Tag Archives: hobby

Guilty Pleasure: Dancing With The Stars Edition

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Guilty Pleasure: Dancing With The Stars Edition

Hi! I have plenty of guilty pleasure TV shows that I am always eager to put on when I have the apartment to myself on Wednesday evenings. Johnny has band practice so when I get home from work I plop myself in front of the TV and binge to my heart’s content. We’re talking America’s Next Top Model, My 600 Lb. Life, Dr. Pimple Popper, and most recently: Dancing With The Stars.

I used to be a HUGE DWTS fan back in the day and would tune in season after season with my parents. This bonding time was officially dubbed “Middle Aged Monday” and I lived for it. Despite such fond memories of watching the show, I became uninterested after a while. I was so sick of all of the crappy reality stars and D list celebrities that the show just fell by the wayside.

However, when I learned that one of my favorite figure skaters, Johnny Weir, is competing this season, I snapped back like a rubber band and turned my free Wednesday evening into DWTS time. Because I haven’t been watching in forever and also COVID, I didn’t realize how much the show has changed.

Not only is Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews not hosting but Len Goodman is also not a judge, replaced by Derek Hough. Len will be popping in from time to time this season via video chat as it is not safe for him to travel from England at the moment. This switch is fine because I adore the Hough siblings. But if Tom and Erin aren’t hosting, then who is? Tyra Banks, of course.

Now, normally, when I hear “Tyra Banks”, I am stoked. I love her often times more than I love myself and I was ready to see her in action. Unfortunately, she was so GOTDAMN annoying I was almost ready to fast forward her talking. All she did was speak about herself, try to relate dancing to modeling, and give meaningless commentary. By the end of the episode, I had a Tom and Erin sized hole in my heart and felt completely unimpressed by this swap.

Despite not being a huge fan of the new hostess, I forgot how much fun DWTS is. The costumes, the fantastic music, excellent judges, uber talented pros, and (occasionally) enticing celebrities makes for TV heaven for me. I so enjoyed seeing stars like Johnny Weir, Nelly, AJ McLean, Skai Jackson, and Nev Schulman take the floor and all it made me want to do was take up ballroom dancing myself.

Dancing With The Stars is a perfect show for me to put on after work because I can still get chores done and make my dinner during celebrities I don’t care about. I’m already ready for them to “trim the fat” by eliminating the people who don’t have a change in hell of winning. But, for now, I am okay with sitting back and watching the spectacle. 🙂

Do you watch Dancing With The Stars? Who do you think is going to win this season? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Feeling Great!

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Feeling Great!

Hello!! With all of the craziness of politics, COVID, and everything in between it is very easy to feel down and out. This is especially true if, like me and Johnny, you are still limiting your time in public. The monotony of my never ending cycle of sitting at home, work, then sitting at home certainly leaves a lot to be desired but, after this past anniversary weekend I have been feeling great!

Johnny and I celebrated our one year anniversary over the weekend with a delicious meal made by a super talented friend in our very own kitchen. It was one of the best dates I’ve ever been on despite not leaving our apartment and we seriously had the time of our lives getting dressed up to stay in.

It feels easy to just turn on another episode of whatever you were last binging on Netflix and make a day of it. And, no judgement here, because that’s what Johnny and I do nine times out of ten. However, one small change up to our routine left me with a newly found spring in my step and I feel much better than I did before.

This is not me saying to go out here, there, and everywhere for something new. Rather, to explore all of the fun things that can be done from the safety of your home. Everything from dress up date nights to even a cleaning spree with the best music and company can get you out of the “I never do anything” slump.

Brainstorm with your friends about your next game night over Zoom, plan a social distanced picnic in the park, or maybe even a long weekend in a cabin? The possibilities really are endless and I promise that it’s going to be infinitely more fun than whatever TV series you were going to cozy up with! Explore and enjoy! 😀

How do you have social distanced outings? What has been the best date you have ever been on? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Could You Work With Dogs?

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Could You Work With Dogs?

With unemployment levels high and rising all of the time, and so many sectors hit hard by COVID-19 and the restrictions that it has brought, many people are starting to think about entirely different career paths. If many people in your industry have been made redundant, competition for the jobs that are available is going to be tough. With no idea when the economy might go back to normal, or even when life will start to feel like it used to, it’s a great time to explore alternative options and give a completely different job a try.

One option that appeals to many of us is starting our own business. When it comes to creating something for ourselves, most of us hope to do it in an area that we enjoy. If you’ve always had dogs, and use dog walking or training businesses yourself, you might be tempted to start your own. Here are some of the things that you should ask yourself before jumping in:

Do You Love Dogs?

Loving your own pet dog isn’t the same as loving someone else’s. Looking after an animal requires patience and understanding. You might happily clean up after your dog, but would you do it for someone else’s? Could you cope with another dog disobeying? Are you the kind of person that can only truly love an animal that you’ve gotten to know and bonded with? Or, do you care deeply for all animals?

At the same time, it’s worth asking yourself if you would still enjoy spending time with your own animal if you spend all day looking after other peoples?

Do You Have Great People Skills?

When you work with dogs, most of your days will be spent with the animals themselves. But it won’t be the dog that hires you, pays your wages, or tells their friends how great you are. If you want to build a business, you don’t just need to get on well with the animals. You also need to be great with people.

Do You Have Business Acumen?

Running a business is always about much more than doing those core tasks that you enjoy so much. To build a business, you need to have good business sense. You need to be able to choose the right pet food packaging if you want to sell products. You need to be good at marketing, finance, and all of the other elements of running a successful business. You need to come up with ideas that sets your business apart if you want it to do well.

Do You Have the Drive to Work for Yourself?

Another problem that many new businesses owners face is the shock of actually working for themselves. If you’ve always been told what to do, suddenly having to manage your time, get stuff done, and stay on top of your to-do list can be tough. Do you think that it is something that you are ready for?

Working with dogs can be great fun. It can also be an exceptionally fulfilling career, giving you the chance to make a difference to families with pets. But it’s also challenging, time-consuming, and often stressful. Working with dogs can be fantastic, but it’s not something that you should do without giving it some careful thought first.

Featured Image By: Pexels

Fun & (Video) Games

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Fun & (Video) Games

Hi! Johnny and I celebrated our one year anniversary on September first – hurray! Pre-Johnny, I never played video games too often. Of course, I played my fair share of Mario Party and Super Smash Bros. back in the day. I was also addicted to Diablo II on the ol’ desktop computer. Besides from those, that’s about as far as my video game expertise goes. Until Johnny and I started dating that is! Before, all I had was a lowly GameCube and Wii – now we collectively have a Switch and a PlayStation 3.

In recent quarantine times, I developed a huge taste for Animal Crossing and try to check in on my island at least every other day. I also love playing throwback Mario games on the Switch’s Super Nintendo Arcade. Other than that, though? Nothing really. Until Johnny and I exchanged gifts for our one year that is!

For part of my gift (Tune in later for more on our celebration!), Johnny ceremonially turned the Switch on and displayed on the screen was both Paper Mario: The Origami King and Diablo III: Reaper Of Souls. I absolutely LOVE the Paper Mario games and have been telling Johnny I want to try The Origami King for the past few months now. I also haven’t played Diablo III in over half a decade so that was just the cherry on top of a perfect gift.

Johnny and I recently watched an excellent documentary on Netflix called High Score. The series was about seven or eight episodes long and it discussed the evolution of video games from the old school arcades to present day. I think the video game bug definitely bit the both of us while we bingewatched High Score and I can see it reflected in my anniversary gift – I’m so not mad about it though!

In fact, I think I shall dub our one year as the Fun & Games anniversary because I, too, got something entertainment based for Johnny. That’s right, I got him the Millennium Falcon LEGO set from Star Wars. No, not the crazy expensive sets – however, we decided our five year will be the Upgrade the Millennium Falcon anniversary! Johnny put his space craft together in one evening and I am already looking forward to more time with Paper Mario and Diablo, lol. I’m looking forward to more time with my MAN the most and here’s to our one year together. ❤

Which anniversary did you and your partner celebrate this year? How did you celebrate? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Feeling Presidential

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Feeling Presidential

Hi everyone!! For those of you who don’t know, my “big girl job” is as an Independent Provider for people with special needs. Most of my clients are not too interested in politics and that is totally fine. However, one of my clients decided he wants to become president this past week. With nothing to do cause COVID, we turned our time together into running his campaign and nurturing his dreams.

My client and I made posters, campaign speeches, and discussed all of his platforms and strategies. It proved to be educational for both of us because he learned more about what it takes to become president and I got to learn about all of the things that are really important to him. It was also just plain fun and something different.

If you work in the field like me or if you have children, this could be a great idea to get them Feeling Presidential too. Spend some time talking about what it means to be president and how your future candidate would go about their victory. Then, you can craft to your heart’s content and even work on some grammar as you write your speeches.

The crafting and talking about future goals is inspiring and it could open up a whole new world that your child or client might not know existed before. So put your president pants on and get to work!

How do you create fun and unique activities for your children? What would your platform be if you were president? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Press & Journal

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Boy From The Woods By Harlan Coben Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Boy From The Woods By Harlan Coben Edition

Hi there and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be talking about a book that I enjoyed very much by Harlan Coben called The Boy From The Woods. I devoured this three hundred and seventy page thriller in about a week and I would definitely put it under the “un-put-down-able” category. Bold and interesting characters mixed with a modern story line as well as a nod to the unsettling political times we are in made for an exciting read. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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The Boy From The Woods is an interweaving tale between Hester Crimstein, seventy something criminal attorney with her own TV show and Wilde. Simply Wilde with no last name because he doesn’t have one. Wilde was found living in the woods, all alone but somewhat thriving as he learned how to read and talk through breaking into homes and watching TV and instructional videos. Wilde’s first and best friend was Hester’s now deceased son, David, and they played in the woods together before Wilde was even discovered.

Wilde remains a “family figure” in Hester’s world because he is the godfather to David’s son, Matthew, and lover to his widow, Laila. All is going well in Wilde’s world, until a distressed Matthew asks him for a favor. Find Naomi Pine. Who is she? A bullied classmate who spent her school life in torment and has been missing for a week.

Hester and Wilde team up to find Naomi, using Hester’s TV platform and connections to help the cause. When a second child goes missing from Naomi and Matthew’s high school is when things start to get a lot more complicated. Cue uber rich TV producer moguls Dash and Delia Maynard and their son, Crash. The only difference between Crash and Naomi? A ransom note was delivered for Crash, with a promise for his release if and only if damning tapes of megalomaniac politician Rusty Eggers are turned in.

Dash Maynard found fame through documentaries and used to record everything back in the day. And by everything, I mean everything. Him and Delia supposedly have tapes that would destroy Rusty’s potential presidency and someone wants them back. But who? Could Crash and Naomi’s disappearances be connected? Are they together right now? And what dark secrets are connecting this cast of characters to a final shocking conclusion? Read The Boy From The Woods to find out!

What I absolutely loved about this story line was the extremely modern take they had on, well, everything. I wonder which politician Rusty Eggers reminds me of (lol) and Naomi’s troubled life was a sad but very fresh take on your traditional high school student drama. The Boy From The Woods also embraced the media through texting, videos, apps, and Hester’s TV show. It almost felt like I was watching a movie in my head as I read because of the graphic and somewhat flashy descriptions of showbiz, baby.

The best thing about The Boy From The Woods, though? The grand reveal! The brilliance of this book is that Every. Single. Red. Herring. was hidden in plain sight and I thought that was really cool. The books I am used to reading involve a lot of guesswork and intuition to figure out the reveal before it’s… revealed. So, I was using that mentality to figure this book out and I couldn’t.

The grand reveal left me in absolute shock and when all of the clues were divvied up, I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it sooner. I haven’t read a book that threw me for this big of a loop in a long time and for that reason I am giving The Boy From The Woods an eight out of ten stars. I highly, highly recommend it!

What are you reading right now? Have you read anything good lately? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Random Lil Red Fun Facts

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Random Lil Red Fun Facts

Hello! In coronavirus times, I have become a little bit “boring”. Not because I want to, of course. Safety trumps all and with multiple high risk clients that I care for, I can never be too, well… careful! A lack of going out and socializing/shopping has definitely made maintaining lifewithlilred more difficult but no one said being a blogger was easy and I still write every day.

If you are just tuning into my page, welcome! I hope you learn something new about me. For those of you who have been with me for the past almost six years, hi again! I also hope you learn something new about me with the following:

  1. I have well over fifty tattoos and have simply lost count of how many I have at this point.
  2. I try to read at least two books per month – sometimes three if I’m feeling especially reading ravenous.
  3. I wouldn’t consider myself a huge “gamer” but I have become obsessed with Animal Crossing since I have been at home more often. Johnny and I share an island called Dingusburg and my favorite thing is fishing for sharks and diving for undersea critters. 🙂
  4. I have been self employed for the past six years and run two businesses that I am very proud of.
  5. Johnny and I are celebrating one year together on September 1st and I couldn’t be happier!
  6. My last in store shopping trip was at TJMaxx in February and I miss it desperately.
  7. I also miss going ice skating a lot too! I used to figure skate competitively and just started taking up learning how to ice dance. I even bought new skates. Then, COVID happened, and I haven’t been on the ice since March. Whomp whomp.
  8. I am an aunt to an adorable niece and nephew. I am the baby of the family with two older brothers and an older sister. I also have two dog brothers named Archie and Ollie. ❤
  9. I allow myself two “treat” outings per month and I always opt to get my hair and nails done. I think I would go crazy without my monthly fill and color touch up!
  10. I have been a vegetarian for close to two decades and I love all kinds of food – especially Indian, Mexican, and Thai. Unfortunately, Johnny is on a much different diet of chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and Honey Nut Cheerios to lower his cholesterol so I usually have to eat my favorites by my damn self… More for me!

What are some fun facts about you? Do you have any questions for me? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Accessory Story: Homemade Cuff Edition

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Accessory Story: Homemade Cuff Edition

Hi! For those of you who don’t know, my big girl job is as an independent provider for people with special needs. I have four clients who I see throughout the week and all of them bring so much joy into my life. Each of my clients has their own unique hobbies and I always like to encourage them, especially when there isn’t much else to do right now except hang out at home and perfect their crafts.

Speaking of crafts, one of my clients is very handy when it comes to making homemade jewelry and she created this cuff just for me. Check it out:

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Two of my clients enjoy playing music like the drums and piano and my other two love to craft. Sometimes we will make bracelets, color pictures, or make our own holiday cards. The creator of my new bracelet can often be found working on her dream journal or making jewelry for her loved ones and I was so tickled when she handed me her masterpiece the last time I was at work.

My friend is incredibly generous and she is always thinking about what she can do for others instead of herself. It’s such an admirable trait and she loves being the reason that someone smiles or their day has been “made”. I think everyone can take some notes out of her book and I am proud to have something that she put together with her little old provider in mind. ❤

What is a character trait that you admire? What is your favorite hobby? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Audible Awesomeness

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Audible Awesomeness

Howdy! Johnny and I both love reading and we have quite a respectable collection of books between the two of us. To me, there is nothing better than holding a tangible book in my hands and turning the pages myself. I have never been too interested in books for the Kindle or book tapes because I do prefer an actual book. But, that all changed when I was introduced to Audible through a chance encounter with my Facebook ads.

For those of you who don’t know, I am obsessed with the Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman. I have read the series countless times as well as all of the offshoot stories for different characters from Sandman. I have several tattoos from Sandman and when I feel like splurging, I might just fuck around and buy the (very expensive) omnibuses so I will have my own copy of the saga.

For those of you who don’t know again, there were talks of making a Sandman TV series or movie for years now but it just never got put into production. And, because it is such an epic tale, it would be hard to condense all of it into a season of TV or a two hour movie. I had all but given up on any Sandman content outside of the comics until I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed.

The ad I saw literally made me pump my fist in the air and say “YES!” because it was for a book tape of Sandman that could be listened to on Audible. It’s not just any book tape though because it features an all star cast with James McAvoy, Kat Dennings, Andy Serkis, and Neil Gaiman, himself, as the narrator. I needed it.

Because Johnny has Amazon Prime, we got a month subscription to Audible FO FREE as well as two free book tapes. Johnny picked a history one out for himself and I, of course, opted for Sandman. I began listening to it as soon as we finished completing the info for our trial order and I honestly could have cried. It was that good.

For the past over half a decade now, the amazing and fantastical characters of Sandman have kept me company. However, all of their voices just sounded like me saying the lines in my head as I read them. Lol, to actually hear the character’s voices while I pictured the comic book pages in my head was nothing short of incredible for me. I got to hear the character’s in a way that their creator, Neil Gaiman, saw fit and that’s the coolest part. And hearing Neil Gaiman narrate is own story the way he wanted it to be told was the cherry on top.

The Sandman audible tape covers the first three collections in an almost eleven hour recording. I am not quite done with it yet, however, I am already chomping at the bit for the next installment which I hope will be a thing. Fingers and toes crossed!

Johnny and I worked out a perfect schedule for both of us to enjoy our own hobbies. As soon as we both get home from work, he settles in to play Borderlands and I curl up on the couch to listen to my tape. For about an hour and a half or two, we hang out while we do our own thing and then we have dinner and watch our shows for the rest of the evening. And, I’ve got to say, it suits us just fine and I can’t wait to conclude the epic audio tale soon. 🙂

Do you prefer an actual book to a Kindle copy or book tape? What are you currently reading? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: Flowers Over The Inferno By Ilaria Tuti Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Flowers Over The Inferno By Ilaria Tuti Edition

Hi! I have always loved to read and once I start a book that I enjoy, I find it absolutely impossible to put it down. Because I have not been “going out” to protect myself and my high risk clients from COVID, I have had ample free time to read and have been finishing books left and right. The most recent? Probably one of the most interesting, disturbing books I’ve read in ages: Flowers Over The Inferno by Ilaria Tuti and translated from the Italian by Ekin Oklap.

Before we begin discussing Flowers Over The Inferno without any spoilers, it is important that a trigger warning be put in place. This book is centered around the hunt for a serial killer who attacks with twisted savagery. There is also human experimentation in this book and, if you read the Author’s Note at the end, you will find that what she spoke of was an actual experiment performed in 1945.

Now, if I haven’t scared you off yet, let’s get into it:

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Flowers Over The Inferno takes place in the picaresque village of Traveni. Surrounded by thick forests and the Italian Alps, Traveni looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. The dark secrets that linger there, however, are anything but. And, once a horribly mutilated body is found in the forest these secrets that have long since been attempted to be forgotten begin to bubble to the surface.

As you can see, the cover of this book says “A Teresa Battaglia Novel”. Who is Teresa Battaglia you might ask? An aging superintendent in the Italian police force with an extensive background in criminal profiling. Crotchety, sarcastic, and sensitive when she wants to be, Teresa leads the male dominated team and is, for the most part, highly respected. She is now in charge of leading this new case and time is of the essence because she knows this killer will strike again soon.

And strike, he did. Again and again with each act seemingly more brutal than the next. In a town where everyone knows everyone, surely someone knows something. However, with a “holier than thou” herd mentality of the villagers, who would want to admit such a damning secret? It is only when the gruesome past of Traveni is revealed that the killer’s identity becomes apparent and we learn that not everyone/everything is how it seems.

Ilaria Tuti’s Flowers Over The Inferno was easily one of the best books I’ve read in a while because it was so unlike anything I’ve read before. The Italian style of writing is vastly different and it felt like every description in the book was milked to the point that I could picture it perfectly in my head. The details and imagery that Tuti conjures makes the situation all the more desperate to the point that you feel like you are on the hunt with Teresa.

Despite disturbing subject matter, this book resonated with me deeply. It put into perspective all of the ways that people, even the villain, can be victims and I could feel the deep empathy that Teresa felt for all of those she was trying to help. Every attack felt like a blow to the gut but the deep seeded trauma that the killer suffered felt just the same.

Flowers Over The Inferno reads like a battle between good and evil and it is up to Teresa and her team to close the dark secrets of Traveni forever. Will the police force come out victorious or will darkness permanently be cast over the town? Read Flowers Over The Inferno and find out!

If you are looking for a gripping page turner, then Flowers Over The Inferno is right for you and I reward it the prestigious ten out of ten stars. The characters were all so unique and the story line was like nothing I have ever read before and even delved into the supernatural at times. All I know is, you won’t be able to put it down if you can stomach it and I am hoping for another Teresa Battaglia novel ASAP!

What are you currently reading? Do you have a favorite literary character? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah