Sunday, July 7, 2019

Coffee and a Classic: Don Quixote

Better late than never, right? My Coffee and a Classic box for June came at the very end of the month and I'm just getting around to sharing the pics. I particularly like this month's box, though I'm a little bummed about the treat. But, we'll get to that. I cannot believe how absolutely blown away I still am with these boxes, even after 7 months. I'm still so thrilled when they come each month. Even Matt's interested in the unboxing each month. The Christmas subscription he got me has long expired and I've renewed twice more since then (3 months at a time). And, while I'm canceling a lot of unnecessary subscriptions right now (including FabFitFun), I will certainly not going to be cancelling this one. As you can see, June's book is Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.

This month's box included a lovely Word Cloud Classics Flexibound edition of Don Quixote. The lovely card that says what's in the box, of course, a bookmark, liquid absorbent car cup holder coasters, a mug with a quote from the book, a notebook, spiced cocoa, and a spicy trail mix treat.

The box is a gorgeous burnt sienna kind of color and has one of those sinky leather-ish covers. I absolutely love it. When I cracked the book open, the print is absolutely minuscule. It's 840 pages long and the print is so tiny, I'm not sure I'll actually read this one. But, I read it in college, so if I don't get back round to this edition, that's totally okay. If you haven't read this book, it's a must. I recall it making my best friend really sad, though.

The bookmark in the box is very thinly sliced wood. I got one of these one of the other books, they look so fragile, but are actually quite sturdy and make a nice addition to the book. I love the picture on this one, it really expresses the feel of the book. I have it stored inside the book, on my shelf, as I've done with almost all of my books.

This cocoa is so great. It comes from McStevens, as some of the others have, and made about mugs of cocoa. I'm not sure what the spices are, but it was a nice way to warm up on a cool June evening. It's been struggling to warm up here this year, we're just getting up to around 80 degrees in the middle of the afternoon. As with all things about these themed boxes, the picture on the outside of the cocoa packet is such a nice detailed touch to the box's theme.

"Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind." That, I think, is about how every avid reader hopes to go! Ha! The mug is so neat and not like anything else in my cabinet. Getting these mugs is seriously one of my favorite things about these boxes.

I actually had no idea what this was when I first saw them. Thankfully, it says what they are on both the back of the package and the neat little insert from the box. They are coasters for the car! Since my cup holders in my car always get sort of gross, I love this. I put them in my new car and they look great!

See, that's pretty neat, right? Please disregard the mess in my cup holder. The car only has 400 miles and yet, somehow, I have managed to get the cup holders gross already. I hope that it helps keep it from getting any more gross.

As a person who collects journals, even if I rarely write in them, this was a neat surprise. It's hard to tell in the picture, but the cover is bright teal. I love the embossed picture on the front. The notebook has lined pages and, in the back, there's a pocket. It's made by JournalBooks, who makes custom embossed notebooks.

I didn't actually eat the last thing in the box. I put one Spanish peanut into my mouth and then spit it out, it was so spicy! So, Matt ate the goodie from this month's box. He says it wasn't spicy, but he and I have different ideas about what's spicy. It did smell good and the picture on the front, like with the cocoa, is a lovely touch.

Overall impression of this box, very nice! I really liked this month and so did Matt. The July box sneak peek is up on their website, if you're interested in. No spoilers here. I'm looking forward to the next box, but there's nothing new there.

I have all the boxes, which are very nice photo boxes, stashed in a book shelf. I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but I can't see throwing such sturdy, lovely boxes away. There will be a lot of them around here soon, I hope I figure it out before I'm overrun!

**Absolutely not a paid endorsement, I pay for this subscription every month. I just love the product. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

I'm a Mess

So here's a couple of things you might not know about me. I suck at willpower. Maybe everyone does sometimes, but I suck at it all the time. I'm bad at forming good habits, but I'm still trying. I'm terrible at eating at home, especially when Door Dash makes it so damn easy not to. I have no impulse control. I hate to clean, so my house is kind of a mess and I don't have enough energy to care.

All of that means one thing... I am shit with money. Like, really, really shit. If I want something, I buy it. I can't seem to save money and maybe the cost of eating out doesn't help with that. I sign up for subscriptions and forget about them and money comes out that I don't even notice until I need it. I'm a little bit of a mess.

So, in order to be less of a mess, I signed up for one of those services that tell you what subscriptions you have and how much money you spend. It was awesome, because it allowed me to close out some subscriptions that're costing me a lot. But, it's also kind of brutal because it does it's job and tells me how much money I spend which, makes me feel like even more of a mess. Wait, no, it allows me see that I am a mess.

Like, today my summary said that between May 24 and June 24th I spent wasted about $370 on random crap (dice, amazon, audible, and Starbucks). The only one of those I can even come close to justifying is the Amazon because, like, Father's Day. But the rest of that is on me. That's a a lot of hours worked on to buy random crap I didn't so much need and that doesn't even count how much it costs us to eat out every month. The app says that I spent $685 eating at restaurants in June. I spent almost $1000 on absolutely nothing in just one month.

Told you I was a mess.

I'm sitting around here looking at our budget, wondering where all our money went. Um, hello! Heeelllloooo!! Such a mess.

But... there is a silver lining. Watch me be positive and look for a way to learn from this... Seeing that I waste that much money, in black and white with cute email graphics, means I can absolutely make a change.

I'm going to try, that's the most I can do, right?

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Coffee and a Classic: Aladdin and the Arabian Nights

My Coffee and a Classic box came a little earlier this month than usual, so I got it during May! When I saw this month's choices, I knew I had to have the children's classic this month. Aladdin and the Arabian Nights was this month's book and it is absolutely gorgeous. The whole box is beautifully curated. This box more than makes up for my slight disappointment with last month's box. So, let's get to it, shall we...

The box includes a hard cover book, Open, Sesame! mug, Chocolate & Curry Hot Chocolate, Almond Jewels, a colorful bookmark, flying carpet mouse pad, and a magic lamp incense burner. Now I need to get some incense.

All the other boxes I've gotten have had softcover books. So, when I lifted this one out from the paper shreds to realize it was hardback, I was very pleasantly surprised. The book is from Barnes and Noble, and the detail on the front of the book, with the gold embossing, is so lovely. The inside of the book is partially illustrated. I can't wait to dig in and read it. I love a good frame story!

The little incense burner is metal and looks adorable on my shelf with the other fun trinkets and things I've gotten from some of the other boxes. It has really pretty detail, too.

I was a little confused by the almond jewels, until I opened it up. They are literally chocolate covered almonds that have been painted to look like stones. They're gorgeous and really tasty.

See?! So pretty! I gave a few to Matt and he was pretty confused, until he put them into his mouth. I don't even love almonds (they're just okay), but cover them in almonds and paint them pretty colors and you have a win. They're almost too pretty to eat... almost.

I probably should have taken the mouse pad out of the wrapping before I took a picture, but there you have it. It's awfully pretty. I'll probably put it on my work desk to replace my orange, company branded mouse pad. It's so much more interesting.

The book mark is cloth and has a neat pattern, with a little tassel. What's neat is that all of the book marks from each box have been completely unique. Several of them have been small metal bookmarks, one was magnet, one very thinly shaved wood. Each of them have been pretty neat.

The month's mug is actually blue, which is a little bit hard to see in this picture. It's also the sturdiest mug I've gotten. Some of them have been pretty fragile. This one is also the largest mug from any of the boxes. I love the little gold "Open, Sesame!" on the side. I can't wait to fill it with this month's cocoa...

Curry & Chocolate Hot Cocoa. I wouldn't have normally bought this flavor, even though I love curry. But, then again, an earlier box had Earl Grey hot cocoa, and though I wouldn't have thought to buy that either, it was delicious. I can't wait to try this one. Like the last two Cocoas, this one is from McStevens. If I like it, might be I'll order it with the Vanilla hot chocolate I've been wanting to order more of.

Overall impression of this month's box, beautiful! I love the rich colors, the pretty hardback book, the neat little bookish items that came with it. I'm sure the other boxes were pretty, too, but this one is wonderful! Five stars! They haven't put up next month's sneak peek yet, but I'm sure whatever they choose will be fantastic.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Coffee and a Classic: Persuasion

April's Coffee and a Classic book box came today. Overall, the box is gorgeous as usual, but I wasn't quite as happy with this month's box as I have been previous boxes. It seems like it's always a bit late, coming the first week of the next month, which I suppose is still okay but many people get them a week or more before mine even ships. This month's box was supposed to be The Great Gatsby, a book I absolutely adore, but they changed it at the beginning of the month. Instead of Gatsby, April's book was Persuasion by Jane Austen. 

One thing I'm not less pleased about is the book choice. Would I have been happy with Gatsby? Of course! But, I'm also happy with Persuation. Have to say, I'm still really excited about this book. I love Jane Austen and this is one I've not read yet. And as you'll see, the book is really pretty. It has one of those lovely, buttery soft covers, embossed with gold accents.

Every single thing in the box is gorgeous, as usual. There were a few things about my box that were different than others who got the same box. The mug was different than most others and the candy was loose inside the box, rather than being in a box, like many others I've seen pictures of. 

All that said, the box was still just so lovely!

The box included a book, mug, salt water taffy, a scrub that smells vaguely of roses, sea salt & caramel cocoa, a book mark, and a book bag. So, it was absolutely filled with nice surprises. 
 
The book is a Barnes and Noble edition and is absolutely beautiful. It does have a few flaws, however, the most notable of them the scuffed up letters on Jane Austen's name. Still, the cover is smooth and soft, and a very pretty shade of pink. 

 The book mark is tiny, like last month's, but still very pretty. I will probably put it up on a shelf so I don't lose it and use the box insert as a book mark instead. 

I cannot wait to open the cocoa and have a cup! I have loved every single cocoa in all the boxes, I suspect this one won't be different. The sea salt taffy is soft and delicious. The mug is pretty, but most other boxes got a white, insulated travel mug. I'm a little bit disappointed not to have gotten that one, even though this gray mug is still very pretty. 

Since I have pretty sensitive skin, I will probably only use the scrub on my legs. It has a very light, soft rose-like scent. Not overwhelming at all, but also not my usual thing. I'm still going to give it a try and, who knows, maybe I'll love it. 

Who doesn't love book bags?! I really like this one. I got a Jane Austen book bag a few years ago for my birthday. I put this one with that one and will use it when I travel. Very pretty bag and a lovely addition to this month's box. 

Overall, my impression of the box is that it's quite nice. It has a lovely salt water type theme, so I'm guessing that the book is set by the shore or on a ship. Having not read it, I couldn't say, but I'm looking forward to finding out! 

Next month's box was a tough one for me, but I believe I'm going to be getting the children's classic box instead of the regular classic lit box because the selection is Aladdin and the Arabian Nights and there's no way I can pass that up! I'll just have to email them and let them know I want to change selections this month. Looking forward to that one!

Friday, April 26, 2019

35mm Mystery

In late 1996 or 1997, when I was just out of high school and thinking I might major in photography, I took a photography class a local junior college. It wasn't very practical, and had a little crush on my photography instructor, a very talented photographer quite a few years older that I was. At that time, I bought a Pentax K-1000 camera at a pawn shop, because I needed a 35mm camera with all manual settings. Although I absolutely loved the class, which taught me technique and how to develop in a darkroom, it was the first and last time I used that camera. It's in my garage, collecting dust. During a manic shopping-spree moment, I replaced it with an expensive digital camera a few years ago, which I also don't use much.

Due to some things happening in my life at that time, I never did finish that photography class. I wasn't much in a place in my life where I cared about things like passing classes. Much to the chagrin of my present self, in addition to being impractical, I was also frivolous. Until this morning, I didn't even remember I took that class. Then, going through an old keepsake box in my spare bedroom, I found a roll of 35mm film still in the canister. The tab is rolled in, so the film has been used.

Shaking it out from inside the plastic canister, the outside of the roll is somehow rusty. Considering it's 22 or 23 years old, that's not too surprising, though I have no idea how it could have gotten like that. The roll is still firmly sealed, it doesn't look like any light has gotten inside. So, I'm thinking it might be able to be developed... maybe.

There are, of course, a few problems with that. The first is a simple matter of where. Where can you get 35mm film developed anymore? I'm likely going to have to mail it somewhere. The other problems are a little bit more complex. I have no idea what's on that roll of film. Zero idea. I'm a little bit afraid of what it might be. I would imagine it can't be anything too risque, but who knows? And what if that film isn't mine? What if it's something from one of Matt's grandfather or mother's old boxes? I wouldn't imagine it is, but who the hell knows? Since the film is black and white, it's almost certainly a relic from that long ago class.

I think I'll write to some people who develop film, send them a picture of the roll and canister, and find out if they think it can be developed. Worth a shot, right? And, at this point, my curiosity is killing me.