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Archive for December, 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

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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

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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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What an AWESOME reading experience! I have been wanting to revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle since 2021. Thankfully, I not only read it again (for the third time), but I also buddy read it with my sister Rachel over the course of four months. She set up Zoom meetings for the duration of the book, and we met online on Wednesday evenings. I also listened to Eckhart Tolle’s podcast episodes with Oprah for each chapter and took notes to incorporate in our discussions.

For me, A New Earth is the perfect book to read when feeling overwhelmed, wanting to make a change, or struggling in an area (in my case areas) of life. Unfortunately, I have been on the struggle bus for some time. I seem to end one season of sacrifice, just to enter another one shortly afterwards. Since 2022 has been all about CHANGE (my one-word theme for the year), my life desperately needed to undergo another transformation, an awakening boost, a reminder to be present. By having my sister join me on this reading adventure, her ideas and knowledge from her own spiritual journey helped me tremendously. This was Rachel’s first time reading A New Earth; however, she read his book, The Power of Now, so she was already familiar with Tolle’s spiritual teachings and the practice of being in the present moment.

A New Earth has 10 chapters with the first chapter setting the stage by explaining human consciousness, the purpose of the book, and the need for transformation, not only within ourselves, but also within the world around us. From there, the next three chapters explore the ego, its core, and its many faces. When most people think ego, they associate it with arrogance or being braggadocious, and that is one way ego presents itself. However, complaining, resentment, faultfinding, playing the victim, and negative self-talk are other examples of the ego. The “illusory sense of self” is the ego.

Chapters 5 and 6 tackle the pain-body and breaking free from it. Eckhart Tolle states, “Because of the human tendency to perpetuate old emotion, almost everyone carries in his or her energy field an accumulation of old emotional pain, which I call “the pain-body” (140). The pain-body is your story, your emotional baggage from the past, and it can wreak havoc on your thinking. As Tolle explains, “Whenever you get taken over by the pain-body, whenever you don’t recognize it for what it is, it becomes part of your ego. Whatever you identify with turns into ego” (181).

Thankfully, we can break free from our painbodies, but it takes work, especially if you have a huge one. Personally, I am still working on breaking free from my own pain-body. My meetings with Rachel helped significantly when reading and discussing these chapters because we share a childhood and similar events that have contributed to our pain-bodies. I think it is also important to pay close attention to when your pain-body resurfaces. Mine tends to become more prevalent when I am exhausted or feeling overwhelmed. My ego tells me to throw in the towel and quit because I am wasting my time. Sadly, I am listening more and more to my ego. Part of it is because the year is winding down, and I am extremely disappointed with myself for not reaching goals or not being more ahead of the game. I had plenty of expectations, and I do not feel like I have met them. Therefore, with the last two weeks left of 2022, I need to sit with myself in the present moment and reflect on my year. I know as I write about my feelings of failure that my ego is loving me being hard on myself. However, I recognize the feelings I am having right now stems from the ego, so I thank the ego and kick it to the curb. I have to finish this post, and I really do not have the time or energy to deal with my ego’s game. HA!

Chapter 7 is an important chapter. It is about finding out who you truly are, knowing yourself, knowing about yourself, and developing a relationship with the NOW (the present moment). Eckhart says, “The decision to make the present moment into your friend is the end of the ego…Time is what the ego lives on” (201). He further explains, “Fear, anxiety, expectation, regret, guilt, anger are the dysfunctions of the time-bound state of consciousness” (202). And, I can take this idea a step further with examining what influences some of those emotions which my sister shared with me. Sadness is influenced by the lack of something; anger is influenced by the identification or attachment to something or someone; and anxiety is influenced by the feeling of not having control. Once she shared this nugget of wisdom with me, which makes so much sense, I can now acknowledge what is influencing my emotion, thank the ego for pointing it out, and give myself grace. Rachel also shared that last part with me as well. Dear reader, this has been immensely helpful to me. I am practicing it right now by writing this blog post.

Chapters 8-10 is all about discovering inner space and learning to enjoy the present moment, realizing that your inner purpose is to awaken, and putting the three modalities of awakened doing into your daily life. Eckhart emphasizes the importance of those modalities when he states, “If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm. look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others” (295). Let us be clear that when we use the term acceptance we do not mean that we are in total agreement with a situation, but rather that we accept a situation as “what is” in the present moment and willingly take action to deal with it. For example, if I get a flat tire, I accept that I have a flat tire and it is inconvenient instead of getting angry, or ranting and raving while kicking the flat tire. All of those negative shenanigans (fueled by the ego) do not make me feel better about the situation (the flat tire) or actually fix the tire. I do not have to like that I have a flat tire, but I can accept it in order to willingly (calmly) take action to get my tire fixed and continue with my day.

I have awakened, dear reader, and have been since I first read A New Earth 12 years ago; however, I am a work in progress. I needed a kick in the pants so to speak. I can recognize my ego in myself and in others. One of my biggest stumbling blocks I have with ego is dealing with other people’s egos, especially family members. I must be better at evaluating their egos and why they are acting a fool. Then, accept their behavior in the present moment and not react with my ego. It does not mean I have to like their behavior or them for that matter. I strive to be present, smile, acknowledge the interaction is temporary, and enjoy the moment. Harder said than done, but necessary if I want a joyful life. Happiness!

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” ~ Eckhart Tolle,  A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

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Ho, ho, ho! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas; Christmas Evil is more like it. I am participating in the Christmas Evil Readathon this month with an ambitious reading goal. Strategically, I picked a couple of books that could count for numerous prompts, so if I cannot read all of the books on my list, I can at least complete the bingo board. I am currently reading Crooked House by Agatha Christie for the Slay Bells prompt and Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil by Al Ridenour for the Krampus prompt. In addition to reading books throughout the month, there will be movie watch parties, photo prompts, and a virtual Christmas party that includes singing zombie Christmas carols.

I am also participating in the Cloak and Dagger Christmas Readathon, wrapping up Melissa’s 7th Grade Book Challenge, and reading the first book selected for the #fomobookclub. I know, I know, dear reader. Like I said, it is ambitious. Thankfully, Crooked House by Agatha Christie can also count for both Cloak and Dagger and Melissa’s challenge. Additionally, I am reading Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige which will tie up Melissa’s challenge nicely with a bow, and it could technically count for the Santa’s Little Helper prompt.

If you want to hear more about my reading goals for December and the prompts for Cloak and Dagger Christmas, please check out my video with all the details. You’ll get a preview of one of the zombie Christmas carols we will be singing at the Christmas party on Saturday, 17 December.

Yuletide Movie Marathon

My Yuletide movie marathon is underway and the first two movies I have watched thus far have been duds. I watched The Gingerdead Man and Ugly Sweater Party with the Christmas Evil folks on discord, and they were both AWFUL. However, I have to admit The Gingerdead Man was better. HA! Watching both of these terrible films with a group of people on discord while chatting throughout the films made both experiences less painful on my eyeballs and more fun overall.

I always start my Christmas movie marathon with 12 horror movies set in winter or around the Christmas holidays. Except for the two terrible movies I have already watched, I think the other 10 movies on my list will be enjoyable. The Thing (1982) and 30 Days of Night are both rewatches for me and are a guaranteed good time. It has been quite awhile since I have seen them last, so I am looking forward to rewatching them. They are both awesome horror movies set in extremely cold temperatures. Violent Night is currently in the movie theaters, and my plan is to see it this week.

After I watch all of the scary movies, I watch 12 traditional Christmas movies plus two annual Christmas films that I love, Elf and Love Actually. All of the movies on this list are new watches for me, and I am excited to give them a whirl this holiday season. Unlike my books which will strictly fulfill my December reading goals, the movies I have chosen will more than likely bleed into next month. Technically, the Christmas season ends in early January. Sometime after watching our holiday movies, Kelsi and I are planning to have a chat to discuss the movies we watch during this festive season.

Reading books and watching movies at Christmastime are just a couple of the ways to make the holiday season more special for me. I will be sharing my Winter Fun List soon. I am slightly behind with my writing because I have been reading a great deal and creating weekly content for my new YouTube channel. Hopefully, I will get caught up this next week. What are your plans for the Christmas season, dear reader? Do you create a winter or holiday fun list? Let me know in the comments or email me at katloyacano@gmail.com. Happiness!

“Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day. It’s a frame of mind.” ~ Kris Kringle, Miracle on 34th Street

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I am running a bit behind on some of my blog posts since I launched my YouTube channel back in October. Nevertheless, I am a finisher (rarely do I throw in the towel) and since I finished my Halloween movie marathon, I wanted to share my thoughts with you, dear reader. I watched a total of 15 movies during the spooky season. I replaced Mr. Harrigan’s Phone with The Babadook because I did not have enough time to read the novella in the If It Bleeds collection by Stephen King prior to watching the movie.

I enjoyed most of the movies I watched this year. I will not go into much detail about any of the films because I do not want to spoil them for anyone who has not seen any of these movies. There were four highly anticipated films on my list, Trick ‘r Treat, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Hocus Pocus 2 and Terrifier 2.

Trick ‘r Treat was on my list last year, but I was unable to watch it because of availability. So, I was super excited to watch it this year, and it was worth the wait. I LOVED it! It includes four stories woven together that take place on Halloween. The one constant thread running through all four stories is Sam or Samhain, an immortal Halloween demon who enforces the rules of Halloween. It was my only 5-star watch this season, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to watch a terrific Halloween horror movie.

On the other hand, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, was a HUGE disappointment and the polar opposite of Trick ‘r Treat. Kelsi and I watched it together at her house, and we were both downhearted with this screen adaptation of Grady Hendrix’s beloved novel of which we are both fans. Underwhelming is the best way to describe it.

Hocus Pocus 2 and Terrifier 2 are on completely different ends of the spectrum; however, I liked them both for different reasons. Hocus Pocus 2 was a terrific trip down memory lane as my friends and I revisited the shenanigans of the Sanderson sisters, who are resurrected when the Black Flame Candle is lit by a couple of high school students. While it is not as good as the original, it is still a good time in my opinion, and I thoroughly enjoyed the magic, mischief, and mayhem. Terrifier 2 proved to be even more terrifying than the original. Thankfully, Kelsi and I watched it together in the theater. Art the Clown is the most off-putting and sinister villian who sadistically kills people on Halloween. In this latest installment, Art is resurrected and sets out to destroy a teenage girl and her younger brother. It is definitely much gorier than the first film, and there is an added element that proves to be even more terrifying than Art. Who would have ever thought it possible? This film has more of a storyline than the first with a protagonist you can root for as she battles the demonic clown.

Five of the films on my list are supernatural horror films that I consider slow burns: Umma, No One Gets Out Alive, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, The House of Usher, and The Babadook. Generally with slow burns, I like to revisit them because sometimes I miss the deeper meaning of the story, or I want to delve a little deeper into the film’s social commentary. I will eventually revisit all of these films, except The House of Usher which I thought was a boring retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher.” I enjoyed the other four films and think I might like them a bit more when I watch them again. After watching No One Gets Out Alive, I discovered it was based on a book written by Adam Nevill. I would like to read the book, do some research on the mythology included in the story, and then rewatch the movie. After watching The Babadook, I discovered it was based on a short film called Monster by Jennifer Kent. I want to watch Monster, do some research on the Babadook creature, and then rewatch the movie. As for Umma (haunted by childhood trauma) and I Am the Pretty One That Lives in the House (atmospheric; gothic vibes), I plan to rewatch both of them when the mood strikes me.

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting is an entertaining movie geared toward kids. It is kind of cool to imagine there is a secret society of babysitters who protect the children in their charge by battling the Boogyman and his monsters. Like Hocus Pocus 2, I enjoy throwing in a couple of family fun Halloween movies to break up the doom, gloom, and creepy vibes. It also gives me the chance to watch movies with friends or family members who are not fans of horror.

The remaining five films on my list worth checking out include Hellfest (serial killer blends in at a horror theme park on Halloween night), The Rite, a rewatch for me (demon possession), The House of the Devil (atmospheric, creepy, and love that Greta Gerwig is in it), Suspiria (directed by Dario Argento, visually spectacular, atmospheric, and eerie), and Countdown (be careful which apps you download on your phone because you may end up dead).

You can hear more of my thoughts about the movies that I watched in common with Kelsi, as well as our rankings (top 6 movies for me) in our latest livestream. As always, we hope you enjoy it and appreciate you taking the time to watch our video. Please consider giving us a thumbs up if you like it, and share it with a friend who likes listening to chats about horror movies.

That’s a wrap on the movies I watched during the spooky season, dear reader. It was a fangtastically good time. I will be releasing my list of movies that I plan to watch for the Christmas season shortly. My movie list will include both horror movies for the winter season and Christmas Classics. You can also follow me on Letterboxd @ KittyKatAttack and check out my lists of movies. Happiness!

“Samhain, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, also known as Halloween. Pre-dating Christianity, the Celtic holiday was celebrated on the one night between autumn and winter when the barrier between the living and the dead was thinnest and often involved rituals that included human sacrifice.” ~ Rhonda (Samm Todd), Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

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