Reading Challenge Recap and 2020 goals

Another year of reading has come to an end. Every year since discovering Goodreads, I’ve been pushing myself to take on a yearly reading challenge. This past year my goal was to read 20 books, the same goal as the previous year. I’m excited to announce that I surpassed my goal, hitting a new record of 23 books in 2019! The last couple months were a bit slow going reading wise, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it, but I picked up some spellbindingly good books that pushed me over. Let’s take a peek at my Goodreads report.

Looking back, I read a lot of great books this year. During some of my longer bouts of travel, I took to reading on my kindle, and solely only free books I could download. Surprisingly some of those free books were my favorite can’t put this book down kind of reads.

If you’re looking for some quick reads that will have you fully consumed in the plot, check out “In the Dark” and “The Vine Witch.” Looking for a good cry? Anything by Mitch Albom will get the water works going, and I mean ugly kind of crying.

As 2020 is here and slowly underway, it’s time to get ready for another year of reading. Since the year is 2020, I figured I’d keep the goal at 20, to be all symbolic and everything, but ideally I’d love to hit 25. I’ve been telling myself that 2020 is going to be “the year of Katie,” especially as I get ready to turn 30 in a few days. With that said, I’m not sure how much free time I’ll have for reading because I plan to tackle new adventures, travel the world, and learn some new hobbies, but we’ll see where this year takes me.

One reading goal I really want to tackle is re-reading Harry Potter. My significant other and I hope to purchase a house this year, and I’ve been dreaming of having a Harry Potter home warming party, so I’ve got to re-read the books for some extra magic!

Happy reading!

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Grace Hopper Recap Video

As promised in my last post, I’ve put together a fun little video showing moments from the 3 day GHC event in Orlando, Florida. This will be the first video out of 3 that I’m putting together. The next two videos will be on tips and tricks for the conference, followed by a swag haul discussion.

Overall, the conference was fun, eye opening, and sprinkled with some inspiring tales and speakers. Would I go again? You’ll have to stay tuned for a future video, but I would say that if you’re a young student graduating soon and looking for a job, it’s worth your time!

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Men’s Spring Stitch Fix Review

Photo courtesy of Stitch Fix

With the promise of  warmer temperatures around the corner, it was time for my boyfriend, Brian, to get another Stitch Fix box, with the hopes of getting some Spring attire. For his latest Fix, he simply requested a Spring wardrobe, hoping to get a variety of pieces that would help with the transition from Winter to Spring.

#1 Descendant of Thieves – Crushed Tissue Seersucker Shirt
Price: $95

The first shirt out of the box was from Descendant of Thieves. Kristin, Brian’s stylist suggested this would be a good option for a BBQ, especially paired with Sperrys. That last bit made me laugh, because Brian is not exactly “preppy” or into boat shoes.

Brian: I’ll be blunt – this shirt was made of rainbow coloured toilet paper.  I really liked my last Descendant of Thieves shirt (check out our post here), but this one missed the mark, mainly in terms of comfort and fabric.  I couldn’t take myself seriously wearing a shirt that had more ripples than a roll of Cottenelle.

Continue to the next item to see a combined picture of Brian’s first two items.

#2 Flag & Anthem – Ellis Slub Short
Price: $45

The name of these shorts is funny, “slub.” I keep thinking “slob.” Brian’s stylist suggests wearing these bad boys out for a round of golf with the boys. I’m not sure he’ll be doing that activity anytime soon. I really like the light blue color of the shorts, which I think would be perfect for wearing on a cruise or going to the beach, but it takes a confident man to rock a pastel.

Brian: Clearly I am not a sufficiently confident man – I don’t wear pastel colored trousers.  Shirts, sure (except for salmon), but I get my pants and shorts dirty so light bottoms don’t last very long in my wardrobe.  These might be great for a round of golf as the stylist indicates, but I don’t play golf with “the boys”.

#3 Original Penguin – Daddy- O Solid Polo
Price: $55
Spring has sprung, and so have the pastels. Next out of the box was another pastel, but this top for on top. I think Brian looks good in pinks, but I know it’s hard to get him to commit to actually wearing colors besides white, blue, and grey. But, let’s see what exciting commentary he has to share this time around.

Brian: Ah yes, the classic salmon colored polo.  This is an item that everyone thinks a man should have in their closet, but not every man can actually pull off.  Personally, pink accentuates my rosacea so it was a pass.  Nice style and fit, just not the right colour for me.

With the combined pastel pants and top, Brian’s ready for a baby shower or gender reveal, hahaha. No, don’t get any ideas.

#4 Hawker Rye – Karson Spacedye Polo
Price: $38
When I spotted this next polo, I thought there was hope that Brian would find something in the box he’d like. It seemed like a classic “Brian” polo, all navy and and neutral. But, maybe I was wrong?

Brian: I was on the fence with this polo. I’m a sucker for navy blue polos (with at least 4 of them in my closet), but this one felt a tad too tight in the shoulders and armpits. I always wear an undershirt, and this shirt was a bit too snug to have another layer underneath.  I considered sizing up, but with a plethora of navy polos already, it didn’t feel worth it.

We paired this top with Brian’s last Fix item, another pair of shorts from Flag & Anthem, see below.

#5 Flag & Anthem – Wingate Short
Price: $39
We finish this Fix with one last pair of Flag & Anthem shorts, this time a different cut/design and a neutral/friendly color for Brian’s particular wardrobe.

Brian: These shorts were the saving grace of the fix, finally, something I could keep and not waste my entire styling fee.  There wasn’t anything special about these shorts, but they were a nice color and fit well for me to work into my summer wardrobe.

Brian’s Final Thoughts: I should have clarified that my Spring activities don’t include rounds of golf, going to the beach, or BBQs with friends.  It generally felt like this fix was designed for someone living on the west coast, where Spring is a whole lot closer to summer than it is here in the east.  I just ordered another fix today and tried to be a bit more descriptive about what I was looking for in hopes that I’ll keep more than 1 item.

Until next time, happy fixing!

Haven’t tried Stitch Fix yet? Sign up with my Stitch Fix code!

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My first Reddit Secret Santa

My boyfriend convinced me to participate in Reddit Secret Santa this holiday season. It was a first time experience for both of us. Going into it, we didn’t have high expectations, but were mostly excited about making someone else excited.

I spent a lot of time, effort, and a decent amount of money into the gift package I created for my recipient. I won’t spoil the fun here as to who I got, but some of her interests were in cats, puns, and horror. I looked around for some neat gifts, threw in some surprises too (Google Home Mini) and really hoped she would enjoy them. Looking at her review, looks like things went over well.

Now for my Secret Santa…

There was a deadline given that we needed to send our gifts out by, and mark on the Reddit Gifts site that our gifts had shipped. I did this for my person, but noticed my Secret Santa never did. The deadline came and went, and I was under the impression I had been forgotten. I gave up hope, moved on, and went on with my holiday plans.

Eventually, a random Amazon box came in the mail that we are assuming is from my Secret Santa, but they didn’t mention anything about Reddit, who they were, etc. Here’s what I received:

I was feeling a bit optimistic when I saw the outside of the box said “Harry Potter,” something I mentioned as one of my interests. I should note I gave my Secret Santa a lot of information and things I liked to choose from.

The box says it’s a “fantastic” gift box of Harry Potter goodies.

A lot of the items are off branded, and some things are down right random like the finger puppets in the picture above and the pencil with a creature on it.

It wasn’t the most exciting box, and I’d say the Amazon seller shouldn’t really call this Fantastic or claim it’s very Harry Potter-y, but it might be an ok gift for a young child who really likes Jelly Beans, as that’s most of the box.

Ultimately, the gift was a little bit of a letdown since it feels like it wasn’t super thought out and a bit rushed (order placed at the shipping deadline), but I’m grateful that I was remembered in the end with a surprise in the mail. Getting mail is always fun.

I’m not sure if I’ll do Reddit Secret Santa again next year, because it can be a hit or miss, but it was kind of fun finding gifts for a random person and hoping to make their day. Let’s see what this new year brings.

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Skimming the news is the way to go

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted due to a very busy work schedule, but I wanted to stop by and share something that I’ve discovered that I think all of you might like and could use.

While this year is only half way through, there’s been so much going on in the news that it’s hard to keep up with what’s true, what’s not, and what’s worth knowing. A few months ago I was introduced to a newsletter started by two women that has changed the way I get my news. While I majored in Broadcast Journalism in college, I ended up with a job in technology instead. I’m still interested in the news and keeping up to date on the latest happenings but it’s not always easy.

If you’re like me and you want to stay informed, learn something new, and sound like you’re well versed in a variety of topics, you need to check out theSkimm.

What’s theSkimm?
A free and fun daily newsletter that comes directly to your inbox (week days only).

Why should I subscribe to theSkimm?
It’s an entertaining fresh way of getting your news. For those of us always on the go, it’s an effortless way to stay connected to what’s going on around the world. Plus, it’s created by two women, and I’m always one for supporting women led/owned businesses.

Sounds great, how do I sign up?
You can sign up via my referral link here.

theSkimm is completely free, so signing up via my link helps me become an official skimm’bassador, meaning I can eventually help provide feedback, content, and test products/series the company is working on.

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