Weekend Dispatch

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

We are in the holiday home stretch, and if you haven't felt it yet, the pressure is on. It's time to get the shopping, baking, wrapping, and decorating finished. I have to say, it feels nice to know that this Christmas things will be a little slower, calmer. No rushing around on Christmas Eve to beat the crowds at church. No big group for Christmas dinner. No pressure to have the house impeccably decorated. Most of my shopping is finished. The presents I have are wrapped and ready to be placed under the tree. I'm waiting on a few more to be delivered, but other than that, we are ready!

Now I need to sit back with a cup of tea and make my list for how I plan to spend the week between Christmas and New Year's Day reading, binge-watching, listening, etc.

In the meantime, here are a few of the things I've been devouring lately.

Last week I found Sally Rooney's Normal People at Target for 30% off (as of post date, this book is $1.99 on Amazon for a Kindle download), so I grabbed the last copy and promptly came home and started reading it. It was on the 2019 NYT bestsellers list for weeks, and I've had it on my list to read ever since that time. It took me about 10 minutes to get totally sucked in, and I couldn't stop reading after that.

This book essentially has no plot, but its storyline is absolutely mesmerizing. Marianne and Connell are two high school students who are completely opposite but share a connection. Connell is the popular, handsome guy while Marianne is a smart, loner who has no interest in friends or being part of the popular group. Connell's mom is the housekeeper for Marianne's family. Her relationship with Connell is a bit awkward because of this fact, but once they strike up an initial conversation, their dynamic quickly changes. This book closely examines the transformative powers of relationships and how two people grow and evolve. As I said, there is no real plot, but you can't help but keep reading to see where time takes Connell and Marianne's friendship/relationship.

After you've read the book (and only after), go watch the Normal People miniseries on Hulu. It's twelve episodes that are about 25 minutes each, so it's an easy watch. It stays true to the book and does a great job of bringing the characters to life exactly as they are represented in the book. If you enjoy the book, you will love the miniseries. 

In case you haven't had enough Normal People yet, let me suggest one last listen on the subject of the book. The two hosts of the podcast Bad On Paper chat about Normal People and how much they loved it and their reasons why. I've found that many people I've talked to about this book either loved it or hated it. So, when I find someone who loves it as much as I did, I indulge them in a conversation. I love talking about books and hearing someone else's perspective on a book. This podcast indulged my love for the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the hosts' opinions of the book.

I love the idea of serving a signature drink for a holiday meal. Even though you may not be entertaining a large crowd this Christmas, you can still whip up a quick cocktail for you to enjoy. This Christmas Sangria recipe is a winner! It tastes great and looks so pretty. Plus, I love that you can control how much wine you add versus how much soda you add, so you can customize that taste and alcohol content. 

Just as you serve a signature cocktail, having a signature dessert is a bonus too. This death by chocolate trifle is my go-to Christmas dessert. I am known for this dessert, and my guests have come to look forward to it and expect me to make it each year.

So, tell me. What do you have planned this weekend?

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