I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE Christmas songs. I can’t even explain why. So when I saw A Great Big World released a cover it made my year:

I’ve a little obsessed with Meghan Trainor since she released “All About That Bass” and thought this was a nice addition to my Holiday music collection:

This another ALL TIME FAVORITE Christmas song, and sung by one of my favorite artists from the last year, Sam Smith. Gorgeous.:

I love the whole album released by Idina Menzel and while this isn’t actually my favorite song, the video is cute:

and, finally, of course I love the newest Christmas album by Pentatonix. Seriously, you should go check out all the videos on their YouTube channel, but this song is the one that’s been going through my head the most:


Watching: Christmas movies! My faves are Arthur’s Christmas, Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Love Actually and Christmas Story.

Anticipating: My trip to Utah for the holidays. It’s a complicated story, but I didn’t book my flights home until last Friday. Once I did I immediately knew I made the right decision about where to go. I am planning on watching lots of movies, crafting with my mom and sister, eating lots of delicious treats and just generally enjoying being at home.

Listening/Reading: Christmas music, of course! I’ve added albums by Pentatonix and Idina Menzel plus singles by A Great Big World and Meghan Trainor to my collection. I’ll do a follow-up “All YouTube” entry of my favorite songs.

Eating: Christmas treats! Okay, that’s not actually true, although I am baking sugar cookies with my friend Kim tonight. Outside of the random baking event tonight I really am just trying to use up the food around my house before I leave.

Working On: Wrapping things up at work. It’s almost eerily quiet in my office this week, which should be a good time for getting things done but I’m not finding that to be the case.

Loving: That tomorrow night I’ll be hosting my 3rd annual Christmas sing along. Yay for Christmas traditions!

Playing: Monument Valley. I’m a sucker for “best app” end of year awards and this was at the top of the list for iTunes. I played through all 18 levels in about 24 hours (thanks to a sick day) and am playing through again. Puzzle games like this are usually too hard for me, but I found this very intuitive. Plus the graphics are gorgeous.


A favorite photo from earlier this month. (Supplies: pictures + words no. 16 by Paislee Press)

I’m going to be away on the 15th this month for a weekend at one of my most favourite places in Lesotho – Maliba Lodge – celebrating my birthday with some of my favourite people so I’m writing this a bit early and posting it on my actual birthday. On to the list:

Watching: “How To Get Away with Murder.” I binged on the first five episodes and now I’m stuck waiting week to week to find out what happens. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a show week to week and the suspense is killing me!

Anticipating: My trip to Hong Kong and Beijing starting a week from tomorrow. This is going to be my first time in Asia and then I will only have the continents of Australia and Antarctica left on my 17 Before 2017 list. I’m excited to see my youngest sister, Lou and her husband Sebastian in Hong Kong; that friends I know from Lesotho are coming from Shanghai to sightsee together in Beijing and to be doing the whole trip together with a new friend.

Listening: To music on Spotify after a discussion with a friend last month. I’m still of the mindset that I want to OWN the music that I pay money for. I recognise, though, that this is largely outdated with the advent of Spotify, Pandora, etc. My friends’ argument was that she would be spending more than $10 a month on music so Spotify actually saves her money. As a result I decided to give it a try for a few months to see if I really do get $10 worth of entertainment from it. I’m still figuring out how to have the best listening experience. It’s hard to compete with my finely honed and well curated collection in iTunes …

Reading: The third book of the “Maze Runner” trilogy. I’m a sucker for post-apocolyptic young adults fiction, and these books have held up after getting excited about them from watching the movie. I also have quite a few books waiting to be read on my Kindle including the final book of the “Grave Mercy” series, the latest Louise Penny novel featuring Inspector Gamache and a few books I found from the Goodreads end of year voting.

Eating: Mexican quinoa – a recipe I found on Pinterest and actually followed through to make. It’s delicious. I want to eat it for every meal.

Working On: The usual work stuff, but with the end of the year quickly approaching it seems deadlines keep popping up. Lots to get done between now and mid-December when things die down significantly.

Loving: (I’ve decided to change “Wanting” to “Loving” since I want for so little.) Summer in Lesotho. It’s been raining a bunch here, but when it’s not raining the landscape is turning technicolor green. All the more reason to be looking forward to Maliba this weekend. This is my favourite time of year.

Playing: A rousing round of Settlers of Catan with colleagues last week. When I play Settlers it reminds me that I don’t play often enough, even if I never win. What a great game. I’m also packing Bohnanza and Cranium for this weekend.

Sunset from the Lesotho Sun yesterday.

Sunset from the Lesotho Sun yesterday.

I try to write these around the middle of the month, but now I’m almost a week late and I realized today that October is basically finished at this point. I have no idea how that happened … On to my ramblings. Right now I am:

Watching: Four movies during my 10 day trip to South Africa. Phew! The movies I saw were: Gone Girl (we talked about this for HOURS after watching it), Maze Runner, This Is Where I Leave You and If I Stay.

Anticipating: Life as usual for the time being. The weather is warming up, weekend plans are being made weeks in advance and I am generally content with life.

Listening/Reading: The Golden Hour by Todd Moss. Fiction, but it involves a coup in an African country and a kidnapped Peace Corps Volunteer so how could I not enjoy it? Next on my reading list is the Maze Runner trilogy. Loved the movie, now must read the books!

Eating: Delicious food in the Cape Town area. I attended a work meeting in Franschoek last week and then stuck around for the weekend with girlfriends. A one-word description of our food and wine consumption? Gorged.

Working On: Catching up on work. Franschoek is gorgeous, but the hotel internet was horrendous so between that the extended weekends on either side of the meeting my inbox is pretty overwhelming at the moment.

Wanting: To get over my creative slump. I haven’t scrapbooked outside of my GIS CT assignments in AGES. I like to think that I’m living life and creating stories that I’ll document in the future and not putting too much pressure on myself to get over the slump.

Playing: Nothing right now. Just one of those gaming slumps, too, I guess.

This month the Get It Scrapped Creative Team is channeling Corrie Jones – a frequent contributor to Masterful Scrapbook Design. A few months ago I “channeled” Emily Pitts, but I was less familiar with Corrie’s work so this was a fun challenge. Here’s my page:

Right Now by Heather Awsumb | August Storyteller kit by Just Jaimee; Haunted Woods Solid Paper Pack, Artsy Layered Paints No 1, Away We Go Element Pack by Katie Pertiet; Forever Young, Day Tripper, Hopscotch by One Little Bird; Shadow Styles by Mommyish

Right Now by Heather Awsumb | August Storyteller kit by Just Jaimee; Haunted Woods Solid Paper Pack, Artsy Layered Paints No 1, Away We Go Element Pack by Katie Pertiet; Forever Young, Day Tripper, Hopscotch by One Little Bird; Shadow Styles by Mommyish

Some things that I noted from the inspiration about Corrie’s pages that I tried to replicate on my page:

1) the use of white/neutral background paper. This wasn’t difficult since kraft or white backgrounds are my go-to backgrounds.

2) using paint and layering to ground her pages. I used paint elements with layered patterned paper to replicate a similar look in digital.

3) white frames around her photos. I used the frame style by Mommyish, one of my favorites.

4) the use of scatters to add energy to the page. I can’t “scatter” for my life, but the August Storyteller kit by Just Jaimee had a really cute scatter element that I used instead.

I listened to the radio a lot while in S. Africa while driving my rental car. I don’t normally listen to the radio because 1) the FM bands on the radio in my car don’t go high enough and 2) I most commonly listen to books when driving to and from work. At first I found listening to the radio to be incredibly obnoxious because you have to listen to all the talking and the advertisements and songs that you don’t like … You get the picture. In the end, though, I did end up downloading a few songs that I heard

This one is number one on the S. Africa iTunes charts right now:

and this is just fun …

I loved another song by John Newman this year, so a collab with Calvin Harris was a must download

and I heard this so much that it’s just flat out stuck in my head now

Spring flowers in Pretoria last week.

Spring flowers in Pretoria last week.

Watching: Older movies on Netflix like Good Morning Vietnam, Shakespeare in Love and Ever After.

Anticipating: Continuing stalemate in Lesotho amongst the political parties with underlying tension thanks to the military commander who refuses to step down. As I write this the latest news is that elections will be moved up from 2017 to a yet to be decided but presumably near future date. This Tweet in response to that news, though, hits the nail on the head I think:

Listening/Reading: I have a backlog of books on my Kindle to read, plus an audiobook from the SL County Public Library System but I’m not actively reading any of them. Must get back on track.

Eating: Sushi. I ate SO MUCH sushi while staying in S. Africa. Yum.

Working On: Catching up on life. Saying no.

Wanting: To get back into my normal routines after being in S. Africa for the last two weeks. I have to leave the country again this weekend, but just knowing I can be in “my life” before and after makes me feel better.

Playing: Nothing recently. I had started playing Plague, Inc. again but then got distracted by the ongoings in Lesotho.


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