Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (17)

Once again I'm back playing along with The Story Siren's In My Mailbox where we share the books we've picked up over the past week.
The past weekend I've hit up the Borders closing sale. The whole idea of Borders closing is awful and really disappointing. But luckily for me, the most convenient stores to me are Barnes & Nobles, so I'm ok for now. Overall the sales haven't been too great yet (except for magazines, and I did wind up with a wedding magazine or two) but books are starting to disappear. Hopefully by the time the price slashing really starts there still are books left. Now, onto the books!
In My Mailbox
Bumped by Megan McCafferty
I've been absolutely dying to read this one! First is a YA dystopian, and second the basic idea is about teen pregnancy. Now I'm a little obsessed with MTV's Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant, and I love babies and can't wait till I'm pregnant myself (still several years away though). So basically this book seems to be made just for me. I can't wait to read this one, and only hope it lives up to my high expectations.

Cleaving by Julie Poewell
I read Julie's first memoir, Julie & Julia, right after I saw the movie, and wound up enjoying both the book and movie. I haven't heard the greatest things about this book, but it's still one I want to read to hear more of Julie's story. Plus at the clearance price and the discount on top of that, if I was ever going to pick it up now was the time.

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
Another book I'm really excited to read. This one also incorporates two of my favorites, YA fiction and historical fiction. Aside from knowing it takes place at the turn of the century in New York, most of the plot is a mystery to me. But just looking at the gorgeous dress on the cover I can't help but want to read it.

Did anyone else hit up the Borders closing sale this week? If so, what made it to your mailbox?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Woken by a Kiss

A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
This is meant to be a YA/dystopian/Sci-Fi retelling of Sleeping Beauty. That point is made clear several times throughout the story (for example calling Rose by Aurora instead of her actual name), but I think it's much better cataloged as a retelling of Rip Van Winkle. Rose is woken from her statis slumber after 60 years to find that the world she knew, along with all her friends and family, is gone. It's a bit of a mystery at first trying to discover why she was asleep for so long and what exactly happened, but things get a little more complicated when Rose realizes everyone else isn't so happy to see her back.

I wound up being really pleasantly surprised by this, and fell a little bit in love with Rose's worlds, both the one she woke up in and the one she left behind. Once I started reading I really didn't want to put it down, and now am a little disappointed it's all over.

I love the boys throughout, Otto the part-human/part-alien that can't quite communicate as one should, Bren the boy who woke her up from her sleep with a kiss, and especially Xavier the one Rose left behind. And yes, there are a few plot twists that seem obvious after the fact, but even so I didn't see it coming.

The books ends in such a way that I only hope there's a sequel coming. I'm not going to go so far to say there's a cliffhanger, but there's definitely a direction the author could take this story, and if she does decide to take that journey I've be right there with her.


Disclosure: I was provided this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Back to the Angels

The Fallen 2 by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Aerie and Reckoning
Again this is an omnibus of the 3rd and 4th books of the series, and since I read them as one, I think it makes the most sense to review them as one as well. It is interesting reading them together like this, because the similarities in how they're constructed are quite evident. Each volume of the series starts the same way, with the death of some saintly being, and while the construction could be seen as almost repetitive, instead I think its almost comforting knowing what to expect.

The book begins immeadiatly after the end of Leviathan, the second in the series, with Aaron continuing his fight against The Powers and to help redeem the Fallen Angels. While I did find the first two a bit slow and almost disengaged from, this book did a great job at capturing my attention, and I really enjoyed journey more on Aaron's and the rest of the Fallen Angels' journey.

Another complaint I had with the first was that I was often confused but the subplots and many unfamiliar names. But now that I was more acquainted with the various characters and types of spiritual beings, I was able to better follow the story as a whole.

I definitely enjoyed the second volume much more than the first, and am glad I stuck around. The series does come to a satisfying conclusion by the end, and seemed to tie up all the loose knots. But while this last book was published in 2004, the author has actually decided to publish a 5th book this fall. Given the ending, I would imagine this isn't a direct sequel the overall story is over, but more to give us an idea of the future of the Nephilim. Either way I'm curious to see where he'll take the story and am planning on picking up the newest one this fall.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sparkle Time

Sparkler exits have been on my mind lately. I think partly because 4th of July wasn't that long ago. And it doesn't help that every day on my way to and from work I drive by 2 firework warehouses. There's so many brides out there dying for a sparkler exit. And I completely understand the appeal, after all look how pretty they are.

Except too often brides are told no since their venue doesn't allow them. But my venue is all for sparklers. Here's even proof of a sparkler exit at our venue.

But even though I look at these pictures and think, "How pretty!" I'm not sure I want it for myself.

I think part of it is that where I grew up fireworks were illegal, and have always thought fireworks were something meant only for professionals. I realize that sparklers aren't quite fireworks according to most people, but I completely associate them together.

I'm not even sure I've held a sparkler, let along a full blown bottle rocket or some other type of firework. (My knowledge is clearly limited by lack of use.) And while I wouldn't have to actually hold a sparkler if we did an exit, I would still need to run through a tunnel of flame. Fire plus a bunch of drunk people just seems to scream dangerous to me. But while I'm not completely sold on actually doing an exit, I still love looking at pictures of people who are brave enough, so here's a few more fire hazard photos for your viewing pleasure?



Are you, or did you, did a sparkler style exit at your wedding? If it's a no, was that your choice or the venues?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I'm sure by now you've seen this going around blog-land. If you haven't you're in for, what I think, is a treat. Technically you're supposed to be tagged to play and go on and tag 5 more people. But I wasn't tagged, and won't be tagging anyone else, instead if you want to play please join in!

The way it works is you've given a list of 7 types of posts, and the goal is to go through you're archives to see what best fits each one. It was a lot of fun for me, to go through and relive some of my favorite posts, and it's been fun as well to see what everyone else listed as theirs. Most times I completely agree with other bloggers' decisions so hopefully you will as well. So let's get to my seven.
Houmas House
Your most beautiful post
The Choice
I think this one fits the them in more ways than one. First I do think the venue we chose for our we choose for our wedding is absolutely gorgeous, and can't wait to get married there. And second, I have a feeling that when we actually do get married, that did is going to be beautiful in more ways than just visually.

Your most popular post
All American Girl
Given how big of a part of my childhood American Girls dolls were, it makes sense that this post resonated with so many others. Every few days it seems some one's google search lands them on this page, and I hope that seeing my dolls brings back the love someone else had for their dolls as well.
Meet Felicity
Your most controversial post
The Argument Against E-Readers
I tend not to write a lot of controversial posts, so I wasn't sure that I would have one for this. But I do think my recent post on e-readers, and the future of physical books and bookstores, did get a lot of good responses from everyone.

Your most helpful post
Rashi's Daughters
This isn't a how-to or even anything else like that. In fact it's a review of the third book of the Rashi's Daughters Trilogy, Rachael by Maggie Anton, so I don't think this is what a lot of people would associate with "helpful." But I loved this book, and the series. And I know by writing this post I was able to introduce the series to at least 2 of my readers so they could fall in love too. (Drew and Lisa I believe, although correct me if I'm wrong.) I love that by book blogging I can introduce others to books that I love, and so while this may not meet helpful in the most traditional fact, the idea that I was able to help lead someone to a new book means it fits perfectly well.
A post whose success surprised you
Cupcake Scented Air Freshener
I still laugh over this post's success. And for those people who are google for "cupcake scented air freshener" and lend on this post, I can only apologize. But if you haven't seen this post, or have forgotten it from the first time I posted it, I can only recommend that you read it for a good laugh.

A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
A Life Together
This was actually the hardest one for me to choose, since I felt so many could have fit the bill. What I choose is a post I wrote about 2 years ago. At the time the boy and I had first started to talk about buying a house together, and I wasn't sure about how I felt buying a house with someone I was only dating at the time. The post is a little cryptic, which I think is part of the reason it didn't get a huge response. I also think I was looking for someone to read it and tell me exactly what to do, but clearly that wasn't going to happen. But as to how it played it, we bought out house in January 2010, and became engaged November 2010, so I guess not too bad!
Chair and Bookshelves
The post that you are most proud of
Professor Plum in the Library with the Rope
I love this post about our library! I love looking back to the pictures and just being in it now. Of course I library has changed since then, since we're out of bookshelf space and have started piles on the ground. But still reading this post just makes me so happy!

Do you agree or disagree with my choices? And if you're playing too, please let me know so I can check out your seven best as well!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The First Avenger

Captain America
I actually really enjoyed this one, and think it's one of the better superhero movies of the summer. In a way it surprised me, because the plot took some twists it wasn't expecting, but I think some of those twists are what made the movie better to me. I loved Howard Stark's cameo, and though he did great as Tony Stark father. It definitely helped to tie the movies together.

I'm not completely sure my thoughts on airing The Avengers trailer at the end of the credits. I'm all for the extra scenes, and giving an idea of what's to come. But seeing the trailer itself was a little too much marketing for me. Don't get me wrong, the trailer looks great and I'm excited to see the movie, but it just sits a little off with me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mary & Elizabeth

The Tudor Throne by Brandy Purdy
(published in the UK as Mary & Elizabeth by Emily Purdy)

While I always enjoy reading new historical fiction, at times it feels like I've read so much on the Tudor reign that it's difficult to read more. Not that I don't still enjoy that time period, but more that there only so many different ways one can reread the same basic story.

The Tudor Throne starts at the ends of Henry VIII's reign, and continues through both Edward VI's and Mary's reign. It's told from both Mary's and Elizabeth's points of view in alternating chapters, which means while I might have liked the story to continue through Elizabeth's reign, the fact that Mary's story would have to end means it would no longer be the same book.

It's interesting as I've read more from this period how I can pick out historical details and see how the author used them to their advantage. For example, we know that the order to Katherine Parr's arrest was dropped, and since someone found it she was able to go to the King and apologize, and thus was never actually arrested. But no one knows who actually found the note and warned the Queen. Here Purdy uses that story to show Elizabeth's loyalty to her stepmother as she is the one in the book who does this act.

One thing that stood out to me in the book is how almost bawdy it is. I think we read about the past Queens & Kings and expect them to act with the decorum befitting royalty today. And while I think they did act above the average person, I don't believe their behavior, if seen today, would come off as exactly dignified. That's not to say the characters come off as common in the book, but more some of the scenes and behaviors are almost lewd, in a way similar to what you'd find at a Renaissance Faire today.

Overall I did enjoy the book. I believe I've read books from this time period from Mary's & Elizabeth's points of view individually, but not necessarily within the same book. I do think that if this is a time period you're interested in, but haven't read a lot about, these books could be a great introduction to the story.


Disclosure: I was provided this book from the author for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wine and Love (v2)

I'm linking up with Walking with Nora for another week of Wine & Love!
  • So remember last week's wine, about how hot it was that we were using our air conditioning 24/7? Well I shouldn't have been complaining because the day after I wrote that the air conditioner broke. We already had someone come out for an estimate, and at this point it's looking like the amount we'd spend to get it repaired we might as well buy a new one. And there's the fact that our home warranty was only for 1 year, which we didn't renew, and we've been here for about a year and a half. But we have been here for a year and a half and this is the first thing to go wrong in the house so it could be worse.

  • And remember this post, how I realized at the NKOTBSB concert my camera flash wasn't working. I thought I just needed a new battery, but after a little research I think the flash itself is broken. I've had this little point-and-shoot forever in terms of camera time (since May '05), and while I had it repaired about a year after I bought it (the joystick to control the camera got stuck), besides that it's been great. I know I've gotten more than my fair share of use out of it, but still it makes me sad.
  • The idea of a bran new camera! Can you believe mine doesn't (or maybe didn't is more correct now) have a macro setting? Definitely need one on my new one (although I think it's hard to buy cameras without it now). But besides that I really have no idea what I want, besides of course a point-and-shoot. I am no way ready to upgrade to a dslr. I love my little sony and would love to buy a new one, but if any one has any camera advice send it my way!

  • I tried Red Mango, a new frozen yogurt place, for the first time this weekend. No pictures (we were outsides and again no camera flash), but it was really good. I tend to go fruit-y with my fro-yo and got White Peach, Lemon, and I think pineapple flavored, and topped it with pieces of mango, kiwi, blueberries, raspberries, white chocolate, and of course sprinkles.
That's it for me this week. Hopefully next week will feature a little less wine and a little more love.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fallen Angels

The Fallen by Thomas E. Sniegoski
This is technically two books bound as one (The Fallen and Leviathan). I wasn't sure if it made more sense to review each book separately, but since I read them as one, a combined review seems to be the most logical to me.

Aaron assumes he's a normal teenager, but in the nights leading up to his 18th birthday he starts having weird nightmares. And once he turns 18 he realizes he can understand any language, including those spoken by animals. He soon discovers he is a Nephilim, the offspring of a human and an angel, and gets caught up in the battle between the Fallen Angels and the Powers. Except there's rumors of a chosen one, one who will forgive the Fallen, and reunite all the angels again.

I'm not sure why this book couldn't draw me in. I know people before me have loved it (turns out there was an ABC Family movie, which I didn't realize till I finished the book), but I wasn't one of them. I just seemed to feel confused through much of the book. It seemed to jump back and forth between scenes and narrators, and even by the end I was still confused by who a lot of the characters were. Don't get me wrong I never disliked the book, but I didn't really feel engrossed r drawn in, until the end of the second book. (Which makes me wonder if I had read the first standalone if I would have still picked up the second.)

I think part of it was that Aaron came off as boring to me. There were several other characters who I enjoyed, but Aaron didn't seem to have a real distinct personality.

This book does still have a lot of the elements that should make a great story. I didn't hate the book and if I stumble on the next of the series I would still read it, but I don't see myself going out of my way to continue the story.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pooh and the Deathly Hallows

Winnie the Pooh
It almost feels wrong writing about this in the same review as the new Harry Potter. But we did see both this past weekend so here it is. It was a short movie (barely over an hour) which was appreciated, because it wasn't that enjoyable. We took the boy's niece to this one, and while she was the best behaved she's been in a movie, I think that's more her getting older and not the movie being completely captivating. I did enjoy Zoey Deschanel's music, but for the actual movie I could go without every seeing it again and I'd be ok.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Now this one, as soon as it ended my main thought was when can I see it again. There were definitely times watching it where I worried that I would be let down, but thankfully every scene I was looking forward to seeing was there and met my expectations. I think they only one they could have perhaps done better was Mrs. Weasly's and Bellatrix's fight. There was almost no lead-up to it. I would have liked to see more of Ginny and Bellatrix fighting first, but instead without really knowing what's going on Mrs. Weasly had already taken over.

And of course the death scenes weren't there. It made scenes considering it is a kid's movie and they were trying not to alienate yuong fans, but I know there's people out there who would have rather scene it happen. I can't go as far to say that I would have enjoyed watching certain people die, or even that it would have improved the movie, but they were shown in the book and maybe should have been in the movie as well.

I do think it was a fitting end to the series, and like the rest of the world I'm a little sad to see it end. (But is it silly that a part of me is a little excited to be able to introduce it all to my future children to see their reactions seeing it all for the first time?)

Monday, July 18, 2011

World Cup Final at BJs

Yesterday we made a last minute decision to watch the world cup final at The Londoner, a restaurant I've been wanting to try. Except everyone else had that decision, and theirs wasn't last minute. But the time we arrived shortly before kick-off we were told they're be a 2 hour wait. Meaning really everyone there was staying for the game. But since we were out already we decided instead to head to BJ's Brewhouse.

We are big fans of the restaurant, except for the fact their service is pretty awful. But knowing that we were planning on being there for two hours service wasn't really an issue.

Now before I get to the food, because that's almost the most exciting part of this post considering how the game went down, let's do a little comparison. When we pulled up to the Londoner the parking lot was full. We walked in behind a group of college guys, with one even dressed up in American Revolution ware complete with a tri-cornered hat. Clearly if you were a soccer fan in B.R. this is where you wanted to go for the atmosphere.

And then at BJ's there was only a 5 or 10 minute wait. And while they did have the game on TV, they had screen on various other games a well. A baseball game or two, but even replays of old football and hockey games. And then of course there was the fact they were playing music and didn't have the game commentary on. There were other people in the restaurant watching the game, easily told by who cheered after a goal, but I'd guess maybe only a quarter and that's being generous. It's an interesting comparison to what BJ's would look like if there was an LSU football game on, no matter who they were playing. Clearly Baton Rouge is not a soccer town.

But on to the food! BJ's has these small plates, that I'm growing found up. They're almost like a mini-appetizer, in that they're prize for only a few dollars. But the amount of food is just enough for me, and I like being able to order an appetizer without almost doubling the cost of my meal.
So for my mini-plate I went with frie artichokes. I thought they were really good, and a ton for the price. I didn't even try the sauce, in general I'm not a fan of creamy sauces, so can't even tell you what kind it was.
Then I went with a small Mediterranean pizza which I know I've had before. Even though its a small, I still only ate about half which means it's waiting in the fridge for dinner tonight.
And for dessert, we were there for almost 2 hours after all, I went with their white chocolate macadamia nut pizookie. They did have a red velvet pizookie which I thought about, but wasn't sure how red velvet would work in this form. Although next time I might have to take the plunge.

While we did have a good meal, with the US loss it wound up not being the greatest time. But I guess there's always the next one!

Did you watch the women's world cup final? And would you consider your town a soccer town?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox (16)

Every Sunday I think next week will be the one when I don't have anything to share for In My Mailbox. I've have a huge pile of books next to my bed to read, and have forbidden myself from spending any more money on new ones until I make some good headway. But even though I'm not spending money I still wind up with new books. I'm not complaining, although I have told myself I need at least 1 book free week before I can go shopping, but here are the books I have to share for these week edition of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.
In My Mailbox
From My Mom
The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
My mom bought this for me at a Borders closing sale. I'm a big fan of her blog and while I read her memoir a few months back I didn't have a copy of her cookbook. I have made a few recipes of hers in the past, although none from the actually cookbook, so I'm excited to give them a try. (And slightly unrelated at least to the book world, but she is going to have her own Food Network show later this fall, at least I think that's when it airs. I can't wait to watch it!)

The Secret of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
My mom read this, enjoyed it, and figured I'd to the same. It is a series I've been meaning to pick up for a while, so I'm excited to finally get around to it!

Borrowed from a Friend
The Fallen: Aerie and Reckoning
The same friend that lent me the first in the Fallen collection last week lent me this one as well. Like the first I read which was really 2 books, this one is the 3rd and 4th in the series. I did read the first collection (review to be up later this week) and while I wasn't a huge fan, I've been told these ones are better and I'm still looking forward to going back to the series.

From Goodreads
A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheenan
This is an uncorrected proof that due to be published this August. It is a YA dystopian, and sounds a bit like a retelling of Rip Van Winkle. I don't know a lot about it, but hopefully it's another one I'll enjoy.

That's it for me this week. We'll see if the next weekend is finally book free or if I'll be back participating yet again. In the meantime, what's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

True Adventures of a Wannabe Princess

Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine
This book has been on my radar, and sitting in the pile of books next to my bed for a few weeks, but it wasn't until I read Jessica's review that I knew I had to have this jump a few spots on my reading list. And honestly, I'm so glad I read her review, and that I finally picked it up.

At age 6, Jerramy Fine knows she is destined to marry Peter Phillips, son of the Princess Royal, and grandson of Queen Elizabeth II. After college she moves to England to fulfill her dreams of meeting and falling in love with her chosen soul mate.

I couldn't help but root for Jerramy on her journey. Even though I know Peter Phillips (who I keep wanting to called Prince Phillip, straight out of Sleeping Beauty) is married and now even a father, and I know Jerramy is not his wife, I couldn't help but hope something would change and she would still wind up with her fairytale ending.

Yes, Jerramy has a set goal, but the book is really her adventures along the way. They are at times so over the top and amusing, and yet they still feel completely true to real life. I think any girl can tell you what it feels to fall for a guy and unfortunately not have him call the next day, or instead deal with crazy obnoxious roommates where homelessness is almost preferable. Yes, the overall premise of the book could come off as not relatable, but her 20-something journal comes off as almost universal.

I'm surprised that this book hasn't had more press, especially considering the recent royal wedding. I have heard that she's planning a new book which I can't wait to read. I am so glad I read it, and I've already talked this book up to several friends. I can't wait to pass it along, and only hope they'll enjoy it as much as I did.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Swimming, Swimming in a Swimming Pool

The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw
I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this one. I was hoping for more of a "chick lit," but thinking it was going to be more of a mystery. Except it wasn't really either of those. The premise is that Marcella is having an affair Cecil, and the night their affair ends Cecil's wife is murdered. Except it wasn't really about that event itself, but instead how the events impacted those involved seven years later.

The bulk of the novel takes places at the Cape, which I loved. Reading the setting just makes me want to move up to buy a summer home and live in an idyllic beach town every year. I love the idea of growing up spending the entire summer away with family, and while it probably isn't something that will be happening to me anytime soon (or ever) it is still nice to imagine.

But my biggest complaint with the story is that its depressing. (Not necessarily the only one, though. There are a some love triangles I'm kind of iffy on, but I can work past that.) I don't mean depressing like a bittersweet love story that has you in tears at how beautiful it is. Instead most of the characters seem to be unhappy throughout the book, and you almost can't help feeling down with them. Yes, it does look like things are brightening up for some characters at the novel's close, but I can't help feeling down coming away from it all.

I don't regret reading the book, and I wouldn't steer anyone away from reading it. And I do think the basic premise had a lot of potential and that the author could have done something a little more with this. I'm not asking for a fairytale ending, but a little more happiness might have been nice.


Disclosure: I was provided this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wine and Love

I have a few friend's that partake in Nora's weekly Wine & Love, but this is my first time joining in on the fun.

  • It has been so ridiculously hot lately. I'm saying high 90's to 100's and that's without the heat index. We've gotten to the point where we (the people who refused to turn on the heater until it was practically freezing) are leaving the air conditioning on 24/7. I can only imagine what our next electricity bill will look like.

  • I just know I'm going to be completely tired at work tomorrow that it's going to be hard for me to function because...
  • I'm going to the midnight showing up Deathly Hallows tonight! It's my 4th HP midnight showing (all of which have been with the boy meaning our relationship is half as old as the HP movies), and I can't wait!

  • Speaking of movies, we're also supposed to take the boy's niece to go see Winnie-the-Pooh weekend. Is it silly, that part of me is just as excited to see Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, and the rest of the gang?

  • I e-mailed my first potential photographer recently. I haven't heard anything yet, but hopefully it works out so I can move onto the next task
What's on your Wine & Love list this week? Be sure to head over to Walking with Nora to join in on the fun!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Literary Inspiration

Given my love of books are you really going to be surprised when I saw they're influencing the wedding? Now I'm seen book inspired weddings themselves and even books inspired invitations, but I'm going for a something a little subtler.

I actually choosing my colors based on my favorite books. Not what you saw coming right? But just follow along and it will all make sense!
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney was one of my favorite books a child. In the story, while Miss Rumphius is still a small child she is told by I believe her grandfather, that he wants her to make the world a more beautiful place. She goes on adventures throughout her life and travels the world, all the time wondering how she will accomplish the goal given to her. She gets sick and while recovering someone sends her a vase of lupins. Somehow the lupin seeds get blown out the window, and the following spring she finds lupins growing outside.

Those blooms inspire her, and she goes out sprinkling seeds everywhere, to the point where people know her as The Lupin Lady. Since then I've always loved lupins, and I'd love to have some at the wedding.
My favorite book series is easily the Betsy-Tacy series by Maude Hart Lovelace. The last book in the series tells of Betsy's first few years of marriage to her high school sweetheart Joe, and of course the wedding itself. Betsy's wedding is planned in a mere 24 hours, it wasn't an elopement, but more that they were ready right then. As they're busy planning their wedding this conversation occurs:
"Find out what flowers she wants for her bouquet."
"Anything, and forget-me-nots," said Betsy.
"I'm never going to forget you, honey"
"I just want to be sure."
"Forget-me-nots," said Paige, "may be hard to find at this season,"
"If Betsy wants them, I'll find them," Joe replied.
So in honor of Betsy I want to have forget-me-nots as well (that name doesn't hurt things either).

Except unfortunately lupins and forget-me-nots are commonly used as wedding flowers. Lupins are a bit bulky for a bouquet (but might work in a centerpiece?) and forget-me-nots are a little to fragile. In fact the majority of images I found when searching "forget-me-nots" & "weddings" weren't actually flowers at all.

But if I can't use actually flowers, I can still use their colors! As for the boy, his choice would be to use LSU colors, which are purple and gold. Luckily lupins are purple, and coincidentally there's a bit of yellow in the center of a forget-me-not. Which makes our colors officially purple & blue with a hint of yellow. I'm still in search of actual inspiration photos to see how this might look when carried out, but obviously I'm a fan.

How did you come up with the colors for your wedding? And do you have a favorite book you'd like to be able to take wedding inspiration from?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fun with Gnocchi

A few weeks ago while shopping I went to pick up a package of pre-made gnocchi. The boy made me put it back claiming he wanted to make some instead. I laughed at him, "Do you have any idea what's involved in making it?"

"No, but how hard could it be?"

The plan was to make is Thursday night, but Thursday after looking up recipes the boy sent me a text, "I don't think I can do this tonight. This may be a weekend dish." The weekend arrived and we got started by baking 2 1/2 pounds of potatoes (which is really only 2 potatoes, but listing it in pounds makes it sound like more). After they were baked we peeled the skins off of them, so far so good. But the next step was to mash them to get rid of all the lumps. The preferred way of doing so is with a ricer, except we didn't have one. Instead the boy micromanaged my mashing small bits with a fork. But eventually (after maybe an hour or so) they were mashed, and the boy formed a dough with flour, egg, and maybe oil? (I don't have the recipe, but I'm sure if you search you can find one.)
He rolled the dough out into snakes
Sliced them into dumplings
and formed ridges on top
These were probably made a little too big, since when they were boiled wound up growing quite a bit and were no longer bite sized.
The boy made a sauce with roasted red pepper & garlic sausage, a little butter and brandy.
And voila, we have gnocchi!
This is actually not the presentation shot the boy wanted me share. But I still haven't replaced the battery for my flash, and the beautifully plated meal turned out blurry, and not really sharable. So shh... don't tell him!

As for the gnocchi itself, it wound up tasting really good. It still was soft and pillow-y even without the ricer. And while it did turn out delicious, this is probably the one and only time we'll he'll make gnocchi without a ricer. But at least we know now to definitely make sure there's a ricer on our registry!

Have you ever made gnocchi? Did you use a ricer, or a different more creative method?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Movie Review

Horrible Bosses
Judging from the previews we were in for an amazing time with this one. And it wasn't a surprise that the previews gave off that impression, because it seemed to include most of the funniest scenes. There were a few other scenes that were amusing, but nothing that felt 100% completely memorable to me. The movie seemed to go by quickly. It wasn't neccessarily short, but more that I was at least amused enough that it didn't feel like it was dragging. I have a feeling I'm in the minority on this one, since there were a few moments where the entire theater was in laughter and I just didn't think it was that funny. I think maybe I'm just so excited for next weekend's Deathly Hallows that it was hard for me to really enjoy anything this weekend.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In My Mailbox (15)

It's another edition of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. For those who may be new to this bloghop, it's a way to share the books we've picked up in the past week. They don't have to arrive through your actually mailbox, books borrowed or purchased or checked out from the library are all welcome.
In My Mailbox
Borrowed from a Friend
The Fallen by Thomas E. Sniegoski
This is actually the first two books in the series (The Fallen and Leviathan). I'm not completely sure what its about, but from the cover and title I have a feeling it's about fallen angels. It is YA, and there are 2 more books in the series after this (or really 1 mega-book), so I'm excited to get into a new series.

For Review
The Tudor Throne by Brandy Purdy
This was actually sent to me by the author herself. Aside from the book there were also 2 bookmarks (pictured above) and the book was signed as well. It's about Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I, and looks to be from each one's point of view in alternating chapters. I'm always looking for new historical fiction, from England in particular, and this is another one I can't wait to dive into.

So tell me, did you find anything good in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Back to the Borgais

Light on Lucrzia by Jean Plaidy
This is the first book of Plaidy's I've read that reads like a true sequel. It picks up right where Madonna of the Seven Hills ends. Lucrezia is no longer married and no longer with her former lover. The story opens with Alphonso traveling to Rome for his marriage to Lucrezia. Alphonso is the sister of Sanchia, who is the wife of Lucrezia brother, who is also the mistress of Lucrezia's other brother, who was also the mistress of Lucrezia's other brother until he was murdered by yes, his own and still Lucrezia's brother. It sounds a little over the top, and if it was fiction, a little unbelievable. But knowing this is based on fact turns this unbelievable story into reality.

The story is actually prefaced by a note from the author about the character of Lucrezia. History has painted her as a wicked character just like the rest of her family, capable of murder, love affairs, and even insect. But Plaidy's point of view is that she was instead innocent of this, but tainted do to her connection with the rest of her family. I haven't read anything else about the Borgias, but as Lucrezia is written here you can't help falling in love with her, and even feel a bit sorry for her.

It's no surprise given the author that I loved the book. But what might be more of a surprise is that I loved the story of Lucrezia and the rest of the Borgias. Reading this definitely make me want to read more about the family, and yes what the Showtime series as well. If you want to know what this family is all about, I would suggest the book (and its prequel) to find out just why this family is so infamous.


Friday, July 8, 2011

The Story of Elizabeth and the Woman who Stood in Her Way

A Wife for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen
In some ways I'm not sure if I'm the target audience for this book since I haven't actually read Pride and Prejudice. But I have the seen the movie (Keira Knightly version) as well as parts of the Colin Firth mini-series so I at least know the basic story. I was thinking this would be somewhat of a sequal, and was surprised that it was almost a retelling of the novel. I'm not exactly sure how it compares to original, but if I had to guess in this we have a much better idea of what Mr. Darcy is actually thinking.

Reading the book I was surprised at how certain scenes turned out, and had to question myself as to whether I remember the story wrong. But after a little research, I realized the book does change a few plot lines. In a way it gives several characters a much happier ending, which I could see wanting to see that happen as a reader, but I'm not sure what it adds to give everyone their own happily ever after. I do think the book reads in a way to make you think this is what really happened in "real live," and Jane Austen's book is the literary interpretation of it.

Overall I did enjoy the book, but I do think a lot of that it the actual Pride and Prejudice, story and can't neccessarily be credited to this author. I also think that if I was more familiar with the story, I might be upset at some of the changes made to the plot. But reading this does make me want to read the original, and if the goal is to get more people introduced to Austen's work, it definitely meets its mark.


Disclosure: I was provided this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Challenge

I'm a little late to this challenge, and if you're just finding out about it now you're a little late as well. But it just seemed like to much fun not to join....

Jenna's Journey is hosting a commenting challenge. The goal is to comment on 10 blogs a day from Sunday July 3rd through this Saturday. (Hence where I'm late to the party.) But if you still want to join in the list of participating blogs is here.

If you're stopping by from the challenge, Welcome! And now for a little bit about me. I'm a California girl (from the L.A. area to be more precise) who decided on an almost whim to go the LSU in Baton Rouge for graduate school. (Hence the blog name, From L.A. to LA. Clever, right?) My fiance and I were engaged last November which is part of the reason I'm still living in Louisiana 3 years after graduating.

I am just starting to plan our wedding, and can't wait to blog about it more as it all starts to come together. Lately I seem to have fallen into more of a book blog, mainly because the more book blogs I read the more I find books that I need to read. I love desserts and enjoy cooking. Every once in a while find the time to share a recipe or two, although I will admit they have been lacking as of late. It's been about 2 and a half years that I've been blogging here, and while some of the content varies, I like to say the whole time it's been about me and my various likes at the time.

If you're new here, thanks for stopping by, and hopefully you'll stick around for a while!

In Verse

What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
At first glace this book is a fairly typical YA novel. High school girl deals with feeling in and out of love, worries about what her friends and peers think, and argue with her parents. Except what makes this unique is that the entire book is told in poems. After page of two is the start of a new poem, with the title giving the basic idea of what is occurring. Some of these probably could stand on their own, but when taken together it turns into a fun little story.

Honestly, I probably never would have picked this up on my own. I'm not a huge fan of poems, and the only reason I read it was because it was lent to me by a friend. I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed it. Reading it really brought me back to high school. There was one bit where she falls for a guy she "meets" online, that brought me right back to all my random AOL conversations. And all the obsessions, and all the highs and lows, a lot of me felt like I was reliving high school with Sophie.

It is a quick read, which in some ways is my only complaint. I finished it in less than 24 hours, in total it was about an hour and a half of reading. I would have liked it to have been longer, but I think the story works just the way it's written and doesn't really need anything else. It was a pleasant surprise, and I'm glad I gave it a try.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mid-Year Stats

Newlyweds Next Door recently posted mid year blog stats. I know it's been a while since I've done anything similar so I figured I'd join in on the fun!

Top 10 referring blogs in 2011:
1. New Girl on Post
2. My Story is Not Over
3. The Time of Our Lives
4. The Branches
5. Sarah in the City
6. Little Mrs. Married
7. Newlyweds Next Door
8. Crazy Shenanigans
9. An Irregular Silsbee
10. 30 Before 30 List

Countries with the most visits in 2011
(Excluding the US and Canada which would be 1 & 2 respectively)
1. United Kingdom
2. Australia
3. Germany
4. Italy
5. Brazil
6. Vietnam
7. Sweden
8. The Netherlands
9. Malaysia
10. Romania

States with the most visits in 2011
1. California
2. Louisiana
3. Texas
4. New York
5. Massachusetts
6. Virginia
7. Florida
8. Pennsylvania
9. Illinois
10. Tennessee
And interesting fact, in 2011, I've had someone visit my site from every state except Alaska.

Posts with the most visits in 2011
1. Up in the Mountains
2. All American Girl
3. The Pioneer Woman
4. The Tea Rose Trilogy: Book 2
5. More Teen Moms
6. The Cupcakes are Coming
7. The Pancake Post
8. The Argument Against E-Readers
9. In My Mailbox (14)
10. Plantation Homes

Top 10 Most Commented Posts from 2011
1. The Argument Against E-Readers
2. In My Mailbox (6)
3. Help Me Out
4. In My Mailbox (11)
5. Narrowing it Down
6. The When
7. The Choice
8. In My Mailbox (5)
9. In My Mailbox (3)
10. If You're a Bird, I'm a Bird

Amusingly, the number 1 search term that brought people to my blog was... "The Pioneer Woman." I have no idea how people search that and wind up here instead of actually at The Pioneer Woman, but I guess I shouldn't be complaining about a case of mistaken identity. I could go on to list the time 10 searches that brought people here. But most of them are pretty self-explanatory, and are from people actually looking for this site. So instead, I'll give you the outtakes, and ask how exactly did you wind up here from that.

+"william and mary" +tree +ants
Maybe they named their tree William and their ant Mary? Or I could be wrong, and William is the ant.

56 girls trying to get pregnant to be on teen mom
56 girls specifically huh? I could understand 1 or 2, or maybe a bunch, but to have it down to the exact number must take dedication. Plus I have heard that 16 & Pregnant is actually bringing down the teen pregnancy rate. Either way though, I'll keep watching.

a girl american who did something inportant
I could maybe list girls who did something important and are American. But being inportant, well no wonder you needed help thinking of one!

car fresheners mainstays waterfall scent
What exactly does a waterfall scent smell like? I'm guessing, refreshing?

hair like funghi
Is this hair that looks like fungi, or smells like it? Either way, ewwww!

happy 25th birthday boy in italy suprise
I know I'm not 25, nor am I a boy. But just throwing this out there in case anyone wanted to know if it'd like to go to Italy as a surprise birthday present... the answer is yes!

my numbers on my keyboard are locked out
I would suggest pressing the "Num Lock" key, and that should fix things. Just some friendly advice.

what are those plants called in san diego on the freeway
No idea. Weeds if I had to guess. But either way, I hope you found your answer... although it probably wasn't listed here.

I hope you enjoyed this fun little spotlight on just who is reading along with you. Please let me know in the comments where you reading from and how you found your way here! Or maybe help a searcher out by letting them know, just what plants are on the freeway in San Diego!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More Than Meets the Eye

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
This will probably be short, because honestly I don't have a lot to say about this. Overall it was a pretty boring movie. I believe it was almost 3 hours long and felt completely drawn out. Yes, the action scenes were good, but again they good have been shorter. Patrick Dempsey was a pleasant surprise. I had no idea he was in the movie, and was surprised at how big his part was.

Honestly, the best part of the movie, for me, was that they showed the Breaking Dawn: Part 1 trailer before the movie. Seeing it on the big screen before the movie was awesome, and I'm so excited for the movie to come out. I guess it says something when the high point of a movie is one of the previews, right?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Back to the Mortal Instruments

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
When I finished City of Glass just over a year ago I was expecting to have it be the end of the series. It's almost funny to go back and reread that review now knowing not only will there be a total of 6 books in the mortal instruments series, there's already a prequel series, and there's a sequel series to come.

{Spoilers to come if you haven't read the first 3 mortal instruments books}
City of Fallen Angels takes places just after, give or take a few weeks, the end of The Mortal War at the City of Idris. Clary is back in New York starting to train to be a shadowhunter. Simon is trying to adjust to being a vampire and dealing with the implications of Cain's mark, while dealing with both Maia's and Isabelle's affections. And Jocelyn and Luke are getting married. Of course things can't stay perfect, and dead bodies of shadowhunters are discovered, and the fun begins...

As I started off with, it has been a year since I read the first three books. Which meant I had forgotten quite a few details. It was definitely frustrating when they're mention something I couldn't recall, but nothing a few minutes search on the internet couldn't solve. I only wish that I had thought to reread the first books so it was fresh in my mind for this.

The book actually started out a little slow for me. But so much happened in the last third that's it's almost forgivable. In fact looking back on the book I almost don't remember what happened in the first few chapters because I can't stop thinking about the last few.

And then of course there's the ending. There is a pretty huge cliffhanger, something that I almost saw coming with dread, and can only imagine (and hope!) where the story is going to go with it. It's almost disappointed Clare's next books isn't book 5, but instead book 2 of The Infernal Devices series. But I do know I will be eagerly anticipating just to see how the clave is able to solve the events put forth in the last few pages of the book.