My Favorite Chrisbookarama Posts: #AMonthofFaves

My Favorite Posts

Wow, we're at the end of A Month of Faves! That was quite a month, and quite a year! I loved looking back at my blogging year. Big thanks to Andi, Tamara, and Tanya for hosting.

For today, I had to pick my five favorite posts of 2015. Looking back, these are the ones I enjoyed writing the most.

1. I had opinions on this opinion: Reading Competitively?




2. I gave some blogging advice, mostly about relaxing: Take My Advice...Bloggiesta Style



3. For something different, I tried baking with lavender: Pinteresting Baking With Lavender




4. I got creative with Picktochart and vampires: Carmilla vs Dracula Infographic.




5. And finally, MY FAVORITE- FAVORITE, a bookish tribute to Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Book List



These posts might not have been the most popular, or had the most comments, but they were fun to create. Just remembering the process of writing them gives me a boost!

Thanks to the hosts of A Month of Faves and for all of you for reading! I hope you all have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

My Reading Year 2015: An Infographic

Merry Christmas- a day late!



Winter Reading: #AMonthofFaves Post


From A Month of Faves: Books on my Winter Reading List.

I really don't have a winter reading list. I do have some thoughts on how I'm going to read heading into 2016.

I've been working on my stats for my year end post and I'm a little surprised by what I've found. Thirty-one (out of 60) of my 2015 reads were from the US. That's more than half. More than the books I've read from my own country- 9 Canadian. The US has an advantage. It's a numbers game. They publish more books a year. There is a lot of publicity for those books. I worked towards reading more diversely in 2015. Maybe in 2016 I should work on reading more worldly.

But that's a long term goal.

For now, I have a few new books coming: Cassandra at the Wedding, Little Tales of Misogyny, and The Homemaker.


Other books I'm thinking about reading:

If On a Winter's Night a Traveler


I just think the title is appropriate for the season

Far From the Madding Crowd

I mentioned it yesterday

Lolita

I want to reread this. And find a cover like this edition, not a gross one.

What are your winter reading plans?

Books to Film: #AMonthofFaves Post



Today's topic for A Month of Faves (hosted by Andi, Tamara, and Tanya) is the year in books to movies or TV.

Watching

Andi already mentioned Outlander, and I'll second that. I can't wait for the next season to start!


I talked about The Musketeers in another post. Netflix just added the second season and I've started that this week. Cardinal Richelieu is gone- I guess Peter Capaldi couldn't do double duty. There's a new bad guy in town: Rochefort. Milady De Winter is up to her old tricks even without the Cardinal. The boys are still swashbuckling their way around Paris. Good stuff so far.



Want to Watch

Far from the Madding Crowd was in theatres this year. I didn't catch it (no surprise there), but I'd like to see it. I'd also like to read the book first. I have it all my shelf. Maybe I'll get to it soon. Hardy is such a bummer though. 


Flipp, A Useful App: #AMonthofFaves Post


When I read the prompt for today’s A Month of Faves post, I knew exactly what I was going to push on all of you. Flipp.

Flipp is a shopping app. It’s the best shopping app! Every week I get the flyers (circulars), go through them, and then immediately forget where all the deals are. I usually end up digging through the recycling, asking, “Where was X on sale again?”


All of the week’s sales flyers for your area are uploaded onto the app, which is great enough, but it’s even better than that. You can circle items on the page that interest you, the app “clips” them and saves it to a separate page. When you go shopping, you just have to look on that page. No looking through the flyers again.


They’ve recently added another feature: coupon match-up. The app finds a coupon to match sales in the flyers for the best deals.

Most of the time you have to print out the coupon, but hopefully in the future that won’t be necessary.

When you open the app and enter your postal (zip) code, the page fills up with the flyers in your area. You can decide how you want to flip through them: by category, featured, latest, alphabetically, or favorites. I like favorites because I don’t want to bother looking through flyers of stores where I never shop.

But that’s not all! Flipp has a shopping list feature too. As you add items to the list, Flipp let’s you know there are sales for those items. You can pick the best ones and add them to Clippings. Then the app reminds you that you found a deal by putting a circled number next to the item on your list.


So yeah, Flipp is a great little shopping helper! I hope I convinced you to try it out. It’s available through iTunes and Google Play.

Reading Outside My Comfort Zone: #AMonthofFaves Post

When I read the prompts for A Month of Faves, I keep thinking I have nothing to add. I really thought that about today's theme. But then...



I remembered that I read Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson. Science fiction is not my genre, which is strange since I love reading horror, and sci-fi and horror often intersect along their borders. I always feel out to sea while reading sci-fi. I do tend to go for speculative fiction. Perhaps it's because the world is only slightly off in speculative fiction, not completely created from scratch.

Falling in Love With Hominds is a mix of all three, a little speculative, sci-fi, and horror. The book is a collection of short stories. Sometimes I couldn't follow what was happening, but when a story hit with me, it really hit.



Along those lines is In Other Worlds by Margaret Atwood. It isn't a sci-fi novel, but a collection of essays and thoughts about the genre. She's a big fan and has a lot of opinions. It was really interesting and way outside my comfort zone!

Favorites This Week: #AMonthofFaves Post


Hey all! Ready for some links? A Month of Favorites asks us to pick out some posts from other participants to highlight. Here a few that caught my eye.

Sarah's Book Shelves has a list of Blog Resources for the Non-Tech Savvy. Some I haven't seen before or forgot about.

Apparently, everyone loves Canva. I've been missing out!

Raidergirls's list of Five Must Haves for Winter Survival is close to my heart since we're practically neighbours. #stormchips

This is not related to A Month of Favorites but Jenny from Reading the End is recapping Jessica Jones. Watch the show, then check it out!




Blogging Tech Essentials: #AMonthofFaves Post

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Welcome to another A Month of Favorites post hosted by Andi, Tanya, and T. Today we’re talking about Blogging Tech essentials, some piece of technology that makes blogging easier.

This year I finally took the plunge and bought myself a Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. I went with the basics which costs me $12 USD a month. For me, it’s worth it. I take a lot of photos.

My subscription includes Photoshop, Lightroom, and Creative Cloud storage. Photoshop is quite labour intensive and I don’t use it much. I need to sit down and learn more about it. I find Lightroom useful. With Lightroom, you can do basic fixes for your photos: red eye, cropping, adjust exposure, noise reduction, etc. You can also add pretty filters, vignettes, and sunflares. There are a lot of filters available online, both free and pay to download. You can add a watermark before saving a photo too. It’s so fun to play around with and easy to use. I edit both my camera and iphone photos with Lightroom.

How do I use it for blogging? Stock photos. I take photos of objects that can be used to illustrate a wide range of posts. I fix them up in Lightroom. I try to leave some empty space for text. Then I add them to my stock photos file. I have a file on my hard drive but I also store photos in Creative Cloud. When I need a photo for a post, I just find an appropriate one, add text, and upload to my blog post. Like the one above.

adobe snip
A sampling of my saved stock photos
I still use PicMonkey for adding text. I just like it.

Another thing I love about Lightroom is the mobile app. It syncs with the desktop, so if you edit a photo with your phone, it’s saved to the desktop too. I like to drop my edited photos from the desktop into my phone. It’s easy to share them that way.

So, that’s my essential for 2015? What’s yours?

Five Winter Survival Favorites: #AMonthofFaves Post

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Another Month of Faves from Andi, Tanya, and T.  and I skipped yesterday’s post about memorable books because I couldn’t remember any of them! Ha! Actually, I didn’t have time. Maybe I’ll throw it in at the end of today’s post.

Speaking of… today we are promoting our 5 favorite winter survival items. Being a Northern person, I know a bit about surviving winter. Here are some of my faves.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion I suffer from eczema. I haven’t found anything that can conquer it. It’s much worse in the winter. One thing that helps a lot is this lotion. I’ve been using it for decades. Without it I think the itching would have driven me crazy ages ago.

The Body Shop’s Hemp Hand Protector This is one of the best hand creams I’ve ever tried. It goes on thick, but doesn’t leave a greasy feel. The scent is nice too. Not too strong. I rub it in my hands right before bed. (Dry skin is my winter theme!)

Burt’s Bees lip balm I know there are so many types of Burt’s Bees lip balm now: scented, tinted. But I like the plain ole original the best.

Insulated mugs Let’s get away from all things epidermis for a bit. When I was working, I’d like to start the day with chai tea during the morning commute. I had to have it in an insulated mug or it might not be very warm after I scrape the car windows. Contigo makes some fancy ones.

T-max Heat socks These are not the sexiest or cutest socks in the world but they are sooooo warm. T-max makes all kinds of thermal things: underwear, hats, handwarmers- for men, women, and children. The socks are my favorite. I pull them on first thing on a cold morning.

That’s my list! I hope you found it helpful.



Bonus: Most Memorable Read of the Year

An English Woman-Sergeant In the Serbian Army by Flora Sandes. I found this one by accident when I was flitting through the Audiobooks App “Suprise Me” feature. I was very surprised! This is Flora’s memoir of her time in the Serbian Army. She is quite the badass. I loved this book!
flora and her men
Look at her though! (And those boots!)

Picking Favorites: #AMonthofFaves Post

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Today’s A Month of Faves post is pretty straightforward. Highlight a few posts from the other participants! I’m really enjoying this look back on the year. Here are some that popped out at me this week.

Andi’s list of Favorite Makeup Buys

Tara from Reading n Running has the cutest doggy!

Suzi posted some beautiful photos of the beach at Whimpulsive.

I got serious travel envy from Welsey at Library Educated’s photos of Prague.

One of Raidergirl’s favorite things was her son coming to play basketball for the local university here. Aw!

I know I probably missed a million other favorite posts, and will remember them later but that’s all I can think of now. Check out all the posts for the week at A Month of Faves.

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things in 2015: #AMonthofFaves Post

If you’ve been following along at home, December is A Month of Faves and today’s theme is Favorite Things of 2015. It was a busy year for me. I had a job, left a job (contract ended), got a new car, and took a trip. It’s been fun to look back on it all through these posts.

Here are some of the things I enjoyed most about 2015.

Activity: Snowshoeing snowshoeing
I’ve started snowshoeing last year, but I made it more of a regular activity this year. I wrote about it more in this post It’s a great way to be active it the snow.





Food: Lemon Chicken Stew lemon chicken stew
I found the recipe for Lemon Chicken Stew on Pinterest. It’s so good!







Event: Ribfest! IMG_0728
Sorry, vegetarians! Our town had our first Ribfest this year and it was a success.






Drink: Red wineIMG_1925
I made an effort to give red wine a try. Some were better than others. I think it’s a matter of finding the right one. I am now a red wine drinker.






Another Drink: Pumpkin Chai TeaIMG_1926
For all you PSL lovers out there! Pumpkin Chai Tea from Davids Tea is so good! Try a chai tea latte instead of a PSL. A nice twist on a seasonal favorite.





See: The Halifax Public LibraryOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I was so excited to see this new library for the first time. I wrote about my visit for Book Bloggers International.






Wear: Puma Running ShoeIMG_2498
I spent a lot of time looking for new running shoes. I’m very picky about them. They have to be light and flexible. All I could find were big clunky shoes. No good. I finally spied these Pumas earlier this year. I’m very impressed with them.




Visit: Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba IMG_1735
Probably the best part of my year was travelling with family to Cuba. The beach was amazing.





Those were some of my favorite things in 2015. What were yours?

Fun Times With The Corinthian

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Sir Richard Wyndham is a Corinthian. In Regency times, a Corinthian is a man of style. Not a dandy, no. A Corinthian is sporty as well as fashionable. And Sir Richard is the best of them. He’s the Lenny Kravitz of the Regency era. If HE wore an afghan as a scarf, all the other fashionable dudes would be raiding their Grandma’s linen closets. Often imitated, never duplicated is Sir Richard.

Sir Richard’s bachelor days are coming to an end. His family has an intervention. Stop all the running around and get married. The family expects him to marry the icy Melissa Brandon, who informs him that she’s as happy about their upcoming nuptials as he is. After a frosty pre-engagement conversation, Richard goes out and has himself a think… fueled by alcohol. On the way home from the club, he spies a young man climbing out a window, the ladder a bit too short for him to reach the ground.

The young man turns out to be a young woman, Penelope “Pen” Creed, who is escaping an unwanted engagement herself. An orphan and an heiress, Pen has been a guest of her aunt for years. Her aunt now insists she marry her son-  a boy with “a face like a fish.” Pen hatches a plan to return to her home estate, where there is another boy who promised to marry her when they were just twelve. A boy she hasn’t seen in five years is better than ole fish face.

Sir Richard, in his drunken state, thinks this is a fine idea and agrees to help her get across the country to her old home. He thinks better of it after he sobers up and finds himself sharing a stagecoach with a farmer, a spinster, and a thief, not to mention a seventeen year old girl itching for excitement.

What follows is a madcap adventure. There’s a jewel theft, an elopement, and a murder.
I really liked The Corinthian. I’ll put it right up there with my favorite Georgette Heyer novels. It’s fun! You can’t take it too seriously. A lot of silly stuff happens. Sure, there’s a murder, but nobody liked that guy anyway.

Sir Richard takes most of the focus of the novel, but Pen is a fun female character too. She likes the freedom wearing boy’s clothes gives her. There are downsides when she almost ends up in jail, or when a boy tries to fight her for besmirching his lady’s honour. She’s quick with a convincing story. She’s curious. She’s unique. She’s not quite a MPDG though.

I read this on vacation and it was the perfect beach read. It didn’t require a lot of brain power, but it was clever and interesting enough to keep me engaged.

Rating?
thumbs-up-512




My Reading Year: #AMonthofFaves Post

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I was reading Andi’s Twitter timeline and saw that she was co-hosting A Month of Faves. I thought I’d jump in with my own Faves, though I probably won’t do all of them. Check out the Event Schedule.

Today’s theme is My Reading Year.

I can’t complain too much about my reading year, unlike last year. I forgot what a terrible reading year 2014 was.  I’ve read 59 books so far (out of 60 I planned to read for the Goodreads challenge). 9 of those were Lumberjanes, but that’s okay. In fact, I read a number of graphic novels and comics, including Through the Woods by Emily Carroll and Step Aside, Pops by Kate Beaton.

This year I discovered the “dime novel” genre with the crazy The Oath of Vengeance. I found a new real life heroine in Flora Sandes who wrote of her adventures during World War I in An English Woman Sergeant in the Serbian Army. I got up close and personal with two celebrities: Mindy Kaling and Aisha Tyler. I read new-to-me tales from my old pals Edith Wharton, Alexandre Dumas, and Shirley Jackson

During the RIP X Challenge, I read two different monkey related stories. I also participated in the Monkalong (The Monk Readalong). That was a lot of fun!

Numbers: Four of my reads were short story collections, which was a lot for me. Sixteen of my books read were audiobooks. I love audiobooks! Fifteen books were by non-white authors. Eight were non-fiction, five romance, ten horror, five mystery. I plan on breaking down my book stats later this year, so this is just a quick peek. 

So, that was My Reading Year in one short post! What did your year look like?