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Spare Book Review

“That was the night all doubt fell away.  ‘She’s dead,’ I thought. ‘My God. She’s really gone for good.’” 😭😭

⭐️ Five stars for Prince Harry’s memoir Spare. ⭐️

When I heard Prince Harry was coming out with a memoir, I initially wasn’t interested. Not sure what changed between the announcement and release date. Perhaps I got caught up in the hype? 1,400 holds on the physical copy at the library certainly got my attention. Anyway, I listened to the audio version on Audible and devoured this book in a week. (He reads it so that helps a ton.)

What I expected from this memoir: A brief history of his life, revealing how he felt losing his mom, a few spicy details about the royal family, a strong defense of Megxit, a takedown of the British press, clearing up some widespread rumors. It’s all there. Check, check, check, check, check, check.

But it’s so much more.

First of all, the tea – as they say – is PIPING HOT ☕️. There are some shocking details in this book. We need The Crown to keep going so they can dramatize some of these scenes. Sheesh! Ultimately, I finished the book liking William a lot less and Kate a little more. (I like Kate, but I know a “mean girl” when I see one 😏). Camilla is the true villain though and Charles is a mess. Overall, I can’t believe there is still a literal monarchy in 2023 🙄

But I digress…

Spare wasn’t ALL drama. He talked A LOT about losing his mom and thinking she wasn’t dead. For years he thought she willingly disappeared and was going to come back for them 🥹. The quote I opened this review with is what he said when he finally realized – ten years – later that Princess Diana really passed away. Losing her is a thread that is woven throughout the book 💔

He also talked at length about his life in the military. It clearly meant the world to him. Wasn’t super interesting to me, but other readers might like that part 😬

I was most surprised about his enduring desire to get married. He talked about being in his late twenties and early thirties and longing for a wife and family of his own. That surprised me because, for a while, Harry was the most eligible bachelor in the world. Remember that weird reality show “I Wanna Marry Harry” and it was a Prince Harry lookalike, but the women contestants supposedly thought it was really him? Truly bizarre television. Harry describes pretty transparently how lonely he felt and how much he wanted to have his own family. 

And then he met Meghan Markle. 

Part three should have just been called “Harry loves Meghan and that is the beginning, middle, end, and everything you ever need to know”. Have you heard the quote, “the face that launched a thousand ships”? That is how Harry feels about Meghan. It’s so sweet and kind of funny to me how flabbergasted he is that everyone is not as enamored with her as he is. He’s basically yelling from the rooftops: “this is the smartest, most beautiful, most selfless, most talented, most perfect soul to walk the planet.” And the rest of the Royal Family just shrugs like “she emails her staff early in the morning & that’s rude” and “don’t bring her when you say your final goodbyes to your grandma” 😵‍💫  

It’s not clear why they didn’t like her. Perhaps they thought the relationship moved too fast? William and Kate dated for ten years and King Charles dragged his relationship with Camilla through decades and an entirely separate marriage for both of them. So perhaps they thought Harry and Meghan should have waited a few years? I’m not sure. But it’s clear the Royal Family wasn’t invested in Harry and Meghan’s success as a couple or as individuals. In fact, reading this memoir does give you the impression that had the Royal Family actually defended Meghan to the press for once instead of standing by while she received an unprecedented onslaught of criticism and attacks, they would have never left.

What an awful situation for Meghan to marry into!

I don’t like how the British press painted Meghan as this divisive person who broke up Harry and William’s happy brotherhood. Clearly, the princes were never besties. In fact, Harry comes off somewhat delusional when he talks about wanting to get married and be “the Fab Four” with him, his wife, William and Kate. Prince William clearly had no interest in a close relationship with Prince Harry and getting married wasn’t going to change that.

I also cannot comprehend what it’s like to grow up in the very definition of “the lap of luxury” and then be tossed out into the world with no work history, ability to make money, or security (that you’ve had around the clock since birth). THEN have your family say it was YOUR decision. The way they’ve treated Harry is just cruel.

But I’m providing too much general commentary now 🙂

Back to the book: I was NOT expecting Spare to be so…relatable. If you know what it’s like to lose a parent suddenly, or what it’s like to think “when this happens [I get married, have a baby, etc] this terrible familial relationship over here will be magically fixed” or what it’s like to fall out with family members, or what it’s like to be the subject of terrible rumors, or what it’s like to long for a solid committed relationship, or what it’s like to walk away from the thing that was basically your identity, you will find yourself in these pages. 

Don’t get me wrong. This is not a memoir about a perfect person.  This is not the Bible and Harry is not Jesus Christ. He’s made mistakes. He has done dumb things. He has some reasonings that make no logical sense to me. At times, he paints himself as a selfless hero and others as cartoonish villains. He lacks touch with reality in some parts and he is “woe is me” in others. He gets a little TMI in his descriptions and he leaves big gaping holes of information in other descriptions. Plus, this is only one side of a complex reality with various perspectives.

However, he comes off as a great person just trying to find his way in the world. It’s sad that he has been treated as a “spare” for his entire life.

Overall, this is a fantastic memoir, completely living up to its massive hype. I highly recommend it! 

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Books To Read During This Coronavirus Lockdown – Or Anytime Really

It’s March 19th and, according to my Goodreads account, I’ve read 18 books so far this year.

Of course, a couple of those books are reads that I started at the end of 2019, but that still counts as a 2020 read if I finished it this year.

I’ve really stepped up my reading since giving up social media for Lent. It’s amazing how much time I’ve found to read actual books when I’m not reading long-winded Instagram captions all day. And with so many things being shut down in Ohio to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading, I am home on my couch more than ever. Perfect reading time! I still love a good audiobook, but I’ve sat down to read some actual books and digital books too!

Here’s the list so far:

Continue reading “Books To Read During This Coronavirus Lockdown – Or Anytime Really”
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It’s A Great Nursery, Charlie Brown

Amanda Estep Photography

One of the rooms, I was excited to decorate was my son’s nursery. I loved the idea of having a cute little space just for him. What I quickly realized is that the space is for my husband and I too. We do a lot of diaper changes, feeding, reading, and rocking him to sleep in that room.

After much debate, we chose the Charlie Brown/Snoopy/Peanuts Gang theme because both of us love the characters and we thought it was refreshingly baby-appropriate. One of our favorite holiday activities includes watching Charlie Brown holiday movies. We can’t wait until our son is big enough to recognize the characters on TV.

When we embarked on this project, to our surprise, Charlie Brown stuff is hard to find! I’m guessing it would’ve been easier around the time The Peanuts Movie was in theaters. Right now, procuring decor for the nursery has become somewhat of a game to us and whenever we DO find something, we buy it because we feel it’s a rare occurrence.

Between things we’ve found and gifts others have purchased for us, I think we’ve got almost everything we need for the nursery.

Check it out!   Continue reading “It’s A Great Nursery, Charlie Brown”

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We Are Not Like Them Review

Started reading it while IN the bookstore, so I had to buy it.

I hated the movie Shawshank Redemption.

I feel that I should tell you that up-front so you know where I’m coming from as I review “We Are Not Like Them”.

I hated Shawshank Redemption because the guy goes to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. It happened in the first few minutes but I couldn’t let it go. And everything after was ruined by the fact that he should have never been in prison in the first place.

That’s how I feel about this book. According to the blurb, it’s about “two women, one Black named Riley and one white named Jen, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event—a powerful and poignant exploration of race in America today and its devastating impact on ordinary lives.”

That tragic event is that Jen’s police officer husband shoots and kills an innocent Black teenager as he walks home from school. (A fatal case of mistaken identity, utter stupidity, blatant racism and complete and total disregard for human life).

Ya’ll, it happened on page one and I couldn’t let it go.

Continue reading “We Are Not Like Them Review”
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Shop Small Spotlight: Tru Man Brand

If it’s been a while since your last shopping fix, how about some retail therapy with fabulous local brands? I’ve been trying to watch my spending especially during these uncertain times but if I am going to treat myself, I prefer to shop small online. I like that I can support local and buy great items without even getting out of bed! I especially appreciate local brands that have an active Instagram account that allows me to personally connect with these phenomenal “mompreneurs.”

Continue reading “Shop Small Spotlight: Tru Man Brand”
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How To Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

For many of us, the past few months have had us rethinking our finances in a big way. Perhaps for the first time, we’re paying attention to what we’re spending, how much we’re making and our overall financial picture.

At a time when it is a blessing to even see a paycheck every two weeks, I want to talk about how we can set ourselves up now to still have money if we were ever forced to miss a payday.

Continue reading “How To Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck”
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Bedside Baptist: Worship Songs To Get Me Through The COVID-19 Crazy

“This is not isolation. It’s consecration.”

– Pastor Steven Furtick, When God Says Stop

I am a church girl. I was raised in church. I graduated from a high school that was part of my church. I went to a Bible college that was a part of my church. I met my husband at church. I am raising my son in church. If you’re looking for me on a Sunday morning, more than likely, I am at church. Even when I’m home washing dishes, I am probably listening to a church sermon.

So, even though, all of these “Coronavirus shutdowns” include church, nothing is stopping me from having church in my living room. (In fact, isn’t it ah-MAZE-ing that we can have church in our living rooms? Nearly any worship leader and any pastor in America can be streamed LIVE right to you sitting on your couch in your sweats, one hand holding your phone with the Bible app open and the other hand deep in a box of Teddy Grahams. What a time to be alive!)

I feel as though I have rediscovered YouTube in the past few weeks while being “stuck” at home. There are countless, fantastic, uplifting, worship songs on Youtube. Here are just a few of my favorites that I’ve been listening to on repeat.

Let’s have church!

Continue reading “Bedside Baptist: Worship Songs To Get Me Through The COVID-19 Crazy”

Five Ways To Get Into A Running Habit in 2020

Photo by Rosemary Ketchum on Pexels.com

Last year, after years of procrastination, I decided to get into a running habit in 2019.

I started on December 28, 2018 unable to run a half mile, but by the time of this writing in November 2019, I’ve run two four milers, a 10K, a 15K, a half-marathon, and my first-ever full marathon.

Here’s how I did it and how you can too!

Continue reading “Five Ways To Get Into A Running Habit in 2020”
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Moms And Tots Pickerington

As Alexander is getting older, I’ve been looking for activities in a more organized setting such as storytime or Tinkergarten as opposed to just running around a trampoline park or the playground (although I do appreciate those energy-draining activities as well).

With this in mind, I was really excited to check out “Moms & Tots in Pickerington” – a free playgroup for moms and their pre-schoolers! One of the women in my running group started “Moms & Tots” at Pickerington Baptist Church. We went to our first meetup last week and will definitely be back.

Continue reading “Moms And Tots Pickerington”
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Game Plan: Taking Your Toddler to an Ohio State Football Game

Photo of Joe, Alissa and Alexander at an OSU football game.
Joe & Alexander’s first OSU football game Labor Day Weekend 2019!

I grew up less than 15 minutes away from Ohio Stadium, yet before this Fall, I had only been to ONE Ohio State football game. As a kid, my dad took me to plenty of Spring games. Those are always in April around my birthday, but an actual game? Nope.

Continue reading “Game Plan: Taking Your Toddler to an Ohio State Football Game”
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Alexander’s Birthday Breakfast

When Alexander’s first birthday party ended, I said I wasn’t having anymore birthday parties!

It’s not that we didn’t have fun, it’s that planning your child’s birthday party can be SOOOOOO much work!

Continue reading “Alexander’s Birthday Breakfast”

How To Make Mom Friends

Photo by Adrienn on Pexels.com

As a new mom, it can seem tough to make friends with other moms. This is especially true if none of your friends have kids or if you’ve recently moved to a new city. You may go to story times or to the park or to other places where moms gather and and feel like everyone knows everyone except you. (If you’re not going to these places, and you desire to have friends, these are good places to start!)

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Our Squats and Tots Experience

Recently, I finished a six-week “Squats and Tots” class and, frankly, the concept is genius and I’m floored there aren’t a million other classes just like it.

Squats and Tots is a 30-minute group, play-based fitness class for parents/caregivers AND their kids. It’s the brainchild of FindWhereYouFit.com founder Lindsay Goodman.

The class takes place at Picadilly playcafe in Bexley or Jewish Community Center.

What makes it so great is that I’m able to get in a good workout *with* my kid as opposed to *in spite of* my kid.

Continue reading “Our Squats and Tots Experience”