My 2017 Books in Review!

What I Read in 2017

In 2017, I read 152 books. I think I had scheduled myself to read 75, because I figured with grad school and thesis-ing, I wouldn’t be able to do it. Turns out, when you have to bus for an hour-and-a-half every day to get out to your co-op job, you still get to read lots! I’ve included a list of some of my favourite books from the year, although it’s certainly hard to remember each book clear enough to know if it was one of the best.

Check out my Goodreads 2017 challenge to see the complete list of what I read, and follow along on my 2018 challenge! #whatjanessareads

Favourite Mysteries:

  • Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher #1) by Kerry Greenwood – check out the series on Netflix, too! Australia in the 1920s, she’s a lady who becomes a lady detective. And she gets to sleep around like James Bond, but no slut-shaming!
  • As Death Draws Near (Lady Darby Mystery #5) by Anna Lee Huber – another historical mystery, but during the Victorian period. The main lady’s got gumption. Her husband is pretty smoldering, too.

Favourite SciFi or Fantasy:

  • I read most of Lynn Kurland’s The Nine Kingdoms, and I straight-up couldn’t pick a favourite of the series. It’s just as grungy as Lord of the Rings, but faster, and actually has women.
  • Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas – this book was a departure from the usual characters we follow, but I grew to love it. I can’t wait until the next book!
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin (A COurt of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas – I wasn’t a fan of the first book, but the second and third totally redeemed it. Such a great YA fantasy.

Favourite CanLit:

  • Winter on Diamond by Soren Bondrup-Nielson – got me pumped to go on a canoe trip through Temagami, and I was able to look for some things that happen in their story!
  • Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer – this book is seriously creepy. It’s way too relevant to Trump-era, of the zombies people become and sociopaths… I got to a particularly scary part as I was drifting off to bed, and since Nic was away on a work trip, I had to put on Netflix to sleep to.
  • Company Town by Madeline Ashby – kinda Newfoundland oil rigger? Post-apocalyptic. People can get 3d prints of body parts, and virtual body parts to appear perfect.

Other Books:

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid –  without giving up too much of the shocker, Evelyn decides to share her story finally, about all of her personal story.
  • The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay – about a girl who ends up in a brothel in New York, it’s pretty sad. Very well-written.

What did you love in the past year? What are you looking forward to reading in 2018?

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com

I ❤ Fall Tag

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com

Yes, I know I haven’t posted since I started grad school. Sorry about that! I’m hoping that now that I’ve been in school for almost two months I’ve figured out scheduling, so I’ll be able to post once or twice a week here! I figured I would start back off with some fall inspiration, and soon I’ll get to posting about our new apartment and all the things we’ve been doing since moving back to Ottawa!

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com

1. Favourite fall lip product

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick #124 “Bordeaux”, Clinique Chubby stick intense #08 “Grandest Grape”, NARS “Funny Face”, and MAC #A74 “Kinda Sexy”

2. Favourite fall nail polishes

Essie “Wicked” and Sally Hansen Hard as Nails #120 “Bad to the Bone”

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com

 

3. Favourite Starbucks fall drink

(Non-fat, no-whip) pumpkin spice latte, but really all I want is a tea latte. Probably a nice, spicy chai, or a London Fog.

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com
Pumpkin candle from DW Home

4. Favourite fall candle

Anything pumpkin and spicy

5. Favourite fall scarf or accessory

Last fall I bought this awesome reversible blanket scarf from the Bay. It was a promotion during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and supposedly some of the money went towards research. I had been looking for the perfect size, pattern, and warmth, and this fit the list. It was even 100% manufactured fabric, so no wool to give me hives! I love to wear it open, or wrapped all around me. This weekend on the Greyhound I used it as a blanket. Perfect.

6. Haunted house, haunted hay ride, or haunted corn maze?

I had really wished we would have had time to go to Saunders Farm outside of Ottawa this October, but I’m busy every weekend, and we don’t have a car to drive out there. In high school it was always lots of fun, because you get to go around being scared by people, go on the hayride, watching their satirical play, and drinking hot apple cider. My least favourite parts were the haunted houses.

7. Favourite Halloween movie?

I definitely don’t watch scary movies, but if I was going to watch something creepy and fun, it’d be something along the lines of “Hot Fuzz.”

I ❤ Fall Tag - JanessaMann.Com
Pumpkin cream cheese pop tarts

8. Favourite treat?

If I’m not going for pumpkin or apple pie, it would have to be these amazing pop tarts I made for one time we hosted friends!

9. Favourite fall activities

We all know how much I love to hike, so obviously that’s my favourite. I also love baking lots of fall things, celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and family, and carving pumpkins!

 

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

August Favourites

Is it better late than never? Not so sure when it comes to favourites posts. Oh well, I need a break from doing my readings. As you probably know, Nic and I moved back to Ottawa August 31st, and spent the past week setting up our new home. I can’t wait to show you pictures of our new place once it’s properly decorated. We’ve still got lots of things on the ground, but the most important things are done. August was a really awesome month-I didn’t work much (which was problematic for our bank accounts) but that also meant we got to visit our parents in Ottawa, go to the cottage, go camping, and go on a canoe trip to Killarney Provincial Park.

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Killarney Canoe Trip – Heading to lunch on Norway Lake

No one is surprised that Killarney was one of my favourites. I had such a fun time, and can’t wait to go on another canoe trip, maybe Temagami next!

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Drake Hotel

Toronto is famous for brunch, and I’m sad to say the only time we went for brunch was our last weekend there, but the Drake Hotel was worth the wait.

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Yoga Mat Spray turns to… facial setting spray?

One of my friends who is a makeup artist and only uses cruelty-free and vegan products, suggested using water and essential oils for a makeup setting spray. I turned to my yoga mat spray, and it was definitely refreshing this month on days where it was 30 degrees out.

August Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Super cool Nalgene

I haven’t had a Nalgene water bottle in years, so I was pretty excited to get this one. It has a mountain lion on it!

Maddy, Alina, and I lived together in my fourth year. Maddy is getting married next week, so the three of us went out for dessert at Cacao70 to celebrate. If you have one in your scity, you HAVE to go. AMAZING.

2 Terms of Grad School in - JanessaMann.Com

July Favourites

July Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

July was probably my favourite month of 2016 because I had such an awesome time. We got to go camping, to the cottage, back to Ottawa, we found our apartment in Ottawa, and I discovered some fun new things.

I started using my journal way more frequently, as a quasi-bullet journal. Technically those are also your agenda, but I want to keep my beautiful new Moleskine (yes, back in a Moleskine, my Ban.Do was wayyy too huge to take in my bag for grad school) as an agenda. In a few weeks I’ll probably post specifics about my bullet journaling, but for now, I use my journal as a habit tracker (that colourful page shown there with the graph-certain tasks I want to be encouraged to do), my editorial calendar for blogging and Instagram, monthly goals, money tracker, my daily gratitude notes (which is technically just a regular journal entry), and fun things like Passion Themed Life’s doodle challenge. I coordinate between my journal and agenda with a new colour for each day to track completed tasks.

Sally Hansen “No Hard Feelings” is my newest favourite nail polish colour. I found it at Dollarama, so obviously got it for super cheap. Yes.

July Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

Obviously one of my July favourites has to be the time Nic and I spent at the cottage. I hadn’t been since the September long weekend, so that was pretty hard on me. We had a wonderful time, and I can’t wait until August when we’re going back again!

July Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

I love Stiegl radlers- they’re so refreshing in the summer.

There’s a super cool documentary on Netflix-“Fittest on Earth,” which is about the 2015 Reebok Crossfit Games. Nic and I loved watching the movie, and then got obsessed with watching all the lead-up to the 2016 games, and then streamed the games last weekend on YouTube. I’ve never been interested in doing a crossfit workout, but the Games are insane. Those athletes are so talented! Check out their youtube channel and cheer along the athletes!

July Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

Obviously I’m obsessed with my thrifted Tevas. Or, rather, someone lost them at camp 4 years ago and never claimed them, so I took them. I do have to reapply glue between the layers to keep them functional, but I feel so old-school hippie with them on.

Nic and I leased our apartment in Ottawa! I’m pretty stoked! It’s a two bedroom, so we’ll have space to host people, have an office, and a fitness room. Can’t wait to share our new place with you!

July Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Follow the beaver!

We also had a great weekend camping at Silent Lake Provincial Park with my family.

June Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

June Favourites

June Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

June was a really awesome month! I had lots of shifts at work so that’ll help save up for a first payment for an apartment, we got to see family, we had our first wedding anniversary, and we went to the beach a bunch.

Aloe gel – I got a really, really bad burn when we went to the Toronto Islands for our annivesary. I used up our entire aloe plant easing the pain, so Nic went and bought the Life brand aloe gel from Shoppers. Ahhhh.

Washi tape – yes, my washi tape is from Dollarama, but it still works. I bought a few more rolls so I can coordinate my journal/bullet “agenda” with pages for blogging, favourites, my habit tracker, and goals. I made little tabs on each page that I wante to be able to flip to quickly.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Stockholm – still my favourite nude lip. It’s subtle enough that I can wear it while I work at the gym, but can be fancy with a smokey eye.

bareMinerals marvelous Moxie in Rebel – beautiful pink, not too sticky

Lush Aromaco deodorant – Yes, it’s that white chunk in the middle of the picture. I’ve been using this one for years. I love the smell of the patchouli, and unless I’m doing a hard workout, the scent covers any bad smells.

MUJI Moisturizing Milk – I mentioned this in my most recent skincare post. I love how gentle this is and how well it works with the MUJI cleansing oil.

June Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

Our first anniversary date at Byblos – amaaazing Mediterranean food and drinks.

June Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

I have absolutely loved my waterproof tablet pouch which I put on my KOBO. I bought it last year and have used it while reading at the dock, at the Atlantic ocean, at the beach… Just be careful you don’t leave it in there for too long if it’s super hot out, or the KOBO will overheat. Oops.

[Phone version]

June Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

I had lots of fun building a sandcastle last week. I’ve also loved wearing tons and tons of rings.

June Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

I love my new bikini from La Vie En Rose. It’s a push-up, which is crazy (cleavage in a bathing suit?!) but I love the strap detailing.

May Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

May Favourites

May Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Product Favourites

This month I didn’t have too many new product favourites, but I will share with you the wonderful things I did love.

Aromaforce Lavender Essential Oils – In the fall I bought an essential oil diffuser because I had read that lavender can help with insomnia.

Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash pink grapefruit – So necessary when you work out a lot, super helpful for bacne. The biggest issue with working out.

Marc Anthony Nourishing Argan Oil of Morocco 3 day smooth – I don’t do much to my hair, but when I do blow-dry it I like to use a smoothing cream so it looks nice. This argan oil cream makes my hair super smooth and beautiful when I apply it before blow-drying. However, it doesn’t do much if you just put it in and then let it airdry.

Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Medicated Gel for Acne – Tiny, expensive tube, but cleared up the bacne I had really quickly in time for the wedding I went to recently. I’ll probably keep it on hand for when I have a bad breakout, but for cost effectiveness I’ll just use tea tree oil every day.

Squish Strawberry Rhubarb – I discovered Squish in the fall, and love their candy. They’re based in Montreal and are gluten-free, use real fruit extracts, no artificial colours, no-GMOs, and are fat-free. These are perfect to make me feel like I have a strawberry rhubarb pie with me right now.

Lush Aromaco patchouli deodorant – I’ve used this deodorant for years. I love the smell of patchouli, and unless I’m working out and going somewhere afterward, this is strong enough to block out any B.O. I keep mine in a small plastic container to keep in the moisture, and one $5 block can last me for a whole year.

May Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Our herb garden

Check out what’s in our herb garden!

On Saturday, Nic and I got to check out an Olympic Lifting class, run by his friend Winston, at CrossFitYKV. It was a lot of fun learning snatches and cleans, and I look forward to incorporating some more of those movements into my powerlifting routine. At the end of the main workout, Winston said, “let’s do accessory work now.” For Olympic lifters, their accessory work is squats and deadlifts. That’s my main as a powerlifter. I squatted less than I normally would, but Nic and I were definitely sore on Sunday. I’d definitely recommend that gym, it’s BEAUTIFUL.