Great Winter Reads for 2017 | Moddie Blog

Winter Reads | Past, Present & Future

It’s time to update you on my winter reads! It’s been a while since my last update (which you can find here). I am so far behind on my reading challenge that I need to step it up into gear. Have any reading recommendations for me? Leave them in the comments below! I need some serious help.

Great Winter Reads for 2017 | Moddie BlogPast: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I’ve had this book on my shelf since like 2014 I think, and I’ve finally gotten around to reading it. The Goldfinch is a Pulitzer Prize winner and had glowing recommendations from friends so I knew I’d enjoy it, but I couldn’t seem to pick it up (maybe because it’s 770 pages yiiikes)! Finally I did this past month and it took me the good part of 2 1/2 weeks to get through it. But I did and I’m so glad because I did really enjoy this and it was very different from my normal pick. Glad to get out of my comfort zone.

Okay, so what is this book about, you ask? It’s about a boy named Theo Decker who goes through a trauma that leaves his mother dead but gives him a painting called The Goldfinch. With his father out of the picture, 13 year old Theo is taken under the wing of a schoolmate’s family and slowly forges a path into the art world. We follow Theo to adulthood where things take ominous turns, but ah! I really enjoyed this. The problems Theo faces are ones we all do (although usually on a much smaller scale) and it was refreshing to see realistic, but interesting characters! 4.2/5 stars.

Present: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

I’m currently more than halfway through this lil new novel from one of my favorite authors, John Green. He wrote The Fault in our Stars— I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. If you haven’t, well… it’s about cancer and it made me cry. So, go read it. However, this new novel takes on a new health subject— mental health.

Turtles All the Way Down is about 16 year old Aza. Aza struggles with intrusive thoughts and thought spirals and it’s making her feel like she’ll never have a normal life. Insert a missing billionaire, a pink-haired best friend, a $100K reward, and a boy from her past and Aza has an adventure she didn’t see coming. So far I’m really enjoying this and am blowing through it. Would be a great read for a plane ride, a relaxing vacation, or just ya know an every day winter read.

Great Winter Reads for 2017 | Moddie BlogFuture: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I first read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie two years ago and fell in love. It’s so important to read from diverse authors and since reading Americanah, I’ve pushed myself to do so more and more. I picked up Half of a Yellow Sun a few months ago (a year ago?) and knew I would enjoy it as I’ve also read her essay called We Should All Be Feminists (and loved it). So after doing a quick instagram poll (follow me here) on what I should read next Half of a Yellow Sun won by a landslide!

Eee this looks so good. Adichie weaves together the tale of three separate characters who are affected by the turbulence of Biafra’s intense struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s. Ugwu, a 13 year old houseboy for a university professor, Olanna, the professor’s mistress, and Richard, a young Englishman, all have to run for their lives as the Nigerian troops advance. The novel follows them as their loyalties are tested. Honestly, cannot wait to dive into this.

Okay, your turn. What are you reading this winter? Leave a comment below and let me know!


Holiday 2017 Advent Calendar Round Up

Are you screaming at me that it’s too early yet? Well, for advent calendars it’s NOT! You need these on day 1 which means you need to be thinking ahead in November. You’re lucky I’ve got your best interests in mind. This is the season for treating yourself and your favorite people, so get clickin’ on these super fun advent calendars.

I also have to mention that Trader Joe’s does a mean chocolate advent calendar so keep your eyes peeled. And the a-frame gingerbread houses… okay, I’m ready for the holidays.

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First up are TREATS! If you’re more traditional, these may be up your alley. But seriously— a marshmallow advent calendar? UM. OK. Hot chocolate with mallows every evening, please and thank you. Then of course there’s the classic Godiva chocolate calendar where you can’t go wrong. Williams & Sonoma also put out their advent calendar which looks classic & beautiful. And, my favorite, because look at that print— the Alain Ducasse advent calendar with yum chocolates.

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What do you do when you're stressed? | Moddie Blog

What do you do when you’re stressed?

It’s been a very hectic few weeks (month?) in the life of Abbey Masters and let me tell you I do not do change well. I guess not many people do, but even if it’s a fun change I tend to get thrown into a whirlwind of emotion after said change happens. This time, though, I am going to be self aware! That was, after all, one of my goals of 2017.

So how exactly does being self aware that you’re going to flip out after going through a change work? Well, let me tell you, it doesn’t involve not feeling bad or stressed or like everything you thought was going well is now going wrong. Because you’ll probably still feel those feelings. It’s more about letting yourself vibe with the stress and then just let it roll off your shoulders because honestly, it doesn’t even matter. What?! The stress doesn’t matter?! The anxious person inside me is freakin’ out. But through the past few years I’ve realized to not let my stress set off other stress buttons in my body making the situation seem bigger than it appears. That’s key #1.

What do you do when you're stressed? | Moddie BlogWhat do you do when you're stressed? | Moddie BlogWhat do you do when you're stressed? | Moddie BlogKey #2 is to take care of yourself and focus on the little things when the big thing seems too big to not worry about. I’ve been trying to avoid retail therapy because it seems that doesn’t actually bring you happiness (and actually brings me more anxiety because I am stingy AF). So I’ve been trying to do smaller, easier life things to ease the burden. Such as turning on a great show (cough stranger things cough) and eating a taco on my couch. Or taking a hot bubble bath. Making a cup of hot chocolate during an evening in. Re-lax, dudes!

Some other ways I’m planning on relaxing this holiday season:

  • Gift Wrapping— I know you’re like what? But wrapping gifts is so fun for me because I get to be a little bit creative. See my video on gift wrapping for hipsters from a few years ago here.
  • Taking walks in the brisk air. Here’s hoping Houston weather stays brisk this winter. But seriously taking walks is my BIGGEST stress reliever. Something about listening to music and taking in fresh air at a leisurely pace that gets me in a zen mood.
  • Buying a new book— it’s no secret that I love to read. So going to a cute indie bookstore and picking up 1,000 books is a sure-fire way to ease any stress I’ve been holding on to. What are you reading this month? I’m almost all the way through The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
  • Cooking/Baking— I mean this could backfire and be super stressful, ya know? But I’m hoping I can learn some more cooking skills this season and maybe take y’all on the journey with me. I’ve been dying to try more of Chrissy Teigen’s recipes from her cookbook, Cravings.

Okay, this was a random blog post. But I’m honestly curious— how do you plan on relaxing this holiday season? Face masks, exercise, wine with friends? Can I sign up for some of these activities?