Books, TV, & Movies, Random Chitchats

January Stories: What I read and watched!

As part of my goal to live with intention this year, I’m tracking the stories I consume each month in a journal! My husband raises an amused eyebrow whenever I bring my journal to the living room, but this really helped cure my SADDA habit. (Story Attention Deficiet Disorder.) Now rather than hopping back and forth between TV shows or abandoning good books after only a few chapters, I’m more focused and enjoying stories more!

Movies I Watched

The Dressmaker

During a particularly gloomy weekend where I couldn’t focus on work … couldn’t focus on anything, really, I decided to surrender to my depression and binge watch some movies.

First up? The Dressmaker with Kate Winslet, who was absolutely brilliant in her role as Tilly Dunnage, a glamorous designer who returns to her small Australian hometown to seek revenge, armed with her sewing machine and keen sense of style.

I absolutely loved this movie … I think. There were so many moments of gorgeous triumph and poignance, like when she transforms a wallflower to a goddess, dresses the town bitties in haute couture, wraps a closeted cross-dresser in satin and connects with her mentally-ill mother. But then the tone takes a nosedive to dark heartbreak twice, erasing any trace of warm fuzzies with a giant WTF, before finishing with her final act of revenge.

Still, I loved it. I think. No, I loved it. But I needed a drink afterward.

Like Father

No doubt about this one. I LOVED Like Father starring Kristen Bell as a workaholic left at the altar and Kelsey Grammer as the father who abandoned her 26 years ago. It has one of my favorite story elements: when a group of strangers come together to form some type of family, in this case, the table mates on a cruise ship. I was surprised to see that Like Father only got a 47% on Rotten Tomatoes, but whatevs. It’s an endearing, simple story that so relatable with an ending that lets you keep those warm fuzzies. So there, Rotten Tomatoes.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I have to start off with a story about Jim Carrey, who I met at the 2013 Book Expo America in New York. (And when I say met, I mean he autographed his picture book for me.)

Argh, still upset over how awful this photo turned out because it doesn’t show how handsome Jim Carrey is in person. This happily married gal was a little smitten by his smile. And those dimples! Lawd, lawd, lawd.

Wait. What was I talking about?

Oh yeah. The movie. Besides those dimples, I’m one of many who believe Jim Carrey isn’t recognized enough as a brilliant actor. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a perfect example of this and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to watch it! I absolutely love, love, LOVED! It not only had Kate Winslet but also a brief appearance by Deirdre O’Connell, who was amazing in my favorite movie, Secondhand Lions as the inheritance-seeking Helen.

I also loved the message conveyed in the ending …. which I guess I shouldn’t say because it’s a spoiler, but it’s good. Really good. If you haven’t seen this, go watch it now so we can talk about it!

Sliding Doors

I’ve already seen Sliding Doors many times, so this was like comfort food. It also brought on many deep, life-evaluating thoughts …. well, that and the beer I drank while watching. How different would my life be if certain doors closed or opened? Where would I be?

My answer? It doesn’t matter. I love my life and wouldn’t do anything different … except never smoke and wear more sunscreen in my younger days. 😉

Elen Degeneres: Relatable

When I do a Netflix binge, I do it right! I’ve been a fan of Ellen’s since her sitcom days so this comedy special was a breath of fresh air full of jokes and inspiration with several memoir dashes of her past.

Books I Read

My books read list is quite small and shameful considering my goal to read 40 books this year. But the two personal development books I listened to were amazing!

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

(Affiliate link.) The concept and benefits of being focused isn’t new or groundbreaking but this book made it clear just how much life I am missing through shallow work efforts, frequent social media breaks, and ineffective multi-tasking. So this year, I’m learning how to do deep work in order to accomplish more in less time and feel more productive. Like tonight. I scheduled a focused blog writing work block from 6:00 to 9:00pm and have already gotten so much done! Stay tuned for a full review and insights later on.

You are a Badass by Jennifer Sincero

Another amazing book, one that I started several times last year but haven’t finished! I had purchased the paperback but ended up grabbing the audio version during a sale. I’m really glad I did because this is the kind of book I enjoy listening to and I can easily refer to her summary calls of action in the paperback. Highly recommend this book!

TV Shows I tuned into

Perhaps this is bordering obsessive, but this year, I’m tracking shows by listing seasons and episodes in my journal and then checking ones I’ve watched. I’m also limiting myself to three shows at a time:

  • One I watch on my own,
  • One I watch with Bob,
  • and one to watch only when I’m on the treadmill or exercise bike, a tip I mention in my Taking the Dread out of Treadmill post.

Right now, it’s…

Boston Legal

Ah, how I loved legal shows written by David E. Kelly! L.A. Law, Ally McBeal … one of my all-time favorites, and of course, Boston Legal. I was so happy to see it on Hulu after returning from the WDW Marathon Weekend! Bob and I had planned on watching this together but I keep falling asleep and Bob keeps watching on. So this is a solo show for me!

Masked Singer

I had planned on downgrading our pricier Hulu Live package after Bob watches the Super Bowl but now we might have to keep it for a while longer to watch this fantastic show … a celebrity American Idol but with masked anonymity. It reminds me of our Survivor days when we’d always tune in together! Love this show!

And finally, my treadmill show…

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 

How can you not stay energized while running with Kimmy’s perky, can-do attitude? I’m finishing up with some missed season three episodes before going on to the *sniff* fourth final season. Can’t believe this gem of a show was cancelled!!

So there you go, my collection of stories for January. Now what about you?

QOTD: What stories have you enjoyed in January?

Thanks for reading and have a joyful day!

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