Friday, April 29, 2011

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger's Epic DetourAmy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a fun, quick YA read. While there were several things I liked about the book, it was overall just okay for me mostly because I didn't love the ending.

Positives: Good main characters and GREAT minor characters (Brownyn, Cheeks, Walcott, Lucien.) Fun plot. I loved all how the author added plenty of local specialties to the road trip. I enjoyed how some of the story was told through the scrapbook, very clever.

Not so great for me: Some of the conflict felt too heavy and overdone. Small doses of strong language, mostly from Charlie. The ending didn't match the book (or my values.)

If you like YA fiction, the positives outweigh the negatives. You should read it.

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Did you miss me?

I was on vacation. We took a very long break over Easter and went to Southern California. We had the very best time. As a family, our super power is fabulous vacationing. We always have amazing vacations. You may recall our Road Trip of 2010. This trip was no exception, everything was absolutely wonderful. (full disclosure: this is in part to the fact that our kids are all at great ages for traveling. And of course, our sparkling, upbeat personalities.)

We started out the trip in beautiful Newport Beach.

Met up with our super great cousins.

On Easter, we went to church with my sister's family and then stayed with them for the rest of the trip.

(We did not plan our Easter outfits. Everyone packed themselves and WE ALL ENDED UP MATCHING. This pleased me to no end, I'm not going to lie.)

We partied at Disneyland. Perfect day. Perfect Weather. Hardly any lines. (Chock it up to our fantastic vacationing mojo.)

It was a great way to spend your birthday, if you are turning 7.

I won't bore you with more pictures, but sufficeth to day: serious good times. We also hit Legoland, an Angel's game, scored some deals at few thrift stores, and spend loads of time with my sister's family.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

Matched (Matched, #1)Matched by Ally Condie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great, great, great read. YA Fiction, Hunger Games or The Giver-ish. (I believe the official term is dystopian fiction.) I liked the characters. I liked the conflict. This book was mostly a set up for things to come. I am hoping for a little more action in the following books. (Not THAT kind of action.) I would really love to read this with my 13 and 14 year old. I think they would get a lot from it.

Anxious to read the second and third. Preferably sooner rather than later Ms. Condie.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

This Week . . .

This week I . . .

1. On the middle of my run, ran up hill with airplane arms zig-zagging back and forth. Even though everyone and their dog was driving by taking their kids to school. I couldn't help it. I was listening to this song.

2. Cried, again, when Matt Saracen was so lovely to his Grandma.

3. Cleaned my house from top to bottom and almost folded all the laundry.

4. Didn't buy the Sun Shades dress when it didn't go on sale for the millionth week in a row, even though I really want it and it's sold out on line and nearly gone from the stores.

5. Read a really great talk on parenting. Here is a highlight:

"It is my observation that the most underaddressed issue regarding our youth is not whether they can handle being told no but whether parents have the courage to say no. How can we expect our sons and daughters have courage to tell their friends, their peers, "No, I can't," or "No I won't," if we can't say no to our children? Our children learn courage from the way we deal with them.

Oh, if we could all be like the mothers of the two thousand stripling warriors - unified in what we teach and what we expect. Do you suppose those stripling warriors went to their mothers on the eve of their first battle, whining, 'I know the Lamanites are restless tonight, but hey, I wanna go hang out in Bountiful with my friends. I hear it's rockin'! And mom everybody's doing it.' The stripling warriors didn't say that, for one thing, because no one else was doing it. Those mothers were unified in their teachings, standards, and expectations. The stripling warriors faced those causes with courage because their mothers faced those causes with courage (Alma 56:46-48.) Stripling mothers, can we make sure our lights are always pointing toward the Savior and the band together with other mothers, open dialogue between us, compare information, and trench in?"
Karen Warner, BYU Women's Conference 2000.

6. Changed our phone provider, and thus our phone number and haven't given out the new number to anyone. It's kind of nice to not get a single call for the last 2 days. (Have you been trying to call me? Sorry.

7. Donated to NPR.

Shopping Trip and some Thoughts

Today I did a little shopping. A little. Did I ever mention I took the month of March off from shopping? It may not seem like much to you to take a month off, but it was kind of a long month for me.

I am at an interesting phase in my life clothes wise. I don't really need anything. And while my budget is not limitless (wouldn't that be fun?), it's not as limited as it once was. We don't do debt. We don't do credit cards. We have four kids. I stay at home. There hasn't always been loads of extra for my love of shopping. We have more room these days. It's nice.

I am used to having the budget determine my clothes purchases. It is a bit of an adjustment having to look at clothes buying with other parameters. Like say, for example, closet space. Before I would have asked myself: Is this in the budget? Now, I have to ask all sorts of new questions, like: Do I really need more clothes? Can I ever really wear all these clothes? Just how many cardigans does one person need? These are tough questions. Tough indeed.

As much as I love clothes and shopping, I hate, hate, hate to be wasteful. I'd rather save my money for the few things I really love. (Like the Sun Shades Dress from Anthro that I better buy soon before it sells out even though I'd rather not pay full price.)

So. All of today's purchases are brought to you courtesy of Loft's 40% off everything in the store sale. I would be happy to link these for you to their site, but I can't find any of these online.

Prettiest blue in the world T-shirt. (My name for the color, not theirs.)

This top said Anthropologie to me.

See the cute detail?

I loved this little tank. I am wearing the Shade Demi Cap Sleeve Tee under it. (The Demi Cap Sleeve is just a half shirt. Perfect for hot humid Missouri summers. Rest assured, it will always be worn under, never solo.)


Really close.

Another very Anthro-like item, this lovely skirt.

Can you see that it is two layers? The black overlay has holes that show the cream underskirt. Super cute. The length was a little short, so I sized up and am wearing it low on the hips.

While I'm posting pictures, here is the dress I wore the other day while helping out a luncheon for missionaries in our area. I love this dress because it covers my shoulders, chest (insert your own joke here) and knees. I had to let out the hem to help in the knee department, but still.

It's not as dorky of a length in person. Trust me.

Dress: Gap Outlet
Belt: Talbots, thrifted
Shoes: Anne Klein

This is what I wore today. I am kind of a plain Jane. I used to fight it but now I embrace it. It's just how I roll.

Jacket: American Eagle
Shirt: JCrew
Jeans: Gap Long and Lean
Shoes: Old Navy

P.S. Sorry about all the blurry pictures. They seemed a lot clearer before I downloaded.
Mer, what am I doing wrong?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Storm Over the Marsh

I'm not exactly a Ballard Design sort of a girl. (Do you get that catalog too?) But I really liked this print. In fact, I love it. Just a bit too big for my space.

I looked up the artist, James Way, and found his website. Really talented.

Wanted: Belt

Yesterday I was at my daughter's track meet (turns out she can rock the high jump, must be those long legs she got from her dad) and I saw the cutest belt of all time. On another mom walking by. Normally, I have no qualms saying, "Where did you get that belt? I love it and must own it." But she was fairly far away and it would have been awkward/stalker-ish to approach at the particular moment. So I let her walk by with the belt of my dreams and I didn't say a word.

Darn. Darn. Darn. Darn. How I need this belt! I have not been able to stop thinking about it. I came home and looked on every website I could think of - alas, nothing.

This is the closest I could find:

Except the one she was wearing instead of tan was a navy and cream stripe. Navy and Cream Stripes! Perfection, I tell you. So dear friends, if you happen to see this belt (with navy and cream stripes) please let me know. Or buy it for me (size XS/S). If you happen to see anyone wearing this belt please ask them where they bought it, no matter how uncomfortable the situation is.

You will have my undying love and devotion forever more.

(P.S. Do you ever approach strangers about clothing?)

Monday, April 11, 2011

City of Fallen Angles by Cassadra Clare

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was expecting to be a little tired of the series by book four, but nope. Still loving it. I can't quite pin down why I like these YA Fiction books about Shadow Hunters, Demons, Vampires, Werewolves, and Warlocks so much, so I will not even try. Fun read. Really like the characters. Excited for the fifth.

P.S. This book was a little more creepy than the others.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Summer shorts

Oh! Longer shorts are usually pretty dorky but these are super cute.

Now all we need is summer. (And really skinny long legs.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Back Up Plan

I recently discovered that, according to one of the teacher's at my kid's school, I have a signature item.

Me. A Signature item.

(Don't feel badly if you didn't think I was cool enough to have a signature item, I didn't think I was cool enough either.)

My signature item is these most lovely of all earrings:

They were a gift from a dear, dear friend. When I first opened the package, I thought they were gorgeous. But, if I am being completely honest, I seriously doubted that I would ever know what to wear them with. I am not good with jewelry and what matches with turquoise?

Now, nearly 2 years later: I wear them almost every day. They go with absolutely everything (everything, this is no lie) and I love them. They add something stylish to even the most ordinary outfits. And frankly most of my outfits are ordinary and desperately need something stylish.

I love these earrings so much that I lived in mortal fear of losing one or both. Then, I did something super smart (it happens occasionally, my doing something smart): I ordered a second pair.

This was no easy task, since the etsy seller, the talented figsnfeathers, no longer had them listed for sale. I contacted the seller and (fingers crossed) asked about purchasing a second pair. The seller was so,so,so nice and put together a special order just for me.

Isn't it nice to see four of them together?

I am now able to rest easy.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)Across the Universe by Beth Revis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I give this a 4 for great story telling but a 2 for a particularly bizarre-o plot point. That averages out to a 3.

This book is out of my normal reading genres. It reminded me a lot of Stephanie Meyer's "The Host." Futuristic. Science Fiction-ish. With good characters and interesting story. But then several chapters in (during the "Season", oh you'll know what I mean when you read it) the book became creepy and offensive for a short period of time. I thought the author could have kept the plot the same without getting so descriptive. It was supposed to be offensive and creep you out, but because this is a book aimed at YA readers, I thought it was overboard. Otherwise, good reading.

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The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

The House at RivertonThe House at Riverton by Kate Morton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Solid 3 stars. Genre: suspense/mystery/romance. I like the flashback to past and present. Worth a read.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Twist Knot

People say they are getting tired of all the ruffles. I'm not sure I disagree. (How's that for double negatively vague?)

But what I do love (and can be clear on) is the twist knot.

I already own:


TJ Maxx

(I have this in navy + white but love this color combo as well.)

Just how many twist knots should one person own? For example, if I was to add these to my closet, would that be too many?

(Garnet Hill)

(Banana Republic)

The correct answer is: depends on how much they are marked down.

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