, 2021)


Brittany Berrie finalized the adoption of her 11-year-old daughter, Gracie Lou Susan Johnson, earlier this summer. It was finalized after several years thanks to the generosity of Berrie’s cousin, who insisted on paying for the remaining costs. The average cost of adoption in the Unites States, through a private agency, ranges between $60,000 and $70,000. Costs can vary wildly as well.

Trying to find a way to thank her cousin, Berrie decided to help pay for another family’s adoption. She knew first-hand how expensive the process was. While organizing a garage sale with her mom, she had the idea to use the proceeds to help fund another adoption. Once people knew where the proceeds were going, donations poured in and never stopped.

Overwhelmed with clothes and other items, Berrie knew that they needed a store.

She converted her family’s garage into The Adopted Closet. Family members, including Gracie, keep the store running three days a week.

The proceeds from the garage sale and the store, in a matter of months, have already helped fund one family’s adoption, of two boys, which was finalized on November 6, 2021.

Berrie’s efforts coincide with National Adoption Awareness Month, observed every November. The lawyer for the family whose adoption was just finalized stated that the high costs is very prohibitive for a lot of families, making Berrie’s commitment and efforts even more remarkable.

Berrie is committed to continuing The Adopted Closet, and hopes to expand into a storefront to keep the store open year-round.


I’m super impressed with Berrie and her family. Being foster parents and/or adopting children is a huge act of love. And there are so many in need right here in the U.S. I’ve listed several resources below!


Resources

Fact Sheets | Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI)

National Council for Adoption

National Foster Parent Association (NFPA)

AdoptUSKids

Average Adoption Costs in the United States | Family Equality

Comparing the Cost of Domestic, International and Foster Care Adoption | American Adoptions


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #97: “The Breach: Devon” (The Guardians Series Book One)

I met the author, C.M. Bethell, in a Facebook group for writers. She made a post that she was looking for readers, and I commented with interest. She messaged me, I gave her my address, and her first two books arrived on my doorstep very quickly a few months ago.

Thank you, C.M., for sending the books my way.


It took me a lot longer than anticipated to get into this book. I’m not a massive fantasy fan, never have been. However, once I got into Bethell’s first book, I started to appreciate it better. She’s a good world builder. I love the concept of the Guardians and how they are sworn to protect. And putting them on a modern Earth was cool to see.

—-

The incorporation of Gaelic is interesting, and great for world building. But it’s not my favorite thing. It really threw me in the beginning, and it was hard to follow throughout the book. It was almost distracting.

—-

I liked the portal concept and traveling between two worlds plot point immediately.

I also really liked, and was surprised by, the super slow burn romance between two of the characters. I wasn’t expecting that. It was surprising and refreshing. This was the biggest plot point that held my interest and moved the book along for me.

—-

The one thing that really slowed me down was I felt like I was reading several different books in this one book/arc. It was hard to keep up with the menagerie of characters, although from the title and blurb, it’s made clear that Devon is the main character. Or is he really?

Also, this first book is well over 400 pages. In one way, that’s impressive that this author wrote an almost 450-page book for the first one in a series. However, it also has a lot of drawbacks. I felt like this book was a freaking marathon and the finish line kept moving farther away. I kept putting it down and coming back to it days later, not wanting to or excited to power through it.

It’s almost too much detail, too much story, and it was exhausting sometimes to reach the end of one chapter. There are some chapters that are great and invigorating, and others are really boring and a slog to get through.

—-

I wanted to give this book more stars in terms of a rating, but I just can’t do it. I found myself enjoying the book less and less over time. There are chapters and moments that shine through, but as a whole it’s really long and a bit confusing. I think this one book could have easily been split into two full books as part of the series.

Despite my issues with the first book, I’m going to read and review the second book in the series. I hope to have that review posted here on the blog soon.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth