Tag Archives: friendship

Lil Red’s Book Club: Miss Benson’s Beetle By Rachel Joyce Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Miss Benson’s Beetle By Rachel Joyce Edition

Hi everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing the newest book by Rachel Joyce called Miss Benson’s Beetle. I am a huge fan of Rachel Joyce, as she authored one of my favorite books, The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry, so I was very excited to read Miss Benson’s Beetle. Like Harold Fry, it was nothing short of delightful and told the tale of an unlikely duo going on a big adventure. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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Marjory Benson is a homely woman living in 1950s Britain with a large stature, no remaining family, or any meaningful relationships. She is a teacher of domestic sciences and, more often than not, is the subject of cruel jokes from her students. One day, after a particularly nasty cartoon rendition of her was passed throughout her class, she had enough and marched (Rather, limped) right out of the school. It was a “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment and she was ready for an adventure.

As a child and young adult, Marjory had a fascination with collecting beetles, which sprang from looking through a book of undiscovered creatures with her father. This book included the Golden Beetle that is supposedly found in New Caledonia and it has never left the back of her mind since. Now unemployed, Marjory decides that this is her time to travel across the world, find the beetle, and name it after her father.

Of course, this will be no easy feat and Marjory decided that she needed an assistant to accompany her on her search. Her interviews with potential candidates left a lot to be desired and, in the end, Marjory was stuck with the last option she wanted to go with – a young, flashy woman by the name of Enid Pretty. Enid is everything that Marjory isn’t. She’s talkative, outgoing, fashion forward, and an instant annoyance to Marjory. Despite their differences, Marjory needs an assistant and Enid joins her on the extensive traveling from Britain all the way to the Pacific island of New Caledonia.

Little does Marjory know, her assistant is bringing a lot of baggage along with her and I’m not talking about the traveling kind. Well, that too, actually, considering Enid brought countless suitcases with her! Enid is a woman on the run and a trip across the world is her perfect getaway. Later, in their journey, Enid is named one of Britain’s Most Wanted Criminals with Marjory wanted for association. Can the women continue to evade the law, find the beetle, and salvage some form of friendship? Read Miss Benson’s Beetle and find out!

It has been a long while since I read a book that I would consider “light” as I am drawn to mysteries and psychological thrillers and Miss Benson’s Beetle was like a breath of fresh air. It was such fun to join the odd couple of Marjory and Enid on their adventure and I felt eager to read it every day. From their travels on boats, trains, and a stolen Jeep to them trekking through the New Caledonia rain forests for an undiscovered beetle, I felt like I was with them every step of the way. I laughed when Enid said something silly, cried for their hardships, and felt my heart pounding every time they came in contact with the police.

I loved this book because, at the end of the day, it was a testament to the power of friendship no matter how unlikely. It also gave Marjory Benson, a woman who spent her life wishing she was invisible, a chance in the spotlight. All she needed was the help of Enid to coax her shine out of her. Watching Marjory transform into a confident woman while Enid matured through Marjory’s guidance was a joy. I was rooting for their success the whole time and I just know that you will too.

Miss Benson’s Beetle was one of the best feel good books I’ve read in years and I can’t recommend it enough. I am going to rate it with the prestigious ten out of ten stars for brilliant characters, a unique story line, and the wonderfully descriptive writing of Rachel Joyce. I enjoyed it so much that I wouldn’t mind reading it again and I literally just finished it!

What are you currently reading? Which book should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How You Can Be Kind To Yourself In 2021

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How You Can Be Kind To Yourself In 2021

If there is one good thing about a new year, it’s that it gives you a clean slate to try something new. For some people, this is kicking bad habits. For others, it’s being more in-tune with their friends and family. This is all well and good but it’s also important to remember to be kind to yourself in 2021 too. We all know how tough the previous year was, and while there are still reverberations from 2020, it’s still possible to put yourself first for the new year:

Keep a journal:

Keeping a journal is not just a great tool to keep track of your days, it can also help you reflect and work through any problems you encounter throughout the year. This will give you the chance to recognize how insignificant such problems were, even if they seemed too much to handle at the time. A journal will also help you see how much you have grown throughout the year and give you something to look back on fondly. Ideally, you want to write in your journal every day so your memories don’t fade.

Try something new:

Humans are not designed to stand still, but many people will get to a point where they don’t explore anything new. There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable, but it can mean that you get dissatisfied with life. This is why it’s always useful to try something new, whether you want to try something you’ve always wanted, like running a marathon or losing weight, or even doing something that you’ve never done before. This could be rock climbing, dyeing your hair a different color, or testing out foods that you have never had.

Make new friends:

It’s tricky to make new friends as an adult. Everyone seems too busy, and they have so many responsibilities that it feels impossible to find the time to hang out with someone else. However, the potential for new friends is out there. You just need to know where to look. If you’re trying new hobbies, look for online communities who can advise you on whether a Shimano Tyrnos conventional reel is the right fishing tool or whether a sub-five minute kilometer is something to celebrate, which it is, by the way!

Spend more time with yourself:

One of the most effective ways to be kinder to yourself this year is to spend more time with yourself. It’s nice to hang out with friends and family, but you also need the chance to recharge and do what you want to do. It’s important to get comfortable in your own company, so put your feet up, pick out your favorite book, and relax. You’ll find that you enjoy your own company much more than you expected.

Be kind:

Some people will spend all of their time trying to be kind to others and forget about being kind to themselves. However, it is impossible to fill others’ cups when yours is empty. So, don’t be afraid to give yourself some time to recharge and be kinder to yourself. Once you feel one hundred percent, you can start thinking about helping others, too.

2021 can’t be as bad as 2020, right? Use the tips above to help you start this new year on the right foot!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

FaceTime Fun

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FaceTime Fun

Hi! This seems like a resounding theme on all of my posts but in my neck of the woods, we are currently in threat level PURPLE for COVID-19. Not to be confused with Threat Level: Midnight from The Office. Those of us that get the severity of COVID and are taking it extremely seriously are hunkered down hardcore right now. Johnny and I have not seen any of our friends in at least a month at this point and it’s lonely and it sucks. I think I would honestly go crazy if I didn’t have my Johnny with me and, thankfully, I’ve had technology on my side too.

I have become a FaceTime/Skype/Zoom/phone call addict so that I can still keep in touch with my nearest and dearest. I love having scheduled chit chat “dates” and it gives me something to look forward to. Being able to “see” my friends even through the computer or phone screen helps put a renewed pep in my step and it’s the next best thing I have right now to actually hanging out. I have wholeheartedly embraced this form of contact and I highly recommend that my readers/social media friends follow suit… Especially if COVID is as bad in your area as it is in mine.

A very special bestie in my life has added an extra ray of sunshine to my blah quarantine existence by our weekly or biweekly FaceTime chats. For those of you who don’t know, Johnny and I chose to sit out on Thanksgiving with our family this year. So, believe me when I say, I was completely touched when my darling Kate of Live In The Nautical suggested that we FaceTime on Thanksgiving day.

Kate has been one of my best friends since lifewithlilred began. It’s crazy, because we’ve only met each other in real life once but I feel like I can tell her absolutely anything through our constant back and forth via our blogs, social media, texting, and FaceTime. I am so thankful to her because she knew how shitty I was feeling on Thanksgiving and she took time out of her celebrations to talk to me. It meant so much and I really do treasure the times that we have to see each other and catch up.

I wish that I could see my friends right now and I know that a lot of you do too. Is a video chat the most ideal way to see them? In normal times, no. But things are far from normal right now so I’d say video chatting is friggen perfect. It’s hard to feel so isolated but Johnny and I have been doing our damnedest to stay safe since March. FaceTiming has helped with the loneliness and if you are feeling down, then schedule a chat with one of your besties. It can only help and I think you will feel much better after. I know I did. 🙂 ❤

How do you keep in touch with loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic? What do you miss the most about “normal” life? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

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Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Hello! Way back in May of this year (Doesn’t that seem like forever ago?!), one of my favorites, Sheryl, guest blogged on lifewithlilred for the first time. We became fast friends and I am always so happy to chat with her whether that be over the blogosphere, Facebook, or email. Despite never meeting in real life or our difference in age (Although, Sheryl doesn’t look a day over twenty-one!), we have so much in common and I am very thankful to be her “young friend” as she calls me. ❤

Please check out Sheryl’s Light to keep up to date on all of the delightful musings of my dear friend and enjoy her guest post that she made special for lifewithlilred:

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

I’m posting today in answer to my friend, Sarah’s, call for holiday guest blog posts. I wasn’t going to blog today so reading her post prompted me to jump on the bandwagon. In reading my Facebook newsfeed I have noticed a lot of my friends have already put up their Christmas trees to stave off the coronavirus blues. Yesterday, I decided to decorate mine too! Sometimes I get lazy or my back will hurt. I’m glad I did.  

Seeing a winter scene of twinkling Christmas house lights on a snowy landscape is so pretty. The same feeling comes with the lights on my Christmas tree:

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My son and his family are visiting his dad in Florida so I snapped the top picture to send to him. He loved it, stating that they couldn’t wait to get home to Texas to put up their tree. They have this huge Christmas tree that was decorated minimally for the last few years because of the grabby little hands of my two grandsons. This year, with them being four and five now, they can put a few more decorations on their tree! I can’t wait to see it.

Next, I’m going to pull out the rest of my Christmas decorations completing the scene. I save all of my old Christmas cards to put up on the doors which makes it very festive! This year will, of course, be very different from the previous years. Where I live there will be no Santa for the kids, no hot chocolate and cookies, and no decorated Common Room. 

The positive that’s coming out of all of this is not boo-hoo what I’m missing but more that I will never take the get-togethers of the Christmas season for granted ever again. I came across this hilarious video which is so true of Christmas 2020.

Take Care,
Sheryl Rose

Have you completed your holiday decorating? How does it look? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone and a very Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Compliments of COVID, the 2020 holiday season is going to be a lot different. Family get togethers might be taking place over Zoom rather than in person or the celebrations could be pushed back until everyone can participate without crippling anxiety. No matter how you spend your day, I urge all of you to do it as safely as possible so all of your loved ones will be around to celebrate a *hopefully* normal Thanksgiving and Christmas next year.

2020 has been a wild ride and the craziness just reminds me of how thankful I am for all of the wonderful things about my life. A beautiful family, loving relationship, rewarding job, and fabulous friends both in person and online in the blogosphere are certainly nothing to sneeze at!

Thank you all so much for sharing in lifewithlilred with me because each and every one of you help keep me motivated to write each and every day. I am so proud of the sense of community that I feel on my page and I wish nothing but health, safety, and all of the good things for you and yours. ❤

Happy Thanksgiving!

BFF Post Wedding Celebration

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BFF Post Wedding Celebration

Hello everyone! My bestie, Lea, got married on October 24th. I was supposed to be a bridesmaid for her big day but, unfortunately, I did not feel comfortable being there cause COVID. Of course, Lea was A-okay about it and was nothing short of totally understanding to all of the concerns I had. That’s what best friends of over twelve years is for! ❤

I wanted nothing more than to be at Lea’s wedding and, after she returned home from her honeymoon and was settled in, we had our own celebration. For the big evening, I got a bottle of champagne and we watched the professional video of the ceremony together.

Lea looked absolutely beautiful on her big day and it made me so emotional to see my bestie who I grew up with walking down the aisle. We laughed, I cried, and it was perfect. This hang out was, honestly, the next best thing to being able to participate in her wedding and I was so thankful that we got to have that time together because all it did was make our sister like bond even stronger.

After hearing all of the amazing stories from her ceremony and the reception to her secluded honeymoon in the mountains, Lea bestowed these lovely gifts onto me:

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^^^ How adorable is that homemade card?!

Lea has gifted her bridesmaids with the cutest prezzies throughout the months leading up to her wedding and I treasure all of them so much. She’s just the most sweet, thoughtful person and I felt honored that she still wanted to include me as much as she could despite my discomfort.

This was, easily, one of the best times I’ve had since COVID began in March and I am never going to forget it. Popping champagne with my BFF and celebrating her happiness got me over the slump that I have been in and I feel so excited to continue having life adventures with Lea every step of the way! ❤

Have you ever participated in a wedding before? How long have you and your bestie been friends for? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Sweet Surprises: BFF Edition

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Sweet Surprises: BFF Edition

Hello! My best friend of over twelve years, Lea, is going to be getting married at the end of October and I am one of her bridesmaids! Unfortunately, a pandemic isn’t the best time for a wedding celebration and because of having several high risk clients, I have had to opt out of a lot of the fun. It makes me sad that I can’t participate in good conscious in the different activities but Lea knows where I’m coming from and that’s the only important thing to me.

During our most recent hang out to have an early 26th birthday celebration for Lea (AKA drinks on my parent’s deck), I was expecting for her to be the only one receiving prezzies. But my darling bestie surprised me with the following:

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Lea is honestly one of the sweetest people I have ever met in my life and it is so like her to bring something for me on a day that should be celebrating her. I am so in love with the comfy cozy “Bridesmaid” tee by Bella + Canvas (I’m wearing it right now!) and the customized glass is adorable enough that I don’t even want to drink out of it!

It has been hard being out of the metaphorical wedding loop right now for Lea because safety is my primary concern. So, these gifts were very special to me because it showed that Lea still thinks of me as one of her bridesmaids no matter what.

2020 has been such a crazy year and I am so sad that Lea’s wedding isn’t going to be everything that she dreamed of and then some. But, as her best friend and STILL her bridesmaid even though I hardly deserve a participation trophy, I will be doing everything I can in the meantime to keep her spirits way up high. I know she would do the exact same for me. ❤

Did you have an event that got cancelled this year? How do you stay safe during the pandemic? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Birthday To Me Haul: Blogging BFF Edition

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Happy Birthday To Me Haul: Blogging BFF Edition

Hello!!! Lifewithlilred has come a long way since its start in September 2014 – almost six years ago. Like all blogs, it began small and modest but, somehow, over half a decade later, lifewithlilred is being read in over one hundred and ninety countries. Wow! Despite my page constantly changing and evolving, there are some things that have remained a constant in my blogging life and that something is actually a very special someone… My blogging BFF, Kate, from Live In The Nautical.

Kate and I became fast friends almost immediately after lifewithlilred began and we remain so until this day. From visiting her in New York City to our FaceTime dates and birthday and Christmas gift exchanges, we always make time for each other even while in separate states. We are hoping for a reunion post COVID but, in the meantime, we had the best time catching up and swapping prezzies for our Gemini Twin June birthdays.

Now, normally, every gift I receive is my favorite. But, this treasure from Kate is actually my favorite. Check it out:

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For my twenty-sixth, Kate gifted me with the most beautiful reminder of all of the hard work that I have put into my page every day for the past six years. She also gave me a beautiful reminder to never lose my car keys with an adorable lil red fob! My plaque is proudly displayed on my curio cabinet filled with all of my most special knick knacks and my fob is eagerly awaiting for my boyfriend to put my keys on. I’d do it myself but talon nails, lol.

After twenty-five, I can’t say I am thrilled to continue tacking another year on. But with such amazing friends and lovely low key celebrations, I guess twenty-six isn’t so bad. And, I have the friendship with Kate that I hold so dear and all of my sweet family, friends, and boyfriend to thank for that. ❤

How long have you been blogging for? Do you have a blogging BFF of your own? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Birthday To Me Haul: BFF Edition

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Happy Birthday To Me Haul: BFF Edition

Hello! Last Monday, I loved having my BFF of over ten years, Lea, over for a little birthday celebration. White Claw was drank and after four long hours of much needed catching up, we finally retired for the evening. It has felt like forever since I have seen Lea – probably since before the restaurants all closed in mid March. But, in true BFF fashion, we never miss a beat once we are reunited after time apart.

After over a decade of gifting each other for birthdays and Christmas, Lea and I have definitely began to recycle our ideas… Which is just fine by us because who doesn’t love wine, bath and body care, and candles?! Lol, check it out:

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For my twenty-sixth, Lea treated me to a bottle of rose and wine stopper, a super delicious smelling salt soak, face mask, and bath bomb – AKA all of my favorite things. There is nothing quite like taking a bath using goodies that you would have never bought for yourself. This is why I love getting bath bombs! I freaking love them but they are also not something on my radar to buy when I like getting shoes so much. 😀

Lea provided me with all of the makings for a relaxing evening in and I plan on using my new treats ASAP. There will also be plenty of product reviews coming up so keep it posted. ❤

What is your favorite thing to be gifted with? How do you spoil your friends on special occasions? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Having A Virtual Drink

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Having A Virtual Drink

Hi! It’s so crazy to think that just a few weeks ago, Johnny and I were participating in game nights with our friends over the weekend. Now, we are safely tucked away in my apartment after work and on the weekends due to Ohio’s stay at home order to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

We have a pretty close knit group of friends and we miss them. So, over the weekend we had a virtual drink over FaceTime with a couple we are friends with named Kevin and Christine. It was so nice to chat with and “see” someone other than ourselves and I just had to tell all of you about it in case you are missing the homies, too.

Try scheduling a virtual drink with your besties while hunkering down is the name of the game. You will seriously feel so much better after you have a conversation with a friend that isn’t over text message and it can create a pleasant evening or afternoon if you are having difficulties figuring out ways to occupy yourself. Pour a glass of wine, sit back, and enjoy. *Virtual cheers to you* 🙂

How have you been keeping in touch with friends in self-isolation? What is the coronavirus status where you live? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah