Products and Books I'm Enjoying in 2023
Book Recommendations, Loving and Learning Lately, Products I Love

Loving and Learning Lately {30}

Products and Books I'm Enjoying in November 2020

Welcome to Round 30 of this 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 affiliate links in this post, which means I may get a small percentage of any sale made at no extra cost to you.

Loving Lately

  • Okay, so I know that I’ve mentioned these before, but when I sat down to think about the things I’ve been loving lately and that have been giving me an extra boost, these two things were the first to come to mind: 1) My Book of the Month subscription, and 2) My Ellie fitness/athleisure clothing subscription. I’ve always looooved getting fun stuff in the mail (this obsession goes back a long, looong time), so this kind of thing is just GOLD for me.
    • Book of the Month is a subscription service that comes out with five hardcover new releases each month, and you choose your first month’s one for $9.99 if you go through my referral code, and later ones for $14.99 (always with free shipping!). It’s easy to skip a month, and it’s easy to add on additional titles if you just can’t narrow it down. I love having hardback books whenever possible in my book collection, and getting a new release for just $14.99 is a STEAL. I seriously look forward to the end of every month, just so I can see what the next five books to choose from are! Make sure to go through my referral code to get your first book for just $9.99!
    • I originally signed up for a 3-month subscription to Ellie Clothing because I desperately needed new exercise clothing and literally had none that fit my current size. However, now that I see how much I 100% love my first 3 boxes (and wear them all the time, exercising or not!), I’ve hopped back in for another three months (though you can just subscribe on a month-by-month basis, too). If you’re interested, make sure you go through my referral link to get an extra 25% off!
  • File this under “Things I Never Thought I’d Pay For,” but you guys — we took the bait and subscribed to YouTube Premium and LOVE IT. Both Matt and I actually follow quite a few vloggers on YouTube (Matt really likes the homesteading ones, and I like a lot of the homemaking ones), and so for us, it’s totally worth it to pay the monthly fee so that our watching experience is 100% free of ads or commercials of any kind (including for our kids, since we got the family plan and they’ll occasionally watch something too for our homeschool). It seriously saves us so much time! And since we don’t subscribe to any other streaming service other than Disney+, it’s a worthwhile cost for us for sure.
  • We’ve had a Sam’s Club membership for years since that was the only warehouse club near where we lived before, but since we’ve relocated to live with my folks these past few months, I’ve gotten a Costco membership as well since that’s the only one they have close by here. And while I DO prefer Sam’s Club for soooo many things (starting with produce!), I have loved that Costco has a much wider selection of gluten-free foods than Sam’s Club. Our most recent favorite find? These sweet potato crackers that EVERYONE loves, even those who aren’t eating gluten-free! (I’m linking to Amazon so everyone can have access if you care to try them, but they are about $7 cheaper for the two-pack at Costco.)
  • It took me a long time to hop on the bandwagon and finally get a smartphone (for anyone new here, I literally just got my first smartphone at the end of this summer, in 2020—I had just had a good ol’ flip phone for all the years before that, as had my husband). Anyway, while there are some things I don’t love about having a smartphone, I HAVE really liked how it’s much easier to stay connected, especially during this season when my husband is away from us during the week for work. I’ve started Marco Polo groups with him and with several of my friends, and it’s been such a boost to talk on a regular basis with other people outside of our household and to feel like we’re not totally isolated in this time when so much is having to be shut down due to the rising COVID numbers. If for no other reason, I’m grateful to have upgraded to a smartphone for that alone! (Also, in case you’re on the lookout for a phone plan that’s pretty inexpensive and gives you great coverage, we’ve been getting ours through Google FI and have been overall pretty impressed so far.)

Learning Lately

My reading life has definitely been suffering lately, but I think I’m going to get more on track in the next couple weeks because I’ve been forcing myself to stay off social media at night and just read for an hour or so before I go to bed. That’s really the only reason I’ve been able to finish any books at all, because between homeschooling through the end of this month and my husband living and working away from us during the week until the business moves down south and me being swamped with photography sessions to edit…yeah. Fingers crossed life slows down a bit in the next few weeks so that December’s round-up is a bit more interesting!

Current and Recent Reads

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

This recent release has been getting a LOT of buzz, and I’ll admit the premise intrigued me—a pair of twins, both very light-skinned Black girls–run away from home at 17, with one marrying a very dark-skinned man and one choosing to pass as white. What follows is a story spanning decades of the fall-out of that singular decision made by each twin. While this was well-written and well-paced, I was let down by the ending (or I should say, the non-ending). I just couldn’t help but think, “So….what am I supposed to be feeling now?” after I turned the last page. Anyway, I’m not sorry that I read this, but it seems like everyone else liked it a lot more than I did.

Shiner by Amy Jo Burns

This book was…not what I thought it was going to be. I don’t even know what I expected really, except that I knew it was a character-driven literary fiction pick that followed a girl named Wren who had lived her whole life shut away in the mountains because her father didn’t believe in letting her go anywhere else. This book was well-written and had some interesting twists and turns along the way as Wren seeks to discover the secrets her parents have left buried for years, but I had a hard time getting over just how DEPRESSING the book felt…everyone felt stuck, and I still felt like everyone was stuck at the end. However, other readers have put this on their “best of the year” list, so I’m thinking I might be in the minority here. Maybe it was simply a case of bad timing.

And that wraps up this last month! In December we’ll have The Big Move behind us, so hopefully things will be a little more interesting on the reading front!

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