Action Replay + Gratitude List: January 2020

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I thought 2019 would be the fastest year of my life but now that we are already into February, I know that 2020 will be giving 2019 a serious run for its money. January was a mixed month with its share of highs and lows. I continued to be busy with work till the 3rd week of the month and it kept me on my toes, the deadline that came with it, that is. I completed the work a week ahead and it did give me a nice boost to my confidence. The next set of work started soon enough and it was business as usual. Apart from the actual new year, that is January 1st, it did not feel like a new year at all. Everything seemed to go on as usual almost sneering at the saying 'time and tide waits for none'. It was an interesting month for sure and by the end of it, I'm feeling content and that is all that matters.

I chose 'Balance' as my word of the year for 2020 and with time I've realized what a heavy word that is. It is not an easy thing to achieve so I'll be taking a look at the progress month after month. This month I focused on my work, reading and cooking. I managed my time better and with some good prep the previous night, I was able to cook all three meals at home without any fuss. This automatically improved our health as we are mainly focusing on cooking and eating fresher produce and healthy options. There are still quite some issues with my sleep cycle, but it is getting better with time. Fitness took a hit, because I was trying to focus on work and home first, so I did not attend a single class of workout this month. I did get some exercise here and there at home, when I found some time.

I surprised myself by reading six books this month. I had planned four initially, but got to six and all of them were 4 to 5 stars worthy! I'm not complaining! With Shalini and I hosting the #TBRChallenge2020, I'm looking to complete reading most of the books that already exists on my bookshelf before picking up anything new. I have already completed 5 out of the 24 prompts that we have planned and I couldn't be more happier. This month I happened to come across Reese Witherspoon's book club on Instagram. She picks up a book every month with a woman in the center and there is a read-along with discussions and everything. This was right up my ally! The book she chose for January was a splendid read and I'm looking forward to read more of her picks. Thanks to these reading challenges and book clubs, I'm reading diverse genres that I wouldn't have read otherwise.

The books that I read in January 2020 are:

~ The Dutch House by Ann Patchett.

This got 4.5 stars from me. I loved the writing and the old charm in this one. You can read my review here. This was my choice for the prompt 6 of the #TBRChallenge2020 - A book picked up after reading a favorable review on a book blogger's site or a recommendation from a book obsessed friend/relative.

~ The Catcher In The Rye by J. D Salinger.

Such a classic this one and I couldn't believe that I hadn't read it until now. This was my first 5 star rating for this year. I loved Holden Caulfield and his take on life. Being a rebel myself, I could relate to this story in more ways than one. This was my choice for the prompt 5 of the #TBRChallenge2020 - A book written 100 years ago /A Classic.

~ Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid.

This was the pick from Reese's book club and it turned out to be a really fun read indeed. It handles the sensitive issue of race and privilege in a fun, witty manner. This one got 4.5 starts from me.

~ The Island At The End Of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.

What an unexpected read this was! This was a gift from Shalini and I hadn't heard of the book or the author until then. This book has one of the best covers that I have ever seen and the start of every chapter is strewn with butterflies. The story is intended for children but everyone will surely love it, thanks to the wonderful picture that it paints in the mind. This was another 5 star rating for me. This was my choice for the prompt 16 of the #TBRChallenge2020 - A book gifted to you.

~ The Plumberry School Of Comfort Food by Cathy Bramley.

This was a beautiful and charming rom-com in a book! As a foodie and bibliophile I love to read books that revolve around food and thankfully this one did justice to it. Cliched and predictable in every way, but charming and delicious none the less. This one was a 4 star for me. This was my choice for the prompt 11 of the #TBRChallenge2020 - A book that would be a foodies delight.

~ Tin Man by Sarah Winman.

I just finished this one last week and I'm still in awe of the brilliant story this little yellow book holds! Another 5 star rating from me! This was my choice for the prompt 12 of the #TBRChallenge2020 - A book with the cover in your favorite color.

This was my reading for January and I'm so happy just talking about them. Follow me on Goodreads or my bookstagram page to follow my reading journey.

Along with reading, writing was pretty good too all thanks to the various blog hops that keeps my blog going. Apart from book reviews and not a movie reviews I need to do some poetry and random life talk too. I'll get to it this February.

Everything said and done, here's what I'm thankful for this January:

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~ Work: It was time for the performance assessments and yearly goals and I'm pretty happy with all of it. I'm someone who likes being busy and my work never lets me down.

~ Health: Cal and I took turns with flu this month, but apart from that health held up beautifully! Cal is someone who doesn't miss a day of fitness class and he's the biggest inspiration for me to make time for workout.

~ Clean Eating: Home cooked food is healthy in more ways than one, but when you cook healthy food it is a plus. We ate a lot of fresh produce this month and we are feeling healthy and light.

~ Time Management: I've had a busy month and yet I found the time to do things that are important to me. I'm getting better at this.

~ Celebrations: Cal made it to the list of 40 under 40, in the M&A sector for 2020. I've seen this man work so hard and with so much passion that he deserves all this and more. Both of us are really vested in our work and every small victory guarantees a celebration!

~ Plants: Being a plan mom is teaching me so much! Patience being the first. I love watching my green babies grow and flower. We have so many of them at home now that we have stopped keeping track of them. We have a wonderful nursery near home and the husband and wife who run the place give us only the best of plants.

~ Entertainment: We watched 'Chhapaak' and '1917' on the big screen this month. While the latter was brilliant, Deepika Padukone's debut production had its heart in the right place, but its execution was shoddy and dull. I would have loved it if it was an hour long documentary on Netflix instead. We have been taking turns to watch 'BoJack Horseman' and 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' this month. We finished watching 'Jaamtara' and quite liked the earlier episodes. It fell flat later with unnecessary characters and the plot suddenly veered away from the original concept of phishing. We don't have cable TV at the new place and we are still contemplating if we need it or not.

~ Books: I just love reading and I'm thrilled to have finished reading six books this month. With a full time job and running a house.

~ Love: My man has been my constant support and stands by me through a rock for everything I do. I do the same for him and together we are very successful in our respective careers and this has only strengthened our relationship. We are each other's harshest critics and biggest cheerleaders. This helps us sail through life smoothly.

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That's all about my January. This February the balance will shift to fitness and art, along with reading. I have no plan in place as yet, but I know I'll get it going.

How was your first month of the new year?


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Linking this post to Vidya's Gratitude Circle for this month.

16 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful post, I love how you have bid goodbye to Jan and closed the chapter. On
    wards to new adventures ahead! I didn't as much reading as I wanted to but will keep reading regardless. :)

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    1. Thank you, Indy! Wishing you more reading in February.

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  2. Congratulations to Cal! So great when hard work is recognized and appreciated. I am amazed you read 6 good book! I've added some to my to-read list. Must check out Reese's book club. I've heard so much about it. The way January went for me, I only read two books. I did binge on Station 19, though. (the spin-ff of Grey's Anatomy) And loved it. Absolutely right that when we plan ahead, cooking at home is the easiest ways to get on the healthy track. And also, yes, when we enjoy our work, life is truly bliss. Thank you for joining me, Soumya! (by the way, the crop top which I subbed for the blouse looked just like one of those old fashioned high neck at the back and high neck in front with elbow length sleeves. I am pretty sure I looked like an "aunty" :-P )

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    1. Thank you hottie patootie! <3

      There is no way on planet earth and all its moons that you look like an aunty. Not everyone can carry off high neck you know :)

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  3. I enjoy watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel!

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  4. That's some amazing reading this month! Tin Man is lovely, isn't it? I bought Such a fun age recently too but haven't got to it yet. Oh Bojack Horseman - such a fantastic show. I'm bummed that it's finished along with The Good Place. I don't think any shows can match these two. Glad you've recovered from the flu. Sounds like a wonderful Jan overall. Hope Feb is just as fabulous!

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    1. Thank you, Sanch! Tin Man is such a lovely lovely book :)

      I'm inching towards the end of Bojack and I'm already feeling sad to say goodbye. Yet to watch The Good Place though. Will get to it soon.

      Wishing you a fabulous Feb too, Sanch! <3

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  5. Gosh! looks like my first comment vanished. I am happy to read about your January. Congrats to you both on L's win. Glad that you are taking care of your health, staying fit and buying plants. :)
    Wishing you a happy Feb, Soumya! And I loved Mrs Maisel. She is so funny. Hugs and love!

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    1. Didn't get an earlier comment :(

      Thank you dear Parul <3

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  6. That's a fantastic reading month and such a great start to the year! I love the reading challenge you are Shalz are hosting. I have read for 4 prompts so far, and I have picked out 3-4 books for the next month as well.

    Congratulations to Cal! And you as well. It's an incredibly amazing feeling to truly love your day job and achieve the goals you set for yourself.

    Glad to hear that you both have recovered from the flu. Wishing you both a healthier February.

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  7. Thank you so much, Shantala and we're thrilled to have you as part of this reading challenge. You seem to be acing it :)

    Wishing you a fabulous Feb as well!

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  8. I don't know how you managed to read so much even after having such a busy schedule. So happy to know about your plant babies doing well. They make the house look so comfy and refreshing. Home cooked food is second-to-none and I feel it's the best way to remain healthy. Keep going. Wish you a wonderful February.

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    1. Managed it somehow! Thank you, Raj. Wishing you a fabulous Feb as well <3

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  9. What a wonderful newsy post this one is Soumya. Your book reading has been just superba nd am so happy to see 2 of my reccos there. So glad you liked reading them. I want to see a pic of all your plant babies - having a green space within the house is very soothing and relaxing if you can spend time taking care of them.

    Congrats to your man for his achievement - you must be super proud :-)

    Healthy eating cannot go wrong ever and am happy to read that you are eating fresh produce- its such a kick to cook with it na? I have been doing the same at my end too and slip just now and then.

    Dont worry on the fitness front- am sure you will get back to it as soon as it climbs up on the priority list. Right now you are finding balance with the things that are more important than that one.

    Wishing you a happier and brighter February ahead and ofcourse with loads of love as its the month of Love!!! xoxo

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    1. Visit me soon to see my plant babies :)

      My balance needs to shift in Feb and I hope I get things rights. Thank you for all the love, Shalz and wishing you a fabulous February as well.

      Lots of love! <3

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