#AtoZChallenge | B is for Blogging and getting personal for my grand return.

Somehow my short break from blogging turned into a year and a half long hiatus, with a few occasional feeble posts to make me feel like I was somehow still engaged. I kept up a little better with my social media accounts and still spent a lot of time thinking about my blog but just didn’t get around to posting that much.

Maybe that’s the natural ebb and flow of a hobby blog. I don’t know. This is my first blog. I can’t feign that life was too busy. My empty nest meant I did have excess time to devote to my blog, but I found other things to fill the time instead. There were a few major life events during my break including the loss of my mother and a change of jobs. The first certainly a large stressor, the latter more of a minor transitional period.

In the end, I don’t think it was any specific incident just a temporary loss of interest.

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Get cozy, stay warm and binge one of these seven shows this winter.

I love winter. I’ve posted many blogs about winter hiking and embracing the cold weather. Last April for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, my theme was “Winter in Maine“.  I really like winter. That hasn’t changed. I’m still a fan.

But, sometimes when the temperatures drop, I grab the remote and click on the propane fireplace as I flip-up the footrest on my nearby recliner. I settle into the chair with my favorite fuzzy blanket draped over all but my arms and head. Before I get cozy, I make sure that the nearby table has everything I could possibly need for an extended period including remotes, a snack or two and a seltzer, or glass of wine, or both.

Hunkering down and streaming a new show is one of my favorite weekend activities and this winter I succumbed even more easily than usual probably because my youngest left for college so I’m still adjusting to the empty nest. Streaming does fill the time.

Below are seven shows that I’ve binged recently.

Peaky Blinders. Netflix. I’m a little late to this party in that it’s already on Season 4 but I’m glad I finally watched Peaky Blinders. It is extremely compelling. While the story is fantastic, a couple of other things really stood out for me. The cinematography was exceptional. Every shot is so carefully crafted. The acting is also great across the board and I must say that it’s the first role I’ve ever seen Tom Hardy in where I was blown away. I didn’t recognize him and the supporting character that he played was one of my favorites.

The Umbrella Academy. Netflix. This show is right in my wheelhouse. I love anything with a sci-fi fantasy superhero slant.  I did enjoy this one although I found it a little uneven and slow to start. Still, a few characters saved it for me including The Séance and The Boy. It also grew on me the more I watched it so I’d be up for a Season 2.

Salt Fat Acid Heat. Netflix. When my daughter got home for spring break, she immediately started searching her phone for the perfect recipe from Bob’s Burgers. She wanted a family cooking night. We’ve spent a lot of time together as a family watching cooking shows. They’re addictive. Netflix’s take on the genre was fabulous. Host Samin Nosrat, who wrote the cookbook on which the show is based, is down to earth and enjoyable. You feel like you’re hanging out with a friend.  Each episode of this four part series takes you to a new location to do a deep dive into one of the cooking components of the title: salt, fat, acid and heat. Each episode was compelling. I’m can’t wait to pick up her cookbook now.

The Ranch. Netflix. I have never followed Ashton Kutcher’s career and only sporadically caught episodes of That 70s Show, but I heard him talk about The Ranch on Dax Shephard’s Armchair Expert podcast and I liked what he had to say about it so decided to give this sitcom a chance.  I enjoyed it and while it’s definitely funny they do not shy away from serious story lines. It can get dark too. My husband who doesn’t always like what I pick to stream was a big fan too.

White Dragon. Amazon Prime. I can’t say I gave this my full attention as I streamed it on my computer while organizing my new office but I did like it. White Dragon is a mystery show where the main character tries to solve his wife’s murder while learning unexpected things about her past. The lead was so familiar to me, but it took me a few episodes and some googling to realize that John Simm also played The Master in Doctor Who.

Endeavour. Amazon Prime. I watch each new season of this show as soon as it’s released on prime. As with White Dragon, I don’t always give it my full attention as sometimes it can be a little too much of a slow burn for me but I am a fan of the young Inspector Morse. I never saw the original series on which this prequel is based so am not caught up with the history and canon of it all. I just like the mysteries that Inspector Morse solves each episode.

I’m Sorry. TruTV. I streamed season one of this comedy series recently and have been watching season two episodes as they are released. I find this show hysterical. I love the goofy chemistry between the shows creator and star Andrea Savage with her TV husband, the constantly bemused Mike (Tom Everett Scott) and the crazy stories. The humor is definitely adult but so silly and fun. My husband and I laugh out loud a lot when we watch this one.

As I was pulling together this list of the recent shows I had streamed, I discovered that you can easily see a history of all your recent viewing activity on Netflix. While helpful for this blog post, overall it’s a little disturbing to see how much I actually stream on Netflix. Sometimes it’s better not to look too closely.

What are you streaming these days?

things to know
Total Hours Spent 113
Most Used App Netflix
Favorite Day to Binge Friday Night
Favorite Show I’m Sorry

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Love a good scavenger hunt? Try a digital version with Operation City Quest.

After a recent slip on the ice caused a mild concussion, I took a short break from hiking while I was recovering but it left me a little stir crazy. I was looking for a way to stay active but without the risk of another slip on the ice and snow that covers our hiking trails in the winter. Fortunately, we found something fun to do that kept us moving for the afternoon. We headed into Portland for Operation City Quest, a digital Scavenger Hunt. Scavenger hunts are a great way to have fun in an active, engaged way.

We loved participating in the Portland Beer Week Scavenger Hunt but they haven’t held it the last few years, so I was excited when I stumbled upon this digital scavenger hunt option with Operation City Quest. While this one didn’t involve any craft beer, or bar hopping, it was a nice, family friendly way to spend a Saturday in Portland.

Not close to Portland? No problem! They have digital scavenger hunts for cities all over the country and some in Canada too. You can pick your destination from their interactive map or the listing on their website. Continue reading

Getting to Know Me | 30 Odd Questions #Blogfest

30 Odd QuestionsThis is my first attempt at participating in a blog hop. This one is hosted by Emily’s World and The Doglady’s Den. I met Debbie from The Doglady’s Den during the A to Z Challenge. It’s always fun to learn a little bit more about the people behind the posts.

Below are my responses to the 30 Odd Questions from this blog hop.

1) What did you want to be when you were a kid? I didn’t really have a burning desire for anything specific although during class event in High School I was jokingly voted most likely to open a chain of fast food health restaurants since I was heading to college to study Human Nutrition. It didn’t happen but I am passionate about supporting local farmers and just joined my first CSA (community supported agriculture) so maybe there’s still time. Continue reading

Looking for a new podcast? Ten with a Maine connection for you to try.

My friend got me hooked on podcasts in an attempt to bring me into her fandoms. Her ultimate goal is that we will be able to go to some of the live shows for our favorite podcasts as many of them tour. We haven’t been able to catch any shows yet, but I am a podcast convert.

I listen to many of the ones she recommended including Modern Love and Invisiblia. But, I also started researching and found a fun set of podcasts, both small and large, with a connection to Maine. Sometimes the podcast is focused specifically on Maine and other times it’s not but the podcasters themselves are from Maine. Continue reading