Saturday, June 25, 2011

Good Day

Today, while my husband and 3 youngest were at the College World Series in Omaha, I was able to spend some one on one time with my oldest, one of my favorite people in the world.

How can a day be bad when it's started with chocolate? I got up early (solo, my daughter was still sleeping) and drove over to a nearby Farmer's Market in Lee's Summit and went to Sweet Treat's by Trudy. Trudy is a dear friend. She bakes like no other. I picked up a cinnamon roll and chocolate chip cookie (for H) and Pecan Gingersnap and Chocolate Truffle Bundts for me. These are cupcake sized. And yes, I said (plural) bundtS with an s.

This is a picture. Can you blame me for needing more than one?

Once my teenager was rised and shined, we headed down to the Plaza to catch a movie. One I had very much been looking forward to:

Super 8 - one of the most entertaining movies of the last few years. Loved it! Goonies + Jaws + Close Encounters. (warning for viewers: strong language and scary scenes.)

Personal aside: J.J. Abrams, you are the man. Thank you for bringing me Felicity, Alias, Lost, Mission Impossible 3, Star Trek and now Super 8. I am a forever fan.

I took one of the Chocolate Truffle Bundts in for my movie treat. Heaven.

After the movie, we hit several shops. And then grabbed lunch at the Classic Cup. We both got the Grilled Salmon Club sandwich. SO delicious.

We managed to visit a few more shops on our way to the car.

Once home, H read aloud from the book she's reading, for several hours.

Such a fun way to spend the rest of the day. (I ate my second Chocolate Truffle Bundt cake while she read.) Have you ever read the book? (I know you've seen the movie.) If possible, the book is more clever. Highly recommend it. And if you can have one of your favorite people in the world read it aloud to you? Even better.

Very very good day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Finding Daddy by Louise Plummer

Finding DaddyFinding Daddy by Louise Plummer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I will say on the outset that Louise Plummer was my professor at BYU. I loved her class. I can still remember several of her lectures in great detail. She is brilliant, hilarious, and an amazing educator.

I did not love Finding Daddy, as much as it pains me to say so. The tone of the book was inconsistent, at first too juvenile and then too frightening. I would have liked a more depth and some of that great Professor Plummer humor.

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Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

RevolutionRevolution by Jennifer Donnelly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I suspect that if I read this instead of listened to it, I may not have enjoyed it as much as I did. Which is why I must begin by saying I LOVED the reader, Emily Janice Card*. She was amazing. I usually dislike women readers (I'm sexist like that) but I thought Ms. Card did a spectacular job.

The story itself is quite ambitious: Modern-day Andi is a mess: grieving over the death of her brother and emotionally abandoned by both parents. Eighteenth century Alex is trying to survive French Revolution. Their stories combine through some rather convenient plot devices. This book involves family issues, recovering from heart break, depression, abandonment, prep school pressures, drug use of rich teenagers, historical guitar theory, modern day music, class struggles, ambition, greed, political upheaval, horrors of war, and possible time travel to name just a few. At 500 pages (or 12 cds if you are me) the story goes on and on. But if you like the reader, it can be quite a journey.

P.S. Even though this is a young adult novel, there was some strong language.

*I looked it up: Emily Card is Orson Scott Card's daughter, just in case you were wondering.

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The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

The Peach KeeperThe Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was ok. I mean that in a good way. The characters were likeable with a good growth arc. Even if it was all a bit predictable. There was an intriguing "what did happen all those years ago?" that kept my interest and resolved well. To me that magic/ghosts was not strong enough to warrant being in the story at all.

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The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell

The Vanishing Act of Esme LennoxThe Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The best word to describe this book is melancholy. The characters have all been wronged and consequently led unhappy lives. The story line is quite interesting: Iris finds out she has a great aunt who has been in an asylum for 60 years. Why was she there? Why did Iris never know of her?

The writing is quite good. I enjoyed how the book played out through the 3 narrators. The reader is left to piece the story together with the bits given from each. Keeping in mind that one is possibly insane and one has Alzheimer's. The themes of this book are thought provoking (if a little heavy handed.) It is the kind of book you want to talk about immediately after you finish reading.

And the ending. My jaw dropped.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Perusing Some Blogs

It is necessary from time to time to restore order to my Google Reader. It gets heavy laden with all sorts of blogs that I never really read. (Who adds all those blogs anyway?) Solution? I "unsubscribe" without apology, like it's going out of style. Especially to all the blogs that 1) haven't updated in months and months or 2) no longer strike my fancy or 3) are annoying. It's quite liberating. I highly recommend it. (Just don't delete my blog.)

With a newly cleaned out Google Reader, I admire my tidy new list and immediately begin to add to it.

These are some of my new favorite blogs to read:

House Tweaking. This blog started out as a decor blog. She showed how to take an ordinary builder's grade home and tweak it into something lovely. Now, it is about selling her "dream home" to purchasing the "underdog" (as she calls it.) Check out her post on Downsizing for the full explanation. My favorite line of the blog: "We’re not looking for the house of our dreams rather the house that will allow us to live our dreams." Very inspiring. It is fun to watch her underdog take shape.

I read this blog for a couple of days and what I have to say is this: sometimes it's nice to read about a happy family. Plus, her parents are Richard and Linda Eyre (as in Oh-Boy-I've-Got-Joy!), so she's got a lot of great insight into parenting and families. I particularly enjoyed this post on how to organize kid's school papers.

Urban Grace Interiors. This link is not for the blog per se, but for her portfolio. I LOVE her work. Every room is so so so me. Simple. Beautiful. (Not that I am simple or beautiful, I mean my tastes are things that are simple and beautiful.) If I had a million dollars I would fly her to KC and put her to work on my humble abode.

And best for last: Mel's Kitchen Cafe. This is hands down THE BEST RECIPE BLOG IN THE HISTORY OF THE INTERNET. I don't feel strongly about this or anything. I have tried easily 20+ recipes from Mel and she is the queen of all things yummy. Her dishes are mostly easy and healthy when possible. Did I mention Best. Ever. ?

(Sadly, no pictures today folks. The photos on the blogs are their property and even though it's free advertising for them, I feel like I shouldn't be copying a pasting their pictures. So click on the links and check them out for yourself.)

What are some of your favorite new blogs?


Remember my belt search? I give you, the coveted belt.

Or at least the closest thing I could find. Buy one for yourself here. And for the bad news,it is no longer available in my size. And the nearest store is 3 states away. Alas, it just wasn't meant to be.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The BIG 3 - 7.

Today is my birthday. I plan on eating lots of chocolate. It's going to be a good day.

P.S. This is the chocolate bag from McCormick and Schmick's. It's divine. Definitely birthday worthy.

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Abandon (Abandon Trilogy #1)Abandon by Meg Cabot

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay. Don't judge. But I liked this book. The plot was not very tidy and so overdone. The characters were a flat. But still, I liked it.

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Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium, #1)Delirium by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I listened to this book on tape. Most of it. With only a few chapters left, I just stopped. (And by stopped, I of course mean skipped to the end, heard the last chapter and then stopped.) It was nothing personal. Delirium was well written (if a little dramatic.) The plot was clever and thought provoking. The characters were well developed. Why the sudden loss of interest? (Other then fickleness in general) I didn't care for the voice of the reader. The plot was quite similar to anther book I recently finished ("Matched".) And it was pretty long.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for PleasureFrench Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading this book. Not necessarily a diet book, more like a lifestyle book. The author is not a nutritionist. She just gives good common sense advice that you've heard before. Avoid drastic diets, Drink lots of water, Eat smaller portions, Don't deprive yourself, Walk a lot, etc. The last two pages are bullet points of great advice.

Allow me to get personal for a moment? I have always been small. Not tiny but small. (Except for when I am pregnant then I swell like Violet Beauregarde. Ginormous, no lie.) Most of which is thanks to fantastic genes. But also due to the fact that I work out 4-5 days a week, drink buckets of water, and eat reasonably most days. If I completely pig out one day, the next day I take it easy. Maybe most women won't be exactly my size if they exercised and ate like me. That's where the lucky genes come in. (Oh gosh, that sounds more obnoxious than I intended.) But the point is: if you exercise and eat well you will look (and feel) great. I guess that was a long, possibly offensive and self-aggrandizing, way of saying I agree with the book. While I've never really dieted, I live this way. Perhaps there is some French in me?

That's basically what this book says. But she also talks about being French, growing up in France and living in America. I thought it was all lovely.

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From Innocence to Entitlement

From Innocence to Entitlement: A Love And Logic Cure for the Tragedy of EntitlementFrom Innocence to Entitlement: A Love And Logic Cure for the Tragedy of Entitlement by Jim Fay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first 6 Chapters of this book are absolutely 5 stars. Should be required reading for all parents. Completely right on about entitlement and children. I thought the information was equally applicable to adults. You must read this book just for the first chapters.

After such a great beginning, I was very disappointed in Chapters 7-9, the "application" chapters. I was hoping for very clear "how to's" to deal with situations. No such luck. The behavior suggestions didn't always match-up with what they were trying to teach. Often the section ended without really clarifying the lesson. Bummer. Still worth reading.

(Also a quick read, only about 100ish pages. It doesn't ramble on and on.)

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

You Look Just Like . . . Part two

This is an update of a post I made long ago on my private blog:

Has anyone ever told you that you look like someone famous? I always think it is so interesting to hear other people's perceptions of your appearance.

I was once told that I was a "dead ringer" for Sandra Bullock, which was completely baffling. This was several years ago when I was blonde with very short hair. Sandra Bullock has very distinctive (and beautiful) features none of which are shared by me.

Fast forward another few years (still blond) I was told I look like Kate Hudson which, while being a huge compliment, I couldn't really take seriously since I look nothing like her.

The only thing I have in common with Sandra Bullock and Kate Hudson is a very loud laugh.

Last week, I had 3 girls tell me I looked exactly like Kate Middleton. Duchess of Cambridge. Maybe you've heard of her.

All three girls were in Elementary school and sitting across from me on the bus on the way to a field trip, so it's safe to assume the reason that all three agreed was probably some form of peer pressure. The only thing Kate and I have in common is brownish hair. I'll still take it as a compliment. Even if it's not even close to being true.

Sometimes I suppose it is similar mannerisms or a particular feature. Every time I see Drew Barrymore, I think of my sister just older than me. And Amanda Peet reminds me of my oldest sister. Not that they are long long twins, they just share some trait or another. Occasionally, you get a true dead-ringer, as in the case of one of my brother-in-laws, who looks just like Tobey Maguire, but better looking.

On a similar note, once out with friends we all started talking about who we "wished" we looked like - not that we are not all beautiful ladies and completely happy with our appearance. It was fun to hear every one's "wish." We had an Audrey Hepburn, Faith Hill, and Michelle Pfeiffer. If you knew each of the friends who choose these, you would see how similar they are personality-wise to their "wish." It took me a couple of minutes to come up with who I would like to look like and then it hit me (duh!): Meg Ryan (from her Sleepless in Seattle/You've Got Mail days.)

Please feel free to comment on:
1)who you've been told you look like.
2)who you wouldn't mind looking like.

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