Attempts at repairing a fallen camera lens

And when I say fallen, I mean literally. When I started this blog, I thought I might also have a youtube channel for videos of some of my hobbies - ukulele seemed like it would be better shared through video, and I thought I could make unboxing/art videos of an art subscription box I ordered. About 18 months ago, I bought a Sony Alpha A6000 with the kit lenses. The 16-50mm powerzoom lens was almost constantly on my camera and was great as a daily carry, and is good for amateur video. Last year for my birthday I also got a great tripod from my husband, so I had everything I needed to film these videos I was thinking of.

All that to say, I had to find the best way to set up said camera and tripod to show what I was doing but not have the legs of the tripod in the frame. I was standing on top of my dining room table trying to get this set up correctly, stepped down from the table, and then the whole tripod, camera and all, fell about 6 feet to the floor. Because the lens kind of sticks out from the body of the camera and is also heavier than the camera, it took the brunt of the impact when it hit the floor. The lens worked well enough after that to take our Christmas card picture, but the next time I tried to use it, it started making a sound like it was trying to auto-focus, but the mechanical whirring never stopped. I tried turning auto-focus off on the camera, tried some “percussive maintenance,” and looked into buying a replacement lens. As a last ditch effort, I figured that I had nothing to lose, so I decided to follow the instructions in this video to try to repair the lens.


Guys. Taking apart a camera lens, even a mirrorless one, is so scary. Even though I didn’t think I could break it much more than I already had, I still was trying to be very careful, and wanted to try to get it to work so I could save the money from replacing it and maybe get a new, nicer lens instead. Taking those tiny ribbon connections off was daunting, and trying to get the lens back together once I was done disassembling it was more difficult than I thought it would be, but I did it!


I didn’t end up finding anything inside the lens that looked wrong, so there wasn’t anything for me to glue back or remove or fix in some other way, so I closed it back up and tried it out. At first it wasn’t making the sound, but the next day when I went to brunch with some friends and tried to take some pictures to capture the gathering, it started whirring again. I waited another couple of weeks and finally bit the bullet and purchased a new SELP1650 lens from Amazon. The new one looks and works great, but I’m not going to toss the old one just yet. Now that I’ve done it once, maybe I can try looking inside the old one some more to see if I can figure out the issue. If not, to the technology recycling center it goes!


Here’s hoping I don’t have any more major mishaps!

Does rearranging furniture count as a hobby?

Something I never give enough credit to is how much the space around me affects my mood (and therefore my productivity). I’ve moved offices all three years that I’ve worked on this campus, and I do always give quite a bit of thought to the placement of my desk and office supplies so that they would be within easy reach, but I never really thought about the placement of the cards and pictures on the wall in front of my face. This became very apparent to me when I started this blog and would sometimes take pictures on my desk here - I was having trouble keeping the kids’ toys and posters out of the backgrounds of my images, and the clutter on my desk was always being piled up on a chair for the duration of the photo-op, only to be a mess on my desk again shortly after.


As much as the title of this blog describes me in regards to new interests, always going headfirst into doing a bunch of research and then immediately buying the supplies needed, it also describes me when I’ve decided I want something. My hair is bothering me and I think about getting a haircut? You better believe I will be at a Supercuts that afternoon (or like last week, in my bathroom with hair shears cutting it myself!). Decide I want something in particular for lunch or dinner? I will be on UberEats or in the car to go get it within 5 minutes.

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It’s the same way with interior decorating. Rearranging my furniture and making a space more beautiful AND functional is such a good feeling for me. It makes me feel good that I did some physical activity to actually do the moving, and it gives me a clear goal to reach. It even was a kind of coping mechanism when I was in college; if I was anxious or upset about something, I would spend and hour rearranging my dorm room furniture to get my mind off of it and to get rid of some the extra energy my anxiety was causing. It’s also just fun!


I recently rearranged the two desks in my office at work and created a bulletin board to cover up the clinical white walls surrounding me. I also added a couple of new air plants and have been keeping my potted philodendron watered. The only things I purchased for this were the cork board squares (2 packs of four at a local hardware store), the desk mat which I got from PrintedDesignsCo on Etsy, and a gold colored soap dispenser that I have my hand sanitizer in (not pictured) so it’s not just a plastic thing of Germ-X. I also am loving what is basically a closet between my desk and the cabinets at the back of my office. It’s a great place to store all my outerwear and also to have some quiet time during my lunch break.

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I scrounged up a couple of before photos, and am in love with the afters. So many earthy colors and living things and pictures of people (and animals) I love! Who knew my work desk could be one of my favorite spaces?


What’s your favorite fix for livening up a space? What does your ideal work space look like?

What I'm Reading no. 2 - HP1 and a Rom-Com Novel

If you read my post after New Year’s about some changes I want to make, you know that I have a Kindle Paperwhite and want to use it more often, especially before bedtime instead of being on my phone. I haven’t been making a lot of progress in that area of my life, so I haven’t finished very many books in 2019 yet. I did just put screen time restrictions on my phone, though, so I’m crossing my fingers that helps! I have read a couple things though, so here are my thoughts on those books.

I am a big fan of Harry Potter. I loved the movies first and didn’t actually read all the books until I was a freshman in college, usually reading during my biology lecture (still made an A!). I have never read the UK version of the books though, so I thought I’d do that this time around (about my 5th or 6th read-through). The changes are pretty minimal, the most notable, of course, being the change in the American versions from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Most people agree this was an unnecessary change since the Philosopher’s Stone is a legend going back much further than JK Rowling and therefore it could be assumed that American kids would catch on, but it is what it is. I just got to the part of the book where Harry and Hermione have taken Hagrid’s dragon to the top of the astronomy tower at midnight and get caught leaving because they left the invisibility cloak up there. Getting pretty close to Harry coming face-to-face with Voldemort - sorry, He Who Must Not Be Named - again! I might not end up finishing this one or might finish it then skip ahead to book 4 or 5. A favorite podcast of mine, Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, is currently reading Order of the Phoenix and it makes me want to reread that one more than the first few, especially since I’ve read the later books fewer times than the early ones.

The other book I read recently is Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson. It draws you in with the mystical connection between Blix, an older, free-spirited woman, and Marnie, a 20-something whose plan for a normal, suburban life gets turned upside down. I often couldn’t put this book down - I had to know what was going to happen next! I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a hopeless romantic, but I do love those moments in books and movies when you can just feel the happily ever after, and this novel has plenty of that. There were tears and laughter throughout this read, and like any good rom-com, a lovely happy ending. I highly recommend it to any other lovers of love out there!

What’s on your currently-reading or to-read shelf these days? Do you have a favorite book or books that you read over and over again?

Television Tuesday no. 3

It’s been a while since I updated you on my TV watching. Now that we’re past the holidays it won’t be a whole post of Christmas movies! Since then I’ve watched some family movies that I hadn’t seen before, last year’s poorly rated shark movie, and multiple seasons of an oldie-but-goodie TV show. Also, of course, The Bachelor started, but I will mostly talk about that in separate posts/on InstaStories.

On New Year’s Eve my husband and I finally watched Moana! Disney’s other recent film, Coco, didn’t do much for me; I couldn’t suspend my disbelief long enough to believe a Mexican family would shun music. I had high hopes for Moana, though, since one of my sisters and one of my sisters-in-law both really enjoyed it. And they weren’t wrong! The music was great, the story even better, and a happy ending for all. I’d probably watch it again, but I’m also glad to not have a little kid in my life watching it on repeat.

Also around New Years, we watched Meet The Robinsons. I honestly wouldn’t have guessed that this was also a Disney movie, but it is. The time travel idea worked and I liked the hero’s and villain’s intertwined story, but there were moments like in Coco where I couldn’t suspend my disbelief. There was so much that happened with Lewis throughout the course of the movie that I think the future had to have changed in some big ways, mainly in who is wife is and how his kid turns out, but the movie did help show that Lewis/Cornelius meets his wife as a child, so maybe the future doesn’t change much after all.

The last movie we watched recently was The Meg. When I first saw the previews early last summer, I really wanted to see it. That scene where they pan up to show giant teeth marks on the side of their underwater glass facility was so intriguing! I didn’t hear much about it when it came out, but since then I had heard that it wasn’t very good and it only got a 45 on Rotten Tomatoes. I liked it for the most part. It was weird how the formerly married couple interacted in such a friendly way, even encouraging the other in a new romantic relationship. One of my favorite parts was a beach scene that was very reminiscent of the beginning in Jaws when the mom is looking for her son who is in the water with the shark. If you’re looking for something entertaining, very slightly thought-provoking about what’s at the bottom of the ocean, and don’t care much about accuracy, I would recommend giving it a watch!

Like I said, The Bachelor started! I’m not super invested in Colton and read a bunch of spoilers for the season, so I already know who wins. I thought knowing might make my experience better and I could catch on to the little things they do to show they’re in love, but I don’t know so far if that’s really how it’s working out. I don’t plan to read spoilers for the coming season of the Bachelorette at this point.

Finally, The Office (American version). I remember watching The Office with my family when it was first on TV, but I don’t remember much about it and don’t know how many seasons I saw before I stopped watching it, so it’s basically a new show to me. Thomas hadn’t wanted to watch it, even with all his friends telling him he should, because he doesn’t like documentary style shows. This coming from the man who absolutely loved Parks and Rec once he started watching it, and who seems to really like The Office as well. We’ve gotten through seasons 1-4 in just the past 2 weeks. I was impatient for Jim and Pam to get together and get engaged, so I’m thrilled that we’re at that point now. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Dwight-Angela-Andy triangle plays out, and plan to have many rewatches in the future like I do with Gilmore Girls, Friends, and HIMYM.

What’s new in your Netflix list this month?

Happy watching!

I refuse to call these resolutions... Happy New Year!

The idea of resolutions has always been lost on me. I am not a goal-setter by nature and am very much a cross-the-bridge-when-we-get-there and go-with-the-flow kind of person, and having goals that you have to work toward doesn’t exactly say “go with the flow.” I do, however, love the idea of a fresh start. So the day before the new year, I spent my time cleaning house and taking down the Christmas decorations. Out with the old and all that.

The following days, I continued purging, organizing, and cleaning. I’ve never been good at keeping my home clean. I’m the youngest of three girls in my family of origin, so I didn’t get in trouble for it much, but my room was very rarely clean. My dorm and college apartments were always a mess as well, until such a time that I got tired of tripping over everything and cleaned the hell out of the place, only to leave dirty clothes laying around and dishes overflowing within a week.

But I wanted this time to be different. People always talk about putting things away when you’re done with them as a way to keep a space clean, but that never caught on with me. Then I read, multiple times, on Reddit the rule of Only Touch It Once. Basically, the same idea of putting something away as soon as you’re done with it, but with more explicit instructions. If you take off your shoes, that’s touching them once; if you leave them in the doorway and have to come back later to put them in the closet, that’s touching them twice. Instead, put your shoes in the closet immediately when you take them off. When you change into comfy clothes when you get home, go ahead and refold those jeans and that camisole and put them away and put the shirt in the hamper directly. While I don’t usually make goals, or resolutions, I have always wanted to be the kind of person whose home is presentable enough at all times for someone to say “Hey, I’m in the neighborhood. Thought I’d stop by!” and be able to say “Please do!” without being worried about how dirty the house is or running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to clean up. So non-resolution number 1: Only Touch It Once.

I think I’ve done pretty good so far. My shoes are all where they belong, which is much better than getting frustrated when I can’t find the right ones, my jackets are all hanging in the closet, my jeans aren’t covered in cat hair from being on the floor and getting slept on for days before getting reworn. I hope I keep it up! I did struggle this morning when I changed my mind about the outfit I’d picked out last night and didn’t want to put it away immediately, but I convinced myself to do it, even hung the jacket back up instead of leaving it on the hook on the closet door. Go me!

Also during my winter break, I realized how tired I am a lot of the time and how much sleep my body actually requires. Toward the end of my last week off, I was staying up till 3:30 and waking up between 11:30 and noon. While this left me feeling like I’d wasted the day, I was actually very productive between 11pm and 3am those few nights and, like I said, it showed me that naturally, my body wants 8-9 hours of sleep, just like most recommendations say. Who would’ve thought! I also realized, not for the first time, that a lot of the reason I stay up so late is because I give myself stupid rules about the apps on my phone: I’ll read reddit posts until I get to the end of this page; I have to play this game until I run out of energy; just one more Buzzfeed quiz/article and then I can put my phone down. And sometimes I actually just yell at myself (in my head), “LAUREN, put down the phone!” If I’m ready to go to sleep, I should just put it down and go to sleep! Idk if this is addictive behavior or obsessive/compulsive behavior or what, but I want to do better.

I got a new Kindle Paperwhite in mid-December, so I’m trying to read more instead of using my phone, especially before bedtime. Last night, I took a sleep aid at 9pm (since I never did get back on schedule from those 3am nights), set my alarm on my phone then placed it on the charger for the night, and read until about 9:55. I made a conscious choice to turn off the Kindle and try to fall asleep by 10pm so I could get in 8 hours of sleep before my 6am alarm. It was still hard to get out bed this morning, and I’m currently drinking my 2nd caffeinated beverage of the day, but I think if I stick with it, non-resolution number two: get enough sleep will be very beneficial.

I read somewhere recently that it’s better for your teeth to drink coffee, tea, soda, etc. in one sitting than sipping on it all day. If you keep introducing the acid in these drinks over a period of time, your enamel hasn’t had time to recover between sips and it can cause more damage. I also am aware that I am not a well-hydrated person. Part of that is that I truly just don’t feel thirsty most of the time, but it’s also because I have the sweet tooth of a hummingbird and just want sugary drinks most of the time. I do want a healthy smile, though, and don’t want to have lots of cavities or have teeth pulled and replaced by dental work too early in life, so I’m trying to switch to sipping on water throughout the day. I’m not giving myself a specific “drink x number of ounces of water a day” type of thing, but I will say this: non-resolution number three: drink more water.

I’m hoping that writing about these lifestyle changes here will help hold me accountable to them. I don’t want to come back before the end of January and write about how I gave up for some BS reason like the enabler I am; I want to come back at the end of the year and be able to say that I did it - I drank more water, I got enough sleep, and I kept my house mostly clean. Maybe if I follow through, I’ll understand this whole resolution thing.

Do you have any resolutions for 2019 (I still can’t believe that’s the current year)? What do you do in your daily life to set goals and be your best self?

Guilty Pleasure - The Bachelor Starts Tonight!

I watched a season or two of the Bachelor when I was in high school, a decade ago now, but hadn’t watched it since then until Nick Viall’s season. I’m not completely sure what made me want to watch it that year; I just started watching it and was completely hooked. I followed some of his bachelorettes on social media, watched Rachel’s season of The Bachelorette, and season 3 of Bachelor in Paradise. I even listen to Ben and Ashley Iaconetti’s Almost Famous podcast now! It just drew me in somehow!

I haven’t been a fan of Colton’s since we first found out he had dated Tia prior to Becca Kufrin’s season, so I’m not thrilled with him as a choice for the 23rd Bachelor. It wasn’t that he dated Tia then went on the show anyway - I always believed he was over Tia and it was completely on her end that there was still a spark - I just don’t think he seems sincere in anything that he says or does, and I am one of those people who really has to wonder “is he ready?”. I’m looking forward to seeing if he seems more genuine this season and how being the lead affects his maturity and readiness to find love and settle down.

My original plan was to post my reactions to all the women and then share my Fantasy League and Bachelor Bracket picks, but then I ended up on Reality Steve’s site and read a bunch of spoilers for the season. #oops #sorrynotsorry I don’t usually read spoilers for anything; for movies I’m really excited to see, I won’t even watch the trailer or listen to advertisements for it because I want to fully experience it in the theater. But since we all know this show is only barely “reality,” I thought it would be fun to know who he picks and then see if I can catch any of their little moments that led to love. Should be fun!

That being said, I am still doing a Bach Bracket since the points aren’t just from who Colton picks each week, but also from who gets the first kiss, who cries in each episode, if they get in a hot tub, etc., so it doesn’t feel like cheating cause I’m going to do poorly on that stuff. I’m just doing the Official Bach Bracket League. Here are my picks for this week:




Hannah G


Who are your picks for this week? Who do you think makes it all the way? Happy watching!

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Just popping in to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday weekend and a very merry Christmas on Tuesday. My weekend is going to be spent with family and friends at my parents’ annual Christmas party. Christmas Eve is always with my husband’s family for tamales, a traditional Christmastime meal in much of the Southwest United States. And Christmas day (which is also my birthday) we will enjoy breakfast and gifts with my family, then gifts and lunch with my Thomas’s, then dinner, birthday presents, and birthday cake with my family. It’s always a busy day for us, but I can’t imagine it any other way.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight. I’ll see you in the new year!


What I'm Reading no. 1 - Sabrina The Teen-Age Witch

Around Halloween, my husband and I binged The Thrilling Adventures of Sabrina. It was completely different from the previous iteration of the Teenage Witch on TV, but so good! I had heard some people say that it was more similar to the comics or what they would expect from “actual” witches, and that piqued my interest in seeing the comics for myself!

I was not interested in paying hundreds of dollars or more for the actual comic books, but I found an anthology of every comic Sabrina appeared in on Amazon for less than $8! Score!


I’ve been reading through it slowly, just when I get bored of whatever I’m looking at on my phone or if we take a break in the middle of a show for my husband to feed the cats. It’s not what I was expecting somehow, and yet exactly what I should have expected for a spin-off from the Archie Comics. At this point I’ve read enough to see when a different artist drew the comic - the face and hair make it pretty easy to tell.


The main difference I’ve seen between the shows and the comics is that I haven’t seen Harvey whatsoever! Sabrina is boy crazy and it’s a different boy in every comic! And she’s not very good at magic. She does do the classic finger-pointing that Melissa Joan Hart’s Sabrina did, though! Her aunts are nothing like they are in either of the shows, and we don’t see Salem as much as I wish we did, but it’s cute and entertaining! I look forward to getting to the strips from the 1970s when she had her own whole comic books rather than just appearances in Archie’s TV Laugh-Out. Maybe I’ll have to read the other Archie’s comics, too if I like this one! And maybe I’ll get back into Riverdale. So many things to read and watch!

Television Tuesday no. 2

Since last week, it’s been more of the same. I just can’t stay away from the Christmas movies! This time though, most of them were not Netflix originals and I’d seen them previously. I also let my husband pick some of them this time ;]

Christmas with the Kranks - How have I never realized until this year that they named this family the Kranks because they’re being cranky and not celebrating Christmas?? I think this movie is entertaining; I like Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis as the titular couple. I don’t like that the entire town makes them feel like they’re horrible people for not wanting to join in the hoopla for the holidays. Sometimes you just don’t want to and that’s okay! I think it gets a 7/10.

Deck the Halls - The entire premise of this movie is so strange to me. I suppose people have done weirder things to try to get noticed than making their Christmas lights super bright, but I had trouble suspending my disbelief enough to enjoy it much. It’s fun to watch during the holidays just for the sake of it being a Christmas movie, but I wouldn’t be sad if it doesn’t make the line-up in my house next year. I give it a 5/10.


The Christmas Calendar - I added this one to My List on Netflix as soon as it showed up. I have a fascination with advent calendars. My dad would always get my sisters and I each one of those ones with the (gross) chocolates behind the little paper doors and I’ve always had some sort of advent calendar in adulthood, as well, so I was looking forward to this one. Who knew it would also include magic!? It doesn’t hurt that I married one of my best friends who I’ve known since elementary school like the two main characters who end up together in this one. I think it deserves 8.5/10.

Fred Claus - Within the first 30 seconds, I knew I would be mad at this movie. I just knew they were going to make it out to be Fred’s problem that he hates Nick, but clearly his parents chose a favorite child and made it known, and of course that’s gonna mess with the not-favorite-kid’s personality. I wouldn’t want my parents or brother in my life either if they were always comparing me to him and never thought I measured up. Turns out I was right and Fred just needed a more giving spirit…I liked it well enough in the end, but my eyeballs almost got stuck looking backwards from all the eyerolling I did. It’s a solid 6/10


The Santa Clause 2 - Not sure how we ended up watching #2 but not the original, but we’ve seen them both enough that it didn’t really matter. In my opinion, this one is just such a classic. There are some things I have issues with (mostly Carol being willing to leave her school/students in the middle of the year and also the way she looks at Scott/Santa at the end when he leaves to deliver presents - she looks almost brainwashed to me, though the image to the right doesn’t do the moving picture justice), but for the most part, it’s just a fun sequel to such an original idea presented in The Santa Clause. Definitely a 10/10.

I also watched Rent recently, as well as some episodes of Friends and Gilmore Girls, and started watching Live PD after my husband discovered it on a business trip, but nothing else of much note, and I don’t have much to say about these except that they’re fairly mindless entertainment which can be nice sometimes. I’m looking forward to a few things I have scheduled to record coming up, but I’ll talk on those next time!

Happy holiday watching!


Television Tuesday no. 1

The day after Thanksgiving, I woke up and went to watch Netflix in the living room while my husband continued sleeping. I saw a little “New Episodes” tag on the Great British Baking Show. I didn’t remember any press about a new season being released, so I clicked it and saw that there really was a whole new season available! More GBBS! Happy Thanksgiving, indeed!

I have watched through episode 4 (I’ve seen ep. 1 twice because I watched it with my parents also). I still miss Mary Berry, Mel, and Sue who left the show before filming began for series 5 (series 8 in the UK. The first three series were never added to Netflix for US viewers), but I don’t mind Noel and Sandy as much as I did in their first few episodes.

Here are my thoughts on some other TV I’ve been watching:

Amazing Interiors - I watched episode 1 a while ago and was mildly entertained. It was great background noise and to be able to look up every once in a while to see something cool in the two finished houses they showed and the one that was in construction during filming. I watched episode two while I stayed with my parents last weekend and it was pretty much the same kind of thing; two houses that are already completed and look completely different on the inside than what you’d expect just looking at the exterior, and then a home in progress during filming with a big reveal at the end. None of the houses are something I’d be interested in living in, but I hope they work well for the people who do live there!

Netflix Christmas Movies

Who doesn’t love a good Christmas romance? So many of these movies are cheesy, have not so great actors, and the characters fall in love way too fast, but there’s still something so hopeful about them. It’s hard to resist! There are some spoilers in these descriptions/reviews, so beware if you haven’t watched them yet.

Christmas Inheritance - This was new on Netflix last year, but I never did watch it. It was cute and had a happy ending, but I didn’t like that the main character was engaged and flirting with another guy. I think she could have just been in a LTR with her boyfriend and then broken up with him at the end rather than calling off an engagement. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I see engagement as more of a commitment than just dating, so the main character deciding over just a few days that she no longer wanted to be with her fiance gives me pause for her new relationship. I’d give it a 7/10.

Christmas Wedding Planner - Wow, that wedding dress. Wow, family secrets. Wow, these people who have known each other for a week get married at the end?!?! I can get on board with saying I love you at the end of the movie, even if it’s fast, but actually getting married? No. Just have everyone go ahead and go to the reception to celebrate love and friendship, sans vows. Even though I think it was ridiculous, and simple communication could have staved off several conflicts here, I put this in a category of So Bad it’s Good, so 6/10.

The Princess Switch - I liked this one! Anything with royalty is good in my book. I also like when more than one couple has a happy ending. Even Stacy De Novo’s baking enemy can’t help but be happy for them! Vanessa Hudgens was the new Lindsay Lohan, playing two identical characters who switch places, a soon-to-be princess who just wants a taste of normalcy, and a baker who recently got out of a long relationship and needs to invest in herself and have some spontaneous fun. Vanessa’s affected accent for the role of Margaret Delacourt (the duchess) reminded me of Natalie Portman’s (very accurate) portrayal of Jackie Kennedy’s Transatlantic accent. I give it a 9/10!

Christmas with a View - The view is the mountain where the story takes place, but it isn’t ever actually mentioned that the view is important or anything. A hotel manager and the new semi-famous chef have a will-they won’t-they thing going on the whole movie, but with absolutely no chemistry! They keep talking about how smooth Shane (the celebrity chef) is when he’s talking to fans at the hotel restaurant, but he wasn’t smooth at all! He is so awkward and while it didn’t come out of nowhere because we know the main characters end up together in a holiday romance, it did feel very out of place when they do finally kiss and make up (literally) because they just don’t seem to actually find each other attractive or interesting. The lack of chemistry gets this movie just a 5/10.

A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding - I definitely should have rewatched A Christmas Prince before seeing this one because I remembered nothing about last year’s installment. I think I also confused The Princess Switch with A Christmas Prince since both have the women showing the prince/king-to-be how they need to be better monarchs. When Simon shows up at first, I didn’t remember him at all, but then slowly had the gaps filled in by the movie mentioning he tried to steal the crown the previous Christmas. His redemption story added a nice subplot to a movie about a wedding and a monarchy moving into the 21st century. I did think there wasn’t enough focus on the wedding considering that was the subtitle of the film, but that’s also how heroine Amber feels about the wedding, so maybe that was purposeful. They do end up married and the country is saved from its economic turmoil, so it’s a 9/10 for me!

Old shows I’m just now watching/rewatching

Mad Men - I’m only about 4 episodes in, so I don’t have a lot of opinions or predictions yet. I have a lot of trouble watching aspects of it with the #MeToo movement going on; I just can’t imagine being a woman in this time period. It seems right that Elisabeth Moss is a main character since some pieces vaguely remind me of Gilead in A Handmaid’s Tale. I’m also amazed at how much people smoked in the 1960s! There was a birthday party in episode 3 and they literally had a bowl of cigarettes on the coffee table so all the parents could smoke incessantly through the kid’s party, including a pregnant woman (who also was enjoying a mint julep with the other adults)! My how the times have changed.

Gilmore Girls - An old favorite of mine. If I had to guess, I’d say this is probably at least the 15th watch-through for me. It’s just such a good show! Even with the fat shaming and other jokes that didn’t age well, it is good entertainment and makes me feel good since it’s so nostalgic for me and reminds me of all the friends I’ve watched it with. This past week we saw Emily sneak in to Rory’s dorm to redecorate it, we met Naked Guy Marty, and we heard the first mention of Jason “Digger” Styles, a beau-to-be for Lorelai. Season 4 is good on its own, but it also has me excited in anticipation for what’s to come - the opening of the Dragonfly Inn, Rory getting back together with Dean (only exciting because it means their third breakup, which gives us #TeamLogan), and finally (FINALLY!) Luke and Lorelai together!

Happy watching!

December 2018 BuJo Spread

I first heard about bullet journals in the spring of 2016, I believe. Typical to my headfirst ways, I immediately had to get the pens and the notebooks and the washi tape and everything else that goes along with the beautiful images of bullet journals on Instagram and Pinterest. It turns out that none of those things actually make me any more productive or more likely to journal. I’ve tried various other ways to keep myself organized over the years since then, but recently decided to try returning to the BuJo, though a very pared down version.

I’ll write more about what I’ve tried and what does/does not work for me with planners, journals, etc. soon, but for now, here is my spread for December 2018!


I use a pencil to mark out the boxes, then go back over it with a pen (usually my favorite - the Pilot Acroball) and add in the days of the week and the dates. I wrote “December” in a silver Sharpie and the tree, days of the week, and my birthday (yes, it’s on Christmas!) are all colored in with Zebra Mildliners.

I don’t actually look at this page of my journal very often because I rely very heavily on my Google calendars, but I do like to put everything here as a backup and because it’s a good way to remind myself what’s coming up this month.

Highlights for me in December include my 28th birthday, my family’s Christmas party that we have every year, and 12 whole days of getting to wear jeans to work! An educator’s dream!

Hermit Crabs - My Office Pets

My oldest sister adopted two hermit crabs when I was about 10 years old. They had pretty painted shells and lived in a small tank with a slatted top. If I remember correctly, they didn’t even have any sand in their cage, just tiny little rocks.

This is not an appropriate tank, but unfortunately is what many hermit crab sellers recommend.

This is not an appropriate tank, but unfortunately is what many hermit crab sellers recommend.

I got two hermit crabs of my own when I was a freshman in college. I figured they’d be a good dorm-room pet since they were so low maintenance, as I had learned from my sister. You put a wet sponge in their tank, a little food, a little water, and they’re good to go! I only kept them for a year or two before deciding I didn’t want them anymore and I had my mom take them back to Petco so someone else could adopt them.

These are not the ones from college, they still currently live in my office at work.

These are not the ones from college, they still currently live in my office at work.

Then, about two years ago, I decided I wanted a pet for my office at the school I work at. Not a hamster (smelly escape artists), not fish (you can’t even hold them!). Other mammals were going to be smelly also, and probably take more work than I was willing to give, maybe even needing me to take them home for the weekend. Who knows how that would have turned out with my two cats! I’d never had any reptiles as pets, so I didn’t want to learn that while at work (and those would possibly need to come home with me over long breaks as well).

Crab on the right is the same as the one on the left in the previous image.

Crab on the right is the same as the one on the left in the previous image.

All that to say: I decided on hermit crabs! I bought 3 or 4 originally, then was given 3 by coworkers who no longer wanted the ones they had at home. Hermit crabs will often bury themselves during the day and also to molt when their exoskeleton gets too small, so I often don’t see all of mine at one time, but I’m pretty sure I have seven in my tank right now.

Once they go under the substrate to molt, it can be difficult to tell who’s who! No idea if either of these are grown up ones from the other pictures or not.

Once they go under the substrate to molt, it can be difficult to tell who’s who! No idea if either of these are grown up ones from the other pictures or not.

They are pretty low maintenance, so I would recommend them as an office or classroom pet, but they are a little more work than I knew going into it! Hermit crabs do not belong in hamster cages or those small plastic tanks with the slatted top like my sister had when I was a kid, or what I had when I was in college. They also shouldn’t be housed with only rocks and a small shell full of freshwater, and there shouldn’t be a sponge in there at all. They need lots of heat and humidity (they breathe through gills!), lots of sand to bury themselves under, things to climb on and hide in, and freshwater and saltwater dishes large enough to submerge themselves. I am no expert and I am definitely still learning the best ways to make a great life for these little guys (I actually don’t know their sexes, I’ve never looked), but that’s just some information to get you started! If you are interested in getting hermit crabs of your own (always get more than one, they are social animals), definitely check out the subreddit r/hermitcrabs and their Google Docs and/or the Facebook group Hermit Crab Owners.

An appropriate tank for land hermit crabs.

An appropriate tank for land hermit crabs.