Getting Personal #270: January Goals

Image Credit: See Jane Write

Welcome back!

Here are my goals for the month of January:

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

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


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #269: My Favorite Things of 2021

Image Credit: Quote Master

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


Now, on to my favorites!

Favorite Books

Favorite Movies

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

Favorite TV Shows

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

Favorite Podcasts

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

Well, that wraps up my favorite things for 2021!

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


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #268: December Goals Recap

Image Credit: Goodbye Bread and Cheese

Welcome back!

Here were my goals for the month of December:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Come back tomorrow to see my January Goals!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #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 🙂

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 🙂