A monthly list of good things to do, buy, read, watch, and more.
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Welcome November! (Though let's all take a moment to figure out how it can be November already...)
Even though it seems soon, I'm excited about this holiday season for a couple reasons. Obviously, getting together with family in person is a big part of it.
But also because it will be our first Christmas in the farmhouse, so decorating and hosting will be a highlight this year.
I will have a lot of holiday content for you this year, as usual (have you grabbed your Holiday Planner to help you decide what's important and record ideas, memories, and more for this season?).
But before we get to all that, let's look back on October's good things (hint: a couple might make great Christmas gifts!).
Remodeled 100+ Year Old Hotel
I totally forgot to tell you about this sweet little hotel last month, but it deserves a mention.
We made a trip to visit friends over Labor Day weekend in John Day and we stayed at Hotel Prairie, in Prairie City, Oregon just a few minutes up the road.
This historic hotel has been lovingly renovated to include the best of the past with the conveniences of the present. The photo above is the lobby and there is a restored bar area next door where you can get small bites and drinks.
Each room has a bathroom (nice - many historic hotels have shared baths) and they've added vintage door headboards and framed quilt pieces to each room.
The people were so great to work with - we were coming in late and they arranged for a key to be left for us (yep, old-school door keys are in use!).
There's a pretty outdoor patio area and a vintage kitchen with a full sized fridge on the first floor where you can store things if you need.
I love historic places so this was right up my alley, but it was also just a great place to stay in the cute little town of Prairie City for the same price as chain hotels. Highly recommend if you're heading to eastern Oregon in the future!
DIY Stove Hood in Progress
I should probably not be featuring a half-finished stove hood, but I'm just so excited to have this *almost* done, that I had to add it to the list this month!
This is the last major thing we needed to do in the farmhouse kitchen, but since it was going to be difficult to figure out - the venting AND the design - we put it off, lol.
Like many things you put off, it went smoother than we had anticipated. The vent works nicely and now that it's darker in the evenings, the light is great to have over the stove.
I knew I wanted a very simple design with just a slight angle up towards the ceiling and no shiplap since we have the vintage beadboard walls. Of course we couldn't find anything like this when we looked up DIY hood vents, so we pieced it together ourselves.
I'm loving how it's turning out! We still need to add the reclaimed 1x4s around the bottom (where you see the stainless hood front), trim all around the edges to mimic our shaker cabinets, and then lots of caulking and painting.
I'll definitely keep you updated and will do a write up on it when it's finished, but in the meantime, it's a very good thing in our kitchen!
Oh, the hood I got that we could cover like this but was less expensive than an official "insert" type hood is this Broan-NuTone Glacier Range Hood.
New Living Room Lamps
I loved our mercury glass living room lamps when we got them years ago in our ranch-cottage.
As we moved into the farmhouse they just didn't work for me anymore. They seemed to fade into the background and be just a bit too glitzy for this space (to me). Plus, one was broken where the socket meets the base and there doesn't seem to be a way to fix it.
Time for new lamps! I had my heart set on a chunky, classic urn shape and had actually been looking at thrift stores for a pair I could paint.
Um, matching pairs of lamps at thrift stores are hard to come by. Especially the shape I wanted, it seemed.
When I started searching online, I searched wood bases since that's the look I'd want if I could have any lamp.
Can you say sticker shock? Real wood urn shaped lamps go for hundreds of dollars!!
And there actually weren't many of them as the current style is large bowl-shaped lamps.
So, when I saw these reasonably priced urn shaped lamps in a wood finish at Target, I went for it, even though some of the reviews thought the wood-like finish wasn't very good.
The are made of resin and come with the shade for around $50 and as soon as I set them on our side tables I LOVED them.
They are exactly what I was thinking of for the space, especially the shape. I just love the urn shape of these bases - chunky enough to be substantial, but not too much.
And I'm super happy with the finish - it looks great in our room and with the decor and definitely reads more brown than the orange some of the reviews said. I also like that they're lighter and contrast with the wood tops of the our tables.
Plus, if I get tired of the finish, I can always paint them in the future because the shape is so classic.
Check out the lamps here if you're in the market for urn shaped lamps like these, too.
After reading about Bombas wool socks for years, I decided to try them out when I found a 25% off coupon (I've got a 25% off link for you, too, here!).
Have I mentioned I'm cold most of the time? (That's why I like summer and to go to warm places!) So my fall, winter (and spring, lol) wardrobe consists of silk and wool under shirts, wool sweaters and wool socks.
In fact I wear wool socks daily for 6-7 months so most of my socks from last year have holes or thin areas.
I actually bought a cheaper set on Amazon and these two Bombas at the same time and am going to test them out and see the differences. Since wear is what I'm most interested in, it will be awhile before I can see, but hopefully I'll remember to give an update here on a future Good Things List!
What I can say right away is that they are super cozy and comfortable. I got a quarter sock and a half sock and I think I like the shorter quarter style the best.
If you'd like to try out Bombas socks, I have a 25% off purchase link for you - just click here to access it and you can do your own test!
Chirp Audiobook Sales
I've written about Audible before, which is still my go-to source for audiobooks (huge selection, daily deal email, 2-for-1 sales often). Second is the library (I use both the Libby app and Hoopla), and my third source for discounted audiobooks is Chirp.
Have you heard of it? There is no monthly fee and no credits or points to keep track of. If you see a book you like, you simply buy it.
You can download the Chirp app and then sign up for emails of current sale audiobooks, which I think is the best way to be reminded about the sales.
What's nice is you can choose the genres you enjoy most and the sale email will have those genres first. You can always go and look at all the books on sale - but be warned, it's a long list to go through each month!
The sale audio books range from $1.99 to $6.99 and there is a countdown that shows how long it will be on sale for.
While there are quite a few books on the sale list, I have found that there aren't a lot of books I want, or they are things I've already read (which is probably why this is still 3rd on my list even though they have good sales).
Reading is so subjective, though, and having another option is a good thing, so I do like checking out the sales.
If you'd like to check them out, too, you can use this link to get 20% off your first purchase!
A Rule Against Murder, Louise Penny. I'm continuing on the "cozy mysteries" train with this Armand Gamache series. This is the fourth book in the series and I enjoyed the setting of a sweltering summer in an historic inn, finding out more about Peter, who we've seen in all three previous books, his family and his upbringing (which has been alluded to in previous books), and seeing more of Gamache's relationship with his wife and more of his family background.
I didn't really enjoy the mystery part of this, though. I didn't care very much or buy the conclusion. But that won't stop me from listening to the next in the series - though I have to wait awhile for the library hold!
Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir. Oh. My. Goodness. This book is so GOOD. Written by the author of The Martian, it contains a lot of the same things we loved about that book - lots of science to make the sci-fi seem plausible, outer space, a man alone trying to survive. But it's amped up with a potential earth meltdown, seemingly insurmountable odds, and an alien unlike any we've seen in literature.
I feel like I can't say too much more, but I will say that all the people who've read it I know of LOVE it, even if they don't like sci-fi. There is a sweet humanity and camaraderie of the story that transcends genres and the ending (that I didn't see coming) is perfection.
This is going on my year's best of list FOR SURE.
Effortless, Greg McKeown. SO many things resonated in this book for me (sort of like his previous book, Essentialism, The Pursuit of Less), the biggest being,
"Life doesn't have to be as hard and complicated as we make it."
I mean, Amen or what?
I appreciated the format of the book where the author lays out a problem, what others have done in that situation, and steps you can take to change. Then at the end of each section, he goes back and lists the steps making it easy to follow even as an audiobook (that the author reads). I made a list in my book journal of the things I want to implement, including:
- Producing "good enough" things and stop fiddling with them (I'm kind of a perfectionist...).
- Use a trigger: Any time I complain, I need to say something I'm grateful for (brilliant).
- Beat procrastination (from that perfection thing) by taking the obvious first tiny step.
- Make a "done for the day" list and then STOP working when those are done.
Good stuff, right?
Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs book 2), Jacqueline Winspear. I can't believe I'm reading two "cozy mystery" series - me, a person who has never really enjoyed reading mysteries much. What I appreciate about this series is that the author really set the stage well for Maisie, a female PI in the early 1920s, in such a way that it's completely believable that she would have this talent and the means to do it for a living.
The other thing I like is the emotion and humanity of the characters, most of whom are dealing with war wounds from WWI, both inside and out. You get to see who Maisie is and how she deals with things - sometimes not all that perfectly.
The Ball & The Cross, G.K. Chesterton. Hmm, I'm not sure how to review this book. It's a farcial story of an atheist and a religious man at the turn of the last century (or earlier?) who disagree to such an extent that they decide to duel, even though it's illegal. Then they travel all over the country trying to find a place to fight and being run off until they become friends of a sort.
But the last few chapters take a strange turn that, frankly, I didn't get. I'm pretty sure Chesterton was trying to make a major point or allegory and even thinking about it afterwards just confuses me, lol.
People You Meet On Vacation, Emily Henry. I enjoyed this author's 2020 book, Beach Read, so I grabbed this on a Kindle sale. It's fun and amusing in many spots - I especially like the dialog and humor between the main characters - but I didn't really enjoy the characters like I did the previous book.
I think it's because I didn't embrace the premise - that these two worked so hard to keep the relationship only friends when they knew they were in love with for years. It's like I want to tell them, "Just talk to each other!" Simple communication would've gone a long way here - I mean a few years of fumbling around, okay, but 12? I find in books if you can't really get behind the main concept, the rest doesn't really flow. It was fun to see a blogger/influencer as a main character in a book, though - I totally understood a number of things she talked about, lol.
Foundation, Apple+. Brian was so excited for this adaptation of the Isaac Asimov book series and while it's visually stunning with great effects, the story is a bit hard to follow and he says it's not the same in some key areas. I've been really frustrated at the story jumping around and not being continuous, but it's still a good story and we'll definitely finish it.
The Personal History of David Copperfield, Hulu. This is the most current rendition of the Dickens novel and stars Dev Patel as David Copperfield.
It was a little convoluted and the storyline was changed quite a lot (David's age when things happened especially) but there were good moments. While laudable, Brian and I didn't feel the colorblind casting works in stories like this that are set in a certain settings and locations, it's just makes the characters harder to follow.
Football: Chiefs and Chargers. These are the two teams we watch in the NFL (of course for college it's the Ducks!), though they are giving us grief this season, lol.
The Chargers quarterback is our favorite duck, Justin Herbert, so of course we have to cheer for him. And I've enjoyed watching Patrick Mahomes for a couple years now - he's just fun to watch.
For me, football and fall just go together - it's nostalgic and fun, so you know what Brian and I are watching most Sunday and Monday evenings!
That's it for another addition of the Good Things List!
If you'd like to see more of what I'm enjoying, you can check out all the Good Things Lists here. I'd love to know what you think - if you've tried any of these or what you'd recommend. Leave a comment below with your thoughts!
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