Thursday, March 21, 2013

Meant to Be

Meant to BeMeant to Be by Lauren Morrill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book on the long flight from Hawaii back to the Midwest.

It is YA fiction, similar to a Sarah Dessen. It was perfectly adequate. It takes place in London, which was fun. The characters are a bit unrealistic and I figured out the plot early on but that's just being overly picky when reviewing YA fiction.

Perfect Scoundrels

Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society, #3)Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 stars = I really liked it.

This is number three in the series and just as fun as the others. Perfectly enjoyable. I give it a four, but a four on the scale of YA Fluffy Fiction.

52 Reasons to Hate My Father

52 Reasons to Hate My Father52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2 stars = it was okay.

I went into this book not expecting much and that pretty much sums it up.

P.S. I dropped this (library) book in the tub and now am the proud owner. Hooray.

Death in Zanzibar

Death in ZanzibarDeath in Zanzibar by M.M. Kaye
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fun read like unto my favorite Mary Stewart books, a vintage mystery romance.

Like Stewart's books, it has a great sense of place - in this case, Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Africa. Which, incidentally, I have visited and had a terrible case of food poisoning.  Not to brag.  Also like Stewart's books, this read takes place in a bygone era of grace and charm (1950's) which lends itself to an enjoyable retro read.  Unlike Stewart's books, the main character was kind of weak and helpless.  I prefer a more substantial lead.

I read this on the Ko Olina beach in Hawaii.  It was the perfect compliment to lounging around in the sun.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Winter Coats

Hello friends.  It's been awhile.  My apologies.

Let's get right to it, shall we?

I was purusing a shopping blog this morning and came across a lovely post about some adorable winter coats at Target.  You know I'm a fan of Target.  And of coats, come to think of it.  Especially since I live in the Midwest and it's nearly winter and I hate to be cold.

With no further ado, I give you the coats.  Here are my top 4 favorite.

Merona Wool Coat with Shawl Colar:

I've seen this Tiffany Blue one in person.  The color is amazing.  The shape of the coat is much cuter  than in Target's (famously awful) pictures.  

Consider this: if you are wearing a collarless coat, you may need one of these-

 Best part about these coats?  All under $60.  The Plush Stole will run you $48.  Unless you have an Anthropologie employee discount*.  Happy Winter Coat Shopping.

*Did I mention I got a fantastic very part time job?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Report

I know people have concerns that blogs sometimes show a skewed view of life: only the happy, gorgeous parts.  Forgive me then as I brag about my amazing Mother's Day.  

I was greeted in the morning by my most favorite people in the world, my delicious children:

They surprised me with breakfast in bed.  One of the perks of 11:30am church.

This was no eat-it-because-you-don't-want-to-hurt-their-feelings breakfast.  This was some seriously good food.  Swedish pancakes, fresh fruit, orange juice.

Next, we opened presents.  I was spoiled.  Let's just say my husband's love language is Gift Giving.  (You've read "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman, yes?)  One of the way my husband shows love is by giving gifts.  I show my love for him by accepting those gifts.  Even if he goes a little overboard.

Next we had lovely church services.  I wanted a picture of the whole family in our shiny church clothes.  Alas, they had already changed into mangy sweats, so I got a picture with my husband.

Do you love my dress?  I do.  Do you remember when I told you I would buy it?  It finally went on sale, so I did.  I also went all out and did a fancy bun.  Hooray for long enough hair, just barely.

After church, I lounged on our back porch, read a fun book and enjoyed some beautiful (mild) summer weather.  My family slaved away, cooking my dinner.  (Incidentally, my husband's love language is not necessarily Acts of Service, but being Mother's Day, he did a million Acts of Service, including cleaning and cooking.  He's dreamy that man of mine.)

One of the most thoughtful things my husband did was track down one of my favorite cake's from Trudy's Treats.  She is no longer selling her wares at the Farmer's Market, so he went to her house and bought me several.

I have to show you the delicious center.

After dinner, we took a walk, which is one of my most favorite things to do.

Then, my two youngest worked on riding bikes.  She picked it up, first try!

He has a great fear of bikes, after having been run over by his older sister. (True story.) He did great but is still working on mastering the skill.

After family scripture reading, weekly calendar planning, and chatting with our moms, I laid in bed and read bits and pieces from one of my all time favorites, Pride and Prejudice.

Perfect day.

I love being a mom.  I love my kids, they are really remarkable people.  Better then I deserve.  Some people might not be satisfied with a life as a stay-at-home mom.  I find it completely fulfilling in every way.  I hope you had a Happy Mother's Day too.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother's Day Demands, Take Two

I only have myself to blame.  When I posted what I want for Mother's Day on my blog, I some how managed to forget that my husband doesn't read my blog.  And wouldn't you know it: the Kate Spade purse is now sold out. (I would like to think that my blog is so well read and my opinion is so revered that it sold out simply because of my recommendation.  A girl can dream.)

So, I am left to come up with some alternate suggestions.  If I must.  Here goes:

There are some things I never spend money on.  Work out clothes, for example.  I work out 5 days a week.  You'd think I realize that these are worth investing in.  Nope.  I've worn the same old, worn out, unattractive work out clothes for the last 3 years.  And I have to wash them a lot.

They have some great work out tops at Old Navy.  (The red color is "Eternal Flame" which is a really dumb name for a color.)

While we are talking about Old Navy: they actually have some cute stuff right now.  It's been awhile.

I realize now that if I purchase all these, I will look like an American flag all summer.  I think I can live with that.

Back to work out clothes.  I need some more shorts.  Why are all running shorts booty shorts?  Why do the powers that be in the athletic clothing industry think that we want to wear super-short shorts while exercising?  We don't.  We'd like our wiggly bits and soft spots to remain undercover, thank you very much. I'd like running shorts with an inseam please.  Like these, for example, found at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Something else I'm not particularly good at spending money on? Hair products, the nice ones.  I splurge every now and again but rarely buy fancy hair stuff.  So I'd like this please.  I used it years ago and it was awesome.

Something I am good at spending money on? Anthropologie clothes.  Sure, I shop their sales and rarely pay full price, but I never seem to mind pulling the trigger on a cute clothing purchase.  Either way, I wouldn't be disappointed at all if this made it's way to me this Mother's Day.

Sometimes I have a hard time coming up with non-clothing items on a wish list.  Today, you are in luck.  I found something so me that I would love for my house.  This sign is available at Pottery Barn.  I grew up in a small little town named Arlington, which means I should probably own this.

I hate to get cheesy while I'm trying to pretend to be serious about demanding things for Mother's Day (who does that really?)  But in truth, the only thing I really want for Mother's Day is a lovely day spent with these guys:

 And maybe one of these:

And a nap.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

This morning

This morning on my 4.3 (but who is really counting) mile run, I listened to Terry Gross interview Jack Black.  It was really funny and kept my mind off the fact that I was running and sore from yesterday's workout.  It was not quite as funny as her interview with Jason Bateman.  And not nearly as funny as her interview with Jon Stewart, which is also known as The Funniest Terry Gross Interview of All Time, according to me.

She played a portion of this song which first made my jaw drop and then made me guffaw.  Neither of which is conducive to breathing while running.


I've never seen the movie High Fidelity, but tried to read the book.  The book was kind of boring and so full of language (those crazy Brits!) that I gave it a pass.  But this clip makes me think I should reconsider.

Last night we took the whole family to see The Avengers.  It was all that I dreamed of and more.  SO fun.  SUPER clean.  I think it would make basis for a solid Family Home Evening lesson (cue my children's groans and eye rolls.)  Avengers is about selflessness and teamwork and looking for people's strengths instead of their weaknesses.  And defeating the bad guys!  If I do have a FHE lesson on it, I think the opening song will be "We're All in This Together" from High School Musical.  Good thing I already know the dance moves!

Now I am off to clean my house and go to Trader Joes.  I love my life.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kate Spade Purse

I have been looking for a small simple purse.  I think this is just about perfect.  What an interesting coincidence that Mother's Day is approaching.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Oh, hello.  It's been awhile.  I've got a lot to say, but today I think we will start with Easter. This will be a churchy post.  I'm just warning you.

I'm Mormon.  And for those of you who didn't know, Mormons are in fact Christian.  As Christian as you can get. And as much as I love Christmas, it really can be more of a secular holiday.  (You know His real birthday is in the spring, right?)  But Easter, Easter is the celebration of the Atonement and the Resurrection.  To me, Easter is the most religious holiday.

We celebrate our Savior's sacrifice and triumph over death with Easter egg hunts and Easter baskets.  (Please tell me you got the sarcasm there.)  I actually don't have any issues with egg hunts - they are fun and you get chocolate!  And the heathen Easter baskets don't bother me either.  Again, chocolate. 

Our Easter bunny often leaves bags, not baskets.  For no reason other than they are cheaper and easier than baskets, I think.  I've never really asked him.  He also likes to leave tons of candy.  Most of which is not chocolate, but I guess it's 'for the kids' so I can't really complain.

We decorate for Easter.

We go to church.  (We go to church every Sunday, but still, we are extra happy to attend on Easter.)  For you interested in fashion, my oldest's dress is from Urban Outfitters.  It's super cute.  

I was asked to speak at church.  I know, speaking on Easter.  Yikes, no pressure.  I based most of my talk on this devotional given at BYU.  The best talk on Grace I've ever heard (Brother Wilcox's talk, not mine.)

For FHE we watched this amazing video about the Savior, you should watch it too:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thumbs up, Thumbs down.

Thumbs up:
I picked up this rain coat at Target to help me get through Spring soccer season.  The fields where the kids play soccer are always 20 degrees colder than anywhere else in the city, not to mention the near gale force winds that tear through the soccer fields.  I'm not kidding.  At least 20 degrees colder.  The coat also comes in a darling pink color that I nearly bought, but the butterflies won out in the end.  

Thumbs up:

Incidentally, if you were wondering, these are the perfect casual shoes.  I have not procured them as of yet, but plans are in the works.  Navy matches every thing.  (But black of course.) 

Two thumbs WAY up:

Two thumbs WAY up for the new Skinner family policy: No screens until after dinner.   Screen is anything with, er, a screen:  computer, gameboy, tv, xbox, wii, etc.  And then of course, only if home work is done and rooms are clean.  My genius husband came up with it.  We read this great article ("Keeping Safe and Balanced in a Google-YouTube-Twitter-Facebook-iEverything World") for family home evening.  We've tried to come up with a way to limit screen time but as you parents know, it's impossible to keep track of specified amounts of screen time for 4 kids.  With the new rule, there is no arguing, no fighting, no complaining. 

Thumbs down:

I thought this movie was crass and dumb.  But I still think Reese Witherspoon is adorable.

Thumbs up:

I loved this book.  You will love it too.  Especially if you like soccer and helping out refugees and being a good person and reading nonfiction.

Thumbs up:


I found this song via this post and fell instantly in love.  I thought that I was perhaps hip and cool until I heard it a week later on our Top 40 station. (Not that I listen to Top 40 (shudder) but my kids sometimes do.  They are young and still learning awesome-ness.)  Even if it occasionally plays on the Top 40 station, it is still the best song I've heard in awhile.

Thumbs up:

You want to wear happiness?  You should check out this shirt.  It's so soft. 

That's all I've got for now.  Six thumbs up and only one thumb down. I like the ratio.  

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