November 15, 2014

five friday favorites #6: week of nov. 14, 2014

It's hard to believe I've been doing these Friday Favorites for six weeks now! (Thanks for the suggestion, Val.) Some weeks the list practically writes itself (like last week), and other times I really struggle to come up with five favorites (like this week). But I will prevail--even if I have to post on Saturday again! Once again, I'm linking up at Housewife Glamour, and this week, I'm also linking up at A Little Bit of Everything.

1. This Guy
He adores me, and I adore him. In fact, he's sleeping on my lap as I type this.

2. Reading Excellent Books
As you know, I read all.the.time. I enjoy most things I read, but sometimes I come across books that I just can't get enough of. This happened to me twice this week. First, it happened with Julie Lessman's new release, Surprised by Love. I read the entire 400-page novel Sunday afternoon and evening. I absolutely could not put it down! It's book three in her "Heart of San Francisco" series, and, while I felt a little off-kilter at first since I hadn't read the first two books, I quickly adapted. This book will most likely make my "Top 10 Books of 2014" list. You can see my review here.

The second "can't put this down" book was a novella in the Where Treetops Glisten anthology: "I'll Be Home for Christmas" by Sarah Sundin. Sundin has been one of my favorite authors for several years now, with each book of hers that I've read appearing on my year-end Top 10 list. This novella is just as good as any of her books, and now I'm really wishing I didn't have to wait until next August to read her next novel! My review of all three novellas in the book is here.

3. Hot Drinks
We have this problem in my office: the heater doesn't keep up. I work in a very old building, and the boiler went out last year. Instead of replacing the boiler (we don't know how long we'll still be using my building), the administration decided to put in a heating system. The problem? The heat comes through the vents the air conditioner uses ... in the ceiling. So the air just kind of hangs out near the ceiling, and we're left freezing several feet below. We tried a myriad of things to keep warm:
My coworker Daurice hung this blanket over the student mailboxes to help with the draft, as the hallway is no longer heated. It makes a huge difference!

We wore blankets, scarves, and gloves throughout the day and brought in space heaters for our feet.

My coworker Steph came to my office for a meeting and closed the door. What a difference! This wasn't my favorite solution, as I don't like being shut off from everyone else, but it definitely made the rest of the work day more comfortable.

Then it was my genius father to the rescue! He had the brilliant idea of taking the diffusers off the vents so the heat would shoot directly down into the room. (This is a shot up into the air vent.) We still need the blankets for our laps and the space heaters for our feet, but overall, the office is now bearable.

My favorite way of coping with the cold is by drinking hot drinks! We went through so much hot water in the office this week because we were all constantly getting something hot to drink. I drink a lot of hot tea, but sometimes you need something with a little more substance. Enter Alton Brown's hot cocoa! This stuff is fantastic--it has a deep chocolate flavor and isn't too sweet. And one cup lasts me a long time--with coffee and tea, I drink really fast, but, for whatever reason, I just sip this hot cocoa. If I need a bigger caffeine kick, I just sprinkle in some instant coffee, which we have in spades in the office.

4. The Nine Lives of Christmas
I talked about this a little bit in my latest Movie Mondays post, but it deserves some expounding upon. Before I watched it, I was skeptical because sometimes animal movies don't come off so well. (For example, the completely dreadful My Boyfriends' Dogs, another Hallmark original.) I think this one succeeded because the cats were a part of the story but not the focus. Also, the writing is a step above most Hallmark fare. Veterinary student Marilee (Kimberly Sustad) is completely likeable, and fireman Zach (Brandon Routh) may be a little dense when it comes to love, but he is absolutely adorable. Gregory Harrison has a supporting role as the wise fire chief. (Harrison starred in one of my other favorite Christmas movies, A Christmas Romance. I reviewed it here.)
This photo makes me laugh because these two were never together in these outfits in the film ...
but they do make a striking pair! (Photo from the Hallmark Channel.)
I've now watched The Nine Lives of Christmas twice (it was on Hallmark again last night), and I think it's safe to say it's my favorite Hallmark Christmas movie. Period. Unfortunately, the demand for the DVD seems to be higher than what Walmart (who is the only retailer selling it) anticipated. I preordered my copy on Monday, and on Wednesday, I got a message stating it was unavailable, and they didn't know when it would be back in stock. Boo!
Seriously, can you look at this photo without smiling?
The scene it's from is completely adorable, too. (Photo from the Hallmark Channel.)

5. Misfit Shine
I can't believe the Misfit Shine hasn't been one of my Five Friday Favorites yet--quite the oversight on my part! I purchased this activity/sleep monitor (like a cheaper Fitbit) in July through a Kindle Special Offer. If you have a Kindle Fire and don't have special offers enabled, you're missing out. Every so often, Amazon will offer a deeply discounted item that's only available for purchase through a Fire for a limited time. Most of these items aren't ones I'm interested in, but every so often, a gem comes through--like the Misfit Shine. I love that it tracks my steps, but even more than that, I love that it tracks my sleep. It took years, but I've finally realized how important a good night's sleep is for me. It may sound crazy, but now that I'm actually tracking my sleep, I'm more inclined to go to bed at a decent time. This thing is worth every penny I paid for it!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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