Loving and Learning Lately {6}

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Welcome to Round 6 of this new little series I started of all the things in life I’m loving and learning lately! Here you’ll find everything from the books I’m currently reading to the products I’m loving to the shows I’m watching (which, spoiler alert–won’t be very many or very exciting, since I’m not a huge t.v. or movie watcher). If you want to check out past editions of the series, click here. Note: There are some affiliate links in this post, which means I get a small percentage of any sale made at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting To Love and To Learn!

Loving Lately

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  • The new “luxe” tees from Old Navy. I don’t buy new clothes very often at all (in fact, I went on an unofficial clothing ban for something like a year not too long ago), but I was in desperate need of some postpartum tops that weren’t maternity. These tees ended up being the perfect relaxed fit to help hide the last of the post-baby pooch (not to mention INSANELY comfortable due to the super-soft fabric type), and, because it’s just how I roll, I snagged one in every color they had in my size at the store. (Of course today, as I’m looking at their site, I’m tempted to pick up the rest of the colors that the store didn’t have, especially as cardholders can get 35% off today with the code CARD (and I have rewards that need spending!). Hmmm…

  • As my beloved cookie scoops (which I use ALL THE TIME) were on the fritz, I used some of my birthday money to upgrade to this nicer 3-piece set. It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve discovered cookie scoops, but now that I have, I just can’t go back to making cookies or scooping out muffin/cupcake batter any other way. (Seriously, if you like baking at all and don’t own some of these babies, you absolutely need to try them out. Your life will be changed forever!) The set just arrived today, and already I can tell the quality is MUCH better than my original scoops are, so here’s hoping I won’t ever have to upgrade again!

  • Because we were running out of things for breakfast yesterday and I wasn’t going to the grocery store until today, I was looking for something relatively quick and easy to make that we could snack on throughout the day. Enter this pumpkin chocolate chip bread, which I haven’t made since last year and which I always forget how much I love until I make it again. I’ll often use my baking hack to half the fat on this one, but yesterday, I was feeling particularly indulgent and just made it as written. Mmmmm…there’s just nothing like a pumpkin loaf to make your house smell like fall! (Oh, and we also made slow cooker applesauce this last week, which is another way to make your house smell all sorts of heavenly.)

Learning Lately

Current Books

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

As I was just a few pages into this one the last time I wrote this series, I figured I’d better do an update since I’m now just over halfway through. First off, I’m LOVING reading this during this time of year! The misty weather outside my window is the perfect backdrop to the creepy, mysterious vibe of this novel, and even though this classic was published in the 1930s, it is highly readable–much more so than many so-called “classics” (though I love the classics, so don’t think I’m knocking them!). I seriously can’t WAIT to discuss this one with my book club group next week! I already have a lot of opinions…

 

The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean Weir

I hadn’t intended to start this one until I finished Rebecca, but I made the mistake of letting myself just read a chapter…and then got hooked! This book about a 17-year-old girl whose very conservative family has their own hit reality t.v. show isn’t perfect so far (the book is told from three different points of view, which is VERY hard to pull off super well and get each character to have their own distinct voice), but it is surprisingly a lot more of a page-turner than I thought it would be, and it raises a lot of interesting questions about a world where people are often more concerned with their “brand” or “image” than they are with the truth, or with treating people fairly. I’m only about a quarter of the way into this, but I’m eagerly awaiting what’s going to happen next.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

I’m reading this one for my YA pick for my fall term self-assigned reading, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s the story of two misfits living in a small town who are tackling all the usual obstacles of 6th grade life…until one of the townspeople turns up dead and they suddenly become involved in figuring out whodunnit. I’m not usually one to read a lot of mysteries, but as this is a lot lighter and more fun than the mystery genre typically is, I think I’m going to enjoy it.

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Yeah, I’ve been reading this nonfiction pick for awhile now, but that’s kind of how I prefer to read such books as this—slowly, with plenty of time for proper digestion. I’m almost to the point now where the author moves from talking about the WHY of doing deep work to discussing the HOW of actually putting it into practice. (It is thanks to this book that I’ve already stayed MUCH more focused on working on my personal projects lately!) So far, this one’s been a real winner for me.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

After seeing this one flying around with 4- and 5-star ratings on several of my Goodreads friends’ profiles, I decided to give it a shot–and then ended up abandoning it about 15% of the way in. I think part of the problem was that it seemed far too similar to Lauren Graham’s memoir Talking As Fast As I Can (which I recently finished), except it had WAY more profanity in it…which is something that can really start to bug me after awhile in a book. All in all, as I wasn’t a huge Poehler fan to begin with (not that I’m against her either–I basically am just indifferent), this is one I was fine skipping.

Everything Happens For a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler

As I wrote in my Goodreads review, if I had known beforehand exactly what this book was about before I read it, I probably would have skipped it out of fear that it would veer into the “too depressing” category. However, as I didn’t realize that the vibe of this book was a bit along the lines of When Breath Becomes Air (which I quite enjoyed, though it’s definitely not an easy book to read due to the sad nature of the book), I plunged right in–and was pleasantly surprised. If you are looking for a book that talks about facing down death with lots of answers and clear revelations about the meaning of life, this one won’t be for you. However, I found that the author’s honest (and surprisingly funny at times) thoughts on having a terminal disease inspired me to more deeply appreciate each day of my own life a bit more.

Links to Love

As I’ve hardly been reading anything online lately at all (mostly because I’ve been swamped with trying to stay on top of editing the photo sessions for my part-time photography biz), I’ll just leave you with a fun little trip down memory lane as we look at some posts from Octobers past:

 

And that’s a wrap! What things have you been loving and learning lately?