My Bout with Harry Potter Withdrawal:

HP1-ed-sz The Harry Potter series. Most people read these books years ago. I didn't. For many reasons I didn't. But recently (well, last year) several friends encouraged me to try them. I asked for the first book for Christmas and received it from a friend (thanks, Mary!). After reading the first few chapters I promptly returned book 1 (what?!?!? I didn't read the whole thing!) and put the $$ towards an order of the whole set instead:


I then read the first couple books in the short span of 6 months. Haha. I really did enjoy the first few books, but they didn't "grab" me in a I-have-to-read-until-I'm-done way. Plus, I was pregnant and distracted by many things (including tons of mommy and pregnancy and birth books). I read book 1, book 2, and part of book 3 and then I gave birth to Skylar.

Fast forward 5 months. We had moved to a different state, Skylar was 5 months old and able to nurse without as much "help" from my hands and I was relaxing into being a Mom. PLUS, as part of my New Years Resolutions for 2013 I decided I wanted to READ more. I finished book 3 and moved on to book 4 in January. less than 2 months later? I've finished the series and I'm craving MORE MORE MORE!

This isn't really a review... it's more of a general discussion of the books and why I now wish I could just keep reading them forever (ok, not really, but they were pretty epic!). There are a few things about them I loved most... and here they are (in no particular order):

It's fantasy. I typically love other-wordly books. Plot lines that are completely outside of where we are today (ex: Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings) or that sit along side our current society but present some separate part of our world that is completely different or hidden (ex: Twilight). Harry Potter is more the latter than the former, but has some ties to both types of fantasy.

The characters! Fun, like-able protagonists... with flaws. They were human. They fought and had issues just like we do, but they also had character development and enough goodness that I WANTED to like them. Evil, awful villains... who, typically, also had a humanness -- and their fall from goodness to evil could be traced and understood. AND everyone in between: All the people who were caught between these worlds... uncertain of their allegiance... but never losing sight of some sort of hope or love or something more than the evil that desired to consume them.

The storytelling. On that front I think I've been spoiled badly. It's so cool to learn something in book 1 and then have it reference in book 7. I love the "ohhhhh" moments when everything clicks and you start to understand what's been going on the whole time -- right out of view -- but hinted at for the whole book (or, sometimes, the whole series).

Good writing. While not perfect, it was some really good writing. I did chuckle a few times at words that would make an appearance over and over for just one book (usually in the speaking style of a few characters). The most notable is the use of the word "mate" in one of the books. ;)

Nuggets of wisdom. While the worldview of the books is not the same as my own completely, there was an underlying theme of doing good, thwarting evil, and, above all: LOVE. Additionally, there were themes about the dangers of power and how easily a lust for power can consume a person. One of my favorite quotes in all of the books is pictured here:


Finally, the ending. It was all I could have hoped for. And for that I'm extremely thankful.

The best way to describe my "reading mood" since Harry Potter is: In withdrawal. No story seems "right" to be reading... or quite as interesting or rich. I miss the world of Harry and Ron and Hermione and Dumbledore... and Snape, and the Weasleys and Hogwarts and all the rest. Yes, I know I still have the movies to watch.. .and I will. But for now I want to enjoy the pictures in my head..


Ps: My attempt to assuage the withdrawal symptoms is to read this book (thanks for recommending it, Jill).


It's entirely too short, but should help calm the withdrawal shakes for a bit. ;)

Resolutions {2013}

Throughout the month of January I posted several resolutions with a corresponding picture to inspire me on my Instagram. My goal is to truly work on all of these things throughout the year and post progress reports every so often. I'm thinking that I'll post the progress reports (PRs for short) every 2-3 months, but to kick things off I'll post the resolution and an initial PR for the month of January. So, in no particular order, here are my Resolutions for 2013: Resolution #1 Read More. I have so many books on my "to read" list. I want to start working my way through them finally. At this point reading at all would be an improvement to the last few months. So, my "goal" is to read at least 2 books a month in 2013!


Progress Report: In the month of January I read two books. So, YAY for meeting my goal. It was an underwhelming goal on purpose because I wanted to keep from being discouraged -- but I do feel like I should be able to read more than 2 books a month... so, I'm mentally shooting for more (hence my slight disappointment at literally reading only 2 books my first month working on this resolution). BUT I should keep in mind that they were long books (Harry Potter books to be exact). They were both 600 pages or more, so I wasn't skimping on the 2 books I read. Additionally, I'm only 5 days into February and I'm already 476 pages into the 5th Harry Potter book (and loving it). It feels good to read and get excited by the literary world again. I think I'll enjoy keeping up with this resolution!

Resolution #2 Make/do something off my Pinterest at least 4x a month. I'd like to do something once a week, but until Skylar is a bit bigger its hard to do crafts a lot. Really, I just want to start DOING the things I see as "good ideas" regularly... Instead if just "pinning" them and forgetting them. This resolution could include recipes, dress style, hair & makeup ideas, & polish inspiration.


Progress Report: I am rocking this one! In January in just the baking blogs I posted on here were 5 pinterest recipes! I actually referred to it more than that! But I'm definitely trying to use the ideas and things I've posted to Pinterest with intention! Yay!

Resolution #3 Exercise! (this one is explained BY the picture)


Progress Report:This resolution has been a pretty major failure during the month of January. I have gone out walking with Skylar a few times, but between her being sick for a week+ and the weather being SUPER cold at times (though the nice days we have tried to go out), I have not exercised much. I really want to find a gym... and that needs to be a priority in February/March/April.

Resolution #4 Cook Dinner more often. For a while I used the excuse that we were unpacking & the kitchen wasn't put together to avoid cooking dinner every night. The funny part is, I LIKE cooking! It gives me a sense of accomplishment to cook and/or bake food for Jimmy and I (& eventually Skylar). This is a meal I made recently... Mashed Potato soup with Pumpernickel toast (no that's NOT burnt toast).


Progress Report: I succeeded in making some pretty yummy dinners in the month of January -- but I also "dialed in" some by serving left-overs or using frozen stuff. If I were to grade myself I'd probably give myself a C+ or maybe a B- if I was being generous. I think I can do MUCH better and keep branching out with cooking... so here's to more good, healthy, and inventive food in the coming months!

Resolution #5 Drink more wine! (Especially before buying more!) and loooook I'm working on this one right now!


Progress Report: With the exception of a few very inexpensive bottles of wine purchased at Trader Joe's, I avoided buying wine in January. I also shared several "old" bottles with Jimmy and friends. So, I've delved into the "stash" and will continue to enjoy a glass of wine a few times a week. I must say this might be my favorite of my resolutions... ;)

Resolution #6 Blog more. Specifically I want to blog at least once a week (I'd really like to work up to once a day or every-other day, but baby steps!). I also have a "back-log" of subjects to post about... & I want to work on those. Briefly they are: Skylar's Birth (including labor), Online Community, Super Secret One (I know what this means), Re-post and re-formate the "in the NICU" Skylar posts (for posterity) & Nailpolish (this may be a series of posts).


Progress Report: I blogged 4 times in the month of January. It wasn't *quite* once a week since all 4 posts were during one week, but I'll still count that as progress. I think the "issue" is that I don't have blog time worked into my day (or week). I don't really have a specific time that I do it, so it's not as likely that I'll get around to posting even when I fully intend to do so. This is something I'll work in for the next couple months.

Resolution #7 Finally learn to crochet! I can knit, but I really want to master crocheting this year!


Progress Report: I have not actually worked on this resolution much at all yet and I'm okay with that. I do fully intend to LEARN to crochet this year, though... I just need everything to settle down a bit (hah ... in other words my house needs to be in order and the rest of the unpacking needs to happen and organization, etc) and then I'll get to this one. So, check back with me in a few months! ;)

Resolution #8 Clean up after myself. This is embarrassing to admit (especially as an almost 30-year-old), but I have a bad habit of using something & not putting it back when I'm done; completing a project & not putting away the things I used right away; eating breakfast or lunch & not even clearing my dishes to the sink area consistently; of... well you get the idea! So in 2013 I want to work on breaking that habit. I want to learn to put things away as soon as I'm done with them! & if that's not possible at times (re: Skylar needs me or something) I want to work on taking care of it as soon as I can -- before leisure time. (This is a picture of my clean & organized nightstand to inspire me to keep it that way by putting things away & not letting them get stuck randomly on that surface!)


Progress Report: I actually only posted this resolution a week and a half ago (or so), and my nightstand still looks like that! Considering how consistantly cluttered it usually is, that's some major progress! So, I think I'm making progress on this resolution. I've been paying more attention to when I'm leaving things un-done and seeking to finish, clean up, and work on being less cluttered in general. I still have a long way to go when it comes to general organization -- but at least I'm not making many more messes as I go anymore. :)

And there ya have it! Those are my resolutions, for 2013!

Do you have any resolutions for this year? What are some of your resolutions???

Xo, Emmie