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Once upon a time, dear reader, Kat came up with the idea to host her very first readathon on her channel, Kat’s Novel Adventures. With tender care and lots of hard work, that idea soon blossomed into a month-long adventure of reading folktales, fairy tales, and fables. That whimisical adventure starts tomorrow, February 1st.

I have had a blast planning the reading prompts, creating graphics and thumbnails, choosing the books I want to read throughout the month, and seeing the books others in the booktube community are planning to read for this event. Many of the books I will be reading are picture books which I absolutely adore reading. I have a middle grade retelling on my list called Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin. It is based on the Brothers Grimm’s tale, “Snow-White and Rose-Red.” Fairy Tale by Stephen King is also on my list. Even though it is a dark fantasy thriller, it does include fairy tale elements. I am super excited about my pile of possibilities for the month.

Dear reader, if you are interested in joining me for Folklore February, I have a graphic with the reading prompts as well as a graphic where you can keep track of the books you read throughout the month on the highlights section on my Instagram, katherineloyacano. I will also include the reading prompts below. Additionally, not all nine prompts require reading, but instead encourage watching folktales, fairy tales, and fables. I am planning to watch Guillermo del Toro’s Pinnochio. It was released on Netflix on December 9th.

Folklore February Prompts

  • Read a Folktale.
  • Read a Fairy Tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
  • Read a Fairy Tale by the Brothers Grimm.
  • Read a Fable.
  • MOOD READ or WATCH
  • Read or Watch a Retelling of a folktale, fairytale, or fable.
  • Read a Fractured Fairy Tale. Read a Folktale from a country other than your own.
  • Watch a screen adaptation of your favorite folktale, fairy tale, or fable.

To kick off Folklore February, I am having my first livestream on my channel that will include reading sprints. Basically, sprints are designed to give you time for reading or other productivity tasks. The sprints will begin at 4pm CT. In between sprints, we will chat and see how everyone is using their time. My goal is to do 3 sets of sprints, starting with 30 minutes for the first sprint. If you have never done sprints, dear reader, I encourage you to join me. They are a great deal of fun and a terrific way to be productive.

While I am exploring whimsical worlds through folktales, fairy tales, and fables, what will you be reading in the month of February, dear reader? To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“The narrative of so many fairy tales are timeless in so many different cultures, and they have been since the dawn of man. They represent escapism, but they all feature themes that have such poignancy in a modern world.” ~ Lily Cole

I know I am a tad bit late, dear reader, with sharing all of the books I read in December; however, I want to complete my year in books for 2022. December was another outstanding reading month for me! I completed books and 3 short stories in the month of December, finished Melissa’s 7th Grade Book Challenge, fulfilled one prompt for Cloak and Dagger Christmas, and completed the Christmas Evil Readathon. I completed a total of 75 books in 2022!

Since I quadruple dipped with one book for the different challenges, I will wrap up the month by Readathons instead of my normal categories. Needless to say, I successfully read a nonfiction book, several children’s literature books (#Read21in2021 Challenge), and a book written by Stephen King for Year of King. We did not have a selection in December for my Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club.

#Book Challenge & Cloak and Dagger Christmas

I read two terrific books to fulfill the last three prompts to complete Melissa’s 7th Grade Book Challenge.

  • Read a Book Suggested by Mrs. Morrison (Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige )
  • Read a Book That Has a Mystery to Solve (Crooked House by Agatha Christie)
  • Read a Book a Classmate Suggested to You (Crooked House by Agatha Christie)

Dorothy Must Die is a YA novel and a retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It is also the first book in the Dorothy Must Die trilogy. It was a 4-star read for me. Crooked House is an adult mystery and one of Agatha Christie’s standalone novels. This book was suggested to me by my friend Amy to read for this challenge, and it did not disappoint. Definitely a 5-star read! I also used it to fulfill one prompt for Cloak and Dagger Christmas, which was 3 French Hens: Read a Translated Work or from a Different Country from Your Own. Crooked House begins in Egypt and takes place in England.

Christmas Evil Readathon

Kelsi co-hosted the Christmas Evil Readathon on her channel alongside four other co-hosts (Crystal, Katrina, Michelle, and Kelly) on their channels. I completed the entire board! Woo-Hoo! This readathon was super fun and had so many additional activities happening throughout the entire month of December (movie nights on Discord, picture prompts, a virtual Christmas party).

  • Black Xmas (Witches Copse by Math Bird)
  • Krampus (The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil by Al Ridenour)
  • A Christmas Carol (The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand)
  • A Gifted Book (It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies! A Book of Christmas Carols by Michael P. Spradlin)
  • Mood Read (“Little Monsters” and “Dinner is served!” from Christmas Evil by Mark L’Estrange)
  • Slay Bells (Crooked House by Agatha Christie)
  • Winter Wonderland (The Shining by Stephen King)
  • Santa’s Little Helper (Dead Voices by Katherine Arden)
  • Reindeer Ride (“The Adventures of the Blue Carbuncle” by Arthur Conan Doyle)

Dear reader, if you want to hear more about my thoughts on any of the books I read in the Christmas Evil Readathon, please check out my YouTube channel, Kat’s Novel Adventures. In addition to my December Reading Wrap Up, I have two more videos where I share my thoughts on the other books I read in December along with more bookish content.

Year of King

Kelsi and I chose The Shining for December. This wonderful novel was a reread for me, and I enjoyed revisiting it so much. The Shining was also the last book for our Year of King project.

After losing his teaching job, Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic, secures the winter caretaker position at the Overlook Hotel. His wife and young son will join him. It seems like a fresh start the aspiring writer and his family need; however, the hotel has an unsavory past and a penchant for preying on the vunerable.

The Shining is one of my favorite Stephen King novels. It has its ghosts and suspenseful moments, but it is also a story about fear, addiction, loss, love, and redemption. It will always be a 5-star read for me.

Kelsi and I had a marvelous time discussing The Shining (novel, film adaptation, three-part television series, and documentary called Room 237) on January 15th. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel.

January is almost over which is hard to believe since it feels like the new year just started. I took a break from readathons in January, so I could catch my breath after three back-to-back months of intense reading and to prepare for a special project I am hosting in February. I finished No Exit by Taylor Adams for my book club. I am currently reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman for the Cozy Cottage Book Club and really enjoying it. I am also reading Tranquility by Tuesday by Laura Vanderkam and participating in her Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge. My sister and I are buddy reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life. We are currently on Chapter 3: “You are Not Special” which we will be discussing this Sunday evening, 29 January.

Speaking of this Sunday, Kelsi and I are having a live chat on Sunday, 29 January at 2PM CT to wrap up our Year of King. This project was a super fun collaboration between Kelsi and me. I loved revisiting King’s classics and discovering new stories along the way.

Thanks, dear reader, for stopping by and reading another long bookish post. I am hoping to share my February reading project with you very soon. February will be a whimsical month of reading. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“Books and doors are the same thing. You open them, and you go through into another world.” ~ Jeanette Winterson

Greetings, dear reader! I am currently reading Tranquility by Tuesday by Laura Vanderkam. It is #20 on my 23 for 2023 List. I also started the Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge today. I am proud to say that I am one of the 150 participants in Laura’s time study that produced the results she writes about in her book. I am super excited to read her book and to participate in the 2023 Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge.

I filmed a short video about the challenge for my channel, Kat’s Novel Adventures, and want to share it with you. It explains the challenge, mentions the 9 rules, and the planning questions for the first rule. You do not need to read the book in order to participate, and there is still time to join the challenge. Just click on Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge (2023) to join.

I am also continuing to track my time this week and have a feeling I will be tracking my time through the first few days of February. My hope is that with tracking my time and participating in this challenge, I can finally get caught up, achieve some balance, and make a real effort to get organized. I love everything I am doing right now in my life; however, I am burning the candle at both ends, not exercising, and starting to feel a bit stressed. I am ready to “calm the chaos and make time for what matters.” Happiness!

“The good news is that everything becomes easier over time, as the grooves of habit wear deep.” ~ Laura Vanderkam, Tranquility by Tuesday

During the week of 09 January, I participated in Laura Vanderkam’s Time-Tracking Challenge. Laura hosts this annual challenge in January, asking her readers to join her while sharing her discoveries about how she is spending her own time throughout the week. As I have mentioned in past posts, I find time tracking beneficial, especially when I am feeling overwhelmed or need to make some changes. My one-word theme for 2023 is CREATE, and I feel the need to create better organization of my time in order to successfully create a healthier and more sustainable life.

My week started with 168 hours on Monday 09 January at 7:00 in the morning. Two categories that took up a huge chunk of my time were creating content for YouTube and sleep. 35.5 hours were spent on content for YouTube (Kelsi’s channel and my own channel). This total includes 15.5 hours on watching movies and preparing notes for the Year of King project I did in collaboration with Kelsi and 20 hours for my own channel’s projects. 54.5 hours were spent sleeping. This left me with 78 hours to spend on other tasks or activities during the week.

So, how did I spend the remaining 78 hours of my week?

  • Morning Routine: 2 hours 

My morning routine looks quite differently than it did when I was working as an instructional coach at HGCS. Since I am currently taking a hiatus from working outside my home, I really do not have a structured morning routine. There are days when I have nowhere to go, staying in my pjs until later in the morning. Therefore, it mainly consists of pet care for two dogs and two cats, personal care for myself, and making myself a cup of coffee. When Barry is home, he will take care of the dogs during the day and generally make me a cup of coffee in the morning (sweet guy). My day then naturally unfolds and meanders around my responsibilities and appointments. Generally, I do not eat breakfast until about 9:00 in the morning.

  • Get dressed: 4 hours
  • Exercise: 0 hours
  • Meals: 12.5 hours (prepping/cooking and eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Home/Family Logistics (insurance policy renewal, financial tasks, dental appointments): 7.25 hours
  • Chores: 4.75 hours (loading dishwasher, laundry, floors, trash, cat litter)
  • Travel: 9.25 hours
  • Afternoon Routine: 1.5 hours (pet care for dogs and cats, sometimes make a cup of coffee)
  • Outside Time (23 for 2023 Challenge): 3 hours
  • Blog: 0 hours
  • Read: 1.75 hours
  • Goodreads: 0 hours 
  • Marketing YouTube (social media): 2 hours

Gretchen Rubin created the #Outside23in23 Challenge which I am participating in this year. Most days I do get outside for at least 23 minutes per day and usually because of my dogs. Unfortunately, this week I did NOT exercise (no workouts, no walking), and I barely read which is a bummer and totally unacceptable.

  • Evening Routine: 3 hours (shower, take dogs out before bed, prep for bed)
  • TV Shows/Movies/YouTube: .5 of an hour (watching Youtube)
  • Napping: 0 hours
  • Errands/Social Events: 6 hours
  • Birthday Message Project: 3 hours
  • Personal Development: 4.25 hours (improv, buddy read with sister, time tracking, self-care updates: check/record watch & Happier app)

I took a ride with Andrew on Monday evening to pick up sushi (our dinner) from Kirin. Tagging along gave me quality time with him. On Wednesday, I went to the post office to mail a small package to Shelly’s friend (book exchange) and stopped at PJ’s coffee to pick up sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits (for me and the boys) and a mocha latte. Around lunch time, Andrew and I rode together to pick up chicken tenders from Cane’s to bring to Mrs. Billie’s house for my birthday lunch with the two of them. My social events for this week included a bridal shower for my niece Kaitlyn on Saturday and a Livestream with Kelsi (The Shining) on Sunday.

As a result, 55 hours were spent on life responsibilities, 9.25 hours were spent traveling, and .5 of an hour was spent watching television shows, movies, or YouTube for a total of 64.75 hours.

This left me with 13.25 hours left over in my weekly bank of hours. Of my remaining time, I spent 5.5 hours of those hours hanging out with either family or friends. This is in addition to time spent with family and friends during meals, travel, or social events. My birthday was on Wednesday, so I spent 2.25 hours of the week reading and responding to texts, emails, and FB messages, as well as opening and reading birthday cards that came in the mail. I still have to respond to FB messages because I did not get to all of them last week. The remaining 5.5 hours was spent playing Trivia Crack, scrolling through social media (mainly Instagram), texting, email, time-tracking, or puttering around the house.

So, what did I learn during this Time-Tracking Challenge?

Regardless of it being my birthday week, socializing with family and friends throughout the week, and preparing for the livestream for my Year of King project, I did devote time towards my aims for 2023. I was able to combine my already scheduled dental cleaning appointment with getting the impression made for my implant crown. BAM! I created my first Readathon for February and released the announcement video for it on my channel and social media. BAM, BAM! And, finally, I registered for Laura Vanderkam’s Tranquility By Tuesday Challenge which means I have started reading her book this week. Triple BAM!

With that being said, I still had 5.5 hours that I could have read more, dealt with digital clutter, or organized spaces around my house. “Puttering around the house” is also not necessarily wasted time. Puttering is where I squeeze those little tasks in between major tasks, such as going through the mail, writing a check, putting a book back on the shelf, or taking out the trash.

Additionally, I used the Strategy of Pairing quite a bit last week, generally when eating my meals. My YouTube watching hours would have been higher, but I watched several videos while eating breakfast and lunch. Also, my television watching hours would have been higher because I ate dinner a couple of times while watching The Shining movies. I also read a little more while waiting for my turn at the dentist. And, I listened to podcasts or talked on the phone (hands-free) while driving to improv class and Kelsi’s house.

Where do I go from here?

You should not be surprised I am time tracking again this week, dear reader. Last week was an unusual week with my birthday and everything related to the Year of King project. I want a more structured daily routine (M-F), especially in the mornings and throughout the day. I want to purchase a planner or create a binder to organize the content I am creating for both my blog and my YouTube channel. In addition, I need to create some time this month to get my home office organized, so I am not spending so much time get my little corner in the bedroom ready for me every time I film a video. I am actually excited about these results because they are motivating me to create a better schedule and to get me a step closer to becoming a better steward of my time. Happiness!

    “We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.” ~ John F. Kennedy

    Note: Photo at the top is by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com.

    We all have the same 168 hours a week, dear reader. How are you spending yours? As many of you know, I having been tracking my time periodically after reading Laura Vanderkam’s awesome book on time management, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to make the most of his or her time. When trying to accomplish goals, keeping a time log of how you spend your 168 hours is a worthwhile endeavor. January is the perfect month to track your time. It provides a terrific starting point which can be adjusted as life happens.

    Like last January, I have signed up for Laura Vanderkam’s annual “Time Tracking Challenge” which will begin on Monday 09 January and run through Sunday, 15 January. Laura will send out an email on Sunday with details about the challenge. After logging my 168 hours for the week, I will analyze my time log to see exactly how much time I have left (after sleep and family commitments have been deducted) to work on my health and fitness goals, content creation, and the aims on my 23 for 2023 List. Time tracking is actually enjoyable for me, and I try to track my time periodically throughout the year, especially when I am feeling overwhelmed, feeling like I am not making any progress with my yearly aims, or there is a significant change in my life that affects my schedule.

    If you are interested in finding out more about time tracking or want to see where your 168 hours are going, check out Laura Vandercam’s website or her book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. The time tracking challenge is free, does not require a great deal of time, and can be eye-opening. Please let me know if you decide to participate in the challenge, dear reader, because it would be fun to compare notes and chat about time management strategies. You can leave me a comment or email me at katloyacano@gmail.com. Have an AWESOME weekend. Happiness!

    “Time stays long enough for those who use it.” ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

    It has been quite awhile since my last health-related post (23 November), so let me bring you up to speed, dear reader. I successfully completed JOB1 which I REALLY enjoyed. I loved the schedule, the length of the workouts, most of the exercises, and the instructor, Jennifer Jacobs. I have not committed to a new fitness program through Beachbody on Demand, yet. I am time-tracking next week, starting on 09 January. Time-tracking is a wonderful way for me to see how I am spending my time. Then, I will choose a program. In the meantime, I will be researching the programs I am interested in and walking for exercise.

    Back in November, I visited my OB/GYN for my annual well-woman visit where we also discussed menopause and the symptoms I was experiencing. I had brought a list of labs (ordered by Dr. Bone for her menopausal patients) with me to my appointment. Dr. Robin Bone is the OB/GYN that Molly Kimball interviewed on her podcast, FUELED: wellness + nutrition with Molly Kimball. My doctor ordered the following labs from the list (see below) but added Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy and D2. A word of caution, make sure that when requesting labs for Vitamin D 25 -Hydroxy, D2 + D3 that it is coded as medically necessary and covered by insurance because it is very expensive. I did NOT know this until after my bloodwork was done, and my insurance company processed my claim. Fingers crossed that I will not have to pay the difference since I only requested Vitamin D3.

    • Thyroid panel
    • Lipid panel
    • CBC
    • C-reactive protein
    • Vitamin D3
    • Hemoglobin A1C
    • Hormones include FSH, estradiol, progesterone, testosterone or free testosterone

    I scheduled a follow-up appointment when I received my results, and we discussed them. Most of my results look great, but there are areas in need of improvement. I am postmenopausal (ovaries no longer producing eggs); however, I have to go all the way through 19 June of this year without a cycle before I can say I am finished with menopause. I am considered prediabetic; however, diet modification, less processed carbs, and more movement can help me improve this area. My liver function is slightly elevated, so my doctor ordered a hepatitis panel, and it came back with no hepatitis. Thank goodness! While my calcium and albumin are also slightly elevated, my LDL (cholesterol) is very high and concerning. Even though the rest of my cholestorol components are terrific and the high LDL may be genetic, it needs to be addressed. Therefore, I have an appointment scheduled to see an endocrinologist in February, who will address the cholesterol, as well as the liver, calcium, and albumin results. I plan to ask him if he can run the C-reactive protein lab (determines inflammation in the blood) which my OB/GYN doctor was unable to order.

    My doctor prescribed hormone replacement therapy which I started on Monday. She also recommended I check out Dr. Mary Claire Haver on Instagram. She is a board-certified OB/GYN who helps women dealing with perimenopause and menopause. She has a new book, The Galveston Diet, coming out on Tuesday, 10 January, which I preordered. We shall see if she has some helpful information that will benefit me on my health journey.

    HEALTHY RECIPE

    I have another recipe to share with you that I found on Molly Kimball’s Facebook page. It is a healthy Creamy Fruit Dip. Even though Molly featured this recipe during the summer, I made it during the holidays. Delicious, in my opinion! It requires four ingredients and is SUPER easy to make. This dip also pairs well with a variety of fruits.

    Blend the following ingredients in a bowl.

    • 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
    • 8 ounces of reduced-fat cream cheese
    • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
    • your choice of no-calorie sweetner (1/2 cup of Swerve Confectioners Style Sweetner recommended)

    Pair this healthful and flavorful dip with your preferred fresh fruit. If you decide to try it, please let me know.

    It is a new year, and I am ready to CREATE a fresh start, dear reader. CREATE is my one-word theme this year. The definition of create that is connected to my health goals is cause (something) to happen as a result of one’s actions. The way I am going to sow the seeds of a healthy life is by developing lifelong healthy habits by eating properly, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. I have taken initial steps by getting my bloodwork done, seeing all of my doctors in 2022, starting hormone replacement therapy, and buying The Galveston Diet book. My last weigh-in was Monday morning at 154 pounds. I have gained 1/2 pound back since 23 November; so my overall weight loss is 8 pounds since 01 June 2022. January 2023 is my official reset date.

    Dear reader, have a wonderful Wednesday! What are your plans, goals, or dreams that you have set for yourself in 2023? I wish you nothing but the best as you strive to reach your goals and make your dreams a reality. Just remember to enjoy the journey along the way. Happiness!

    “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle.

    My 23 for 2023 List

    Happy New Year, dear reader! Welcome to the beginning of 2023 and a blank slate ready for all sorts of adventures to develop and to be recorded throughout this upcoming year. I chose a one-word theme this year that will bring (something) into existence, cause (something) to happen as a result of one’s actions, (of an actor) originate a role by playig a character for the first time, and invest (someone) with a new rank or title. Keep reading for the one-word theme reveal.

    I am also super excited about everything I have included on my 23 for 2023 List. Most of the items on my list are new; however, I did carry over eight items from last year that I did not complete but still feel like they are important enough to accomplish this year. Take a look at what I have planned for myself for 2023.

    Kat’s 23 for 2023 List

    • 1. Schedule dental appointment (implant crown).
    • 2. Buy myself flowers quarterly.
    • 3. Buy a new vacuum cleaner.
    • 4. Buy two white bookcases for office.
    • 5. Buy a book cart.
    • 6. Deal with digital clutter (email, photos, documents).
    • 7. Organize home office.
    • 8. Organize home library.
    • 9. Write my personal manifesto.
    • 10. Write a will.
    • 11. Scrapbook monthly.
    • 12. Complete Year of Gratitude scrapbook.
    • 13. Learn StreamYard to host sprints on my YouTube channel.
    • 14. Host two Readathons on my YouTube channel (February/May).
    • 15. Read 23 Books that I did not get to in 2022.
    • 16. Have a Year of Christie (Agatha Christie).
    • 17. Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
    • 18. Read The Galveston Diet by Mary Claire Haver, M.D.
    • 19. Revisit Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin.
    • 20. Read Tranquility by Tuesday by Laura Vanderkam.
    • 21. Complete Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow.
    • 22. Complete the WordPress Blogging course.
    • 23. Update theme (layout) for blog.

    Other Fun Plans for 2023:

    • I am participating in Gretchen Rubin’s #Outside23in23. Basically, you spend a total of 23 minutes outside every day in 2023. According to Gretchen Rubin, “Going outside boosts our physical and psychological health, gives us more time in nature, and helps us mindfully appreciate the moment and our senses.” Going outside every day will be an easy daily challenge for me because I LOVE so many characteristics about being outdoors. Some of the activities I plan on doing outside are ones I pretty much do every day already, such as walking for exercise, walking my dogs, reading, exploring nature, taking photographs, having outdoor adventures (at a park/zoo, in a city, or my own backyard). These are just a few of the activities I can do with so many other possibilities to add to my list.
    • On Goodreads, I joined the 2023 Reading Challenge, and my goal is to read 75 books this year. Follow me on Goodreads (Katherine Loyacano).
    • I will continue participating in the Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club.
    • I will participate in the FOMO Book Club on booktube.
    • I will be doing a Birthday Message Project in 2023. This will replace my Instagram projects I have done the last two years. Even though I will not be doing a specific project on Instagram, I will still be active on there. Follow me on Instagram (katherineloyacano).
    • I plan to keep a TA-DA list for 2023. This list is for goals or activities that I accomplished throughout the year but were not included on my original list. These accomplishments should be celebrated, too.

    Last but certainly not least, I will continue creating videos for my Youtube channel, Kat’s Novel Adventures. I released my first video for 2023, and it is all about my one-word theme and my 23 for 2023 list. Please consider subscribing to my channel in 2023, giving me a like, and leaving a comment.

    There you have it, dear reader, lots of enjoyable plans for the new year. What do you have planned in 2023? Have you made some resolutions or a 23 for 2023 list? If you could choose a one-word theme for this year, what word would you choose? Mine is CREATE, and I cannot wait to start creating more happiness and joy in my life. I would love to know what your plans are for this year. You can comment on this post or email me at katloyacano@gmail.com. Happiness!

    “In order to be successful in the new year, stay focused, develop a positive attitude, and be passionate with your dreams.” ~ Bamigboye Olurotimi

    My TA-DA List for 2022

    As promised, dear reader, I am sharing my TA-DA List for this year. 2022 has been a fantastic year for me! I am grateful for all of my adventures (the good, the bad, and the ugly) that I experienced and all of the wonderful memories I have made throughout the year.

    I may not have completed my 22 in 2022 list; however, I kept myself busy with working, traveling, spending time with family and friends, reading, acting, and taking care of my health, family, and home.

    TA-DA 2022

    • Health (Colonoscopy, Endoscopy, Nerve Test, Mammogram, Bloodwork + Yearly Doctor/Dental appointments)
    • Lunch dates, movie nights, and drink nights with friends and family
    • Instagram (Year of JOY Project)
    • Collabs with Kelsi (Year of King, Halloween, and Christmas)
    • Live Streams with Kelsi (books and horror movies)
    • Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club (run monthly with Kelsi; January-November)
    • Elton John Concert in NOLA with Shelly (January)
    • Matthew Morgan’s Actor Audition Workshop in MS with Brian and Maria (January)
    • Pokeno Sub (January and July)
    • Welcomed Luna to the Family (February)
    • Puppy Training Classes with Luna at Petco
    • Move-In Day for Helen (February)
    • Friends of the Library Book Sales with Andrew and Michelle (February/April/August/November)
    • Move-Back Home Day for Andrew (March)
    • Attended Plays (Puffs, Lion King, Hamilton, The Way We Say Goodbye, The Jungle Book)
    • Proctored/Supervised ACT at Southeastern University (February, April, October, and December)
    • Improv Workshops (April-Anubis; July-Rich Talarico)
    • Hand-Lettering Class (April)
    • Vera Cost in the mystery dinner theatre Phantom of the Columbia at the Columbia Theatre (April)
    • Travel (visited The Killians in Atlanta in May for Emma’s Graduation; visited NYC with Andrew in June)
    • Zombie Awareness Month (May)
    • Annual Crawfish Boil (May)
    • Van Gogh Immersive Experience with Barry (May)
    • Quit my job as an Instructional Coach at Holy Ghost Catholic School (May)
    • Subscribed to Beachbody on Demand (June); finished 4 fitness programs
    • Kaitlyn and Marc’s Engagement Party (June)
    • Scrapbooking (attended TAC Scrapbook Event with Shelly, Heather, and Donna in June)
    • Readings for The Jungle Book (June/July)
    • Oral Surgery: dental implant (June)
    • Summer Fun List (June-September)
    • 4th of July with Family @ Kerry and Natalie’s house (July)
    • Halloween Decor Shopping with Kelsi (August)
    • Volunteer at HGCS’s Book Fairs (August and November)
    • Buddy Read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle/Zoom Meeting Discussions with Rachel (August-November)
    • Anubis: Improv Level 1 8-Week Class (August-October)
    • Connie Khan in the mystery dinner theatre Murder! At the Disco at the Columbia Theatre (September)
    • L.M. Montgomery Readathon (September-November)
    • Fall Fun List (September-December)
    • Anubis: Improv Level 1 Showcase (October)
    • Fall Fun Day with Kelsi (October)
    • Octoberfest @ Gnarley Barley with friends (October)
    • Rocky Horror Picture Show with friends (October)
    • Sleepover with Michelle (October)
    • Launched YouTube Channel, Kat’s Novel Adventures (October)
    • Anubis: Improv Level 2 8-Week Class (October-December)
    • Melissa’s 7th Grade Book Challenge (October-December)
    • Greta Van Fleet Concert in NOLA with Barry, Jr. (November)
    • Friendsgiving with high school friends @ Wendy’s house (November)
    • Cloak and Dagger Christmas Readathon (December)
    • Christmas Evil Readathon (December)
    • Anubis: Improv Level 2 Showcase (December)
    • Help Mrs. Billie with health-related issues (December)

    As you can see, dear reader, 2022 was about making memories, having adventures, and spending time with family and friends. Even though I did not cross off every item on my 22 for 2022 list, I still feel like I accomplished a great deal in 2022. I am extremely grateful for being in good health and able to have all of these experiences this year. As I mentioned in last year’s post regarding my TA-DA List in 2021, “Although I am a planner by nature and love setting goals and making resolutions, I also enjoy learning and trying new activities. When opportunity knocked, I opened the door and accepted whatever adventure was across the threshold. Life is truly an adventure.” And, I still feel this way today as I reflect on 2022. Happiness!

    “Live life to the fullest. You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece. Laugh some every day. Keep growing, keep dreaming, keep following your heart. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”  ~  Albert Einstein

    Review 22 for 2022 List

    Today is the day to reflect on my 22 for 2022 list! I chose CHANGE as my word for 2022, and there have been a few significant changes that have occurred in my life in 2022. My family and I said good-bye to our 13 1/2 year old dog Sophie when she crossed the Rainbow Bridge in early January. We unexpectedly welcomed Luna, a ten-week-old puppy, to our family in February. And, I quit my job as an Instructional Coach at HGCS in May. I only completed six items on my list this year and started the process of completing four others.

    • Time-track in January. YES
    • Tweak morning routine. YES
    • Make consultation appointment with oral surgeon (implant). YES (April; implant process started in June)
    • Learn a 30-60 second monologue. YES (performed at auditioning workshop in January)
    • Buy a new vacuum cleaner. NO (suffering from decision fatigue; bag or bagless?)
    • Get wedding rings resized. NO (waiting on hubby to find jeweler)
    • Clean out and organize master closet. NO (procrastinating)
    • Plant new garden in front of the house. NO (procrastinating)
    • Purge paper and organize file cabinet. STARTED (plan to carry over to 2023)
    • Go paperless (bills and statements). STARTED (plan to carry over to 2023)
    • Scrapbook monthly. NO (only in June; not feeling it-making me sad)
    • Complete Year of Gratitude scrapbook. NO (tried in June at event; too overwhelming)
    • Have a Year of King (Stephen King). YES (collaborated with Kelsi)
    • Update theme (layout) for blog. NO (suffering from decision fatigue; super disappointed)
    • Research video editing software. YES (sticking with iMovie until new laptop purchased)
    • Complete a puzzle. NO (kept forgetting; need a space; try again in 2023)
    • Write a will. STARTED (received paperwork; need to complete in 2023)
    • Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. YES (buddy read with Rachel)
    • Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. NO (disappointed; plan to try again in 2023)
    • Complete the WordPress Blogging course. NO (disappointed; plan to try again in 2023)
    • Take a WordPress Podcasting course. NO (did not make time; concentrated on YouTube instead)
    • Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow. STARTED (need to complete in 2023)

    In addition, I participated in three reading projects which I am still participating in until the end of December. I did the #Read21in21 challenge again, where I read daily for 21 minutes. Instead of reading nonfiction like I did in 2021, I am reading children’s literature (middle-grade/young adult) books. I joined the Goodreads Challenge again and set my goal to read 50 books in 2022. I reached my Goodreads goal back in September and hope to complete 75 books this year. The children’s literature books read for #Read21in21 will be included in that total number of books. I also read 11 awesome books with members of my Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club.

    I participated in Collabs with Kelsi, participated in Frugal February, and posted joyful pictures regularly on Instagram for my Year of Joy Project. Finally, I kept a TA-DA list for 2022 which I will be sharing with you soon, dear reader. The only two extra projects, where I dropped the ball, were #Rest22in22 and #Walk20in20. I just did not commit to either one.

    Overall, I think I did okay with my 22 for 2022 list considering a few of the changes in my life this year. I knew when I made my list last December that it was slightly ambitious, especially with us still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and COVID restrictions becoming almost nonexistent. I also had more acting and improv opportunities along with all the preparations for launching my own YouTube channel. Once you see my TA-DA list, dear reader, you will understand why I was not focusing all of my attention on my 22 for 2022 list. HA!

    Currently, I am working on my 23 for 2023 list, and I think I have my new word for 2023 picked out. I usually reveal my one-word theme and yearly list in January, but I may try posting it earlier if I can get my act together. No promises, since I am up to my eyeballs in books for my December readathons and movies for my movie marathons. How did you do with your goals in 2022, dear reader? Happiness!

    “A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at.” ~ Bruce Lee

    November was an outstanding reading month for me! I completed 10 books in the month of November, finished the #moremontgomerychallenge, fulfilled four prompts on Kelsi’s Nostalgic November Readathon, and made progress on Melissa’s 7th Grade Book Challenge. November is also the month I completed the most books of the year. As of today, I have read 70 books throughout 2022. I have surpassed my Goodreads goal of 50 books, and I still have two more weeks left of the year with plenty of superb stories to finish the year off splendidly. How I would love to end the year with at least 75 books under my belt in 2022!

    Since several of my books/stories overlapped for the different challenges, I will wrap up the month by Readathons instead of my normal categories. With that being said, I still managed to read a nonfiction book, several children’s literature books (#Read21in2021 Challenge), a Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club selection, and a book written by Stephen King for Year of King.

    #MoreMontgomeryChallenge

    Of all of my bookish adventures in November, I am the most proud of completing every prompt on the bingo board for the #MoreMontgomeryChallenge that was hosted by booktubers, Mitzi (Mitzi Reads and Writes) and Elizabeth (LizzyfayeLovesBooks). This was a three-month long reading challenge (September-November) which ended on November 30th, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s birthday. However, I read only one book in September (Anne of Avonlea) for the “Read An Anne Book” prompt and did nothing in October because of the spooky season.

    Therefore, I had to complete the remaining eight prompts in November. In addition to reading stories/books, two of the prompts were to watch something related to the works of L.M. Montgomery. For “Watch Any Anne Adaptation,” I watched the 2016 version of Anne of Green Gables which I really enjoyed. There are two other versions that I would love to watch in the future. For “Watch Any Non-Anne Adaptation,” I chose an episode (Season 1, Episode 4) from the television series, Road to Avonlea. Although Anne Shirley is not a character in the episode, it does include other characters from Anne of Green Gables. I really enjoyed the episode and plan to make some time in the future to watch the entire series.

    As for the reading prompts, my favorite book was Among the Shadows: Tales from the Darker Side. This young adult selection fulfilled the “Short Story Collection” prompt. This collection includes 19 tales, some with supernatural elements and some with darker societal subject matter. Since I have not read much L.M. Montgomery, I chose “The Deacon’s Painkiller” from this collection to satisfy the “Reread or Rewatch A Favorite” prompt. It was one of the more humorous stories in the collection and provides a good lesson for Andrew, the protagonist in the story. While I enjoyed all of the stories in the collection which I read throughout the entire month, the following stories were my absolute favorites:

    • “Davenport’s Story”
    • “The Deacon’s Painkiller”
    • “Detected by the Camera”
    • “The House Party at Smoky Island”
    • “The Man on the Train”
    • “Miss Calista’s Peppermint Bottle”
    • “Some Fools and a Saint”
    • “White Magic”

    Another young adult selection that I read was Kilmeny of the Orchard. What a pleasant surprise! This short novel, counted for the “Standalone Novel” prompt. It is a sweet love story about a recent college graduate, who takes a temporary teaching position in the small town of Lindsay where he meets a beautiful mute girl named Kilmeny. Mitzi recommended both this book and the short story collection to me which turned out to be wonderful recommendations.

    Two middle-grade selections for this challenge were Maud: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Harry Bruce for the “Nonfiction or Biographical” prompt and Emily of New Moon adapted by Pricilla Galloway for the “Book From Duology or Trilogy” prompt. While both books were well-written and entertaining, I want to read more biographies about L.M. Montgomery and an unabridged version of Emily of New Moon, especially if I continue the Emily trilogy.

    The final prompt, “A Retelling or Anything Related” and a huge disappointment was Anne of Manhattan, an adult fictional retelling by Brina Starler. While I think Starler writes well and is a good storyteller, I was not thrilled with how the characters of Anne of Green Gables were portrayed overall in this retelling. Personally, it could have been fantastic minus the excessive drinking, the graphic sex scenes, and the situation with Anne’s thesis professor. It was hard imagining Anne Shirley, who is one of my favorite literary characters, and her friends behaving the way they did in this novel.

    I loved participating in this reading challenge. L.M. Montgomery has become a new author favorite of mine. I look forward to reading more of her work as well as reading more about her life. Additionally, since I got blackout on the bingo board, my name was put into a drawing, and I won a prize. I will be receiving two books from the Pat series by L.M. Montgomery. Elizabeth will be mailing them to me. Exciting!

    Nostalgic November

    Kelsi hosted Nostalgic November on her channel. I completed four squares on the board.

    • Old Technology on Cover/In Story (Only The Brave by Paul Evan Lehman)
    • Female Author/Woman Protagonist (Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw)
    • Witches or Magical Elements (Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman)
    • Retro/Vintage Mood Read (The Dead Zone by Stephen King)

    #Book Challenge

    My friend Melissa, who I worked with at HGCS, teaches 7th Grade Language Arts and created a challenge for her students as a way to make reading for Accelerated Reader more fun. So, I decided to participate in this challenge as well. This challenge runs from mid October until December 12th. I had already reached my AR goal, so I fulfilled the Free Space. Otherwise, I did not complete any prompts in October. I did a combination of books and short stories for the prompts I read in November.

    • Read a Book Outside for 15 minutes (“White Magic” from Among the Shadows by L.M. Montgomery)
    • Read a Genre that You have Never Read (Only the Brave by Paul Evan Lehman)
    • Read a Book from a Series (Emily of New Moon adapted by Priscilla Galloway)
    • Read at an Appointment (Maud: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Harry Bruce)
    • Read a Book Just Because It Has an Amazing Cover (Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw)

    Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

    Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman was our November book club selection. It has witchy vibes, magical elements, and romance. A bit more romance than any of us was expecting.

    It follows three generations of sisters who are gifted with magic of varying degrees. There is plenty of heartwarming moments blended with heartbreak and dangerous situations. Even though some of the romance was over the top, and I am not a fan of insta-love, I enjoyed the relationships between the women and the overall plot. 4 stars!

    Dear reader, if you want to hear more about my thoughts on any of the books I read in November, please check out my wrap up on my YouTube channel, Kat’s Novel Adventures.

    Year of King

    Kelsi and I chose The Dead Zone for November. This slow burn was a reread for me, and I was excited to revisit it.

    After having a second serious accident, Johnny Smith falls into a five-year coma. When he awakens, he discovers his life has dramatically changed and he has developed second sight. Because of his new gift, he finds himself involved in a murder case and faces an adversary with political connections. It has a good balance of heartbreak, turbulence, and rawness that make for an enjoyable read. 4 stars!

    Kelsi and I had a grand ole time discussing The Dead Zone (novel, film adaptation, and first episode of the television show) on December 11th. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

    My sister Rachel and I finally finished the 5-star read, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. I recently published a blog post, “Book Nook: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” where I shared my thoughts on this AWESOME book. We are planning to read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life, starting in January 2023.

    December is in full force, and I am participating in three readathons. What is wrong with me, dear reader? LOL. I am currently reading The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand for #Read21in21. NO book club selection for December. My book club is on hiatus until January. Our first selection for 2023 will be No Exit by Taylor Adams. Kelsi and I are reading The Shining for our Year of King project. This will be our last book for this reading project. Our live discussion about the novel, movies, and documentary will be in January. Date and time TBD. Last but not least, my nonfiction selection this month is The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil by Al Ridenour. 

    Thanks, dear reader, for reading this very long blog post. I appreciate YOU. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

    There is no friend as loyal as a book. ~ Ernest Hemingway

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