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

Getting Personal #264: November Goals

Image Credit: Jen Russum

Welcome back!

Here are my goals for the month of November!

  1. Complete NaNoWriMo 2021.
  2. Celebrate Grandpa’s 96th birthday!
  3. Celebrate six years of marriage with Al!
  4. Publish at least two Book Reviews.
  5. Celebrate Thanksgiving!
  6. Donate more clothes and unused household items to charity.
  7. Clean off the dining room buffet, and keep it clean.
  8. Transition my wardrobe to fall/winter.
  9. Continue to sell my duplicate and unused American Girl items.

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


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #263: October Goals Recap

Image Credit: jenny collier blog

Welcome back!

Here were my goals for the month of October:

  1. Donate blood. — Did not accomplish.
  2. Celebrate Mom’s birthday! — Accomplished!
  3. Enjoy a good friend’s bachelorette celebration. — Accomplished!
  4. Mail a long-overdue package to my university sorority sisters. — Did not accomplish yet.
  5. Complete another consignment box for Darby’s Dresses. — Accomplished!
  6. Prepare for NaNoWriMo 2021. — Accomplished!
  7. Complete the first pass review of the current version of book 3. — Semi-Achieved.
  8. Sell or donate all American Girl items that were previously set aside. — Semi-Achieved.

I wasn’t able to give blood because I had MOHS surgery a week before to get clear margins for a mole that was biopsied in July. I had 10 stitches in my back, and the Red Cross says that the stitches had to be gone before I could give. Bummer, but I’m bulking up my iron for giving in December.

My mom’s birthday celebration was delayed a bit because my grandpa fell in the bathroom a couple of days before her birthday, resulting in a day in the ER and a couple days admitted to the hospital. Nothing was broken, thank goodness, but more PT/OT at home. But, we had Mexican the following weekend, and Mom received a ton of great cards.

I had a blast at Lane’s “boo-chlerette” celebration! You can read about it from my post earlier in October.

I’m super stoked for NaNoWriMo to start TOMORROW! Yay! I’m in a much better head space to write this November than I was in 2020. Book #3, I’m coming for you!


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

Come back tomorrow to see my November Goals!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #262: My First Experience with Microdermabrasion

Image Credit: Medical News Today

I did something completely out of the ordinary recently, all to help out someone who is amazing!

In order to graduate, students have to perform a certain number of services. It’s a lot like dental hygiene school, but these services include chemical peels, facials, LED light therapy, and manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), among other treatment options.

I made a new friend in Kelsey, who is a student at The Chrysm Institute of Esthetics in Virginia Beach. This is a trade school that helps people become Estheticians and Master Estheticians.

I’ll post a link to the list of student services at the end of the post. If you’re close to Virginia Beach, please support these students. Kelsey is an awesome person. She eventually wants to work with lasers, which is super awesome! She wants to help people. These lasers are super sophisticated, and getting more precise all the time.

There are a variety of services offered. And all of them are affordable. As an example, I paid $30.00 for my microdermabrasion session with Kelsey. If I were to go for a microdermabrasion session at a local skin care clinic, I would be paying quite a bit more money. The investment for a membership that includes microdermabrasion at one local skin care clinic is $119.00 per month. To me, going to see Kelsey or another student at Chrysm is worth it! You’re getting the same services at an affordable price, and you’re giving these students hands-on experience and practice with what they’ve learned.


Microdermabrasion

Kelsey explained every step to me. She reviewed several things with me before we started, which was my consultation. She took my notes on my eye color, hair color, skin type and tendencies, and a few other things. This helped her “score” me on what’s called the Fitzpatrick scale or skin type. This helped her figure out the appropriate products to use on my skin. I’m a 2 on the scale, so I’m a Type I. This means that my skin is pale white, burns easily, and extremely sensitive. The scale goes form Type I (0-6) to Type VI (35+).

It was a very relaxing and soothing procedure. I wore a stretchy headband that kept my hair back. She used several products on my face to help exfoliate and prepare my skin for the suction wand, which removed the top layer of skin. My favorite part was the soothing chamomile mask, which felt amazing and refreshing. My skin felt refreshed afterward, and Kelsey noted that the redness she observed when I had arrived that day was already reduced.

I was originally a little nervous, but Kelsey was very confident and amazing. Every procedure is supervised. Kelsey asked a few questions of them during the session. The supervisors were impressed and kept complimenting her work.

I was so impressed and appreciative that I immediately wanted to book another session with her. I’m going back to see her in mid-November before the holidays.

The key for microdermabrasion is to not use any exfoliating products on your face for 24-48 hours after the procedure to reduce irritation. Don’t touch or pick at your skin for 2-3 days to let it heal. Also, use sunscreen every day if possible. I bought moisturizer with SPF 30 for my skin care routine less than a day after my session with Kelsey. After several pre-cancerous mole scares, I don’t play anymore. Especially with my face!

The entire session lasted an hour, and I went back to work when it was done. Easy, relaxing, and painless.


Resources

Skin type and tanning ability based on the Fitzpatrick skin pigmentation scale | ResearchGate

Student Services | The Chrysm Institute of Esthetics


What about you? Have you ever had a microdermabrasion session done?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Adventure Time: Busch Gardens Williamsburg for Lane’s “Boo-chlerette” Party! (Williamsburg, Virginia)

I had a blast at Busch Gardens Williamsburg this weekend for my little sister Lane’s “boo-chlerette” party! It was Britney Spears’ themed and we had so much fun!

Lane wanted to ride two specific rides: Finnegan’s Flyers and Verbolten. I passed on the Flyers, but Verbolten was fantastic!

The rest of the day, we hung out and enjoyed the decorations around the park.

In separate groups, we did the “Nevermore” haunted house in the old Curse of DarKastle ride in Germany. Holy moly that was scary!

We had a great day, and Lane really enjoyed herself. We got lots of compliments on our shirts. Yay, Etsy!

When we got back to Lane and Ashley’s house, I was able to play one round of “Dream Phone” with the girls before I left to go home.

It’s a lot like Clue, but without the murder. Thanks, Sterling, for bringing it!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #261: October Goals

Image Credit: Found on Facebook from a friend.

Welcome back!

Here are my goals for the month of October:

  1. Donate blood.
  2. Celebrate Mom’s birthday!
  3. Enjoy a good friend’s bachelorette celebration.
  4. Mail a long-overdue package to my university sorority sisters.
  5. Complete another consignment box for Darby’s Dresses.
  6. Prepare for NaNoWriMo 2021.
  7. Complete the first pass review of the current version of book 3.
  8. Sell or donate all American Girl items that were previously set aside.

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


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂