Wednesday, February 03, 2016

What I'm Into Lately (January 2016 edition)

We started the month in full twirl with wedding, family and holiday festivities.  We ended the month at a quiet retreat center.  Seems fitting.  And, I think, now I'm finally ready to get started with 2016!  

Here are some other things I've been into lately...

[photo credits]  

Although, it wasn't January yet, I should mention that we made a Christmas Day family trip to Alamo Drafthouse to see the new Star Wars flick (in 3D).  From what I could tell, it was very good. (The rest of my family are the true fans -- some more rabid than others.)  Also, it was late in the day, and I hadn't had my traditional Christmas Day nap. Please, please don't tell the world that I fell asleep.  This, in no way, reflects on the quality of the movie.

The biggest viewing event this month was our Making A Murderer binge (along with the rest of the country, apparently). I have no words that haven't already been shouted in all-caps across social media.  Had you been near our house during the hours we were watching you might have seen a neon blue streak shooting out of the walls.  (My daughter told our son "I've never heard Mom curse like that before.")  Well, some things are, indeed, curs-ed.  

We tried to settle down after the final episode by scrolling through the @makingamurderermemes IG page.  I was inspired to create my own (which my kids tell me is lacking in some key meme-ish qualities, but it made ME feel better.)

Other than that, I've half-heartedly followed the final season of Downton Abbey.  I really wish we'd been given more scenes of Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes' wedding, don't you? Also, if Mary and Edith can even one time treat each other like loving sisters, I will admit to liking the show. 

I've decided that if a cooking show could reflect a personality, than Brian's would be Chopped and mine would be The Great British Baking Show .  We spent an afternoon watching and drooling over breads and cakes and dreamy British pastures. I can't bake a lick, mind you.  

We spent another evening catching up on some great Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee episodes (especially enjoyed Jerry Seinfeld's conversation with new Daily Show host Trevor Noah). 

I spent a bit of my wedding recuperation time watching old favorites: Babette's Feast, Once, and -- I'll admit it if you promise to tell NO ONE -- The Notebook. (The latter prompted a long conversation with Brian and Natalie about what to do with us when we die -- which, of course, will be in each other's arms.)

I may be the last person on earth to really get YouTube.  I mean I'm finally understanding that if you happen upon a video you really, really like YouTube will kindly give you lots and lots more suggestions of other videos you  might like. This is what happened when I watched James Cordon's Carpool Karaoke with Adele, and then watched every single one of his sweet karaoke sessions. (favorites after Adele: One Direction & Stevie Wonder, which includes the sweetest of moments when Stevie Wonder sings to James' wife over speaker phone).  

Discovering the magical powers of YouTube kept me company during a 24-hour bout with food poisoning and I watched every possible clip of Ellen interviewing adorable kids.  Seriously cute kids.

This year, I'm part of two different reading groups made up of friends and sisters. You can find the lists here:  Take Our Ultimate Reading Challenge / A Year of Reading the World, & Liturgy of Life reading group. 
Go to my Book Pile page to see my reading lists from 2015 and previous years.

Here's my reading list for 2016 .  I've also finally figured out Goodreads, and am slightly addicted! I think I'll be adding my book blurbs there instead of in a monthly post here.  Not sure yet.  Here's my Goodreads page, though.  Let's be friends!

Audio streaming anything makes the daily mundane of my life better:  albums, playlists, podcasts, sermons, live concerts, your kids saying cute stuff on Facebook. On rare occasions (rarer than I'd like) the sound comes alive in a concert or house show or public reading. 

Here's some of what I heard and enjoyed in the past few months.

  • Brian's carpool karaoke cover of Imagine Dragons covering Taylor Swift's Blank Space (& a bit of Stand By Me)
  • Reasonable Doubt: Update: In light of the Making A Murderer documentary, Radiolab re-aired and updated the 2013 episode when they reported out the story of Penny Beerntsen, the rape victim, and the wrongful judgement against Steve Avery.  The interview with the documentary directors is especially enlightening.
  • On Being with Martin Sheen & Spirituality of Imagination - fascinating and delightful (did you know that Martin Sheen has been arrested more than 60 times in vigils and protests or that he made some specific requests of Aaron Sorkin for the religious leanings of President Bartlett?)

ePantry | I learned about a this automatic delivery service for earth-friendly household products from my friend Tsh at Art of Simple.  I got in on a crazy-good introductory offer in January that gave me a whole bunch of free Mrs. Meyers' products (which we can't help but love). Not sure how I'll use the service moving forward, but sure did love getting that delivery to make my house sparkle and smell good in 2016!  
(Spiked) Cranberry Mulled Cider | We used this favorite recipe (via Tiger In A Jar) over and over again through the holidays.  With more adults than minors in the family now, we tried giving a little bourbon kick to the mix this year.  As you might imagine, it was a huge hit.  So much so, that we used the same recipe for the cocktail hour at the wedding.  This recipe will join the few family legacy recipes we've gathered in our 25 years.   
Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sliders | We first made this for Kendra's graduation party and it remains our go-to for feeding a crowd -- like our family reunion / NYE party.  I like eating the chicken on a bed of lettuce, but small slider buns (like these) are great for everyone. 

FoodHeads Cafe on W. 34th St. | WIt wasn't our first time to enjoy this place, but it was our first time to hire them as caterers (as well as renting the venue). Now I can't stop raving about our son and daughter-in-law's rehearsal dinner.  Highly recommend!  
Ranch 616  on Nueces & W. 7th | A sweet mid-week ladies' lunch with my co-workers.  Fun ambiance + really yummy food + reasonable prices + a new to-to for work lunches (or anytime, really).  I ordered the Chili Lime Grilled Tiger Shrimp and Parmesan Truffle fries with dipping sauce.  My mouth is watering now just thinking about it! 

(top posts in January)

Epiphany, week 2: of bridegrooms, good wine & better things to come |  My Epiphany daybook for these 5 weeks of witness. Join me, won't you? (Read here for a brief description of the liturgical season of Epiphany. See previous Epiphany daybook 2015 posts here)
WALKING EPIPHANY in the Rio Grande valley: neighborhood notes from Erica Jarrett | I'd been counting down the days to re-start one of my favorite blog series of the year.  In the WALKING EPIPHANY guest post series I invite friends from near and far to respond to some thoughtful prompts about neighborhood and community with photos and captions of their own neighborhoods. My new friend Erica Jarrett kicked off the series sharing the light of Christ she lives and sees in her neighborhood at the border of Texas and Mexico. And it is a beautiful light indeed.

The gift I finally have permission to share with you | Like every musician I know, Kendra was hesitant for us to share her song publicly. I think we all understand that phone video is not the most conducive quality to translate beautiful music. I think it was worth the risk, and you find this beautiful anyway. 
What were you into in January?
Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately. 

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