Friday, December 30, 2011



I thought I’d do a quick post of some of my favorite things from 2011. I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year!

Favorite books - I read quite a few very good books this year, so here are just a few of my favorites:






Favorite album – Wasting Light by the Foo Fighters is by far my favorite cd of the year. My favorite songs are off this cd too – Rope, Dear Rosemary, and Arlandria.


Favorite movie – As if there was any question Smile


Favorite workout – I adore zumba. I’m so glad I started going this year!


Favorite trip – Indianapolis. I adore this city.



Favorite recipe – Peanut Butter and Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake. Trust me.


Television show – I still adore The Big Bang Theory. I’m really loving Amy Farrah Fowler.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!




Hope you all have a very merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Immigrant Stories Challenge Wrap Up and 2012 Challenge

So a funny thing happened when I went to write this wrap up – I realized I never finished the challenge. d’oh! For whatever reason I thought that I had signed up for the lowest level of the challenge and that I was good with the 3 books I read earlier this year. But then I looked back at my post about signing up for the challenge and realized I needed at least 1 more book. Whoops. Luckily I had purchased a suitable book during the Borders sale so I was able to pick that up and read it. Good thing I started to write the wrap-up early!

So what did I read?

Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America Firoozeh Dumas – Read in January – 5 stars – I think this is one of my favorite books from this year. It is funny and insightful all at the same time. I loved reading about the author trying to get used to life in America while still being surrounded by her very traditional family. I’m also glad I read this because one day at work something about Farsi came up and no one knew what Farsi was – except me Smile


Stealing Buddha’s Dinner – Bich Minh Nguyen – Read in January - 4 stars – I read this right after Farsi so I went into it expecting the same humor so it took me a bit to get into the right mind frame for this book. I thought it was very well written and very interesting.


Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad – Firoozeh Dumas – Read in January -4 stars – I liked this book. I thought it was funny and it was nice to see the way the author wrote about American things. I liked this one just a little less than her first one but still thought it was really good.


How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents Julia Alvarez – Read in December - 4 stars – I thought this was a very good book. The story was really interesting and the characters were very engaging. My only complaint is that I got a bit lost with the timeline and had to keep stopping to remember the year and the ages of the characters.


2012 Challenge

I’m so excited that Books in the City is bringing back the Immigrant Stories Challenge for 2012. I’ve already signed up and have decided to really go for it and try to reach the Fully Assimilated level which is 6+ books. Hopefully I won’t forget what level I picked this year! Anyone have any suggestions for books I should read?


Monday, December 19, 2011

Book Review & Giveaway: Start Something That Matters


A few weeks ago I was selected to be part of the Books for Bloggers campaign for Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie. You probably know Blake best as the founder of TOMS shoes. If you know me in real life you probably know that I adore TOMS. I bought my first pair earlier this year and they barely left my feet all summer. I’m already planning on getting a second pair this spring. So when I first heard about this book I was intrigued. I’ve always had a bit of a desire to start my own business and I think that TOMS is a great business – especially because it is grounded in such a great charitable act. So I was really eager to read this book.

So when I heard about the Books for Bloggers program I decided to enter. I never figured that I would be picked. But I was! This means that I was given a copy of the book to read and review (and keep). I was also give a copy to give away to one of my awesome readers (that would be you!).

My Thoughts:

I thought this book was really interesting. I loved getting an inside look into how TOMS was started and a look at the other businesses that are mentioned in the book. I loved that the idea came to Blake in such an organic way: he saw a problem and formulated a way to fix it. I love that he talked about the bumps they had along the way and let the reader into some of the funny situations they dealt with (passing the phone around to interns to pretend to be higher ups for instance). I also liked seeing how the company started out in such a small way and has grown so much. It is really inspiring to someone who is thinking about starting a business to see that you can start small and eventually become bigger.

Even if you don’t think you want to start a business I think you’d like this book. It is inspiring just to read about the charitable acts that others have started. It really inspired me to want to do something for others. Seeing what these people have done makes you realize that you can do something to help as well.

I think one of the best parts of this book is that it wasn’t preachy at all. It never felt like Blake was saying “look how awesome I am.” It felt a lot like you were just having a conversation with him. I definitely recommend this book. It was a quick read and full of great information. Definitely a winner.


To win:

So, want to read this? All you have to do is leave a comment telling me about a business you want to open or a charitable act you’d love to be able to do. You can get a second entry by following Something to Crow About. Just leave a second comment letting me know.

A winner will be randomly picked on 01/02/12. I may even throw in a little something else as a post holiday treat.

So leave a comment below! Good luck!!

Open to US residents only. Sorry international folks!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Five 12/16/11


1. As of yesterday I’ve officially hit my new, lowered, book goal for the year. 75 books done. The highest total I have on goodreads is 78 so I may try to match or beat that amount.

2. This was not a very good week work-wise. I got put back on an assignment I was on in July and it was just as frustrating now as it was then. I even took a half day today because I was so stressed out on Wednesday that I found the first available time this week (which was today) and took it. Then of course they put me back on my regular work an hour before I left. Oh well.

3. A bright note thought from work is that we had our department holiday gathering (not a party) and our manager gave us cards that she had written a note in to us. My note was about how I’ve come a long way since joining her department last year (she hated how shy I was), how proud she is of me for how well I’ve done since getting the promotion, and how she thinks I can go very far in this company if I want to. I’ve never gotten this type of praise in a workplace before. It’s pretty awesome.

4. I need one more thing and I am done Christmas shopping. Then I just have to wrap it all. I am not a good wrapper so I put it off until I have a huge pile to tackle. Doug wrapped some for me the other day so that’s a big help.

5. I have something cool coming for you guys next week. I’m pretty excited about it and I think/hope you guys will like it. So stay tuned!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Five 12/2/11


1. They moved a bunch of people around to different desks at work today (they like to do this every so often for some reason) and while I didn’t move they did move my buddy away from me. I didn’t know her before I moved to my current spot last fall but we got to be good work friends and I’m so sad to see her move Sad smile - so I was not a happy girl today.

2. I’ve decided that since there is no way I am going to meet my goal of 111 books in 2011 that I’m going to aim for 75. That is still way better than the 35 I read last year and with my promotion to the more demanding job and the stint of having 2 jobs I’ll be pretty happy with 75. That means I need to finish 3 books by the end of the year. I’m about halfway through a book right now so I think I can have that done by the end of the weekend. I think I’m just going to have to choose very carefully for the last 2 books.

3. Speaking of books – I’ve been thinking about my reading goals for 2012 lately and while I haven’t decided on a number or picked any challenges yet I have decided that 2012 will be the year I finally read Gone With The Wind. It has been sitting on my shelf for about 4 years now and I’ve just never picked it up. That will change.

4. I went back to my usual Tuesday/Thursday zumba class with my favorite instructor for the first time since I started the part-time job last night. I missed that class so much and it was one of my deciding factors for quitting the job (yes, I made a Rory Gilmore-ish pro-con list – and zumba was on it). It felt so good to be back. The Saturday morning class I tried had a different instructor and it just wasn’t the same. My usual instructor is so upbeat and encouraging and FUN. I missed her! She through out a “welcome back Kayla!” into her headset during one of the first songs. I felt so special Open-mouthed smile

5. I read something tonight that sort of annoyed me – apparently having an interest in cars is not something that is typical of girls and is therefore somehow masculine or a “boy” thing. This bugs me to no end. I spent a lot of time growing up running around with my car loving dad. My mom worked during the mornings and my dad worked second shift to cut down on the time I was with a sitter so I was always with my dad when he would run out to his friend’s house to look at a car or when he would run to the auto parts store to pick something up. Also we’d usually run out to the gas station/towing company place a friend of his owned on Sunday mornings to say hi or get something and we’d look at the cars that had been towed in on Friday and Saturday nights. (My dad was a genius – that is the best “don’t drink and drive” lesson ever.) I learned a lot about cars hanging out with my dad on those trips and just hanging around his garage. He is also a huge NASCAR fan and I have been to more than 1 race track in my day. If a family vacation had us somewhere near a track you bet your bottom we were going. I think Daytona was my favorite. And finally some of my favorite toys growing up included my bucket of Hot Wheels and my plastic car track.

And now, as an adult, I’m a huge Indycar fan. We actually just went to Indianapolis Motor Speedway a few weeks ago to check out the Hall of Fame museum. One of the reasons I’m hesitant to get rid of our upper channel package on our cable plan is because I want to keep Versus so I can watch races. My Twitter feed is full of drivers, bloggers who follow the sport, and a few of the sportscasters for races. I can tell you statistics, I can tell you about the cars, and I will tell you why certain drivers are the best (and why some aren’t) until I’m blue in the face. I also love the show Top Gear – both the British and American editions. I like learning about the cars, seeing what they can do, and basically just watching them go around the track really fast (it helps that both shows are really funny). I don’t spout off facts about cars off the top of my head but I do notice really cool – and really horrible – cars when I’m out and about and I have been able to have some more in-depth conversations about cars because of this show.

PA210542 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame

So, basically, I like cars. And I don’t see how this makes me any less of a girl. Maybe my parents ruined me by letting me play with Hot Wheels and not forcing my to stick with Barbie (which I also had and played with a ton). Maybe they never should have let me ride around a racetrack in a van with a bunch of fellow tourists decked out in shorts and t-shirts with cameras around their necks and sensible shoes on their feet. Maybe I’m just a little weird. But I know I like cars. And I’m quite sure that I’m a girl.

Sorry that got a little long for a Friday five post, but I just saw this recently and it really bugged me.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Five 11/25/11


1. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I think it is the foodie in me. We spent the day with Doug’s parents and grandma at his grandma’s house. After we ate father-in-law worked on some to-do list items and then we all set about putting up grandma’s Christmas decorations. Then tonight I made Doug & I are own little Thanksgiving because we wanted to have leftovers to eat for a while. I made a ham, corn casserole (mother-in-law's recipe), green bean casserole (Doug’s request), and mashed potatoes and gravy (my request). Plus we had oatmeal pie and my mom sent me home today with an entire pumpkin pie. Thanks mom!

2. I went to the mall this morning way after the crazy people had been there and gone. I don’t really do Black Friday but there were a few things that some people on my list wanted to I ventured out around 10 a.m. and got every thing I wanted. I saved over $90 at JcPenny today. I think that’s pretty impressive!

3. We put up our outside Christmas lights today (I’ll have to get a pic) and I’m glad we did. I really had not been feeling the Christmas feeling this year, not sure why really. Luckily digging through the boxes of decorations and seeing the house all lit up has helped.

4. I worked overtime every day this week. I even worked a 9 and a half day on Wednesday including working a shift 2 hours later than what I usually work so we had coverage until closing time. It sucked a little but it got me brownie points and overtime paychecks are very nice!

5. I stopped by my parents’ house today (when they sent me home with pie) and my dad said he had a Christmas gift idea for me. He disappeared down the hall and then came back with a very beat up 8 track. He said that it didn’t really play anymore (yes, he still has a player) and said he would love the album on CD if I could find it. Then he warned that it would probably be impossible to find. I told him I’d see what I could do. Then after he’d left the room I told my mom I’d get it no problem. I logged on to Amazon and found the cd in about 2 minutes. My dad doesn’t really know much about Amazon or online shopping, can you tell? lol. I was happy because I had a different lighting deal item in my cart and had 12 minutes to go find the cd. Go me!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Breaking Dawn Review and What’s In My Mailbox


Sarah and I saw Breaking Dawn today. It was just as cheesy and silly as I expected but it wasn’t horrible. I don’t want to post any spoilers but I’ll just say that the parts that I thought would be really cheesy were and the parts I thought I might like were ok. I thought the acting was about the best in this one compared to the others and I didn’t totally hate KStew’s acting this time. I’m glad I saw it and we will definitely go see part 2 next year.

One thing that Sarah and I did not understand was how many people brought their young kids to the movie. We had three kids right in front of us and at the sexy parts the mom actually told them to cover their eyes (I don’t think that’s too much of a spoiler). This made me laugh because they could still hear everything and who is to say they didn’t peak?

We did hear a few people in line say that they’d never read the book and we sort of wanted to sit by them and see what their reaction would be. At one point toward the end (if you’ve read it or seen it you can probably guess) someone yelled out “really?!” – it was funny.

So, overall not horrible but definitely cheesy.


In My Mailbox

I actually got some books this week so I thought I’d do an In My Mailbox post.

The Library


I picked up Beauty Queens by Libba Bray and What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen. I just finished Beauty Queens Friday and started What Happened last night. I loved BQ and am liking WH so far.




I love getting books in the mail – even more so when they are free! I won Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close on a blog contest and am really excited to read it. I saw a preview for the movie a few weeks ago and thought it looked really good. And I love Tom Hanks, so there’s that.

I also got Start Something That Matters because I was chosen as one of the bloggers for Books for Bloggers program which means that I got a copy of the book to read and review here on the blog. What’s that? You see 2 copies of the book in the photo? Oh that’s right – the program also sent me a copy of the book to give away! So keep watching for a post about the book which will include the opportunity for one of you to get your very own copy of Blake’s book.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Five–Birthday Edition 11/18/11


1. Happy birthday to me! I’m actually not all the gung-ho about my birthday this year. After my freak out last year I’m sort of over the whole birthday thing. I used to be very “hey everyone, today is my birthday!” but I really haven’t mentioned it much this year. Um, except here I guess.

2. Doug got me the Breaking Dawn soundtrack for my birthday. As corny and awkward as the movies can be I think the music is always really good. I’m bummed that there isn’t any Muse on this one though. I think the cd is really good though. And I must admit there were a few times when listening to it that I went “wonder what part this song plays during?” Sarah and I are going to see the movie Sunday, so I guess I’ll find out then.

3. I bought a bottle of Essie Little Brown Dress today with some of my bday money. I’ve loved this color for a year or so now but could never bring myself to spend the money for it. But Doug encouraged me to get it if I wanted it so I went to Walgreens today and got the last bottle they had. I just painted my nails with it and I have to say that I now understand why people pay so much money for for polish. I usually buy the cheap $1-2 bottles at Walmart and I can so tell a difference between the cheaper products and Essie. The coverage is so much better. And I love this color. I was afraid I wouldn’t like the brown on but it is gorgeous.

4. One of the highlights of my day was finishing Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. I think I’ll probably review it on here but I absolutely loved it. I thought it was fantastic.

5. I went to a local clothing store today to try on some jeans because my mom wanted birthday and Christmas ideas for her and my grandma and they like to buy me clothes and all I really need this year is a new pair of jeans. But I had no idea what size I need now. So I went out and tried some on and I’m down another size! Happy day, indeed! I tried on the size I’ve been wearing (which I knew was too big) and the next size down and the smaller size is perfect. I’m very happy and I’m going back to zumba now so I see this trend continuing. Go me!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday (ok, Saturday) Five 11/12/11


1. Yeah, ok I missed Friday again. This week was crazy again. I worked my two nights at Second Job and then worked over time at my main job the other days. I’m so tired. I guess I looked like it Thursday night because my coworker offered to switch weeks and sent me home early Thursday night even though it was my turn. She told me to go home and rest. So now I’ll stay late next week. So next week will be a crazy week too. blah

2. I went to zumba this morning. I haven’t been since I got the Second Job since I now work when my usual class is going on. It felt so great to back even though it wasn’t my usual teacher. Class totally kicked my butt. I seriously thought I was going to have to stop for a minute. I’m almost afraid that I may have to go to the doctor to see about an inhaler again. I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma as a kid but haven’t had an inhaler in years (um, wasn’t much exercise going on there for a while). But I loved class. I think I’m going to try to get into the one class my fav instructor does when I can go. I miss her!

3. I’m watching Eclipse as I type this. It is cracking me up. It is so very cheesy. Seriously. Sarah and I will be going to see Breaking Dawn next weekend so I figured I ought to finally watch Eclipse. Sarah and I were never able to make it to the theater to see this one and we were never able to find a time to watch the dvd together. So I’m finally just watching it on my own. It is so awkward.

4. This morning at zumba I ran into the mom of a girl I went to high school with. After class she was talking to me and said she thought it was me but wasn’t sure. She told me that I looked really good and goes “didn’t you have knee problems?” and I said yes and she goes “well, you look really good. Really.” I said thanks and was really happy with the compliment….and then I started wondering – just how bad did I look in high school? lol

5. I watched the preview for Snow White and the Huntsman and I think it looks really good. I’m not a huge Kristen Stewart fan but apparently she’s said some great things about this movie and it does look really good. So I may have to see it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Friday (um, Sunday) Five 11/7/11

1. So I sort of missed posting my Friday Five on Friday. Whoops. Last week was crazy. We’re totally swamped at work so I worked overtime there the days that I didn’t work at Second Job. It was a long week.

2. My birthday is coming up and Doug has to work the late shift that weekend, boo! But I’m off on my actual birthday so we’ll hang in the morning and go to breakfast or something. And then I think Sarah and I will go see Breaking Dawn sometime that weekend.

3. Also, pretty sure Breaking Dawn = train wreck. But we’ve put this much into the series so can’t stop now.

4. I am not going to hit my book goal of 111. I’ve realized this and come to terms with it. After my horrible total last year I’m content with where I am now, so anything extra is just great.

5. A lot of my friends are doing NaNoWriMo right now. I thought about it but I knew November is always such a crazy month for me and had a feeling that it would be worse with my new position and Second Job (looking like I was correct) so I didn’t do it. I wish this happened in January or February when I’m stuck at home due to cold and snow with nothing to do. Maybe I’ll do my own NaNo then.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Five 10/28/11


1. I was off work again today and Doug has been on vacation all week, so we took a little trip up to the bigger city to visit a state park, eat lunch, and look around. We managed to buy a couple of Christmas presents while we were there. We also decided that it seemed too early to be thinking about Christmas and that just the mere thought of all the work involved in the holidays made us tired. So expect to see a little less Christmas spirit in the STCA household this year.

2. I’m not a huge baseball fan but I do love the Cardinals, so I’m fairly excited by the World Series. However I’m mostly annoyed by a coworker’s facebook statuses the last week. She doesn’t like the Rangers but she hates the Cardinals so all of her status updates have been cheering for the Rangers and bashing the Cards. She’s driving me nuts.

3. Speaking of sports, it has been a rough season to be a Colts fan. But last weekend was painful. Painful. Still a fan though and excited to see how the city handles the Super Bowl.

4. There was a post on my online book club this week that basically said girls read books and boys like technology. This made me laugh as this week I’ve: 1. picked up my new (blue) iPod that I won in a charity raffle at work and 2. have started reading a book about Richard Hammond – who is a co-host of the BBC’s Top Gear television program (a show about cars) who talks about cars (and car accidents). And I’m loving the book. So does this mean I’m a boy?

5. I’ve turned Doug into an Adele fan. I love this. He listened to Rolling In The Deep from my suggestion and then Set Fire to the Rain and fell in love. We were talking today about how awesome she is. I absolutely love that he likes her stuff now and she’s something we can listen to together. Also, since we’re both big music people it is so fun to introduce each other to new artists and then see the other one really start to like them. The last one I got to introduce him to was Mumford and Sons. I heard Little Lion Man on the radio and knew he’d love it, he did. At one point I sort of wanted to go into A&R as a career, so maybe this is just a little taste of that. It’s kind of like when I was growing up and I introduced my friend to ‘NSYNC. I’ve always been so helpful, lol.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Five 10/21/11


1. We went to Indianapolis today. I love it there, such a cool city. We went to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum which was awesome. Then we drove through downtown Indy. Apparently there’s a big FFA convention there this week. There were kids in FFA jackets everywhere. Still loved the town though. I really want to live there.

2. Speaking of IMS – Indycar driver Dan Wheldon died last weekend in a big wreck at the race in Las Vegas. I’ve been sadder than I feel I probably should have been consider I  never met the man. But everyone who met him just talks about how nice he was. Plus he has 2 young sons. Such a sad story.

3. We had a big fundraiser at work this week to raise money for a local charity. Part of it involved us getting raffle tickets for doing things like going to a meeting about the charity. You could put your ticket in to win prizes like a TV, an Xbox, an Ipod, etc (we do have to pay taxes for the item). Apparently I won the Ipod (I was off today but a coworker texted me). Yay! I’ve been worried that mine is on its last legs and this one is an 8 GB so I can add more songs.

4. I’ve already started thinking about Thanksgiving. I want to make a pumpkin spice cheesecake and I’ve been thinking about this sweet potato recipe I saw last year on Annie’s Eats. I’m trying to hold off talking to MIL about Turkey Day since I know not everyone plans ahead as much as me.

5. I got called mommy and ma this week at my job at the gym daycare. Apparently both kids call everyone mommy/ma but it was still pretty funny. I also got a nice “hello” from one of my little buddies – when her mom put her down on the floor she came running around to where I was standing and flung her arms around my legs. It was so stinking cute.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Five 10/14/11


Some of my blogger buddies do Friday Five posts, so I thought I’d give it a try.

1. I got a promotion at work last week and officially started the new job this week. I was one of two people to get this new spot – I had to go through an initial evaluation, 2 rounds of testing, and an interview to get it. I was up against people who have been at the company since I was in middle school. So I was a wee bit surprised I actually got it. But I really like the work so far. It’s more of a challenge than what I was doing and I’m kind of excited about that.

2. I put myself on a book buying freeze after my overspending at Borders (which I still need to tell you about!) and Waldenbooks (and one book from Amazon)  last month. Well, I ordered a cd from Amazon for a road trip we’re taking soon and I sort of, kind of, may have added a couple of books to the order. In my defense I’ve wanted these books for a while now but had resisted.

3. I got a part-time job working a few hours a week in the childcare room at our gym. I’ve only been there a few weeks but I really like it. I’ve already made a couple of little buddies in there and I have so much fun playing with them. A couple of them loooooove me, which makes me very happy. I love little kids so this is such a great gig for me.

4. My mom is apparently getting her holiday shopping (and my bday shopping) list in order as she texted me today to ask what size I’m wearing now. I got to tell her a size that is quite a bit smaller than what I told her last year Smile 

5. I’m obsessed with the show Top Gear – both the UK and US versions. My dad is a major car guy so I grew up around cars (weekend outings used to include driving by his friend’s car lot/gas station to see what kind of wrecks he had picked up over the weekend) but I was never really a car person myself. But Doug discovered the UK version on BBC America and the hosts are so funny and interesting that we’re both hooked now and have the DVR set to record the show the 65951446 times it is on during the week. We’ve also been watching the US version on the History Channel and love it just as much. I love me some Tanner Faust so that makes it even better. Seriously, even if you aren’t a car person these shows are so funny I think you should give them a try.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Book Review: The Help

I recently won The Help from Madame Bookworm and could not wait to read it. In fact I literally ripped open the envelope, pulled out the book, and started reading. I’d heard so many great things about this book and the movie previews look really good, so I was excited to read it. And this book did not disappoint.


The Help is about 3 women from Jackson, Mississippi, who join together to do something completely daring, unheard of, and illegal: write a book about what it is really like to be a black woman working for white people in 1962. In Mississippi. If you’ve taken an American History class you should have an idea of why this is such a major undertaking. The women, Skeeter – a white recent college grad who had grudgingly returned home and who dreams of being a writer, Minny – a maid known for her sass – which is not a good quality in a maid, and Aibileen – also a maid who has been thinking a lot about her life following the death of her son.

Together these women convince other maids in the town to tell stories of what they’ve seen while on the job and Skeeter, armed with a lucky break of a contact in New York, works on putting the stories together and sending them off to the big city. However once the book is published the trio goes from worrying about the book being published to worrying about what will happen once the women they’ve written about read the book.

The Help tells the stories of these three women and of those they encounter in their lives – both the other maids and Skeeter’s childhood friends who employ them. Throughout the book the women begin to view their lives in different ways and begin to think about the way things are and how they would like them to be – both on a personal level and in the greater scheme of Civil Rights and human interaction.

My Thoughts

I thought this book did a great job of getting you to think about what these women were going through and what was going on with the Civil Righters movement without ever feeling as though you were being preached at. I really enjoyed how historical events (such as JFK’s assignation) were mentioned in the book – they helped to keep you aware of where you were in time and gave you an idea of what was going on in the world around these characters.

I thought all the characters were very well developed and incredibly interesting. Even the characters who were less important to the plot were very well thought out. I grew incredibly attached to these characters and was so sad when the book was finished. I really wanted the book to keep going so I could see what happened to the characters.

I definitely recommend this book. It is well thought out, has great characters, and is incredibly well written. I cannot wait to see the movie as I’ve heard it is a great adaptation of the book. Overall I think this book is definitely one you should read.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In My Mailbox 09/04/11

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is an opportunity to share any books I have received this week in my mailbox, on my nook, or with my own hands.

Today’s IMM post actually has some books that came in the mail (shocker)! Plus I made 2 trips to Waldenbooks this week (the 2nd trip was to get something for Doug that I didn’t grab the first time).

In The Mail


The Help by Kathryn Stockett – I won this book from Madame Bookworm last month and was really excited when it came in the mail. I’m liking it so far.

A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris – my cousin Heather convinced me to sign up for recently and sent me a credit and this is what I decided to get first. I’ve already read the first book in the Aurora series.

With My Hands

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0831111524 0901111645

These are all from Waldenbooks. Trip one:

I Drink for a Reason by David Cross (this is for Doug)

I’ll Mature When I’m Dead by Dave Barry

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty (read it and loved it but didn’t own it)

I cleaned the store out on Diana Gabladon: Outlander 20th anniversary edition, Dragonfly in Amber, Drums of Autumn, Lord John and the Private Matter. I’ve read all except the Lord John book.

I almost cleaned them out of Jen Lancaster also: Bright Lights Big Ass, Such a Pretty Fat, My Fair Lazy, If You Were Here. All they had left after I was there were 2 copies of If You Were Here. I’ve read all except If You.

I also got Doug a big guitar magazine for $2 Smile

Trip Two:

I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas by Lewis Black

In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks by Adam Carolla. This is for Doug.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I love Dahl growing up (my favorite childhood book is Matilda) and I know I didn’t have a copy of this. So when I saw it for $2 I decided to get it for our phantom future child….ok so maybe it is just for me Smile

I also bought 2 Borders reusable bags for 80 cents each. My reusable bag obsession is almost as bad as my book obsession.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dog Days

Apparently yesterday was National Dog Day – I had no idea! So here’s a belated happy dog day to my little guy.



Sunday, August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox–August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is an opportunity to share any books I have received this week in my mailbox, on my nook, or with my own hands.

This is my first IMM post though I’ve read a ton of them on other blogs. I feel like I have some good books to share so I thought I’d give it a try.

With My Hands:

These are the books I got yesterday from Waldenbooks’ going out of business sale (we don’t have a Borders).

IT by Stephen King – my online book club is reading this for our Halloween book

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares – I used to own this but lost it at some point

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares – haven’t read this one yet

Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris – this is part of the Sookie Stackhouse series. I’ve read this but I borrowed it at the time so I’m trying to fill in the series

Familyhood by Paul Reiser – I loved his other two books so I was really excited to see this.

And I didn’t get these yesterday like the ones above but these are other recent purchases from Waldenbooks:

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris – another book to fill in the Sookie series

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris – this is the newest Sookie book and I actually haven’t read it yet. I’m re-reading the series right now to brush up on what all has happened before I start this one

Awakening and Struggle – Vampire Diaries # 1 and 2 by L.J. Smith – I haven’t read these but have heard a lot of good things about them so since the book was already on sale and then on clearance and ended up being $2.99 I had to get it

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez – I’ve only heard a little about this book but I’ve heard that it is good, so this is another one that I picked up because it was such a good price.

We’re planning to take a trip up to Chicago next spring so I also picked up two travel books: Access Chicago and Not For Tourists Chicago.

On My Nook:

The Dave Grohl Story by Jeff Apter. I’ve been on a Foo Fighters kick since watching them via Livestream from Lollapalooza so when I saw that this was available for the nook I jumped on it. I don’t know a whole lot about Dave Grohl outside all his bands so I’m finding this pretty interesting.


I put all the books away before I decided to do this post, so I promise next time there will be pictures!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Days 21-30

Day 21 – A Song That You Listen to When You Are Happy – Radioactive by Kings of Leon.


Day 22 – A Song That You Listen to When You Are Sad – Break Free by Dave Matthews Band.


Day 23 – A Song That You Want to Play at Your Wedding – Linus and Lucy from Charlie Brown. We had this as our recessional after the ceremony. No one knew about it except for us, the piano player, and my father in law who somehow randomly guessed it. My dad has always been a huge Snoopy and Charlie Brown fan and it rubbed off on me (I had a Charlie Brown ceiling fan growing up) so when we were trying to pick wedding music and needed something for the recessional (I HATE the traditional wedding march – I came in to Canon in D) this popped into my head and Doug loved it. Thankfully our piano player had no problem with it so this it what we did. One of my favorite memories from our wedding is heading up the aisle hearing people whisper “Is this the Charlie Brown Theme?”


Day 24 – A Song That You Want Played at Your Funeral – Bartender by Dave Matthews Band.


Day 25 – A Song That Makes You Laugh – King Tut by Steve Martin. Classic. We saw him in concert in June and he closed with this. It.Was.Amazing.


Day 26 – A Song That You Can Plan On an Instrument – American Overture. It has been a while but this was my favorite concert band song ever so I imagine I could probably still play it after a few minutes alone with the sheet music and my old clarinet.

Bonus – My Favorite Things jazz version. When I was in high school we always played this song in jazz band. Hand me the sheet music and a tenor sax and I think it would come back.


Day 27 – A Song That You Wish You Could Play – Ain’t No Sunshine.


Day 28 – A Song That Makes You Feel Creative and Inspired – One Day by Matisyahu. Mostly because it was the song in the commercials for the last winter Olympics.


Day 29 – A Song From Your Childhood – Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing. Honestly one of my favorite movies growing up. Pretty sure I about wore out the VHS and the cassette tape.


Day 30 – A Song That Makes You Want to Help the World – Raven by Dave Matthews Band.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Look what I found at the local Wal-Mart.


Chobani!! I was grabbing some other yogurt and looked up and – BAM! – there it was. I only let myself get 2 just in case I didn’t like it. I got strawberry and strawberry-banana – which I tore into as soon as I got the groceries put away. And oh goodness gracious is this stuff good. I’m in love.

Dear Chobani, thank you for coming to my neck of the woods.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Days 11-20

See days 1-10 here.

Day 11 – A Song From Your Favorite Band - Recently by Dave Matthews Band.

Day 12 – A Song From a Band (musician) That You Hate – ET by Katy Perry.

Day 13 – A Song That is a Guilty Pleasure – My Humps by Black Eyed Peas. It’s on my gym playlist,

Day 14 – A Song Than No One Would Expect You to Like – Numb/Encore by Jay-Z and Linkin Park.

Day 15 – A Song That Describes You – No Such Thing by John Mayer.

Day 16 – A Song That You Used to Love But Now Hate – You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift.

Day 17 – A Song That You Hear Often on the Radio – The Way You Lie by Eminem and Rihanna.

Day 18 – A Song That You Wish You Heard on the Radio – Give a Little by Hanson.

Day 19 – A Song From Your Favorite Album – Hunger for the Great Light by Dave Matthews Band from Live at Fenway.

Day 20 – A Song That You Listen to When You’re Angry – What You Are by Dave Matthews Band

Saturday, July 23, 2011



I was out in our garden tonight picking the first batch of green beans. It is a fairly small collection but I found tons of little buds just starting that will be ready shortly. We also have 1 pepper starting to grow and one nice medium size tomato. Not bad for our first attempt!


Oh and I had a little helper tonight too. I had Grux out in the yard with me and I was keeping an eye on him to make sure he didn’t get into the basket of beans. Well one time when I looked up he was sticking his head in the basket and there was something green in his mouth. So I told him no and chased him away from the basket and went back to picking. Well, when I picked up the basket to come inside I looked down and there next to the beans was a long blade of grass. Grux wasn’t eating the beans, he was adding his own harvest! Such a silly little guy. Doug and I have determined we have our own little farmer on our hands.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lift It

So I’ve been trying to ramp up my gym routine a bit lately. Other people are starting to notice the results of my work (woohoo!) and I’m totally encouraged to keep kicking it up a notch. I’ve been wanting to start lifting weights and hitting the weight machines but I never really know what to do.

So I got this:

The New Rules of Lifting for Women

I’m a little scared.

I’ve seen this book on quite a few healthy living blogs and finally decided to give it a shot the other day when we made an Amazon order. I haven’t started it yet since it just came in the mail but I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge–Day 1-10


So I started doing the 30 Day Song Challenge on facebook and I thought I share my picks here. So here are days 1-10.


Day 1 – Your favorite song: Crush by Dave Matthews Band. This way hard because I love so many songs but I really, really love this one. So it wins.

Day 2 – Least favorite song: Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus. I hate it so much I refuse to go find the video.

Day 3 – A song that makes you happy: My Sharona by The Knack.

Day 4 – A song that makes you sad: Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler. No video – no sadness here!

Day 5 – A song that reminds you of someone: Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews Band. Reminds me of my awesome husband Smile 

Day 6 – A song that reminds you of somewhere: Two Step by Dave Matthews Band. From Deer Creek. I adore Deer Creek (Noblesville, Indiana – it is the Verizon Wireless Center now but it’ll always be DC!).

Day 7 – A song that remind you of a certain event: Monkey Wrench by Foo Fighters. My first rock concert was Red Hot Chili Peppers with opening act Foo Fighters. I’d been to country music concerts before but this was my first rock show (and my first show with friends and not my mom).

Day 8 – A song that you know all the words to: MMMBop by Hanson.

Day 9 – A song that you can dance to: Canned Heat by Jamiroquai.

Day 10 – A song that makes you fall asleep and feel relaxed (more the relaxed part): Break Free by Dave Matthews Band.

Saturday, June 4, 2011




Happy Saturday! Grux is loving this summer weather we’re having now. We were out watering the garden (more on that soon) and he was chilling in the shade. I walked over to try to snap a picture of him rolling in the grass and he popped up right as I snapped and I caught this. It is so very Grux.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Am Weak



Kendal Knot Wedge

See those? Those are the Kendal Knot Wedge by American Eagle at Payless. Those are not my usual shoe. I’m a ballet flats, Toms, running shoe kind of girl. I’m klutzy and have a hard enough time walking in a straight line barefoot.

So why am I showing these to you? Because I love them. I first saw them on a fashion board I visit – they were posted by someone as an option similar to Kate Middleton’s wedges she was wearing the day after the Royal Wedding. For some reason I fell in love with Kate’s shoes – and my wallet fell for this (much) cheaper option. But I resisted. Clearly I could tell that these shoes were not for me. I mean just looking at that wedge makes me feel wobbly. So I tried to push them out of my head.

But it didn’t work. I didn’t run right out to Payless – mainly because I almost never go to the mall. But they were still in my head. So yesterday after Doug had gone to work and I was heading out to the grocery store I decided to stop by the mall and try these on – fully thinking that I’d try them on and realize it just wasn’t a match made in heaven.

So I stopped. And then I hunted for a shoe that would fit. Apparently I’m losing most of my weight in my feet – this is the second time I’ve had to try on a smaller size. It’s so strange! Anyway I hunted through the racks and at first it looked like I wasn’t even going to be able to try these on. But then there they were – in an 8 1/2 – which is apparently my new size. I put them on and –huzzah! – they were perfect. The were comfortable, they made me feel tall, they looked awesome – crap.

I walked around in them longer than you’re probably really supposed to, just waiting for my feel to start to hurt – they didn’t. Then the salesgirl mentioned how cute they are – thanks, hadn’t noticed. So then I tried my standard test – asking myself if I would regret leaving them in the store – I realized I would. Then I tried to figure out where I’d wear them – work and anywhere slightly dressy this summer since I don’t really have any dressy summer shoes any more. Oh and did I mention they were on sale? Sigh.

So…. I spent yesterday afternoon walking around my house trying to make sure that I won’t fall and break my neck wearing these to work. And I’m amazed to say that they feel great and I seem to be ok in them. It’s been a long time since I’ve worn heels or wedges. High school actually I think. These feel like grown up shoes to me, much more mature than the skater shows I’ve been wearing. So much for my willpower.

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