Read Watch Play #10

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Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, and the Sunday Post. Read, Watch, Play is a monthly round-up of bookish and non-bookish entertainment going on in my home this week. Feel free to join in and let me know what fun you have had recently!

What I’m Reading

 

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I am slowly plugging away at this one. Don’t be deceived by my slow progress…I love it! My Own Words could best be described as a compilation of Justice Ginsburg’s speeches, articles, and opinions. I love how she continually references and mentions all of the trail-blazing women that came before her, like Belva Lockwood and Florence Allen.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I’m proceeding cautiously with this one, given all the sexism and misogyny. I’m only 30 pages in, but so far I like the world-building.

What I’m Watching

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This Is Us. I binge watched the first half of the season over winter break in December, and have been watching weekly ever since. This is definitely one of my favorite TV series at the moment. I have loved every, single episode, many of which have hit SOO close to home with my life right now (Randall’s reunion with his birth father, mainly). Until the finale. What was that?! I did not like it. I wanted more Randall, Kate and Kevin!

What I’m Playing

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Ticket to Ride. I just realized we have been so busy that gaming has not happened for a while in our house! Instead of leaving this section blank, I’m throwing in the board game that is currently at the top of my wish list!

What are you up to on this sunny, Spring Sunday? 

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Read Watch Play #9

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Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, and the Sunday Post. Read, Watch, Play is a monthly round-up of bookish and non-bookish entertainment going on in my home this week. Feel free to join in and let me know what fun you have had recently!

What I’m Reading

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I have recently been reading more memoirs that I typically do, and this is the first one this year that I am truly enjoying. Although this was published back in 2009, I have found that NOW is exactly the right time for me to be reading The Happiness Project. 

I recently finished both The Mysterious Affair of Styles and The Secret Adversary, the first two books ever published by Agatha Christie. I don’t plan on doing a full review for either of them, and wanted to mention them here!

The Mysterious Affair at Styles is the first Hercule Poirot novel. While it was an enjoyable read, I had forgotten the problematic and subtle racism and anti-Semitism that sometimes pops up in Agatha Christie’s mysteries.

The Secret Adversary is a Tommy and Tuppence mystery. This my first time reading a book about these two fictional detectives, and I look forward to devouring the other Tommy & Tuppence books! It was a fun little tromp into a light espionage story, and very different from most of AC’s other mysteries.

What I’m Watching

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Lion. If you see this one, make sure to bring the box of tissues! Since I am currently going through my own personal reunion process as an adult adoptee, the emotional turmoil underlying Dev Patel’s character hit quite close to home. Dev Patel does an incredible job of bringing this true story to life on the big screen. I can’t wait to read the book.

What I’m Playing

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In our house, science experiments are so much fun they are considered play! In December, M received a 12-month gift subscription to Little Passports Science Expeditions subscription box. She has received the first two boxes so far, and they have both been fun, educational, and entertaining! Experiments included so far: forensic fingerprint analysis, DNA extraction from fruit, a volcano set, make your own snow, a magnet lab, electromagnets, and a reproduction of the northern lights! Additionally, each box comes with a new mystery to solve with characters Sam and Sofia. I highly recommend it for 8-10 year olds who have an interest in STEAM or STEM.

What are you up to on this lovely Sunday and longer President’s Day weekend?

Read Watch Play #8

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Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, and the Sunday Post. Read, Watch, Play is a round-up of bookish and non-bookish entertainment going on in my home this week. Feel free to join in and let me know what fun you have had recently!

It has been ages since I have done a Read, Watch, Play post! Life just gets in the way sometimes. Now that the holidays have passed, the snow days are gone (hopefully for a while), life is starting to get back to normal in our house, and I actually have a little more free time!

What I’m Reading

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Hillbilly Elegy is my book club’s pick for February. I have to admit I had misplaced expectations going into this book. I thought it was more of a research-based analysis than a memoir, but it is actually the opposite; a memoir with a tiny bit of research thrown in.

What I’m Watching

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I just read The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie’s very first novel. Of course, I then had to watch the corresponding episode from the Poirot TV series!

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We also watched Room last night. Usually I don’t like to watch the movie before reading the book, but I have been intrigued by this one ever since Brie Larson won an Oscar last year. Word of advice: don’t watch without a box of tissues nearby!

What I’m Playing

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Not quite a game, but I bought this Ultimate Dot-to-Dot book by Gareth Moore last week as a relaxing activity to do with M, once I saw that there was a good chance of snow days in the near future. This is a great dot-to-dot book! The dots are color coded, and I’m using the Staedtler 36 Colors, Triplus Fineliner Pen Set to complete the pages.

What I’m Cooking

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We’re doing the Whole 30 this month! In some ways, it hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it would be. In other ways, I am getting thoroughly tired of some of the food that we usually eat that has been cut out this month! And I miss cheese. And wine. And chocolate. And bread products.

If you haven’t heard of the Whole 30 by now (although I am sure most of you have!), it is 30 day “diet” meant to help reset your body on a path back towards healthy eating. We’ve been eating out a lot more than we usually do, and it seemed like a great time to give it a try, as a kick-start back to our normal, healthy way of life.

A month of Whole 30 is similar to Paleo, and means a whole lot of fruits, veggies, meats, eggs, and seafood. What it does not include: alcohol, dairy, grains, legumes, corn, soy, and sugar.

Here’s a sampling of some of the meals I have made over the past 9 days:

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Breakfast:

  • Breakfast tacos with homemade sausage, butterleaf lettuce, scrambled eggs and hot sauce (pictured)
  • Sausage patties with sautéed apples and cinnamon
  • Egg casserole with tomatoes, spinach, and Aidell’s Chicken and Apple Sausage
  • Scrambled eggs with lox and sautéed butternut squash, seasoned with Ras el Hanout (pictured)

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Lunch:

  • Israeli Salad, pistachios, melon with prosciutto (pictured)
  • “Nachos” – plantain chips, mango, rainbow carrots, leftover pulled pork, and guacamole (pictured)
  • Leftovers
  • An assortment of salads with smoked turkey, prosciutto, dates, slivered almonds, and vinaigrette dressing.
  • Trader Joe’s Lime Chili Chicken Burgers with guacamole, and a side of fruit or veggie.

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Dinners: 

  • Coconut Curry chicken with riced cauliflower and sautéed kale (pictured)
  • Pork Postole with Tostones and roasted potatoes (pictured)
  • Turkey curry meatballs with lemongrass coconut cream sauce and roasted veggies
  • Hamburger (all of the meat we buy is grassfed) with lettuce bun, guacamole, green beans, and Alexia Smart Classics french fries. And a pickle, once I realized that the dill pickles in our fridge had no sugar! (pictured)

As you can see, we have been busy cooking here! What are you up to this weekend?

Read Watch Play #7

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Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, and the Sunday PostRead, Watch, Play is a round-up of bookish and non-bookish entertainment going on in my home this week. Feel free to join in and let me know what fun you have had recently!

Whew! The last few days have been a whirlwind! We have had loads of family in for both Thanksgiving and M’s 9th birthday, which was yesterday. Very little reading, but lots of fun to be had. We went to the NC Zoo yesterday, a birthday request, and M and her cousin both had a blast.

One of the cutest – and funniest – moments of M’s birthday happened during the birthday gift opening. Her excitement and exuberance over receiving all of her gifts was contagious, but her reaction to opening one of them was priceless. She asked for a 2016 Hillary Clinton Funko! Pop, and when she opened it – OMG! She literally cried tears of happiness, jumping up and down and hugging it to her chest. The reaction was so over-the-top and genuine she had everyone in stitches. Even the Trump supporters in the family!

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Who knew a little Hillary could give so much joy to a 9-year-old? She looks up to Hillary – and the historical aspect of her campaign and what it represents – tremendously. It was all incredibly cute and a little bittersweet – when we bought the HRC Funko Pop!, we were hoping it would be a gift representing the newly elected Madame President. It still stings a bit.

In case you’re wondering what to buy a 9-year old this holiday season, these were all big hits:

  • My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope
  • AmScope Prepared Microscope slides
  • Walkie Talkies
  • Lego Friends Heartlake Grand Hotel
  • LilGadgets Wireless Headphones
  • Beados Sweet Scoop ‘N Mix
  • Harley Quinn Mini Action Figure
  • The Blank Comic Book Panelbook (for drawing and writing your own comics)
  • Usborne Write and Draw Your Own Comics –do you see a theme developing?
  • Mindware Extreme Dot-to-Dot: Animals
  • Books: The Land of Stories: An Author’s Odyssey by Chris Colfer, Big Nate Blasts Off by Lincoln Peirce, and Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky.

BLOG ACHIEVEMENT!!!

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Woohoo! I reached 100 followers a few days ago! A BIG thank you to everyone who follows my blog!

Now, on to Read, Watch, Play!

What I’m Reading

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The Exclusive Edition from OwlCrate, of course!

What I’m Watching

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Stars Hollow is back!!!! Filled with nostalgia, I have watched two of the four revival episodes: Winter and Spring. It is so cozy and fun to be back with Rory and Lorelei.

No spoilers on the last four words, and the real ending, until I finish the final two episodes, please!

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We went to see Doctor Strange on Friday, it was so good! Marvel movies – comic book movies in general – can be hit or miss for me. This one was so much fun to watch. I am admittedly not well-versed in this Marvel character’s storyline, so much of it was new to me! I love the magical and mystical components, different from the pseudo-science I was expecting. It definitely made me want to dig up some Doctor Strange comic books to learn more about the character’s book storylines!

 

What I’m Playing

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We always get out the Apples to Apples Jewish Edition when my in-laws come to visit!

What are you up to this week? Let me know in the comments!

Read Watch Play #6

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Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, the Sunday Post, and 5 Things on Sunday.

This fall has been crazy busy!! I look forward with glee to December when I will hopefully have two weeks of quiet and calm, and can go into winter book hermit mode (although it’s not actually that cold here yet in North Carolina – I don’t usually go into seclusion mode until the cold weather blows in!).

Right now, I am gearing up for Thanksgiving, a holiday that almost always also overlaps with M’s birthday. Every year, we host a multitude of family for both Thanksgiving and birthday celebrations. Don’t ask me about the year of Thanksgivukkah – that one crazy year (2013) that I had 3 holidays in 3 days: M’s birthday, Thanksgiving, and Chanukah all rolled into one! So much fun…and so exhausting!

This year, we have 10 family members coming to visit, beginning to arrive on Tuesday, and hopefully I will still be sane on the other end of things! Too bad our bathroom renovation is about one week behind schedule, and will not be done by Thanksgiving. I am sobbing tears of defeat over that one!

In other exciting news, I am only 4 people away from 100 followers!! Who knows, maybe you will be my 100th follower! It would be wonderful if I reached that milestone today!

What I’m Reading

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We had a great book haul from the library this week! Above is a selection of books that both M and I are reading.

M’s books:

  • The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
  • Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty (I will be reading this, too!)
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell. M loves this one so much she has probably already read it 3 times, and we are currently reading it aloud together, as well.

My books:

  • eleanor & park by Rainbow Rowell. I finished this a few days ago, and hopefully will have my review up before Thanksgiving!
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer – Squeee!!!
  • a platter of figs and other recipes by David Tanis – I always like going back to this cookbook when I need new ideas for dinner.

Even more exciting news, my November OwlCrate came in the mail Saturday evening! Here’s a sneak peek:

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Excuse the poor lighting, I didn’t open the box until I returned home from dinner last night!

What I’m Watching

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The Hunting Ground (Documentary) – This documentary takes a look at college rape, and how it is handled by various universities…and hits the bull’s eye. It is an influential documentary that deserves all the attention it has recieved…as do the amazing young women who were brave enough to confront university and athletic programs head on and demand change and reform.

What I’m Playing

My reward swag bag finally came in the mail for my team finishing 1st Place in the Women’s Relay for the JJF Virtual Triathlon!!

You can read about the Jimmie Johnson Virtual Triathlon in one of my earlier Read Watch Play Posts, but look at this cool swag!

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Here’s what came in the Swag bag:

  • An awesome medal and Congratulations note for completing a 140.6 mile triathlon!!
  • A Lowe’s Nascar hat – My dad would love this, so it will be passed on to him.
  • Under Armour Coldgear running gloves – They have touch-screen fingertips, which will be perfect for cold weather bike rides and walks to/from M’s school!
  • Sports towel – I can always use  more of those!
  • Mission EnduraCool Instant Cooling Skull Cap – I’m not sure if I will use this or not, so it might be gifted to my father-in-law, who runs and bikes and lives in the very hot, very arid desert near Phoenix, Arizona.
  • $10 Gift Certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods! Yes!!

What I’m Cooking

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I am participating in the 5 Things on Sunday meme for the first time, hosted by Kendra @ Reads and Treats. This week’s theme is a Thanksgiving freebie, which fits in perfectly with what I’m cooking this week!

I tried to switch things up this year and prepare some new dishes for our Thanksgiving feast. I received a resounding, PLEASE, NO!!! from almost every family member. My daughter loves my sweet potatoes and would be devastated if I switched out the marshmallow topping for pecans. My brother-in-law would consider it sacrilege if I tried out a new stuffing recipe. And so on and so forth.

So, here are five tried and true dishes that I make on Thanksgiving, and apparently are well-loved by my family!

  • Cranberry, Sausage and Apple Stuffing – made with a mix of whole wheat and farmhouse white bread that I buy at Great Harvest Bakery a few days before.
  • Cranberry Sauce – a quick 10-minute skillet recipe that only uses 3 ingredients: cranberries, sugar, and orange juice. Easy, and delicious!!
  • Turkey – We buy local, heritage turkeys as often as we can, and brine it overnight. We added the brining step a few years ago, and never looked back! I’m not a big turkey fan, but brining brings out the moisture and really adds to the flavor.
  • Sweet potato casserole – I don’t make the sweet potato as sugary sweet as other people do, but we do pile the marshmallows on the top!
  • Pumpkin Pie – my secret? I don’t use pumpkin, I use butternut squash! When we lived in Australia, sugar pumpkins (or canned pumpkin) was hard to come by. I substituted butternut squash one year, and loved how easy it was – especially compared to stringy pumpkins – and have done it that way ever since!

Happy Sunday! What are you up to this weekend?

 

Read Watch Play #5

October has been an incredibly busy month, and it has been a few weeks since I last did a Read, Watch, Play post, which is my version of the Sunday Salon. Read, Watch, Play is a round-up of bookish and non-bookish entertainment going on in my home this week. Feel free to join in and let me know what fun you have had recently!

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What I’m Watching:

  • Stranger Things (Netflix)- I finally finished the first season! It is rare that I watch anything classified as horror, but I’m glad I made an exception for this one. The actress who plays Eleven, Millie Bobby Brown, is brilliant. I can’t wait to see where they take the show next.
  • Just Add Magic (Amazon) – An original series by Amazon, and a much better than I thought it would be. M started watching this about two weeks ago, and after walking by a few times while she had it on, I got sucked in to the series as well. Just Add Magic is targeted to tweens – the show is based on a middle-grade book of the same name by Cindy Callaghan – but there must be some magic involved, because adults seem to enjoy it equally as much!

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What I’m Playing:

My first triathlon is officially in the books, y’all!!

I’m done, done, done!!! Joy, joy, joy!! I dismounted from my bike into a happy dance yesterday when I polished off the last mile for the Jimmie Johnson Virtual Triathlon!!

The JJF runs from October 1 – October 31, and is a 140.6 mile virtual race that involves a 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles cycling, and a 26.2 mile run/walk/jog. It is not completed at once, but broken up into however many workouts you need to get it done.

As of October 29, I completed:

  • 2.4/2.4 mile swim
  • 114.53/112 mile bike
  • 26.31/26.2 mile run

For a grand total of 143.24 miles! For me, this is a MAJOR accomplishment!

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What I’m Reading:

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One of the best things that I read this week was not in a book, but at M’s elementary school. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and on Thursday her school participated in Unity Day. Students – dressed in orange to make a statement against bullying – took to the sidewalks around the school with messages of hope, positivity, and encouragement, to show their support for one other.

I happened to be helping at the school book fair the morning the kids went out to dress up the sidewalks with chalk messages, and it was POWERFUL. I was a victim of bullying during my middle school years, and it melts my heart to no end to have my daughter enrolled in such a safe and supportive school. Messages of hope and solidarity were literally spread from corner to corner of the school property.

Below is a small selection of messages written by M and her fellow students. I’m telling you, these kids are pretty amazing.

  • “Together we can change the world. Speak up to stop bullying.”
  • “The truth may hurt for a while, but a lie hurts forever.”
  • “Fly away from the Haters!”
  • “Never give up on life.”
  • “There are so many kind, though some are blind, there are so many kind!”
  • “The world is full of nice people. If you can’t find one, be one!!”

I think Mr. Browne from Wonder could find a few more precepts from this crew to add to his collection.

What are you up to this week? Let me know in the comments!

 

Read Watch Play #4

Read Watch Play is my own version of a Sunday Salon: a round-up of bookish and non-bookish entertainment going on in my home this week. Feel free to join in and let me know what fun you have had this week!

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What I’m watching: 

I still haven’t finished Stranger Things, TV time these days is rare, indeed. I have two more episodes to go. I am really loving Eleven’s backstory, she is such a fascinating kid. I hope she finds some peace and happiness by the end of this season!

I watch Once Upon a Time every Sunday, and I have to admit, I relish this season’s return of the Evil Queen! Lana Parilla must have so much fun playing the part, and the Queen’s costumes are always amazing! Do you think Regina and/or her sister will succumb to the Evil Queen’s tactics? Emma’s premonition is certainly setting up an interesting arc for the first half of this season, but part of me thinks this season is too busy. Between Mr. Hyde, the Evil Queen, the entrance of the Aladdin characters and other untold stories, Emma’s premonition, and whatever Rumple is getting up to these days, there is a lot going on in Storybrooke right now.

I will also be watching the Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump debate tonight. That should be an interesting one. Will you be watching?

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What I’m playing:

I mentioned last week that I am participating in a virtual triathlon this month. I don’t usually like to toot my own horn, but…toot, toot! I am so happy with my progress so far this week.

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation Virtual Triathlon runs from October 1 – October 31. It is a 140.6 mile virtual race that involves a 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles cycling, and a 26 mile run/walk/jog. It is not done at once, but broken up into however many workouts you need to get it done.

Right now, I am ahead of schedule, and might be on track to complete the triathlon a week early! My biggest achievement this week was my first swim. I love swimming, but I haven’t actually swam as exercise in years. I jumped in the pool on Tuesday with a goal of as many laps as I could do in a one hour period. I stepped out of the pool 1 hour 15 minutes later having swum 70 lengths (35 down-and back laps) in a 25 yard pool. That’s a freakin’ mile, people! Amazingly, I wasn’t sore the next day either! Although I did have horribly matted hair. I bought a swim cap on my way home.

JJF Race Stats (October 9)

1.7/2.4 mile swim (71% complete)

42.64/112 mile bike (38% complete)

8.1/26.2 mile run (31% complete)

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What I’m Cooking: 

Meatballs. This batch almost didn’t make it into the oven without losing a few to a curious cat! This is Hello Kitty, lover of tuna, goldfish crackers, and meatballs.

Our meatballs change depending on my mood, but here is the base recipe I build upon.

Italian Style Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds grassfed beef
  • 1 1/2 pounds mild italian sausage
  • one thick slice of firm bread of your choosing (sourdough, whole wheat, baguette…I think I have used them all).
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, finely shredded
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons italian seasoning (I use salt-free Catazano herbs from Savory Spice Shop. It contains garlic, lemon peel, marjoram, European basil, Mediterranean thyme, rosemary and Greek oregano).

Directions:

Have your sauce of choice ready to go on the stovetop.

Turn on the broiler. Pour the milk over the bread until it is saturated, and let it soak for a few minutes. Squeeze out the excess milk, and quickly pulse in a food processor. Gently combine all of the ingredients with your hands until just mixed together. Form into medium-large size meatballs (about the size of a Ping Pong ball). Broil in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, until the outside has browned, then transfer the meatballs into your sauce and finish cooking in the sauce on the stovetop, about another 15 minutes or so.

Bon Appetit!

What I’m Reading:

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty. I just finished reading Serafina and the Black Cloak this morning. I think I will count this for Wonderless Review’s Halloween Readathon, even though it is not on my original list. A review will be posted tomorrow! It was interesting to read a book set at the Biltmore Estate, near Asheville, a place I have visited many times!

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. I’m starting this one today! It looks like it will be a quick read. I have been meaning to read this book for ages. There are so many cultural references to Jekyll and Hyde, I have always felt remiss about not reading the original!

What are you up to this week? Let me know in the comments!