Here’s to you, 2017!
Is it just us or does it seem as if 2017 is settling into the record books with a bit more negativity than it deserves? I mean, every year, every day of every year for that matter, we can find something depressing to focus on, right? It’s so easy to get caught up in this wave. We understand. We’re guilty, too.
But there’s only so much we can control in this life and, as Heartwarming authors, Amy and I feel like it’s our job to put a positive spin on life in whatever ways we can. And so, looking back, we’re vowing to remember as much good from this last year, as we do the not-so-good.
In tribute, we offer a few of our favorite 2017 highlights.
Amy ~ Get Out
This is one of those crazy movies where you think you know what is going to happen and then there is this insane twist that makes you say, “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” I saw this movie with my oldest son when we were visiting Clemson University (the school he just got into and plans to attend next year - yay, Jake!) We walked back to the hotel shocked that we had been so clueless because we’re both the annoying ones in the family who can usually predict how movies are going to end about five minutes in. Not this time!
Carol ~ Dunkirk
When a movie can keep me on the edge of my seat even though I know what’s coming, it gets all my accolades. I loved everything about this historical recounting of one of the greatest mass military rescues of all time; the clever telling, the stellar acting, the stunning cinematography... Even the audio was brilliantly subtle. (No gratuitous sound effects or overwhelming background music here.) But I think my favorite part came afterward, listening to my 91-year-old father-in-law recount his memories of WWII that the film evoked. Priceless.
Best TV Show:
Amy ~ Scandal
This one has been around for a long time, but I just started binge watching it this winter and I am completely hooked. I watch at least an episode a day while working out. I was warned by my sister-in-law that once I started, I wouldn’t be able to stop and she was right! Its political intrigue makes me want to write a love story about a single president (no married men having affairs allowed in Heartwarming!)
Carol~ Stranger Things 2
I have a rule; I only watch TV shows while on my treadmill. Sure, I break it once in a while. I’ll stretch for an extra few minutes if I’m at the end of an episode or dying to see what happens in the next scene. But normally I’m pretty good because it’s what keeps me motivated to get back on the treadmill. But this show? Rules schmules! I think I watched the entire season in three viewings, and this was only because life interrupted me.
Best New Recipe:
I’ve spent the last year working hard to find healthier meals for my family to eat. With three teenagers and a husband who likes to be wowed, it’s not always easy to find something that everyone likes, doesn’t break the calorie bank, and is easy enough for me since I’m not in love with cooking. This was a family favorite. Everyone had seconds!
Carol ~ Fancy Mac & Cheese
This recipe combines three of my favorite things, macaroni, cheese, and the Pioneer Woman. Plus, there’s bacon and mushrooms. I made this for a family dinner and one of my husband's relatives declared it, "The best thing I've ever tasted."
Amy ~ “Are You Ready for It?” by Taylor Swift
This is my jam! It’s been a long time since a song got me hyped up as much as this one. I like to play it at the end of a workout when I’m huffing and puffing and need that little bit of motivation to keep going. It just makes me want to move (much to my children’s dismay especially when I dance around the kitchen!)
Carol ~ “You Look Good” by Lady Antebellum
Music can make me happy or sad quicker than most anything else. It’s no secret that I’m a huge country music fan, and there were a TON of fantastic new songs in this genre in 2017. Problem is, so many of them are heart-twisting ballads that make me cry. This one never fails to make me smile. I dare you to watch the video above and not sing along.
Best New (to us) Product Discovery:
Amy ~ Pistachio Bowl with Shell Storage
Okay, this might seem really weird, but this bowl is my husband’s favorite Christmas present ever. I saw it and I knew I had to get it. It’s a bowl that sits on top of another bowl. You fill the top bowl with your favorite shelled nuts or maybe cherries and you discard the shells or pits in the bowl underneath! No more juggling two bowls or fishing through the empty shells for one more nut. We will never be the same over here!
Carol ~ Frozen Egg Noodles
Go ahead and laugh. You probably all know about these already. For years, I’ve made homemade chicken noodle soup just like my mom used to make. Except I didn’t. Because my mom used to make the noodles from scratch while I used those thin, dried, packaged ones that fall apart under the intense, boiling ordeal that is my soup pot. But making noodles is a time-stealing labor-intensive task that I don’t want to make time for. Frozen egg noodles have transformed my life um, I mean my soup.
And, of course, we couldn't forget one of our mutually favorite moments!
Please reassure us that 2017 was not-so-bad for you, either! We'd love to hear about some of your favorite movies, books, songs, discoveries, moments or accomplishments from the last year.
For more information about Amy Vastine and Carol Ross including a complete list of their books, please visit their websites!