Getting Personal #105: February Goals Recap

Planning Inspired

Image Credit: Planning Inspired

February seemed like a really long month, for once. It was mostly good, but a bit wild and crazy. The recent spring-like temperatures have me very excited that it’s almost March!

Here’s the link to my February Goals post:


Here we go!

  1. Host my first P.E.O. meeting. — Accomplished!
  2. Get back to a regular cleaning schedule. — Semi-Achieved.
  3. Work at least one hour on my Lady Lounge every weekend. — Did not accomplish.
  4. Donate blood. — Accomplished!
  5. Use my diffuser more often. — Accomplished!
  6. Send another box of clothes to Darby’s Dresses. — Semi-Achieved.
  7. See Black Panther. — Accomplished!
  8. Wear my contact lenses every day this month. — Accomplished!
  9. Write in my journal at least once a week. — Did not accomplish.
  10. Read at least two books. — Accomplished!
  11. Explore options for essential oil storage. — Accomplished!

Here’s the breakdown:

Host my first P.E.O. meeting. — Accomplished!

  • Hosting my first P.E.O. meeting went as smoothly as it could have. We did have some excitement the night before (of course, Murphy’s Law!) when Al discovered a stream of water coming out of the crown molding in our dining room! After some “exploratory surgery” between Al and my dad late Friday night, we discovered the drain pipe from our bathtub was definitely leaking – An old cast iron pipe, probably original to the house (50+ years old). Luckily, my dad was able to drain the rest of the water and stop the leak!
  • The meeting went along as scheduled on Saturday morning. Thirteen lovely women shared coffee, refreshments, and good company. It felt good to open up our house to visitors other than our immediate families!

Get back to a regular cleaning schedule. — Semi-Achieved.

  • I did more spot cleaning this month, like wiping down certain areas while in the kitchen, laundry room, etc.
  • We bought an AWESOME Shark DuoClean vacuum cleaner to keep in our downstairs closet. It was a hefty price tag (Over $300), but seriously, this vacuum cleaner is worth it! It works on all surfaces – Wood floors, tile, and carpet. I’m actually excited about vacuuming now!
  • Al and I worked together this past week to do a massive deep clean – Stuff we hadn’t touched in months. We got all the dust and junk out of our bedroom – Under our bed, and I used the Swiffer dry and wet cloths on the bathroom floor while the rug was in the wash. As long as we mark dusting more often on the calendar, it will be more manageable and less time-consuming.

Work at least one hour on my Lady Lounge every weekend. — Did not accomplish.

  • This schedule didn’t work this month. I moved a few things around, but wasn’t able to invest the time that I wanted to.

Donate blood. — Accomplished!

  • My iron was high enough, on the first stick!
  • I’m now one pint away from six gallons (48 pints) donated!

Use my diffuser more often. — Accomplished!

  • I diffused the sample “Gratitude” blend that April made for me, and “Raven” twice. The house smelled amazing!

Send another box of clothes to Darby’s Dresses. — Semi-Achieved.

  • I have the box filled to the brim – I just need to mail it!
  • Also, Darby recently created a new Facebook group, solely dedicated to her boutique items that she sells – Check it out! It’s called Darby’s Dresses Boutique.

See Black Panther. — Accomplished!

  • We saw the movie with our friends Mike and Shana on Sunday, February 18th. It was a really good movie – I think it’s one of the best that Disney/Marvel have produced.
  • Getting excited for Avengers: Infinity War to be released on May 4th!

Wear my contact lenses every day this month. — Accomplished!

  • This was a super easy goal, and I’m glad that I overcame my laziness!
  • I even started wearing makeup nearly every day, too!

Write in my journal at least once a week. — Did not accomplish.

  • This literally got buried!

Read at least two books. — Accomplished!

Explore options for essential oil storage. — Accomplished!

  • Thanks to Ariel at Writing Radiation, she led me to Amazon to find this beauty of an essential oil storage solution: Essential Oil Wooden Box.
  • I love it! I had forgotten how many oil bottles that I needed to store. But, I still have room to spare. This things holds 68 bottles!

Final Thoughts:

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to seven out of 11 goals: I’ll take it!
  • The two goals that were Semi-Achieved: Just a few more steps, and I can mark them as complete. It feels good!.
  • The two goals that I did not accomplish: I simply didn’t have the time, or make the time this month.

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

Come back tomorrow to see my March Goals!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #54: “A Winning Spirit: A Molly Classic 1”

A Winning Spirit

Image Credit: Amazon

Finally! The new BeForever books for Molly were released last week!

Some of you may know that I fell in love with Molly’s character as a kid. I read and re-read her six-book Classic Series over and over. I loved everything that was featured in the catalogs. In 2013, I finally realized one of my biggest childhood dreams by buying the Molly doll from American Girl, shortly before she was archived.

Now, on to the review!

Like the other BeForever series, this first volume covers Molly’s original three books:

  • Meet Molly
  • Molly Learns A Lesson
  • Molly’s Surprise

We first meet Molly around Halloween, with her friends, Linda and Susan. They live in Jefferson, Illinois. They are planning their Halloween costumes in the fall of 1943, as World War II continues. Molly’s father, James McIntire, is an Army doctor, currently stationed in England helping sick and wounded soldiers. Molly misses him dearly, but has a full house at home, with her mom, the housekeeper, Mrs. Gilford, and her three siblings – Older sister, Jill; older brother, Ricky; and younger brother, Brad.

After multiple tricks and treats at Halloween, Molly learns several lessons about lending a hand, cooperation, jealousy, and speaking up when it counts the most.

Christmas is challenging with Dad still away and the war, but the Merry McIntires make the most of it. Molly works together with her sister to pull off one great surprise, and someone in the family has a surprise of their own to share!

I certainly miss the beautiful illustrations from the Classic Series, but Valerie Tripp’s writing, as always, carried me back in time, right alongside Molly, her family, and her friends.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂


Commentary #63: “Awareness vs. Understanding”

Image Credit: TOBYMAC

I started following Caralyn’s awesome blog, Beauty Beyond Bones, a while back. She is an awesome, amazing woman. I love all of her posts!

She always shares something profound, or thought-provoking, every week. This past week was no exception.

Here’s the link to her post, published on February 22nd:

Caralyn’s focus is her journey after her eating disorder (ED). She’s a beautiful woman, who is an activist for so many causes. She posts recipes, too!

This particular post shined a spotlight on Weight Watchers being in the news last week, and not for a good reason.

They announced they would be offering free memberships to teens, ages 13-17.

Naturally, this caused almost immediate backlash.

I’m with Caralyn. I don’t agree with Weight Watchers offering these free memberships. Teens, ages 13-17, have enough to deal with in their lives. Yes, obesity remains a significant issue. Caralyn cited several statistics, including some from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But, for Weight Watchers to offer these free memberships to this very vulnerable age group is not the answer.

She tied the Weight Watchers news in with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDA), which starts today, February 26th, and runs through March 3rd.

I see her point about viewing NEDA with somehow glorifying the disease, and so on. But, then she realized that the news about Weight Watchers is one reason why conversations need to be had.

And then, she hit on the Awareness vs. Understanding point, which I think is so important.

There is a difference.

Awareness is certainly important, and a good thing – Share stories, come together as a community, and so on.

However, understanding is even more paramount. With something like eating disorders, moving beyond awareness into understanding is critical.

With that said, I cannot say that I empathize with Caralyn, or say that blanket statement of “I understand” at all. I have never had an eating disorder. I know what they are, how they start, the basics. You could say that Laura Beth is aware of eating disorders.

Caralyn, however, truly understands eating disorders. She is a survivor. She is an advocate. She works hard to discuss ED, her own journey, and help others, which I find incredibly admirable. In her post, she writes that “an eating disorder is a mental illness.”

She closed her post with wanting to “foster understanding on this anorexia recovery blog” and “answering any and all questions about eating disorders, recovery, treatment, how to support. Nothing is off limits.”

I think this is wonderful! She, of all people, knows what she’s talking about. She writes beautifully and humbly, too.

So, if you’re interested in asking questions or learning more, check out her blog!


Image Credit: BeautyBeyondBones

To me, Caralyn is a source of inspiration. Thank you for being amazing!!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #12: John Green


Image Credit: Pinterest

I first learned about John Green when I was assigned to read one of his books in my Young Adult Literature class during my final semester in college. He’s quickly become one of my favorites. I’m determined to eventually read all of his books.

Born in August 1977, Green moved several times during his childhood with his parents and brother, Hank. He graduated from Indian Springs School in 1995. He attended Kenyon College in Ohio, graduating in 2000 with a double major in English and religious studies.  Intending to become an Episcopal priest, he served as a student chaplain at a children’s hospital in Columbus, Ohio, although he ended up not attending divinity school.

Green lived in Chicago, Illinois, for several years. He worked as a publishing assistant and production editor for the book review journal Booklist. In addition, he has written book critiques for The New York Times Book Review, and created original radio essays for NPR’s All Things Considered and Chicago’s public radio station WBEZ.

His first novel, Looking For Alaska, was published in 2005. Green has written four novels individually, collaborated with other authors on two more, five short stories, and several pieces written for donors to Project for Awesome (P4A). In addition, he is an active vlogger with his brother, Hank, a podcaster, and has had roles in the movie adaptations of two of his novels (The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns).

Green has been honored with multiple awards since 2006. He received the Michael L. Printz Award in 2006 for Looking For Alaska, the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Paper Towns in 2009, the National Author Award at the Indiana Authors Award ceremony in 2012, and the Visionary Award at the mtvU Fandom Awards in 2014.

Looking For Alaska (2005)

Looking For Alaska

Image Credit: Amazon

This was the book that started it all. I fell hard for this book in my Young Adult Literature class in the spring of 2011. Immediately after finishing the last page, I went through Longwood’s library, looking for more by Green. This is such a powerful book, almost more powerful than the others that he’s published thus far. It’s gripping, spellbinding, and heart-wrenching.

While researching for this post, I learned that Green based this book on his experiences at Indian Springs School near Birmingham, Alabama. Fascinating!

Paper Towns (2008)

Paper Towns

Image Credit: Amazon

So far, this book is tied with Looking For Alaska as my all-time favorite of Green’s. I loved this book when I first read it, and I have my own copy now. I think I re-read it three times in one year. It’s that good. I loved the movie adaptation, too.

The Fault in Our Stars (2012)

The Fault in Our Stars

Image Credit: Amazon

I reviewed this book in January 2016: Book Review #9: “The Fault in Our Stars.”

I was definitely late to the party to read this book, but I’m glad I waited until the movie hype was over. I’m glad I read the book – But, I still haven’t seen the movie. It’s a heart-breaker. Like Looking For Alaska, Green based this book on his experience as a student chaplain at the children’s hospital in Columbus, Ohio, after his college graduation.

Turtles All The Way Down (2017)

Turtles All The Way Down

Image Credit: Amazon

This has been on my TBR since I heard it was being published. Green drew from his own experiences with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) for this book, and from what I understand, it’s one of his best yet.

What about you?

Have you read / seen any of John Green’s work?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #104: Home Improvement, Part 2

I think it’s time I did a Home Improvement update! The first post I wrote was in October 2017.

Here’s the link to that first post:


The biggest improvement recently was we replaced our doors and storm doors! We were lucky enough to find what we wanted at our local Lowe’s. The storm doors had to be special ordered, but they were ready by mid-January. Al’s dad was awesome and helped immensely – They even installed one door in the freezing cold!

This photo was taken right after Al and his dad installed the doors!

I love our custom “V” wreath from Precision Design Concepts, LLC. Changing out the ribbon for the different holidays and seasons is a lot of fun!

One of our new door mats – I love the color!

The other new doors, and new door mat.

A close-up of the door mat.


We re-organized our kitchen. We found a free-standing country pantry, which cleared a lot of clutter and freed up quite a bit of counter space!

Al found the Axess Kitchen Pantry on We love it, and it didn’t break the bank. Always a plus!

Al moved the toaster to the other counter, and shifted a few things around. Yay for more counter space!

This was our most cluttered counter space. Getting the pantry allowed us to re-organize this space, and I’m so happy with it. The next project is a spice rack / spice organizer!

Living Room

Al had the last two weeks of December off from work, so he painted the last wall in our living room navy blue, as a complement to our gray walls. It looks awesome!

I believe the paint color is called “In the Navy.”

I love my Desert Mist Diffuser from Young Living. It has several different LED color options, plus a “candle flicker” setting. I was diffusing “Gratitude” when I took this photo.


We went to Lowe’s recently and bought multiple rugs, mainly for our entrances. See those photos above. I love the pops of color.

We were tracking slush and salt from our recent blizzards, and that’s no fun on hard floors!

Al picked out this rug – It’s perfect!

I think that’s all, for now. More to come as I continue work on my “Lady Lounge!”

Have you made any home improvements recently? I’d love to hear about it!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #103: “Maroon Bells, Colorado Matthew Eaton” (Reblogged)


Image Credit: Just Wunderlust

via Maroon Bells, Colorado Matthew Eaton

Seeing this image of the Colorado mountains this morning took my breath away.

It reminded me of how beautiful nature is.

How beautiful our own country is.

Our National Parks.


Wanting to get back to nature, and sooner rather than later.

My sister-in-law, Savy, painted a canvas for me last year that I’m going to hang in my office. It reads:

“Let her sleep for when she wakes she will move mountains.”

Image Credit: SavyArt

What about you? Are you moving mountains today?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth

Book Review #53: “Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America”


Image Credit: Amazon

This was the second book that Al gave me for Christmas. He’s heard me talk about Barbara Ehrenreich before. I read her book Nickel and Dimed (2001) for one of my early college classes, and it’s stuck with me ever since.

Right out of the gate, Ehrenreich writes about her own battle with breast cancer, and how “fighting cancer with a positive attitude” has permeated our culture. Although this book was published in 2009, nearly 10 years ago, the same sentiments appear to be holding strong. I have my own opinions about breast cancer charities and the amount of money that is spent on research (Susan G. Komen in particular), but let’s just say that Ehrenreich’s words and research fell in line with my thoughts.

Ehrenreich continues with chapters about the economy, life coaches, how “coaching” entered into corporate culture, and so on. One review compared positivity and positive thinking to a fake orgasm. “Fake it ’til you make it” is referenced a lot, and not always in a good way. But, Ehrenreich says, that’s okay. It’s actually healthier to not be positive all the time. Her main point is to not get brainwashed, and make sure you remain in control of your emotions.

While I was reading, I couldn’t help but think of the Pixar movie Inside Out (2016), where the viewers are inside the head of 11-year-old Riley and seeing her emotions (Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger) interact. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should. And I wondered if Ehrenreich had seen it, and what she thought about it. A lot of her writing in this book, years before the movie was released, was spot on with the messages Pixar was sending to moviegoers. We all have Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger among us and in us for a reason and a purpose.

I’m glad that I put this book on my Amazon wish list. I had been thinking about Ehrenreich and Nickel and Dimed a lot last year, and I found myself searching for more books written by her. I was not disappointed. I plan to read several more of her works in the future:

Despite this compelling read, I still have a positive attitude. I’ve always been an optimist – One nonfiction book isn’t going to turn me into a pessimist. However, I’m definitely going to pay closer attention to my surroundings, try not to get caught up in hype, and stay in control of my emotions.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #52: “The Woman in Cabin 10”

The Woman in Cabin 10 - Amazon

Image Credit: Amazon

This is one of three books that my wonderful husband gave to me for Christmas!

I first learned about this book, and the author, in September 2017 thanks to a book review from Thrice Read. Don’t worry, the ladies have spoiler-free reviews, and this is one of them. I immediately added this book to my Amazon wish list!

Once I started reading, I could hardly put this book down. Ever since I read The Girl On The Train, I wanted to find and read more thrillers. Ware’s writing is amazing, and spellbinding. I did not want to put this book down. She seamlessly takes you from London, to Scandinavia, and back again.

I will say that I’m glad I didn’t read this book on a boat or on a cruise, and I recommend that you don’t either. Ware is so talented at making you feel like you’re a fly on the wall, watching main character Laura’s (Lo’s) every single move on the luxury yacht.

And once you think you’ve figured it all out, there’s a twist. And another. And another. I felt for Lo, I caught myself holding my breath several times! It’s very much like a murder mystery, with psychological horror thrown in.

I’m amazed I didn’t have nightmares, since I typically read before going to bed. Ware is such a good storyteller!

I look forward to reading In a Dark, Dark Wood very soon! I hope she continues writing, because Ruth Ware is quickly rising toward the top of my favorite authors list.

5 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #37: The “Me in Book Characters” Tag

Book Characters Quote - Favim

Image Credit:

I was tagged by the amazing Jenna at Bookmark Your Thoughts. Thanks for thinking of me, Jenna!

Here’s the link to the post where I was tagged:

The Rules:

  1. Thank the creators of the tag (Ash & Lo @ Windowsill Books).
  2. Thank whoever tagged you!
  3. List five book characters who you are most like and explain why.
  4. Tag your friends!

My Five Book Characters (in no particular order):

Hermione Granger – Harry Potter

How could I not pick Hermione? I’ve been a fan of her character since first reading the books in elementary school. Then, I absolutely fell in love with Emma Watson’s portrayal of her in the movies. She’s smart, bookish, clever, and cheeky. She keeps the boys in line, too.

Molly McIntire – American Girl

I easily identified with Molly when I first read her books in elementary school. She loves adventure, reading, spending time with her friends, down to struggling with math! Her father is in the military, like I was.

Matilda - Target

Image Credit: Target

Matilda Wormwood – Matilda

I loved Matilda’s personality from the beginning. She loves school and learning, and learning as often as possible.

Jo March

Image Credit: Shoomp

Jo March – Little Women

I had to read Little Women for a project in my English class during my freshman year of high school. I had trouble with Louisa May Alcott’s writing style at first, but I found myself loving Jo. She’s a bookworm, a geek, and passionate. She also loves writing. I want to re-read the book soon!

Karen - Scholastic

Image Credit: Scholastic

Karen – The Baby-sitters Little Sister series

Karen is the blonde girl in the image above. As I mentioned in my recent Awesome Authors post about Ann M. Martin, I found myself devouring all the Little Sister books in my libraries. I really identified with Karen – She went through a lot as an eight-year-old! She got glasses earlier than I did (I started in sixth grade), but she was teased like I was. She loves making mischief, playing outside, and reading. She has so many adventures with her family and friends. As an only child, there were many times that Karen felt like a friend!

That’s all! Are there book characters that are like you?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #102: February Goals

February-Goals - Balancing Today

Image Credit: Balancing Today

Welcome to February! We’ve almost turned the corner for winter. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring!

Here are my goals for the month of February:

  1. Host my first P.E.O. meeting.
  2. Get back to a regular cleaning schedule.
  3. Work at least one hour on my Lady Lounge every weekend.
  4. Donate blood.
  5. Use my diffuser more often.
  6. Send another box of clothes to Darby’s Dresses.
  7. See Black Panther.
  8. Wear my contact lenses every day this month.
  9. Write in my journal at least once a week.
  10. Read at least two books.
  11. Explore options for essential oil storage.

Here’s the breakdown:

Host my first P.E.O. meeting.

  • I’m hosting our meeting for the first time! We are trying a few Saturday meetings to see if it increases attendance, among other things. Our typical meetings are held on Monday nights.
  • What is P.E.O., you ask? It stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization. The way I describe it is it’s women helping women, where we raise money for scholarships, grants, and loans.

Get back to a regular cleaning schedule.

  • The holidays were a blur, and I had little to no consistency with my cleaning schedule in December and January. Like last month, I want to dust and vacuum more often, so that’s going on the calendar.

Work at least one hour on my Lady Lounge every weekend.

  • Every time I look at my Lady Lounge, I want to scream. I have been so lazy recently, and the clutter and boxes are driving me nuts. I want to find permanent homes for everything in the lounge, and in the garage.
  • I figure committing a time to each weekend will hopefully hold me accountable. My plan is to set the oven timer for an hour, and then see what happens.

Donate blood.

  • Our next blood drive is on Saturday! Fingers crossed for high iron.

Use my diffuser more often.

  • I love my Desert Mist Diffuser in our living room, but I want to use it more often. I have an abundance of oils, and I want to use them!

Send another box of clothes to Darby’s Dresses.

  • I’m part of this awesome Facebook group / small business called Darby’s Dresses. Darby is an awesome woman in Tennessee, and she sells women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories on consignment for very affordable prices. I’ve sent her two big boxes already, and I’m almost ready to send her another one!

See Black Panther.

  • We are so excited for this movie! We’re hoping to see it at least once with our friends Mike and Shana.

Wear my contact lenses every day this month.

  • I need to give my glasses a break, and stop being so lazy in the mornings!

Write in my journal at least once a week.

  • Last month’s goal was a bit ambitious, so I’m hoping that committing to once a week will help motivate me.

Read at least two books.

  • I started reading my current book two nights ago, and I devoured the first chapter. It’s really interesting so far!

Explore options for essential oil storage.

  • I love all my Young Living essential oils, but they’re currently cluttering the end table next to our couch. I’m exploring building a shelving unit out of wooden crates at the moment, so that they can be displayed in the Lady Lounge. More to come!

Do you have any goals for the month of February? I’d love to hear about them!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂