A list of good things to do, buy, read, watch, and more.
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It’s time for another Good Things List! I’ve gotten some good feedback from many of you about these lists and hope you are enjoying them and hopefully finding some new things to try.
This month I’m super excited to be able to share with you my favorite spice (I’ve shared it before, but now you can actually buy it online), the best books I read (another month of seven books!), and a movie that had me laughing harder I have in a long time. Plus more, of course!
Learning what is growing on our farmhouse fixer’s property. This has been such a fun thing this spring, seeing what types of plants and trees are here that where just twigs and branches when we moved in.
There are quite a few lilacs (the one pictured above curiously doesn’t smell much – have you ever heard of that?), as well as the flowering cherries that bloomed in early March and the large apple tree that’s just finishing blooming.
We’ve got a Variegated Weigela (pronounced “why jeela” – this stumped me for years) that will bloom later in spring which I’m thrilled with because I had one planted at both of our other homes. And a peony came up in the middle of a patch of grass (the area I’d like to eventually use as an herb garden). It has no buds (probably because it’s been mowed down, lol), so I plan to move it to a better spot and see if I can coax it to bloom next year.
Actually, that’s about it. There’s really not much on the property – certainly not as much as I had crammed into our acre lot – and some of what’s here I’m planning on getting rid of. There’s a randomly planted Laurel bush that blocks the views from the porch and and sickly looking tree that blocks views from upstairs. Anything that blocks views is outta here, ha!
Arizona Chipotle spice. I have all the heart eyes for this smokey, super flavorful, slightly spicy spice mix (‘spicy spice mix’ – is that a thing? I’m not sure what else to call it!). We discovered it on one of our first trips visiting Arizona and every time we’d visit after that, I’d stock up (once my carryon was searched in security because I had stuffed wrapped bottles in my shoes…). I first mentioned it in this Three Things article because I couldn’t not tell you about it. It seriously makes everything taste better (salads, eggs, meats, vegetables – everything).
BUT – I couldn’t find anywhere to buy it outside of the few stores in Arizona I knew about. Amazon had it but for a ridiculous price + shipping – and now not at all. And then the last few times we’ve been to Arizona, the stores were not stocking them! I was starting to get desperate – we were on our last bottle…
So I looked for the website of the maker, Anthony’s Spices and there they were, ready to be purchased (just to be clear, I had done this years ago, but they didn’t sell from the site back then). AND when I bought 3 bottles, the shipping was better which bought the price down to lower than I had paid in Arizona!
So no need to stuff them in my shoes anymore. Whew.
If you like flavorful things with a bit of spice, I hope you’ll try this – it’s really very good (if you haven’t gotten that by now!). Click here to see and order (scroll down to the “Arizona Chipotle” – I can’t vouch for the other flavors).
L.A. Colors Matte Eyeshadow pallet. I needed some new eyeshadow, but I just couldn’t pay the prices of those large shadow pallets that are popular now ($20-50 for eyeshadow!). I use one neutral shadow pallet and when it’s gone I replace it, so I’m pretty low maintenance. I also don’t need 20 shadows – less choices are always a plus for me!
So I ordered this matte pallet from L.A. Colors in Brown Tweed on Amazon and am really pleased with it. Especially that it’s less than $5. This will last me a couple of years for sure – that’s a return on my money I’m good with.
When I counted up the books I read and listened to last month I was surprised to see that the total was seven again like last month. Obviously I’ve been on a roll! It had to do with a couple of book series – one I finished up with a couple of shorter books and another I started – and then wanted to listen to whenever I could. They were audiobooks and it’s spring so I’m out in the garden more. With audiobooks, more gardening = more books. 🙂
Here are the best of the bunch:
Golden Son, Pierce Brown (book 2 in Red Rising Trilogy). I shared about the first book in this trilogy here and this second book was even better than the first! It’s thrilling with deep characters and twists neither Brian or I saw coming (we’re listening to this together). There’s a lot of violence, but it’s balanced by real emotions and you believe in the cause the characters are fighting for. We can’t wait to start the third book (we’ve been listening with the help of these in the car on any trip we take – even our 20 minute trips to town!). I just read that the author is writing a new trilogy that takes place 10 years after this one, so we have our car listening material decided for awhile.
At Home in the World, Tsh Oxenrider. This book has been out for awhile and I’ve read a number of other bloggers enjoy it, so when I saw it on sale on Kindle, I grabbed it. It’s a memoir of the author’s trip around the world with her husband and kids. I enjoyed the writing and the descriptions of the places they visited. I was impressed with their planning and the things they accomplished. I’m not sure how I felt about her sort of faith crisis and how she wrote about it. The book was a bit introspective for me when I thought it would be more “experiences traveling with kids” kind of book. But that’s just me – it was certainly interesting.
The Selection Trilogy, Kiera Cass: The Selection (book 1), The Elite (book 2), The One (book 3). Okay, this is just pure entertainment – fluff and fun. I actually had seen this series in my library Hoopla App for awhile and passed it by until Sherry from Young House Love talked about it a couple months ago on their podcast. She really loved it, and so I gave it a chance. It was just what I needed – a light story, clean, with nice characters, but not too deep (though there are just enough life themes to keep you thinking). You will see most of the plot and ending early on, but there are a few surprises thrown in. If you’re looking for something fun and easy, this might be right up your alley.
I also finished the Port William series with Remembering (not my favorite…) and The Memory of Old Jack (I liked it more than I thought – a lot of characters backstories were included) and read a business book. I wonder what next month will bring?
Game Night with Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams. This came out a few months ago, but there were still a few showings on one of our recent date nights. We liked the 90s movie The Man Who Knew Too Little with Bill Murray and this seemed similarly funny. But both Brian and I were completely surprised how much we liked this!! We laughed so hard, but it is balanced by some great relationships and real-life situations, especially the relationship between the lead actors (I really like Jason Bateman in about anything).
We’re telling everyone to see this now – I’m sure it will be available for TV viewing soon. There is some language (but not excessive like some movies) and fight-scene kind of violence, but noting gratuitous.
We also saw Ready Player One. Brian, our daughter, and I had listened to the book together and really, really liked it so we were looking forward to this Steven Spielburg adaptation since the screenplay was done by the author. It was just okay for us, mainly because they changed quite a bit of the book, which is always disappointing. Of course the movie was visually spectacular and pretty fun. I think if you haven’t read the book, you may like it more than we did.
On TV, we enjoyed the first season (3 episodes) of Unforgotten on PBS. It’s a British show about solving old murders and not forgetting about them just because everyone involved has gone on to better lives. It’s real and emotional and sometimes raw, but very fascinating to see how the police work together to solve crimes. We saw the first “season” – it’s only 3 episodes – and there’s a new season starting on PBS soon.
And if you listen to the Podcast, you know that I’m really enjoying the new Lost in Space series on Netflix. I love the family dynamics and the thrilling situations that they overcome. I also love that it’s a well-done Netflix show that isn’t rated MA (almost all of them are, sadly) – it’s PG and good for the whole family (though there are scary situations, so not for all ages).
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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