Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends who are celebrating today! And Happy Thursday to everyone else out there. 🙂
It’s cliché but I have a lot to be thankful for this year, starting with my wonderful little family, whom I love and live for every single day. Zach and Alex are the absolute best and it’s just incredible getting to watch them grow up. I hit the partner jackpot with Jay, who somehow still loves and supports me despite all of my many flaws and struggles. I am a lot to live with and barely get by some days, yet he puts up with my Shit-Show Energy and embraces it in ways that I cannot. Thank you. <3
I’ve been wanting to take family pictures for ages and this year, we finally made it happen. The woman who took our pictures, Alyssa, was Zachary’s daycare teacher when he was a year old. She is absolutely wonderful and did such a great job. If you are in the Raleigh, NC area, I will happily give you her contact info if you’d like it. She was a badass when Zach was in her class back in 2015 and she’s still a badass now.
I love how they came out so much. I had picked out my dress thinking we were doing a fall colors shoot and found out two days ahead of time that there were sunflowers! It was an added bonus because I have long wanted to do sunflower pictures but thought that “sunflower season” in NC ended in August. Here are my favorite ones out of the 160 she sent us. I can’t post all of them on social media, so I figured I’d put them here for my own reference in the future.
Happy Thanksgiving, all. I’ll leave you with this mindfuck of a fact that I saw in a meme today: “2023 is just 41 days away and you’re still processing 2019, which is about to be four years ago.” Ahhhhh, so true! Have a great weekend!
Last month, I read Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister. I was intrigued after reading a quick blurb about its premise on another website and even though I had/have a stack of books sitting on my dresser waiting to be read, I made an impulse buy and moved it to the top of my list.
I am so glad that I did. It’s a GREAT book. From start to finish, I could not put it down. There were twists that I did not see coming and turns that I spotted from a mile away. I loved it and was sad when I finished it.
Before I get too ahead of myself, the premise of the story is this: a woman, Jen, witnesses her otherwise nerdy, harmless son, Todd, commit a murder just after midnight on October 30, and goes to bed distraught with her husband, Kelly. When she wakes up the next morning, it’s October 29 again. She continues to wake up in reverse, needing to put together the clues that she missed in order to prevent the murder from happening in the future. It’s basically a reverse Russian Doll, which the author mentions in her acknowledgments as the inspiration behind the story.
It’s woven together fantastically from start to finish. You’re along for the ride as Jen uncovers clues that she both lived through the first time around without realizing their significance and discovers for the first time by changing her original actions. She also re-lives important moments that she’d missed out on the first time around. Jen sometimes manages to convince other characters what’s going on with her only to have them forget when she wakes up in an earlier point in the timeline, as they have yet to live that day like she has. It’s just a really great, well-executed concept.
Like I said above, there are plot twists that I definitely did not see coming, which tends to be rare nowadays (#humblebrag). There were also storylines that I saw coming from the moment a character or situation was introduced, haha, though it did not hinder my enjoyment of the novel at all. The side characters and plots are equally engaging and it all weaves together quite nicely in the end. I definitely recommend this book. I’m not sure what other type of books Gillian McAllister writes but I keep meaning to check them out. If you have any suggestions of books by McAllister or similar novels by other authors, please let me know in the comments!
We did not have a new episode of The Broadcast last week, but if you haven’t already checked out our most recent episode, which was published on Friday, November 11, please do so! Our listeners are always giving us great book recommendations, so we returned the favor with a special interview with Melody Simpson, a longtime friend, and the founder of a great website called Melanin in YA.
Melanin in YA is, in Melody’s own words, “IMDb Pro but for books, specifically Black books. If you’re looking for a Young Adult book written by a Black author or if you’re a writer looking for a Black literary agent, if you’re a librarian or event coordinator looking for Black people in the publishing industry for young adult, you can find all of that information there.”
The MiYA talk starts around the 32 minute mark, give or take a little bit for commercials, and lasts about an hour. It’s a really fantastic episode. Amanda, Shandy, and I were so happy to get to talk to Melody and get some new book recommendations. It’s such a great website filled with awesome links and information, including links to Bookstagrammers, BookTok, BookTubers, podcasts, Black-owned bookstores, and more. Please check out the website. Melody is a superwoman who created and maintains the entire thing herself while also working a “day job.” You can support the website by going to the Melanin in YA Patreon.
Don’t know where to start? Here is the list of books that Melody recommended on the show. All books mentioned can be found through Melanin in YA’s Bookshop account: https://bookshop.org/shop/melanininya
The Undead Truth of Us by Britney S. Lewis
Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland
We Weren’t Looking to be Found by Stephanie Kuehn
We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammond
Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters
Frizzy by Claribel A. Orteg
Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho
Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds
Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson
Survive the Dawn by Kosoko Jackson
The Witchery by S. Isabelle
Eternally Yours by Patrice Caldwell
A Phoenix Must Burn by Patrice Caldwell
Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
Going Bicoastal by Dahlia Adler
Home Is Not A Country by Safia Elhillo
Huge thank you again to Melody for joining us. We’ll definitely be talking to her again in Summer 2023 (find out why when you listen to the interview)!
Another Halloween is in the books! This year, Zachary went as Sponge Bob, Alex went as Buzz Lightyear, and Jay and I went as Ken and Barbie (from Toy Story 3). I miss doing a family-themed costume, but this year, 3/4 of us ended up dressing as characters from the same franchise anyway. I thought Alex was going to wear the spider costume that he wore for his school’s costume parade but he was insistent on going as Buzz. We bought the Buzz and Sponge Bob costumes back on Oct. 1 (during our trip to Spirit Halloween that was preceded by Taylor Rudy’s discovery) but the week of the costume parade, Alex decided he wanted to be something “scary” so we found the spider legs on Amazon (here’s the link but I got it during those random Prime Days in mid-Oct. and it was 50% off; it’s cute but it is not $28 cute lol) and the black sweats/hat at Target. I wanted to return the Buzz costume but he was adamant that school was for scary and trick-or-treating was for Buzz Lightyear. 4-year-olds, #amirite?
Anyways, there was bit of (self-inflicted) drama around Jay’s shirt and I thought that we would have to postpone our Barbie and Ken costumes until 2023. I ordered it two weeks out from a company that advertised as being from Washington (state) and said their delivery was within 10 business days. It was an extra $30 for the rush shipping within seven business days, but I figured since I was two weeks out, it’d be fine. Turns out the company is American but everything they ship comes from China (OF COURSE). The shirt shipped the day after I ordered it but said it was stuck in Jamaica, Queens almost immediately. There were no further updates until the day before Halloween, when tracking said it had gone to Newark, NJ. I panicked, thinking, “There’s no way this Ken shirt is going to make it from NJ to Raleigh in time.”
Thankfully, it did. And it did literally JUST in time. Jay checked the mailbox for the package around 3:30 p.m. and it wasn’t there yet so I made emergency visits to three different Spirit Halloweens in the area for our backup costume idea but had zero luck. I was prepared to just go as Barbie and Beetlejuice (and was seriously a bit bummed that Ken wasn’t working out). However, when Zach, Alex, and I got home at 4:40 p.m., the shirt had been delivered!!! I was so excited. So. Excited…and So. Relieved. The shirt fit Jay perfectly. I was so relieved but also embarrassed/annoyed at my panic earlier that caused me to waste time finding the backup costume idea. Uncontrolled anxiety flare-ups are difficult for everyone involved. :/
But it all worked out! I recycled my Bo Peep wig from when we did our first Toy Story theme back in 2019. It was so humid out while we were trick-or-treating that poor Zach regretted his blow-up Sponge Bob costume almost immediately. He was dripping in sweat midway through and ended up changing into last year’s Minecraft costume when he met up with some neighborhood friends after dark. “Never again am I doing something like that costume!” He decisively proclaimed. We will see how long it lasts. Trick-or-treating with his friends didn’t last very long; there was a lot of lightning in the distance that seemed to be getting closer, so we cut it short. Within 5 minutes of he and I making it back home, it started pouring rain. We made it juuuust in time.
All in all, it was another successful Halloween. The kids know I love Tootsie Rolls so they made sure to get a whole bunch for me, which was very sweet. It was also smart on their part because a week later, I’ve taken zero pieces of their chocolate and like 75% of their Tootsie Rolls, lol.
Oh! Jay dressed up as Beetlejuice for his Geek. Dad. Life. Halloween show. Our backup costume idea involved his Beetlejuice costume but I’m not going to say what it is just in case we need to do it in the future lol. Here’s a video:
Aaaannnyyyways, here are some more pictures of Halloween 2022. I love the one of Zach wearing my Barbie/Bo Peep wig, haha. It really was a fun night. P.S. Mad props to our neighbor who decorated the drain outside of their house with this amazing Pennywise setup:
How was your Halloween?! What did you dress up as? Let me know! 🙂
Happy Halloween!! The Broadcast has had a very Halloween-themed October, including our most recent episode that came out on Friday, October 28. We celebrated Halloween with our annual Zoomcostume party. Thanks so much to everyone who attended. It was a blast. This is one of my favorite episodes of the year (the other one being the one where we talk about holiday movies!). I love reading the “real-life” scary stories (I was nice this year and didn’t read anything really spooky) and seeing everyone, whether in costume or not. I was Winnie Sanderson, Shandy was Wednesday Adams, and Amanda was a murder of crows aka a whoooole Halloween vibe. Loved it!
It’s our annual Zoom Halloween Party! Join us as we read (mildly) spooooky stories and talk about other terrifying things, like Taylor Swift fandom lore and eating vegetables. Thanks to everyone who joined us!
On November 8, we’ll be joined by Melody Simpson of Melanin in YA. We’re really looking forward to talking to her and getting some great book recommendations!
We’ve had a lot of fun recording in October, from our episode talking about Shakespeare movies to last week’s ep talking about Halloween movies to, of course, our Zoom party. We even had the wonderful Chris Kolk on for an episode to talk about the movie “Bros.” Here are episode names, descriptions, and links to listen to through the website.
Ep. 7.13 “Much ‘O’-do About Romeo + Juliet”On this week’s episode, the Broads discuss the movies Much Ado About Nothing, O (Othello), and William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. Is Leonardo DiCaprio the Gen X Jack Nicholson? Glitter bath salts? They also talk about Hurricane Ian and Colleen gives a new turtle update!
Ep. 7.14 “OMG, GBF!”Amanda, Shandy, and Colleen are joined by the one and only Kolkie to discuss the movie “Bros,” early voting, and more.
The Broadcast Ep. 7.15 “Resting Witch Face”Amanda, Shandy, and Colleen talk about Halloween-type movies, including Hocus Pocus 2, Beetlejuice, and Rob Zombie’s The Munsters. Movie talk starts at approximately 15:30, give or take commercials.
Halloween weekend continues! #GlatSquard carved our pumpkins last night. Zach and Alex started off painting their own pumpkins with one of those kits. They were just okay. I don’t know if I’d recommend them. The paint itself was kinda crappy, and well, they dried…pretty terribly lol. See for yourself:
It’s been a few years since I cut, scooped, and carved my own pumpkin with my own design, but this year, I got in on the fun and designed/carved one. Alex and Zachary did as well. The squirrels outside unfortunately got to Zach’s pumpkin and it was starting to rot, so we let him design our big one instead. We had a blast, as always, and I’m so happy with how they each came out. I love that we all had the same general, simple idea yet each pumpkin looks distinctly different.
It’s Halloween weekend! I love decorating for Halloween every year. Actually, I love that from October 1 – January 4, our house is basically decorated non-stop for a holiday. I get lazy about Valentine’s Day because we usually have birthday decorations up in early February and even though I have stuff for St. Patrick’s Day, I always forget to put them up until like March 15 lol.
Anyways, our indoor decorations are basically the same as last year’s, but we did add some new flare outside this year. The first addition is the spiderweb above, which we put on the garage in the same place our giant Christmas wreath usually goes. The lights blink, which is fun. This Mickey/Minnie/evil Slimer/skeleton setup is also new this year:
We know that the house is set far enough back that basically no one sees our decorations, but they make us (me lol) happy, and Alex loves to watch last year’s new addition, the inflatable Stay Puft, blow up every night. There is a funny story about when we bought the skeleton. It was at the end of a long afternoon of running errands and we had two stops left. We had to do a mobile pickup from Target and get boxes from Lowe’s. Since they are adjacent, it was decided that I’d drop Jay off to run in and get the boxes and then take the van and pop over to Target to do the pickup. The kids love looking at all of Lowe’s Halloween decorations, so at the last minute, they wanted to go in with Jay. The Target trip was super quick, but for some reason, they were taking much longer than I expected for merely getting boxes.
They finally come out of the store with boxes…and an 8-foot skeleton.
“What on earth?” I ask. “We already got new decorations this year! Why do we need a skeleton?” The excited response from Zach and Alex was, “Look, Mommy! Its eyes glow red!!”
I look over at Jay, who shrugs, and says, “They really wanted it. Look how cool it is!”
Meet Taylor Rudy the Turtle. We think they’re a box turtle. Taylor Rudy the Turtle will be living with us for the next 6-months or so until they’re big enough to survive on their own outside.
We were headed out to run an errand on Saturday afternoon when Zachary spotted something moving on our front porch. “Hey look, it’s a baby turtle!” He exclaimed. Jay picked it up to examine it and discovered that not only was it a baby turtle, it was a newly-hatched baby turtle, yolk sack and all. Box turtles generally hatch in late summer and it was cold outside, so Jay brought it inside and we changed plans to head to PetSmart to pick up materials to make a little turtle habitat.
Since we don’t know if Taylor Rudy is male or female, we decided to go with a unisex name. (In the past, when we named our pond turtles, we picked turtle-related names like Lisa, Mikey, Leonardo, Mitch, etc.) Zach and I were on #TeamTaylor while Alex campaigned hard for Rudy. Combining the names was the compromise, lol.
I’m not super thrilled with having a turtle habituating on my kitchen counter, but it’s only temporary, and I’ll admit that Little TR is pretty cute. Jay bought a tank, filter, heat lamps (one for day and one for night lol), and mealworms. He set up a little ecosystem with mulch, leaves, and stones from our yard, water, and some little green-fake shrubbery stuff. Unsurprisingly, Taylor basically sleeps borrowed into the mulch like 90% of the time. Good for the turtle, boring for the kids who really want to watch and engage with it, haha. Hopefully, Taylor Rudy will grow nicely and be ready for the outside world once they’re big enough to survive and it’s warm enough outside.
Here’s a video of when we put little TR into their new home. We originally thought it was a painted turtle like the ones that live in the pond out back but quickly realized it was a box turtle and made adjustments to its habitat, like more land and less water.
I’m taking a little break in between cleaning house and decorating for Halloween to do a big Broadcast catch-up post. We’ve got a big October coming up on the Broadcast, including some date changes:
Monday, October 4: Modern Shakespeare movies – Romeo & Juliet (1996), O (2001), Much Adieu About Nothing (1993)
Thursday, October 13: Live show for the Patrons
Monday, October 17: Halloween movies, including Hocus Pocus 2 and Beetlejuice
Tuesday, October 25: Halloween costume party over Zoom!
We’ve also had a lot of really fun episodes lately, including our bi-annual bloopers!! Here are episode names, descriptions, and links to listen to through the website.
Ep. 7.7 “But His Crudité”Colleen has COVID-related hair loss, Amanda had a parents’ weekend out, and Shandy gets a new HVAC (this is more exciting than it sounds). The Broads also ponder the question of what folder colors and school subjects, espionage, crudité, and more. Colleen talks about the movie Prey.
Ep. 7.8 “I Am the Comfort”Shandy is sick, Colleen has a migraine, Eden has a nose faucet, and Zach has a virus. Colleen recommends A League of Their Own and Girls5Eva season 2. Shandy and Colleen talk about the first episode of House of the Dragon. The Broads do an AITA and a story from the ‘No Sleep’ subreddit.
Ep. 7.10 “Nadia is Inevitable”Let’s do the time loop again! Starting at approximately 28:27, The Broads discuss season 2 of Russian Doll. For the first part of the show, Amanda and Colleen reminisce about their IKEA experience back when they lived together and the Broads decide on their fall schedule.
Ep. 7.11 “I’ve Got a Tune For You!”Amanda, Shandy, and Colleen are back after a week off and recount all of the crazy things that happened in the world while they were away (The Queen’s passing, Adnan Syed being released, discovering the QAnon theme song, Leo’s dating patterns, etc.). They also read a particularly amazing story from the TIFU subreddit, and get some great feedback from listeners, including a new question to replace the “Sock shoe/Sock sock” debate. Colleen watched some movies/TV shows and recommends The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Veangeance, and Panic.
Ep. 7.12 “Pants Smarter, Not Harder”Cock-a-roaches and snakes and hurricanes, oh my! Gabby had her first run-in with a copperhead while Shandy’s dealing with indoor pests, causing Amanda and Colleen to stroll down memory lane. They also read stories that people have shared about having premonitions that saved them or a loved one from something bad happening. There’s some great listener feedback that weighs in on the zipper/button question and are challenged to even more decisions. TV talk includes She-Hulk and A League of Their Own.
Sooooo you may or may not have seen it on my Instagram stories, but I accidentally broke a blood vessel in my eye on Tuesday night. It looks pretty ugly but whatever, I guess. So here’s what happened:
My makeup remover pads weren’t in the bathroom because Alex took them out to make a snowman or do some sort of arts and crafts project where he needed stuffing so he pillaged the pads and cotton balls. I was too lazy to go find them and decided to just use a tissue to remove my eye makeup. I was wearing waterproof eyeliner and mascara so I applied more force than I should have used given the flimsy de-application tool I was using lol. I ended up feeling a tiny pinch in my eye and messing up my contact. I blinked it back into place and thought that was that. A few minutes later, I was laying down with Zach to read with him and he goes, “Mommy, why is your eye all red?”
I just assumed that it was normal irritation and brushed it off. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I went into another room to talk to Jay and he audibly gasped at me. “Your eye!” He exclaimed. “I think you popped a blood vessel!”
I rushed to the mirror and, yup. Silly old me. It looks worse than it feels. Alex has been a bit squeamish to look at it (we had a convo about how just because someone has something that may be uncomfortable to look at, it doesn’t mean they aren’t still a good person or, in this case, the person you know and love, blah blah blah). I’ve been wearing my glasses for two days so that helps detract attention from it. I’ve heard anecdotes from people who have broken a blood vessel in their eye before that it takes anywhere from 4 – 14 days. Fingers crossed I’m one of those 4-day-ers! 😉
And that’s my story lol. (Not very graphic, thumbnailed-sized) pictures after the jump for anyone who likes to look at semi-gross stuff.