A monthly list of good things to do, buy, read, watch, and more.
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Hello! Between the holidays and January's Best of the Good Things List, it's been a couple months since I've published a list of good things for you. And I've got some things I can't wait to tell you about - one in particular has been four months in the waiting!
January has been a month of DIY-ing for us: I've helped paint other's houses and Brian's been working on demoing the farmhouse bathroom carefully so we can harvest as much of the wood walls and ceilings as possible. So while we didn't go anywhere during the month, it was okay - after all the holiday travels, it's always nice to stay in one place for a bit.
We do have a short getaway planned for later in February which I will be sure to share next month - it's an Airbnb experience that should be fun. Okay, let's get to the good things, shall we?
In the last month I spent three Saturdays painting cabinets and walls. None of our own (yet!) - these belonged to friends who are getting ready to sell their house and my sister who just bought a new home. Painting is a DIY project I enjoy - it's cheap, easy, and usually makes such a dramatic difference. You really get a big bang for your money and time.
I forgot to bring my favorite brush one of the days and I was reminded what a difference a good, angled brush can make when you're cutting in on walls. So I went online to research good angled brushes, wondering if you had to spend a lot of money on a quality brush anymore.
Guess what? I found three different brands of brushes that all had the same reviews (4.5 stars), but varied in price and brand. Two were 'big' names in brushes and one wasn't. Looking at the reviews didn't really help - most loved them, some didn't.
So I've decided to run my own test on which is the best brush since once the farmhouse is ready to be painted I will be doing a LOT of it. Here are the brushes I've got coming from Amazon (btw, not everything is cheaper on the big A, but paint brushes certainly seem to be):
1) Pictured above: Pro-Grade Home Wall/Trim House Paint Brush Set (1 inch Flat, 1-1/2 inch Angle, 2 inch Stubby Angle, 2 inch Flat and 2-1/2 inch Angle brushes) - 4.5 stars with 143 reviews
2) Wooster Brush Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush, 2-Inch short-handled - 4.5 stars with 700+ reviews
3) Purdy XL Brush 3 Pack: 1 inch XL Angle, 1-1/2 inch XL Angle & 2 inch XL Flat - 4.5 stars with 164 reviews
I'll be testing them out over the next few months and will do a review of the results - I'm really curious as to how the no-name brand will stand up to the bigger brands. In the meantime - do you have any experience with these brushes?
Okay, I've waited four months to tell you guys about this! I wanted to make sure it really did work (unlike the nettle tea for nails I shared after only a month). It's called BioSil- a liquid collagen that helps bones, joints and more.
I first read about it from this blogger who noticed a difference in her hair after a month. I ordered it right away, along with these fillable capsules she recommended (the liquid is bitter in water, so juice is recommended, but I didn't want to drink juice twice a day, so I find the pills best too).
As for me, hormonal issues have caused all the normal things. I have three nails that are terribly ridged with flat areas and lots of splitting. They catch on clothes all the time and sometimes would split below the nail tip causing pain as well as being super irritating. Like many after 50, my hair is thinning, and my bones and joints can use any help they get.
After a month taking BioSil I didn't notice any difference really. I was diligent about taking it morning and night, even on our trip to Ohio and Arizona. Bummer.
But I kept at it and after month two, I started seeing a difference in my nails. The splitting was less and the ridges seemed smoother. After three months I realized they were growing like they used to (they didn't break as easily so I didn't have to keep them so short) and the tips were whiter. Now after month four, my nails are the strongest they've been in years!
I'm a total believer in this product now and recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone having similar issues! As for the other claims, I have noticed that I'm not losing as much hair in my brush though sadly haven't noticed a difference in wrinkles, lol. I can only hope it's doing the same things for my bones and joints as it is for my nails and hair! You can click here to read more about it and order, too.
Note: if you're wondering about cost and how long it lasts, I use 6 drops morning and night and a bottle lasts almost two months. I'm still on the first bag of fillable capsules, so they should last 5 to 6 months. So it's less than $15 a month total cost which I think is a deal for something that finally worked!
The other thing I've been researching besides paint brushes is a metal bed. I've always wanted a vintage looking metal bed for our master bedroom, but we had a headboard we made years ago (like more than 20 I think now!) with a slipcover that is perfectly serviceable. I couldn't justify spending $500 or more on a bed frame we really didn't need.
Fast forward a couple years and now we have a guest bed that could use a headboard. 🙂 And I realized the prices on metal beds has come way down. The search was on!
After visiting a lot of different sites (both low and high end sites) and reading reviews I've narrowed it down to the three pictured above, which are:
- Gracie Oaks Linke Panel Bed, Wayfair. Positive reviews; say it's sturdy with master bedroom use. About $230.
- Home Meridian Westford Bed, Walmart.com. Not as many reviews as the others, but they are really good, all say easy assembly and it's a great price at around $160.
- Ferndale Metal Black Threshold Bed, Target. Good reviews, fun curved details, slightly difficult assembly. About $220.
The first two are very similar, style-wise with the Wayfair bed looking a bit more sturdy (though the reviews don't say the Walmart one isn't). I actually kind of like the less bulky look of the Walmart bed.
Ah, but then I found the Target bed and fell in love with the curved details on the edges. I like how the headboard is higher than the footboard, too. I thought maybe it would be THE ONE...except it's out of stock! Shoot. I'm waiting to see if it comes back with the others as my fallback options.
Any thoughts on these bed choices or experience with a metal bed?
In January I read and listened to eight books. I've got to keep to a 6-8 book a month plan to reach my new higher reading goal. But really with the reading tips I've written about before, it's not to hard unless I pick a huge book, lol. Here are the four that stood out:
Hey Bob! Bob Newhart Conversations with Judd Apatow, Will Ferrel, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Conan O'Brien, and Sarah Silverman. This is an audio book only available on Audible. I never thought I'd be a full-fledged Audible member when I know there are free library audiobooks, but I really do love the variety there. So much so that I now have a monthly membership - because you get a lot more than just the one credit a month (which equals one audiobook). There is a daily deal email with books ranging from $2.95 - $5.95, pretty regular 2-books-for-1-credit sales, and a few months ago they instituted monthly free Audible originals books. Each month you can pick two audiobooks to download from a choice of six - and so far they've been great! If you'd like to try Audible, go here to get 2 Audiobooks with a 30-day Free Trial (note - the two books are yours to keep in the Audible app even when you cancel, another reason I love it!).
Hey Bob! was one of the free books and Brian and I listened to it up and back to Portland. It was fascinating, really. We heard the incredible story of Bob Newhart's discovery and beginnings in comedy (he literally got a record deal without ever having done one stand-up show and it is one of the best-selling albums of all-time!), funny bits with his friends, and stories from the comedy world. Just a really fun listen.
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely, Lysa TerKeurst. After Lysa's The Best Yes made it to the top of my best-of list a few years ago, I knew I'd read her next book. Yet, after listening to Uninvited, I can tell you that while there were good parts, it won't make my best of list for 2019. There was a bit too much fluff (in her stories especially - thigh gaps?), and not enough clear direction on how to feel less lonely. Personally, I think it's focusing more on God and others and less on ourselves which curiously isn't mentioned much. It struck me as more of a "hey, we all feel this way - let's band together" kind of pep-talk book.
I should mention that the rejection stories she told in this book didn't seem that big of a deal to me - but since then she suffered the ultimate rejection when her husband confessed to an affair (they have since reaffirmed their vows). She has just released another book she wrote walking through that season, It's Not Supposed To Be This Way, which I'm reading now and is much better and deeper in my opinion.
Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle, Mary J. McLeod. This is the story of a London family in the 1970's who left the city to live a slower life on one of the Hebrides Islands of Scotland. It's a lot like the James Herriot books in that you meet quirky characters living pretty harsh lives in a remote area. But it's not as well written and the ending just stops - after learning how they came to the island and all the things that followed, we don't see why or how they left. I did enjoy the many different village scenes, some of the recurring characters, and how people lived then. Some of it was pretty unbelievable, even for the 1970s, and there's one story I will not be forgetting soon.
Belong to Me, Marisa de los Santos. I read this book and her previous book, Love Walked In, on the recommendation of blog readers and podcast listeners who thought I'd enjoy them. I did enjoy Love Walked In, but not as much as I thought - I just never really connected with the characters and the little girl's actions just didn't jive with anything I know about how children act.
But this book, Belong to Me, I really did enjoy - after the first five or so chapters, that is. In fact I almost gave up, but when I picked it up again, it really pulled me in and I connected with the characters and couldn't wait to see where the storylines were going. And I didn't see the twist coming at all - though in hindsight there were some pretty big clues. Her writing is clean and the stories are not disturbing, but are mostly real life. Not sure if I'll read her next, but I did enjoy this one.
Homecoming (Amazon). After really enjoying the podcast this was based on I had high hopes for this, but it's just "meh." Not bad, but not good. Mainly they took a pretty fast-moving and engaging story and made it looooong and actually kind of boring. So much that our family hasn't even finished it. I know we're in the minority and the reviews are sort of gushing, but I've got to call it like I see it, lol.
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (Netflix). I think we can all agree Marie Kondo is the cutest thing ever, right? It's a fun show to watch every now and then - and then to get inspired to clean out another area!
OJ: Made in America (watched it on ESPN). This has been on our to-watch list for a long time. We had watched the dramatization and I really wanted to know the before and after parts of the story. This is as good and thorough as they say (I still can't believe they got Mark Furman to be interviewed), but I was a little disappointed in the use of the photos of the murder. They really dwelt on them a long time, taking many close-ups no one needs to see and coming back to them again and again. I did appreciate, though, all the backstory to racial tensions in LA, and how it was much more than just one incident. In the end, all I can think of is how very sad and selfish OJ's life is.
Side note: our daughter is in her early 20s and the trial doesn't seem that far back to us, so we had to laugh when at some point during the trial portion I said, "and that's why he got off right there" and she was like, "wait, he gets off?"
Gringo (Amazon). I'm adding this as a warning - I do NOT recommend this show and we stopped watching less than halfway. It seemed from the Amazon trailer that it would be funny, but it is demoralizing and disgusting in some spots. Charlize Theron's character is unlikable to the point of dread. It was not funny and just became worse and worse as "friends" turned out to be having an affair with the 'hero's' wife, setting him up for failure. Ugh. I could go on - swearing, sex, violence, you got it.
Aquaman. Brian and I saw this on a date night and it was just a fun movie. I thought the storyline was good and the actor playing Aquaman, Jason Moma, really sold it. Plus, he's pretty easy on the eyes. While the critics score is 67% rotten tomatoes, the audience score is 78% which pretty much tells you it's a fun-most-people-like-it-movie.
Solo (Han Solo Star Wars movie). Our daughter started watching this one night while I was knitting and I found myself caught up in it, kind of liking the young Han Solo character and how he met Chewbacca. I thought is was a decent movie, so I was a bit surprised at the bad reviews and low boxoffice it's gotten. I guess we won't be seeing any more of the young Solo.
Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation So you always know what you're going to get with a Mission Impossible movie, right? It's kind of the same-old, same-old, but will be fun and get your heart pumping. We watched this after seeing Fallout in theaters at Christmas and realizing we had missed the first part. While I always enjoy the movies, I was kind of shocked that this 2015 movie has a 93% rotten tomatoes score - really? The storylines are all pretty much the same and you always know the endings. Oh, well - what do I know?
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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