Friday, March 15, 2019

Coffee and a Classic: The Last of the Mohicans

A little late on this one, but I got my February Coffee and a Classic box around the first week of March (since February is a short Month, I suppose) and, I feel like a broken record saying so, but it was absolutely gorgeous. I look forward to this box every month because opening it is such a joy. One of the things I love most, aside from the obvious, is that if Matt's here when it comes, he enjoys the unboxing almost as much as I do. He truly is great a gifting!

February's book is The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenmore Cooper. Every month they have a sneak peek of the book, so you can change your selection to classic children's lit or classic non-fic if you like. When I checked it out in January, I was slightly surprised by this choice for February. Being that Valentine's Day is in February, I expected a more obvious classical romance. Having never read the book, nor even seen the movie, I had no idea that this one is a romance!

Matt knew, though, and when the book was out of the box he turned it over and handed it to me. "Read this," he said.

I swooned. I did. I'm not too old for that and a good love story is my Kryptonite. I am an absolute sucker for a good romance. But, I will say, this book is quite a lot harder a read that I thought it would be. It's been a long time since I've read anything too complex, so this one is a challenge. Especially since I'm currently reading it aloud to Matt so we can experience it together. Being a dyslexic, reading aloud is a pretty good exercise for my brain, even when I stumble here and there. Matt's a gentle listener.

The book comes from Paper Mill Press and the cover is this lovely heavy black paper. Last month's book also came from this press. The books are just gorgeous, even though the words are pretty tiny. Or maybe I'm just blind? Either way, the lovely golden embossed embellishment makes this book really beautiful. It also means I'm doing doubly careful with it as I read so I don't bend the spine. Not the easiest thing.

The bookmark in the month's box, pictured above next to the book, is actually wood. It's very thinly shaved wood with a picture printed on the front. It's lovely and not as fragile as I thought it might be. Even though the book has a ribbon bookmark, I'm using this one to keep my place.

As with all of these boxes, my drink choice is cocoa. This one is sort of like a Mexican chocolate, but the spice is a little bit more diverse. Since I love Mexican hot chocolate, I really enjoyed this one. The only thing I would have liked was instructions. Which sounds crazy, but doing a little bit of research about last month's Earl Gray Hot Chocolate, I learned that it's supposed to be made with milk, rather than water. So, I don't know if this one should, too. The powder sank to the bottom when I made it with water, so I'm guessing it should be.

The cocoa is from COCOA SANTÉ whose cocoa is both organic and responsibly sourced. On their website, this cocoa is called Kashmir Spice. It can't be purchased directly from them, but I'm definitely going to have to get some more! And looking into it, it can be made with either milk or water.

And this month's mug...

Isn't this mug pretty? I just love how much their mugs always fit the theme of the box so beautifully. I'm never completely sure if they can be put in the dishwasher, so I just handwash them. I've begun collecting mugs in the last few months and this is a lovely addition to my collection.

The other goodies in the box included a dream catcher--not pictured here because I jumped the gun and whisked it off to hang above my bed--and a candle that smells really clean and pretty. The candle has this lovely wilderness-y design around the outside.

The last thing in the box was, of course, the month's sweet treat. Chocolate candy rocks in a neat burlap sack.

They're gone now because, well, chocolate. But, I would have you know I took some time to admire each one before putting it into my mouth. It's uncanny how much this candy really does look like rocks. They tasted really good, too, so there was that.

All in all, this box definitely did not fail to meet my expectations. Like the previous two I've gotten before it, I was so pleasantly surprised. Since I didn't expect to love this one as much as I did the two before it, imagine my delight to find out I've enjoyed it every bit as much, if not more. The book is turning out to be quite good, even though we've only just begun.

I can't wait for March's box. I resubscribed for another three months, so I have three more boxes to look forward to! I've already checked the sneak peek section of their website and will admit to some loud squealing, as well as a bit of jumping up and down when I saw what March's classic lit was going to be. If you're interested, you can check it out on Coffee and a Classic's Sneak Peek page. If you're not much into spoilers, I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise. ♥

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

Friday, March 8, 2019

Happy International Women's Day

FabFitFun sent out this cute graphic to celebrate International Women's Day and posted this quick little writing prompt to celebrate the day. It's so fun, I thought I'd write about it here instead...

I feel most confident when _______.
Women are _______.
My favorite quote: _______.

I feel most confident when... I get everything on my to do list done. When I finish a good book. When I straighten my hair and toss on a touch of makeup. When I'm taking some time out for mindfulness meditation and self-care. When I know I've done a damn good job.

Women are... capable. This seems like a weak adjective, but for me it's most apt. So many inequities for women come down to one single thing, that women are still seen as incapable. Women aren't often found at the highest levels in business, no woman has been president, women are see as less capable and earn less pay. Women are no less able than men. We're strong, independent, and most of all capable.

My favorite quote... there are actually several, but I'll share two with you. Both by strong women writers that I admire.

“Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody. ” - Jane Austen

"Keep a light, hopeful heart, but expect the worst." - Joyce Carol Oates

Finally, to all the strong women in my life, thank you for making me better. To my lovely Grandmother, Wilma, who made the best pie I've ever eaten and who loved me unconditionally. My beautiful mother, Cheryl, who always believed in and loved me, even when she didn't always agree with my choices. And who taught me strength come from within. My sister, Candi, who always makes me smile and blows me away with her creativity.

June 2018
To my amazing college professors, Dr. Mallory Young and Dr. Julie Chappel, without whom I would never have been introduced to some of the strongest women's voices--their's included. Who pushed me to grow in ways I would never have been able to without them, to think critically, and to understand feminism and feminist criticism.

With Dr. Mallory Young, August 2012
To my best friends, Melanie and Amanda, who've been there to cheer for me, listen to me complain, and given me a shoulder to cry on when that was necessary. Both women have show me over and over again that sisterhood doesn't have to be about blood.

Melanie (left) and Amanda (right), both taken in 2018
To my oldest friends, Jodi and Shannon, who've shown me that friendship is as much about wanting to share a connection as it is about sharing common interests. And, who've shown me that forgiveness and understanding can rebuild what might have otherwise been lost.

Oldest picture, ever. Mayra, Julie, Shannon, Jodi, Shannon T, & Me... Maybe 1995?
And to the rest of the very lovely women in my life. Friends who I haven't seen forever like Jenn and Marsha, or the ones I've met online and become friend with, like Phoena, friends from grad school and from jobs over the past few years, you're all amazing.

I love you all. Happy International Women's Day!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Serial Killer Manicures

So, last night, I dreamt I was a serial killer. Yeah, I don't think that dream catcher I got a few days ago is doing it's job. Strangely the dream didn't really seem to be a nightmare. Which sounds crazy since, you know, I was a serial killer. What do you suppose this says about my fucked up psyche? I knew I have issues, but this goes to a whole other level.

In the dream, I was so busy cleaning up after one of my killing sprees--yeah, apparently I hid the bodies--that I was late for a nail appointment. I literally dreamt that I was late to get my nails done because I was cleaning up blood to hide my crime. This is not normal.

The only thing I can think about this bizarre dream is that last time I was getting my nails done, Nicole and I were talking about dreams. I told her about my long-time reoccurring dream, that one time I dreamt I was married to Derek Hough, and about how I once dreamt that I made out with one of my male college professors in an elevator. Clearly, my brain is associating getting my nails done with dreaming.

So, according to the great font of knowledge--you know, Google--dreaming you're a serial killer can mean that you feel helpless in your life, so in the dream you're in a position of power. It can also mean that you're on a power trip and enjoy watching others suffer. Yeah, good thing I'm firmly in the dream interpretation is bullshit category, because both of those interpretations suck.

But, really, you'd think I'd have more to worry about than being late for a nail appointment if I was a serial killer. Apparently not.

One of the many, many mani's I was on time for. ♥

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Right Place, Right Time

I was listening to a romance novel last night while Matt played a video game. The female character was gushing to her friends about how lucky she had been, how if she hadn't been in the right place at the right time, she would never have met her man. She went on to talk about how he had brought so much into her life. And you know, rather than cocking a skeptical eyebrow as I sometimes do, I could kind of relate to this chick. 

Three or so weeks ago, Matt and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. We've been together almost 20 years and, not gonna lie, that feels pretty amazing. He's brought so much into my life, exposed me to things I would never have been otherwise, and made me a better person. He's always believed in me, even when I've given him no reason. In short, he's pretty damn amazing. 

The thing is, had I not been at the right place at the right time, I would never have met him. Having met randomly on ICQ (it's a chat program, sort of like AIM or yahoo messenger), had I not been sort of randomly searching for someone to talk to, we would never have met. In a world of creeps, and there were a hell of a lot of creeps on ICQ back then, I found a good guy. The odds were not in my favor. Especially so because I was not looking for a man. I was just looking for company. 

Do y'all know how many times I've had to explain that we met randomly, on the internet, way before there were any sort of dating websites. Back then, people had to meet sort of the same way you meet someone at a bar, or the laundromat. It has to happen sort of by accident. You might meet someone in a chat room where you share a mutual interest, but that same thing could happen if you meet a nice guy in the horror novel section of a bookstore. It's by chance. 

I took a chance, it paid off, and I spent the next 10 years telling people not to do what I did. It wasn't safe. Flying to Texas in the middle of the night to meet a man I hadn't even seen a picture of was probably the dumbest, most reckless thing I have ever done. Hubs could have turned out to be a psychopath. After almost 20 years together, I'm pretty sure he's not. Still, it was pretty insane and a good bit dangerous.

All that being said, I will never regret having made that choice. 20 years later, we're still happily together. Sometimes, taking chances pays off.

We're a little crazy ♥

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

How exactly do they test that?

Matt went to the grocery store on Sunday to get a few things we needed. This is hit and miss. Sometimes, he comes home with everything and it's all the right stuff. Sometimes, like Sunday, he comes home with everything and some of it's the wrong stuff. In this case, the man knowingly and willfully committed the cardinal sin of grocery shopping... he bought one ply toilet paper.

Okay, it's gross to talk about toilet paper, right? Right. But seriously, why do they even make this stuff in one ply? He also got the wrong brand. I fixed this, but now it's toilet paper wars around our house. He has been forbidden to use my two ply until all the gross paper he bought is gone. He says he got it because "the bears like it." He's kidding, of course, but still... come on, man!

But then today, while straitening up the hall cabinet--because for some reason we tend to just shove the plastic wrap from the old toilet paper to the back of the (very deep) cabinet when we put the new stuff in there--I got to thinking about the packaging and the way they market this stuff. Without getting totally gross, they talk about the ripples or how strong it is, or how it won't leave furry dust bunnies in it's wake. But, I mean, how do they test that exactly? What kind of job would that be? Toilet paper tester. And what about the people whose job it is to design toilet paper--or paper towels and maxi pads, for that matter--what kind of education do you need for that? Personal hygiene product engineer?

I'm totally serious... mostly. I want to know how they test it. Since Matt works in production, I know, of course, that the paper itself is tested in a factory setting and is totally legit. Got that part. I kind of want to know how to know the ripples will make you more clean or that it won't leave fuzz on your ass? I think they would have to just assume that, right?

I digress. I made such a freaking fuss about the one ply and the fact that he bought the wrong brand, that he might just remember next time. Maybe. In the mean time, I'm going to try (and fail) to keep my mind occupied by less mundane and, quite frankly, gross topics going forward.

PS.I just tagged this post "marriage, toilet paper" which, I won't lie, made me laugh. 😁