Category Archives: Fun

Fun & (Video) Games: Valentine’s Day Edition

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Fun & (Video) Games: Valentine’s Day Edition

Hello! Johnny and I are both avid gamers. In fact, we just got done playing about an hour and a half of Diablo III on the Switch before I sat down to write this, lol. My absolute favorite video game of 2020 has to be Paper Mario: The Origami King, which Johnny gifted me with for our one year anniversary this past September. When I first learned that there was a Paper Mario game for the Switch, I was so eager to play it and devoured it in about a month.

I was looking forward to that game so much because, way back in the day, I rented Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door from Block Buster (That just aged me so much!) and never forgot how much fun it was to play. I also never forgot the fact that I got to the final boss but was never able to beat it, smh. After enjoying The Origami King so much, I told Johnny that I would give anything to play The Thousand Year Door again for the GameCube. However, I knew this was unlikely because the GameCube is no longer made, therefore, the used games are uber expensive.

I had come to terms with the fact that I would probably never play my favorite childhood game again – Until Johnny gave me my Valentine’s Day present, that is. My darling boyfriend surprised me with The Thousand Year Door a week before V-Day!

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Johnny spent the Saturday afternoon prior to Valentine’s Day running errands, but he wouldn’t tell me where he was going. I knew he was going to be getting me my V-Day gift, though, through girlfriend instinct and I couldn’t wait for him to come home so I could maybe sneak a peak at what kind of bag it was in! I wasn’t expecting him to give me my gift when he walked in the door but he was so proud of visiting two different Exchanges to get the game that he just couldn’t wait. 🙂

After I gifted Johnny with his prezzie of the LEGO Architecture Paris skyline set, we spent the afternoon with him building our own mini Paris while I played my new game. It was absolutely perfect and The Thousand Year Door was just as fun and adorable as I remember it being. Whether Johnny and I are trying to beat an impossible seeming level of Mario Galaxy or slaying hell’s demons in Diablo III, I love our video game time together.

I am so blown away by Johnny’s gift and how thoughtful it was because it shows me that he listens when I tell him about my favorite things and that’s what means the most to me. Celebrating holidays with Johnny never gets old and I can’t wait for infinite more Valentine’s Days with him. ❤

What was your favorite childhood video game? What video game are you currently playing? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat!

LEGO Architecture Paris Skyline Set

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LEGO Architecture Paris Skyline Set

Hi! My boyfriend, Johnny, and I love building with LEGO and we have quite the collection of Harry Potter and Star Wars sets. For Valentine’s Day, Johnny and I never really go overboard with gifts for each other and one of the two things that I got him was the Paris skyline LEGO set from their Architecture collection. Paris is, easily, one of the most romantic places in the world and it is somewhere that I would love to go with Johnny.

Given the world’s current conditions, it will be a long time until we make it there so, for now, our own little Paris on our knick knack shelf will suffice! Check it out:

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When building with LEGO, Johnny and I have our process down to a science. He handles all of the little pieces and details while I build with the bigger bricks because putting the small ones together are impossible with my nails! As you can see, the Paris Architecture set is completely made up of teeny tiny bricks so Johnny built it in its entirety in a matter of an hour while we talked and listened to music. I was blown away by how quickly he got it done!

Our Paris set is the first one that we have gotten together that is not inspired from a movie and it was the perfect introduction to the LEGO Architecture collection. I am so looking forward to when Johnny and I can travel together because I would love to have a LEGO skyline set of the places that we visit. Each skyline set boasts the most recognizable landmarks in each city. For Paris, this included the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Tour Montparnasse, Grand Palais, Arc de Triomphe, and the Champs-Elysees.

Johnny really enjoyed building this set because it was so different than anything that we already have. I am so happy that my Valentine’s Day gift to him was a success and be sure to keep it posted to see what Johnny surprised me with!

Where would you love to travel to? Which LEGO sets do you have? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Fun & (Video) Games Pt. 2

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Fun & (Video) Games Pt. 2

Hi! For one of my Christmas gifts, Johnny let me pick out a game on the Nintendo Switch store for myself since I haven’t had much to play since beating Paper Mario: The Origami King, which he got me for our one year anniversary. I have always enjoyed playing Mario games and ever since playing the new Paper Mario, I have been in a huge Mario mood. Let me just say Mario one more time… MARIO. 😀

Anyways, for my Christmas gift, I decided to go with a three pack of Mario games that included Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Sunshine. I was most looking forward to playing Super Mario Sunshine, as I can remember always being excited to play it at the Target video game section while running errands with my mom whenever I was younger.

Unfortunately, Super Mario Sunshine was a complete bust and, despite having Johnny help me, we had trouble completing even the first few levels. The catch with Super Mario Sunshine is that there is no traditional jump and punch fighting – you are spraying everything with water! The controls were dodgy and the fact that it wasn’t like a classic Mario game in the slightest were definitely grounds to try a different game so I scrapped Sunshine and went with playing Super Mario Galaxy, instead. And, let me tell you, I am SO glad I did!

Super Mario Galaxy was an absolute blast and I finally beat it this past week. It was so much fun because it was such a completely different version of Mario thanks to the outer space setting. Because of gravity, not only could you explore the top part of the platforms but you could also run about on its bottom and sides without fear of falling off. It made each level thrilling because there was so much to do as there was a lot of space to cover.

In Galaxy, it always felt like something new was happening – a new galaxy or planet being discovered, a letter from Luigi, or the opportunity for different powers like turning into a bee or a bouncy spring. From scaling giant honey combs to exploring underwater caverns, no two levels were alike and it was impossible to beat one level without seeing which the next one (or two, or three) would be like.

The best part of playing Super Mario Galaxy, though, was when Johnny would help me beat the levels I was stuck on. There were a lot of tricky aspects to the game that involved motion, as it was originally for the Wii. Levels that involved rolling around on a ball or surfing on an eel always left me calling for him for help and he would drop whatever he was doing to give it a try. So sweet!

We delighted in beating levels together and even on the ones we couldn’t beat, it was still fun to keep trying until our lives ran out. After beating the game, I found out you could unlock a new world if you beat every single level and, unfortunately, that’s just not going to happen. Lol, so I plan on playing Super Mario 64 next!

What video game are you currently playing? What is your favorite Mario game? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Hurray! 100 Day Duolingo Streak

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Hurray! 100 Day Duolingo Streak

Hello! One of my favorite hobbies is learning new languages and I practice French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Czech on Duolingo. Pre-pandemic, I was lucky if I could get a four or five day streak of practice going with a busy work and social schedule. Now, I am proud to say that I am on an over ONE HUNDRED day streak of practicing all five languages and I am honestly blown away by it. I also don’t plan on stopping any time soon!

For the past one hundred plus days, I have been dedicated to doing one to two lessons per language daily with Duo and it’s exciting for me because I can definitely tell that I have made great improvements. I consider myself to be quite fluent in French (I took it throughout high school and college) and I think I have made huge gains, as I can understand a majority of the French shows and movies I watch without subtitles now. I have found that my Spanish and Italian is much smoother and my vocabulary in both German and Czech has made good progress too.

I know people have talked about their hobbies to NO END during the COVID-19 pandemic but it is just so cool to me to notice substantial gains from just one hundred days of practicing for a half hour. Everything from work to social lives seems to be on a stand still right now with not much to look forward to. However, I look forward to working on my languages every day now so my skill set can continue to blossom.

Learning a different language opens up a whole new world. New friendships, new skills, new entertainment, new dream locations to travel to. Duolingo is a free app and if you find yourself overwhelmed by all of the free time we now have, then I highly recommend giving it a download. You can even treat yourself to Duolingo Plus, which will give you unlimited hearts! Learning something new is exhilarating and incorporating Duolingo into your life could be just what you need to shake some blahs away until things get back to normal. ❤

Do you know a different language? How do you practice? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Need A New Hobby? Try The Following!

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Need A New Hobby? Try The Following!

Hey! Hobbies, hobbies, hobbies. That’s all you hear about when people talk pandemic and, as it has been almost a year since the start of this craziness, you might have exhausted all of the options of things to keep you occupied. Believe you me, I feel it completely and have felt like I’ve been stuck in a never ending loop of work, video games, Netflix, and bed. It can be hard to break that cycle but maybe these ideas below will help inspire all of us to keep on trying new things, despite all of the boredom blues. Let’s get to it:

Library Programs:

If your local libraries are anything like the ones in Ohio, then the events calendar on their website should be full of virtual programs that you can enjoy. There are events for every age group to participate in from story time for children to concerts from local talent and craft nights on Zoom. Take a look at your library’s website, see what sparks your interest, and sign up. The best part? If you don’t like it, all you need to do is close out of the Zoom call!

Make Some Money:

I used to be a huge fan of garage sale style apps like LetGo and they can be a great tool when you are doing a big home clean out. Start your spring cleaning early and see if you have anything that you’d like to try your hand at selling. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as they say, and you could put your earnings towards a vacation fund when it is safer to travel. Plus: Clean house. It’s a total win/win.

Check Out Local Specialty Shops:

In my neck of the woods, there are plenty of small businesses that you can support and a lot of them have programs offered online. Perhaps your local game shop has an online Dungeons & Dragons community? Or maybe the craft store offers online tutorials on completing an art project from their employees. Not only will you help support their business but it will be a great way to meet new people and possibly develop a brand new hobby.

Fresh Spins On Old Favorites:

There is nothing wrong with sticking with the same old if it’s what you enjoy but how about putting a spin on it? Love pampering yourself in your free time? Try your hand at making your own soaps or lotion. Handy in the kitchen? Open your cook book to a random page and whip up something you never tried before. Book worm? Start your own book club with your friends over Zoom! Incorporating some new things into a hobby that is already your favorite will keep things exciting and you can become skilled in all areas of your craft.

We still have a long way to go before things go back to “normal”, which means we are going to be confined to our homes for a bit longer. Try the ideas above and, before you know it, nicer weather will be here and seeing friends safely outdoors will be possible! 😀

How do you spend your time in lock down? What is something new that you’d like to try? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Virtual Game Night: Planning The Ultimate Night In

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Virtual Game Night: Planning The Ultimate Night In

Right now, with the state of the world and the pandemic that continues to rage around us, it’s not possible to see our friends and family as much as we might like. Life is complicated, things are complex, and it’s difficult to spend as much time with those we care about the most, which can leave you craving social interaction in a normal way. Enter Zoom, FaceTime, and every other video chat app that’s taken the world by storm.

These video chatting apps have made virtual get togethers with friends and loved ones doable, and have meant that while we cannot be physically close, we can still spend time with those who mean the most to us, which is amazing. If you’re getting bored of virtual quizzes, then perhaps you might like to plan a virtual game night for you and a group of your friends. The great thing about virtual game nights is that they’re fairly easy to organize and can be a lot of fun for everyone involved.

Wondering what it takes to plan the perfect virtual game night? Below are a few tips and ideas for how you can get started:

Do your research:

A great way to make planning a virtual games night a little easier is to take the time to do your research to make your night a success. You don’t want your event to be stale or boring so that everyone has a great time from start to finish. Resources like Pinterest have lots of ideas available, so it might be worth taking the time to have a browse of those for inspiration as well as finding out everyone’s favorite games to possibly incorporate.

Send out kits to everyone:

Don’t just rely on technology to make your game night amazing, get creative with the games that you play. Yes, utilizing resources like Jackbox TV which can be played via smartphones is a great idea, as there are various digital games to choose from, but it’s always fun to try something different. If you plan on organizing a more traditional game, make sure to send out kits along with dice from skullsplitterdice.com for everyone to use during the evening. Make the kits fun and exciting; you could even opt to theme them if you’re having a themed games night, such as a murder mystery event. The more creative you can be, the better.

Incorporate drinks and snacks:

Don’t forget to incorporate drinks and snacks into your games night, just like you would have on a face-to-face hang out. Send off snack packs to all of your guests and if you really want to go all out, incorporate the ingredients to a signature cocktail for everyone to enjoy.

Seeing your friends and family over the computer screen is not the same as real life but it’s sure better than not seeing them at all! A weekly or monthly virtual game night will be the perfect way to keep in touch until it’s safer to meet in person.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

3 Things That Keep Me Sane

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3 Things That Keep Me Sane

Hello! Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnny and I have essentially just been in our apartment other than work and groceries. No one is saying that it is not monotonous AF but it is for the best and we will continue doing our part in keeping ourselves and loved ones safe. With continuous days at home, it can be hard to work up the motivation to do much of anything. But, setting goals has always helped me move forward with what I want to accomplish and completing these three tasks every day has kept me from going totally stir crazy:

Writing Every Morning:

Whether it be on a work day or the weekend, as soon as I take my morning shower and ready myself for the day, I sit at the computer and prepare a scheduled post to publish. I never thought that I would be able to keep daily content coming when there is literally nothing to do. I have surprised myself and think that I am even better at my craft now because I have learned to draw inspiration from all of the little things that now make up my day.

I feel a great sense of accomplishment every time I complete a post during this pandemic because it really can be difficult. However, lifewithlilred has been dedicated to creating daily content for the past several years and not even COVID-19 can stop that! Starting my morning off with a goal already checked off of my to do list makes me feel ready to take on the rest of the day and keeps me motivated to do it again tomorrow.

Practice Languages:

One of my favorite hobbies is learning new languages and every day I practice French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Czech on Duolingo. In fact, I am on an over eighty day streak of daily practicing and I have never even come close to that before. This Christmas, Johnny got me Duolingo Plus to help me continue practicing my languages in a more efficient way and it has been awesome. No adds and unlimited hearts, baby!

I like to set aside at least an hour every day to work on learning new languages and I feel proud of the huge steps that I have taken in each one that I practice. I definitely feel like I have gotten better in all of them – particularly German and Czech and I never thought that would happen! I feel excited to learn more each day and I can’t wait to get to a one hundred day streak!

Read:

The last thing that I like to do every day is read. I have always been an avid reader and I enjoy it even more now because I feel like I can escape my apartment and join the characters from the book in their world. I try to read at least thirty to forty pages plus in whatever book I am working on each day. I love the feeling of excitement I get every time I crack a book open because I know I am going to be transported on an adventure. However, I love the sense of accomplishment I feel after finishing a book and starting a new one even more. 😀

I am currently reading a delightful book called Miss Benson’s Beetle by one of my favorite authors, Rachel Joyce. It has been a nice palette cleanser from the psychological thrillers that I have been reading so definitely be on the lookout for a Lil Red’s Book Club review of it soon!

Once I complete these three tasks every day, I give myself permission to play all of the video games or watch all of the Netflix that I want. Hey, everyone deserves a treat after accomplishing their daily goals, right? 🙂

Do you set daily goals for yourself? Have you improved on one of your hobbies during the pandemic? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Hosting A Fun Family Game Night

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Hosting A Fun Family Game Night

Many of us have exhausted a range of activities in the midst of societal lock down. We’ve baked, we’ve cooked, we’ve tried foreign cuisine, we’ve read, we’ve relaxed. So, it’s understandable if you’re feeling restless or irritable once your options for activities have been depleted. Not being able to ‘get out’ and enjoy the warm weather (by virtue of it being winter) also limits us a little more. You shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling irritable, as a lot of people are – myself included!

But what’s best for when you’re feeling irritable? To us, playing games and having fun with our family members can really help. Games help us act creatively, to compete in safe settings, and moreover, to have fun and a laugh. Hosting a fun game night with the family can be lovely then, and perhaps a weekly tradition.

But what sort of game nights could you have with the family? Your board game collection is a great place to start or you could order a couple of games online for something totally different. Why not also consider some of the following options?

Word & Quiz Games:

It can be fun to test your general knowledge or show off your Words With Friends skills with a word game. My personal favorite word game is Scrabble and using a descramble words tool can help you buff up before the games begin. Memory games, general trivia, and even games like timed ‘random Wikipedia journeys’ can be a great idea. These games will help you get a brain workout by the end of them! And who’s to say they aren’t competitive?

Video Game Parties:

If you have any video games consoles and games that offer cooperative play, you will be in for a blast. Four play Mario Party can be phenomenal, for instance, helping you enjoy a range of mini games across a players board, building stars, and dunking on others as you go. You’re sure to have fun with Mariokart, Keep Talking, And Nobody Explodes to show you what friendly competition is all about. We would also recommend Human Fall Flat and Fall Guys if you’re looking for something comical and cartoonish.

A Homespun Talent Show:

It can also be a wonderful idea to enjoy a homespun talent show, one that helps you feel connected, appreciated, and able to express your silliest joys. Perhaps you and your partner can do a magic show for the children, while they can lip sync and play air guitar to their favorite song. It sounds very silly, and it is! The goal is for everyone to be grinning from ear to ear. You can all judge and score each act and work up to the semi finals and finals over the course of a weekend. It might be a bit of work, but the outcome will be well worth it!

With this advice, we hope you can enjoy a fun game night with the family – and no doubt end up having a ball. You will feel much better afterwards too! 🙂

Featured Image By: Pexels

Hagrid’s Hut Harry Potter LEGO Set

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Hagrid’s Hut Harry Potter LEGO Set

Hi! Johnny and I love to build with LEGO and we were so generously gifted with the Hagrid’s Hut set from Harry Potter for Christmas. Although it was a much smaller set than what we’re used to, it took us a good three and a half hours plus to finish it and it was such fun to be doing something other than watching TV! Just because it was a small set doesn’t mean that it was any less challenging to assemble and there were lots of exciting surprises incorporated throughout the build. I think it turned out awesome! Take a look at the finished product and let’s discuss:

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Johnny and I have wanted to begin expanding our Hogwarts grounds for a while now and Hagrid’s Hut is the perfect set to start with. It has been sitting on our coffee table since its completion and I can’t help but smile every time I look at it because it is so freaking cool! It really is a to the T replica of Chez Hagrid’s in LEGO form and I almost forgot the sense of achievement and the downright fun that comes with building with LEGOs because it has been so long since we got a new set.

I am particularly fond of the pumpkin patch with Buckbeak and his passenger, the Minister of Magic. He is definitely not supposed to be on top of the hippogriff but, hey, whatever works! I am also completely charmed by all of Hagrid’s tools and utensils hanging from the rafters in his sitting room. The piece de resistance of this set, however, has to be the light up brick used to mimic the fire heating up Hagrid’s dragon egg. All you need to do is press on the rooftop above from the fire place and it lights up. It is such an awesome, simple idea and it still delights me every time I light the fire!

I would highly recommend the LEGO Hagrid’s Hut set if you have a Harry Potter LEGO collection, too. It is also a really nice beginner’s set if you have never built with LEGO before. Johnny and I are very eager to keep expanding Hogwarts and this just lit that fire even more… See what I did there?!

Who else enjoys building with LEGO? Did anyone watch the competition show LEGO Masters? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Second Family Edition

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Holiday Haul: Second Family Edition

Hello and welcome to the final Holiday Haul post from this past Christmas! I am so in love with everything that I received and I am already putting all of my gifts to great use. I have had such fun finding special homes for my presents, testing out products, and basically living in my new robe and slippers when I am at my apartment! This Christmas was a bright light at the end of the tunnel of an awful year and I look back on it fondly. I also can’t help but smile every time I see these sweet gifts from those who I consider my “second family”. Check it out:

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In case you can’t tell, Johnny and I are HUGE fans of the Harry Potter books and movies so we just feel spoiled rotten with these gifts. Like Johnny’s parents, my second family had the thoughtful idea to gift us with ornaments for our tree next year and I am so happy with how our collection is already shaping up. Johnny and I are both particularly fond of the one with Harry on his broom. His lil face and scar are just so cute!

During this pandemic, I have enjoyed working on puzzles at my parent’s house and with all of my clients. Unfortunately, Johnny and I just have no space in our apartment to work on a puzzle so I can’t wait until we move somewhere bigger. One of my first orders of business will be placing a small table in the game room we would like to set up so I can get my puzzle on. I think I will start with the one I was gifted with this Christmas first. 🙂

The piece de resistance of this haul was definitely the Hagrid’s Hut LEGO set. Johnny and I made quick work of it the day after I brought these presents home and it turned out SO cool. We haven’t gotten a new Harry Potter LEGO set in forever and Hagrid’s Hut has been on my list for quite some time as I would like to expand the Hogwarts grounds. Johnny and I are planning on getting the Quidditch Pitch, the Whomping Willow, and the Divination Tower sets throughout this year to keep growing our LEGO world. For pics of the completed Hagrid’s Hut set, be sure to tune in tomorrow!

My second family knows me like the back of their hands and Johnny and I could not be more thankful for these amazing Harry Potter themed gifts! I can’t wait to celebrate Christmas more traditionally with them next year and feel so grateful to have such wonderful friends looking out for me. ❤

Have you built a LEGO set recently? Which one? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah