Take a peek behind the scenes of Hello Little Home in my March 2021 Diary!
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March 2021 Diary
Welcome to my Diary. This monthly series gives you a peek behind the scenes of Hello Little Home. I’m sharing all the things I’ve been up to that don’t make it on the blog. Hopefully, we’ll get to know one another better in the process.
What a difference a couple months can make! After a pretty inauspicious start to the year, it feels like things are starting to look up.
While writing my last diary in January, I was struggling to find uplifting things to talk about. But after a very long year, I'm finally sensing a little optimism in the air. Are you feeling the same way?
Plus, I actually have some positive things to report! Hopefully, this momentum keeps up, and 2021 turns out alright after all. (I had my doubts.)
Without further ado, here's what I've been up to these past couple months!
Vaccine ... Halfway There
Perhaps the best news of all: I got my first vaccine dose last Sunday!! Woohoo!
I honestly didn't think I'd get it until this summer, so it was a very pleasant surprise to get an appointment so early. And I got the shot on my birthday no less (basically, the best birthday present ever).
My husband is already fully vaccinated (he has a few health issues which bumped him up), so I cannot wait to get that second dose 16 days from now ... not that I'm counting or anything. (BTW, the only side effect I had was a little soreness in my arm. Not bad at all.)
I'm sooo looking forward to dipping my toe back into some sense of normality soon, albeit a masked and socially distanced version of normal. I'm dreaming of enjoying a beer outside at one of my favorite bars, and I also really need a new battery for my laptop, which is basically on life support at this point.
Of course, all of this prompted me to panic a bit and think: I'm not ready to reenter society. LOL! I need to schedule a haircut, find some clothes that fit, etc. ... basically, all.the.things!
Much Needed Family Time
Ranking right up there with that vaccine shot: I got to see my sister and her family in March! She lives in Wisconsin, so it's been over a year since our last visit.
We had talked about doing a trip together many times over the past year. But of course, we weren't sure if it would actually happen. Thankfully, the stars aligned, and everything worked out.
My sister has been vaccinated for months (she's a nurse), and we wore masks when we were inside together. Which was rare, because we planned the whole trip around outdoor activities, took separate cars, made our own food / got takeout, etc. So it felt pretty safe.
We all met up in Amarillo, and enjoyed the local sites ... Route 66, Cadillac Ranch, Palo Duro Canyon, Caprock Canyon, we drove to Lubbock to visit Prairie Dog Town and check out some Buddy Holly stuff, and more. It was so fun!
There was actually a legit blizzard in Amarillo during our trip. So that makes two major snowstorms this year for me. Pretty rare in Texas! We were actually very lucky with that first snowstorm, which clobbered most of the state. We live near a bunch of federal / state buildings, so the power outages didn't affect us. My husband did get stuck in a hotel in Denver for three days though!
P.S. If you've never been to Amarillo before, check out my Amarillo Guide. There is so much to do there, and the Panhandle is one of my favorite areas in Texas.
More Outdoor Adventures
While in Amarillo, my husband and I decided to get an annual state parks pass. We used it to get into Palo Duro Canyon and Caprock Canyon (which I'd never been to) on our trip.
Since then, we've also checked out a couple other parks, too. On our way back from Amarillo, we stopped at Copper Breaks State Park, which was really pretty. And after getting my vaccine shot on my birthday, we drove to Lake Mineral Wells State Park, which was also gorgeous, to do some hiking.
We've even talked about going camping at some point. I love being outside, but I pretty much swore off camping years ago ... wild animals scare me, and I need a comfortable bed. Maybe this is the year I become truly outdoorsy though. Stranger things have happened!
In any case, I can't wait to visit more parks soon! Of course, it's getting to be that time of year in Texas when it's absolutely unbearable to be outside. I guess we'll have to use summertime to plan our fall adventures!
What I've Been Eating
Nothing too exciting to report here ... I'm still getting a weekly meal kits delivered. I don't think I would have eaten nearly as well this past year without these boxes. I love them, and it basically forced me to cook something delicious instead of eating pretzels for dinner every night!
My husband is on a low carb, low fat diet (bad combo, but doctors orders), so that has been a challenge lately. He travels for work, and he's really only home on the weekend. I've been getting creative (soup, veggies bowls, etc.), but I'm thankful I don't have to plan a full week of these kinds of meals.
I've also been trying to lose a few pounds myself (that whole reemerging into society thing, ha). To help out, I've been tracking everything I eat with the SparkPeople app. I've used this app before, and it worked really well for me. So I'm going back to basics!
What I'm Watching
Where do I even start? My list of TV shows watched the last two months is looong!
I won't bore you with the whole list, but some of my favorites have been:
- The Sinner - I burned through three seasons in as many days!
- Jasper Mall - A documentary about the end of mall life. Very well done, but kinda sad.
- Back to Life - I love anything British. Hopefully, there will be a second season.
- Behind Her Eyes - Has a really unexpected twist that you'll never guess!
- Hunt for the Wilderpeople - This was such a wonderful movie ... heartwarming, sad, and also funny.
- The Last Resort - An interesting peek at a forgotten era in Miami and the photographers who captured it.
- The Muppet Show - My husband and I have been watching episodes of this on Disney+, and holy cow, this show is weird. I definitely did not pick up on that when watching this as a kid!
The Oscars are coming up soon, so I'm trying to catch up on all the nominated movies, too. Sound of Metal, which was amazing, has been my fave so far. I'm honestly not really sure if anyone cares about the Oscars this year ... I mean, there is A LOT going on. But if you're into it, make sure to grab my Printable Oscar Ballot (it's totally free).
What I'm Reading
Except for that trip in March, I was mostly hanging out at home these past couple months. And I read some really good books in February and March!
- My favorite book was Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. This is the best book I've read in a long time, and I can't recommend it enough. I was actually enjoying it so much, that I put a hold on her other book, Homegoing, at just about a hundred pages into this one. Can't wait to get my hands on that one soon.
- I usually don't give up on books, but I started and did not finish Untamed by Glennon Doyle. While I agree with what she was saying, and I know lots of people love this book, it wasn't for me. I just did not enjoy reading it (at all).
- Next, I read You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria. I don't read tons of romances, but I loved the characters (actors in a telenovela), setting, and story. It was a really fun read ... and steamy!
- Does you remember the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella? I used to read those books back in the day, so I decided to catch up. Well after reading Shopaholic to the Stars (kind of a slog) and Shopaholic to the Rescue (better), I can definitely say that I've scratched that itch, lol. I like the scrappy ladies in Kinsella's other books much more at this point ... I read My Not So Perfect Life recently too (and liked it a lot), so I may skip out on future Shopaholic books (if there are any)!
- Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore was next. Although the concept of the book (a woman who lives the years of her life out of order) is really clever, I liked it, but didn't love it.
- After that, I read Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The structure of this book is really unique (basically, a long Rolling Stones-style interview with a band), and it was a really fun read.
- I was really looking forward to reading Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and it didn't disappoint. This one is pretty dark and creepy ... you know something bad's going to happen, you're just not sure when!
- Then, I read American Royals and Majesty by Katherine McGee. These books are a series, and I enjoyed the first book the most (not sure if I need to keep going, if the series continues). They're based the idea that George Washington became king, instead of president, and the books are about the lives of the young, present day heirs to the throne. I actually didn't realize that these were young adult books until after I finished the first one! They're a good option if you're looking for a light read.
- After that, I read the Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis, which was excellent! I may have to read more of his books. If you loved the TV show, you'll definitely love the book, too. They're quite similar, with a few key changes. I actually rewatched the TV show after reading the book, and enjoyed it even more the second time!
- I probably should have saved Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand, about a family who summers in Nantucket, for the summer, but it was a great winter read nevertheless. The book has a funny anachronism that I'm sure almost no one else noticed, but it was mentioned multiple times that the grandmother liked her Hendrick's and tonic. The book is set in 1969 though and Hendrick's gin didn't even come out until the late 90's ... I just thought it was so oddly specific to be inaccurate!!
- From there, I dove into The Vegetarian by Hang Kang, which was quite dark. On the surface, it's about a woman who becomes a vegetarian after having a nightmare, but it's really more about mental illness, and the way three of the women's family member treat to her after this decision. I wouldn't say I enjoyed it (it's pretty disturbing), but I thought it was really well written, and I kept thinking about the book well after I finished it. I'm looking forward to reading more of this author's books in the future.
- After The Vegetarian, another light read was in order, and The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon was the perfect choice! This was another romance, and I loved the strong, successful main character and the buildup to the hookup (and the aftermath).
- The last book I read was The Cactus League by Emily Nemens, which my husband recommended to me. I have mixed feelings about this one. The structure of the book was interesting and well done: each chapter is about a different character, although they all revolve (often loosely) around one ballplayer. The treatment of the female characters felt sexist and one note though, and it really bothered me ... I'm surprised a woman wrote this book.
Have you read any of these books? I'd love to hear your thoughts (and recommendations for other books) in the comments!
What I'm Listening To
I'm finding it so hard to keep up with podcasts when there's so little travel going on. I used to burn through them on flights.
That said, I'm keeping up with Office Ladies, I listened to and enjoyed the second season of Dr. Death, and I usually listen to the A Beautiful Mess Podcast, Bad on Paper, and Be There in Five (depending on the episode). My subscriptions list is long though, and the podcasts at the latter end of the alphabet are feeling pretty neglected right now ... I'm surprised I made it down to Office Ladies!
My husband and I also started listening to A Promised Land by Barack Obama (on Audible), and it's really, really good. It's also really, really long. I think we still have like 20 hours to go ... need to schedule another road trip to finish that one for sure!
What's Coming Up Next Month
I don't have much planned for April, other than getting that second vaccine shot ... and really, that's all I care about right now. I'm feeling hopeful and positive for the first time in a long time. Bring on that immunity!
What have you been up to recently? Let me know in the comments!
I hope you enjoyed reading my March Diary. If you liked this post, you can read all of my Diaries here.