Inspired by Crystal Stine’s latest Friday Favorites series I decided to join the fun. Also, I always seem to miss Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into Link-Up. Here’s a bit of what I’ve been reading, watching, wearing, listening, and devouring this month.



The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian is about an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars. The first 40 – 50 pages are full of acronyms and a bit of technical jargon, but once the story gets going I couldn’t put it down. This is a great book for guys and gals. I also love how the author self-published the novel first and it took off so well that publishers took note. A publisher scooped up the book and a movie deal at the same time. The film version of the story is being released in November, so be sure to get it read before then.

Freefall To Fly by Rebekah Lyons

Freefall to Fly is about Rebekah’s struggle with depression and anxiety after moving to NYC with her family. The book was surprisingly short and follows a loose narrative. I liked seeing what life was like in NYC with her family. The book reads more like a memoir where you know the author better.

More of my favorite books are listed on my books page.



Parks and Recreation

I am so sad to see Parks and Rec end this week. It’s a funny comedy that is mostly clean. It’s not about who is sleeping with whom. It’s about Leslie Knope trying to be an awesome person. All the other characters have freedom to run with their own brand of comical genius. The first season is a little flat, but it starts flying in season 2. Catch up seasons 1-6 on Netflix, then watch the last season on Hulu.

Downton Abbey Season 5 ends Sunday!

Is anyone else ready for Downton Abbey to come to a smashing conclusion? We all know Carson hates to see traditions change, Edith can’t get a break, Mary will always be Mary, our hearts break for the Bates, and the Dowager Countess is witty. Alas, I keep watching, because I like finishing what I started.

Oscar Nominated Films

I liked The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, and Birdman. Although, I don’t think Birdman deserved the Oscar.

I still want to see Whiplash and Selma.

I have no interest in watching Boyhood, American Sniper, or The Theory of Everything. I respect the art of these films, but they aren’t something I want to spend an evening watching.



Babyganics Shampoo + Body Wash – I found Babyganics foam soap at my grocery store. It’s steep at $9 for the bottle, but it lasts for three months. If the label is true, then it’s missing all those harsh chemicals. I also use it to wash my face since the ph level is safe for my eyes.

Dr. Bronner’s bar soap – I didn’t know this was hipster soap when I bought it. It’s helped me with winter dry skin issues and the lavender one smells really good!

Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soap – My friends had these in their homes and I had to check them out. Mrs. Meyer’s is supposed all natural and full of good stuff. They all smell so good, except for Honeysuckle. Ew. I also get the spray to wipe down counters and tables. I’m kind of addicted to these hand soaps. I wish they had wall plugins, then I’d totally be set.



Hillsong United’s White Album –  It’s a remix techno version of Hillsong United’s popular songs. It’s great for the treadmill and background music. I especially love Hosanna (Tim Yagolnikov Remix), because it has a “praise you in the storm” vibe without explicitly saying the words.

Lindsey Stirling – Lindsey is a classically trained violinist who plays a variety of modern, dubstep, and dances while she plays. My kids love her videos! Check out Roundtable Rival, Shatter Me, and Master of Tides.



Becker Vineyard’s Iconoclast Cabernet Sauvignon– Becker Vineyards is a Texan winery, so it may not be all over the U.S. The bottle is $8 and is consistently good. I don’t normally like cabernets, but this one is a nice balance of dry, spicy, and sweet.

Bonterra Zinfandel – $10 at Costco. A nice fluffy Zinfandel without all the sour tannins. It’s also an organic wine if you like that sort of thing. I love a good spicy wine and this one is perfect.

Brisket and Giant Beef Ribs in the BBQ Capital of Texas, Lockhart

As much as I love Texas and Bar-b-Que I have never been to the BBQ Capitol of Texas in Lockhart, Texas. We wanted a quick day trip from San Antonio so we headed out to Lockhart instead of our usual visit to Salt Lick. We stopped at Kreuz Market and Black’s BBQ. We loved the brisket at Kreuz, but we didn’t like the sausage. I don’t fully understand what Kreuz has against sauce, because they proudly serve none. I love BBQ sauce! Then we stopped by Black’s BBQ. I grabbed a giant beef rib, because I wanted to try it and I wasn’t sure when I would be back. The giant beef rib was divine!

I never regret spending money on good food. If you’re a Texan, then a stop in Lockhart is well worth the drive.

Do you have a current favorite book? Which Oscar films do you want to watch? What do you listen to at the gym?