December Favorites

Happy New Year, readers!

I still can’t believe 2017 is finally over, it hasn’t been a good year for the world in general and I really hope 2018 is going to be better.

I have so many personal things I loved in December that I decided to include only a few of them. Christmas is my favorite holiday and the whole month is a treat for me, I love that I can always end a crappy year with some positivity and time spent with loved ones.

Here are some of the things I loved in December.

The snow at the beginning of the month. Even if I live in northern Italy very close to the Alpes, it’s rare that we experience some snow before January or February. However, this year we’ve been delighted with a White Christmas and I still can’t realize how lucky I felt when I woke up and the hills and roofs were all white.

The Crown. My only TV show of December has been the second season of The Crown. I love everything about this series and I’m sad that this cast is going to be replaced for the third season. They are planning a new round every two seasons because the actors would start to appear too young as soon as the story progress.

Journey app. Since discovering the DayOne app on iOS, I looked for something similar on Android and I finally found Journey. It syncs with Google Drive and it’s free (!) and it’s basically a digital private journal. I like to write one (or more, it depends) line a day recapping what happened and I usually add a photo or two. It’s like a private Instagram/Twitter thing where I can record my memories.

Instagram Detox. The last favorite of mine is the time I spent unplugged on Christmas day and the day after. It was refreshing and relaxing and I felt so good that I’ll definitely reduce my time online in the future.

Star Wars – The Last Jedi. I finally managed to see the second chapter of the new trilogy right after Christmas and I loved it, even more than the first one! It isn’t my main fandom but I’m sure I’m going to get the DVD (still old school here) when it will be available.

 

How was your December? What are your favorite things of the month?

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November Favorites

After watching many YouTube videos, we decided it would be nice to celebrate the past month sharing our favorite things as well. So here we are with our favorite things from November!

Alice’s Favorites

Tea. My friend (and fellow Travelling Geek) Maria sent me my favorite kind of tea, the English Breakfast, as a birthday present and I enjoyed it so much during my long afternoons spent researching for my thesis.

Narrowing down the number of apps I use. I love apps and I love planning, so I ended up collecting a considerable number of productivity apps on my phone lately. I love to geek out about them in a couple of Facebook groups and I always read geeky posts on how people stay organized, but I had to declutter my phone. I decided to keep just the ones I actually used on a regular basis and it feels so good!

Nonfiction November. Maria and I both joined the reading challenge called #NonfictionNovember and hosted by two booktubers: Olive of ABookOlive and Gemma of Non Fic Books. This year the theme where Home, Love, Substance, and Scholarship, and even if I didn’t manage to read a book for each category, I’ve been very happy with my readings. I will definitely do it again next year since I love reading non-fiction books!

Birthday presents. I wrote a whole blog post about it here. This year I’ve been spoiled with so many beautiful books!

Stranger Things. I’m not a fan of Horror and scary movies at all, but everybody online recommended me to watch Stranger Things so I decided to give it a try and OMG! I loved the show! I didn’t watch it last year, so I had 2 whole seasons to binge-watch and now I can’t wait to see the third one. I was so impressed by myself because I don’t usually get so excited about TV shows these days, but this one was so incredibly good that I couldn’t stop watching.

Lily’s Favorites

My first set of dice. I have played Dungeons and Dragons a few times, but since I was usually just tagging along with a roommate, boyfriend, or husband, I always borrowed someone else’s dice to play with. I’ve joined a new group at my local comic book shop, so it was about time I got some for my very own! The two D20s are a zinc alloy with yellow finish from Ultra Pro’s Heavy Metal series and the 7-die set is the Lustrous Shadow with gold design from Chessex. I love them!

Piglet mug. Piglet is one of my favorite Disney characters, but he doesn’t seem to be as popular as some of the other Winnie the Pooh cast. If he does appear on merchandise, it’s likely with Pooh or the rest of the ensemble. That’s why I snatched this up mug as soon as I saw it!

Norse Mythology audiobook read and written by Neil Gaiman. I realized that I had several books on my Amazon wishlist that were also available in audiobook form, and you know how much I like audiobooks. Like other Neil Gaiman books, he narrates this himself, so I knew I had to check it out. Plus, it’s great to feel like I’m joining in the oral tradition of the Norse tales.

 

 

 

 

How was your November? What are your favorite things of the month?

Alice’s Bookish Birthday Haul

Last month, I celebrated my birthday (it was the day of cool numbers because I turned 27 on the 27th of October…I basically waited my whole life for that moment, haha!) and I was lucky enough to get an online bookstore gift card. I received other amazing gifts as well (for example, my fellow travelling geeks Lily and Maria sent me beautiful stickers for my planner and some tasty English Breakfast tea!), but I’m so excited about that because it never happens. Everybody knows how much I love books, but they never gift them to me.

Living away from libraries and being a broke student is tough, it means I can’t afford all the books I’d like to read. Thankfully I have my trusted Kindle, so that’s where I do most of my readings these days.

My parents (and a close friend) broke the “rules” this year too and actually gave me the last two books of The Hobbit Chronicles! I still have to read the last one, but I highly recommend them to all the Tolkien and Peter Jackson’s fans out there. Fun fact: the last book (the one with Azog on the cover) hasn’t been translated in Italian and probably never will, so I had to get it in English. No big deal, but I hate when publishers don’t complete a series!

With the gift card, I decided to buy Beren and Luthien illustrated by Alan Lee. This book is gorgeous and I recommend it if you’ve read and enjoyed The Silmarillion. I hope to be able to actually read it during the Holidays.

Then I picked up a couple of books by Agatha Christie. Murder on the Orient Express because the movie has just been released here in Italy (I hope to finish it time!) and Death on the Nile. My studies are mostly in the Ancient Near East field and I always liked that Agatha Christie married a famous archaeologist, Max Mallowan, and travelled across Mesopotamia visiting the ancient cities I studied and loved. It’s amazing that two things I love so much (crime fiction and Ancient Near East) are connected together!

Last, but not least. I purchased Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling. I decided to get in my mother tongue tough (Italian) because my mom doesn’t speak English but she loves Harry Potter and everything JK Rowling does as much as I do.

 

 

That’s it! I still can’t believe how much I’ve been spoiled this year and I couldn’t be more grateful!

 

P.s. If you’d like to follow my bookish adventures, you can find me on Instagram as @alicethelibrarian 🙂

October Favorites

October is not only the month of my birthday but also probably my favorite time of the year, Fall is just started and you have all the best Holidays ahead, it’s like a new beginning after the horrible heat of Summer. We decided it would be nice to celebrate the past month sharing our favorite things.

Alice’s Favorites

Good Witch 3. The third season was finally released on Netflix and I enjoyed it during the whole month. It’s such a relaxing cute show, you never have to worry about drama and things like that, so I really enjoy it. Also, perfect timing since we were close to Halloween.

IKEA Coasters. This is such a dumb favorite, but I finally got myself a couple of coasters for my bedroom desk. This 2 piece set is simple and cheap. Now I can finally stop using random piece of paper under my mugs!

Handlettering Workshop. During October, I’ve been lucky enough to attend a free mini-workshop about handlettering at a local garden and home living store. It’s something very unusual here in Italy and I was incredibly excited about it because I attended it with an Instagram friend! I’m so grateful for all the like-minded people I’ve been meeting online since I started blogging ten years ago.

Birthday Flowers. My mom surprised me with a beautiful bouquet for my birthday and it really made my day, since I never receive flowers.

The Hobbit Chronicles. My parents and a friend gifted me the last two books of the Hobbit Chronicles by Weta Workshop about the making of the Hobbit trilogy and I couldn’t be happier! My collection is finally complete and I have a whole month to dedicate to these books (I’m usually busy rereading Harry Potter during December).

Maria’s Favorites

“Stranger Beside Me” by Ann Rule. I’m fascinated by crime stories, true crime and fiction, but this is the first true crime book I’ve read. The premise fascinated me the most. Before being a best-selling true crime writer, Ann Rule published true crime stories in magazine, trying to make ends meet. At the same time, in the early 70s, she worked with Ted Bundy at a suicide hotline where they saved lives. Little did Ann know that years later Ted would be convicted for murder of over 30 young women. Some even assume his number of victims was well over 100. In her novel, Ann recalls her friendship with Ted and her coming to terms with his heinous crimes. I can’t stop thinking about this book and the events decribed within. I’m sure I’ll reread it in the years to come as well as reading Ann Rule’s other true crime books.

“Japanese Cherryblossom Festival” Tea by Teekanne. In Germany we have this Tea company called Teekanne and their “Japanese Cherryblosom Festival” Tea has become my new favourite. I know, I know, the Japanese Cherryblossom festival is in spring, but I’ve been obsessing over this tea all month. The ingrediences of this tea are: white tea, sweet blackberry leafs, apple, cherry flavour, and cherryblossom flavour. I’m usually not a fan of fruit teas because most fruit teas in Germany contain rosehip and I cannot stand rosehip flavour. So this Cherryblossom tea is perfect for me!

Bosch Series on Amazon. In the month of October, I’ve started watching Bosch on Amazon and I’m loving it! I’m still in season one because I don’t want to binge-watch TV series anymore. I want to take my time and enjoy TV series like a good cup of tea. In other words, I take my time and watch only one or two episodes per week as I did before online streaming became a thing. I’ve never read any of Michael Connelly’s Bosch novels prior to watching the series, but thanks to the TV series, I’m hooked. Titus Welliver, who is portraying Harry Bosch, is one of my favourite actors in general, but I’ve also been loving his character and acting in the TV series a lot.

Salt crystal tea light holders. This is somewhat odd, but I love my two salt crystal tea light holders a lot lately. Whenever summer begins to transition into autumn, and the days begin to get shorter, I love to light candles each night before going to bed. It has become a part of my bed-time routine. I’m not so much into scented candles or certain candle brands. Instead I just buy simple tea lights and put them in some nice tea candle holders and my two salt crystal tea light holders are my favourite. In October it was finally dark enough in the evening to fully enjoy my salt crystal candle holders. Just the way the candle light illuminates the entire crystal, giving off a beautiful glow calms me.

Lord of the Rings Online 10th Anniversary Soundtrack. In September, LOTRO composer Chance Thomas realeased the LOTRO 10th Anniversary Soundtrack. However, I’ve been listening to it the most in October. I love playing LOTRO and its soundtrack always stood out to me. Sometimes, I’d visit a certain area in-game just to be able to listen to its ambient music. But now I have the songs playing on my mp3 player non-stop. My favourite way of listenting to the soundtrack is when lying in bed, with my salt crystal tea light holders lit. This is such a relaxing way to end a day while allowing your mind to drift away to Middle-earth.

Lily’s Favorites

Comic: Scales and Scoundrels, written by Sebastian Girner, art by Galaad, and letters & design by Jeff Powell. I’m always on the lookout for fun comics, and this series was recommended on Twitter by @AJKazlouski of Time Warp Comics. I picked up the first one in September and loved it! The second issue came out in October, and I can tell that this will be one I’m going to follow. When the story starts, Luvander is a scrappy adventurer who is likely to be found hustling locals over a card game at the tavern or stealing an apple just to get by. After getting run out of another town, she happens to team up with a young prince and his protector during a fight, and seeing an opportunity for riches, she joins them on their quest. But little glimpses into her backstory show that there is more to her than her scruffy-looking nerf-herder exterior. Issue #3 is out November 8, and there’s still time to catch up!

Audiobook(s): Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien, narrated by Derek Jacobi. I can’t believe that there had been new recordings of Tolkien books on Audible since 2016, and I was only just getting around to listening to them! Derek Jacobi is such a wonderful narrator and can perform so many different character voices, and these shorter (yet no less enchanting) stories are perfect for those times when you don’t want to get drawn into a long saga. Plus, they are written by J.R.R. Tolkien! How could you go wrong?

TV Show: The Orville. The Orville is a new series on FOX, and it’s basically Star Trek. I know they have some humor that wouldn’t have found its way out of Jean-Luc Picard’s communicator, but otherwise, it is exactly like watching episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I was late to checking it out, but that meant that I could cheerfully binge a handful of episodes to get caught up. The music sounds like it’s out of TNG or Galaxy Quest, and so many of the episode themes line up with the issues that would have been faced by traditional Star Trek casts. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

 

How was your October? What are your favorite things of the month?

The Unique Blogger Award

We’ve been tagged by Olga from Middle-earth Reflections for the Unique Blogger Award. Thank you Olga, we are really excited to participate!

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The Rules
*Share the link to the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
*Answer the questions.
*In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
*Ask them 3 questions.

 

And now to Olga’s questions:

1. Who is your favourite villain from the books you’ve read or films you’ve seen?
Oh, that is a tough one. I have many ‘favourite villains’ for different reasons. Sometimes I love them because they are charming, other times because they are terrifying, then there are times where I love villains because the actors/actresses did a fantastic job. At the top of my head, I’d pick Saruman in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Sir Christoper Lee’s performance was, of course, amazing. However, the reason I prefer Saruman over Sauron, in the films anyway, is that we can see how deceiving villains can be. Sure, there are the stereotypically monsters such as the Orcs, but in real life, terrible people don’t have horns on their heads or other clearly visible markers that tell the rest of us “watch out this is an evil person”. Yes, in the books, Sauron was even more deceiving and underwent a “wolf in sheep’s clothing to terrible villain” transformation, but not everyone has read the books. So Saruman is in the films is to me a great example of why the best villains are those that are not the stereotypical disfigured monster. Another great villain in this category would be Michael Corleone from The Godfather. A great villian from a book I’ve recently read would be Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs.

2. What can you be found doing on a day-off?
I wish I could write something fancy as “going on long walks in the countryside” and “reading a good book while enjoying a fantastic coffee beverage in a small but charming local café”, but the truth is that I spend way too much time in front of my computer. Many of my hobbies, these days, are somehow dependent on my computer. I love to play Lord of the Rings Online, catch up with videos or blog posts from my favourite Youtubers or Bloggers, practice digital art, and write for my various blog projects such as Travelling Geek Show.

3. Do you prefer long books or short books?
I’ll be honest, I prefer short books. I’ve been an English major at univ. so we had to read tons and tons of books, most of which were very long. For the entirety of my studies, I’ve spend trying desperately to read all the books my professors picked for class. Yet, the closer I got to graduating, the more I fell behind (sorry Profs!). As much as I love reading, this taught me to avoid long books. This doesn’t mean that I won’t pick up long books (the one I’m currently reading has 500 pages), but I tend to buy more shorter books than longer ones these days.

Now, here are my three questions:
1.If you could travel to any fictional place for a day, where would you go and what would you do?2.Whether we are part of the nerdy culture or are part of sports teams, we all are shaped by the things we love. What are three fictional characters that influenced you or shaped you in some way?
3.What book, movie, comic, or video game did blow you off your socks this year?

I tag the the first 8 people who like or comment on this post! Ok, I know it is somewhat cheating, but I’d love to get to know our readers but I don’t want to single anyone out in particular while ‘ignoring’ others. So whoever is courageous enough to answer my questions, please leave us a comment or e-mail!