Getting Personal #242: April Goals

Image Credit: Maria Estes Photography

Welcome back!


Here are my goals for the month of April:

  1. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2021.
  2. Finish the first draft of my second novel.
  3. Donate blood.
  4. Celebrate Dad’s birthday!
  5. Hang at least three items on my office walls.
  6. Publish at least one Commentary post.
  7. Renew my library card.
  8. Publish at least two Book Review posts.
  9. Publish my quarterly TBR Recap post.
  10. Finish reviewing my friend’s first draft of their novel.

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

Let me know in the comments!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #241: March Goals Recap

Image Credit: Pinterest

Welcome back!

Here were my goals for the month of March:

  1. Prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2021. —- Accomplished!
  2. Continue progress on the 2022 Virginia State Convention. —- Accomplished!
  3. Be elected P.E.O. Chapter President for 2021-2022. —- Accomplished!
  4. Do finishing work for the P.E.O. Virginia State IPS committee. —- Accomplished!
  5. Make sure the living room has no more clutter. —- Did not accomplish yet.
  6. Order the remaining curtains! —- Accomplished!
  7. Publish two Book Review posts. —- Accomplished!
  8. Publish one Commentary post. —- Accomplished!
  9. Take my iron supplements and daily vitamins to ensure I can give blood in April. —- Accomplished!
  10. Attend a couple fun events via Zoom. —- Accomplished!

I made a lot of progress this month. I’m excited to dive back into my second novel tomorrow!

I have several more Commentary posts in the works, and I’ve been rotating through several different books this month.

Keep your fingers crossed that I can give blood this weekend!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #239: February Goals Recap

Image Credit: pinterest.com

Welcome back!

Here were my goals for the month of February:

  1. Donate blood. — Did not accomplish yet.
  2. Watch the Super Bowl with Al. — Accomplished!
  3. Celebrate Valentine’s Day! — Accomplished!
  4. Clean out the pantry to donate food to the church food pantry. — Accomplished!
  5. Go through all my clothes again for donations. —- Accomplished!
  6. Clean off the couch in my office, and keep it clean. —- Did not accomplish yet.
  7. Prepare for our taxes. — Accomplished!
  8. Fully fund my Roth IRA for the year when I meet with my financial advisor for my annual review. — Accomplished!
  9. Publish at least one Book Review. — Accomplished!
  10. Publish at least one Commentary post. — Accomplished!
  11. Publish at least one Writing Prompt post. —- Accomplished!

I felt a lot more productive this month. I wrote and published more blog posts this month than I have in quite a while. And I have several more new ones in the works!

The Super Bowl was pretty disappointing in terms of the game. Even the commercials weren’t super impressive. However, I did make amazing food for Al and I to eat!

Valentine’s Day was a bit of an adventure this year, since I got my second COVID vaccine on Thursday the 11th. The immune response was fast, faster than I had anticipated. I got the shot at 8:00 a.m., and around 3:00 p.m., my energy went from 100 to zero. I finished working from home, and then attempted to eat dinner. I started having chills, a slight headache, and a low fever. I drank a ton of water and managed to finish one of the small/mini bottles of Gatorade. I’m really glad several people encouraged me to take the next day off from work, because I needed it. I had already slept around 10 hours between Thursday night and Friday morning. I took a long shower on Friday morning, and then slept off and on for another three hours. My dad was nice to bring over Panera chicken soup. I ate about half of it with more water and Gatorade. The only time I got really concerned was when I took my temperature on Friday afternoon. It has risen to 103.1. I looked up the definition of a high fever for my age. I was already considering taking some medicine, and I took an Aleve. My fever started coming down, and broke later that night. By Saturday, I was feeling much better. Valentine’s Day was a bit subdued (because the pandemic is still happening), but I was back to 100 percent. We got takeout. All this to say – I’m grateful I was able to get the vaccine so quickly. I may have felt like I had the flu for 36 hours, but that’s far better than having COVID and being on a ventilator, or worse.

I went through all my clothes in my IKEA drawers and closet, including the three under-bed storage bins that I reorganized last summer. I filled a large leftover shipping box for Darby’s Dresses consignment. The rest is being picked up by the Vietnam Veterans of America tomorrow.

Getting Personal #238: February Goals

Image Credit: Balancing Today

Welcome back! It’s already month #2 of 2021!


Here are my goals for the month of February:

  1. Donate blood.
  2. Watch the Super Bowl with Al.
  3. Celebrate Valentine’s Day!
  4. Clean out the pantry to donate food to the church food pantry.
  5. Go through all my clothes again for donations.
  6. Clean off the couch in my office, and keep it clean.
  7. Prepare for our taxes.
  8. Fully fund my Roth IRA for the year when I meet with my financial advisor for my annual review.
  9. Publish at least one Book Review.
  10. Publish at least one Commentary post.
  11. Publish at least one Writing Prompt post.

What about you? Do you have any goals for this month? Let me know – I’d love to cheer you on!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #237: January Goals Recap

Image Credit: Centre for Collaborative Health

Welcome back!

Here were my goals for the month of January:

  1. Publish at least two Book Reviews. — Did not accomplish yet.
  2. Publish my latest TBR Recap post. — Accomplished!
  3. Spend at least two hours every weekend on my office. — Did not accomplish yet.
  4. Look up at least five new recipes to use in meal planning. — Accomplished!
  5. Celebrate Al’s birthday! — Accomplished!
  6. Celebrate P.E.O. Founders Day. — Accomplished!
  7. Complete the filing project with the filing cabinet in my office. — Did not accomplish yet.

I didn’t have the energy to write the Book Reviews in January, but I’m hoping February will be a different story! Al and I were just talking about getting up 15 minutes earlier in the mornings, to shift back to our “traditional” schedule/routine, so I’m hoping those extra 15 minutes will help me blog a bit more in the mornings before starting work. We’re determined to start it on Monday. He remarked that it was a possible “unpopular opinion,” but I think it’s a good idea. I’m eventually going back into the office full-time, so doing this now will help ease that transition for me. It’s supposed to happen at the end of June / early July, but we shall see.

You can read my latest TBR Recap post here: Getting Personal #236: Seventeenth TBR Recap

My office is still a work in progress. I’m hoping to completely clear off the couch, and keep it clean, in February.

The recipes were the easiest thing that I accomplished this month!

  1. Sheet-Pan Chili-Lime Salmon with Sweet Potatoes & Broccoli – This one was a hit. I’m definitely doing this one more than once in 2021. The salmon is a bit expensive, but we found it on sale at Lidl.
  2. Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce (See photo below) – This was easily as good, maybe better, than Olive Garden’s. Super easy to make! I poured it over rotini pasta, and it fed us for four nights.
  3. Chicken with Curried Mango Sauce (Haven’t made this yet, but it’s on the list)
  4. Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos (Haven’t made this yet, but it’s on the list)
  5. Crispy Honey Sriracha Chicken Wings (Haven’t made this yet, but it’s on the list)
  6. Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork) – Haven’t made this yet, but it’s on the list.
  7. Best Chicken Alfredo Roll-Ups (Planning to do this one next week!)
  8. Honey Garlic Steak Bites (I think I made this once last year, but I can’t remember, so I’m counting it as new)
  9. Hawaiian Roll Ham Sliders – I made this for Al and I and they did not last long. Yummy. I’m making them again this weekend when we watch the Super Bowl.
  10. Crispy Baked Shrimp Scampi (Haven’t made this yet, but it’s on the list)
Found through Facebook.

I also watched Baby Driver (2017) for the first time! It was an excellent movie. Edgar Wright is a master.

Al’s birthday was on a Monday this year. We both worked, and then we had steak, shrimp with cocktail sauce, and crab puppies. My mom made amazing key lime cake for him, and I bought a cookie cake. I’ll post the Crab Puppies recipe below. I’ve substituted the Ritz crackers for bread crumbs both times I’ve made it, and I don’t think I’ll change that. My college roommate, Amanda, made that suggestion when I shared the recipe on Facebook.

We had a wonderful P.E.O. Tidewater Reciprocity Founders Day event – Our first virtual one! We had over 50 women join us via Zoom.

I was able to sell several American Girl items that were duplicates through the big doll board/group on Facebook, so that was exciting! I’m slowly reducing that volume, piece by piece.


Did you have any goals for the month of January?

Come back tomorrow to see my February Goals!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #235: Part of History (January 20, 2021)

Image Credit: CNBC.com

Today has been a momentous day for me. See below. This is what I posted on Facebook this morning. I’m still in awe, and still celebrating.

I hope others in my life will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine soon!

Cheers, friends!


January 20, 2021

How am I feeling? Grateful, humbled, thankful.

I received my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine this morning at Sentara Obici Hospital.

The staff at Obici were fabulous. Everything went smoothly. The first dose felt exactly like the flu shot. Aside from a slightly sore arm, I’m not feeling any side effects.

After I got back to my car, I prayed. I thanked God for this opportunity. My 95-year-old Grandpa got his first dose at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center yesterday.

Today is also Inauguration Day. The U.S. will have a new President, and the first-ever woman Vice President will be sworn in. I’m grateful, humbled, and thankful.

Now, it’s back to work (from home), but I feel better and safer today than I have in a long, long time.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #234: January Goals

Image Credit: emilysquotes.com

Happy New Year! Cheers to 2021!!

Here are my goals for the month of January:

  1. Publish at least two Book Reviews.
  2. Publish my latest TBR Recap post.
  3. Spend at least two hours every weekend on my office.
  4. Look up at least five new recipes to use in meal planning.
  5. Celebrate Al’s birthday!
  6. Celebrate P.E.O. Founders Day.
  7. Complete the filing project with the filing cabinet in my office.

What about you? Do you have any goals for this month?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #233: December Goals Recap

Image Credit: http://www.countrygirlstore.com

Welcome back!

Here’s the link to my December Goals post: Getting Personal #231: December Goals


Here were my goals for the month of December:

  1. Donate blood. — Did not accomplish.
  2. Publish at least one Book Review. — Did not accomplish.
  3. Publish my annual “Favorite Things” post. — Accomplished!
  4. Make progress with laundry. — Accomplished!
  5. Make progress with my office. — Accomplished!
  6. Celebrate Christmas! — Accomplished!
  7. Finally send my second draft of my novel to my readers. — Accomplished!
  8. Celebrate New Year’s! — Accomplished!

I wasn’t able to donate blood because I had icky sinus/congestion issues for the entire week before the blood drive. It also took me out of my normal volunteering role. But, I’m glad I stayed home and wasn’t spreading any germs. It was a great drive though – 78 units collected and four first-time donors!

You can read my annual Favorite Things post here: Getting Personal #232: My Favorite Things of 2020

I spent the better part of two hours a couple weekends ago devoted to laundry. I finally emptied the ridiculous basket of clean clothes in front of my side of the bed, went through everything in the smaller basket that was parked in front of my closet for months that Al kept tripping over, and have kept my closet doors closed and clear! Podcasts are my friend, especially the long episodes of Dateline NBC.

One of my big goals for my office was to clear the floor space between my desk and the floor lamp. I did that the weekend before Christmas, and I’ve kept it clean! I gave Al a huge pile of ancient paperwork to shred, filled a trash bag of other discarded things, and recycled two empty copy paper boxes. Al was also nice to clean off one of the filing cabinets that his dad brought down last year, and hauled it from the detached garage into my office. The printer is now far more stable on top of it. The next item to tackle is filling the filing cabinet with hanging folders and paperwork that’s been overflowing between our fireproof box and the dining room buffet drawers.

I sent the second draft of my novel, now with proper chapter distinctions, page numbers, double-spacing, and a lot of wonderful feedback closely noted and appreciated, via email to my amazing readers.

Although Christmas and New Year’s have definitely been different this year, it’s also been a bit more relaxed, if that’s the right word. Al grilled some delicious steaks for Christmas dinner, and I made amazing crab puppies. Al’s already requested them again for his birthday in late January. We had a Zoom call with Al’s parents and his brother’s family. We called my parents and talked to them for a while on Christmas morning. We exchanged gifts socially distanced on our porch on Christmas Eve, and that was such a boost to my spirits! We ate bacon-wrapped scallops and had a meat/cheese tray for New Year’s Eve tonight. I need to finish this post so I can go hang out with Al and the dogs, watch a movie, and then watch the ball drop on TV. We’re excited to ring in 2021 with feeling thankful that we have remained healthy throughout this pandemic, an overflow of gratitude for the essential workers and many other helpers, and good thoughts for the year to come.


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 #232: My Favorite Things of 2020

Image Credit: Quote Master

So, before starting the lists of favorites, here’s my tally for books and Book Reviews for 2020:


Now, on to my favorites!

Favorite Books

Favorite Movies

  • 13th (Netflix)
  • Knives Out
  • Onward (This was the last movie we saw in theaters before COVID-19 took hold!)
  • Soul (Disney+)
  • Spotlight (Netflix)
  • The Vast of Night (Amazon Prime Video)

Favorite TV Shows

  • Forensic Files (Netflix)
  • Hoarders (YouTube)
  • How to Fix a Drug Scandal (Netflix)
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – Seasons 7 – 8 (Hulu)
  • McMillions (HBO Max)
  • Murder on Middle Beach (HBO Max)
  • Stargirl (The CW)
  • Stranger Things – Re-watched all seasons (Netflix)
  • Supermarket Sweep (Netflix and YouTube)
  • The Baby-Sitters Club (Netflix)
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – Season 1 (HBO Max)
  • The Innocence Files (Netflix)
  • The Mandalorian – Seasons 1 and 2 (Disney+)

Favorite Podcasts

  • Atlanta Monster
  • Crimes of Passion
  • Dateline NBC
  • Female Criminals
  • Forensic Files
  • Helping Writers Become Authors
  • Just Us For Y’All
  • Killer Knowledge
  • Monster: DC Sniper
  • Morbid
  • Murder in Oregon
  • Small Town Dicks
  • Spying on Humanity
  • StoryCorps
  • The FRONTLINE Dispatch
  • The Way I Heard It

Well, that wraps up my favorite things for 2020!

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


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #231: December Goals

Image Credit: Pinterest

Welcome back!

Here are my goals for the month of December:

  1. Donate blood.
  2. Publish at least one Book Review.
  3. Publish my annual “Favorite Things” post.
  4. Make progress with laundry.
  5. Make progress with my office.
  6. Celebrate Christmas!
  7. Finally send my second draft of my novel to my readers.
  8. Celebrate New Year’s!

What about you? Do you have any goals for this month?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂