Let me tell you about Studio G

So I have joined forces with my friends Spencer and Gail to create some fun YouTube content. Our YouTube channel is Studio G Creations . We will be creating videos that will cover all kinds of hobbies – crafts, cooking, photography, reading and more. I hope you will take a look at our very first craft video which was released this morning.

If you think of a craft or hobby subject you would like us to cover, please comment. We will do our best to bring you the great content YOU are looking for.

Enjoy!

Confessions of a Curious Bookseller by Elizabeth Green

If you have received any book recommendations from me or ready any of my book reviews, you are aware of my affinity for quirky characters.  When I read the description of Confessions of a Curious Bookseller by Elizabeth Green, I thought it matched the quirky character trope – an odd used bookstore owner with family issues? Sign me up!

Fawn Birchill is a forty-something single woman who is partially estranged from her family. She owns a failing used bookstore in Philadelphia.  She believes that her store has been a cornerstone of her community for the past twenty years.  She is semi-happily single. She has a cat and also feeds the strays in her alley.  She believes her three loyal employees are happy working for her.  When a young, hip bookstore opens down the street, with comfy chairs, a coffee bar, knowledgeable employees and weekend evening entertainment, her world is turned upside down.  Now she must deal with her employees abandoning her, her cat dying (wait until you read THAT part), caring (?) for her elderly renter Jane, much needed repairs to the store, the strained relationship with her family, and the trials of online dating.  She also must figure out what to do about her pen pal, whom she has created a whole false identity for herself. Talk about getting caught up in a fantasy of your own making!!

I really wanted to like this book. I did finish it. The ending was kind of anticlimactic. I had a hard time liking Fern. I believe the character suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. For me this book fell short of my expectations just as Fern’s employees fell short of hers. 2.5 stars.

Worst drivers license picture ever

I finally had the chance to go get my drivers license upgraded to the one that give me clearance to fly. Of course, there’s no way I’m getting on a plane during Covid. But if and when things get back to “normal”, I’ll be all set.

While I am happy to have it done and that it only took a half an hour, I must say it is the worst picture ever as I am suffering from masknea (acne from wearing a mask). Oh well, to be almost 55 and look like I have a teenagers skin…sigh.

I hope your year is going well.

How to exercise when you are not flexible

A lot of exercise programs assume that you are flexible and can get up and down from the floor with no problem. Well, I can’t. Because of this, I have been on the hunt for flexibility exercises and programs to help me improve so I can do the other exercises. I think I have found some good ones.

First of all, Mike and I have started doing Apple Fitness +, which start you off, in my opinion, as an advanced beginner. I am NOT an advanced beginner. I am a beginner. If there was something lower than a beginner, I think I’d be in that category. Ha ha…at least I can laugh at myself.

Here are some of the sources of the exercise that I started today.

Better5 – I can’t remember how I stumbled across this website but it has some excellent programs. There is a small charge for the classes (all prerecorded virtual programs) but once you pay, it is yours. Their website is www.better5.com. I started the 10 day chair Pilates class this morning and I feel fantastic. It took about 10 minutes for me to complete todays exercises. I think that is reasonable. Right now this class is on sale for $17. It is normally $47, so you can save $30 if you sign up while it is still on sale. Two of the other programs I have completed and still use are – Foot Strength for Mobility and Balance as well as Hand and Wrist Flexibility Restoration. So, if you need to get yourself ready to do those harder workouts, Better5 is a great place to start.

DailyOM – I found DailyOM when I was looking for some relaxation exercises to help with my stiff back. They have so many different courses on their website www.dailyOM.com. There is a charge for most of their classes but they give you a choice on how much you pay, usually $15, $35, or $50. The two courses that I have participated in are Chair Yoga for Healing, Strength, and Mobility and Overcoming Body Stiffness. I guess you can see a pattern in my class choices. Over the years, my body has grown extremely stiff for many reasons (car accident, laziness, need to lose weight) and I am trying to remedy that. They have more than just exercise classes. You should go and check them out.

BodyGroove – I generally hate exercise that is labeled as exercise. You know the kind where you are grunting and sweating and just not having fun. What if you could get some great cardio exercise and have fun at the same time??? YOU CAN! Body Groove was started by Misty Tripoli. If you sign up and take the 30 day challenge, you will learn the story of her fight with bulimia and how she ended up starting Body Groove. You can purchase her videos to watch at home or you can join Body Grove On-Demand and get access to 200+ routines. You can also download individual classes. Check out http://www.bodygrove.com. The workouts are fun and they really get you moving. If you are looking for a fun and funky workout that doesn’t feel like a workout, you should try Body Groove.

I hope you all are well and that your New Year is fabulous.

(P.S. I will only recommend programs that I have tried. I am not compensated in any way by these sites. I just believe in them enough to share.)

Prepping for a NEW YEAR

I haven’t stayed up until midnight on New Years Eve in years. Since 2020 has been such a dumpster fire, I have decided to stay up until midnight to make sure that 2020 actually ends. I’m sort of worried that I’m going to wake up tomorrow and see that the date is December 32, 2020. That would be so 2020!

During the month of December I have been working on plans for 2021.

  1. Health – I’ve started what, so far, is a helpful way to lose weight. NOOM. Someone I know lost 100 pounds using this service so I thought I’d try. So far I am down 6 pounds! It is a very different approach towards weight loss. More info to come in the new year as I chronicle my journey. Mike and I are also starting to exercise more and plan to make it a habit in 2021.
  2. Career – Since work has changed so much this year, I have been feeling uninspired and unfulfilled. I have decided to work on taking my passion for crafting to the next level. I’ve been listening to the “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” podcast and have really been inspired to find how I can make the world a better place through my passion of crafting. Things currently in the works:
    • Craft videos on YouTube in the hopes of getting a good enough following to monetize my craft videos.
    • Creating a plan to sell my crafts on Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, craft shows, etc. I am making a list of what to make in preparation for upcoming holidays and celebrations.
    • Planning a way to start doing at-home craft parties once we all get Covid-19 under control.
    • Collaborating with two friends on a really cool videography project.
  3. Reading – Increase my reading and book review blog posts by creating a calendar to remind myself to post reviews to my blog twice a month.
  4. Brainstorming on a podcast idea I have.

So, those are my big plans to make 2021 the best year ever.

What are your plans for 2021? Do you plan to stay up until midnight? Do you have a craft you would like me to create a video for? Do you have any book recommendations for me? How about a healthy recipe or an exercise for me to add to our getting healthy plan? Please drop me a note below and I promise to send you a great big thank you!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Said goodbye today

The day my husband, Mike, brought home this little guy was the second best day ever. (Our wedding day was #1). Buddy was about a year and a half old when his previous owners moved. He came in the house like he owned the place and never looked back. He was, we believe, part Jack Russell, part Pug, and part Dachshund. He got the best of all of those breeds. Bouncy, happy, wiggly, and always sniffing. He moved in and wrapped our hearts around his little curly tail.

Buddy loved to rough house with his Daddy. Mike would get on the bed with him and Bud would pretend attach, never really biting but always getting into the action. With me, Buddy was a lover. He always waited outside the shower so he could “dry off” my ankles by slurping the water off of them. His enthusiastic arm and leg humping was as comical as it sounds. If it were possible, we would have many arm and leg puppies running around now.

The past few years, Buddy has had some health issues but nothing too serious. This year he started to lose his eyesight and his hearing. Nothing like trying to get the attention of a blind and deaf dog. Earlier this year he had some issues with his kidneys and his liver. He was on some medications and was set to go back for a recheck. Bud hadn’t been able to get comfortable, so we know something was up. We went to Charlotte Animal Hospital this morning, fully aware that this might be it. It turns out there was a mass in his abdomen. If Buddy was much younger, we would probably gone ahead with the surgery but it wouldn’t be fair to put him through surgery at his advanced age. We chose to let him go in comfort.

I’m going to miss that sweet little dog. Keep wagging Buddy.

The origin of my love of reading and a review of a heartwarming and funny book.

When you read advanced reader copies and post reviews, sometimes you get into a funk. Lately, even though I’ve been offered some good books to read, I have not been inspired by anything. Sometimes the best reads are recommended by your mom!

First, let me tell you about my mother. She is the one who shared her love of good books with me when I was a child. I have many happy memories of her reading to me and my three brothers when we were kids. A favorite of ours was the Poky Little Puppy. So many times my wonderful mother would fall asleep reading this book to us. All these years later, I still get sleepy and start to nod off when I see this cover.

So, my mom and I often talk about books we are reading, we want to read, or we have read. As we talk about them, our to be read piles grow exponentially. Some of the authors we have shared with each other – Preston & Child, Adriana Trigiani, Frederik Backman, Richard Adams – and so many more. The latest recommendation from my mom, Patricia, was The Tour by Jean Grainger. Mom told me how much she was enjoying the book and I immediately went onto Amazon and downloaded the e-book. I started reading on the evening of October 18, 2020 and finished in the wee hours of October 22, 2020. I devoured this book.

If you enjoyed all of Maeve Binchey’s books, you will love this story of a group of American tourist who are on a bus tour of Ireland. The characters in this story all seem so real. There is the easy-on-the-eyes and warm hearted tour bus driver, the snooty academic, the neglected housewife and her bombastic idiot of a husband, the mysterious Texan, two individuals who came to learn more about their Irish roots, the hot mess of a Mom who drags her antisocial musician son to Ireland to find a new sugar daddy, and the grieving, mousey widow trying to move on. This book is a masterclass in how to take a group of unrelated characters and have them change each others lives. I loved this book and can’t wait to read more in this series (YES!! There are more books in this series). I know I haven’t given many details about the book itself or what happens. I want you all to experience it yourself – no spoilers.

I think one of the reasons that this book resonated with me is the fact that I have been on a bus tour…with my mom. Yes, the same mom that recommended this book. Funny how that worked out, isn’t it?

In the 90s, Mom and I took a bus tour of South Dakota with the St. Joseph’s Indian School. This is a school that my grandmother started donating to when my mom was a child. We saw Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments, which were amazing. Even more amazing, the Black Hills and Badlands National Park. It was an inspiring and fun trip. As the youngest one the bus, I was so inspired by one particular tour member. She was in her 80s and only had one lung…yet she kept up with all of us. I don’t think I could do that NOW!

So, in this Covid-19 world, my suggestion is to do your traveling through books. Pick up The Tour and go on a bus tour of Ireland!!

I hope you all have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving.