best of 2016...if that's possible

So, the end of 2016 wrap-up season has been a little different this year. And by different, I mean downright depressing. I feel certain that 2016 will go down as a historically bad year. A year full of tragedy and violence (at least in the media...we are still living in the most peaceful of times in recent history). A year that ended with a shocking election and its following absurdities. 

However, I can't lie...it was a pretty wonderful year for me personally. I finished my 500hr advanced teacher training, grew the studio, enjoyed library work to no end, found out I'll be an aunt again to another nephew, had an amazing and surreal trip back to Norway and Scotland, and the day after we got home....found out we were pregnant!

I've said it before on this blog, but I feel so grateful. One positive of the election? It has made me look at my life and appreciate it even more than I did before. My priorities are crystal clear and I am so ready for the big changes 2017 brings for my personal life...But the world at large? I'm not so sure.

 MAJOR adjustments ahead and it is definitely not going to be boring.

A couple weeks ago I read Amor Towles' debut novel, Rules of Civility, which I LOVED. The following is a passage from the end of the book and it's my favorite thing I read this year:

"It is a bit of a cliche to characterize life as a rambling journey on which we can alter our course at any give time--by the slightest turn of the wheel, the wisdom goes, we influence the chain of events and thus recast our destiny with new cohorts, circumstances, and discoveries. But for the most of us, life is nothing like that. Instead, we have a few brief periods when we are ofered a handful of discrete options. Do I take this job or that Job? In Chicago or NewYork? Do I join this circle of friends or that one, and with whom do I go home at the end of the night? And does one make time for children now? or later? or later still?

In that sense, life is less like a journey that it is a game of honeymoon bridge. In our twenties, when there is still so much time ahead of us, time that seems ample for a hundred indecisions, for a hundred visions and revisions--we draw a card, and we must decide right then and there and keep the second. And before we know it, the deck has been played out and the decisions we have just made will shape our lives for decades to come."

I enjoyed so many other things this year, but this is all I feel like sharing. 

Much love.

things to look forward to this fall

You know it's coming...FALL. That time when all of us love to talk about how much we love it.

It's right around the corner and here are some cultural things I can't wait for:

Nutshell by Ian McEwan (09/13)

A new novel from my all-time favorite author, Ian McEwan. As usual, this one sounds creepy and wonderful. However, it does feature a narrator that is still inside its mother's womb. Not sure it will be easy for me to read, but of course I will.

Mascots (09/13)
I can't wait for this new film from Christopher Guest to come to Netflix. He's the best.

Also, how weird is it that when I hear a movie is headed straight to Netflix, I think of that as a good sign!? My, things have changed.


Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X (09/21)
I know, I know, I know....but we love it.

This season is going to be exceptionally bad given the ridiculous generalizations bound to fill the generation-centric teams.

La La Land (12/2)
A new movie musical that is completely original material starring Ryan Gosling. I'm in!

<

The Happy Cook by Daphne Oz (09/20)

Similarly to Gwyneth Paltrow's books, I find it somewhat embarassing that I enjoy Oz's lifestyle/cookbooks. But hey, what are you going to do?

This one looks good and I like the tagline.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (12/16)
Duh. I'm actually a little bit more excited about this one than I was for Force Awakens after watching this trailer.

Felicity Jones is so good.

Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets Illustrated edition (10/04)

I'm glad to see they are continuing into the rest of the series with these gorgeous illustrated editions. 

And maybe it will take away some of the sullen hangover left by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I felt very validated after listening to Slate's Audio Book Club discussion of it. 

The Girl on the Train (10/7)
I was definitely not a fan of the book, but this movie looks decent. I like Emily Blunt  

New album from HAIM
No details are known just yet, but it is rumored that HAIM is releasing a new album this fall. Given that their first one, Days Are Gone, was and is played more than any other in my house, I'm excited.

Gilmore Girls returns to Netflix (11/25)

what my book club is reading...second half of 2016

I realized today that I never wrote the second half of this post from earlier in the year.  Unfortunately, the newer of the two bookclubs has been disbanded...we lost members and now two of us are pregnant, which does not bode well for attendance! Ha!  

Other bookclub still going strong (and it has been since 1998...crazy!) and while it still has the same two pregnant members, we are a minority and it will not topple the applecart whatsoever.

We picked all our selections for 2017 today and it reminded me that I never posted our picks for the second half of 2016. Here's what we read/are reading until the year's end:

July                                                                          August

September

the-master-and-margarita-cover-1.png

November

October

December

 

 

what I'm preordering right now

Every summer, right before school starts back, I spend several days online researching upcoming releases. I like to get everything preordered so it just arrives on the day of publication. I particularly enjoy building up some excitement for big releases before they arrive...last year we all about lost our marbles waiting for Amulet: Firelight. It was too perfect because the day of its release, I had a bunch of kids reading outside and we saw the UPS truck drive by, causing us all to erupt in loud cheers.

So far, here's just a handful of what I have ready to preorder:

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Yeah duh. Telgemeier's complete domination in middle grade continues. I'm excited about this one and one copy is not going to cut it. I've ordered three, which is not enough either.

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

This is the third "Hat" book and if it's anything close to I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat, it will be in instant classic in the library.

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Yeah...While I don't love Pilkey's books, I can appreciate them for what they are: a gateway into reading for those who don't want to. HA! I'm thrilled to see something new that's not more Captain Underpants.

Return by Aaron Becker

Becker's wordless series has a special place in my heart. It's just so beautiful. So far we've had Journey, Quest, and now this final (?) installment.

Moo by Sharon Creech

It's a new Creech novel. No other explanation needed...it just must be ordered.

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers

I always look forward to new releases from Jeffers. However, they can be hit or miss. I don't love all of his books, but this one looks like it might be a winner...in the same vein as The Incredible Book Eating Boy or Stuck.

Razzle Dazzle Unicorn: Another Phoebe and her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson

I get genuinely excited about new Phoebe books. These graphic novels (which are great for BOTH boys & girls regardless of the front covers) are hilarious! I love the unicorn so much whose name is Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. Perfection.

 

 

picture books: read 'em!

I love picture books and nobody is ever "too old" for them. There, I said it, now we can move on. There are so many amazing picture books that appeal to all ages. I was inspired by sweet Danielle to write this post -- I have been wanting to share more recommendations from my day job as an elementary librarian. I am constantly browsing and buying kids' books, I might as well share the love. Each week I want to highlight a couple books, new and old, that I love. 

Aviary Wonders, Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual (Kate Samworth)

This is an experimental book that is both hilariously weird and depressing. It shed light on the rapid extinction of many species while at the same time making you laugh and gawk at the beautiful illustrations.

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (Mordicai Gerstein)

This is a fun, medium length book with lots of fun foldouts and vertical/horizontally flipped pages. It tells the (now overplayed) story of Phillipe Petit walking between the Twin Towers. The kids cannot believe it's based on a true story, so I always show this the trailer for the documentary Man on Wire directly after reading it to them. They can't believe their eyes!

 

elementary library picks of 2015

Closing out another year. These were my favorites this year at work.

PICTURE BOOKS

Lenny and Lucy
Phillip and Erin Stead are at it again. I love their illustration's so much. The story here is unique and slightly creepy. I paired this as a read aloud with Wild by Emily Hughes and Where the Wild Things Are. Kids loved these three together.

The Day the Crayons Came Home
I don't think it's possible to write this post without including it. They are insanely popular for a reason. So clever and funny.

Float
One of the many beautiful wordless picture books out there year. I want them all for myself!

The Only Child
Another wordless--this time  with over 100 pages of brilliant, heartbreaking illustrations. It is a combination picture book/graphic novel. 

First time illustrator, quojing, is from China and this story addresses the overwhelming loneliness felt by the massive generation of single children now coming of age.

 

 

MIDDLE GRADE

Screenshot 2015-12-06 07.28.37.png

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamison
Endearing graphic novel about roller derby. Great for girls or boys. It's funny, has a little edge to it, but with good taste.

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
Creepy story that takes place in the basement of the Biltmore Estate? Ca. 1920? Sign me up!

The Marvels by Brian Selznick
Over 600 pages which are gilded along the edges. Beautiful book! Over 2/3 of the pages are just pictures, similar to Selznick's other books. This is a very sophiscated tale of New York City, Shakespeare, and the theater in general. I was way impressed.

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Boy, Katherine Applegate really knows how to make you feel ALL the FEELS. Her last novel won the Newbery, The One and Only Ivan. I read it aloud to third grade every spring, so when this came out a couple months ago, I snatched it up. We are about to finish this one with fourth grade. It is a bit of a downer, but so so good. Short chapters, it gets right to the point.

31 things on my 31st birthday

Here are 31 things that are on my internet and in my brain right now. Happy birthday to me!

1. It's officially Smartwool wearing, kettle corn eating, bourbon drinking, reading season!

2. Currently reading Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh. 

3. This song. Again and again:

4. Feeling super inspired and accomplished in both my yoga practice and my yoga teaching lately. Special thanks to Christina Sell for her online classes. They are so great--She's one of my favorite teachers ever.

5. Turning 31 today and I am listening to the new Justin Bieber album on repeat.  You can laugh, but it's pretty great.

6. Love this photo from Joy Wilson's Instagram. That's really the one drawback to short hair...my hat game is pretty much non-existent.

7. It's gift guide season! I live for goop's annual holiday gift guide. My favorite items this year include a $260 wool unitard and an automatic nut milk maker..HA! You can't make this crap up.

8. Thanks Terry and Kayla. I just lost a good 20 minutes watching all the Tasty recipe videos. Hypnotic!

9. Instagram fatigue. I think I have it....bad!

10. He's back! I love this guy so much. I would love to see one of these in person.

11. We almost did this while we were out in Utah, but you know, we just couldn't find the time. Yeah right!

12. Home Alone gifs. 

13. I'm going to make my first batch of glögg soon. Yay.

14. We can rest easy, Carly Simon was talking about Dick Tracy.

15. The world seems to be very volatile right now. I'll just be here, doing this.

16. I am now in possession of a spiralizer! Let's do it! Thanks Suzie & Phil!

17. The One Part podcast. I miss it right now, but hey, Jessica's too busy writing that cookbook, so I wh

18. A Christmas Story gifs

19. A short story vending machine. Need I say more?

20. Still going strong with BOB (black on bottom). Makes my life easier when getting ready for work. However, it has only encouraged a slight shoe obsession.

21. I'm only two books away from my 2015 goal...all other resolutions already finished!

22. That reminds me, this year went insanely fast. Yes, I know it's cliche to say that, but HONESTLY.

23. Headed out later today for a yoga class and celebration at Orbis Yoga in Louisville. I'm planning to take some photos and share later this week. It is closing its doors after forty-one years.

24. Just discovered Sarah Close's YouTube channel. Amazing covers! Can we get on Spotify pretty please?! I could use you for yoga playlists!

25. This song has been on repeat for the past two months...in my car, in my house, during my yoga classes, at the library, in my headphones. Not sure why.

26. I had intentions in 2015. I feel like I stuck with them!

27. This is why JGL is my dream man. I love that I woke up this morning with this in an email from my Mom with the subject heading, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  And apparently, more people feel just the way that I do.

28. I've designed a tote bag. It took about 30 seconds. I'd like to sit on a street corner and distribute them for free. I also need one for myself.

29. Elf gifs

30. This guy doing this dance.

31. And finally...it would really stink to be this guy. Stay strong!

Well, there you have it. I think I'll go watch 50/50 now. #jgl