LIVE | LOVE | LEARN | march 2017

livelovelearn

I’m trying out a new idea so bear with me. Towards the end of the month I tend to fall into a rabbit hole of monthly wrap ups: things I loved and the things I learned and what I’ve been up to. I thought I’d tidy up my thoughts and combine all of these wrap ups under one post. I’m calling it LIVE | LOVE | LEARN – and it pretty much is exactly what it sounds like.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this month.

LIVE

  • My dog finally switched to his new vet officially and it feels good to make the change. We’ve been really happy with this new pet clinic and the staff there and everything just feels easy and obvious. More importantly, my pet’s well being feels important and worth consideration. Yay!
  • 17190656_10101162899347596_4082153154445714967_nMy son officially started Boy Scouts this month after graduating from Cub Scouts last month. It’s been tough for me to get used to the transition (namely because I’m a control freak but I’m attempting to not be one) but he’s doing fantastic and diving right in.
  • Last week was my kids’ spring break and we took them to the Great Wolf Lodge for a few days of fun in their giant indoor waterpark. In between being fishes, they also enjoyed paintball target practice, another trip to WizardQuest, a very kooky lost temple attraction and lots of delicious food.
  • I pampered myself with a haircut and color at a new to me salon. It’s such a subtle change that I’m guessing most people wouldn’t notice if I didn’t say something but my head feels a million pounds lighter and I’m loving it.
  • 17425021_10101178107550236_2082075320835481217_nMy daughter started gymnastics again this month. She did sort of toddler gymnastics a million years ago and this is a different world. I’m proud of her because I can tell the skills she is learning don’t necessarily come to her easily but she’s rising to the occasion and comes out of each class with a grin on her face. What more can you ask for?
  • We went on a terrifically awesome date night / afternoon to a local winery for wine tasting and cheese. I’m kind of the worst wine drinker ever – I like my wine to taste roughly like Juicy Juice if we’re going to be honest. But I had so much fun trying different varieties and judging their flavors and aromas and just experiencing something new with my husband. It was a nice change of pace from our usual dinner and a movie.

LOVE

  • Lemon Zinger Tea by Celestial Seasonings is one of my new favorite warm beverages. I’m trying to cut back on my latte life and tea has been a nice diversion. I have found that herbal / fruity teas work the best because they never need milk and I can get by with a small amount of sugar.
  • MV5BNjUxNjQ5NjgwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzQzMDA1ODE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_When Calls the Heart is my latest binge watch on Netflix. I’ve been ignoring it for ages but I hit a dry spell and decided to give it a shot because Lori Laughlin is in it. Oh my word, it is so good guys. My husband has deemed it completely cheesy but I am hooked. It’s a little bit costume drama / a little bit love story / a little bit it takes a villiage. It drew me in so quickly and now I’m in danger of running out of episodes before the next season comes to Netflix. Hallmark should totally get in bed with Hulu, I’m just saying. Bonus points: It’s totally PG so the kids can watch it with me when I need to binge but they happen to be home.
  • People are photoshopping Mr. Bean into hilarious images and it’s one of the best thing I saw online this week.
  • 17309420_10101172554723146_7428601629282740298_nThe new Beauty and the Beast was, oh my lord, all the things. My husband had issues with the Beast and some of the changed storylines, but I loved it. I felt like it fleshed out my favorite story and breathed new life into it. It was like seeing your favorite work of fiction come to life. Emma Watson was perfection and I loved getting more of her back story and any backstory at all on the Beast.
  • Speaking of Beauty and the Beast, I greatly enjoyed this power point presentation on why Belle should have chosen Gaston. Agree to disagree, but the argument was surprisingly compelling!
  • 81aN-jZM6yL._SX466_Dan and I watched Passengers this weekend and it was everything you would expect a space adventure movie starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence to be. Funny, thrilling and kind of heartbreaking. I love when we find movies that are a perfect marriage of our interests.
  • I finished three books this month. My book club discussed Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner – the first in a new series about a British detective who is trying to track down a missing girl. It features revolving narrators and a complex narrative. Before diving into that book, I finished reading The Crown by Kiera Cass, the last book in the selection series. Last night I finally finished reading The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg, a short nonfiction book about Hygge which the Internet has been obsessed with lately. I love the idea of Hygge and definitely highlighted some ideas, but as a book I felt it was longer than it needed to be. It was still a quick read all told and a great resource for anyone who wants to know more about Hygge.
  • This video:

LEARN

What have you been up to this month? If you want to play along, feel free to write about the things you learned, loved and lived this month on your own blog and let me know in the comments!

Ten (non-bookish) Websites I Love

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten list prompt. This week’s prompt is… Ten Websites I Love That Aren’t About Books. This proved more challenging than I expected but I dug deep, so…

Here are ten of the usual suspects from my browser history and what makes them awesome:

picmonkey-logo-taglinePickmonkey.com : I use this website constantly for editing pictures for my blog or personal photos and I also use it to create things like birthday invitations and the featured image on this post. I also love their blog which features great tutorials on photography and photo editing.

CupofJo.com : Jo’s blog is a great source for fashion ideas, recipes and all the little things in between. I read her blog on the regular and even subscribe to her newsletter which is a rare honor in my life of “get out of my inbox” sensibilities. Also her blog is kind of beautiful – like her formatting makes my heart happy. Is that weird?

logoHelloGiggles.com : This is my primary source for celebrity news and other odds and ends. One of the few places where I can find a roundup of natural sunscreens and Game of Thrones fan theories in the same place. Also they were founded by Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer, and Sophia Rossi “as a place on the Internet to inspire a smile.”

DudeMom.com : Several of the recipes I cook my family regularly (this might be my husband’s favorite meal) were found at Dude Mom but she isn’t really a food blogger. She’s a keeping it real mom of three boys who was once on What Not To Wear and shares fashion tips for real woman bodies and delivers the funny always.

downloadThe Lazy Genius : Kendra is basically my hero. She is all about not trying so hard and figuring out how to rock at life with minimal effort because our time is precious and we’re worth it. She writes about things like bullet journaling and meal planning and celebrity face mashing.

Modern Mrs. Darcy : Admittedly Anne blogs about books a lot, but I swear I read her blog for more than just books so it counts, right? And I can’t round up a list of my favorite websites without mentioning her because she’s literally one of my favorite bloggers, period. In addition to book recommendations, I love her posts about personality types, bullet journals and even just life in general. She’s my bloggy role model and perhaps my biggest book pusher. (Her daily kindle deals email is one of the first things I read each morning.)

laws_of_physicsXKCD.com : Continues to be one of my favorite comic strips. I wanted to mention unshelved but that comic is definitely about books so it would be breaking the rules. XKCD is my other regular comic that I read and it’s all nerdy references and surprisingly intricate stick figure drawings.

GeekandSundry.com : This is where I get the majority of my geek news and board game recommendations. It’s also home of Will Wheaton’s table top video series. I link to posts from Geek and Sundry often here because, relevant.

giphyGiphy : Because if a picture is worth a thousand words, a gif is worth a thousand feels. This is my favorite source for finding fun gif images to liven up a blog post.

Bloglovin.com : Lastly, the website that is home to all the websites – this is my feed reader of choice that keeps my lengthy list of favorite websites organized and easy to keep up with. They have a good mobile app and a friendly interface and they encourage bloggy friendships in a way that makes bloggers look like people and not just urls. I like that.

What are some of your favorite websites?

Top 10: Bookworm Delights

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday theme is bookworm delights – things that make your little bookworm heart warm up and sing. Let’s squeal and say, “me, too!” together okay?

  1. Perusing the older antique book section at my local used book store. There are the really pricey leather bound volumes behind glass but also just little books in older bindings, with the pages kind of starting to yellow and the cover art that brings you full on nostalgia and some of the titles are infamous ones you know and love and others you have never heard of before but they make you feel kind of small to think about how a couple dozen years ago these books were new and beautiful to someone.
  2. Bookish references to other books in the book you are reading. When the protagonist mentions one of your favorite books off hand or when the plot of the book is clearly (or subtly) taking cues from classic literature. I love finding Darcy types in modern books.
  3. New bookmarks! I love a gorgeous wooden bookmark or handy point to a specific line bookmarks, cheap bookmarks offered for free at the register or perusing the carousel of bookmarks in the check out lane at Barnes & Noble.
  4. Etsy shops that sell jewelry and coffee mugs and candles and tea based off books.  So that I never have to stop thinking about books.
  5. The point in a book where you won’t be putting it back down until it’s done. Where you go from being able to read a chapter a night to being absolutely resigned to the fact that you’ll be staying up all night until you finish because you are at that part now.
  6. roryThat bookish smell. The scent that puts you at ease the second you walk into a bookstore. Your heart beat slows down to a purr as you walk up and down the aisles, touching the books just because you have to touch them. Because obviously they won’t know that you are one of them unless you run a hand across the spine or flip the pages .
  7. When the movie gets the casting just right. This is like a unicorn phenomenon. It’s rare. You’ll usually be disappointed or if you are lucky you will be completely neutral about them. But sometimes it’s like the character literally comes to life – sometimes the casting is so good that the character actually gets better than they were inside your head.
  8. When you start to think that you are probably destined to be BFFS with the author. You laugh at all their jokes, you like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram and you sometimes wish you were reading the book while skyping with them so you could let them know your thoughts immediately about certain lines and plot developments because you tried telling your husband and he just stared at you and said something about it being three AM and he was sleeping.
  9. When you finish an amazing book by a new to you author and find out that they’ve written like a dozen other books. Bonus points if the kindle version of one of them is magically on sale that day.
  10. When that mom at the school playground references a book you love in a way that only other  fans would pick up on. “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you for saying that!!!” There is nothing better than finding a new person you can let your geek flag fly around.

What would be on your list?

toptentuesday
Check out The Broke and The Bookish for more Top Ten lists!

10 Songs Found While Shuffling.

I’m kind of combining two tags / writing prompts right now. This week’s Writer’s Workshop, which is hosted by the brilliant Mama Kat, includes the prompt:

6. List your top 10 most listened to songs currently.

I thought this sounded fun but the idea of trying to pick ten favorites was weirdly stressful to me because how do you pick just ten favorite children? I’m pretty sure that’s child abuse. Or not. Anyway, I also recently saw this music tag at Book Coma that asks you to “List the first 10 songs that come on shuffle and then write your favorite lyric (or verse) from each song.” And I was like, awesome, that’s less decisions to make and also potentially embarrassing. So let’s dig into my playlist dubbed “only the best” which is typically what I’m listening to and see what comes up okay?

ONE Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey by John Mayer because this list wouldn’t be legit without John and you guys should know that I’m kind of obsessed with this song. Here’s a taste:

(ps: the beginning of this video is hysterical classic John)

Walking home with no one left
Speak softly underneath my breath
Hey world, you ain’t seen nothing yet
Great, now it’s raining

Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey
Water, water, water
Sleep
Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey
Wake up, shake it off
And repeat

TWO Jenny from The Block by Jennifer Lopez which is probably good because after pouring our heart and soul out on the last song, an up beat dance number is likely in order. Also, this is my jam because I am also still just Jenny from the block. Represent.

Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got
I’m still, I’m still Jenny from the block
Used to have a little, now I have a lot
No matter where I go, I know where I came from (from the Bronx!)

THREE Ain’t It Fun by Paramore which is super fun when you remember that you have to grown up or when you just spent time with someone who apparently didn’t get the memo that they also have to grown up. Like for realz.

Ain’t it fun
Living in the real world
Ain’t it good
Being all alone

Where you’re from
You might be the one who’s running things
Well you can ring anybody’s bell and get what you want
See it’s easy to ignore trouble
When you’re living in a bubble

So what are you gonna do
When the world don’t orbit around you
So what are you gonna do
When nobody wants to fool with you

FOUR The Heart of Life by John Mayer because my play list is like 40% John Mayer. Sorrynotsorry.

You know, it’s nothing new
Bad news never had good timing
Then, circle of your friends
Will defend the silver lining

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No it won’t all go the way it should
But I know the heart of life is good

FIVE Through With You by Maroon 5 because a million years ago I loved Maroon 5. It was back when Adam Levine either hadn’t yet grown the world’s largest ego or he’d managed to hide it for a minute.

And I don’t trust you
Cause every time you’re here
Your intentions are unclear
I spend every hour waiting for a phone call
That I know will never come
I used to think you were the one
Now I’m sick of thinking anything at all

You ain’t ever coming back to me
That’s not how things were supposed to be
You take my hand just to give it back
No other lover has ever done that

SIX Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis because these boys complete me and I’m pretty sure every song on this album made it onto my Only The Best playlist. I’m not picky. This one is important though.

It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom ’til we’re equal, damn right I support it

SEVEN Just Dance by Lady Gaga because again levity. I love Lady Gaga, she’s kind of brilliant and an amazing vocalist. This isn’t necessarily a favorite but it’s up there. It makes my husband and I laugh when we actually listen to the lyrics cause they are kind of hysterical.

Wish I could shut my playboy mouth, oh oh oh-oh
How’d I turn my shirt inside out? Inside outright
Control your poison babe, roses have thorns they say
And we’re all getting hosed tonight, oh oh oh-oh

What’s going on on the floor?
I love this record baby but I can’t see straight anymore
Keep it cool, what’s the name of this club?
I can’t remember but it’s alright, a-alright

EIGHT I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles so now I can shrug and say, yeah, I listen to the Beatles. I don’t even consider them retro because I’m not a fetus. Shut up children. This one is not the most lyrically interesting but it always makes me smile.

Oh please, say to me
You’ll let me be your man
And please, say to me
You’ll let me hold your hand
I’ll let me hold your hand
I wanna hold your hand

NINE Don’t Get It Twisted by Gwen Stefani which is possibly the most fantastic way to announce that you are preggers.

Lip locked making out again, no big deal
You always say that, but I’m not a mathematician
28 days in a normal cycle
If not I am mistaken, I think you might have made a goal

Uh oh uh oh uh oh

TEN Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots which is a recent obsession. I love singing it while driving to work or some other grown up priority that doesn’t sound nearly as good as pretending to ride a rocket ship with friends.

We used to play pretend, give each other different names,
We would build a rocket ship and then we’d fly it far away,
Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face,
Saying, “wake up, you need to make money.”

10 Funny Picture Books for Kids

I’m linking up for another Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they post a new prompt. This week’s prompt is… Ten Books To Make You Laugh. I’m stealing Kate’s idea of listing 10 funny picture books because after my suggestions for tween girls and 10 year old boys, picture books seems like a natural progression. And being a mother to a six year old and ten year old, I have read a LOT of picture books. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. 415zyRA-22L._SX400_BO1,204,203,200_The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak should be breaking the rules because as the name suggests, there are no pictures. But for picture book style reading where you are curled up with your kiddo for story time, this one can’t be beat and it’s so funny that your face might turn blue and you might spit on someone. And you have the added delight of reading a picture book by that guy from The Office so you know it’s funny stuff.
  2. 51BI6F3MRlLDon’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus by Mo Willems and pretty much anything else by Mo Willems to be honest. His Elephant and Piggy series was another big favorite around here and is a fantastic series for early readers. This book is the classic you must read title though and makes for a fantastic read aloud.
  3. 5984611Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett is guaranteed to make your kids laugh because it comes with built in prompts to tickle your children and more importantly the build up of threatening to tickle which in my experience makes kids laugh even more.
  4. 41ZYeUkW0wL._SX396_BO1,204,203,200_Olivia by Ian Falconer is an oldie but a goodie that always makes me laugh. I love the illustrations and Olivia’s antics. Her expressions and reactions to things are great. Any of the books in the series are great but if you haven’t read any of the books yet, obviously start at the beginning.
  5. 61yGpMELl4L._SX356_BO1,204,203,200_Eloise by Kay Thompson is kind of the natural progression after mentioning Olivia. If you like Olivia, you are going to love Eloise. She’ll make you wish you could live at the Plaza Hotel and have a pet named Skipperdee. Also your own children will likely seem tame by comparison so bonus points. If not, I’m sorry.
  6. 616-hr5kSqL._SX388_BO1,204,203,200_The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka is another long time favorite that both my kids loved. I love any book that takes a well known story and turns it on its head and this one is a prime example. And honestly Scieszka can do no wrong in my eyes.
  7. 61g8cli07XL._SX425_BO1,204,203,200_The Monster At The End of This Book by Jon Stone is a picture book that I read as a kid and had full nostalgia reading to my kids. This is iconically funny stuff and amazingly fun to read out loud. If you haven’t read this one yet, you are in for a treat.
  8. 51qqiOXCo2L._SX431_BO1,204,203,200_If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff is one of my daughter’s favorites right now. She has a big collection of these books and thinks they are pretty much the funniest thing ever. Honestly I’m not sure I’ve ever met a kid who didn’t love reading or listening to this story.
  9. 51DE6fFNKLL._SX454_BO1,204,203,200_I Am Absolutely Too Small For School by Lauren Child is one of many books in the Charlie and Lola series. I love these books – funny and fantastic illustrations with excellent attention to all the little details which I think is super important for picture books where kids will pore over them multiple times. I especially like this series for kids who have a bigger sibling – they’ll definitely be able to relate to Lola.
  10. 51K6FH6+E4L._SY454_BO1,204,203,200_We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury is one of the books that I buy just about every new mother. It’s one of our all time favorite read alouds and perhaps more quietly funny than laugh out loud funny – it definitely deserves a place on this list.

What books would be on your list?

toptentuesday
Check out The Broke and The Bookish for more Top Ten lists!

 

WAYRW: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

What Are You Reading Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by It’s A Reading Thing.

Here’s how you play: Open the book you are currently reading to page 34 (or 34% in your ebook) and answer these three questions:

The Questions are:

  1. What’s the name of your current read?
  2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a complete sentence. (or two!)
  3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

Now for my answers this week…

My book club is discussing The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald at the end of the month. I’m about halfway through it right now – it was kind of slow going to start but the further into it I get, the more invested in the story I become. Here’s a quote from page 34:

25573977“The only thing there seemed to be an abundance of was corn. At that time of year, the end of August, it towered around them in enormous fields. The bright sunlight transformed these fields into a swirling sea of gold and green that dazzled Sara, blazing in her eyes until Broken Wheel appeared almost as a relief. ”

This book’s universe pretty much is my universe in the sense that it’s not science fiction or fantasy. Do I want to live in a very small town in Iowa that is clearly suffering financially and is filled with largely reluctant readers? No probably not. We’ll see what Broken Wheel looks like by the end of the book though. Maybe Sara will end up doing them some good.

What are you reading?

10 Book Suggestions: For 10 year old boys

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish was to make your own Top 10 Must Reads For… your choice. Awhile back I wrote a post suggesting books for the reluctant tween reader. I had a lot of fun with that and have been meaning to write more posts like it so today I’m tackling a new list of suggestions – books for 10 year old boys (though honestly, your daughters will probably love these books, too) – based off the reading habits of my own ten year old boy.

He is a voracious reader and would probably have his own list of ten to add to this but I’m sticking to books that I have also read that I thought were excellent and can vouch for. Some are more complex than others – I tried to give you a varied list so that you can find something for your ten year olds regardless of reading level. And there aren’t any Diary of Middle School Zombies in Underpants here. You’re welcome.

  1. gregor the overlander by suzanne collinsMy son’s favorite: I couldn’t start this list with anything except my son’s self proclaimed favorite book ever. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (yes, that Suzanne Collins) was probably the first book that made him cry – the first book that he came to me somewhat distraught over because a beloved character was clearly in real danger (but ended up being ok). This series captured his heart and consumed his mind and he’d insist that your ten year old read it immediately.
  2. 3980My favorite: One of my favorite books growing up was From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankeweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. This was a hide under the covers with a flashlight book and I still think of it today. My son read this in school this year and also really loved it so I can vouch for modern day kids still enjoying it. Read it together and dream of running away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  3. Harry Potter Illustrated Book 1The Modern Classic: I shouldn’t have to tell you to read Harry Potter but if your son hasn’t read the books yet, this is a good time to dive into the series. At ten, the boys are nearly the same age as Harry who turns 11 in the first book, so the characters will be easy to relate to. This book series is coming of age meets magic and fantasy and adventure and should really be required reading.
  4. 65645The Old Classic: Another book my son read this year in school is The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. (They actually read The Magician’s Nephew first which comes first chronologically but was published later. I personally think you could start with either.) He loved both books just like the rest of the world. Filled with fantasy and adventure and childhood antics, this one is a classic for a reason.
  5. 78411A shorter pick: If these are all feeling too literary or stuffy or just too long, I recommend The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket. These books are both short and sweet and hilarious. These are a great introduction to a reluctant reader that are likely to turn your kids into avid readers. And if they like this, there are at least twelve more books to enjoy not including Snicket’s other books outside of the series.
  6. 83369For your budding brainiac: Be sure to check out The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart which is like Hogwarts for Geniuses. If your son likes brain teasers and has ever felt like he doesn’t fit in – or even if he does – he’ll enjoy this book. It’s another series that’s excellent from beginning to end. You’ll want to read this one with him, it’s that good.
  7. 16131058The surprising hit series by that kid from GleeI was so pleasantly surprised by The Land of Stories by Chris Coelfer. I was not expecting much but it was excellent. I really loved his re-imaginings of various fairy tale characters and the story as a whole. My son loved this one and is eager to read the follow up stories in the series.
  8. 394363The Slightly Less Well Known Fantasy Series: The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman was excellent and despite having a terrible movie made for it it’s managed to stay somewhat under the radar. This one has gotten passed around most of the family and loved by all. It has such rich imagination and fantastical adventures. This is one to pass on to your kid when they loved all the other fantasy books I’ve already mentioned. It’s slightly lofty in writing style so maybe don’t start with this one if they aren’t already voracious readers. Instead I’d recommend trying…
  9. 769483For When You Can’t Get Enough Harry Potter: Magyk by Angie Sage and the rest of the books in the series are fantastic. There are definitely some similarities to Harry Potter but in my opinion the series holds up well on its own and has a unique premise. It also boasts six more books in the series which is awesome. I think series books are excellent for readers this age because it keeps them reading, reading, reading and gives them an obvious next title to check out.
  10. 30119For when they don’t want to read a whole book: Allow me to be the 1 millionth person to recommend Shel Silverstein to your reluctant readers. Where The Sidewalk Ends takes everything your kid thinks he knows about poetry and turns it on it’s head. Hysterical, silly and easy to read for ten minutes here and there. If he doesn’t already know about these books, it’s time to change that. Silverstein has more than one collection of poetry but this one is probably his best.

What books am I forgetting?

Share your favorite recommendations for this age range in the comments section!

toptentuesday
Check out The Broke and The Bookish for more Top Ten lists!

WAYRW: 13 Little Blue Envelopes

What Are You Reading Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by It’s A Reading Thing.

Here’s how you play: Open the book you are currently reading to page 34 (or 34% in your ebook) and answer these three questions:

The Questions are:

  1. What’s the name of your current read?
  2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a complete sentence. (or two!)
  3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

Now for my answers this week…

7796279I’m reading 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. Here’s a quote from 34%:

It looked like he was reaching for David, but at the last moment, he turned, took Ginny’s face in his hands, and kissed her. It wasn’t a tender, slow, “your lips are like delicate flower petals” kiss. More like a “thank -you” kiss. Or even a “good game!” kiss.

I have no desire to be an awkward teenager again, but I would not pass up a whirlwind trip to Europe, vague envelopes and all. I’ll pass on the thank-you kiss though.

What are you reading right now?

Top 10 Tuesday: Spring TBR List

20160315_111535

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link up hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they post a new prompt for a bookish Top 10 List. This week’s prompt is… Ten Books on my Spring TBR pile.

Since I’m trying to focus on reading books that I already own, I decided to look through my books and find a handful of books that I’m most looking forward to reading. My little nightstand shelf (made by my handy hubby) definitely didn’t reflect that list so I remedied that situation before taking the picture above.

The books that made the cut are:

  1. The Woman Who Died a Lot (Book 7 of Thursday Next series) by Jasper Fforde : a bookish fantasy series set in an alternate universe Britain.
  2. I Regret Nothing by Jen Lancaster : one of the latest memoirs by Jen Lancaster whom I adore in all things.
  3. Landline by Rainbow Rowell : I still haven’t read this one which is absurd because I love everything she writes. After this, I’ll need to read Carry On.
  4. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) : another memoir by one of my favorite bloggers. She’s got a morbid sense of humor but I love her so much.
  5. Stars Above (last book of The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer : Have you noticed I’m obsessed?
  6. Atlantia by Ally Condie : I really liked her Matched series and this book about mermaid sisters has me super intrigued.
  7. The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton& Lisa Steinke : about a woman who discovers she can change her fate through online status updates
  8. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han : so far I love everything I’ve read of hers so I’m looking forward to this sweet romance series.

Most of these titles are books by authors that I love so there isn’t a lot of branching out or unfamiliar faces. It’s also largely comprised of my usual genre suspects: celeb memoirs / blogger memoirs ; YA sweet romances / YA fantasy stories ; Contemporary Novels by Brilliant Women. Some are from a series I’m avidly following, some are stand alone novels. All look ridiculously good.

Two other books I anticipate reading (since that was only 8 titles and I can math sometimes):

  1. 25573977The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald : My book club will be discussing this title in April. I don’t own a copy (yet) so I wasn’t able to photograph it but I’m looking forward to reading and discussing this one. It’s compared to The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society which our group read and loved. This one sounds like it will be all about traveling to a new place and the people you encounter mixed with a healthy love of books and bookish people. Basically my kind of book.
  2. 18113513Balancing it All by Candace Cameron Bure : I’m on a celeb memoir kick that has been going on for you know seven or eight years now? But I’m a little bit picky. I want them to be funny or well written and preferably by someone I already love and admire. I downloaded this one onto my kindle recently when it was on sale which was exciting with Fuller House coming out recently as well (possibly the reason for the sale). I think all girls love DJ Tanner but I also love Candace in these cheesy Christmas movies she always seems to be starring in and the fact that she has time for all that while raising a family and seeming like a normal person? I look forward to reading about how she does in fact balance it all.

What books are on your TBR list right now?

What I’m Into: February 2016

Happy Leap Day guys! I’m celebrating this rare day by ignoring responsibilities. Unless you count washing dishes and doing laundry and planning meals for the week and … okay, fine, it’s just Monday. But it’s also time to share What I’m Into Lately! I’m linking up with  Leigh Kramer to share what I’m into this month. Let me know if you are linking up, too!

What I’m Watching

I’ve kind of fallen down the rabbit hole that is binge watching Gilmore Girls like who really wants to watch anything else anyway? I am still only into season one but I’m all in and totally in nostalgia heaven and only sometimes whispering “kiss her! kiss her!” whenever Luke and Lorelai are in the same room. Do you guys realize we had to wait FIVE SEASONS in real time for this to happen? FIVE? What kind of monster is Amy Sherman-Palladino? In all seriousness though, that’s how it is supposed to be done. Shows that try to rush the magic end up paying for it later. *coughs* New Girl *coughs*.

I also checked out the first couple episodes of Fuller House and nostalgia wise I enjoyed the first episodes but we’ll see if the show stands up on its own. It’s super cheesy, but then I guess the original was also. The kids seem into it, so we’ll keep watching a little while longer.

We just finished watching season four of Game of Thrones this weekend and I’ve noticed that I’m a little too pleased now when some people die. When this show started I would wince and shriek and sob over any death and now I have a wish list like Arya Stark and I’m not sure what that says about me or the show.

Also still watching American Idol. Still loving Mackenzie, Dalton, Sonika and LaPorsha. Might have sobbed like a baby watching Kelly Clarkson sing Piece by Piece on Thursday. I was not alone. Keith Urban nearly lost it, too.

We also watched several movies this month – some were repeats for me and most were for the first time: Grease (the original and the new live one), Zoolander, Goosebumps, Pirates of the Caribbean, National Lampoon’s new Vacation movie, Neighbors, Pan, After the Ball and The Full Monty. Favorites of the bunch would probably be Zoolander, Pirates, Pan and The Full Monty (which features Rumpelstiltskin and Robert Baratheon back in the day btw).

What I’m Reading

I finished three books this month – two took the majority of the month to finish and one took the majority of an afternoon.

  1. 41VgvI2digL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_LOVED Winter by Marissa Meyer – Finished Feb. 23rd – This book was such an undertaking – each book in the series seems to get bigger as it goes and more characters are introduced. This book felt like the fireworks finale that it should be with #allthefeels all over the place. Every moment you were waiting for finally happens and Meyer only tries to break your heart eleventy billion times so it’s all good. I’ve already got Stars Above waiting for me to crack into.
  2. 9530LIKED Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson – Finished Feb. 24th – I wasn’t sure I would finish this one in time for the book club discussion, if at all, but I’m glad I stuck it out. Although many of the chapters felt excessively long at times and filled to the brim with information that might be fascinating for some people (not me), there were a lot of golden nuggets inside. The story this book tells is incredible especially because it’s a true story – and the people within the book have a lot to say. Lots of life lessons to be learned and everything you ever wanted to know about deep sea diving, shipwrecks and U Boats.
  3. 16000983REALLY LIKED Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick – Finished Feb. 27th – I’m a fan of Amber’s blog and this book was like a sweetened condensed version of that. My only complaints would be that some of the stories felt abruptly cut short and the book itself seemed to end so soon! I want more!

Now I seem to be reading ALL the books. I’m still working my way through The Martian by Andy Weir which I am enjoying but having a hard time settling into probably because I made the mistake(?) of watching the movie first. On the plus side, now when I read the book you know I am picturing Matt Damon doing all the things and saying all the funnies and that’s never a bad thing.

I’m also finally reading Let it Snow which is a group effort by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. It’s kind of like that high school English assignment where you write a chapter and then one of your classmates writes the next chapter and so on. So far I’ve read Green and Johnson’s stories and loved both. Maureen Johnson’s might have been my favorite of the two so now I’m adding all her books to my wish list and was psyched to realize that one of them is already sitting on my kindle so this morning I may have read the first two chapters of 13 Little Blue Envelopes.

My book club will be discussing Terrible Typhoid Mary by Susan Campbell Bartoletti next month so I’ll likely need to start reading that soon as well. It’s a biography of Mary Mallon, also known as Typhoid Mary that explores who Mary actually was and how her name became synonymous with a horrible disease.

What I’m Cooking

I made this French toast – probably the first thing I’ve made after watching a video recipe thing on Facebook. It was good but not great – but somehow resulted in me making The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon toast like fifteen times this month, so…

Then I made her chocolate cake in a mug which is dangerously delicious. I didn’t know this recipe could be perfected but leave it to Ree to make that happen. I know you are rolling your eyes like, “Jen, microwave mug cake is ancient history and only meh” and to that I say, fine, I’ll eat yours. Nothing to see here.

Kim (the other half of Critic and Fangirl) and I made it into the kitchen together this month and she made pork cabbage rolls that might have changed my life. I could eat twelve of them RIGHT NOW. Seriously, come make me more Kimmy!

What I’m Loving

The new floor runner in my hallway that lets the kids walk more than one foot into the house before wiping shoes and taking them off to put away. Floors are cleaner, mom gets to walk inside sooner and also it’s pretty.

This quote from Zachary on Project Runway Junior: “You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce. So, gotta get it done…” 

The kids and I started journaling together. I bought / repurposed some journals that we are writing in to each other at night. BB uses hers mostly to ask me hot button questions like “What should I wear to my birthday party besides just clothes?” and “Can we play Minecraft together this weekend?” MM’s has quickly devolved into us doodling Doctor Who references and him sketching comics of escape pods. But I’m interested in seeing the longevity of this idea.

12771571_10100841097710656_5167264169752049140_o

This homework station that I made for the kids after spending twelve million hours on Pinterest. The main goal was just to gather all the little things they need to finish their homework in one organized space – and for all of said items to find their way back to said station after homework is done because I was getting an ulcer from the nightly “I can’t find any pencils!!!!” game.

What have you been into lately?