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.

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