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November 4, 2022

Dear Friday!

You are here, and I am not even the slightest bit mad about it. I am not one to wish a week away or time in general, but this week was a DOOZY! I traveled for a wedding this past glorious weekend. Even though I felt refreshed from the alone time spent with my hubby away from the kids, I started the week with a significant sleep deficit. Throw in a sick kiddo home ALL week and a few abandoned (and much-needed) routines, and my week was a bit off-centered. Instead of focusing on the things that frazzled me, I am cherishing the beautiful things that kept me grounded and put a smile on my face (AKA…spending more time with my youngest). And in case it slipped your mind, FALL BACK this weekend and set the clocks back one hour. The plus side to daylight savings is that we gain one magnificent hour of much-needed sleep. This dark and cold season is the perfect excuse to cuddle up by the fire, sip something warm, and get lost in a cozy tale.

Cheers, Friday!




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It’s officially November and a new month equals a new #DEARBASICBUDDYREADS selection. For Non-fiction November, Katie and I chose Stolen by Elizabeth Gilpin. This memoir sounds absolutely harrowing, and I can’t wait to dive in. Some early feedback from readers in our group is that the audio version (read by the author) is very good. At this point, I am leaning toward listening, but will keep you posted when I get started. Our private group chat is held over on Instagram, so be sure to DM me at @dearmrhemingway over there to join us. If you want to watch Katie and I reveal this month’s pick LIVE, CLICK HERE! Be sure to check out the synopsis and READ WITH US!


“At fifteen, Elizabeth Gilpin was an honor student, a state-ranked swimmer and a rising soccer star, but behind closed doors her undiagnosed depression was wreaking havoc on her life. Growing angrier by the day, she began skipping practices and drinking to excess. At a loss, her parents turned to an educational consultant who suggested Elizabeth be enrolled in a behavioral modification program. That recommendation would change her life forever.⁣
The nightmare began when she was abducted from her bed in the middle of the night by hired professionals and dropped off deep in the woods of Appalachia. Living with no real shelter was only the beginning of her ordeal: she was strip-searched, force-fed, her name was changed to a number and every moment was a test of physical survival.⁣
After three brutal months, Elizabeth was transferred to a boarding school in Southern Virginia that in reality functioned more like a prison. Its curriculum revolved around a perverse form of group therapy where students were psychologically abused and humiliated. Finally, at seventeen, Elizabeth convinced them she was rehabilitated enough to “graduate” and was released.⁣
In this eye-opening and unflinching book, Elizabeth recalls the horrors she endured, the friends she lost to suicide and addiction, and–years later–how she was finally able to pick up the pieces of her life and reclaim her identity.”



I am not typically one to “drink the cool aid,” but I decided to take a sip of Taylor Swift’s latest album, and I am OBSESSED! I’ve had MIDNIGHTS playing in the background since it came out, and I LOVE IT. It’s fun, moody, has a bit of an edge, and works for me 100%. MAROON and YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN, KID, have been my favorites, but I adore all the songs. The best news is that she is going on tour again, and I hope to see her because she makes me feel oh so YOUNG again, and that’s a good thing!


I am in between shows, so my hubby and I are re-watching VEEP…a political comedy starring Julia Louise-Dreyfus. This is pee-in-your-pants-my-stomach-hurts-from-laughing kind of funny, and it’s perfect for unwinding at the end of the day. It is WILDLY inappropriate, so consider yourself forwarned. Click here to check it out.


My answer to that question is NOT MUCH! My enthusiasm for cooking this week was lower than low. I kept it simple by making a few go-to meals such as pot roast and burritos and added in a pizza night to keep things exciting. Tonight my plan is for the five of us to go out for dinner and catch up as a family—all in one place with no phones or places to escape. Now, I may not have executed an epic weeknight meal plan this week, but I did make fresh bread, and that is literally the GREATEST. Not only was it a cinch to make, but it made my house smell homey and like someone baked in it for hours. The best part of this bread is that it is delicious and only has FIVE INGREDIENTS! Because of this, I would advise using the beer you love and high-quality honey for this recipe. It will make a difference. Also, be sure to grease your pan EXTRA EXTRA. I did not, and the bread was hard to get out. I think I will use parchment paper next time. HERE IS THE RECIPE! Happy Baking!


Still no songs…sorry. As I mentioned earlier, this week didn’t “flow” well for me. Hiding away and reading is my number one way to re-center myself. But a close second is writing and creating. The past few weeks, I’ve spent some time with Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz and The Parent Compass by Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick, MA & Jenn Curtis, MSW. I have always been very selective about what books I write about for my blog. Not only do I put my heart and soul into what I am writing, but also A LOT of time. These two books still linger in my mind and could not be any more different. Be sure to click the links above and read what I said.


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YUP!!!!!! This is happening! For the love of GOD, I CAN NOT believe that I have entered this new-to-me arena of parenting. I just picked up this book from various parenting sites after reading about how wonderful it is. This is Fiske’s 39th Edition, so it’s safe to say it’s a good one. If you are beginning this process with your kiddo or will be in the next year or so, keep this book in mind. It has a 2-3 page write-up on almost every college in the United States. The information provided is the perfect combination of stats (acceptance rate, cost, financial aid, etc.), the primary focus of studies, student life, campus offerings, and more. I find this book easy to navigate, with digestible information that does not overwhelm me. It is also great for your college-bound kid to poke through. Because it is one “chunky monster,” it can be used as a doorstop once your teen gets into college!


Have you noticed an increase in junk mail lately? I am baffled at the waste whenever I grab the mail from our box. Junky advertisements, random papers, and piles of catalogs fill my poor mailbox to its breaking point. This, of course, does not include the essential pieces of mail, such as bills and cards—things I want to be able to find. As I thumbed through last night’s pile of crap, a few noteworthy catalogs caught my eye. Even though I’ve seen these stores and ordered from them occasionally, I usually don’t give them a second glance before sending them to the recycling bin. However, Halloween is officially behind us (PRAISE BE), and I am dreaming of the holiday season. So when I spied candy canes, ornaments, and whimsical garland on a glossy page out of the corner of my eye, my heart skipped a beat. I quickly nestled those magical-looking catalogs under my arm, grabbed a cozy glass of red, and beelined over to the couch. I flipped through every one of these catalogs reading through each description as if it was a holiday romance novel while allowing the sparkling images to occupy my mind. I sat cuddled on my couch dreaming about reindeer sheets and a poinsettia quilt draped on my bed, holiday lights dangling from every window, cozy fires created from perfectly stacked wood piles next to the fireplace (meanwhile, I have an electric fireplace), and Christmas trees decked out in various themes in EVERY room of my house (even the bathroom). Do I want to buy everything in these catalogs? YES! Will I buy anything from these catalogs? NO! Here is the thing— these catalogs provided me with 20 minutes of pure joy. And yes, after I finished swooning over the plaid blankets lined with faux fur and stockings hung with care on overdressed mantels, I delivered these bad boys straight to the recycling bin—but not without thanking them first!

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