Month: November 2020

Top Ten Things I’m Thankful For: 2020 Edition

Posted November 23, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 24 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week is Thanksgiving in the USA, so I thought a thankful freebie would be fun. This year has been HARD. So, so hard on so many people. We’ve all been stretched and challenged in ways we didn’t expect would ever happen: quarantine, canceled trips and events, isolation from family and friends, health challenges, loss of life or quality of life, loss of jobs, fear of all kinds, unkindness, hatred, etc. This year has been a LOT. So I thought it would be therapeutic to set all that aside for a few minutes and reflect on what’s gone right for me and what I’m thankful for.

1. I am thankful for my mom and my sister. They are my biggest cheerleaders, my confidants, and my best friends. My mom and I laugh together, cry together, and are pretty much the same person. She also takes care of me and is always looking out for what I need.

2. I am thankful that I get to live in such a beautiful place!

3. I am thankful for all the awesome travel experiences I’ve had throughout my life. I’m sad I didn’t get to go on my big exciting trip this year, but I will get to someday. Instead, I’ve reflected on what travel has done for me. Through traveling, I have learned so much about myself, what I am capable of, and how lucky I am. I’ve also learned a lot about culture, language, and what an awesome world we live in.

4. I am thankful for animals, whether they are mine, a friend’s, or a stranger’s on Instagram. They never cease to make me smile.

5. I am thankful for books. I love reading and escaping to new worlds and meet new people. Romances have saved me during this pandemic because they remind me of what life will be like again someday.

6. I am thankful for the new and/or stronger friendships I’ve made this year. I found a really nice group of people who have lifted me up and supported me and I love them for it. We’ve had lots of zoom visits and book discussions and have shared all kinds of life things with each other. It’s so refreshing to have this!

7. I’m thankful for my education.

8. I’m thankful for music, and the ability I have to connect with it on such a deep level.

9. I’m thankful for my talents of creativity and singing.

10. I’m thankful for my Heavenly Father.

What are you thankful for this year?

Top Ten Tuesday Link-up – September 16, 2020

Posted November 16, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 9 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! I have wracked by brain for this week’s topic, “top ten characters I’d name a pet after” and I am sucking at it. Maybe it’s because I read predominately contemporary and thriller novels so everyone has non-pet names? I love old person names for animals, like Fred or Otto or Violet or Millie and my books are not filled with names like those. It’s not super fun when I come up with a topic that’s too hard for me, but then I think that sometimes my topics are too hard for you and you just skip them and come back the following week for a new topic! So then I thought… hey. I can do that, too, sometimes. And that’s ok! If I feel inspired I’ll come back and edit this post, but I’m not sure I will. lol.

What kinds of names do you like for pets? Food? Book/movie/fandom based?
What names did you pick for your pet(s)? How did you come up with that name?
If you don’t have a pet, but hope to someday… have you ever thought of what you’d name them?

The Santa Box | Movie Review (+ Giveaway)

Posted November 13, 2020 by Jana in Movie Review / 5 Comments

The Santa Box | Movie Review (+ Giveaway)

I’m excited to be a part of the official The Santa Box movie blog tour! If you know me at all, you know how much I love Christmas and Christmas movies, so when I was offered the opportunity to be on this blog tour . Thank you to the PR company for providing a free copy of the DVD for this review!

The Santa Box Movie
Rating: NR (Family movie, suitable for all ages)
Genre: Drama
Movie Trailer
IMDB Info Page
Amazon | Seagull Book | Deseret Book

For 12-year-old Kallie Watts, Christmas is anything but merry. For the last five years, the tinsel-strewn holiday has spelled disaster for her family, so when an apartment fire leaves Kallie and her widowed mother homeless just in time for the holidays, it comes as no surprise. There’s only one logical conclusion: Kallie is cursed by Christmas.

When her mother finds a new job in a small California town, Kallie steps out of the moving van and into her worst nightmare: a real-life version of “Whoville,” overflowing with holiday decorations and brimming with Christmas cheer. Forced to navigate the complicated ins and outs of her jolly new surroundings, Kallie is shaken out of her gloom one day when she discovers an ornately carved wooden Santa box on the porch, addressed to her. The moment she lifts the lid, Kallie’s life is changed forever as she rediscovers the true magic and meaning of Christmas …

What a sweet, heartwarming movie about the true meaning of Christmas: it’s better to give than to receive! The movie starts out during WWII with a boy stealing food from two soldiers in order to survive, and then flashes to present-day with Kallie’s story of dealing with starting life over after a devastating house fire. The town they end up in is suuuuuper Christmassy, and Kallie is overwhelmed by it all. As she and her mom meet new people and see a few miracles in their own lives, things turn around for them both and Kallie begins to soften. I won’t give any more away because I hate reading reviews that spoil books/movies, but it’s very sweet. Well, except for the hints of teens picking on other teens and the popular kids versus the unpopular ones. I don’t enjoy teen drama, and felt that took away a little of my overall enjoyment of the story. I did love the parts of the movie that included Otto, a sweet old German man. The friendship he and Kallie form is so special, and I love how much he loves the magic of Christmas. He takes her under his wing and gives her some great advice. I also really enjoyed the hints of romance between Kallie’s mom and the handyman who comes to their door one day. There were a lot of important messages in the movie including making the most of what you have, forgiving others, and being kind. The magic of the Santa Box was also really fun, but I don’t want to go into more detail than that. Overall, The Santa Box is a wonderful movie that really got me into the festive spirit. I definitely recommend it. And wow… did you notice how many times I used the word “sweet” to describe this movie? lol.

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Top Ten Book Titles That Would Make Great Song Titles

Posted November 9, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 19 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic, Book Titles That Would Make Great Song Titles (submitted by Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse), is the companion to a topic we did in April, Book Titles That Would Make Awesome Band Names. This was a really fun topic!

1. Paradise Cove by Jenny Holiday
This sounds like something Weezer would sing.

2. Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid
I can hear the kind of song I’m thinking of in my head, but I can’t find the words to describe it!

3. You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
This song SCREAMS break-up song to me, kind of like Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood.

4. Just Say When by Jill Shalvis
This sounds like a Snow Patrol love song to me.

5. One Summer In Santorini by Sandy Barker
I’m thinking of a New Age, piano or other instrumental piece.

6. The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Again, I can’t explain it. Maybe another ballad-type song? Adele sound sing a song with this title, I think.

7. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
This is totally a man singing to a woman he adores.

8. This Time Next Year by Allison Kent
Another love song! I love love songs.

9. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Totally a cute pop song.

10. Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan
I had to throw in a Christmas song because have you met me?

What books do you think would make good song titles?

My Top Ten Non-Bookish Hobbies

Posted November 2, 2020 by Jana in About Me, Top Ten Tuesday / 32 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week I thought it would be so much fun to get to know each other on a more personal level. We’re all faces in books behind computer screens, but there’s more to all of us than books, right? I’m excited to learn more about you this week. :)

1. Puzzles
I love building puzzles and collecting the prettiest ones. They’re so relaxing and really make me happy!

2. Binging TV Shows
I love marathoning my favorite shows like Friends, MASH, Wings, JAG, etc. Right now I’m working my way through I Love Lucy for the umpteenth time.

3. Christmas
It’s a hobby, ok? I shop for decorations all year long and listen to Christmas music or watch a Christmas movie when I need a pick-me-up. It makes me happy!

4. Graphic Design
Did you know this is where the “artsy” in my blog title comes from? I’m a graphic designer! I love designing things for friends, family, and myself.

5. Animal Crossing
I got a Switch over the summer and I’m super addicted to Animal Crossing. I’m having so much fun decorating my island for the holidays, too. It looked positively adorable for Halloween and now I’m preparing for Christmas!

6. Shopping
I really, really love shopping. If I’m bored, I go browse online for things to add to my wish list!

7. Alternative Medicine
I find natural healing fascinating, and love researching and looking for new ways to feel better. I’ve got a lot of chronic health and pain conditions that have not responded at all to pharmaceuticals, so this takes up a huge chunk of my free time.

8. Baking
I especially like baking Christmas cookies, but I like making regular cookies and muffins all year! I need to star dabbling in bread. I’d love to bake bread!

9. Exploring/Traveling
I love visiting new places or exploring where I live! I love traveling, and I especially love going on cruises. COVID cancelled our two-week cruise this past May, which sucked. My mom, sister, and I just went on a drive looking for fall leaves a few weeks ago and I love doing things like that.

10. Decorating/Organizing/Home Projects
I love interior design, organizing and going through stuff to get rid of, and painting/remodeling the house! My family and I just re-did the family room and office during pandemic, and we’ve been going through everything and reorganizing and getting rid of stuff. It’s been fun!

What are some of your non-bookish hobbies? Do we have any in common?