Wrap Up: January and February 2018

I’m doubling up this time around because I completely forgot to put up January’s monthly wrap-up. Not that much happened in January. I mostly took pictures of food and books, or, well, you know, busy doing nothing much?

Books Read

Well, a double feature of monthly wrap-ups makes it look like I did a ton of reading at least…

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier || Speak Easy by Catherynne M. Valente || Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood || Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente || Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper || Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza || She Captains by Joan Druett

Currently Reading

Tamora Pierce did a signing last month for Tempests and Slaughter! I’ve been looking forward to this book for a long time, and I’ve totally pushed back on all my other books to read this. Yeeep.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch || Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce || Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce || Ghost Slayer by Majanka Verstraete || Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl || The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter

Writing

So I’m sitting and listening to music on my way home, and something came to me. I might actually write it down.

Movies

The Academy Awards are tonight, actually, so it’s only appropriate that I highlight my Oscar-movie bingeing for the past two months! I’m only sad that I didn’t get through all the movies on the list, but for the most part, I got through all of the Best Picture nominations at least (well, the last one I’ll be watching last minute).

Mudbound || The Breadwinner || The Big Sick || The Shape of Water || Boss Baby || The Post || I, Tonya || Molly’s Game

I absolutely loved The Shape of Water so much that I might actually buy myself a copy to keep (and I haven’t done that in a while). I, Tonya and Molly’s Game are longshots, but I really liked how they scripted the dialogue in Molly’s Game and I thought Margot Robbie and Allison Janney was fabulous in I, TonyaThe Breadwinner was really good, but it’s honestly Pixar’s category to lose as usual.

Dunkirk || Coco || Get Out || Darkest Hour || The Phantom Thread || Lady Bird || Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri || Victoria and Abdul

I’m normally a period piece kind of gal, but even Victoria and Abdul bored the shmat out of me. I didn’t like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and honestly I hope Get Out wins for screenplay in that vein, because it was definitely well-written. I’m respecting Dunkirk for cinematography, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what the movie was about; I’ve totally forgotten already.

Television

I pretty much binged my shows, though most of my focus has been on movies.

Supergirl, Season 1 – After my general misgivings about how good Supergirl was going to be, I’ve gotten hooked since. Once past a certain number of episodes, it definitely got tons better. Also, I CALLED IT ON THE MARTIAN.

The Royal House of Windsor – This was something I watched after I ran out of The Crown episodes. Again. It wasn’t bad, I suppose, but definitely NOT The Crown.

Video Games

Injustice 2 – I don’t normally play fighting games, but for the Injustice franchise and its superb CG animations, I’m game for anything. This was a fabulous continuation of Injustice, and if there’s a third, I’m looking forward to that, too!

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider – I honestly consider this a spinoff of Dishonored 2, and while it was shorter as far as gameplay, it still packed a wallop. The story was straightforward and contained much less conspiracy, but if this was how Arkane Studios wanted to completely tie up the Dishonored series, it’s definitely a strong finisher.

Fooding

I ate and baked a lot of things, okay? What more do you want from me?!

Florentines || Chicken Gyro || Artichoke and spinach mac n’ cheese || Medovik || Chocolate covered frozen fruits || Chocolate mousse || Banana nutella crepe || Waffle fries

The end of March is going to be interesting, because, um, I’m headed off to a far away place (aka PARIS YAY!), so we’ll see how I’ll fare as far as updates go.

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Wrap Up: December 2017

You know, holidays aren’t really holidays for me. I feel like I get really unproductive when I get super busy on the holidays. But hey, at least there are pictures! Lots and lots of pictures. And it was fun, if not too relaxing…

Books Read

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler || The Richest Woman in America: The Life and Times of Hetty Green by Janet Wallach || The Immortal Nicholas by Glenn Beck

Currently Reading

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch || The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling || Ghost Slayer by Majanka Verstraete || Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Writing

Well. So a couple of authors and I are actually going to be promoting our stories at a bookstore in Massachusetts. This’ll be happening late January, which is pretty cool. Which reminds me…I probably need to send info down to the bookstore…

Movies and TV

Lots of period dramas in December! I think once I started bingeing the second season of The Crown, I just wanted to watch even more stuff on the British royalty. So that happened.

Also, The Last Jedi rocked. And now I want a porg, a BB-8, and a Skywalker. Either twin will do.

The Young Victoria || Star Wars: The Last Jedi || Ghostbusters || 8 Mile || The Office || The Crown, Season 2 || The White Princess || Zumbo’s Just Desserts

Video Games

Horizon Zero Dawn – So I started playing this and didn’t get very far, mostly because I got the Nintendo Switch for Christmas. So…

Super Mario Odyssey – This game happened. And ohhhh boy. It’s very addicting, and I actually love it lots. I managed to finish it the week after Christmas. And even then I’m still trying to collect the rest of the moons.

Overcooked – This game requires a shitton of teamwork. But it does get addicting when you have three other people playing with you, and you just want to keep acing all the levels. We must have played a good three or four hours before we realized we needed to stop and do other things.

Mario Kart Racing – The breaker of friendships and the spiking of high blood pressure. And yet it’s still a family favorite.

Fooding

I actually didn’t do much cooking/baking in December. I mean, there were the standard baking goodies and the toffee, but that wasn’t too much to handle. Oh, and I suppose I also made apple cookies, but those were part of an order, which seems to be a hit, because I’ve got another batch to make this week. To be honest, I did more drink-mixing over the month than anything else!

Turon || White wine sangria || Raisin bread || Bioshock “Plasmid” cocktail || Brenner burger || Peppermint bark || Mojito || Churro waffle

I do have plans for book-inspired baking, but it’ll be a while yet! I cannot wait for the summer, really.

I hope you guys had a great holiday too!

An Apple a Day Drives the Witch Right into Your Path…Wait

I kind of got away with that title there, but to be fair, whenever I see apples involved in literature, I immediately think of the tale of Snow White. It’s not even my favorite tale by a mile, but I will admit that some of the retellings I’ve read do bring about the need to bake something with apples inside. Winter, I’m talking about you specifically.

And yes, okay, so most apple covers don’t necessarily mean Snow White. I mean, unless you can give me a really good argument that says Twilight is a metaphor for the story of a crazed queen and her attempts to kill her more beautiful stepdaughter (but wait, wasn’t Kristen Stewart a star on both so maybe there’s the connection…argh, I’m digressing), then yeah, apple covers don’t mean Snow White.

Buuut there’s got to be an appeal to apples, right? Because poor, silly Snow likes apples. Winter happens to love ’em especially when sprinkled and baked in with cinnamon. And honestly, I love baking with apples when I can.

So there you have it. Apples. Are. Awesome.

Now that I’ve completely rambled on about dem apples, onto what I had meant to do, which was post something I had made weeks ago! (Hah, yes to backlog of baking-related posts!)

Apple Bread

Say hello to the most scrumptious bready thing ever! I’ve been saving a ton of apple-related recipes on my Pinterest to get back to later on, and eventually made my way to one I wanted to attempt. So while I procrastinated writing, well, anything (I’m sorry Meg and Tarma and and…yeah…), I baked something I could totally use as an excuse for being unproductive. Only I suppose I was productive, because I made bread.

The recipe was pretty straightforward, and the glaze was standard milk, not cream, because I didn’t really have any cream handy. (And I wouldn’t go so far as to make glaze with cream anyway, not too fond of it being too thickly sweet). I also used three apples instead of two.

And with my sister’s trusty new apple corer, peeling coring, and slicing those apples took mere seconds!

Like the recipe suggested, I split the batter up into two. I lined my bread pan with parchment paper poured half the batter in, half the apple mixture in, and sprinkled that with a cinnamon-sugar mixture. Then rinse, repeat. I waited 45 minutes before checking up on the bread, and let it brown a bit more before pulling it out of the oven.

Verdict: The bready middle was super moist and soft and so yum. It was a good call to split the batter so there’s plenty of apple to go around. There was a suggestion to add walnuts in, but with a brother who’s allergic to practically every nut in existence, I can safely say this recipe can do without.

Wrap Up: October 2017

Bogged. Down. So. Much.

There’s something about the last three months of the year that makes them the busiest months for most people. I’m definitely one of those people, what with work, birthday and holiday bakes, and other overall antics I get up to in the upcoming months. Busyness is not necessarily a bad thing, but mahgoh, can I just sit down for a day and binge-watch Stranger Things or something? (Answer: NOPE).

Books Read

Yeaaah. I’ve more or less taken a ton of pictures of books, but did I really read much this month? Nope. I might have gotten through two audiobooks and one graphic novel, that’s just about it. Maybe it’s a reading funk, or lack of time, maybe both.

Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott || Wonder Woman: Who Is Wonder Woman? by Allan Heinberg || Catch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale

Currently Reading

*snort* On top of a reading funk, I’ve clearly also got reading ADD, because I’ve picked up a couple books and audiobooks and switched to a different one altogether. I find that even audiobooks haven’t been as riveting lately, which is probably why I’ve been ping-ponging between Empress and Burning.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch || Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza || The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas || Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Writing

Whoever thought it was a good idea for me to join up NaNoWriMo… *shudders*

And yet here we are.

Movies and TV

Most of these are pretty much rewatches. Other than a random episode of The Office and quite possibly It (not pictured), I haven’t seen anything new besides the most recent season of Stranger Things.

Today’s Special || No Reservations || Miss Congeniality || Much Ado About Nothing || iZombie Season 2 || Leverage || The Office Season 1 || Stranger Things Season 2

Video Games

Hahahahaha–what’s that?! *sobs inwardly*

I miss playing video games…

Fooding

October was a baking month for me, largely because both my siblings are October babies and there were a lot of apples to bake away. There are still a lot of apples to bake, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I’ll probably write about a few of these at some point. Or not.

Meat pie || Dark chocolate and matcha cake shaped like an Oreo || Texas Roadhouse nummyness || Bibimbap in a hot stone bowl || Sliced mango (for mango puree) || Unicorn-themed mango mirror glaze cake || Apple bread || Apple Danish

Miscellany

Paint Night #2 came off rather well! That said, I thought drawing the dragon was much harder than having to create a scenery. Mostly because it’s so specific, and outlining was kind of a bitch to do. That said, I had fun!

My sister ended up getting a surprise party during the month, and with my bestie in tow, we ended up throwing her a unicorn-themed party. Balloons and cake and unicorn horns in all. Needless to say she was definitely surprised.

My friend and I met Tamora Pierce!!!!!!! Yes. Extra exclamation points considering how exciting this is because um, Pierce is ONLY my favorite author EVER. So. Yeah. I MET TAMORA PIERCE!!!!!!!

Nerdy News

I’m so behind on The Walking Dead at this point, but I’ll so read this new series by Robert Kirkman. Looks like another post-apocalyptic piece, though.

Honestly, I’m not sure how well it’ll translate to the stage when a lot of the beauty of Pushing Daisies was through quirky art direction and fantastic use of a film editing room. Buuuuut…I’d so watch the eff out of a possible musical. Caveat: Kristin Chenoweth STILL has to play Olive.

Life is like a hurricane… *hums* Oh, uh, I just like that Doctor-Donna are back together again! XD

Err…I don’t understand what their purpose is in rebooting a Nancy Drew series when it’s…not really about Nancy Drew but the author of the series?

I’m still a little upset that one of the most interesting subplots of Mass Effect: Andromeda is being turned into a tie-in novel. I mean, yeah, I like reading books, but dammit, I want to SEE the drells and quarians in action, not read about them! Friggin’…okay, let me not go there again with an ME:A rant.

With Game of Thrones ending next year, I cannot wait to drop myself into the Kingkiller Chronicles universe. That said, whyyyyy do these people insist on working on series that aren’t finished?!

Wrap Up: August 2017

Okay, seriously, the summer came by way too quickly this year. I already have only a few days left before I have to actually get back to work, and I’m shaking my fists at you, Summer!

That said, at least the weather will cool up (I absolutely love sweater weather), and I’m ahead of my Goodreads goal, so huzzah!

Books Read

Still got a number of reviews I want to get done in September, but for the most part, these were the books I’d finished during the month.

I DNFed one book in August, which isn’t too bad, though I do note that my list of DNFs have grown a big higher than previous years. I think it’s tolerance level, maybe. Mostly I just decided that I have way too many books I want to read that spending time on one I don’t really care about is a waste.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr || Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman || Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor || Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 || Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland || The List by Patricia Forde || Xena, Warrior Princess, Vol. 1 ||  Injustice: Gods Among Us Year One || The Moth and the Flame by Renee Ahdieh || The Crown and the Arrow by Renee Ahdieh || Monstress, Vol. 2 by Marjorie M. Liu || The Wicked + The Divine, vols. 4 and 5.

Currently Reading

So far so good!

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel || Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Writing

I’ve been on and off with the writing this summer, which is probably the only thing I’m disappointed in, though, again, largely my fault. I did manage to do a huge deal of edits to my novel, and I wrote down what I can discern are notes of a future short story.

Movies and Television

Lordy, Game of Thrones. I don’t think I can last that long to want to see the last season. I really want it happening sooner than later.

I’ve also pretty much binged iZombie on Netflix and NO REGRETS.

As for movies: the most entertained I got was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is saying something. I absolutely hated how stupid Civil War was, and likely put me off of watching any other Marvel Avengers movie that’s to come in the foreseeable future. I also don’t know why I watched Schindler’s List for practically the umpteenth time, but it IS a fantastic one, albeit the topping is super depressiong.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies || Million Dollar Baby || Captain America: Civil War || The Craft || Schindler’s List || Armageddon || Game of Thrones || iZombie

Video Games

Besides the apps I play on my phone (which have started taking up more time in general), I started Mass Effect 1 all over again and beat that in a week. I’m halfway through my playthrough of Mass Effect 2 but it’s taking longer because of all the DLCs that are now included into my copy. Also, I LOVE Kasumi. I don’t know how I never got through a playthrough with her, especially when I’ve played ME multiple times already.

Gonna have to put some of ME playing on hold, though, now that school is back soon. Sigh.

Fooding

Part of the reason this month went by quickly for me was because I totally baked or cooked double-time. It was hard picking pictures out of really stellar ones, but I’ll narrow things down to food I’ve either made the first time or foods I’ve tried the first time.

Peach crumb cupcakes || Korean-flavored ground beef || Parsnip cakes || Triforce blueberry pie || Pan de bono || Poke bowl || Spicy ramen with poached eggs || Chicken with saffron sauce

Miscellany

Took advantage of the pool and the beach this summer, and went on family and friend trips in surrounding areas (loved the glass museum!). Didn’t travel too far, though, which is somewhat of a bummer, since I’ve made my list of places to visit outside of the U.S. but I’ll have to hit those another time.

My friend and my podcast (Fableulous Retellings) has ended its first season run, and we’re gearing up for season 2, which should be exciting, because it’s all about 1001 Nights, which is a collection of some of my favorite stories ever!

I started a knitting project that could quite possibly take me over a year to finish, because it’s massive. The idea isn’t mine, though it certainly came about when I was making a Christmas present that I wanted for myself as well…

Nerdy News

I mean, how much more epic a saga can Dragon Age be? A super-epic one, if Laidlaw has anything to say about it. And, honestly, I cannot wait for the next installment. After Trespasser, things look like they’re going to get super exciting!

Good Omens is happening, but what’s more, it’s happening with the two perfect actors to take on the roles of Aziraphale and Crowley! Honestly, you can even interchange the roles and I’m sure Tennant and Sheen can still hit the ball out of the park.

A modern Dracula, a la Sherlock? Well, with Sherlock pretty much wrapped up (as far as I can see), I wouldn’t mind seeing what its former creators have in store for another iconic Victorian creation.

A Cuckoo’s Calling has premiered, but I haven’t seen it yet. This was the trailer I watched a while back. I love Holliday Grainger, and this looks pretty good!

“Neo-Victorian fantasy noir.” You mean detective steampunk?! I’m down. So down.

I’m so happy for Victoria Schwab right now. Mostly because now I have MORE Shades of Magic books to look forward to. But, I mean, wow. Just wow. Good for you, Schwab. I can somewhat live vicariously through her, haha.

That’s it. How was your August?