What I’m into (January 2016 edition).

What I’m into (January 2016 edition).

As always, linking up with my friend Leigh Kramer to share what I’m into.

We had a lovely Christmas season, with lots of time spent hanging out at home, doing puzzles and reading by the fire. And then January started and it has been all crazy, all the time, getting things squared away for work and school and life.

Then we got snowed in, and then we got sick. (Again! Argh.) Which didn’t do much to diminish the crazy. It’s still January and I’m dreaming of spring ….


The podcast

My new podcast What Should I Read Next? launched on January 12 (read the full story here). Much of the month was devoted to getting it off the ground. One thing’s for sure: I have a much greater appreciation for what goes into a podcast now than I did a few short months ago.

This has been so much fun so far. Four episodes are live, new episodes come out every Tuesday, and I’m excited about the good stuff already lined up for the next two months.

(Find more of my favorite podcasts here; I explain how to subscribe to a podcast here.)

library holds

What I’m reading

So much! My new podcast is blowing up my reading list. A selection of what’s been on my nightstand:

Love and Other Ways of Dying by Michael Paterniti
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (reading challenge!)
Eli the Good by Silas House
In a Dark House by Deborah Crombie

What I’m watching

Will and I are on our final season of Friday Night Lights; we’re still watching The Blacklist. Last week’s episode was good but it also made it seem like they’re desperate, as in, perilously close to jumping the shark. What’s up with that?

My kids are obsessed with Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2 so I’ve seen both movies more than a few times during the snow.

And I got sick, again, ugh! I took the opportunity (of sorts) to rewatch Pride and Prejudice—I haven’t seen this version in ages. Although I’m kind of kicking myself for not using the time in bed to catch up on Downton Abbey! Is it good this season? Please say yes—but no spoilers!

Unexplainable obsessions

This is so unlike me, but I have been weirdly into hair and makeup stuff the past few months. I bought a few beauty gifts for friends and family—maybe that’s what tipped ME over the edge? Or it could have been the Sephora coupon that made it a little easier for me to splurge on a few things I’ve been eyeing.

I discovered and absolutely fell in love with Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day shampoo and conditioner. I got started with this Happy Hair Days kit from Sephora. I just ordered replacements for the shampoo and conditioner; I don’t use quite as much of the other products in the kit and those little bottles are still going strong.Urban Decay Naked palette 1

I’m finally emptying out the little eye shadows I use every day, and to replace them I bought Urban Decay’s original Naked palette. I had no idea which of the three palettes to get, so I went with the original. The colors are great and the shadow is so easy to apply, but the biggest surprise is the amazing brush. I have only ever used Target makeup brushes, or the cheap ones that come in Clinique samples, and I can’t believe the difference.

Now I want to upgrade all my brushes. It’s a slippery slope, folks. (But seriously: if you have any advice on high quality and not crazy expensive makeup brushes, tell me in comments!)

Around the house

purple kitchen door

I’m painting things purple! Never thought I’d say this, but I was seized with the inspiration to paint our kitchen’s interior door purple and my design-savvy sister-in-law not only approved, but picked out a lovely shade of eggplant to bring this idea to life. (It’s Benjamin Moore’s Grappa.)

I kind of dig it (even though this photo is questionable: winter lighting, half-painted trim, drywall-in-process). My daughters HATE it, but they hate changes of all kinds around the house.

living room art

I also finally bought some big art for our living room. I am loving it.

I hope you had a lovely January. What have YOU been into lately? 

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107 comments | Comment


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  1. Christine says:

    Yes about Downton Abbey! This is the happiest season so far, which I love! 🙂
    P.S. You can watch the previous episodes on pbs.org.

  2. Desiree says:

    Hi Anne!
    Love the purple door…I know my husband would object. Can you remind us where the sofa in your living room came from? I know you posted about it a while back. We’re getting ready to relocate and our old sofa is not making the 1800 mile journey with us 🙂
    Thank you!

  3. Jori says:

    I HIGHLY recommend the quality brands of make-up brushes. They aren’t cheap but I have MAC brushes that I have had for 10 years. I wash them weekly (or every other week for brushes I don’t use often) with a little Dr. Bronner’s and they last forever. Really. I bought them one at a time as I could afford them and I don’t regret it in the slightest. It makes a difference!

  4. Claire says:

    We have the exact same piece from Michelle Armas in our living room too. Love her work!
    I actually prefer that version of P&P. I like Kiera Knightely best as Elizabeth Bennett. Great work on your podcast! I’m loving every episode so far!

  5. Florence says:

    Painting, painting, and more painting. The whole interior of the house. It started out so simply–just the wall under the bar. Which, of course, once painted showed how dingy the breakfast area walls were, and then the kitchen….You see how the whole thing just kept going. It’s a good thing I like to paint. I anticipate finishing by Feb.1. The moral of this tale is that I should have just left the wall under the bar alone in the first place.

  6. Margie says:

    I have had good luck with the Real Techniques brushes. The buffing brush in particular was a game changer for me in terms of getting my “beige” makeup (Foundation, concealer, bronzer, etc) to look smooth and even. The basic set of four is $20-ish at Ulta but I’ve seen it on Amazon too. They are synthetic bristles so they won’t last as long but they feel good in hand and wash up nice.

    There are also about a million tutorials on YouTube of people doing various eye looks with the Naked palette, which makes it a great way to up your “Big Event” look without buying other colors. I tended to hang close to the middle of the palette until seeing some of those.

    I’m enjoying the podcast. Can’t wait til you get to an episode where non-fiction is discussed.

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for the tip on the Real Technique brushes.

      I’m pretty sure I’m recording that “all non-fiction, all the time” episode next week …. 🙂

  7. Stephanie says:

    Actually, I have found this season of Downton to be a bit dull. Maybe that’s simply because the Lady Mary/Henry Talbot storyline has had very little screentime, though. =)

    • Leanne says:

      I agree about Downton Abbey being dull this season. There doesn’t seem to be much happening. But then I haven’t watched the whole season yet.

  8. Jaime says:

    Yes to the Blacklist comment! They are dangerously close to becoming a night-time soap opera. As far as watching, we enjoyed the Sherlock special that was on at the beginning of the month.

  9. Rochelle Hershberger says:

    I loved this last season of Downton!!! I think it finished well. I think I would have been eternally stressed if it ended like an Edith Wharton novel 🙂 Yay for Urban Decay!!! It is my favorite eyeshadow! I have the Electric Palette though. I would recommend the Sonia Kashuk brushes from Target. Good quality and not too expensive.

  10. Shay says:

    Yes! Living Proof Perfect Hair Day is also changing my life right now! Not having to wash my hair as often is great. So glad you’re enjoying it! And I’ve found that Urban Decay products last a really long time, and they’re very pigmented, so it’s worth spending the extra $.
    Best of luck during this Winter season. I think the purple door is cherry and warm, all at the same time!

  11. Jennifer W says:

    Have you tried Younique? I sell it so I’m biased but I absolutely love their makeup brushes. Like you, I never knew what a difference quality brushes could make. I love mine! gingerjensyounique.com if you want to see. 🙂

  12. Jane says:

    I love your podcasts. The books you talk about are a mixture of ones I’ve read and new ones to add to my TBR list. But it’s just fun to hear you talk with someone about books.

  13. Valerie says:

    My sister turns her computer towards the TV while we are skyping and I watched the entire last season of Dowtown Abbey that way. Have a little sister time and enjoy are favorite show together even though there is a big “pond” that separates us. It’s a great season.

  14. Kaytlin says:

    Your podcast is blowing up MY reading list too! I need to start listening while not in the car so I can actually take notes on what I want to read. I also got the biggest thrill out of the first episode when you suggested The Man in the High Castle. And it inspired me to read The Martian, which I am currently loving.

    Also, the purple door is awesome.

  15. Sarah says:

    I think the Up and Up Brushes from Target and the Real Techniques brushes are great. I actually had a couple of pretty expensive ones from MAC that I returned because they shed like crazy, and the others are half the price.

    Love that door!

  16. Gabby says:

    Morphe and Sigma bridges online are great. And at Ulta or the drugstore my faves are Real Techniques or Sonia Kashuk. Hope that helps!

  17. Rachel says:

    I’ve been using the Living Proof 5-in-1 treatment and dry shampoo and they are AMAZING! I’m going to try their shampoo and conditioner when my current supply runs out.

    I’ve had good experiences with the Sonia Kashuk brushes at Target. Also, if you are looking for more hair and makeup advice, I highly recommend The Small Things Blog. Kate is very knowledgeable and fun!

    Downton Abbey is great this season! Catch up! 🙂

  18. Sheri Dacon says:

    Okay, first: the podcast is awesome…and I’m not much of a podcast junkie. But I love yours!!

    Next: yes, you need to catch up on Downton pronto!

    Last: I’m on an unusual hair/makeup kick right now as well and I also just bought the Urban Decay palette (although I think I got #2. I wavered back & forth so can’t remember for sure!) and I got the Perfect Hair Day shampoo but I’m not as thrilled with it. And it was EXPENSIVE so I really want to be thrilled with it. Maybe I’m doing something wrong?!? ?

    • Kate says:

      Hey Sheri! I had trouble with the dry shampoo at first – it’s REALLY heavy duty. I’ve found it works best when j use on the entire crown of my head (rather than just for spots( and no earlier than on three day hair. I let it sit for 3-5 minutes before brushing out with a boar hair brush.

    • Anne says:

      Was it the shampoo or dry shampoo? I’m loving both but I have really fine, really thick hair and I’m sure that makes a big difference in what products work best. I also use both very sparingly.

  19. Kate says:

    Real Techniques brushes are the best! I needed to replace my Mac and Nars brushes (but didn’t want to pay a fortune) and on a whim tried these. I’m – admittedly – a brush snob and I absolutely love them! You can get them at Ulta, on Amazon, or direct from the brand.

  20. Sarah R says:

    The door looks wonderful! I know my husband and son would never let me paint anything purple. Are the walls a lighter purple, or was that just the lighting?

  21. Sarah R says:

    Also, if you are ever in Clearwater, FL, you can visit the aquarium where Winter lives. They have another museum with props from the movie as well. It was crazy busy when we were there over spring break, but our entire family loved it.

  22. emily says:

    Love the purple door! You’ve inspired me–I’m definitely going to start scoping out my house for a potential accent door! I’ve always been a makeup junkie, but when it came to eye shadow made do with whatever showed up in the Gifts with Purchase. However, last year I got frustrated with my lack of options, bit the bullet, and bought the Naked Basics palette. Holy cow! I’m in love! It’s more my speed than the other palettes since, unfortunately, I’m now in the +40 crowd (it just killed me to have to write “+40”) and have to be careful with the sparkle.

  23. Nancy B. says:

    We just discovered a great TV series, Grand Hotel (Gran Hotel) on Netflix. It’s Spanish with subtitles, but they don’t get in the way of the intrigues, romance, crimes, and power struggles in a grand hotel in early 20th century. The setting of the first episode is the hotel lighting up with the new electric lights instead of candles. Wonderful casting, wonderful characters, wonderful stories. Hard to stop watching. Fortunately, there are three seasons. Highly recommended.

  24. Lisa says:

    I have always purchased expensive brushes, then I found some videos by a gal on You Tube
    called From Head to Toe, and she was doing a tutorial on mineral makeup and how to apply it. She used brushes from Sigma and Real Techniques and they are awesome. She also went over how you should apply the powder first in a couple of light coats then use the Sigma buffer brush to cover any blemishes so you don’t end up with dark patches. I always tried to cover the blemishes first but her way has been a major improvement for me. I’m also on a weird makeup/face product kick lately and that is weird for me, but I think part of it is my skin is changing and I am trying to combat the sudden shedding of skin everyday (I feel like a snake). I’m going to try out the Urban Decay pallets you mentioned and maybe that will help me get rid of all the little Bare Minerals pots of eye shadow I have. Love your blog!

  25. Samantha says:

    Can someone please explain to me what Tom’s role was when he first married Lizzie and why she gave him a second chance? Was he hired by Remington? I missed the episode that explained him and his position and now am totally confused as to why Lizzie would talk to him, much less make out with him?

    I do love Blacklist!

  26. Elizabeth says:

    Yes about Downton Abbey!! I’m loving this season so far so much! 🙂 Catch up ASAP because pro tip: the episodes are available online at pbs.org/masterpiece right now, but some of them expire on the 31st I think!

  27. Dana says:

    We just painted our kitchen “Granny Smith Apple Green” with navy trim. It is so bright and beautiful and I love it! It was actually that color before but we painted it beige ( ugh!) when we had our house on the market last year. Since we decided not to move I told my husband I wanted it back to my bright green. It makes me happy! I love your eggplant door! Our neighbors re-did the exterior of their house and painted the front door that color and the exterior a grey that has purple undertones. They added white gingerbread trim as well. It is charming!

    We aslo painted our guest bath. It was just all white and boring. it is now pebble grey with white tile and some black accents ( the mirror frame) and black and white tile on the floor. Looks so much better.

    I loved Whistling Past the Graveyard. I recently read Susan Crandalls’ The Flying Circus which was also good.

    I just finished reading a wonderful short novel, The Red Notebook. It was originally published in France. It would make a great romantic movie in the tradition of “You’ve Got Mail” or “Sleepless in Seattle”. I highly recommend it. Very quick read.

    My husband just started watching Blacklist this week. He is loving it but he said I probably wouldn’t like it.
    The only thing I like to binge watch on TV is Chopped.

    My husband and I had a DVD movie marathon day during our icy weather last week. We watched Cinderella ( the new Disney version), Frozen and Enchanted.

    I am into making homemade stews/ soups: Chicken Tortellini ( my favorite soup right now) , Red Beans and Rice with Turkey Kielbasa, Beef Vegetable…. Tomorrow I am making Chicken Noodle. I make corn muffins or a loaf of artisan bread to go with it. Yum!

  28. Abby H says:

    I love the purple door! Before I married and decorated a home with my neutral-loving husband, I had a similar shade on the doorway between my living room and kitchen.

  29. I’ve only watched the first two episodes of season 6 of Downton so far have 3&4 on the DVR and I believe 5 airs this week. But I think the plot lines and conflicts are well written so far. Some new and some of the usual players with new fodder for tension. Won’t say more since you don’t want it ruined before you watch.

  30. Jamie says:

    Recently discovered things like Pandora and Podcasts. So that’s what I’m into. Plus, sorry if this sounds creepy, but I finally listened to your first podcast the other night and I like knowing what your voice sounds like. Now I’m reading your blogs in your intonation. (And I fell down the rabbit hole on Jamie’s Rabbits on Twitter. She is so funny!)

    Yes, to quality makeup and brushes being a slippery slope. It’s hard to go back. I used a gift card to Ulta to buy shampoo a couple weeks ago and I opened every bottle and smelled them first. It is that important to me.

    Adore the artwork!

    • Anne says:

      No, that’s not creepy! I know what you mean. I love being able to hear someone’s voice in my head when I’m reading their work (or their blog posts or tweets or whatever.)

      And yes to Jamie on twitter. She’s a riot.

  31. Heather says:

    I hear you about being sick! We just can’t seem to catch a break. Right as we are getting better someone gets sick and it seems to cycle through the house! One of our bedroom doors is painted with BM’s Black Raspberry (this color and Grappa look almost identical to me). In the last photo you have a globe in the picture and I was curious as to where you got it? I really love the base of it.

    • Anne says:

      That globe was given to one of my sons as a birthday gift a few years back. I have no idea where it came from but we do enjoy having it handy. 🙂

  32. Kim Abernathy says:

    I really love you monthly updates! True be know….all your posts! My January has been spent in the third month that my house has been on the market. So, praying for a buyer, so that I can do what you have done and begin the New Year with fresh paint and furnishings.
    In addition, my 15 year daughter has gotten me hooked on a lot of the same beauty products. And yes, the high-end make-up brush are incredible.
    So, glad to hear you are getting better… take care and Happy Reading!

    ps… I am your fan that asked for your autograph at the Raleigh’s Independent Bookseller’s Fan Feast.

  33. PreK Teacher says:

    Just started the 2016 Reading Challenge from my local library and I am obsessed! I think I’ve read 7 books so far this month. I find myself thinking about the categories all the time and which books would fit!

  34. Jen says:

    Kate at thesmallthingsblog has some great suggestions on brushes…can’t remember all of the brands she likes, but for lower price point, Sonia Kashuk (from Target) are great!

  35. Vanessa says:

    Your door is lovely! That’s an amazing color! For make up brushes, I love the EcoTools brushes. They are super soft, not very expensive, wash easily and at Target…which is rather a dangerous combination sometimes. Random question about the eyeshadow, does it seem to stay on well throughout the day? I’ve been looking as I end up with little eyeshadow circles under my eyes after half the day which I do not love. Sorry you have been sick and hope you all recover well!

      • Vanessa says:

        I do and I love it! I’ve been using the Clinique lid smoothie for a couple of years. It does help a lot. Not sure, maybe it’s the way I put on eyeliner or something else weird I do in my makeup routine as it is sporatic. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • Anne says:

      A dangerous combination indeed!

      My eye shadow stays in place, but I always use a little primer (the little Sonia Kashuk pot at Target) to help it stay where it belongs.

  36. Shannan says:

    I really like the What Should I Read Next podcast. Thank you so much for doing creating it. I was wondering if you would have any of your readers on the podcast in the future? I would really love to find out what you would have me reading next.

    • Anne says:

      Thanks so much! And yes, I definitely will. I’m working on making a guest submission page look pretty right now and let you all know as soon as it’s ready.

  37. Love the purple door! I never would have thought of doing that, but it is perfect. (By the way, I landed here by nosing around your homeschooling post about being a relaxed classical homeschooler – which is exactly what I’d consider our family to be!)

  38. Dana Qualls says:

    I love your purple door! I am looking for that exact color to paint my bedroom but in a lighter shade. Very pretty! And Downton Abby is wonderful again this year. So far very upbeat which is a good thing since it’s the last season. I hope you get really well soon and have a better February.

  39. Dorothy K. says:

    Anne, I am a fan of the book “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me” because I am analytical about most purchases in general and I hate wasting money on ineffective makeup. So, one suggestion in the book which I took to heart and have not regretted is the recommendation for E.L.F. makeup brushes. They have 2 different sets, one set of brushes is $1 for each one – don’t buy those. The second set is $3 for each brush – they are terrific and come highly recommended in the book. I think E.L.F. also sells a travel set of brushes and I have not tried those. You can purchase most of the E.L.F. individual brushes at Target. I try to replace mine every year around New Year’s and I also wash the brushes periodically using mild shampoo, they seem to hold up well.

  40. Love the purple door, love the big art, love your podcast. (Especially the podcast.)

    I’m back into Terry Pratchett and some really good nonfiction, and also tulips and fleece-lined tights (because winter).

  41. janene says:

    Reading your posts AND hearing your podcasts is an awesome start to my 2016! I LOVE Living Proof Perfect Hair Day shampoo and conditioner. Found it on clearance at our Target for half price–not sure what it’s about but I stocked up because I really like it!

  42. Mary Rose Patrick says:

    Downton Abbey has been amazing this season! So sad that it’s the last one. And as for makeup brushes, I really like Sephora’s brand brushes or the RealTechniques brushes, also found at Sephora.

  43. Leigh Kramer says:

    I have been enjoying the new season of Downton. It’ll be interesting to see how they wind things down. Episode 3 was very touching. I’m digging the purple door! Only wish I could magically appear at your house so I could experience it in person.

  44. Erin says:

    My sister used to work as a make up artist and she would sometimes buy quality art brushes. Their don’t seem to have que the mark up that make makeup do.

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