What I’m Into: February 2016 Edition


The past few days have felt positively spring-like here in South Carolina and I am hopeful that it’s here to stay. As someone who is cold 95% of the time, even the mild winters we experience in the south can feel long to me, so I’m all about spring showing up. I’ve been struggling with my health a bit this month, and feeling generally tired and sluggish, and I think warmer weather might help with that as well. Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into this month.

What I’m Reading:

Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars #2) by Rob Thomas. This is the second Veronica Mars book in what I hope will be an ongoing series. As I said about the first one, if you are already a fan of Veronica Mars as a show and a movie, you will love these. If you aren’t familiar, you might still enjoy them just for the mystery-solving detective aspect, but some of the tone and the connection between the characters might be lost on you.

The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman. This is the third book of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. I read the first two books and I think half of this one several years ago. I was intrigued by the first two, but remember feeling like this one dragged. This time I listened to the audio version which is a dramatized reading almost like a radio play. Even with the great reading, it still felt a little long and plodding and much more heavy-handed than the other two in his criticisms of the church and of religion. Definitely not my favorite of the trilogy.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. This is another of those YA books that I wouldn’t give to my young teenager, but maybe to the right older teen. The really powerful thing about this book is that it is an honest and revealing portrayal of mental illness in teens that isn’t always talked about openly. Violet and Finch meet on a ledge of the school bell tower, both contemplating their own deaths. In meeting, they save each other, at least for the day, and their meeting leads to a friendship that helps and challenges each of them in different ways.

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe. I am fairly recent Rob Lowe fan with most of my exposure to him coming from Parks and Recreation and his new show, The Grinder, so I enjoyed these stories about Rob Lowe’s show biz journey, starting as a teen heart throb in the 80’s If you’re not very interested in the movie and television industry then this might not be the book for you, but if you are interested in it or just like Rob Lowe in general than this is a fun and easy read.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes. I’m a huge fan of The Princess Bride so I really enjoyed this book telling some of the behind-the-scenes stories about the making of the film and the people involve from Cary Elwes, who played Wesley. In particular, the stories about Andre the Giant, who played Fezzig in the movie, are funny and heartwarming.

In January I read about half of Sarah Bessey’s newest book, Out of Sorts, and fully intended to finish it this month, but I sort of lost momentum. It shouldn’t take too long once I pick it back up, but I’ve been distracted by other things. If you want to see what I’m reading and what I think of it, be sure to follow me on Goodreads!

What I’m Listening To:

I’ve been really enjoying Modern Mrs. Darcy’s new What Should I Read Next? podcast. This is a concept she used to do on her blog sometimes and has now converted into a podcast format where she invites a guest to answer three questions – name a book you love, a book you hate, and what you read most recently -and then gives three book recommendations based on that discussion. It’s lots of fun.

What I’m Watching:

I’m slowly working through the final season of Revenge on Netflix. Jonathan and I are trying (and sometimes failing) to stay current with Brooklyn Nine Nine, New Girl, and our new fave, The Grinder. To be honest, we’ve been busy and haven’t spent a ton of time watching shows together. We did see Hail, Caesar! at the theater this past weekend and we both enjoyed it even though the trailer is a bit misleading. Channing Tatum is hysterical in it.

What I’m Eating:

I went through about a 3-week period where I was eating Chinese takeout every Sunday evening. I just had to have it. The cashew chicken at Yummy Yummy II is bomb. I also made a ton of cookies and strawberry cream cheese muffins for the Bible Study retreat I went on at the beginning of the month. I use this bread recipe and just do muffins instead. I also add chocolate chunks because, why not? Follow me on Pinterest for more recipes.

What I’m Writing:

On the blog I wrote about mindfulness with this post on walks without destinations. I shared a spoken-word poem about love in honor of the 9 year anniversary of my husband and I becoming a couple. I shared Vol. 2 of What’s on my Bookshelf. And I wrote about my continual struggle to fully live in the present even as I look with expectation to the future.

For Modernize I wrote an article on ways to hide cords, cables and other eyesores and started a series of style 101 posts. So far I’ve tackled Minimalist Style and Rustic Style.

What I’ve Been Up To:

For such a short month, February has packed a punch. The first weekend of the month I went away for a women’s retreat with the women from my Bible study. We stayed in this amazing house at Lake Lure, NC, which is where Dirty Dancing was filmed. In fact, it was a very Dirty Dancing themed weekend, complete with my friend Buffy and I doing a lip sync dance to Time of My Life incorporating some signature moves from the movie. Besides all of the great fun, it was also a rich and meaningful time and a great opportunity to get away.


I heart these people. I heart them hard.

The following week I subbed at the school I tutor at for the entire week, so that kept me pretty busy. That weekend was Valentine’s Day and we had an oh-so-romantic dinner of burgers and fried pickles after which I fell asleep. Epic romance.

The next week we had agreed to stay with some of our friends’ kids for five days while they were out of town. We moved into their house on Wednesday night and stayed with their 3 kids and 2 Saint Bernards until the following Monday. It was fun and tiring all at once and kind of a unique opportunity to imagine what life could look like for us in 15 years. I think Jonathan and I may have had slightly different experiences of it, but it was fun to do together.

What have you been up to and into?


We took our temporary kids to see this giant tree. Cause we’re super fun like that.


Our temporary dog was not as easily won over.



  1. Llllpyllgltllll On Mar 1, 2016 9:27 AM, “Such Small Hands” wrote:

    > lilyellyn posted: ” The past few days have felt positively spring-like > here in South Carolina and I am hopeful that it’s here to stay. As someone > who is cold 95% of the time, even the mild winters we experience in the > south can feel long to me, so I’m all about sprin” >


  2. I just started reading The Goldfinch, and I’m really enjoying it so far; reminds me of a modern-day Dickens. Also, you got me addicted to Tana French, and my husband and I are now listening to her audiobooks, downloaded from the library. Oh, and do you know about Jini beauty box? It’s a Korean beauty product subscription. Every month a new box arrives with sample sizes of lots of products. My friend just started getting it and is hooked. Apparently, Americans are starting to get the hint that Korean beauty products are awesome. 🙂


    1. I actually really disliked The Goldfinch in the end. I’ll be interested to hear your opinion once you’ve finished. And you’re welcome on Tana French. Another friend of mine read her In the Woods recently and thought it was a waste of her time. I was devastated. I like the others better than that one, but still. I LOVE her books. I haven’t heard of the Jini box, but I have heard of a similar one called the Meme box. And it is really funny to start seeing these Korean products in American markets and seeing people go nuts over them. Half of my makeup and skincare is Korean. Of course, now that I’m back I probably won’t repurchase because everything is twice as expensive to buy here as it was in Korea, but that’s the way it goes.


      1. Oh no! The Goldfinch started so promisingly (I’m about 150 pages into it). But I’m glad to have a warning from someone whose book opinions I trust. I’ll write a little review on my blog when I finish it. The first Tana French book I read was In the Woods. At first, I was super disappointed that a major plot element was left unresolved, but then I realized that the reason I was so upset was that she got her readers to care SO MUCH about the plot and the characters, and only really good writing can do that. I think her development of character and conflict is just outstanding.


      2. Well, you certainly wouldn’t be alone if you end up loving it – it did win the Pulitzer. 😉 And I also felt initially frustrated by In the Woods, but then realized that I appreciated that it wasn’t just a “tie it up with a neat bow” kind of mystery. It felt more realistic in a lot of ways, even if it wasn’t the most uplifting ending.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the Veronica Mars books too! I was just chatting with my best friend about our hope for a third one.

    I hope the warm(er) weather helps you to feel better!


  4. I recently finished reading Ice by Ulla-Lena Lundberg, which will probably rank among my favourite books of 2016. Set in the 1940s on a small island off the coast of Finland, it follows the lives of the island’s new Lutheran pastor and his wife.

    It’s beautifully written, and I loved all the details about life on the island — self-sufficiency, the connection with the land, milking the cows and wild strawberry-picking in summer…

    I love the photo of your temporary dog. He/she looks gorgeous!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s