Thursday, December 31, 2015

Life Lately

 
So it's been a few days since I've been around these parts and I thought I would give a quick update about what life's been like lately....in list form of course.
 
 
-Besides Errol, officially 4 people in real life know about my blog.  It's weird.
 
-There's been a lot of this



-And some of this too
 
 

-Christmas Eve I came down with a stomach bug and let's just say it wasn't pretty.  I was a mess on Christmas. Thank god for Errol's because he made my life so much easier.  We had two Christmases to go to and he carted all the presents and just generally took care of me.

-I got a hammock for Christmas, which I am beyond excited about. I've been wanting one for like 2 years.  We don't have trees that are conducive to hammocks so it has a stand one.  And because I'm an adult, I set that baby right up Errol set that baby right up in front of the Christmas tree for me to read in.
-On the topic of Christmas, we got a 9 ft tree this year and never again.  First off, we went to a new place this year and it took us about an hour and a half to find a decent tree.  Since the place we are living now has cathedral ceilings, I wanted something tall. Well, I got it and it was so top heavy that it kept wanting to fall all over the place. We ended up cutting a foot off the bottom and even then, we still had to tie it to the wall with fishing line. It took about 2 hours and 8 holes in the tree but we got it done. It sure was pretty though. 
 

-Over the last few months, Errol's Mom's dog and cat have passed away (from old age). She was feeling lonely without an animal around and asked for a kitten for Christmas.  We had this cute little thing around our house for less than 48 hours...why? Because our cat couldn't handle it.  Chitty will kill a rabbit but show him a 3 lb kitten and his hair is raised and he's backing away.  It was pretty humorous for a second but he is not a fan of kittens named CoCo.  I guess that nixes the idea of me getting another one.
  
 
 
-Cooking...a lot. Some favorites and some new.
Cinnamon Roll Casserole

A Christmas morning favorite for our Secret Santa breakfast at work.

If you like the taste of cake batter, you will love these blondies. No mixer, 1 bowl, 30 minutes. 
My favorite Cake Batter Blondies for a different work party.
 
Slow Cooker Parmesan Honey Pork Loin Roast
 
 
And I made this Butternut Squash, Bacon and Spinach Quiche that I'm still thinking about. Just take your standard quiche recipe and add oven roasted butternut squash, spinach, bacon and some shredded cheese.  Add alittle grated nutmeg and some cinnamon to the egg mixture and you end up with a savory breakfast or lunch. I brought it in as a work treat and it was devoured.
 
-And last but not least, who knew this was a thing?! We started this about 3 days ago.  I have doubts that my 15 lb cat is going to jump up onto the toilet to do his business but so far, he's been using the lid with it on the ground. One of the guys Errol works with taught his cat to use it so it could happen. I just can't stop lol'ing when I think about it though.
 
 
Litter Kwitter - Kit litière pour entraîner votre chat à se servir de vos toilettes!_3: 
 
 
What have you been up to? Would you ever potty train your pet?
 


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top Books of 2015

 
 I read some really great books and some not so great books in 2015.  This is the first year in all my reading years that I've tracked my reading.  I'm reading number 85 right now and I'm aiming to have it finished before Thursday. Since this was my first time tracking my book count, I made a rough goal of reading 100 books.  I had no idea if it was attainable or if I normally would read that much in a year but I thought it was a good number to try to make.  And while I didn't quite get there, I'm pretty happy with 85 books for the year.  That's roughly 7 books a month and I know that's more than anyone I personally know reads in a year.
 
But with that being said, for 2016, I'm not making a reading goal.  Because even though I didn't make my goal, I still felt the pressure from it.  Like I couldn't read that 800 page book that I have because it would take too long so I'll read two 300 page books instead pressure. I'm going back to reading whatever the hell I want to, when I want to and not worry about the number.
 
I decided for this Best Of edition of Show Us Your Books to keep it short and simple and narrow it down to my top ten, in no particular order.  It wasn't easy, I had a few books I had to cut out but I think it's a pretty solid top ten.
 
// Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
// Golden Son by Pierce Brown
// The Martian by Andy Weir
// The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
(I'm cheating and grouping these into one listing)
// All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
 
 
Linking up with Steph


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

November Book Review

Between audio and regular books, I read 12 books in November and it was a pretty good reading month, book wise. I'm going to end up below my goal of 100 books.  I'm reading book 83 right now.  I probably good if I cheated and just read small books but, I'm fine with not reading 100.  It was a loose goal.  I never really kept tracking of my book reading and just started to this year.  I thought 100 would be a good number.  I think it's just interesting to know how many books I read in a year. I've also found that it's been helpful to remind me what I actually read. 
Rating System
5- Loved it! All the feels and flails. New favorite
4- Really liked it
3- Decent
2- Would not recommend.
1- Did not like.  Didn't finish. Gave book away.

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

Rating: 3.5
Audio
Jake Marlowe is the last werewolf. Now just over 200 years old, Jake has an insatiable appreciation for good scotch, books, and the pleasures of the flesh, with a voracious libido and a hunger for meat that drives him crazy each full moon. Although he is physically healthy, Jake has slipped into a deep existential crisis, considering taking his own life and ending a legend that has lived for thousands of years. But there are two dangerous groups--one new, one ancient--with reasons of their own for wanting Jake very much alive.
It took me a little while to get into this book. I find that sometimes the narrator of audio books can be distracting but once I did, I really liked it. Jake has a dry, sarcastic sense of humor.  This is actually a three book series, which I didn't realize until I started reading it.  I started the second book on Friday last week. Without giving too much away, a love interest appears and the second book is told from her narrative. There's some pretty raunchy parts and my friend that recommended the book to me said the second one is even more so. 

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Rating: 4
Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life—and her relationship with her family and the world—forever.
I didn't expect to be hooked on this book like I was, or for it to destroy me the way it did. I've had a few discussions with people at work about this book.  One of their sister's has Alzheimer's and she said that it helped her to understand the disease. It was so emotional seeing the decline of Alice from when she was diagnosed until the end of the book and really what an isolating disease it is. To just know that you are counting down until you won't be able to remember your family or yourself. With that being said, Alice's husband made me so mad.  His utter disrespect and thoughtlessness in regards to Alice and her life was so frustrating. If you haven't read this book yet, make sure to have some tissues near by.  I cried the last 40 pages.

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Rating: 4-4.5
Two and a half years after an unspeakable tragedy left her a shadow of the girl she once was, Nastya Kashnikov moves to a new town determined to keep her dark past hidden and hold everyone at a distance. But her plans only last so long before she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the one person as isolated as herself: Josh Bennett.
Well, all the hype with this book is true.  I finished it in roughly a night and stayed up until 1:30am just to finish. I loved, loved Josh Bennett. His character made the book for me. He is so beautifully broken and so kind and gentle. READ THIS BOOK.

Still Life by Louise Penny

Rating: 3.5
Audio
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it's a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.
The girls I work with are obsessed with this series and have been trying to get me to read them.  I was on the fence because it didn't really sound like something I would normally read but I loved the narrator and the characters. As with any whodunit, you need to find out what happens but honestly, I had a hunch who it was for a while.  It was really the community and character's histories that drew me in. I'm going to continue listening to this series.  Gamache is the star of the series but I've heard that several of the characters from this book are in the other books too.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Rating: 5
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
I absolutely loved this book, even more than Sea of Tranquility. I will for always cheer for the underdog and the quirky, different girl. I knew this book was going to break me from the second Will Traynor made an appearance. I knew that he was always going to make the decision he did but I still wanted Will and Louisa to have the great love story.

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

Rating: 2.5
Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.
This book was extremely quick.  I think I read it in 45 minutes but it was informative. I would recommend this book to anyone that is directly effected by autism but also pretty much anyone.  It gave a glimpse into a world that is misunderstood.  For instance, Higashida said that an autistic person might not be quiet and withdrawn socially but that they get generalized that way because it takes them so long to process conversation.  By the time they understand and can respond, the conversation has moved on. Definitely worth the read.

All We Know of Heaven by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Rating: 3

Bridget Flannery and Maureen O'Malley have been BFFs since forever. Then a brief moment of inattention on an icy road leaves one girl dead and the other in a coma, battered beyond recognition. Family and friends mourn one friend's loss and pray for the other's recovery. Then the doctors discover they have made a terrible mistake. The girl who lived is the one who everyone thought had died.
My first reaction to All We Know is that it literally could have been a Lifetime movie.  The book was fine. Nothing special or remarkable and a lot of it was predictable.

Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg

Rating: 2.5
On the hot Texas army base she calls home, Katie spends the lazy days of her summer waiting: waiting to grow up; waiting for Dickie Mack to fall in love with her; waiting for her breasts to blossom; waiting for the beatings to stop. Since their mother died, Katie and her older sister, Diane, have struggled to understand their increasingly distant, often violent father. While Diane escapes into the arms of her boyfriend, Katie hides in her room or escapes to her best friend’s house—until Katie’s admiration for her strong-willed sister leads her on an adventure that transforms her life. 
This was another short but sweet book.  I adored Katie, the young girl at the heart of this story. As I said above, I will always be the champion of the weird and eccentric girls.  I have a special place in my heart for the girl who's inquisitive and a little bit of an outcast. The story itself was meh.

Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo

Rating: 1.5
Though twenty-one-year-old Fenfang Wang has traveled 1,800 miles to seek her fortune in urban Beijing, she is ill-prepared for what greets her: a Communist regime that has outworn its welcome, a city in slap-dash development, and a sexist attitude more in keeping with her peasant upbringing than the country's progressive capital. But after mastering the fever and tumult of the city, Fenfang ultimately finds her true independence in the one place she never expected.
A Ravenous Youth is written through twenty small stories with photos accompanying them.  I would definitely not have finished it if it was more than 120 pages.  I found the book pointless and depressing. I didn't connect with the main character and found her quite annoying.

Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me by Chelsea Handler

Rating: 2.5
Audio
It's no lie: Chelsea Handler loves to smoke out "dumbassness," the condition people suffer from that allows them to fall prey to her brand of complete and utter nonsense. Friends, family, co-workers--they've all been tricked by Chelsea into believing stories of total foolishness and into behaving like total fools. Luckily, they've lived to tell the tales and, for the very first time, write about them. 
I'm usually a fan of Chelsea Handler's books but this one was not really all that funny.  I did like how each story was read by the person who wrote them and at the end, Chelsea had something to say about that person. I think that difference was is just that Chelsea is funnier than her friends.  I did find myself lol'ing a couple times but overall the book was just ok.

Addition by Toni Jordan

Rating: 3.5
An absolutely delightful tale of obsessive-compulsive love, Toni Jordan’s Addition is just the ticket for fans of TV’s Monk and readers who were captivated by The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. A wonderfully funny, supremely intelligent debut novel, Addition is “witty fun” (People), while OCD-afflicted heroine Grace and her new-found paramour Seamus are thoroughly endearing characters, and their romance is sweet and fun.
This was a really cute book.  I loved Grace. I'm sensing a theme for this month.  She was another weird and quirky character. I hated how she felt like she needed to go and get therapy because of her OCD counting and that the medication and therapy stopped her numbers and made her numb. The therapist actually seemed happy that she was more "normal" and numb because she wasn't counting anymore, it's all that mattered. She could barely function but they all thought she was doing great. It's like what do you really gain by all of that?  Sure, you stop the incessant need to count everything but you also loose yourself in the process.

Above by Isla Morley

Rating: 4
Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an aban­doned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in—the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Deter­mined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give mean­ing to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promis­ing and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice—between survival and freedom.
This book had everything I love in a book.  It was full of suspense and horror with even an end of world survival story thrown in. As much as it was about the end of a lot of things, it was also a story of hope.  It really felt like it was two books in one.  Half of the book was centered around Blythe and her being held captive and the other half was about after. Totally loved this book.
  
I tried, I really did because I wanted to love the book but it was just so wordy  and tedious.  I got to around page 90 and gave up.
Love It: Above, Me Before You, Addition and Sea of Tranquility
But really also Still Alice and Still Life.
Leave It: Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth and Durable Goods

Life According to Steph
Linking up with Steph


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fall Goal Recap

 
I'm not quite sure why I'm even posting this...I completed 3 goals and they were the easiest/naturally occurring ones. But hey, gotta keep it honest and real. It's funny because I think I've done maybe three (?) goal posts and every recap is the same. I fail at the whole completing goals thing. Which ironically is funny because when it comes to work, I totally think of myself as a goal orientated person but for some reason, that doesn't correlate into real life. Which is even more ironic because I have a 2016 goals and dream post planned.  Glutton for punishment? Or self improvement?
 
Do you think if you don't have goals that that means you're not driven?
 
Anyways, on to the list.
 

Blog Goals

// Consistently blog three times a week for October and November Nope, not even close.
 
// Figure out a reading and commenting schedule that works out for me.  When my reader gets into the hundreds, it makes me antsy and not want to read posts at all. No, again. It's not like I have a lot of choices on this one.  It's either before work or after work and I will never be a morning person so...and then it's the eternal struggle of every reader out there;  sacrificing reading time to do something else.
 

Fall Seasonal Goal

// Carve a pumpkin BAHAHA, I couldn't even do this one! This is the second year I missed the pumpkin carving train and I don't like it.
 

Personal Goals

// Host a dinner for my family Nope, but I am planning a taco night because my Dad doesn't like tacos but my Mom does and she never makes them.  I'll have them over and make my Dad something separate.
 
// Organize and change over my clothes room for fall/winter WooHoo!  I finally completed one but let's face it, this was going to happen anyways. I bought a new shelving unit for my sweaters and I love it.  Plus, my tbr bookcase was overflowing and I needed somewhere to put them.  This is after I cleaned out 60+ books.
 

Work Goal

// Make it a point to get into work a half hour early once a week for a month. I'm giving this a half.  I've been staying late consistently.  As I said, I am not a morning person. I'm the person hurriedly walking in 2 minutes before I'm supposed to be there.  
 

Fitness Goals

// Go on a hike before the snow falls No, I did have plans but the girl I had plans with got sick so it didn't happen.  I haven't made it a priority like I need to.  It calms me and is a form of therapy.
 
// Work out every day for a week LOLOLOL
 

Reading Goals

// Read 10 books between October and November I did better than that, I read 11 books in November alone.  I can't wait for the link up next week.  I read some good books!
 
// Read Sea of Tranquility due to popular blogger demand And it didn't disappoint!
 
So, what's your thoughts on goal setting? Yay or nay? Do you get upset if you don't follow through on your goals?
 


Monday, November 23, 2015

Stitch Fix #4

 
Since my last fix was pretty good, I decided to try another fix. Below is my note for my stylist on what I was looking for in my fourth fix.

Specifically want items for work. Graphic/colorful blouses. Love jewel tones and bright pops of color. Plaid. Non jean pants; loved the fit of the Kut from the Kloth pants I received in one fix. I like my work pants to be more neutral colored or something I could pair with multiple things. No accessories this time please. Tunics to pair with leggings. Love mustard and fatigue/army color. Versatile cardigans. Any good leggings-black only.

Sneak peak of the fix:

 

How It Works:

+Fill out the style profile and schedule your first fix.
+Pay $20 for the styling fee
+Receive your box with pieces hand selected by your stylist. You have 3 business days to decide what to keep and what to return. 
+The $20 styling fee is applied as a credit and will be deducted from the total of items kept. If you don't keep anything, you are out the $20. If you keep everything, you also get a 25% discount.
If you're interested, feel free to use my referral link. I'll receive a $25 discount when you schedule your first fix.
Try it here.

Staccato Siri Cowl Neck Poncho Pullover Sweater $54


Oh god, this sweater. I'm not quite sure why anyone would want an article of clothing to have something pointing at their bust area. I actually liked the overall fit and color combo of this sweater but just, no. I'm usually not a huge fan of cowlnecks because they tend to be high maintenance but I liked this. The overall outfit was zero fuss and I would have felt comfortable all day at work.  There's nothing worse than wearing an outfit to work that you aren't entirely comfortable in.  It's distracting and I don't know about you, but I count down the hours until I can get home and change.

Papermoon Iglesia Pleated Blouse $48

Liverpool Jordyn Bootcut Pant $88


I really liked this top when I first pulled it out of the box.  I love the color combo.  I was kind of iffy on the fabric. It has that crepe feel to it and I tend to think that type of fabric feels cheap. Then I put the top on and the pleats were not flattering at all in the bust. It was just weird.  I think I had alittle too much chest for this top.  The rest of it fit like a glove.
My initial impression of these pants was not good. I wasn't quite sure what to think of a ponte pant in a bootcut style. But I put them on and they literally fit so well. They were extremely comfortable. If these were in black, I would have kept them.  I would consider them a taupey brown/gray color. They were slightly too long so I couldn't have worn flats with them.  They didn't look right with black shoes and I only have one pair of brown heels.  I prefer to wear flats to work anyways.

Pixley Ellie Printed 3/4 Sleeve Blouse $48


Spoiler alert, I kept this shirt.  I saw Michael post a photo from her fix on Instagram and immediately was in love with this top.  I love elephants and a good printed blouse is my go to work uniform, besides a sweater and leggings, of course. I had originally requested it in my last fix but backed out at the last minute because I saw that it had a crewneck.  I generally do not like crewnecks.  They tend to be too tight fitting to the neck. I thought it was pretty funny that I got this blouse in a fix anyways. And it fits perfectly. I know this will be something I will get a lot of wear out of.

Pixley Nilla Button Back Sweater $68


Gah, I LOVED this sweater but I couldn't keep both the shirt and sweater with Christmas right around the corner.  It was so hard to choose between either the sweater or blouse.  I picked the blouse because it was $20 less but man, this sweater.  I loved the color, the fit and the buttons down the back. Everything about it was perfect. 
Also paired with this sweater are my current favorite booties.

Overall Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this fix, horrible sweater aside. As with my last fix, I had a few really great items to choose from. Everything fit and was more or less something I would wear. I scheduled my next fix for February because I really like getting clothes that I might not normally pick out at a store but also I really like the surprise. 
Also, as you can see we haven't racked our lawn so please excuse the mess. And sorry about the drabness but that's what NH in late November is.
 
 


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Currently 11.12.15




Thinking:


About how the holidays and the end of the year are right around the corner.  The older I get, the more I feel like time is just speeding by. I remember being in my late teens/early twenties and feeling like a had all the time in the world.  And here I am fastly approaching 30 and wishing time would slow down. I'm not ready to give up my twenties yet.  I totally gave Errol tons of shit when he turned 30 and was bothered by it but truthfully, I'm starting to understand it.

Reading:




I just starting listening to Still Life last night. Several of the girls I work with love this series so I figured I would give it a try.  I'm on the fence just because it's not my normal but one of the girls, whom I used to work with at the book store and knows what I like, recommended it and said I would probably like it so I'm giving it a shot.  
 
And Sea of Tranquility....I mean I was pretty much forced to when about 50 bloggers have reviewed and said that it was nothing short of amazing.  I'm bracing myself for all the feels and tears.  I'm only 50 pages in but really liking it so far.

Watching:

I'm ashamed to admit this but I'm actually watching quite a few shows right now. Scorpion, Walking Dead, Finding Carter, American Horror Story, just to name a few.

 


Is anyone watching this season of AHS? I would say that this season is the most sexual graphic season yet.  I was surprised that some of the scenes were tv approved. FX isn't exactly HBO. I love Lady Gaga's character and I really love Liz Taylor.  I'm not loving the story itself though.  It's not as bad as last season's Freak Show though.
 

Anticipating:

The four day weekend that is gifted to us in the form of Thanksgiving.  The place where I work does vacation time as earned time.  I've never worked somewhere where you accrue time off as you work.  I also have not had such limited vacation time in like forever. This will be the first year in a while that I will not be taking the week between Christmas and New Years off.  I imagine it's going to be rough being at work during that time.

 Loving:


The new Dunkin Snickerdoodle Macchiato.  I got it the other day on a whim and it is delicious.  I've had one two days this week already.  My job is such a bad influence.  Someone does a coffee or McDonald's ice cream sundae run everyday.  I used to never spend money at my old job but it's hard to say no.  I mean, you can get a little ray of sunshine that is a McD's sundae for less than $2.
 
While we're on the drink theme, I'm also obsessed with the Celestial Seasonings Watermelon Lime Zinger. It is really similar to the Tazo Passion, maybe slightly less sweet but it's my new go to when I'm not feeling water.
 

 

Lusting:


 
Considering adding these babies to my Christmas wishlist. I would never buy them for myself because I'm cheap but as a gift, sure!  I have a feeling Errol will veto them because he would really rather not add to my shoe problem but you never know.  I'm waffling between the pretty shiny ones or going the more practical route of black or brown.  The only thing I don't love is that bright blue on the back.  I like my outfits to match and feel like it will bother me. Anyone have any experience with these?  Are they as comfortable as everyone says?
 
What's up with you this month?  What are you loving or hating or shouting about from the rooftops?
 

 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

October Book Review

 

Rating System
5- Loved it! All the feels and flails. New favorite
4- Really liked it
3- Decent
2- Would not recommend.
1- Did not like.  Didn't finish. Gave book away.

Boy, Snow, Bird By Helen Oyeyemi
Rating: 3.5

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.
A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, exposes the Whitman family secret. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

I can't decide how I feel about this book.  I loved the writing but I can't decide on the story itself. Boy's motives were hard to figure out. It was clear from the beginning that Boy was not in love but she decided to marry anyways and then proceeded to make a really horrible decision regarding Snow. I really did not like Boy but I did enjoy the part told from Bird's perspective.

5 to 1 by Holly Bodger
Rating: 3.5
I received a digital copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Part Homeless Bird and part Matched, this is a dark look at the near future told through the alternating perspectives of two teens who dare to challenge the system.
In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

I breezed through this book. It was written in alternating perspectives of a girl choosing who to marry and a boy being tested. The girl, Sudasa, became aware of the corruptness going on within the tests and was a strong female character who was not afraid to go against tradition and her family. Her story was told in prose and normally I am not a fan of this style of writing but this did not bother me. I loved Kiran, who was the boy being tested. I will forever be a champion of the underdogs and I loved his kindness and brazenness. My only negative was the ending. Ugh! I needed to know more. It was too abrupt. I needed more of Kiran's story.

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
Rating: 3.5

Bethia Mayfield is a restless and curious young woman growing up in Martha's vineyard in the 1660s amid a small band of pioneering English Puritans. At age twelve, she meets Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia's father is a Calvinist minister who seeks to convert the native Wampanoag, and Caleb becomes a prize in the contest between old ways and new, eventually becoming the first Native American graduate of Harvard College. Inspired by a true story.
I loved People of the Book but in all fairness, that might be because I love novels that have to do with some sort of hunt for a lost treasure.  I adored Bethia for her strong will and that she was not afraid to think outside of women's roles in society during the 1600's, She had a strong desire to learn and found creative ways to make that happen. She would not accept that women were not meant to educate themselves. I fell in love with the story of Bethia and Caleb even if I was hoping for some romance.  I found myself skimming the parts of the book that got overly religious. I did not know before I read it that the book was largely based on Martha's Vineyard and I found the history of the island interesting.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
Rating: 4

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter.
 Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that has weighty consequences when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished. In her search for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother's bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked into the historical mystery, she discovers that she’s not the only person looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

Another month, another McMahon book. This is the first audio book I've listening to in a long time but now that I have a 30 minute drive back and forth to work, I figured I could start maximizing my time. I have a hard time with audio books.  My mind tends to wander and then I'm like what just happened? I also think the voice of whomever is narrating matters as well. I like when authors narrate their own books, which was not the case with this one. Not McMahon's best work but I did enjoy the story.  Without giving too much away, there was a part of this book that actually reminded me of a reoccurring dream that I used to have as a child.  I used to have this dream that there was this witch living down a trail we had in our woods, kind of like in the Sleepy Hollow movie. Anyways, the book was told from various view points both past and present day. I didn't mind that it left a few things open.

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
Rating: 4

A magical novel, based on a Japanese folk tale, that imagines how the life of a broken-hearted man is transformed when he rescues an injured white crane that has landed in his backyard.
I loved, loved this book.  I love books that are centered around retellings of folk tales/folk lore. The main novel was interwoven with the folk tale telling, which was my favorite part.  I love anything that has to do with magic or mysticism. I love the feeling that anything is possible and something wonderful and unexplained can happen during ordinary life. This was my first Ness book and it will not be my last. I really connected with the characters and even though it had a very melancholy feeling, it still had this hopefulness to it.

Love it: The Crane Wife & 5 to 1
Leave it: Boy, Snow, Bird

Life According to Steph
Linking up with Steph

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

It's OK If...

 
 
 
+ You brought lunch to work but decided to order out.
 
+ The bookcase is overflowing but you bought more books home anyways.
 
+ Some days your cat is your favorite person.
 
+ Your to do list never runs out.
 
+ You didn't dress up for Halloween this year.  There's always next year!
 
+ You still watch MTV. I'm talking about you Teen Mom and Finding Carter. (sidenote: please tell me someone else out there is watching this season of Finding Carter?! Obsessed)
 
+ This ecard speaks to your soul.
 
250 Funniest Nursing Quotes And Ecards: http://www.nursebuff.com/2014/09/funniest-nursing-quotes-and-ecards/:
 
+ You are already making your Christmas wish list.
 
+ You avoid someone you know when you see them in the store. Sometimes you just don't want to make small talk.
 
+ You're wondering where 2015 went.
 
+ You can't keep a plant alive to save your life. 5 out of 6 succulents I had croaked along with 2 ivy plants. Supposedly some of the easiest plants to keep alive...or so they say.
 
+You got a new car less than a year ago and you're already thinking about your next one.
 
+ The thought of having kids makes you want to break out in hives.
 
 


Friday, October 30, 2015

Fri-YAY 10.30.15 Blog Love Edition



Do you ever feel like you're failing at this whole blogging thing? I've pretty much felt that way since I started my new job. And I know blogging isn't supposed to feel like a job but when you're an overachiever and have high expectations for yourself, it's hard not to beat yourself up when you know you're not doing the best you could. One of my goals this fall was to blog consistently 3 times a week.  You know how many times I've blogged in the month of October? 7 times! But I didn't come here to be all Debby Downer.  I'm sure and I hope that other bloggers feel the same way every once and awhile so I thought I would send some love out to some of my favorite people I've "met" since starting this whole blogging thing 7 months ago.

Shay @ Great, Now What?

We started blogging at the same time and pretty much found each other from the beginning.  She always makes sure to comment on my posts and I truly appreciate it. I love how her posts read like you are talking to an old friend. She's the perfect mix of quicky and bubbly and it comes through in her posts. Her posts range from running to home DIY. She's always got something interesting to read about. She just celebrated her 100th blog post which I'm not going to lie, I am slightly jealous about.  I have some catching up to do! But such a great accomplishment/milestone!

Michael @ Crazy Tragic Almost Magic

Her and I have kitty twinsies and are both obsessed with our cats. She also shares my love of burgers and beer and has crazy curls like me. She's a fellow bookworm and book people tend to stick together.

Steph @ Life According to Steph

I read Steph before I started blogging but never really commented that much. I guess that makes me a lurker...I love her IDGAF attitude and that she's not afraid to speak her mind or cuss on her blog.  I feel like sometimes bloggers are afraid of offending someone or losing readers so they take the safe route but not her. I admire that because I am still trying to find my blog voice and how much or what I want to say about things. I also am genuinely impressed by the fact that she consistently has a post M-F, even when she's on one of her amazing adventures. And it's good, original stuff! She just fulfilled a huge dream of her's and I think that's amazing. I love celebrating the happy things in life. Plus she co-hosts my favorite link up, Show Us Your Books.

Kristen @ Divulge and Indulge

Number 1, her blog name is top notch but besides that fact, I love getting comments from Kristen. I don't know how she found me but I'm so glad she did. She's always got some amazing recipe she's sharing.  We also share a love of the dark and macabre.

Melissa @ Always Lissa

I only just recently started following and talking to Melissa. She had such kind words to say when my Gram passed away and I genuinely appreciated that she took the time to reach out to me and more than once. I thought it was such a sweet gesture since we really hadn't conversed that much. I love the openness in her writing. Bonus points because she's a baker.
 
What's one of your favorite blogs?
 
 
Linking up with A. Liz Adventure

&

Karli at September Farm
 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Scary & Magical

 
I couldn't come up with ten scary books so I figured I would pick one of my favorite themes in a book; magic. Halloween isn't just about the scary. It's about believing in the supernatural. I haven't read too many books that scares me or has me looking over my shoulder but give me a book with elements of magic and I am hooked.  I love anything that suspends reality. I mixed a few childhood favorites in there as well.  And when I saw The Witches, I really mean the movie.  Anjelica Huston in that movie?  The stuff of nightmares.
 
So tell me, what one book made you want to sleep with the lights on?
 

Linking up with The Broke and the Bookish


Monday, October 19, 2015

Stitch Fix #3

 
After having two fixes that were disappointments, I was debating on giving Stitch Fix another try. I left honest feedback on my order check out and I was surprised to get a personal email from them a few days later.  They offered to waive my styling fee if I was interested in trying another fix. I was impressed that they reached out to me based on my feedback. I've done customer service in the past so I kind of have a high bar when it comes to my expectations. They hit that bar with the unexpected personal contact.
This time around I still asked for some good work appropriate pieces. I wanted some fall transition items. Graphic and colorful blouses. Plaid. Non jean bottoms. Tunics to pair with leggings. Mustard and navy combo. Versatile cardigans. Army fatigue vest and Pixley blouses.

How It Works:

+Fill out the style profile and schedule your first fix.
+Pay $20 for the styling fee
+Receive your box with pieces hand selected by your stylist. You have 3 business days to decide what to keep and what to return. 
+The $20 styling fee is applied as a credit and will be deducted from the total of items kept. If you don't keep anything, you are out the $20. If you keep everything, you also get a 25% discount.
If you're interested, feel free to use my referral link. I'll receive a $25 discount if you schedule your first fix.
Try it here.
 

Le Lis Tilda Rhinestone Detail Sweater $48

Margaret M Emer Jacquard Print Front High Waisted Crop Pants $98


 
First off, this sweater was the softest material I have ever felt.  It was comfy and the fit was right on.  I came really close to keeping it but it was so not my color. It was not flattering at all since it was pretty much flesh colored. If the sweater had been in a different color, I would have kept it.
These pants...I got them in my last fix except in a different pattern. They sized down but I think they went two sizes this time. They fit but they were just a smidge too fitted in the waist. I liked this pattern better than the other ones but I'm just not paying $98 for printed pants.

41Hawthorn Kenny Faux Leather Trim Open Cardigan $88

 
I struggled hard core with keeping this sweater.  I immediately thought it was too bulky when I opened the box and saw it but I tried it on and loved it.  I loved the color and the hint of faux leather. I really wanted to keep this sweater but I own, with all honesty, 10 sweaters with this exact same design; meaning the drapey front. And I couldn't add another one for $88. If this had been around the $50 mark, it would have gone to live in my closet.  I'm still kind of regretting letting it go.

Pixley Stimson Button Down Top $58

 
 
I was so into this blouse until I saw the dreaded button gap. I loved that it was flannel and had a plaid pattern.  Plus it had subtle pattern mixing, which I love. And yes, I could have layered it but I'm not going to buy something if it doesn't fit properly.

Amour Vert Bonn Denim Knit Jacket $88

 
This was the hardest item for me to let go of. I fell in love with it the second I saw it but I knew immediately it wasn't going to get properly.  I have broad shoulders and always have a hard time with jackets. This jacket is my style to a T but the price is what killed it for me and the fact that it was snug.  I've seen this same style jacket at Target for $30. Also, I found this weird rock in one of the pockets. Is this a new freshener thing I'm not aware of? So this went back as well.

Overall Thoughts:

This box was the closest to my style that I've received. For the most part, I liked every item. I had a hard time letting go of the cardigan and jacket.  I felt like they gave me pretty much everything I asked for. It was hard for me to send everything back, especially because I didn't want to lose the styling fee but I don't want to just buy something to buy it. One thing that I thought was weird is that my stylist said they did not have any blouses or tunics that were my style right now. I thought that was a strange comment. But I liked how she mentioned that she looked at my blog and even referenced one of my posts.
I guess I'm a glutton for punishment because I am going to give them one more try.  I asked for a lot of the same thing I asked for last time.
"Specifically want items for work. Graphic/colorful blouses. Love jewel tones and bright pops of color. Plaid. Non jean pants; loved the fit of the Kut from the Kloth pants I received in one fix. I like my work pants to be more neutral colored or something I could pair with multiple things. No accessories this time please. Tunics to pair with leggings. Love mustard and fatigue/army color. Versatile cardigans. Any good leggings-black only."
Fingers crossed that this next one works out.  I should see it right before Thanksgiving. I can't believe I just referenced Thanksgiving as coming up soon...
Also, I woke up to this yesterday.  Just thought I would leave this hear so everyone knows what's coming.
 
 
 
 
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