Welcome to another installment of Dishin’ It Up – January 2017 Edition! Where I share my favorite books, music, food and fun from the past month!
Happy February (I am fully aware we are already a week into February, but I am just barely getting around to this write up!)! I started 2017 running and haven’t stopped yet! January was filled with lots of travel for both work and fun, as well as, many deadlines and several personal challenges. But January was also filled with some fun and good eats! Below are some of my favorite things and a few highlights from the month of January!
What I’ve been up to:
I spent the first week of January at a ranch in south Texas for work. I love traveling down to this part of the great state of Texas because it always reminds me of a Cormac McCarthy (one of my favorite authors) novel and I can’t help but get lost in my thoughts as I make the long rural drive in the dry and rugged south Texas country side.
I also can’t help but think of the Pioneer Woman and her life on a cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere, as she cooks for a crowd. I have been heading down to the ranch for many years now and there is always a challenge, power outages, washed out roads or running out of ingredients and the nearest grocery store is a small Mom and Pop store 45 minutes away.
And even though my visits to the ranch are busy and filled with challenges, it helps clear my mind and it is great to get out of the city and breath some fresh air.
Oh… and the Texas country sunsets… well are simply breathtaking!
What I’ve been reading:
In 2015 I made a new year’s goal to read more books. I lost count but I think I read close to 30 books that year, despite having the busiest year of my life. Last year I wanted to up my book reading, since reading is something I have LOVED since I was a small child. But sadly, I only read a few books last year because I was focused on so many other things.
Since I am focused on doing things that make me happy in 2017, I am making a strong effort to make reading a priority again! In January I finished 2 books and am half way through a 3rd! I hope that by making this a regular feature in my monthly Dishin’ It Up series, I’ll keep up with my reading goal.
So here’s what I read:
The Fault in Our Stars – So I know I am a little late the book The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, bandwagon, but when I was looking for a new book at the used book store last month, it was one of the cheapest and one I had heard good things about so I thought I would give it a read. I have not seen the movie yet, and since this book is considered YA literature, it is a quick read, yet clever, thought provoking and heartbreaking.
The Fault in Our Stars is the love story of two teenagers fighting cancer. The book not only shares their ups and downs as they discover love while going through cancer treatment, but sheds light on a family’s struggle to cope with seeing their child/sister/brother/loved one deal with terminal illness. If you haven’t read it or seen the movie, I recommend it for a quick, thoughtful read.
And now that I’ve finally read the book, I guess I have to check out the movie sometime soon!
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Out of the three books I read in January, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, by Kim Edwards, was probably my favorite. The story is told in two points of view, which I know for some is hard to read, but the author does a great job of going into details and descriptions to make you feel each character and understand which character you are reading about.
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is story of a man who gives away his newborn daughter, who has Down syndrome, during the 1960’s, a time when disabilities were still looked down upon in society. The story follows along with two families- the one who gave the child away and the one who raised the child- as they move through life.
Not only is this book thought provoking, making one think about how we treat those that are different than us, but also makes you stop and think about how the choices you make not only affect your own life but others. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a great read that is a little bit different than love stories, mystery and sci-fi books that are super popular now.
What I’ve been watching:
Early in January I posted on Facebook and Instagram a request for ideas on a new TV series to watch. I was bored with several series I had been watching, and/or had blown through several things and needed something to watch while waiting for my favorite current shows to come back.
So here are the show’s that I am currently loving:
This Is Us (NBC)- I love, love, love this show! It is so well written and the actors do an amazing job! Personally, I can relate to a few of the story lines, but I think most people can relate to some part of the show, which is why it makes you laugh, cry and think.
The O.A. (Netflix) – When I was trying to find a show to watch I saw The O.A. listed on several recommended show threads on social media. This is another great show that we watched in one week. Not only did this show come highly recommended by many, Eric and I both loved it, which is rare! 🙂 It is a mystery/sci-fi/drama and at the end of every episode you can’t help but want to watch “just one more”. So far we have loved almost every Netflix Original series that we have watched, with this one tying for first with Stranger Things.
The Wall (NBC) – We have gotten hooked to this fun and exciting trivia game show with a twist!
Hidden Figures – I went to see this movie in theater for a girls night out and I was left feeling so inspired! Hidden Figures is the story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, a group of brilliant African-American women working at NASA in the 1960’s; who were some of the intelligent minds who helped launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. This movie made me feel sad that even in 2017 people are still being discriminated against just because of their race, gender, religion, etc., despite the fight for equality that so many have given in the past and continue to fight for today. However, at the same time, this movie made me feel proud to be a woman and made me feel strong, powerful and inspired to work hard and fight for what is right and to make my dreams come true. I think that everyone needs to go see this movie NOW!
What I’ve been eating:
We have actually been trying to eat healthier and save money this past month so we haven’t eaten out that much. What I have eaten out were quick things, many of which have been smoothies while out running errands. In fact, I might have become a bit of an ATX smoothie and juice bar connoisseur, and therefore I am thinking of doing a write up of all my favorite smoothie shops in Austin soon.
In fact, that is something I’m hoping of doing more of in 2017, writing about my favorite local eats and adventures, as a way to expand a little more on what I share on Instagram and in this Dishin’ It Up series. Is this something you all would be interested in?
And, in case you haven’t noticed, I have been sharing more recipes and articles in print and around the web lately. I have been a contributor to the SoFab Food blog* for several months now and recently shared a recipe for these easy and tasty Turkey, Spinach, and Cranberry Wraps, inspired by some of my favorite seasonal flavors. These wraps are a healthy lunch option and perfect if you are bored with your current lunch time routine. Hop on over to the SoFab Food blog to check out the recipe!
Well that’s it for now! What have you been up to lately? Share in the comments below!
For more up to the minute peeks into my favorite eats and fun, follow Kitchen Concoctions on Instagram!
Disclosure: While I am a paid contributor and guest blogger for SoFab Food, this post is not sponsored. I just love sharing what I’ve been up to and some of my favorite things with you as part of my Dishin’ It Up series! All opinions are my own.