Sunday, December 30, 2012

Favorite Books of 2012

2012 was not the best reading year for me. I didn’t even make it halfway to my goal – actually I barely hit a quarter of my goal. But, if history is any indication, 2013 should be much better. The last 4 years have been a trend – good year, bad year, good year, bad year – so next year should be a good year.

But, while I didn’t read a lot I did read some very good books. So here, in no particular order, are my favorites of the books I read over the last 12 months. They didn’t all come out in 2012 (I’m so bad about reading new books) but I did read them this year – so they’re going on the list.


Sultry With a Twist and A Shot of Sultry by Macy Beckett – I loved Sultry with a Twist when I read it and was lucky enough to win an ARC of A Shot of Sultry (which comes out 3/1/13). I’ve never really read anything from the romance genre but these are just so good! I totally got sucked into the stories in both books and fell in love with the characters. Macy has a third book coming out in this series and I cannot wait!!

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson – I adored this book. It was by far one of the funniest books I have ever read. And had some of the most touching sections too. This book seemed to take the blog and book world by storm when it came out and I think that happened for good reason. This will definitely be one of those books I read over and over.

Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster – I love Jen Lancaster. I will pre-order every book she writes from now on (I pre-ordered this one). I totally think Jen and I could be bff – she says the things I think and I love her for it. This book was fantastic. As someone who has sort of grown up kicking and screaming the last few years I could totally relate to the premise of this book.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – This may be one of the most recommended books I’ve ever read. So many people said to read this and I’m glad I listened! I loved the story, the setting, and the time period. I didn’t know much about Hemingway going in to this but I really want to learn more since finishing this.

Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran – This book was recommended by some of my book club friends and as soon as I heard what it was about I knew I’d love it. I adore everything about Marie Antoinette and that time period so I knew this would be a hit. And it was! I found this fascinating and could barely put it down. I definitely recommend this!

Bossypants by Tina Fey – I really like Tina Fey – she’s funny, smart, and not afraid to play with the boys – and she kicks ass doing it. This book was funny and so enjoyable to read. I’m really glad I picked this one up.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

In My Mailbox 10/7/12

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 in my hands.

This weekend was the used book sale at my local library, though I didn’t know this until late Saturday morning. I had actually convinced myself I didn’t need to go but then I drove by while running errands and there was a parking spot and next thing I knew I was walking in. I had no luck in the room with the regular books but did score a few things from the kids/young adult room.

So here’s what I got:


The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; The Horse and His Boy; The Silver Chair  – C.S. Lewis

I was somehow not aware that there were multiple books with this although I swear I read this as a kid. I didn’t get the whole series (just books 1, 2, 3 & 6) so I’ll need to fill in but for $0.50 a book I couldn’t resist. I’m excited to read them and they’ll be great to have in any future little bookworm’s library.

Just as Long as We’re Together – Judy Blume

I adored Judy Blume as a kid. I’ve read all of her books, many multiple times. I actually remember reading and having this book but I’m not sure if it is still in a box somewhere or not so I decided to grab it. If nothing else I may pass it on to the bestie’s daughter when she’s older Smile

sloppy firsts – Megan McCafferty

I adore this series. I read them originally as library books (except the last one) so when I saw this in a box I stood there debating whether or not I had this. I finally decided that I didn’t *think* I had it and, if I did, oh well, it was $0.50. Well, turns out I do have this. So, anyone need a copy of this?

Not a bad haul for $3.00, right?

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I saw this on my friend Jessica’s blog and thought it sounded like fun and I immediately wanted to play.


Just like Jessica I’m currently loving something music related – Away From the World by Dave Matthews Band. This came out on the 11th and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve listened to it since then. It is so good. These two songs are currently fighting it out to be my favorite:

If you watch college football you might recognize Rooftop; I know they were playing parts of it going into commercials during the Notre Dame/Michigan State game.


I’m currently re-reading Eat Pray Love. Again. I pretty much read this once a year. I adore this book and when I’m in a reading funk or just can’t find something that interests me I put this out. Sadly the Italy section is my favorite (shocker) so I find myself losing interest during India and Indonesia this time.

I have decided that I’m going to finally face my fear and tackle IT as my scary read for the fall/Halloween season. It’s pretty big and I’ve been a slow reader lately so I’ll probably start it soon.


I’m loving Go On. It was one of the few new shows I’m interested in this year and so far it isn’t disappointing. I hope it does well because I’ll be sad if it gets cancelled. I love Matthew Perry; Chandler was my favorite Friend and I really liked Fools Rush In when I was a kid (I was strange). I think he’s really great in this role and I love the supporting characters. If you haven’t watched it yet give it a try!


thinking about

November! We’re hosting Thanksgiving for the first time so I’ve already started planning and thinking about numerous things – do I have the right dishes? what sides should we make? where can I find more cute placemats? do we have enough chairs? what sweets should I make? etc. Thankfully Doug is just as excited/nervous about this as I am so he’s right there with me making tons of lists and excel charts… ok, only I make excel sheets.

Also, I think I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year. I tried a couple of years ago and failed horribly. But a lot of m friends have been writing lately so I have a ton of support and I have a few ideas  floating around in my head. So I think I’m going for it.

Finally, November means my birthday. I’m not nearly as excited about birthdays as I used to be but my loved ones insist on acknowledging the day still ;P so what can I do? Originally I had told Doug that I wanted to go see DMB for my birthday. There was a rumor that they were going to be touring this fall and that they’d be very close to us a few weeks before my birthday. But now it seems that isn’t actually happening so I’m going to have to come up with something else. Oh, and Grux’s birthday is in November too, so we’ll have to celebrate that too.


Putting out my fall decorations. A few houses in the ‘hood already have pumpkins, mums, scarecrows, etc out but my summer flowers are still hanging in there so it feels wrong to bust out the fall stuff yet. Plus I spent enough on those dang flowers I want to get my money’s worth.


For a change. I’m a little sick of the day to day thing I’ve got going on. I want a challenge, something that really requires me to use my brain. Some days I honestly think a monkey could do my job.

making me happy

My boys. Seriously, my husband and my dog are the best things to ever happen to me. My  husband can make me laugh no matter what’s going on. He’s totally my partner in crime. Last night I stumbled on the Rolling Stone list of the top 100 artists and was reading it to him and cracking up at some of the comments we were both making. And Grux is just as good at making me feel better. I came home at lunch the other day totally stressed out and on the verge of a breakdown and he just went nuts. Running all over the place, flinging his toys around, getting in to his “I’m going to get you” crouch and then giving me this big goofy grin with his tongue hanging out. All I could do was stand in the kitchen doorway and try not to fall over from laughing so hard. So, yeah, my guys make me happy.

Also, my book club girls. Someone stumbled on to yet another fanfic that was made into a book and how much the author made so I announced that I was going to start writing fanfic (no, not really). Well, this lead to a bunch of us tweeting fake fanfic relating to a certain vampire series. In the confines of a tweet no less. I was cracking up so hard. It was fantastic. I adore my friends.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Book Review–Let’s Pretend This Never Happened


Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

From Goodreads:

For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris-Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut.
When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father (a professional taxidermist who created dead-animal hand puppets) and a childhood of wearing winter shoes made out of used bread sacks. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.
Lawson's long-suffering husband and sweet daughter are the perfect comedic foils to her absurdities, and help her to uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments-the ones we want to pretend never happened-are the very same moments that make us the people we are today.
Let's Pretend This Never Happened is a poignantly disturbing, yet darkly hysterical tome for every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud. Like laughing at a funeral, this book is both irreverent and impossible to hold back once you get started.

My Thoughts:

I have to admit something: I had never read Lawson’s blog before I read this book. I’d heard of the blog and knew of some stories from other blogs and Twitter but I’d never actually checked out the blog. I now realize this was a horrible mistake and am working to correct this.

This book, much like Lawson’s blog, is amazing. I laughed; I came close to crying; I decided I wanted to be bff’s with Lawson. This book had me cracking up multiple times. I even read “the funny parts” to Doug, which means I read him almost the entire book. The only parts that aren’t funny aren’t really supposed to be funny.

Lawson touches on some mental health issues, health issues, and a few other no-so-funny issues (I don’t want to give anything away) but yet she’s able to come right back and be funny again – usually in the same paragraph.

I was able to relate a lot to Lawson, especially when she talked about not being popular and learning to embrace her weirdness. Topics I definitely have dealt with. But she did it with such humor and there was definitely a feeling of laughing with her and not at her.

This is definitely in the top 5 as far as books I’ve read this year and up there on the best books I’ve read, period. Doug has really enjoyed the parts I’ve read to him and has been cracking up right along with me. I definitely recommend this book – and Lawson’s blog! Just be careful that your tears of laughter don’t get on your e-reader.

Image from Goodreads

Sunday, July 1, 2012

In the Mail: Target Beauty Bag


So the summer Target Beauty Bag came the other day and I have to say that is a great way to cheer up a rather crappy day. Cute beauty products for free? Yes please!

This is my second ever beauty bag as I did get the spring one a couple months ago. I loved that one too.

I’ve seen posts about these bags on Facebook and some blogs and I’ve seen people asking about what is in them so I thought I would show you all what was in the bag I got.



The bag is a cute blue printed bag. I’m not sure what it is made of but it is more of a linen feel.

At the top is a booklet of Target coupons for beauty products. Then the samples are:

Aveeno Living Color Color Preserving Shampoo and Conditioner

Garnier Fructis Color Shield Shampoo and Condition

Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter in Peach Parfait

TRESemme Split Remedy Shampoo (black bottle)

Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry Touch Sunblock in SPF 70


I don’t have colored hair so I may give those samples to my mom or mother in law but I’m really excited to try the Split Remedy Shampoo. I’m also really excited to try the lip butter because I’ve heard really good things about that product. And the sunblock will definitely get used because I got a horrible sunburn in Milwaukee a couple weeks ago and definitely got a reminder about the importance of sunblock.

So did anyone else get a beauty bag? Anyone planning to try to get the fall one if there is one? I know I will!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day 2012!


Happy Earth Day all! Anyone doing anything special today? I’m staying home (no running my car) and trying to use as little energy as possible. Sadly it isn’t warm enough to take advantage of my clothes line but I am using my dryer balls to try to make my clothes dryer more efficient.

If you missed them here are links to my Earth Day posts from last year.

Earth Day Tips

Earth Day Books

Earth Day Resources

Monday, April 9, 2012


I found this little ABC quiz on Really Renata and thought it was cute.

Age: 26, blech

Bedsize: Queen.

Chores that you hate: Dusting

Dogs: Grux – Jack Russell

Essential start to your day: Contact lenses – seeing is helpful

Favorite color: Red

Gold or Silver: Silver.

Height: 5 feet. 6 inches

Instruments you play: Clarinet and tenor saxophone

Job title: e-advocate

Kids: Just Grux

Live: Illinois

Mother's Name: Connie

Nicknames: Kay, KayKay, kiki

Overnight hospital stays: None. Knock on wood

Pet peeves: Busy work, people who run red lights

Quote from a movie or tv show: "When I was growing up, I knew I was different. The other girls were blonde and delicate, and I was a swarthy six-year-old with sideburns.” (My Big Fat Greek Wedding)

Right or Lefty: Righty.

Siblings: None

Time you wake up: 4:40 on weekdays, 8 ish on weekends

Underwear: um, yes please

Vegetable you hate: Celery. ick

What makes you run late: Twitter, lol

X-Rays You've Had: collar bone, elbow, ankle (probably 3 times at least), knee, lungs, stomach/intestines, teeth

Yummy food you make: chicken enchiladas, lasagna

Zoo Animal: Penguins

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday Six 4/7/12

Sorry for the radio silence lately. Life exploded (crazy work schedule, trip to Indy, my grandma passed away, and we both got a nasty stomach bug) and then I hit a bit of a rut (a book rut, writing rut, blogging rut, life rut). But life is settling back down (again) so how about a Saturday Six to get back in the blogging swing of things?

1. Allergies. I have them. And hate them. I actually had to call in this week because I felt so bad I thought my head was going to explode. Not a fun way to feel.

2. Spiders. I have them too. For some reason we’ve had a ton of these little quarter sized off-white/tan colored spiders. Doug sprayed around the house but we’ve still seen a few. I actually went to pull out a measuring cup to make Easter dessert earlier and there was one in the cup!! Ahhhhh!! Not cool.

3. So my favorite rock star – Stefan Lessard from Dave Matthews Band. Has started following some of his fans on Twitter. I got followed today. I am a happy girl!

4. We decided this week that we are going to go to an IndyCar race this summer. I cannot wait. We went to an IndyCar fan thing in February and I got to meet a few of my favorite drivers and had so much fun. There is such a great group of fans for this sport and I love being part of it.

5. On that note – I’m not going to get to see DMB in concert this summer. I am bummed. Doug can only request time off so far out and by the time he was able to request and it was approved there were only single seat tickets left. We prefer seats over lawn (Doug’s not a big lawn fan) so we decided to go with the race instead. I’m excited about the race but kind of bummed about the concert. However I am still keeping an eye out for any ticket giveaways Smile

6. I’m in a major book rut. The last few things I’ve read have actually been Jen Lancaster books – which I’ve already read. I have quite a few books I’ve never read on my shelves but nothing is jumping out at me. I’ve written down a few titles that my book blogging friends have mentioned lately so I may look into those. I’m ready to get lost in a good book again.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Five 2/3/12

1. Wow, an actual Friday Five post – shocking! I blame the bazillion hours of overtime I’ve been working for my lack of posting. We’ve seriously had overtime all but 2 weeks since Thanksgiving. I’m so drained and so over being in the office. I’m sick of the site of my cube walls.

2. Even with all the overtime I’ve still been making time to hit the gym. My gym is doing this challenge where you get a point for every 30 minutes of exercise you do and each week you have to have a certain number of points and the total increases each week. This is week 3 and so far so good! I’ve been going to zumba class twice a week, hitting the treadmill, and I started using some of the weight machines. This weekend the gym is starting a cardio kickboxing class and I’m planning on going. My zumba instructor went to the trial class and she said it was hard but awesome. So I’ll report back if I actually make it and survive!

3. I’ve also been managing to get some reading in. So far I’ve read 5 books – including my first book for the Presidential Challenge. I’m currently reading The Paris Wife and then I’m going to start the next president book. It is pretty big so I’m a little nervous!

4. I just watched the first episode of Big Bang Theory with Amy Farrah Fowler. I really like her character and think she is hilarious. Bazinga!

5. I’m excited for the Super Bowl. Not because I like either team (I don’t) but because it is Indianapolis – which I love. It sounds like Indy has been doing a great job so far with all the pre-game activities (have you seen the zipline?!) and they’ve even included IndyCars by painting them up in NFL team colors. I really wish I could go and check everything out!


Anyone planning to watch the game? Who are you rooting for?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Book Review–Bossypants

From Goodreads:

In her acceptance speech for Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Tina Fey announced that she was proud to make her home in "the 'not-real America'." It is perhaps that healthy sense of incongruity that makes the head writer, executive producer, and star of NBC's Emmy Award-winning 30 Rock such a cogent observer of the contemporary scene. Bossypants, her entertaining new memoir, shows that strangeness has been her constant companion. Fey's stories about her childhood in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania are only appetizers for LOL forays into her college disasters, honeymoon catastrophes, and Saturday Night Live shenanigans. Most funny read of the month; the best possible weekend update.

My Thoughts:

I loved this book. I knew a little bit about Fey's background but I learned a lot about her from this book. It was really neat to see how she's worked her way up to where she is now. I think her sense of humor came across really well in this book.

I’ve always been a fan of Fey (not a mega fan really just a fan) and I love how she was such a big part of SNL and now with 30 Rock – she shows that a woman can totally be funny and in charge in entertainment. I liked getting to read about that part of her life but I also really enjoyed reading about her marriage and motherhood. I don’t have a child yet but I sort of feel like the way she feels about her child and being a mother is similar to how I will feel someday. And I loved when she was talking about all the things she was having to do during the week she was getting ready for her daughter's birthday party – I thought she was very funny in explaining how major all of these events were in her life while showing the humor of “yes, I know this really isn’t important to anyone else".”

I really hope Fey writes another book someday. And I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a fun and funny read.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Run Dancer

This was in the comics section of yesterday’s paper and it made me crack up because it is so me. There’s a reason I don’t have any Broadway songs on any of my gym playlists – I would totally do this.

Dustin Cartoon for Jan/08/2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

In My Mailbox 1/8/12

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 in my hands.

Library Books -


Madame Tussaud – Michelle Moran

The Paris Wife – Paula McLain

His Excellency – Joseph J Ellis (this is for the Presidential Challenge

We also have a large pile of wood working books as Doug is getting into this hobby. Some of them look pretty cool.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Five 1/6/12


1. I’m so glad it is Friday. We’ve had mandatory overtime at work this week and it has really worn me out. I pulled 10 hour day today and then ran around for 2 hours running errands (with more to do tomorrow) and I am so beat. But I’m trying to stay awake to hang out with Doug tonight. I think it may take more tea…. Also, since I’m so worn out, the rest of this post will be mostly photos.

2.  This is what I’m reading right now. I am really loving it. So good!

3. This was one of our presents from my parents. I drink a ton of tea (see #1) and it is so handy to have this to make a quick pitcher of yummy goodness.

4. This is one of my favorite zumba routines. We haven’t done it in a while but my instructor brought it back Tuesday night which made me very happy. I have no idea who any of these people are but the routine is basically the same one we do.

5. Tweets and pictures are starting to pop up on Twitter from some of the IndyCar drivers I follow about getting ready for the upcoming season. This makes me very happy! The season (and the highlight –May!) isn’t all that far away now!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Apparently I’m 12



Those would be Powerpuff Girl gloves. And that would be my hand while pumping gas after zumba tonight. Yeah, I still bust out my PG gloves every so often. What can I say, I’m a kid at heart. Also, it was like 25 degrees out.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Start Something That Matters Winner


The winner of the Start Something That Matters giveaway is Crystal!

Crystal said...

I want to open a Bookery - a bakery/book store - and would help support literacy

Crystal send me your address and I’ll get your book to you!



I used to draw the winner for this giveaway.

I was given 2 copies of this book as part of the Books for Bloggers program – one to review and one to giveaway. This book is written by Blake Mycoskie who is the founder of TOMs shoes. All thoughts expressed about this book are my own.

Sunday, January 1, 2012



Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and fun time last night and is looking forward to a great 2012!

I thought I’d share some of my goals for 2012 (I don’t like the word resolutions) just to give you an idea of what I’m hoping to accomplish this year (and to keep myself on track!).

My goals for 2012:

- Read 100 books (I ended with 76 in 2011!)

- Read 12 books for the Presidential Challenge (more on this soon)

- Read 12 classics in 2012 (again, more soon)

- Get our finances in order

- Organize and deep clean our house and keep it that way

- Get my camera out more and become a better photographer

- Continue to go to Zumba at least 2x a week while also expanding into other types of workouts (I’m looking at you NROLFW and C25K!)

- Write more (including blogging)

So, that’s my list of things I plan to do or focus on this year. I may add more throughout the year as things come to me but I think that’s a pretty good start!

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