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March Stories: What I read and watched!

It’s time once again to chat about the stories I’ve consumed recently and oh boy, I have lots to talk about!

If you’ve been following along, then you already know these monthly posts are a way to keep me accountable with my goal to live with intention this year. Knowing you’re going to find out how I’ve been spending my spare time encourages me to make better choices, so thank you! And in turn, I hope this helps you discover awesome books to read or things to watch. So on with the list!

Cross posted on Joyful Miles. Also, all Amazon links are affiliate ones. This does not cost you more but does give me a small commission to use toward expenses.

Books I’ve Read

I’m starting with books this time because reading has become my priority, especially now since I’ve taken a step back to give my life a good look and follow new paths. The following have been an AMAZING help in figuring some things out!

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

There are several books on the craft of writing that I try to read at least once a year for a boost of inspiration. Classics such as Stephen King’s On Writing, Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, and James N. Frey’s How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II. I have added Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear to that list and have already read it twice!

It’s. That. Good.

Anyone who has tried to write a book or follow an artistic dream knows how powerful mental demons can be, the ones who say you’re not good enough and urge you to quit. Well, listening to Elizabeth Gilbert was like having a gentle friend whispering in my ear, telling me it’s okay, those mental demons are normal, so pour them a cup of tea and kindly get back to writing. One section shook me so hard, I had to stop running to screenshot where I was on the audio version so I could go back and listen to again and again.

The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all and then stands back to see if we can ever find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels – that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place – that’s what expands a mundane existence to a more enchanted one. The often surprising results of that hunt? That’s what I call Big Magic.

Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

So if you crave an enchanted existence, I highly recommend this book! The audio version is especially awesome.

Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin

This isn’t a book I needed to read since I’m already a tidy, organized person but I’m a big Gretchen Rubin fan and it was a quick two-hour listen, so I gave Outer Order, Inner Calm a listen. Highly recommend to anyone who struggles with clutter and I found myself nodding along quite often!

The whole outer order, inner calm concept is so true. When I first started writing fiction, I’d often hear other authors say, “Forget the dishes! Forget the laundry! Forget the mess, write, write, WRITE!!” This always made me feel like a bad writer because seeing a sink full of dirty dishes, overflowing laundry baskets, and cluttered countertops only made me anxious and unable to concentrate.

I’m by no means perfect …. if you look closely at my floors, you’ll see dust bunnies and how our beige carpet can strategically camouflage enough dog hair to stuff a pillow, but I do have the kind of household where guests are welcome at any time. (Although I might duck into the bathroom to feverishly wipe the toilet and sink down.) And I also recognize how projects can be used as a way to procrastinate.

But there are times when clutter must be dealt with. Take for example, my basement. Up until March 22nd, it looked like this:

Yep. Putting away Christmas decorations after the holidays hadn’t been a priority for months since it was out of sight, out of mind. But lately, this clutter became a nuisance that pecked at the back of my brain, especially since I often use our basement to plot new novels. (It makes me feel like a mad scientist, mwah ahaha.) So I spend one frustrating Friday night cleaning it.

Ah. Much better!

Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

I was SO looking forward to the release of Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals and girl, (or boy,) it did NOT disappoint!! Loved, loved, LOVED this and once more, I highly recommend! I also loved her previous book, Girl, Wash Your Face, but I enjoyed this one even more. So much of it hit home like a punch to the gut, especially this quote:

Friend, if you can’t get over your fear of not doing it as well as they do, you’ll never have the opportunity to be a trailblazer for someone else.

Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis

I’m a kind of social media influencer. Not a hugely successful one, but an influencer nonetheless. If I keep allowing fear and doubt to keep me from writing, how can I motivate and inspire someone else to write?

And the section about boundaries? Yeah. Listened to that twice. In fact, I’m probably going to listen to the entire book again over the summer. Like Big Magic … It’s. That. Good. And…

You are beautiful and worthy of good things and if you don’t believe that, nobody will.

Movies I’ve Watched

Isn’t it Romantic

Okay. I had purchased tickets to see the encore presentation of A Star is Born in the theaters but dummy me, I got my theaters messed up and we arrived at 10:00 at the wrong one.

Duh.

My awesome husband … who really was awesome to agree to see A Star is Born in the first place because it’s so not his jam … then took me to see Isn’t it Romantic with Rebel Wilson at our local theater instead.

Oh. My. Gosh. I absolutely LOVED this movie!!! It was clever and sweet and Rebel Wilson was amazing as always. Even my husband got a wee teary at the end and we both left feeling the most delicious warm fuzzies. Loved it!!!

Mary Poppins Returns

Oh boy.

I could write an entire blog post on my feelings about this movie, but I’ll hold back for now. Instead, I’ll summarize with this: Mary Poppins Returns was like Weezer’s remake of Africa … a pleasant song you’d enjoy once but was never again because it only makes you long for Toto’s version that is practically perfect in every way.

So yeah, I didn’t love the movie but it made for a pleasant afternoon matinée with my husband. Leaving it at that.

Abducted in Plain Sight

My friend, Shannon recommended this true crime documentary on Netflix about a family who falls prey to the manipulative charms of a neighbor, who abducts their adolescent daughter. Twice.

Yes. TWICE.

Literally screamed at the TV from the parents’ stupidity.

I mean, seriously???? They allowed a grown man to sleep in their young daughter’s bed as therapy??? No. HELL no. Let’s just move on to TV because this is making me angry again. I shall express my opinions through this meme instead.

TV Shows I’ve watched

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Last month, I enjoyed a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend marathon while making costumes and packing for the Princess Half Marathon. This month, I finished up with all available episodes including the third season.

And oh my gosh, what a season that was!

Here’s what I love most about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, besides the amazing musical numbers: They don’t hold back with tough topics, especially with mental illness. Watching Rebecca hit rock bottom before being diagnosed with a personality disorder was painful and heartbreaking but her story was also honest and endearing as proved by the last episode of the season.

Speaking of heartbreaking …. I’m so bummed season four will be the finale. I plan on watching less TV in April so I can conquer Camp NaNoWriMo, but when this comes out, I shall binge watch with reckless abandonment!

The Pact

Okay. After finishing up with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I intended to take a TV break and read more …. but then I saw the trailer for The Pact based off the true story of Gypsy Blanchard and her abusive, toxic mother on Hulu.

Photo by: CZ Post/Hulu

Holy cow.

Yeah. Had to watch it, no matter how painful. Patricia Arquette is BEYOND amazing and Joey King … I could only watch about five minutes of The Kissing Booth before being hideously annoyed but wow, she’s BEYOND phenomenal in this. And thankfully, episodes only come out once a week so I can better limit TV watching in April.

Now it’s your turn:

QOTD: What did you watch, read, or listen to in March? Share your favorites … or not-so favorite, in the comments below and give me some recommendations for the upcoming months!

Until then, thanks for reading and have a joyful day!



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