Wednesday, February 29, 2012

If you follow me on goodreads, this will be a boring post

I've memorized my library card number.  I am not sure why that makes me a little proud, but it does.  My old computer had it memorized for me, but this new one makes me type it in on my own, every time.  It didn't take long to memorize it (not to brag.)  I'm on the library's website about every other day putting books on hold, renewing books I can't find, I'm not ready to return.  I am not sure I could live without the library.  It would be a sad world for sure.

I've done a lot of reading lately, mostly because my husband has been working like crazy.  And also due to the fact that Downton Abbey is over (until next year!)  So I've got a lot of free time at night these days, hence the reading.

Here is some of what I've read in the last two weeks:

Mother TeresaMother Teresa by Anne Fitzpatrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I have an interest in a non-fiction topic, I usually look for a broad overview, rather than a long detailed read. I often turn to juvenile non-fiction for this very reason. Then, if I have further interest, I know it's worth my time to delve into thick adult non-fiction book.

This book gave a brief synopsis of the life of Mother Teresa. I had it read in 15 minutes. I am planning on reading this to my kids. What an amazing woman with an unwavering dedication to Jesus Christ.

 A Match Made in High SchoolA Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would have liked this book better if it hadn't been so full of "Juno"esque dialogue. (I've you've ever seen the movie Juno, you know what I am talking about. And I saw the tv version.) Basically it means a lot of indelicate words. Swearing and sex talk. Oh yeah, I said it.

The plot was completely impossible and could never happen in real life and there were parts of the story I thought were ridiculous. (The principal, the counselor, her parents, etc.  Um, basically all the adults in this book are idiots.  Which is a whole other rant.) But there were parts of the story I really liked. Lots of character growth and people changing for the good. Fun relationships and valuable lessons learned.

But, I can't really recommend it because of the garbage-y stuff.

 My Double LifeMy Double Life by Janette Rallison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know what you are thinking, 4 stars for YA chick lit?

I really think Jeanette Rallison's books are SO fun. I love reading them. The plots are always along the lines of "What would every teenage girl dream of?" This is about a girl from West Virginia that happens to look exactly like the most famous pop star. And then becomes her double. Of course.

Rallison does a good job of writing campy stories you love to read. There is always humor (Alexia's abuela gives some great lines.) And they are always clean.

So four stars it is.

Midnight in AustenlandMidnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One of my goodreads friends said this about Midnight in Austenland: "Shannon Hale writes books about things that women fantasize about happening--like in a movie." If you keep that in mind, this book is quite fun.

Shannon Hale is clever and funny and I like her writing style immensely. The plot of this book is fairly ridiculous. Towards the end, I had to completely suspend disbelief (she didn't call the police, really?) but stayed up WAY to late to finish, so that says something about the readability.

Please keep writing Shannon Hale. You are a charmer.

 The Future of UsThe Future of Us by Jay Asher
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This book could have been good, but wasn't. What a fun idea for a story! Alas, the authors took this fun idea and made it as boring as possible.

The best way I can describe it is this: there was an underlying false-ness to this story. It reads like an after school special. The characters are flat. The plot goes in only one direction. And by the end I just didn't care.

P.S. There were also strange small bursts of inappropriate-ness that felt like they were put in to make this book seem more appealing to teens?

 The Enchanted AprilThe Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just re-read this for the second time. I forgot how much I love this book! Such a pleasant read. So charming and lovely. I adore the characters and their transformations. I also adore the setting. I think a trip to Italy is in order. Mostly I agree with the novels musings about beauty and love and kindness and friendship.

P.S. I just chuckled and chuckled over the ridiculous Mr. Wilkins. Some great comic relief.

View all my reviews

Friday, February 17, 2012

What's Working For Me

1.  Pinterest Valentines.

Pinterest is great for finding Valentines without exerting any personal brain power.  Here are the Valentines we found for H (army guys) and Aves (cute printables).

As you can see, ours turned out pretty good but we stole the army guys idea here. (I thought it would be best to have them say 'I'd Catch a Grenade for You" but H nixed that idea. We went with the classic 'Love is a Battlefield.')

Found these Valentine printables here.   

I am so glad to benefit for other people's creativity. 

2.  Valentine's Lunch date at Houston's.  

As the parents of four, we had kid's events Tuesday night, so we planned a lunch date.  I am lucky that MY favorite restaurant is also my husband's favorite restaurant.  I can't live with out the Knife and Fork Ribs with Fries.

This trip, I discovered the Black Beans and Brown Rice.  I am SOLD for ever more.  Amen.

3.  MAC Cosmetics.

MAC cosmetics pretty much rock the casbah.  Here is what I love about Mac: high end for a reasonable price.

My old standby, Studio Fix.  Best face powder in the history of forever.

When purchasing my Studio Fix, the sales lady asked, "Anything else?" And I said, "Not unless you have  mascara I can't live without."  And she introduced me to this, MAC Studio Fix BoldBlack Lash:

This truly gives the most dramatic results I've ever achieved with mascara.  And I am applying-make-up challenged.

4.  Mini Molten Lava Cakes.

I would post the recipe and pictures for you to enjoy, but I have to give credit where credit is due.

Find the recipe and beautiful pictures here.  I made these for myself  on Valentine's Day.  They are chocolately heaven and oh-so-delicious.  It takes all the willpower I have not to make them every single day.

5.  Knee length Old Navy Dresses.

And this one has sleeves!

So super cute.  I may own both, as of this week.  I am hoping this summer is the summer of the dress.

6.  The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim.

This week, I re-read this book for our up coming book club.  It's such a darling, charming book.  I am currently dreaming of renting a house in Italy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go

Backstory Part One,

Last year our church held a dance for adults.  My insanely talented friend turned our Stake Center gym into an Asian theme dance hall replete with lights, lanterns, waiters, and a bar.  Yes, a bar at a Mormon dance.  Admittedly the strongest drink in the arsenal was Sprite, but it was still felt very cool to order a drink.  The dessert bar was amazing.  We danced like we were teenagers.  Our husbands politely tolerated the evening and accompanied us on slow songs.  

Here is a photo of some of my friends and I at the Adult Ball (I am the captivating brunette on the right):

Backstory Part Two,

A few months ago my husband and I had the pleasure of going to a wedding reception of one of his sales reps.  It was at the Kansas City Country Club and probably the fanciest event I've attended in my life.  As I was getting ready for the evening, I realized: I have no formal dresses in my closet.  I ended up wearing the same dress as I wore to the Adult Ball (see picture above.)  Now, don't you worry your pretty little head, I didn't get kicked out.  If I do say so myself, my little Anthropologie dress was rather adorable.  But I admit, being surrounded with the full length fur coats, silk, and taffeta, I did feel a bit undressed.

After that evening, I decided it was time to add a formal dress to my closet.  And the Second Annual Kansas City Adult Ball was the perfect excuse to procure a new dress.

I had some important guidelines to follow:

1.  I wanted to find something appropriate for a mother of four who is approaching 40.  (In 2 years, 4 months and 2 days, but who's counting?)  I prefer a knee length with a sleeve without being matronly, dowdy or anything like unto it.

2.  I wanted something classic and timeless.  I obviously don't have the occasion to attend formal events very often so I'd like to be able to pull this out in 5 years and still feel like I'm in style.

3.  It had to rank high on the Squeal Chart.  Meaning, when I see it I let out a little squeal because I love it so.

I searched high and low and found this at White House Black Market:

Perfect.  Just perfect.

This dress sold out quickly, especially once it went on sale.  I won't bore you with the details, but sufficeth to say I had to call store by store to find one in my size.  I finally tracked one down in Chicago and they were kind enough it ship it to me.  I added a bit of a sleeve and was completely in love with my new dress.

And super excited for the upcoming Adult Ball.   Even though I am not very coordinated, I love to dance and don't have many opportunities to shake my money maker without completely embarrassing my children and myself.

Then, as luck would have it,  my date canceled on me for the Adult Ball.  My date, of course, is my husband.  And cancel may be a strong way of saying he will be out of town for an important business meeting.

There you have it.  I have the perfect dress, but nowhere to go.  So, if you happen to see me this Friday reboxing a movie or in line at Chipoltle a tad bit overdressed in the cutest dress in the history of the world, don't judge.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What's Working For Me Lately

Here are some things that are working for me right now:

1.  Some of my favorite people in the world recommended this:

I was so convinced I would love it, I just went ahead and bought it before seeing it.  I am 4 episodes in and completely hooked.  Do yourself a favor, do what I did: go to Target and buy your very own copy.  It'll be the best $20 you'll spend this week.  (If your maiden name is Jones, I will be happy to loan you my copy via mail.)

2.  Next:  Each night, I am using Tea Tree Oil on my face.  I swear to you: 2 weeks plus and not a single blemish.  (My family thinks it smells SUPER.  Especially my husband.)

3.  More favorites as of late: Contigo Water bottles.  I bought this 3-pack at Costco.  Water bottles are handy. Contigo is kind of the Caddilac of beverage holders.

4.  11:30 Church.  Sleeping in Sunday mornings is heaven.

5.   A scripture that is becoming my mantra, I hope to live up to it:

Withhold not good. Proverbs 3:27

Goodreads Account