6.28.2019

3 things



Just a heads up...from now on, my blog is going to be strictly made up of Myspace survey-type posts that I've stolen from Rebecca, because lemme tell you something. It's 4:30 pm. It's 95 degrees outside. I'm zapped from the one hour of outside time I managed earlier, I've given up on keeping my 4yo away from the TV, and I'm trying to busy my hands so I don't eat a donut. I foresee this being the situation for the rest of the summer. 

Three things I lost my MIND over this week
1. Seeing the Avett Brothers with one of my best friends. It was the best night.
2. I listened to my very first Jonas Brothers song this week. I've made it this long before succumbing to the fandom. 
3. There's a farmhouse down the street that looks exactly the way I imagine Green Gables--white with a green roof and green shutters. The other day I saw the woman who lives there (riding a vintage tractor, no less), and she has red hair. ANNE SHIRLEY LIVES.

Three signs I'll never hang in my house
1. *rolls up sleeves* WHERE TO BEGIN?! Those scripty "gAtHeR" signs that everyone hangs in their dining rooms. I HATE word art, which is ironic when you consider how much I love words and reading. Might as well hang up "POOP" over the toilet. 
2. My all-time favorite slogan to hate, Live Laugh Love. There was a vinyl decal of that on our living room wall before we bought the house. The first thing I did after closing was tear it down. If we had a fireplace, I would've burned it. 
3. Basically any kind of cheesy saying you can find on reclaimed barn wood at Hobby Lobby. I do make an exception for the wooden sign with the lyrics to Amazing Grace that's hanging in G's room. 

Three things I neglected this week
1. Mopping the kitchen/mud room floor. Taking the term mud room seriously, because there are muddy footprints everywhere and I've given up.
2. Making a dentist appointment. Every day I wake up and tell myself THIS will be the day I call and make an appointment. Nope.
3. Weeding the flowerbeds. It's either been raining or 100 degrees. 

Three things I've tried recently
1. This Pink Lemonade dip. So refreshing! 
2. Allie Stuckey's podcast Relatable. I loved it.
3. Going on a walk mid-day sans sunscreen. 0/10 stars, would not recommend. 

Three house things I hate doing
1. Doing the dishes. We don't have a dishwasher, and at this point I'd rather do 12 loads of laundry a day than one load of dishes. 
2. Mopping the floor (see above)
3. Cleaning the bathroom.

Three things I wear all the time
1. Striped tees
2. Jeans
3. Birks

Three things I never wear
1. I could leave everything Rebecca had previously. Heels. They're a device of torture, and I'm already taller than everyone I know.
2. Cold-shoulder tees and crop tops----please stop taking fabric away from me and trying to charge the same price.
3. Belts



Three books on my kindle waiting to be read
1. I don't think I have anything waiting on my kindle, but my nightstand is another story. Digital Minimalism
2. Waiting for Tom Hanks
3. One Summer

Three things I have to do but don't feel like doing
1. Organize the toy chaos 
2. Meal plan
3. Call and have mulch delivered 

Three things I'm looking forward to 
1. The 4th of July
2. Visiting my parents 
3. FALL. I love summer more than I used to, but when it's this hot, I get heat exhaustion just looking out the window.  But then I think about preschool germs and *try* to enjoy the heat.

6.19.2019

all about books



I'm stealing this from Rebecca! I can never pass up an opportunity to talk about books 


What book has been on your shelf the longest?

I have no idea. I still have some books from my high school english classes. Actually, no. I just remembered I have Left Behind on my shelf. I read the entire series when I was 11. I have no idea why I still have that book, but I can't get rid of it for some reason.

What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Last night I started Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers. Before that, I read Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman. The reviews aren't stellar, but I LOVED it. Next, I'll probably read Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday. I've been anxious to read it, but I'm struggling to get into nonfiction lately. 

What Books Did Everyone Like, but You Hated?

Girl, Wash Your Face, Me Before You, The Catcher in the Rye, and the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Hated them all with a fiery passion. I read the Harry Potter series and was definitely entertained, but I just don't understand the all-consuming obsession.


What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Fantasy is not my thing!

What book are you saving for retirement?

WHO SAVES BOOKS?!

Last page: read it first or wait ’til the end?

I used to flip to the end to make sure everything worked out alright. Now, the thought of a spoiler gives me hives!

Acknowledgment: waste of paper and ink or interesting aside?

I have no opinion on this. I'll skim it occasionally, but I don't really care. It's only interesting for the people who are mentioned.

Which book character would you switch places with?

Anne of Green Gables. I love her life (throughout the whole series, not necessarily the first book) and the way she lives it.

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (place, time, person)?

The Little House on the Prairie books. I still remember reading them under the covers with a flashlight when I was a kid, and then reading them again a few years ago. Honestly, I'm ready to go through the whole series again. Anne, too!

Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

Umm...hmmm. I have a whole shelf of books I found in a used bookstore, one being a 1914 Louisa May Alcott book. I also have a Latin primer from the late 1800s. My college roommate found it somewhere and gave it to me when I was studying Latin. 

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason/to a special person?

Oh yes, many times! 

Which book has been with you to the most places?

My Bible? I have no idea.

Any ‘required reading’ you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later.

Well, it took more than two years, since I studied English in college and therefore had to suffer through lots of required reading that I hated. I reread The Great Gatsby as an adult, and while it will never be my favorite book, I liked it a lot more. I still need to reread To Kill a Mockingbird. I was so bored when we read it in school. I'm the worst, I know. I still hate Shakespeare, and that will never change. I've read a few books as an adult that I didn't read in high school, but that are common required reading in HS (Jane Eyre, 1984, The Grapes of Wrath, etc). I'm glad I waited till I was an adult and could fully appreciate them.
Used or brand new?

Either. I love cracking open a brand new book, but old books are a favorite of mine. 
Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Nope.
Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?
Brooklyn. Didn't care for the book, but I LOVED the movie. 

Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

Yes. Lunch in Paris & Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard made me salivate. 

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

My friend Ashley. She never steers me wrong. I also love AnneMarie's and Elena's reviews. I've picked up a lot of suggestions from them and always love them. 

Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g. outside of your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

1984. That sort of book was way out in left field for me at the time I read it, but it blew me away.


Now tell me your answers! I want to know.

6.16.2019

many micro book reviews

(that title reminds me of the Many Mumbling Mice warm up song my high school choir teacher always made us sing...anyone else?)

This will come as no surprise to anyone, but I've read a crud ton of books lately. I've gotten so behind in writing about them, that I'm just I'm going to bust out a bunch of short reviews. That's probably for the best, as I tend to get a bit long-winded about books. If I could, I would write a long essay about every single book I read. It's a problem. 



The Library Book by Susan Orlean--3 stars: This book is *technically* about the unsolved 1986 fire that destroyed the Los Angeles library. This book is also about the role of libraries in society, the history of libraries, every single librarian LA has had, etc. It was both captivating and super boring. Read if you deeply love your library, but be aware you'll come away as a bit of an expert on arson and Los Angeles in general.

For fans of: The episode of The Office where Dwight sings about Ryan starting the fire, libraries, books about books, reading about reading





Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid--4.5 stars: I LOVED THIS BOOK. If you care at all about books, you've probably seen or heard this one everywhere. It's about a fictional band in the 70s and their meteoric rise to fame during the time of sex, drugs, and rock and roll and all that goes with it. Warnings: constant, and I do mean constant, drug references. It's true to the time I suppose, but it is hard to read. Also--it will physically pain you that you can't hear the songs referenced. However, Spotify does have a playlist based on the book, and that helps. Double also--my review of this was published in Marie Claire, which was a very fun surprise. 

For fans of: Fleetwood Mac, praying for the reunion of The Civil Wars, Intervention, Rehab by Amy Winehouse, the movie Bohemian Rhapsody



Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith--2 stars: I need to stop reading her books, because we just have a completely different style in all things in life. She has some good tips and I did get a few ideas, but the farmhouse industrial Chip & Joanna whitewashed everything is NOT for me. If it is, you might love this.

For fans of: shiplapped ceilings (but please don't be, because then you just look like you're living in a coffin), "Pinning with passion," Fixer Upper, everything that's devoid of color 






An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen--3 stars:
This book straight-up stressed me out. A girl steals someone's spot in a psychology study, thinking she can make some easy cash. It turns into a completely invasive, all-consuming experiment that turns her life upside down. I was definitely entertained, but it was not my favorite book. I can't even remember how it ends! 

For fans of: thrillers, Gone Girl, creepy doctors, stress-eating chocolate







The Greatest Love Story Ever told by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally--2 stars:
I'm probably the worst kind of fan, because I'm always bummed when I remember Nick Offerman isn't actually Ron Swanson. This book is supposed to be about their love story, and it is to an extent, but it also felt a lot like a memoir of their careers. Which is fine. But that's not what I came here for! The book was mostly a dialogue between the two of them, so I think it would've been better in audio format. Regardless, they were super crude and it just wore on me after awhile. They are a bit like Ron and Tammy in real life, but Nick came across a little like Jeremy Jamm which was a disappointment. 

For fans of: reading celebrity interviews in magazines, The Actor's Life by Jenna Fischer, gross sex jokes





It's a Love Story: From Happily to Ever After by Lincee Ray--4 stars:
I got to be on the launch team for this one which was really fun. This book was a pleasure to read. I expected it to be mostly about love and dating, and there was some of that, but she also talked about places and experiences we love, too. She wrote about some of her mortifying dating experiences, and it was hysterical. My all-time favorite chapter (of possibly any book ever) was the chapter where she listed ideas for future Hallmark Christmas Movies. I was howling.

For fans of: Why I Hate Green Beans, embarrassing moments, a memoir by someone who isn't famous and pretentious




Becoming by Michelle Obama--3.5 stars: I could get really long-winded with this one. Politically, the Obamas and I do not agree on a lot. But I have a lot of respect for Michelle Obama, and I loved the insight into her career, life as a mom, and trials of being the wife of a politician. She addressed some of the scandals of Obama's first presidential campaign, many of which I remember from the news, and to hear what was happening behind the scenes was fascinating. I loved reading about her garden project in the White House and how she handled life as the First Lady. I happened to read part of this while we were in Chicago, and that was perfect timing since she talked a lot about her time there. I will say I thought the first half was a bit boring, but that's probably my own issue since the childhood section of any memoir tends to bore me. 

For fans of: all things politics and presidential, Them by Ben Sasse, life in the White House



The Wife Between us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen--4 stars: Now this was my kind of thriller. I'm really tired of the mentally unstable, alcoholic narrators in most thrillers, but for some reason it just worked this time. Every time I thought I had things nailed down, the story would turn upside down and I would be back to square one. I don't even know how to describe this, because to be honest I still don't know how many people were involved. There's an ex-wife, a man, and a fiance. I think. And shenanigans ensue. 

For fans of: Girl on the Train, realizing you're not as smart as you think you are





Valencia and Valentine by Suzy Krause--4 stars: I loved this book. Valencia has some intense OCD, and reading that would normally not be my thing, but she comes across quirky and endearing and you find yourself rooting for her. She works as a debt collector and absolutely hates it but has resigned herself to it, until she starts getting sweet phone calls from a man. Mrs. Valentine befriends the girl cleaning her apartment and tells her the story of her whirlwind romance with her deceased husband. The writing is what makes this book. The charm of the writing would have me chuckling during a sad scene. It was sad and it was sweet and I wish I could write that well.

For fans of: Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine, The Rosie Project, cheeky writing, friendship




The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid--1 star
: I've heard nothing but rave reviews for this book, and after reading Daisy Jones, I had high hopes. Unfortunately, it went the way of You Before Me and I just about hated it. Evelyn Hugo is an old Hollywood star, and the book tells the story of her love affairs. It was trashy and crude and almost all the characters were terrible people.  The ending made me rage. There was really nothing redeeming about it at all, which is so sad because I think it could've been amazing. Take this with a grain of salt because I'm pretty much the only person to feel this way.

For fans of: Old Hollywood and terrible people





The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer--4.5 stars:
Whoo boy, this book. I read it over Memorial Day Weekend, and it was a great reminder of how different life could've been for us. This one came close to The Nightingale for me. It follows Alice and Alina. Alina lives on a farm in 1940s Poland during the German Occupation. In 2019, Alice is her granddaughter and the mother of a nonverbal autistic son. As Alina nears the end of her life, Alice travels to Poland for her to find answers and give her closure on her war years. According to the author, it's based on her family history, which is amazing. This was a 5 star book for me until the end, when I stopped feeling sad and just felt annoyed that the author was trying to make it as agonizing as possible. It felt like emotional overkill and I lost interest. It's not ALL sad, and I still highly recommend it.

For fans of: WWII novels, We Were The Lucky Ones, a good perspective-adjuster 




The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay--4.5 stars--
This book was an absolute delight and one of my favorites of the year so far. It felt a lot like a Hallmark movie in that an uptight, big shot lawyer from Chicago inherits a dying small-town bookshop. The two bookshop employees are dealing with their own heartbreaks, and the three of them slowly become friends, melting the heart of the cranky lawyer. There's also a handsome doctor. The perfect book for a rainy day or when you just need a comfort read. 

For fans of: You've Got Mail, The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan, books about books, reading about reading, How to Find Love in a Bookshop





The River by Peter Heller--3 stars: I came very close to quitting this book after the first few pages, because his writing style is AWFUL to me. He would write entire paragraphs with NO PUNCTUATION. It's like he didn't know you can use a comma to join clauses!!! I had a heart attack. Anyway. I pushed through and really enjoyed the story. Two friends go on a wilderness adventure together, canoeing a--you guessed it--river. Everything is going well until they realized the forest next to the river is on fire. As they try to escape the wildfire, they find an injured woman and a crazy man who may or may not be a murderer. Things get wild, no pun intended. Having nearly lost everything to a wildfire as a kid, the story gripped me so much I actually managed to look past his poor grammatical choices (either that or his writing improved). I'm not so sure I liked the ending, but this is a story that will stick with me.

For fans of: outdoorsy stuff (this may make you an indoor cat, though), a good reminder to never forget your phone, stream of consciousness writing


I've been reading a serious amount of thrillers this year, which is weird for me because they've never really been my thing. For whatever reason, that's what I've been in the mood for. I might need to take a break from them, because I've had more than my fair share of nightmares this week. I'm currently reading Something in the Water, which is really good so far. I needed a break from Stiff. Reading about dead bodies is fun and all, but I can only handle so much at a time. I currently have about 20 books on my nightstand right now. It's out of control.

What have you been reading?

6.06.2019

currently, june edition



I haven't written one of these posts in ages. I came here to write up some book reviews that I'm super behind on, but writing about small, happy, inconsequential things sounded like a better use of my time.

watching: That 70s Show. We turned it on a few weeks ago, and now we've been rewatching the whole series. Judge me all you want, but this kind of stupid silly humor is exactly what I need at the end of the day.


via GIPHY

We also watched They Shall Not Grow Old over the weekend. It's a documentary of WWI. The videos are real footage of the war, and it's colorized. PLUS, they had commentary through the entire thing taken from old interviews with the actual soldiers. One of the best things I've ever seen, and surprisingly funny at times.

listening to: The Shrink Next Door podcast. If you liked Dr. Death or Dirty John, this is for you. Also Sheologian's episode on the Enneagram. They ramble way too much and take 20 minutes to get to the point, but the info is on fire. My friend told me about Mean Book Club, specifically because they do an episode of Girl, Wash Your Face. It's rated PG-13 (at least) and I'm only halfway through, but I was CACKLING.

cooking: these veggie & cheese stuffed shells. I made a loaf of french bread and cut up some watermelon to go with it. I've been super lazy with dinners lately with all the traveling and such, so I was pumped to actually make a decent meal. G said it was disgusting, but that just means more for James and me.

thinking about: how nice life can be. I mean, it's really hard and stressful things happen, but I've really been trying to take 1 Thessalonians 4:11 to heart, and I feel so much peace when I live that way, taking care of my friends and family and remembering how I used to long for a family and house of my own.

...reading that back made me feel like I was describing someone in the Duggar family. Ha! NOT what I meant at all.

reading: Stiff by Mary Roach. It's all about what happens to dead bodies when they're donated to science. It's both hilarious and horrifying. Some chapters are boring, and some are incredibly fascinating. I'm in a bit of a reading lag and it's taking me forever to get through.

loving: my parents visited this past weekend and it was so fun. My dad helped us get some stuff done around the house and my mom fixed all my knitting mistakes. I hate living so far from them, but it's so fun when they visit.

knitting: lots of baby blankets. Most of my friends are pregnant/were pregnant recently, and all of them are having boys. I've been a knitting machine. I wish I could make blankets for all of them, but I would be knitting around the clock for two years if that were the case.

laughing about: recently I was running errands with G, and she walked up to a stranger and said "Hi! Spanish!" Then she looked at me and said "Did you hear that, mama? I speak Spanish now! Bonjour!" She cracks me up all day long.

playing: MY PIANO. My parents have had my great-aunt's Depression-era piano that's been earmarked for me since birth. It's the piano I learned on, but due to moves and housing issues, I haven't had it in my own home until they brought it back for me last weekend. I feel like my whole, true self again. AND I found piano music online for a few songs I've been listening to, and to sit down and actually play them brought tears to my eyes.

snacking on: sweet chili pistachios

5.28.2019

little letters

Callie tagged me on IG to write some letters. I used to write these all the time, but it's been awhile and I thought it would be fun to try again.


Dear Previous Owners of our House,

Y'all be psycho. THREE layers of wallpaper in the hallway? Three? And two of them are the same pattern but different colors. Why?! Honestly, I would've preferred that avocado green wallpaper on the bottom to the burlap layer on top. Also an extra special thanks for the drywall damage we found hiding behind it all. It terrifies me what we would find under the wallpaper that you painted over that we do not have the mental fortitude to deal with yet. We already know you've tried to cover various sins up in the bathroom, but I need to grow stronger in Jesus before I face that situation.

While we're chatting, care to comment on the blood spatters we found under the kitchen floor last summer? All the neighbors told me you were a delightful woman, but if walls could talk, I have a hunch mine would have a different opinion.

Sincerely,
Anxious & Annoyed


Dear Gracie's blue crib/toddler bed,

We took you apart for the final time this week in order to set up the big girl twin bed. I almost cried. You are the cutest crib/toddler bed there ever was and G has slept in you since she was born. I've had Big Feelings about it. Once we took you apart, you were gently leaned up against the wall in the hallway so we could figure out where to safely store you. And how did you repay me? You tripped me and fell on me upwards of TEN TIMES that night when I was sick with food poisoning. I don't have proof of this, but I SWEAR you stuck your rails out and tripped me as I beelined to the bathroom that night. Every single time. I tripped, went flying through the air, and fell on you while dealing with an emergency situation of my own. RUDE. But thank you for making it easier to pack you away.

Sincerely,
Bruised & Bitter


Dear Berry Farms,

Y'all are swindlers. We drove thirty minutes so my daughter could fall into a mud puddle while picking strawberries, and then we handed you cash for it. We paid to do exactly what farms in California hire illegal immigrants for. It never ceases to amuse me, and I fall for it every single time. The whole thing is stupid but I can guarantee you'll see us again next year because daggonit, it's FUN.

Sincerely,
Poor & Puzzled


Dear Next Door Neighbor,

You do not stink and I'm so sorry my 4yo said you do. Please know I will be thinking about that moment every day until the end of time. And honestly, you do not stink. Please also expect a handwritten letter about this matter to help absolve some of my guilt.

Sincerely,
Obsessive in Ohio


Dear Nurse.

You promised my daughter stickers after her shots last week. You forgot to give her stickers. I put zero blame on you because your job is not easy and the screaming coming from my child probably made your brain short-circuit, but just a warning: the worst thing you could possibly do to a 4yo is promise them stickers and then not deliver.

Sincerely,
Exasperated & Exhausted


To Whom it May Concern:

Yesterday the weather was perfect. Low humidity, not too hot, not a cloud in the sky, no rain or storms in the forecast. Nothing about it suggested an evening of terrifying storms. We decided to watch a documentary about the 2011 tornado outbreak. An hour or so after turning it off, I got an alert that we were under a tornado watch until 2am. This is not the first time this has happened. We wound up with catastrophic tornadoes within an hour of us. Almost every time we watch a show about storm chasing or tornadoes, the forecast follows suit. WHAT GIVES. I'm starting to feel like this is all our fault. I've been antsy to watch the movie Twister, but something tells me I should wait until winter. Let's use these powers for good next time, like transporting me to a coffee shop full of friends I love next time I watch Friends.

Sincerely,

Nervous Nellie