Episode #224: It’s Spring Bucket List Time!

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Spring starts this week, so it’s time for our annual spring bucket lists. Plus, we have our book report on The Only One Left by Riley Sager.

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Show Notes:

Nova’s Girl Scout Cookies

Click here to download and print your spring bucket list.

Emma’s Spring Bucket List:

-Clothes exchange

-Maternity photos

-Launch the Handmade Murder audiobook

-Oscar’s swim lessons

-Finish setting up nursery (Check out the wallpaper that Emma used in her kids’ bedrooms: Oscar’s room/Nursery)

-Fence and deck project

-Take Oscar to the zoo with his cousins

Elsie’s Bucket List:

-Walk every day

-Historic home tour – Sharing her art

-Get a whole bunch of tattoos

-Organize her basement, her closet, and her coat closet

-Prescheduling the entire summer of blog posts

-Being in her flower garden era

Rate The Only One Left by Riley Sager from 0 to 5 Houses falling off a cliff

Emma – 4

Elsie – 4

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Episode 224 Transcript:

Elsie: You’re listening to the Beautiful Mess Podcast, your cozy comfort listen. Spring starts this week, so it’s time for our annual spring bucket list. Plus we have our book report on The Only One Left by Riley Sager. 

Emma: Okay. And as a reminder, longtime listeners will know, but if you’re new here, We have bucket list printables on our website. You can also just write it on a piece of paper or make your own. But if you want to print one off, we have some and we can link them in the show notes and you can also just search them on our site. And they’re really cute and designed really cute. So if you’re wanting something to hang up in your home office or on your refrigerator or wherever you like to put these, then that’s fun. Okay, so let’s talk about some things that are on our spring bucket list. We’re just going to go back and forth. Okay, so my first one is, periodically, I host a clothing exchange at my house that’s like with my book club friends and really anyone that anyone wants to invite. It’s very open, whoever wants to come. But we just clean out our closets and exchange clothes and I’m kind of in this little phase of life where I’m getting extremely pregnant because I’m headed into the second half of my pregnancy. So clothes are not as exciting to me, but I like dreaming about it for the future. And I just love the feeling of cleaning out my closet. And it’s also really fun among our friends, like sometimes we’ll be wearing something and they’re like, that used to be mine or that kind of thing. And this time we’re adding puzzles, just because I can’t remember, but I was talking with someone in the group and they were like, we need to exchange puzzles because a lot of times once you do a puzzle, then it’s like you’re kind of ready to do a different one. You know what I mean? So we were like, oh, let’s exchange puzzles. So you can be like, I already did this puzzle. 

Elsie: I think it’s a brilliant idea because I really only enjoy doing a puzzle one time. So it makes sense to trade them around. 

Emma: Yeah. And it’s kind of just an excuse to hang out, but it’s definitely something that I do once or twice a year. So I was going to do one in the spring before baby time. 

Elsie: Okay. I’m going to clean out my closet in preparation because. My closet is so crazy and that’ll be a good motivator. 

Emma: Yeah, and then it’s fun to see friends wear stuff and anything that doesn’t get taken, I just donate it afterwards. 

Elsie: Cool. Okay, my first spring bucket list item is to take a walk every day. Yesterday, I started and I took our puppy, Pumpkin, who is, I guess she’s like closer to a year old now. I don’t know. I think her birthday might be in March. So she is ready to learn to walk. For a long time she wasn’t, but now she’s ready and she’s like, she’s into it. And our neighborhood’s just so cute. I feel like if I’m not taking walks on every nice day, then it’s sort of like a waste because it’s such a special, like cute place to take walks. And so anyway, doing it every day unless it snows. 

Emma: Yeah. No, that makes sense. Yeah, you can skip if it snows. It’s still might. Okay, the second one on my list is I’m going to make it a goal to get some maternity photos. So last time I was pregnant I did some maternity photos and I did like a few different looks and they’re really just something where I was just like Being pretty like just I would say like pretty portraits, but I was very pregnant and that was really fun And I ended up loving my favorite ones were those these ones where I’m wearing this like kind of tight black dress That’s like a black turtledeck. I feel like I look like a pregnant Steve Jobs. It’s really cool looking because it’s like a silhouette moment because I feel like when you’re pregnant, that’s kind of part of it, is there’s a real silhouette moment. Because your silhouette changes a lot because you have this baby growing in you. As far as I know, my husband and I’s plan is that this is our last kid. So this is my last time I will be pregnant. So there’s this little part of me that’s like, I’m pregnant. Honestly, I feel kind of too lazy to do this. I’m like, who cares? I’m not even going to use these photos for anything. I want to hire someone and we’re going to take time to do this. And I’m like, what am I even doing? But then there’s this other part of me that’s like, Emma, this is probably the last time you will ever be pregnant. Like that’s the plan. So you should do something. So I’m kind of looking around, I have some ideas of what I’d like to do and I have a friend I need to contact and see if she’ll do them for me because I feel like her style vibes with what I’m wanting to do. But yeah, that’s on my list of things that I’m like, you should make time for that. You won’t regret it. Even though I don’t know what I’ll use the photos for, probably nothing, but make the most. 

Elsie: Okay. I got invited to be in a historic home tour in May. This is so cool. So, I immediately said yes. She was like, wow, you said yes quickly. It’s perfect timing because I already know that I want to photograph the whole house around that time for the blog. And I promised, I don’t know when, when or where, but I know that at some point I promised that this summer I would do my home tour on the vlog. And also some posts about our paint colors and our wallpapers and just things that people ask about. So I am going to stage the entire home and then I’m going to photograph it. I’m going to schedule her like the day before the tour. And I think it’s keeping your house clean when you have little kids and dogs and stuff is a whole thing. So no, my entryway table every single day is like eight brushes, eight sunscreens. It’s a mess and like, that’s fine. It’s like, I embrace that life. The truth of it. But I also like the lie. I like it in photos.

Emma: Well, it’s nice to have a clean moment. It’s fun. It’s like getting all dressed up, that doesn’t have to be every day of your life, but it’s still fun to do once in a while. It’s a good feeling. 

Elsie: So yeah, I’m really excited to do that and it gives me a deadline. And our house, we’re on a renovation break, obviously, so I’m not gonna renovate, which is good. But I do have a few small things that I might do, definitely things like putting candles in our brass candlesticks, like things like that. Things that just like details, hanging art, things like that, for sure. And then I’m considering painting the kitchen, but Jeremy was like, oh, please don’t. So that’s probably like the craziest thing I would do if we do anything crazy. I don’t know if you have time. 

Emma: Before that, I think you should paint the kitchen. But I don’t know, that feels tight, but I guess it depends who you work with. Anyway, I’m excited to go on the tour because there’s a lot of, I’ve obviously seen your house, but still, we’re going to come on the tour because there’s a bunch of other houses too, and it’s just cool. And I love this neighborhood. I love walking around and looking at the outside. So to get to see some of them on the inside that I haven’t, it’s really fun.

Elsie: I’ll post on Instagram if anyone lives in our area and wants to come for sure. It’s a fundraiser. 

Emma: Raising  money for historical plaques or something. I probably explained that all wrong, but it’s a fundraiser. 

Elsie: So yeah, they’re trying to get some kind of historic designation for our neighborhood. I don’t honestly understand it, but I support it. 

Emma: Okay. My third one is I’m going to finish and launch the Handmade Murder audiobook. So I’m hard at work on it. I was telling Elsie last week, we spent a weekend with some friends and I was like, it feels like I have talked so much this week because I’ve been working on recording it, but I actually hadn’t talked to anyone all week. I just been home recording the book but I felt like I was talking for hours and hours a day, which I was because I’m. Working on recording this audio book. So anyway, my plan is that it will be out on or before the six month anniversary of Handmade murders launch. So if you know then that’s the end of April. So that’s the plan and I’m really excited for it because I listen to a lot of audio books. I love paper books I’ve talked about my love of paper books But I also am an audio book lover and I know for a lot of people audio books is either what they need for the accessibility But and other people they just don’t have time to read They’re busy and they’ve got a lot in their life. And so audiobooks are their way to enjoy literature.So I’m very excited to have my book available in that way. And it’s actually been really fun to be the narrator of my book. It’s also like I’m revisiting it. I’ve read this book so many times, as you can imagine, because I wrote it and I’ve revised it. And so in a way I feel bored with it in that I’ve read it so many times. But I also hadn’t reread the whole thing from start to finish in a while, and so it’s been fun to revisit it, and then also I’m trying my best to do a good job with the audiobook. I’m not doing, like, I mean, the characters don’t lend themselves to this anyway. There’s no crazy voices or crazy accents. I am viewing it as a little bit of a performance. And I’m trying to make, especially the conversations and when there’s dialogue in the book, feel like people are talking. Good. And it’s really fun because I’m not an actor, but it was something I was interested in in my twenties. And I took a lot of acting classes and things like that. And it’s been fun to like, kind of do that. On my own terms in my house by myself talking to no one so and I hope people like it. I’ve had fun making it. So I’m excited to have it out. 

Elsie: No, that’s super exciting. I love the artistry that goes into voice acting for audio books. It’s definitely like a big talent. 

Emma: Yeah and I don’t know if I’m not on the level of some of the best, it’s not the level I’m on, but I am doing my very best and I think it’s turning out nice. I think it’s an easy listen and feels like people are talking when there’s dialogue and, and all that. But yeah, it’s definitely a skill. 

Elsie: Well, I can’t wait to hear it. That’s so exciting. Alright, my next one is I am going to start sharing my art this season, so I just posted a little, like, my studio tour. It is like the bravest, bravest thing I’ve done in a long time. Mm hmm. Like, it actually was a little bit challenging to just put it out there, like I was very scared. So, yeah, I’m building a website, building a Shopify, you’ll hear about it, all about it in my ads. I am working with a gallery also, so really, like, it’s pretty low key, it’s a huge goal for me, and I am fitting it in, like, within, like, having a full time job, and being, like, a very involved parent with little kids, like, so, it’s like, I’m squeezing it in there. I want to share it in that way, honestly, because I feel like for other moms giving themselves something, it’s so hard to do when there’s no time there, but I do feel like it’s worth it so far.

Emma: Yeah, man. No, I’m excited for it. Okay, my next one is, I’ve just listed it as Oscar swim lessons. So our son just started swim lessons and honestly, this is more something my husband’s taking him to than me. In part because my mobility is low and getting lower because I’m pregnant. If you didn’t know. But yeah, we’re trying to get our son more into swimming. So last summer we took him to the pool all the time, our neighborhood pool that we joined, and he loves the water, but he just doesn’t have any skills yet. He’s not even three. So normal time to be doing swim lessons slash way earlier than I think we did when we were kids. But I think making sure your kids can swim is really important. It’s very important to me anyway. And so we’re kind of starting the journey and so far it hasn’t gone great. But we are figuring that out. And there’s a few times my husband’s out of town, uh, where I will take Oscar and I’m going to be the parent in the water with him. These are lessons where you’re in the water with him. So anyway, that’s just on our list, trying to make it fun and, uh, enjoy, enjoy it. And I think it’s really cute, like little kids learning to swim, like it’s, it’s a little bit of a stressful thing, but it’s also just kind of a special cute thing. So I don’t know, I’m just trying to enjoy it for what it is.

Elsie: Yeah, no, that’s so exciting. And it’s super worth it. All right. My next one is that I want to get a whole bunch of tattoos. So, I found someone in our town that specializes in fine line tattoos. So I’m gonna get like a bunch of small tattoos. But I kind of want to get like all the rest of the tattoos that I want. Just like in a couple more rounds. So, yeah, I’m excited to do it, and I think it’s fun. I don’t know, it’s, like, something that I feel like it’s, it’s kind of, like, in the same vein as, like, fashion, like, trying to, like, dress cool. It’s, like, trying to, like, make my body cool. I don’t know. It’s fun. Something that brings me joy. 

Emma:Yeah. It’s like  an accessory that you always wear. It’s awesome. I don’t know. That’s very fun. Okay. My next one is, it’s a goal to finish or mostly finish setting up our nursery. So we had a guest bedroom. Now we will no longer have a guest bedroom. We’re trying to make a new space in the basement that can become kind of a guest space when people do visit. Mm hmm. But we’re setting up the nursery and I’m really excited about it. I shared some wallpaper a couple episodes ago. I’ll put that in the show notes again, but it’s just really fun to set up a little space. And I like to get most of it done ahead of time because it just makes me feel less stressed. As most parents know, those first few months, you don’t sleep a lot. You got a lot going on. You’re doing a lot taking care of your new kiddo. So I don’t like having a lot of boxes around. It makes me feel sad. So we’re trying to do that. And Elsie gave me this really cool hanging chair. I don’t know if you even remember it. It’s like, kind of, it’s not wicker, but it’s like fabricy. 

Elsie: It’s very boho. It’s a kid’s, very much for a little kid. It’s sort of like a hammock, but it’s in the shape of a little booster seat.

Emma: Yeah, so they sit upright. And obviously our new son won’t use it right away. He’ll be a baby at first. He can’t sit. But I’m wanting to get it put into his space because we never got it hung in Oscar’s room because there just wasn’t a spot where he could not hit his head. Starting a nursery from scratch, I can have a little spot where this chair can hang. And they will enjoy it. Probably Oscar will use it as soon as we hang it up and then our new son can use it.

Elsie:  You have to do it because I bought it for Goldie and then we moved and then I think I just forgot it was there and now we’ve been through three kids. It still hasn’t been used. 

Emma: I know and I got it and then I was like this isn’t gonna really fit in Oscars room cause he’s gonna hit his head. He’s gonna swing into it. It’s not really a swing, but they’re gonna swing a little bit. So you have to kind of think about where it’s gonna go. So anyway, I was like, oh, this doesn’t quite but now that I’m doing Room from Scratch, I kind of know, okay, I’m gonna put it right in that corner, and that’s where it’s gonna be.

Elsie: So I’m excited for that. Cute. My next one is, I have some organizing goals. So, a couple months ago, or maybe like last month, I bought a large amount of foam like organizing containers for my basement. Very addictive. So I’m going to try to organize my basement. That is like, it’s probably like my hard goal for this season. Even if I get it done any time this year, though, I’d be happy with that. I just, like, we do still have boxes and I also just, it’s just very cluttery and it’s also very hard to find things that are important, like photos, documents, just like things that matter. So I want to address that. And then I had just like a few, like my closet’s really bad. I think I mentioned that earlier. When we were talking about how I need to clean out for the clothing exchange. My closet is like, fully, like, every spot is filled, and then there’s like piles on the ground, which always happens with me, and it’s not good. And I could just have less clothes, that’s probably like, the answer. And, also, our coat closet. So when we first moved in, I don’t know how this happened, but how spaces just get neglected, but I was just like throwing stuff in there, and then I kind of never stopped, and it’s just like, it’s never been organized at all, and it still has piles of stuff on the floor, and then on the shelves. That were just shoved there from literally before we moved in. So it needs to just all come out one day and then all go back in with little organizers. It’s probably like a two hour job, but for some reason, it’s like a mountain in my mind. 

Emma: I have jobs like that where you’re just like, oh God, I don’t know. I’ll do it later. I almost feel like too, when they’re like a one to three hour job. Those are kind of worse. Because you’re like, in your mind, you’re like, I can do that anytime. Yeah, no problem. I’ll do it after the kids go to sleep. But then you’re like, so tight, it’s like, no, actually you need to like, put this on your list.

Elsie: I’m going to have to get the supplies and stuff, but I do think it would really help our everyday situation. Like I was thinking for the winter time. I could have a bin of socks because kids have sock problems, like gloves and scarves, things like that. And then in the summer like hats, sunscreen, we could actually have a place for these things.

Emma: We have a lot of mosquito problems in the summer. It’s like weedy bug spray. Where’s the bug spray? Then you can’t find it.  

Elsie: And we go to the pool a lot during the summer, so I need my pool bag. And it needs to be all just like, it just needs to be organized soon. So yeah, I’m excited to say that out loud. Hopefully it’ll work. It’ll feel good when you get it done. 

Emma: Yes. That’s the reward. Yes. Okay. My next one is we have a fence and deck project. Oh, okay. I want to hear all about this. So this is kind of a big thing that we’ve wanted to do for a while. I would have loved to do it before we moved in, but listeners might remember, we did a lot of renovating. Our house was. Almost completely gutted, not the basement, but it’s a split level and most spaces got gutted and took down walls. We did a pretty extensive renovation. And we were really happy with it. But as renovations go, it went over time and went over budget. So there were things that we were like, if it fits, we’ll do this too. And these were two things that were on the list that did not happen because we did not have time, we did not have budget. So, we have a dog, we have a backyard, our current fence, it’s the fence that the house came with, like, two sides are wood, only one of them we own, the other one is the neighbor’s, so like, the back side of it is facing us, and then in the very back of our house, there’s a chain link fence that isn’t ours either, it’s also our neighbor on that side, we’re on a corner lot. And the chain link is fine as far as like, it looks like a chain link fence and there’s nothing wrong with it. But the other two fences, both the one that we own and the one that’s more our neighbors, are really just older. They’re just in disrepair. Boards fall off of them sometimes. Our dog has gotten out many times because a board will fall off, especially during a windy season. And they also just look like they could use a refresh. Like, like I said, boards fall off. Like it’s that level. But anyone who’s ever gotten a fence knows, fences are kind of expensive, it’s a bigger project.

Elsie: I got one last year. It’s always more money than you want. And it, I would say whatever price you think it is, it’s double.

Emma: Yeah. So, it’s just something that didn’t fit our budget when we first moved in and we were like, I don’t know. It’s not so bad that, like I said, our dog has gotten out a few times, and that’s a little terrifying, but we don’t want him to get hit in the street or something, which has never happened. But that’s why we have a fence in the backyard, so he doesn’t get out all the time. So anyway, we’re going to redo the fence. It’s all going to match. It’s all going to be fencing that we own now. Obviously, I have to go talk to my neighbors and make sure they’re aware of what we’re doing, and ours will go, like, inside of theirs, so we won’t disturb theirs. Things like that. And then we’re also, though, that’s not so exciting to me. It’s more functional. It will look nice, but it’s like a whole bunch of money for something that’s just needed. But the thing I’m excited about is the deck. So we’re getting a really simple, very minimal deck put onto the back. So our backyard is essentially, once you step out of the back, it starts to be kind of a slight hill going up. So the hill kind of leads down to our house. So it’s just all kind of an incline. And we have like one back step where you step out onto the ground and then we’ve put Oscar has a sandbox outside and we put that out there this last summer. We got it for his birthday. And we played with that a ton last summer. But we’re going to move that to kind of the side of the house and we’re going to build a deck kind of straight out. So we’re going to have some level area, which we currently don’t really have any level area. And it’s nice because we’ll be able to put a table, like an outdoor table, so we could sit and eat dinner, or whatever, like just have a snack outside on the weekend with Oscar. I also want to get some little yard games that he can play with, like one of those giant Connect Fours, or, he already likes to play with our cornhole set, like the bean bags that you throw in the hole. So that, and then the summer. My baby’s due towards the end of June, so obviously my husband will keep taking Oscar to the pool, and me and baby will go some, but there’s going to be a phase where I can’t submerge, and the baby will be very little, and so we’ll be home more. We won’t go to the pool. I won’t go to the pool quite as much as last summer. So I’d like to just get one of those kiddie pools. And I have a feeling it will become an air quotes car wash because Oscar will probably bring cars out there and like to play with it in that way. And I think that’s just something fun we can do after daycare and just have in our backyard that’s like really no big deal. And he’s at an age where like a really small kiddie pool is still exciting. But I need a little bit of level ground to set it on. So, I’m excited to have this deck. So, I think it’s going to be very useful. It sounds great. Very useful, very fun. So I’m excited for it. 

Elsie: No, I think that that will make your backyard so much more useful. I’m really excited for you. 

Emma: I agree because we’re back there a lot, but there’s just no level space, no table. There’s just the sandbox, which we play in, but that’s our big project for the spring. 

Elsie: Can you please, please, please, please, please tell our listeners what your dog’s name is and what your neighbor’s name is?

Emma: Sure, because it’s just one name. They’re both named Steve. Which we didn’t realize when we moved in for a while. So I kept yelling at our dog, Steve, come inside! So we have to get him to come inside. And then we met our neighbor in the back and his name was Steve and I was like, oh, I’m so sorry for yelling Steve so angrily so many times before I met you and now I know your name. Just like yelling Steve. So funny. 

Elsie: It’s like the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. Okay, this is my favorite one. So Emma and I had a dream, and now we are making it into reality. And the dream is that we’re pre scheduling the entire summer of blog posts. And, obviously, okay, this is more my thing because Emma’s like, Emma’s taking maternity leave and she shouldn’t have to do double the work. No, I’m just kidding. Yeah, right, like, and I had one maternity leave where I pre scheduled a bunch of stuff and I had one where I didn’t pre schedule anything, so I kind of feel like she doesn’t owe me anything. Anyway, I’m trying to pre-schedule the whole summer because last summer I had a mommy breakdown that I was trying to work full time and my kids were home the whole summer and it was literally impossible. It was, it was trying to be two people at one time. And this summer I am excited to try it differently. So I’ve been working really hard on it. And I mean, it’s definitely a team effort. Emma has, Emma has stuff in there too. And I just don’t want you to feel like you have to do what I’m doing because you’re having a maternity leave, which is legit. I’m doing my best and that’s all I’m going to do. I’m basically giving myself a vacation. By pre scheduling, but yeah, we’re really excited. It’s something we’ve never tried before in all our years of blogging. We’ve pretty much always been one week to one month ahead. Like that’s how many drafts we’ll have in our blog at a time. I can’t think of a time when it was ever more than that. I can definitely think of times it was less. So this is a new experience. It feels like. It does feel kind of genius, like, why didn’t we do this sooner, but maybe it’s just necessity is the mother of invention, and I basically have to be a stay at home mom in the summer now, and so this is like, giving me a chance to be both. So yeah, it’s really fun, it’s really challenging, and I know the, kind of like, no one is going to care at all, except for the podcast listeners who hear me explaining it, because it’s just not very remarkable. I don’t think anyone will know. 

Emma: Yeah because it’s a sneaky trick we’re playing, it’s just like, I just don’t think people pay attention in that way, which is totally fine. So yeah, I don’t even think people will notice that we’re off. 

Elsie: It’s very exciting to me. It feels like we’re like, working towards something that I really want. So it’s very exciting. I think it’s going to go great. And then we can do it every summer.

Emma: Yeah. While our kids are in school. 

Elsie: We already do it for our Christmas break, but that’s like a couple weeks. So it’s really, really different from three months. This is Christmas break on steroids. Planning and scheduling three months is like, it’s a lot of work. And I think I’m glad I started in January because I think I’m going to need it. 

Emma: Okay. My last one is, I didn’t put these in any particular order, I’m realizing. Maybe I should have led up to the biggest thing. Oh well. But last one is, I want to take Oscar to the zoo with his cousins. So this involves Elsie too. So we were just talking about it and I was like, I haven’t taken him to our zoo yet. And we went to the zoo a lot when we were kids.  It sounds like something to do in the spring too, before it gets too hot. And it’ll be easier with one kid than two for me. So yeah, I’m like, Oh, I’ll put that on my spring bucket list. Go to the zoo. Get some snow cones or whatever. 

Elsie: I’m excited to go since it’s a part of our childhood and I want to see how when you haven’t been to a place since you were a child, you want to see how it really looks versus how it looks in your memory. So that’ll be fun. 

Emma: Because I have memories of like the snake house, which was like the place where all the reptiles were. I don’t even know if it’s called the snake house, but in my mind it’s called the snake house. I remember the monkey enclosure. The monkeys who threw sh*t and snow cones. Those are the main things I remember. So I want to see.

Elsie: At the Nashville Zoo, they have a giant kangaroo, and you can be in the enclosure with it, and it was really scary! I was terrified. It was just so much bigger, and more animalistic. I don’t want to do that. I was like I’m getting out of here. I guess they’re very harmless, though, or they wouldn’t let you, probably. I assume, or they wouldn’t let you, but still. Okay, my final one is, I am entering my flower garden era. Ooh la la! So, last fall, planted, like, hundreds of bulbs, and they were for poppies, tulips, A couple of other, like, I think we’re innocuous, like, so, oh, and peonies and some of them were like bulbs and some of them were roots, but they were all like little brown things. And so I’m very curious. And I spent a lot of time on this flower website, like picking them all out and picking varieties that were like, they looked really unique. So I’m so curious, like if they’re going to. If it’s going to work, if my yard is going to be like Alice in Wonderland, or if it’s going to be like half and half, like it could be anything and it’s going to, I’m going to find out in like a month. So I can’t wait. That’s exciting. 

Emma: Yeah. I know nothing about plants. I’m not in my plant era, so I’m curious.

Elsie: I’m not in my gardening era, but these are like perennials. That you only have to plant one time. So I felt it, it felt realistic. And I also planted fruit trees. That is probably my more unrealistic thing. Oh, and I planted a magnolia tree. So I planted several trees, but that’s also not really. That’s a long term. You gotta wait for them. I’m not trying to grow vegetables right now. I think, I hope that there’s a day, someday in my future, we’ll all be that consistent and reliable but I’m not at that point right now. 

Emma: No, me either. Oh, book report! Yeah, book report time. 

Elsie: So the book is called The Only One Left by Riley Sager. It is a popular thriller novel. Has a very cool cover. I was very excited. I like to get really excited to read popular books because it’s sort of like watching The Bachelor or something like it’s like you get to feel like you’re a part of culture. Before I ever read a Colleen Hoover book. It’s like, then you can’t talk to people about it. You can’t talk to people. 

Emma: And then once you read it, you’re like, okay, now I’m in the conversation here. Yes, for sure. Yeah, I totally agree. I felt very cool as I was reading this one because the cover is so epic. It’s like red, this house that’s on a cliff, and then I think blue lettering. So it was just very bold. So it’s a really fun one. So the premise is our main character, our protagonist, she’s a caregiver. So not a nurse, but someone who cares for like elderly people in their last few years. And she gets assigned to care for a woman who is suspected of murdering her entire family from when she was young, and now she’s old. And she lives in this old, old house on a cliff, uh, over the ocean. And that’s kind of the premise. And so we’re sort of figuring out through this caregiver’s experience. If that is what happened, if she is the murderer, and she was just never caught, or maybe she wasn’t the murderer, maybe the murderer is still at large, or whatever. So that’s sort of the thriller mystery piece, is like, figuring out what happened all those years ago and uncovering the truth behind what happened to this family. So yeah, this will have spoilers, so if you’re wanting to read this book and you haven’t yet, stop now. Turn back. Turn back. Okay, so what was your overall impression of the book? You finished it before me, and I feel like you kept being like, I won’t say anymore. I’ll wait till you’re done. 

Elsie: Yeah, and then I was like, call me immediately when you finish, and she didn’t. I don’t even remember you saying that. 

Emma: I always say it was probably like 9 p. m or something when I finished though You don’t want me to call you and be like, hey, i’m going to sleep, but I just want you to know it was pretty good. 

Elsie: Okay so my overall impression of the book is that I’m not even sure if this is like I’m not even sure that I’m a thriller category person and so I never want to be too critical of something that wasn’t even for me. It’s not even mine. 

Emma: It’s not your number one genre or whatever. 

Elsie: Yeah, I’m not dying for a mystery in general. So, I will say I liked the book. I thought it was a fun read, a quick read, a page turner. And it has an old spooky house, which I loved. Yeah, I wanted to see the house so bad, like the movie version, so we could see it. And the writer is clearly very talented, and I would definitely try more of the books. But I didn’t love it. Like, there’s no other way to say it. By the ending, I was just like, oh my god. I think your review was too many twists. Like, way, way, way, way, way too many twists. For me, but, some people, I feel like, want that many twists. And I can see that. Like, I always, like, it was the same thing, okay, like, I don’t want to compare it too much, but it had some similarities with Verity. And I think that’s like a very common book that a lot of people have. It was very popular. Still is. And it has like, the, the person who is not able to move but then you think maybe they’re maybe they can move it has that part of it and I feel like that they were about Equal as far as like how much I enjoyed them and like if I thought they were pretty equal like I maybe maybe I enjoyed Verity a little bit more cuz it was so zany But this one has the craziest twist that I’ve ever read. It’s a thing that happens at the end. The real, you can say it. We already said there’d be spoilers. So at the end of the book, the house falls off the cliff. For me, that was like, I can’t like, I just was like, okay. And Emma was like, no, the house was always going to.

Emma: I was like, he had to make the house fall off the cliff. If the author didn’t, I would have been like, oh, you chickened out because the whole time he’s telling us. 

Elsie: They’re like running through the house while it’s falling off the cliff.

Emma: Every day they wake up and there’s a new crack and that’s like part of the book. So I was like, the house has to cave in or fall off the cliff or something. If it doesn’t, And he’s really foreshadowed nothing, and it’s strange. 

Elsie: It’s a fun book. I didn’t like it but it’s a fun book. I didn’t like it that much. I feel like it can be both, right? Like sometimes you read a book and you’re like, I think I would recommend, like I would totally send this. I was curious if Emma would love it way more than me, because I think Emma is way more into a thriller than I am. Obviously, like, your book is a thriller, so. 

Emma: Yeah, my book’s a thriller. I definitely liked it a lot more than you did, and I’ll say I didn’t feel it was that similar to Verity, and I also, I probably enjoyed this quite a bit more than Verity. And I liked Verity. I read it real quick and was very entertained by it. . But I definitely liked this more. I think also, I just really liked this premise. I’m also a true crime person. Ooh. I like true crime podcasts. And so it has a very true crime beginning where it’s like a family that’s been annihilated and you’re trying to figure out who did it.  So it’s kind of got a lot of levels to it that speak to me and my interest in pop culture. This is fiction, obviously. So I liked that. I also kept trying to envision the house ’cause it. It does feel like this very gothic, old, spooky house that’s falling apart.

Elsie: It has oil painting portraits. I love that. It has a ballroom.

Emma:I also feel like people say this about romance a lot where they say it’s a formula. So all romance is kind of the same. So all romance is kind of the same. It’s a very similar formula and I think people either like that or they don’t. They find it comforting. And so they want to see how the author uses the formula in a new way to entertain them with this genre that they like, or they find that annoying, and that’s like what they’re trying to say about romance is like, it’s all the same, and I find that boring. And I actually think that thrillers are very similar. I think you’re right. I think they have kind of a formula. And I like that. I find it comforting. And I like to see how an author takes it. Like, because you knew that each character that we meet in the house, there’s really only like five, they’re all going to be involved somehow with the family or with the murder or something. But you don’t know how. And so you’re trying to figure that out. There’s things that you’re like, the author has to pay this off in some way, but I don’t know how they’re going to do it. And that’s the ride that I’m on. That’s true. And then I also felt this author was very good at teasing out a longer story, and that’s what a thriller is. It’s like the author knows the ending, you’re trying to figure out the ending, and they’re taking you there slowly. They’re taking you on a long, winding tour to that ending. And I thought this author did a great job with that. I was always excited to pick up the book when I had time to read, and I overall really, really enjoyed it. I did think it had too many twists.  

Elsie: I also agreed with that. I feel like we say that a lot, though, so it might just be like a personal sort of like thing.

Emma: I don’t mind a couple twists but he did need to pay off a number of things that he had set up, and I think he did it, and at least for me, he still surprised me. And so I really thought that was good. Like I don’t know, I’m not really a critic, but like, I was like this is good. 

Elsie: It was fun to read. I want to take back my review, but I also want to tell the truth about it. It’s hard! It’s hard to, like, sometimes I think it’s hard to do the book club, because we usually pick books we haven’t read yet, and what do you do if you don’t like it?

Emma: You just kind of say the parts you like, and hopefully it’s more than just one tiny thing. And then move on from there. 

Emma: And I think, too, like, I really liked that it’s kind of a simple story and really there’s not a lot of action in the book. Like, there is a character who can’t move. She’s in a wheelchair in her bed the whole time. Although there’s a twist at the end. But there’s kind of like not a lot of action and it still felt very suspenseful and like things were happening all the time and a lot of chapters that ended on like cliffhangers, which is funny thing to say about this book because the house is literally on the edge of a cliff. Yeah, I enjoyed it a lot. If you like thrillers and you like trying to figure out the ending, I think this is a pretty fun one. I wasn’t able to guess everything. I would say I guessed like half of it and then he still surprised me with other stuff. And some of it to me was like, uh, okay. But most of it I was like, Ooh, fun. That’s a little, not what I was quite thinking and that works for me and I like it. So, anyway. Nice. Cool. Yep. I gave it four out of five houses falling off a cliff. I don’t know. I would love to see the movie version cause I would love to see, and if the Knives Out crew can do the house, I would really love to, cause they’re just so talented. I would just love to see this house cause it’s going to be all gothic and murdery, but it’s old and I think it’s going to be kind of beautiful too. And it’s like a rich family. 

Elsie: They force all the workers to wear maids costumes. 

Emma: Yeah, a maid costume or like whatever they do, a chef costume if they’re the chef, whatever.

Elsie: I think it would be very aesthetically pleasing. 

Emma: I agree. It felt a little like Spooky Clue, you know, like, so I was into it and I would definitely watch the movie version if nothing else for the house. Okay. Well now it’s time for a joke or fact or a meditation with Nova.

Elsie: Okay, Nova, what do you have for us this week? 

Nova: I have a joke. What do you do after giving your dog a bath? You pull the pug out. 

Emma: Nice. Okay, thank you so much for listening. We’d love to hear your suggestions for topics for future episodes. You can send us an email at podcast@abeautifulmess.com with your request. And next week we are coming back with an episode all about Easter and Easter traditions.

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