Getting Personal #44: October Goals Recap


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Hi, my amazing readers!

I’m stunned – It’s the end of October! Wow!

Here’s the link to my October Goals post:


Here we go!

  1. Prep the house for our first overnight visitor! – Accomplished!
  2. Donate blood! – Did not accomplish.
  3. Plan our Halloween costumes! – Accomplished!
  4. Decorate the house for fall! – Semi-achieved.
  5. Clean up the clutter and plan my office space! – Accomplished!
  6. Recap my 44 for Bill Movement participation. – Did not accomplish.
  7. Celebrate birthdays – Mom’s and Mia’s! – Semi-achieved.
  8. Read at least two books on my 2016 Reading Challenge list, and publish those book reviews. – Semi-achieved.
  9. Join the Portsmouth Public Library. – Accomplished!
  10. Read through Megan’s cookbook, and try at least two of her recipes! – Accomplished!
  11. Sign up for a pen pal through Geek Girl Pen Pals. – Accomplished!
  12. Get ahead with my Trial Prep & Discovery Practice assignments. – Accomplished!
  13. Get excited for our wedding anniversary getaway! – Accomplished!

Here’s the breakdown:

Prep the house for our first overnight visitor! – Accomplished!

  • This one was a little wonky. Our original visitor wasn’t able to come down during the weekend of October 14th due to a work schedule conflict. It actually worked out okay – There were some unexpected changes that weekend, and Al and I ended up moving a good chunk of furniture from my parents’ house to ours.
  • However, Al’s parents stayed with us this past weekend! It was awesome. We had a great time. They stayed overnight on Friday, and then went to see some of our family yesterday.

Donate blood! – Did not accomplish.

  • I was so close. My favorite phlebotomist, Spencer, was able to work the drive at the beginning of October, for the first time in over a year!
  • Unfortunately, I just barely missed the mark. For women, you need a score of 12.5 for hemoglobin, and I got to 12.4. Argh!
  • I’m beefing up my vitamins and investing more research into iron-rich foods. I will give again in December!

Plan our Halloween costumes! – Accomplished!

  • We went to Kathryn and Tim’s annual Halloween party on the 22nd as a wizard and witch headed back to Hogwarts. We had matching Griffyndor ties, collared shirts, and dress pants. We also showed off our wands from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Decorate the house for fall! – Semi-achieved.

  • I showed off my painted pumpkins, and I was able to give another stylized “V” one to Al’s parents! Mom was so excited – She can’t wait to put it in the house on the farm!

Clean up the clutter and plan my office space! – Accomplished!

  • I finally got so fed on a Sunday night that I turned into a tornado and went to town. It’s still a work in progress, but I have all my doll items in an organized pile now.
  • Plus, there was enough floor space to move the vintage yellow couch into another corner! I can’t wait to transform that space into my reading nook.

Recap my 44 for Bill Movement participation. – Did not accomplish.

  • This didn’t happen. I’m still writing letters!

Celebrate birthdays – Mom’s and Mia’s! – Semi-achieved.

  • We went out to dinner with my mom and dad to Szechuan Inn, a great local Chinese place. Mom had a great day!
  • We’re hoping to meet up with Mia in November to celebrate her. They were super busy in October, and Nick and Savy both got the plague after attending a wedding!

Read at least two books on my 2016 Reading Challenge list, and publish those book reviews. – Semi-achieved.

Join the Portsmouth Public Library. – Accomplished!

  • I marched in there after the blood drive on October 1st. The man that helped me was wonderful! I’m hoping to visit next Saturday to check out my first books!

Read through Megan’s cookbook, and try at least two of her recipes! – Accomplished!

  • I successfully made Burger Bowls and Chili-Lime Sweet Potato Fries!
  • We’re gonna look through the Shrimp section next!

Sign up for a pen pal through Geek Girl Pen Pals. – Accomplished!

  • I officially signed up! Woohoo!
  • I started emailing Penni, who posted in a forum that she was essentially left high and dry by her “match.” She’s wonderful!

Get ahead with my Trial Prep & Discovery Practice assignments. – Accomplished!

  • I finished my midterm exam ahead of time, and I feel like I did well. We graded them in-class on the 25th. I missed a few questions, but I got all of the extra credit right! I’m pretty sure I scored a high B or a low A.
  • I put in some good work on both folders last weekend and this weekend. Everything is due at the end of November, and I feel really good right now.

Get excited for our wedding anniversary getaway! – Accomplished!

  • We’re going to Hatteras Island, North Carolina! We love the beach, and I can’t wait to show Al all that Hatteras has to offer. We are so excited to get away, and enjoy our first anniversary!

Final Thoughts

  • I was able to put Accomplished on 8 out of 13 goals! Woohoo!
  • The three goals that were Semi-Achieved: I’m happy that I was able to do as much as I did this month!
  • The two goals that weren’t accomplished: I’m excited to conquer them in November and December!

Did you have any goals for October?

If so, how did you do?

Come back tomorrow to see my November goals!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Adventure Time: Virginia Beach, VA Edition (The Magical Music of Harry Potter)

Al bought these tickets on September 12th.

On Saturday, October 29th, the wait was finally over!

The performance was at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach.

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra always puts on a good show!

Before the show, Al and I went to dinner at Bahama Breeze Island Grille, which is across the street from Town Center. It was my first time eating there, and it was delicious! We splurged on the Firecracker Shrimp appetizer, and Al had a Lemon Breeze – Very tangy lemonade.

I ate the Jerk Chicken Pasta – Yummy! It was a perfect dish for me – Bowtie pasta; perfectly seasoned, thinly sliced jerk chicken; asparagus; mushrooms; and a Parmesan cream sauce.

Al had the Calypso Shrimp Pasta – Linguine, spicy shrimp, tomatoes, peppers, onions. We both had our plates topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, after dining on Caesar salads.

We will definitely be back – We had no room for dessert!

Then, on to the show! I proudly wore my “Just A Wizard Girl” T-shirt from my awesome Little, and my new Gryffindor socks! Al and I went to a Halloween party last weekend with our Gryffindor ties and wands!

We had Orchestra seats, about six rows from the stage. It was awesome!

The orchestra was conducted by Benjamin Rous, who seamlessly inserts himself into every performance. We’ve seen several performances conducted by him (The Music of John Williams, Looney Tunes, etc.), and he is so animated and lively. He also takes the time to explain certain aspects of the music – Recurring themes, how notes are put together, and showcasing different parts of the orchestra.

Each of the eight films were showcased, and Rous lauded each composer with high praise. We know John Williams is a genius, but Nicholas Hooper, Alexandre Desplat, and Patrick Doyle are just as amazing.

Rous quoted Desplat, saying that them man considered his score a success if he even attempted to honor John Williams.

Here’s the rundown of the show. I’ve posted a few links to the music so you can hear a bit of what we did. It was awesome!

Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  • “Harry and Hermione”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone

  • “Nimbus 2000”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  • “Double Trouble” (featuring the Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus)

– Intermission –

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  • “The Chamber of Secrets”

Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone


  • “Aunt Marge’s Waltz”

It was awesome to see a few fellow Harry Potter nerds at the show – Shelby and her husband, Jake, and Kristi and Tiana!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #45: A 700-Year-Old Haven for Mental Health


An aerial view of Geel, Belgium. Image Credit: Tripwolf

“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it looks like a pair of wings.”


Thanks to Facebook Memories earlier this week, I was reminded of an exceptional town in Belgium that has adopted a completely different approach on helping those that need help with their mental health.

Here’s the link to the original story:

I shared this story on Facebook in October 2015. I remember reading with great interest at the time, but then I filed it away in my brain.

Then, at the beginning of July, Geel re-entered my life.

Remember my recent post on podcasts?

One of the seasonal ones is NPR’s Invisibilia. I kept hearing about it in promos during other NPR podcasts. I subscribed in the spring of 2016, eager to listen to season 1 and prep for season 2.

Then, on July 1st, they released the episode titled, “The Problem with the Solution.”

The episode focused on Geel, and how the hosts went to Belgium to see this idea for themselves.

I remember being rapt with attention in my car during my work commute, hanging on every word.

I couldn’t get it out my head.

Seeing the article from Upworthy made me curious about how the U.S. helps those with mental health issues. Other countries and continents, too – Not just Europe. I’m thinking about Africa, Asia, and Australia. What about China, or Japan?

Over the next few weeks, I plan to research this and do a follow-up post with my findings.

Final Thoughts:

I find Geel’s approach fascinating. It’s interesting that the boarding population has decreased to due a reduction in the number of host families, but I think that’s part of the cycle. The inference that there’s a decreased need for farmhands makes sense.

It’s hard to believe that this one town has done this giving for 700 years, but i think it’s awesome. I’m excited to do more research, to see how the U.S., Canada, and other countries work with mental health issues.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #43: “For Anyone Considering Suicide, From Those That Have Been There” (Reblogged)

I love Carla’s blog. She writes about so many important issues!

This is such a powerful video. The Mighty is a wonderful site!

I love her idea of writing letters to those with depression, thinking of suicide, or struggling with a debilitating illness. Since she lives in Australia, she will be starting with just Australia (Postage is very expensive to go outside of the country!)

With that, since I love sending cards and letters, I would like to do a similar effort in the U.S.

Especially since I considered suicide once. It was the fall of 2008. So much was going on in my life, it was starting to become too much – My first grandparent had passed away, I wanted to leave Longwood and come home, I was having problems with my long-term boyfriend, he was using a few friends to aggravate me and feel even lousier.

If you would like to receive a card or letter, or you know someone who could use a little bit of encouragement and love, please contact me through the links below:

Thank you, Carla, for sharing!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #42: My First-Ever To Be Read List (TBR)


Image Credit: TED Blog

Thanks to a recent conversation via blog comments with Maureen, who writes the fabulous blog Sparkle, she gave me that kick in the pants to finally make a To Be Read (TBR) list of my own!

In addition, this is the perfect segue for me to get back onto Goodreads and hold myself accountable that way, too.

Now, with this post, I’m currently focused on wrapping up my 2016 Reading Challenge first, so that’s why the remaining books from that list are at the top of this list.


Here we go!

Laura Beth’s To Be Read (TBR) List, as of October 2016:

  1. The Language of Silence, Tiffany Truitt (An awesome sorority sister of mine, and a local author!)
  2. Black Rabbit Hall, Eve Chase
  3. Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  4. The Red Tent, Anita Diamant
  5. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
  6. Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
  7. New Boy, Julian Houston
  8. The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling
  9. The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins
  10. 11/22/63, Stephen King
  11. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
  12. Hollow City, Ransom Riggs
  13. Library of Souls, Ransom Riggs
  14. Tales of the Peculiar, Ransom Riggs
  15. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling
  16. Quidditch Through the Ages, J.K. Rowling
  17. Music in My Heart: My Journey with MelodyErin Falligant with Denise Lewis Patrick
  18. The Sky’s the Limit: My Journey with MaryellenValerie Tripp
  19. Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, Emma Straub
  20. Modern Lovers, Emma Straub
  21. In the Unlikely Event, Judy Blume
  22. You Will Know Me, Megan Abbott
  23. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
  24. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  25. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Laura Hillenbrand
  26. Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann
  27. The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson
  28. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
  29. Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson
  30. Another Brooklyn, Jacqueline Woodson
  31. The Art of Memoir, Mary Karr
  32. Loving Day, Mat Johnson
  33. American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst, Jeffrey Toobin
  34. The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson, Jeffrey Toobin
  35. The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future, Gretchen Bakke
  36. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance
  37. A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression, Jane Ziegelman and Andy Coe
  38. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney
  39. Bright, Precious Days, Jay McInerney
  40. Underground Airlines, Ben Winters
  41. A Good Month for Murder: The Inside Story of a Homicide Squad, Del Quentin Wilber
  42. American Girl: Ultimate Visual Guide, Erin Falligant, Laurie Calkhoven, Carrie Anton
  43. Teardrops of the Innocent: The White Diamond Story (True Colors – Volume 1), Allie Marie (Another local author!!)
  44. Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond, Lily Ledbetter

That’s all, for now!

I plan to update this list quarterly. Since this is the last quarter of 2016 (Already!), look for an update to this list in January!

Cheers! Happy reading!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #19: “Go Set A Watchman”


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“Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.”
Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman

This is the third book from my 2016 Reading Challenge!

I bought this book almost immediately after it was published.

To Kill A Mockingbird is near the top of my all-time favorite books – One that I re-read almost every year. When this manuscript was discovered and then published, I knew I needed to get my own copy.

I was immediately attracted to the cover. It’s gorgeous, classic, and something that I think will stand the test of time.

Please note: I will do my best to limit spoilers in this review, but this is your formal warning.

I’ll admit, I read too many articles surrounding the publication of this book in the summer of 2015 – Something I don’t normally do.

There was one significant character detail, surrounding Atticus, that was a bombshell. To me, it came completely out of left field, especially given the events from Mockingbird.

It’s so significant, that I choose to not reveal it here.

However, after I bought the book, I tried to shelve that bombshell and read it with an open mind.

It took me over a year to sit down and read it, but better late than never.

Go Set A Watchman reintroduces the characters of Atticus, Calpurnia, Hank, and Scout, now referred to as Jean Louise Finch. Lee takes us along for the ride with Jean Louise, as she travels from New York to her hometown of Maycomb, Alabama. She visits for two weeks every year.

I could see how the passage of years had changed everyone, and not necessarily for the better.

I was immediately immersed in Jean Louise’s world. She’s 26 now, and I saw the image of Scout fading and her womanly image forming throughout the book.

Having always enjoyed historical fiction, I appreciated Lee’s take on a typical Southern town, struggling to accommodate the black community and start to accept their burgeoning civil rights. The NAACP and Brown v. Board of Education are prominently mentioned, giving me the impression that the story is set after 1954.

Lee paints certain scenes so well that I felt like I was right there, listening to the local gossip in the livingroom during the Coffee. I could hear the train whistle. I could almost smell the marsh when Hank and Jean Louise go for their swim at Finch’s Landing.

At first, I sympathized with Jean Louise. She’s grappling with visiting her hometown that is struggling with so much change, while trying to keep her wits about her. The same condition that killed her mother has now killed her brother, Jem. She is horrified by her father’s actions at a Citizens’ Council meeting in town. She begins to lose her faith in everything that she thought she knew.

Most of the time, I wanted to keep turning the pages. It’s definitely a dramatic novel, exploring Jean Louise’s actions and reactions to her hometown and all the changes around her. She’s changing as a woman, as a daughter, and as a friend, plus trying to adapt to the world that is in flux.

However, toward the last section, it felt like Jean Louise’s two weeks in Maycomb were more like two years. There was so much dialogue, along with multiple large chunks of inner monologue and stream-of-consciousness, that got very muddy and tough to wade through.

To make sure I was following along correctly, there were several times where I had to pause and re-read some lengthy passages, and I didn’t appreciate that at all.

Also, there were several instances where the speaker or character wasn’t clear, and I had to review the previous passage or even the whole page of text to see who was being referenced. It was immensely annoying, frustrating, and made my head hurt. I kept reminding myself that the main focus of the novel is on Jean Louise, but, as a reader, it’s no fun having to try to figure out the character from page to page.

Overall, Go Set A Watchman is a decent sequel to a landmark novel such as Mockingbird. It clearly illustrates the struggles of the time, and how a 26-year-old woman would potentially adapt to so many changes in a short time period.

It has several excellent qualities – Love, family, friendship, morals, and balancing acceptance. I believe it accurately portrays the attitudes of those white, and black, of the time period, in the troubled South. It was an intriguing novelization of the deep South that made me consider how I would react if I had been in Jean Louise’s shoes.

However, it felt about 75 pages too long. Lee could have done without multiple pages of Jean Louise’s murky thoughts and memories. By the end, some of her outbursts and interactions with others appeared overly dramatic, immature, and frustrating. It was almost too heavy with her characterization, and I found myself wanting more of other characters, particularly Atticus, Hank, and even Calpurnia.

It’s a decent addition to my bookshelf, but not one that I will constantly praise and applaud for years to come.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #41: Declaring My Love for Podcasts


Image Credit: Capterra Blog

“If you want to stand out as a leader, a good place to begin is by listening.”

– Richard Branson

This little purple app on my iPhone makes me deliriously happy:


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Podcasts are certainly not a new thing to me. I had to create a three-part series for my Advanced Broadcast Production class at Longwood in the spring of 2011.

It was certainly interesting, but given that I hate / absolutely loathe the sound of my recorded voice, it was a challenging assignment.

Then, fast-forward several years.

For my personal phone, I upgraded from a non-smartphone to an iPhone 6 almost a year ago.

About a month into this new experience, my wonderful husband officially introduced me to the Podcasts app, and I haven’t looked back.

As I started playing around, I discovered that National Public Radio (NPR) had a lot to offer. So, I started there.

It was information overload. There were way too many to choose from!

Now that I’ve settled into a regular routine, I love listening to these episodes in my car. I almost always play at least one episode to get me through the drive to and from work, five days a week. My commute is roughly 30 miles, and it takes anywhere from 35-45 minutes to get to and fro (sometimes longer), so these anecdotes have definitely kept me entertained!

Here’s my current podcast playlist (alphabetical order):

Out of this list, there’s seven that are produced by NPR, and I love all of them.

Ask Me Another and Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! both satiate my game show and trivia palates on a weekly basis. I’m actually hoping to get on both programs, at some point.

I love learning about history and cool stories – Most of these podcasts give me that fresh feeling every week!

The Nerdist is hilarious – I love the cast of characters that Chris Hardwick gets to interview! The best part is I get to pick and choose what I listen to, and when I want to do so. Recently, he’s interviewed the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Mayim Bialik, Summer Ash, and Sarah Jessica Parker!

Several of the podcasts that I subscribe to have a “seasonal” format. Embedded, Invisibilia, and Serial have done this. It’s like a TV show – They produce a certain number of episodes, and then take a break to prepare for the new season.

It can be frustrating at times, but I know these men and women are hard at work and dreaming up even bigger things!

I’m always looking for new or interesting recommendations. If you have any podcasts that you crush on or love to listen to, I’d love to hear them!

Also, here’s a thought:

  • If you were to dream up an idea for a podcast, what would you do, and why?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #14: “Peculiar Children Book Tag”


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At the beginning of October, I was tagged by the great man at The Green Onion Blog! Thank you so much for the nomination!

I love his posts – They’re so nerdy, and geeky, and awesome! Please check him out!

Here’s the link to the original post:


Here we go!

Abandoned House – A book you once abandoned but then gave another chance and ended up enjoying

The Vacationers

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The Vacationers by Emma Straub.

This was relatively recent. My “Aunt” Lucy let me borrow this book in 2015, but I could not settle down and get it into it, which bothered me. But, I decided to set it aside, and I’m glad I did. I picked it up again earlier this year, and now Straub is one of my favorite writers. I can’t wait to read more from her.

Vintage Photographs – A book you would have loved to have seen illustrations in

the paris wife

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The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.

This was the first true book review that I ever wrote. It’s one of those stories that immerses you in the time period. In this case, it’s the 1920s and it’s the novelization of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley.

As I was reading, I was imagining Paris, the Alps, and other fascinating scenes. The words were very vivid, but I found myself wanting a few illustrations here and there.

Loop – A series you wouldn’t mind reading on loop; Back to back to back


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The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

Hands down. I know certain people have given it flack, but I have a few friends who I know will agree with me. I own the entire series, and most recently, I read The Cursed Child in August.

Next up (Eventually) – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages.

Peculiar Children – A character’s ability that you desire to have for yourself


Any of Wonder Woman’s powers.

She’s always been an inspiration to me. I haven’t read many comic books, but I have seen the TV adaptations (Lynda Carter was awesome, and still gorgeous to this day), and most recently, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this year.

Gal Gadot is just awesome in my eyes, and I absolutely cannot wait for Wonder Woman in 2017!

Miss Peregrine – Your favorite character that is a leader


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Andrew “Ender” Wiggin from Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

I remember dreading this book when I found it had been assigned for my summer reading going into 9th grade. Ugh, science fiction?! Yuck!

Boy, was I wrong. I could put the book down! Ender is transformed into a bonafide leader, and it’s impressive. Because of my love of this book, I eventually want to read the rest of the series.

Jacob – Your favorite story where a regular kid discovers an extraordinary world


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Skeeter Phelan from The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

This is one of my favorite books. Plus, I thought the movie adaptation was very well-done, Emma Stone was a good choice to play Skeeter. Although not really a “kid” in the book, Skeeter quickly finds herself immersed in the world of “the help” – The black maids in her Mississippi community in 1963.

If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. Writing about it here makes me want to re-read it soon!

Emma – A fierce and fiery character

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

Katniss, to me, is the premier definition of fierce and fiery. At least, in terms of modern young adult (YA) literature.

This is by far my favorite recent trilogy. I will be re-reading it shortly, as part of my 2016 Reading Challenge!

Millard – A book that seems to be invisible but needs to be read by more people


An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser.

I first stumbled upon this book in the Chesapeake Central Library when I was senior in high school. I was researching F. Scott Fitzgerald at the time for a critical English paper, so I didn’t check it out at that time.

However, I found myself researching it online and became more intrigued. Shortly after graduation, I remembered this book and checked it out. It was a fascinating tale.

Dreiser is a good writer who excelled for his time, at the turn of the 20th century. Writing about this makes me want to read it again!

Olive – A book that you bought that floated to the top of your TBR

Harry Potter - amazon

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Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne.

This is the most recent book I bought, and I immediately wanted to start reading it, even before I got out of Barnes & Noble!

Judging that I flew through the edition within 48 hours, it didn’t stay on my TBR for very long!

Hugh – A book that stung and caused a lot of feelings


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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I finally read this book, but it hit me hard. No spoilers, but it reaffirmed how precious life is and how anyone in your life can be taken away in an instant.

Enoch – (NO SPOILERS) A book character that you would bring back to life


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Cedric Diggory from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

I won’t spoil anything, but I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that most of you know what I’m talking about here.

I cried buckets of tears.

Bronwyn – A physically strong character


Image Credit: DeviantArt

Gamora from Strange Tales and Guardians of the Galaxy.

She’s aggressive, strong, and feisty. I loved her character in the Guardians of the Galaxy film, and I’m so excited for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in May!

Hollowgasts – A book you read that felt like an experiment gone wrong


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Allegiant from the Divergent trilogy.

I really, really wanted to like this one. I loved Divergent and Insurgent, but as I mentioned in my book review of the trilogy, I couldn’t wrap my head around the back-and-forth of the different perspectives.

This was such a fun tag! It took me a long time to get this published – I wanted to publish it right after I was tagged, but life got in the way. It’s hard to believe 15 days went by between posts!

What do you think? I’d love to hear your responses!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #44: My Life as a PBS Kid


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As a child, my parents didn’t pay for cable TV.

They still don’t have it.


Image Credit: HD Guru

So, my main source of entertainment, in terms of television, was PBS.


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There are so many shows that came to mind when I was creating this post. I wanted to share a few of them with you, and how these shows have impacted my life.

Arthur (1996-present)


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I read the Arthur books in school and from the library. Reading Rainbow featured one of the books as well. When the show premiered in September 1996, I watched it every day, like clockwork. In the beginning, it was on after school, paired with Wishbone.

Many of these shows have found new life on YouTube and other streaming services (Netflix, etc.) It’s exciting to be able to watch them again.

It’s interesting to watch some of these shows as an adult. With Arthur, I learned about friendship, families, school, reading, and being a kid.

This is one of the few shows for kids that has explored tougher / more adult topics as well – Divorce, bullies, lying, cancer, and even a touch of religion since Francine’s family is Jewish.

Barney & Friends (1992-2009)


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I almost hate to admit it, but I loved the purple dinosaur and all his friends when I was little. There’s a picture of me on the porch of my parents’ house dressed as Barney for one Halloween – It must have been 1992 or 1993.

However, thinking back, the show taught me a lot of good things – Friendship, sharing, kindness, helping others, and so on.

Will you find me showing it to my kids? Not likely. It didn’t take long for the voices, and especially the songs, to get very annoying and corny!

Ghostwriter (1992-1995)


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When I was old enough to watch Ghostwriter, it was in its later seasons. However, I loved the show. It’s set in New York (Brooklyn, specifically), and I loved seeing the team work together to solve the mystery at hand. I remember finding an old composition notebook and creating my own “casebook” to follow along with the show.

This show made me want to put together my own group of friends to solve cases. It also teaches about reading, writing, friendship, family, struggles in middle school, and diversity. I loved that every member of the team was an individual, but they also worked as an awesome team.

The entire series is on YouTube, and I find myself re-watching it once or twice a year. I’ve also dreamed up a little bit of fan fiction from time to time.

Reading Rainbow (1983-2006)


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Reading Rainbow has always been one of my favorites. I’ve always loved LeVar Burton’s personality, and I figured out pretty quickly that he played Geordi on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I’ve always loved reading, and this show made want to read all of the books that were featured – The books that were the centerpieces of the show, and the books that the kids profiled at the end. I wanted to be one of those kids!

I still remember the Russell Memorial Library having special Reading Rainbow stickers on the book covers. The show was funny, entertaining, and showed how reading show literally show you the world.

I haven’t found many full episodes by way of YouTube, but Netflix has the first full season. I hope they’ll add more!

Sesame Street (1969-present, now partnered with HBO)


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Sesame Street has been my long-standing favorite show. Big Bird was my favorite when I was younger. I even had three stuffed versions of him – A small, a medium, and a large that talked with a pull string.

Seeing a mix of new and classic episodes, songs, and shorts on YouTube, it’s fascinating to see how this show has stood the test of time. There was a lot of flack last year when the partnership with HBO was announced. Initially, I didn’t agree with it. But, having researched it, I see why PBS did what they did. I’m still not 100 percent okay with it, but I see the strategy behind it.

This show has so many life lessons mixed in with shapes, colors, and counting. I learned about friendship, family, helping others, good manners, patience, problem solving, and more.

Though not a major character on Sesame Street, Kermit the Frog has been my new favorite Muppet for a while now. Big Bird is a very close second. Cookie Monster, Grover, and Telly round out my top five.

There’s even a fun spin-off series on YouTube called The Furchester Hotel that takes Elmo and Cookie Monster across the pond! It’s adorable and I think it’s great.

Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? (1996-1997)


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I had almost all of the computer games, and I remember eagerly watching the kids travel through time to catch Carmen. I found myself applying some of the history I learned from the show in middle school, high school, and even college!

In college, I was so excited to discover that most of the Time episodes, and almost all of the Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? episodes (1991-1995) are in full on YouTube.

It’s amazing how I subtly learned geography and history with these two shows. I remember watching more of Time than World, since World was ending around the same time as Ghostwriter. Like Arthur, Wishbone, and ZOOM, this one was a daily after-school show for me if I was able to. 

I dreamed of being a contestant, but I was too young to try out, and it ended before I turned 10. I loved the concept. Recently, I found myself dreaming up some fan fiction about both shows, so I may put those on paper here soon.

Re-watching a lot of the episodes as an adult, I’ve learned a few new things. It’s been awesome to keep learning after all these years. World just celebrated its 25th anniversary!

Plus, I’ve marveled at how crazy the 1990s were – That multi-media computer system!

Wishbone (1995-1998)


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This is another show that focused on reading, but it has an adorable Jack Russell terrier that dresses up as the characters and takes you through the book! Awesome!

I wanted to be Samantha, and have best friends like Joe and David. I even wrote an extensive fiction work for my first-ever creative writing class in college that was basically extended fan fiction of these characters, after the show ended and they started high school.

Like some of the other shows mentioned, the entire series is on YouTube, and I’ve loved re-watching them over the last few years.

ZOOM (1999-2005)


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This was such a cool show. I was a super-fan for the longest time. I even printed everyone’s photos from their website and made my own posters. Yeah, I was that kid.

I loved that it had real kids doing awesome things. I remember making a lot of the crafts, and some of the food. I didn’t have a big group of friends to play a lot of the games, but it was fun to think about.

Some of the seasons are on YouTube, but not all. I’ve found parts and pieces of the first three seasons, and I hope that all of them will eventually be posted. It’s been fun to travel down memory lane!

This was another show that I really wanted to audition for, but then my mom helped me realize that Boston was a long way away from Chesapeake. That was a big bummer!

Regardless, I loved this show. It ended when I was a junior in high school, but I still watched it religiously. I didn’t tell many of my friends, but I still thought it was cool.

That’s all I have! This was such a fun post.

Did you watch PBS?

Did you watch any of these shows?

Do you have any favorite memories of these shows?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #40: “Blue Morpho Butterfly Swarm, Brazil” (Reblogged)

Another breathtaking photo from Just Wunderlust! I love butterflies, so when I saw this notification pop up in my email this morning, I knew I had to share it.

When you see a butterfly, what does it mean to you?

To me, a butterfly symbolizes peace, tranquility, and strength.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

Blue Morpho Butterfly Swarm, Brazil

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