Friday, September 30, 2011

What to do When Place Cards, Plus Ones, and Paying 2 Grand for a Cake Make You Miserable

Planning Your Wedding Sucks by Joanne Kimes & Elena Donovan Mauer
It's funny, back before I was ever engaged I used to look longingly at the wedding section in the bookstore and think, "Someday I'll be able to buy them all!" Except now that I actually am engaged, I would rather avoid the whole situation and pretend that our wedding will somehow plan itself. I do have tons of magazines, and a book or two lent to me by past brides, as well as an official planner, but I figured I would finally live out my dream and pick up a wedding book.

I wasn't sure what I was expecting with this, perhaps some magical formula to get rid of all the stress. But sadly this wasn't that. But it does still give a brief overveiw of all the major aspects of the wedding. It isn't nearly as big as some of the wedding books out there, so as expected it isn't that detailed. There isn't a big list of various traditions by religion or a giant checklist, but the basics are there. I can't say this had anything profoundly new in it, but if you are starting from square one and have no clue on what to do, this could be a good starting point.

I did enjoy the pop culture references and it did feel up-to-date. For example, it suggested instead of a wedding website, why not just make a facebook page. Not something I would necessarily do, but I'm sure there's occasions where it's the perfect idea. Plus it swayed me a little seeing weddingbee in the reference section, and more than that according to the author's biography she's even written a guest post for the 'bee or two.

It really isn't a bad choice for a book, especially if you're looking for something brief and to the point. And for me, by reading it I could at least tell myself I was being somewhat productive for the wedding!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Let's Play Ball

If you have any hesitation about seeing this movie because it's a "sports movie" you might want to reconsider. To start with there's Brad Pitt, and he's really good in it. The boy's comment was that while watching it, Brad fell so much into the role that he forgot who he was watching and thought of him as the character instead of the actor. I have to disagree a bit there, after all it's a little difficult to forgo who I'm staring at.

Plus if you're looking for more eye candy there's Chris Pratt, formerly of one of my favorite shows Everwood. Or if you're looking for more tv actors, there's Kerris Dorsey from Brothers & Sisters. She doesn't have a huge role, but she really shines whenever she's there. Plus she sings a song to her dad, aka Brad Pitt, that is great as well. I haven't downloaded it yet, but definitely plan on it. (And if you're curious about the song, you've probably heard it in an Old Navy commercial.)

As I started off with this, it isn't really a baseball movie. There is one big game scene, but most of the other baseball is a lot of highlights. And of course, there's a good amount of math in the movie. Or at least they allude to the math in the movie and show pictures a lot with tons of equations. They don't really get into the math, and while I would probably enjoyed more of it, if you're not a math person there really isn't that much.

If you have any hesitation seeing this one, I think you should take the chance on it. Worst case, even if you're not a huge fan of the story, there's a good amount of eye candy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Future Right-Now Mrs.?

Remember a few weeks back how my MOH came to visit? Well after she left she sent us a thank you/housewarming present.
A giant F! Which is the boy's last name and my future last name. And with the F we now have a total of 5 items decorating the walls! And we've been hear almost 2 years... Obviously I'm not the best decorator.

I'm still not in love with the placement of the F. I don't really like the fact that's it's off-center. Except when I put it center it overlaps the picture. I could of course move the picture frame up, but it's already awfully close to the ceiling, and it took the boy close to 9 months to actually hang the picture. I'm not sure I can get him to move it anytime soon.

But this post isn't actually about the gift. (Although I do love it, thanks yo!) Instead it has to do with the fact she sent it from Restoration Hardware and must have addressed to both of us, because this past week we received a catalog in the mail addressed to... "Shoshanah F---." Yes, somehow they combined both of our names when addressing the catalog. Of course it isn't completely correct since I have a middle initial listed, which is instead the first initial of the boy's name. But still, it's the first time I've seen my name officially in print with the boy's last name instead of my own.

In a way it just feels odd, partially because it doesn't look that odd to me. I actually didn't notice the typo until a few days after it arrived when I was looking through it. It's hard to believe that a year from now this name (minus of course the wrong middle initial), will be correct on the mail we receive.

What are you thoughts on the name change debate? And what do you think I should do with the F? (It can be bolted to the wall if you absolutely hate it on the mantle, but for now it's there because it's the easiest place to put it.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 11

Day 11 – A book you hated
Part of me feels awful writing this one, becuase every book was written by an author that loved it, and just becuase I hated it doesn't mean someone else won't. But the book I'm sharing is one that still sticks out to me as one I really didn't enjoy, even though it's been almost 4 years since I've read it.
Gifted by Nikita Lalwani
It's funny going back to my goodreads profile seeing I gave it 2 stars with the following review.
"The first half of the book forever to get through. However, the final part read quite quickly, and was by far the most enjoyable part."
Looking back I must only be remember the first half and would probably now rate the book a 1 out of 5. My parents actually bought this book for me, back when they were in London (It was a UK edition, but I'm not sure if it's ever been published in the U.S.) since it's about a math prodigy, and at the time I was working towards my Masters in Math. It definitely should have been a book I'd enjoy, but it just didn't work for me.

I think a lot of that is because Rumi, the math prodigy, is so miserable for what I remember being the entire book. Her father forces her to study non-stop and sends her to the unniversity when she still a young teen. While there she tries to date guys, except for gets to tell them she isn't actually 18. But what stuck with me the most was her weird study habbits. Although I don't remember them exactly, it was something like chewing on pistachios shells, and the description of it all grossed me out a little.

Again, I do feel a little guilty calling this one out, since I'm sure there are people who loved it. So let me feel a little better, and tell me that there are books that you hated too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Inside the 'vlope

Last week I posted about the basic outline that I'm thinking about for out STDs, and mentioned that on the card itself there would be a mini-envelope, but kept quiet about what would be inside. And for the reveal... well instead let's talk about what won't be inside the envelope, but I love the idea so I'm sharing it anyways!


I seriously love this idea and makes sense the the boy and I love to read. Except the boy always uses the receipt from a book purchase for a bookmark (and has got me doing the same), so we don't really use other bookmarks. Plus, there's the practicality of it. If you through it in a book, how likely is it that you'll lose it and hence the remember. It is a great idea in theory, but I don't think it would quite work for us. But since I still love it, here's another STD bookmark to lust over.

And yes, I'm going to keep you waiting a little longer for the full idea. But let's say that a few of you in your comments on the last post had the right idea.

What are your thoughts for a bookmark STD? Do you love the idea, or are you of the opinion that there's a few practical issues with it?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In My Mailbox (24)

Welcome to my 24 edition of In My Mailbox, hosted by The Story Siren. So let's get to the books, both of which I won through Goodreads.
In My Mailbox
The Secret Room by Beth Kanell
I normally try to avoid requesting self-published books but this is one that jumped out to me regardless of who it was published by. It's a YA book, where I girl finds a hidden room in her home, and uncovers the history behind in and its past. It reminded me of some of my favorite YA books growing up (specifically Time Windows by Kathryn Reiss if anyone remembers that one). I'm not completely sure what to expect with this, but I'm hoping it lives up to my expectations.

Life is Not a Stage by Florence Henderson with Joel Brokaw
I always enjoy reading memoir, and everytime I see a celebrity memoir I also think they'd be fun to read. But I never actually go out and buy celebrity memoirs, which is why I'm so excited to read Mrs. Brady's memmoir. I'm hoping this one sparks a live of celebrity memoirs, because there's a ton out there that I think I'd love.

Are you a fan of celebrity memoirs? Do you have a favorite you think I should read? And what's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back to Juliet

Juliet by Anne Fortier
It was interesting reading this one so soon after Robin Maxwell's Oh, Juliet. Both are obviously retellings of Shakespeare's, and both allude to the fact the his version was not the first. Both attempt to tell the "real" story behind the tale, although while neither sets their story in Verona, Maxwell's is in Venice compared to this one in Siena.

While parts of this novel are historical, the majority of the story is a modern day Julie Jacobs. The American Julie discovers that her real name is in fact Guiletta Tolomei, and that her mother left clues in Sienna to help Julie learn the secrets of her past and break the curse on her family left over from the Middle Ages. Except part of discovering her past is learning the story of her ancestor also Guiletta Tolomei, the real Juliet.

In general, I'm not a huge fan of stories that alternate between the present and the past. I can't quite pinpoint why, but I think it's partly because I'd rather hear more of the historical aspect. I still enjoyed Julie's story and the mystery she's solving, but I wish the historical tale was as elaborated as hers.

Also while I seemed to get the love between the historical Guiletta and Romeo, I never felt the same connection between Guiletta and her "Romeo." Don't get me wrong, I still liked his character, but I never seemed to see them fall in love.

I did enjoy the stories of the Palio, I think partially because it's the only thing I really remember from when I went to Sienna back in high school. Not that we saw the actual race, but I remember standing in the courtyard in front of the church and hearing that there was an annual horse race here a little in disbelief.

Overall it is an enjoyable book that kept me guessing to the last pages. I did take me a while to get through it, but I think that's partly the way its written. (For me when alternating chapters change time periods so often, it often feel like a natural stop, or a place where I should be taking a reading break.) I do wish there was a little more of a historical story, but still think if you picked this one up it would be hard not to enjoy it.


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

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Origonal YA

Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly
When I picked this book up I assumed I'd be reading a cute YA summer read. In a way the book completely meets those expectations, but that wouldn't quite be the whole story.

From the cover you would assume that this is a contemporary story. The summary does really nothing to tell you anything different. Even the author's biography just mentions the fact that she was in college when she wrote the book, but curiously never mentions what she is doing now. It's only when you look at the copyright date you see that this was actually written in 1942, and after some internet research is considered by some to be the first modern YA book.

The book never comes out and says when everything is taking place. But even if you started reading without knowing, it would probably hit you, when you realize Angie's date, Jack, takes her on a date to a soda shop, where teens are able to order beers without anyone bating an eye. There are no cells phone or internet, instead Angie and her still all wind up waiting by the one phone in the house hoping that their boys will call. Not quite what you expect to see in a modern YA book, so hopefully even though the book is marketed without mentioning the time period, as a reader you would figure it out.

There do seem to be a lot of people complaining that the book is slow and hard to understand because it was written for a different time period. But I didn't find that to be the case, probably because I read a lot of historical fiction. Except while the book is historical, it wouldn't be considered historical fiction since it was written about the 1940s in the 1940s. There are things as a reader that the author assumes we'd know and aren't explained, whereas if it was written for today's reader we'd probably be receiving a little more detail, nor are there any specific historical events that place the book in a specific year. After all to Daly it wasn't history, it was just her life.

What I loved about this book is that even though it was over 70 years ago it still fells current. I can relate to Angie's feeling towards Jack, her sisters, and her feelings on leaving for college. It interesting to see while some things have changed (for instance, Angie taking a train to go to college versus an airplane now) so much has stayed the same.

But while I liked Angie's personally and thoughts she didn't seem to say much. Throughout almost all of her dates with Jack she never seemed to actually talk to him. It isn't till the end of the novel, when finally there seems to be some conversation between the two. I do think part of this could be again when it was written, since in general girls weren't nearly as forward with guys as they are now.

The whole novel has an innocence about it. I don't just mean Angie herself, although she does come off as innocent. But more that looking back I know this story takes place on the brink of World War II. Except the story never once mentions that life is about it change for its characters. It isn't unusual considering a young woman in college in the early 1940s may not have known what was going in, and even if she did there's no way she could have known just what the war would bring. But I can't help but wonder and be worried about what happens for these characters. And if anything I only wish I had a little more closure and knew exactly what the future held for Angie and Jack.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 10

Day 10 – Favourite classic book
I started coming up with possibilities on this one and was surprised that most of them were a little YA. Books like The Little House on the Prairie or The Wizard of Oz. Not really a surprise since I spent a lot of time reading when I was younger reading books more age appropriate, and I still read a lot of YA. Of course if I needed to pick a classic that wasn't YA-ish I probably could (Les Miserables is the first that comes to mind), but since that isn't anywhere in the prompt, YA it is.

Anyways, that was a bit of a long introduction as to way I feel my choice is a classic, even though some may not consider it to be. And that choice is...
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I absolutely loved this book and read it over and over. I loved the movie version from the 90s. I loved the Shirley Temple version. I even read the original version Sara Crewe or What Happened at Miss Minchin's. (For those who haven't Sara Crewe is basically a short, 4 chapter version of the story that was written about 10 years prior to A Little Princess. It's the same basic story, just with a lot less details.)

What's funny is that while I loved this, I don't believe I've ever read any other of Burnett's books. I obviously know the story of The Secret Garden and love the movie, but never have sat down and read it. That definitely needs to go on my list of books that I need to read.

Have you read A Little Princess? Would you consider it to be a "classic"? And what's your favorite classic book?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

STD-ing It

Since it hasn't yet made the blog, I joined Pinterest! (If you still need an invite just let me know in the comments and I'll send you one.) But my main reason for joining had a lot to do with wedding inspiration. I've slowly been collecting ideas, and since it's the most pressing wanted to share my thoughts on a possible Save the Date.

I love the way the text has a border in this but it's not a standard shape. This is from an actual invitation, but my thought is that this would be on card stock about postcard type size and be the main part of the STD with the actual text.

I love the idea of keeping this basic shape and using on a variety of paper products similar to Mrs. Cupcake did in her invitation above.

On the card along with the words "Save the Date," our names, location, and the actual date, there would also be some type of mini envelope similar to the ones shown below.

As for inside the envelope... well you'll have a wait a while to find that out! But in the mean time, and guesses as to what I'm planning on hiding in the envelope?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Fall TV Line-Up

In some ways I've been dreading writing this. Not because I'm not looking forward to tv shows, but because there's so many I want to watch I'm not sure how I'm going to fit them all in. Of course we don't have a DVR which makes watching shows on at the same time a little difficult. But I'll survive.

All shows are Central time, since that's when I watch them, and if there's no premier date shown it's because it's already on.

7-8pm: The Amazing Race 9/25
8-9pm: Desparate Housewives 9/25
9-10pm: Pan Am 9/25
9-10pm: Real Housewives of New Jersey
So RHONJ and Pan Am are on at the same time. But the Housewives season is about halfway over. The the plan is to switch during commericals and once RH ends I can watch Pan Am full time.

7-8pm: Terra Nova 9/26
8-9pm: Heart of Dixie 9/26
9-10pm: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
The boy will probably be watching House and Castle this night, so depending on how I feel about Rachael Bilson's show and after RH ends, I might instead be watching those two with him.

7-8pm: Glee 9/20
7-9pm: The Biggest Loser 9/20
8-9pm: Ringer
9-10pm: Teen Mom/16 and Pregnant
Obviously this is a busy night for me. And I would also love to watch The New Girl as well as Parenthood. I don't know for sure, but assuming MTV keeps their current pattern 16 & Pregnant will premeier after Teen Mom ends. Although if it doesn't I could instead fit Parenthood into my schedule.

7-8pm: Survivor
7-9pm: X-Factor 9/21
9-10pm: Top Chef
A fairly calm night. Although I would love to be able to fit in Up All Night and Revenege. There's just scheduling conflicts for me though.

8-9pm:Grey's Anatomy 9/22
How is it I only have 1 show on Thursday, but so many on others. Especially when Thursday used to be my top night of tv?

Are there any shows on my list you'll be watching? Or are there any others you think I should try to fit into my schedule?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Movie Review

This actually wound up being a really odd movie, but it had Ryan Gosling in it so at least it wasn't time completely wasted, right?

The movie starts off really really slow. There's not a lot of dialogue but there is somewhat of a romance between Ryan's and Carey Mulligan's character. Except again they don't really talk, and there's nothing anything close to kissing. Instead the only thing that stood out was a few montages, especially one I enjoyed that featured them driving in the L.A. river.

But the last third of the movie it does a complete 180. There's topless girls, lots of blood, but surprisingly, considering the movie name, not a lot of car chases. (Although the opening scene does have a good chase, that's about it.)

I'm not sure this movie is really going to work for most people. I don't see most guys enjoying the majority of the movie. Yes there are scenes toward the end, like one where someone's skull is completely crushed by another's foot, that they'd enjoy. But I don't know how many would be willing to sit through all the slow parts. And from the opposite point of view, the start could have been the first have of a good romantic movie. But some of the scenes towards the end were a little too gruesome for my taste.

I almost hate to say this, because again Ryan Gosling is in this, but I think this might be one you want to skip.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In My Mailbox (23)

I'm linking up to The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. For more information on what it is and how it got started, you're more than welcome to visit The Story Siren.So my last trip to Borders. Still can't believe it. This was actually taken last weekend, except I already had last Sunday's post ready. All of these were marked down 70-90%, which means my receipt was under $20 and showed a savings of over $100. By this point there were out of a lot of books, but I still managed to find a few I was in love with. Now onto the books!
In My Mailbox
The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin
This was the first book I picked up in the store and I'm so happy they still had at least one in stock. I've been lusting this one for a while now and I'm so happy to finally be able to read it! It is a historical fiction about the wife of P. T. Barnum's General Tom Thumb. I'm assuming it will be similar to Water for Elephants at least with the circus aspect and I'm really hoping to love this one.

Four Kitchens by Lauren Shockey
This one actually jumped out at me as something my parents would really enjoy. I'm sure I'd enjoy it too, but they tend to read these food-memoir type books more. Of course the fact that one of the kitchens mentioned on the cover is Tel Aviv has a lot to do with why it caught my eye.

How to Eat a Small Country by Amy Finley
Another food-y type memoir, except with a reality tv spin. This was written by one of the winners of Food Network's The Next Food Network Star. There's only been 1 or 2 seasons I've watched by Amy's was one of them. The basic plot line of this seems to be that being a celebrity was everything Amy expected. So instead Amy quits her show and moves her family to France to find out what's really important to her.

Snow Day by Billy Coffey
So I went to the register to check out and was told, "If you buy 1 more book you get 15% off your entire purchase." This is the book that was closest to me at that time. Basically it means I spent $1.50 on this book and got $3 back, or I was paid $1.50 to buy this one. Of course it's not the best deal since I could have done this with a book I would probably enjoy more. But even though this book doesn't look like the type I normally read I might force myself to read it just to prove that it wasn't that bad of a decision.

The Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell
I've seen this book several times and always thought about picking it up, but never actually followed through. It's a story of Nell Gwynn, one of Charles II's mistresses. Everything I've read about Charles II and his court I've enjoyed, so I'm hoping this will follow that trend.

Paris, Baby by Kristen Lobe
Yes, another memmior. This seems to be a mash-up of several other books I've previously read, but it's basically a memior of a single American girl who finds herself pregnant in Paris. Plus how cute is this cover?

Sweet Date of Basra by Jessica Jiji
This is another historical fiction that takes place in Iraq in the 1940s. I've never really read anything historical about Iraq but I'm more than curious to try this one out.

Secrets of a Jewish Mother by Gloria Kame, Lisa Wexler, and Jill Zarin
I probably would have picked this one up based only on the title. But the fact that it's written by Jill Zarin of Real Housewives of New York, meant this was an automatic yes. While Jill may not be my favorite housewife I'm still excited to read her book.

Definitely an excellent mailbox for me this week! Let me know if yours was as well.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Observations on Life from the Shallow End of the Pool

You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl by Celia Rivenbark
I've never read anything be this author, but I've definitely noticed her books before. With previous titles as Stop Dressing Your Six-Your-Old Like a Skank and Bless Your Heart, Tramp, how could you not notice them? I think this book is officially considered to be a collection of humorous essay, but she reminds me so much of Jen Lancaster that I'm thinking it could also be considered a memoir. She does mention her family as well which helps the memoir classification, plus I don't currently have a "Humor" tag on my blog so I'm officially tagging this review as s memoir.

While their are a few essays on the author life, such as going to her daughter's science fair, most of what jumped out to me was her reflections on pop, specifically reality tv. It's probably because I'm a little reality tv obsessed, but I loved reading all her comments on the Duggars, Kate Goselin, and Toddles & Tiaras. However even though I read an ARC, and the official publication date was only August 16 parts of it feel a little dated. For example, when discussed Real Housewives of New Jersey she references Dina and Danielle, both of whom are no longer on the show. I understand that's a problem you accept when dealing with pop culture because it changes so quickly. I also see how in a few years it could be seen more as nostalgic, but now it comes off as dated to me.

Overall it was a really amusing book that I'm glad I had the chance to read. I don't think I would have actually gone out and bought this book if I hadn't won it. But now having read her work, I'm a little intrigued and would love to read her other books.


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

Friday, September 16, 2011

Paris Hold the Key to Your Heart

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Going into this I had heard nothing but positive reviews. I was a little skeptical, because really, how could a book actually be that good? But I am a little giddy to admit that the book didn't just meet my expectations is completely exceeded them.

Anna is not too happy when her father sends her off the boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school. Yes, she does understand that living in Paris has its benefits, but more of her is upset that she won't be able to spend her last year of high school with all her friends and her kind-of-sorta-boyfriend. Except Paris has a little magic of its own to sway her mind.

Obviously I have criticisms of the book, but honestly most of them could be considered positives in a different light. First, the book didn't read like Anna and her friends were in high school. Instead they reminded me a lot more of the feeling of college. I do think that a lot of that has to do with the circumstances, and going to boarding school in Paris is probably a lot more like my college experience than mine in high school. Also living halfway across the world from your parents would force you to grow up, which is why it makes sense everyone seemed so mature. And while it might have bothered me that everyone seemed more like college students than high school-ers, I have a feeling I would have enjoyed it a lot less if they came off as immature to me.

And then there's the dreamy Etienne St. Clair who almost comes off as too perfect and too good to be true. Except looking back Etienne definitely had his faults and his shortcomings. It's just that all of his hotness oozes of the pages, that you almost ignore the bad and almost can't imagine that someone as perfect as Etienne would exist in real life.

I can't believe I waited this long to read this. But in a way it's a good thing, because now I don't have to wait near as long for its companion novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door, which comes out later this fall. If you've been avoiding this one because you don't see how it can possibly live up to its hype, you need to give it a chance because I think you will be surprised.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pioneer Woman Cookin'

If you've been here for a while now it shouldn't be a surprise to hear that I'm a big fan of the Pioneer Woman. I've cooked her recipes before (I think more than once, but the only one I can find now is when I made her red pepper risotto. And I love her new Food Network show (at least the one time I remembered out of the three that have already aired. I'm just not used to regularly watching a show Saturday morning.) But moving on...

A few weeks ago Ree posted her recipe for peach whiskey barbecue chicken which I thought looked delicious. But not just delicious, it also looked relatively easy. I thought about blogging the cooking process, but if you wanted to see those picture obviously mine can't compare to hers, so here's my finished product still in the pot.
Peach Whiskey Chicken
For the most part I follower her recipe. Except for the part where you're supposed to add a jar of BBQ sauce and a jar of peach preserves. I still did that, but looking at the pictures Ree's bottles were the same size, whereas I added 12 ounces of BBQ sauce and 18 of peach preserves. The sauce did come out a little sweet, but I'm thinking if they were equal amounts it would have tasted a little more in balance. But even with the sweetness I loved the sauce, and it worked perfect as a gravy over the mashed potatoes.
Peach Whiskey Chicken
It was definitely another winning (and easy!) recipe and I'm glad I decided to make it. Next time though, I think it may be time for her signature cinnamon rolls, because they look completely mouth watering?

How you ever made a Pioneer Woman recipe? And have you been watching her TV show?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 9

Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving
I will admit that I'm a little leery of book recommendations at times. Not that I don't appreciated. But more that if someone makes a point to tell me to read a book, my initial thought is, "If it was really that good, I would have discovered it myself." Of course this isn't always true, and some of my favorite books were those I initially dismissed and wound up loving.

I have two books that fit this category perfectly. In both cases a friend of family member lent me the book and told me I would love it. Both times I didn't believe them, except both times I fell in love, not just with the book but the rest of the books in the series. I feel a little embarrassed now admitting it, because of how much I now love them, but the two books that best fir the description of a book I didn't think I'd enjoy are...
The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
Are you surprised by my choices? How willing are you to take a book recommendation? And what books did you think you wouldn't like but ended up loving?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Path to the Dress: Part 2

Last week I posted about our not-so-nice dress shopping in the posh bridal salon. But the second stop of the day was instead to a bridal shop owned by a family friend. In hindsight we would have been fine if it was the only stop, but I thought the upscale shopping experience would be fun. Turns out, not so much. But on to the dresses...
Again, I didn't think to actually write down the names about these dresses for the blog. So you'll just have to make do with pretty pictures. I think you guys can handle that, right?
There are certain aspects of this one I really love. I think partialy because it looks like a historical Southern Belle dress. But there are others, like the beading, I'm not a huge fan of. I think it could probably be removed, but feel like the dress wouldn't quite look complete without it.
I was a big fan of this dress when I was trying it on. And still now, looking back I like the dress. But it's just not really the look I was going for, which makes it hard for me to fall in love with it.
Out of all the dresses I tried on this one was probably my favorite. Except due to my indecisiveness I'm still not sure. Going into shopping I didn't want a strapless dress, due mainly to principle than anything else since it just feel so overdone. But I think the straplessness works here. Although, while I have a feeling it could be changed if it was a huge issue, the dress has buttons on the back instead of a lace-up which I'd prefer. Again not a huge issue, especially since overall I love how I look in the dress. Right now I'm thinking it's the top contender, but at this point I'm still a little up in the air.

Did you have a difficult decision on finding THE DRESS? And please let me know if you have a favorite out of the dresses I've posted, or any suggestions on the type f dresses I should be looking for.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Movie Review

In case you couldn't guess from the poster and the title this one wasn't quite my choice. But with some of the subplots I was at least interested and figured it couldn't be worse than the recent Conan.

As far as I know this is the first UFC movie. It follows two brothers, one a high school physics teacher and the other a marine war hero, both underdogs, who wind up fighting each other in the huge Sparta UFC championship.

So yes, there was a lot of fighting. And I cringed and hid my eyes through most of it. But besides the fighting it was actually a good movie, and I'm almost embarrassed to say even made me cry a little. So basically, not a movie I'm dying to see again, but all-in-all considering the subject, I enjoyed it.

P.S. And did I mention they showed The Hunger Games trailer during the previews? Seeing Katniss on the big screen was awesome, and I can't wait for the movie next March!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In My Mailbox (22)

Yes it's Sunday, and I'm linking up to The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. I had an awesome week for books, and not only that but all of them were won. Also exciting to get not just a ton of books, but not have to spend money. So bring out the books!
In My Mailbox
Death Cloud by Andrew Lane
This is a YA Sherlock Holmes book about the dectetive as a teen. I haven't heard much about it, but maybe because I don't read a lot of mystery. I do enjoy YA and historical fiction in general, so I think I might really enjoy this one.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
This is another YA I don't know much about. But it's about a half-angel and has a gorgeous cover, so it has to be good right?

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
I am SO excited for this one. Honestly if the only book I had to share was this one I would feel incredibly lucky. In case you haven't heard about this one yet, it's a dystopian where love is treated as a disease. I've heard amazing things about this one, and expect to fall in love as well.

Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
This is actually the third in a trilogy, so I'm thinking I should read the other two first? I'm a little reluctent to learn more about what this book itself is about for fear of ruining the first two. So if anyone out there has read these books, please let me know if the first two are worth tracking down.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
I never actually saw this movie, and I'm still a little disapointed by that. Again, I have high hopes for this and once I finish hope to read the rest of the series.

From Goodreads
You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl by Celia Rivenbark
I've already started this one and so far I'm a fan. It reads a lot like Jen Lancaster, except each chapter is more of a separte amusing tale instead of a complete story. So far I'm definitely enjoying it and happy to have the chance to have read it.

Overall I'm still so excited for my books this week and can't wait to read them all. I'd love to know your thoughts on these (especially those I don't know much about), and want to know what books you've picked up this week.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Escape from Tibet

Across Many Mountain by Yangzom Brauen
I've clearly heard of the "Free Tibet" movement, and growing up I remember seeing the Buddhist monks walking around Long Beach (coincidentally for me the Long Beach Buddhist temple is even visited in the book), but honestly I know very little about Tibet and its history. This is technically a memoir, but reading it you can't help but learn for more than you'd expect to, especially considering its genre.

The author, Yangzom Brauen, starts off telling us her grandmother's story of life as a nun in Tibet. About halfway through it shifts to her mother, who with her family left Tibet as a refugee at age six to go to India. The last few chapters are the author's own story of her childhood in Switzerland.

The book was hard for me to read. Not necessarily emotionally (although it had its moments), but more that it was detailed and slow to read. It does feel a little one-sided since we don't hear the Chinese point of view, but being that's it's a memoir it is expected. It paints a vivid picture of what living in Tibet in the early 20th century was like, and explains the basics of the "Free Tibet" movement and why it's needed. Included in the information I received from the publisher was a quote on the book from the Dalai Lama, which does give the book a certain credibility.

If you have even a slight curiosity about Tibet I would recommend this book. Going into the book, I didn't have a strong desire to learn more about their situation, but am definitely glad I stuck through the book, since I learned a lot. It isn't necessarily a quick read, but I think it's definitely one you'll remember.


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

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's a Blog, Not a Memior Part 4

Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster
It's been a while (a little over a year) since I read the last Jen Lancaster book. But in a way it doesn't really matter because you could read this one even if you haven't read her other books. In some ways this book is a prequel, at least as much as a memoir can be considered a prequel. It's start when Jen, or Jeni as she goes by then, is 8 and ends a few years before the start of bitter. Each story or chapter i centered around an item of clothing. Except since I'm not really a clothing person, I kind of ignored that part and just enjoyed her hilarious story.

I did wind up enjoying this one, but I'm not quite sure if it's my favorite. Part of it might be because I don't completely remember the first 3, so it's hard to judge it against them. (I actually had to do a quick blog search to refresh my memory. It's a nice little blogging perk being able to recall your feelings on a book from 1 or 2 years ago.) My favorite parts of the books were while Jen was in college, but especially those dealing with her sorority, both while she's pledging and actually a member.

If you haven't read Jen Lancaster's books by now, you should probably make a point to pick one up. (Especially if you're a blogger, because her books definitely have the feel of a blog. Makes sense especially considering that's how she go her book deal.) Most often I'd tell you to start with their first book. And while I think that's still the best option, considering this one's a prequel you could probably read this one first and not really miss out.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 8

Day 08 – Most overrated book
This one was difficult for me. Not in the sense that it was hard to come up with one, but more of what overrated means. In my mind an overrated book would be one that everyone else seems to love that I just couldn't get into. So by picking a book that I couldn't get into, but everybody else did, means I'm going to be upsetting someone. No offense to anyone if you loved this, but it just didn't do it for me. And the book I'm selecting is...
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I was just never really able to get into it. I think part of it is I was assigned to read the book and school, and I don't particularly like being told what to read. Also part of me would prefer just to enjoy a book without having to analyze it in depth. But even though I'm not a fan of this, if they do decide to make a movie (especially staring Leonardo Dicaprio as I've heard rumored) I will definitely be there.

Do you agree with my choice, or are you a huge fan of this one? And what book would you consider to be "most overrated"?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Repaying On It

The Debt
To be honest I wasn't really looking forward to this one. But as awful as it sounds the main reason that I was willing to see it was that it's basically an Israeli movie. Its basic story is around three Israeli Mossad agents who are sent to the Soviet Union on a secret mission to capture a former high ranking Nazi. Except it doesn't go completely to plan, and years later the three of them are still dealing with the consequences of their actions.

Watching the movie part of me wondered if it would have made more sense for them to be speaking Hebrew instead of English. (After all when they spoke Russian it was actually Russian.) Except if it was actually in Hebrew it wouldn't quite have the same market. Plus this is actually a remake of an Israeli film, so the Hebrew version is out there. I did like the fact that aside for the 6 main characters, most of the actors were Israeli (at least judging by the names listed in the credits).

Overall the movie wasn't quite what I expected it to be, but I did enjoy it. Although I think that if this had been just a general spy movie, and I didn't have the Jewish connection, I probably would feel as strongly for it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Path to the Dress

Remember when my MOH came to visit me a few weeks ago and I casually mentioned we went wedding dress shopping? Well after surviving an earthquake and hurricane she finally sent me pictures!

To start with I thought it would be fun to go to a posh upscale wedding salon. Except we got there for our scheduled appointment and had to wait over 30 minutes to actually meet with someone. It wasn't that there wasn't someone else in the store that could wait on us, since after we'd been there about 20 minutes someone else walked in and was able to meet with her attendant immediately. It was the fact that the woman we schedule our appointment in with someone else, and since I'm sure they worked on commission they weren't going to let us meet with anyone else. But while she was finishing up with her other customer she let us into out private dressing room to wait.
Yes this place was technically did not allow photos, but we were completely alone in a room, so who was there to stop us. Our consultant finally came back and we were able to try on the first dress.
Yes, it's a blogger fail, because I didn't actually write down the names of dresses I tried on. But I think this one was Priscilla of Boston, which in light of the fact they''re closing down probably isn't going to happen.

Anyways while I was trying this dress our consultant left us unattended again to take a phone call. As in long enough for another mini-photo shoot.
She finally came back where we proceed to try on 4 more dresses. Which is your counting means 4 dresses in about an hour and a half. At that point we were more than ready to leave, and while she tried to keep us there longer we were off to the French Quarter for lunch, which again was blogged briefly here. But here's one more picture of the three of us later that day at Pat O'Briens just for fun.
At Pat O'Briens
Thankfully this wasn't the end of our wedding dress adventures, but this post has gotten long enough already, so you'll just have to wait for more. Did you have any not-so-stellar wedding dress experiences while you were shopping?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tropical Storm Lee

I hope everyone had a good 3 day weekend! Ours was good, if not a little uneventful. In case you didn't hear we wound up experiencing Tropical Storm Lee. As the news people kept saying it wasn't anything to worry about (it didn't even make it to a hurricane), but there would be a lot of rain. Of course on Saturday what most people were worried about was Lee, as in Jared Lee the LSU quarterback.

The plan was for the boy to braise a brisket.
We had everything we needed for the brisket itself but the boy wanted to head to the store to buy liquid smoke for his homemade bbq sauce. Except once we got into the car all 3 exits of the neighborhood were flooded, which meant we weren't going to the store anytime soon. But the brisket needed at least 4 hours to cook, so we didn't need to go anywhere anytime soon.
A few hours after the first attempt I was sent on a recon mission to check out the exits to the neighborhood, and this is what I discovered.
It might be hard to tell from the picture, but this is after the water had gone down, and we were able to get through. Funny enough by the time we got back from the store with our provisions this was almost completely empty.

After that bit of drama everything else went as planned. The boy finished off the brisket.
I contributed some LSU cupcakes. (Not the prettiest, but I'm pretty sure this is my first time decorating cupcakes in years, if not ever.)
And we cheered the Tigers onto victory against Oregon. All in all, a fairly successful Saturday considering how it could have gone down. How did your weekend turn out? Did you wind up dealing with any crazy weather?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In My Mailbox (21)

Once again I'm linking up with The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. If you're looking for more info on the meme, how to play and its history it's all written up there.
So another weekend at the Borders' closing sale. I'm thinking after this set there might be only 1 or 2 trips left to Borders. But I guess we'll see what hidden gems we can find. On to the books!
In My Mailbox
Acceptance by David L. Marcus
I've read fiction books with story similar to this, but never anything that's actually true. In case you can't make out the subtitle, this is basically a memoir of a high school guidance counselor. I think it'll be well worth it's $2.00 price.

Storyteller: The Authorized biography of Roald Dahl by Donald Sturrock
Another bargain buy that I probably wouldn't have bought full price, but do think it's a book I'd enjoy. I read most, if not all, of Dahl's books growing up but really don't know that much about him so I'm it turns out to be really interesting.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I finally picked up Anna! I've heard nothing but amazing things about this, I'm just hoping it can live up to all the hype.

Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly
Another bargain buy. I don't know much about it, but think it looks like a cute summer read. (Yes, it's September, but the fact it's still 100 degrees outside means it's still summer to me.)

Planning Your Wedding Sucks by Joanne Kimes & Elena Donovan Mauer
I finally remember to check in Borders' wedding section. It was pretty much picked over, but decided to go with the one, because the title pretty much expresses how I feel about the whole wedding planning right now.

Broken Promises by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
This is a fairly new-ish historical fiction I've heard good things about. (Plus I love the cover!) It takes place during the U.S. Civil War, but partially in London as well.

Juliet by Anne Fortier
I won this through a giveaway from the publisher. I know I just read another retelling of Romeo & Juliet, but I'm more than willing to read another!

So overall it was a pretty big week for me book-wise. Hopefully yours was too!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Royal Love Story

William and Kate by Christopher Andersen
Every since the Royal Wedding I've been looking forward to picking up a good Will & Kate book. I finally decided to try out Christopher Andersen's take. I did learn a few things reading it, but overall it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Reading it felt much like reading one big tabloid. It says in the sources section at the back that certain key sources agreed to contribute only under the assurance they would remain anonymous. And so much of the "quotes" and thoughts of William & Kate are completely uncredited. Instead of the credited sources, they are Tabloids like the Sun or Guardian. It also feels a little hypocritical when so much of the book is William criticizing the press and paparazzi to read a book that he must hate.

What also bothered my throughout is that William and Harry were constantly referred to as "the heir and the spare." It might have been amusing the first time, but hearing it over and over came off not only as repetitive but a little degrading. And then there's the fact the William & Kate were referenced by their pet names Babykins and Big Willie. Again it might have been cute the first few times, but it was completely overdone.

I think a lot of disappointment was based on how much I enjoyed The Queen Mother's biography. Of course that was her official biography, while this is most definitely not. I don't regret reading it, because it did at least satisfy my curiosity about the actual timeline of their relationship. But I can't reasonably recommend this, unless you as impatient and curious as me. I think instead you'd be better off waiting for some type of official and authorized biography of the two.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Memoirs of a Grandma

The Smartest Woman I Know by Irene Beckerman
I really wasn't sure what to expect with this one, and when I heard it was coming to me was a little hesitant to give it a try. But it wound up being a really pleasant surprise and I'm glad I gave it a chance.

While I haven't actually read it, I would imagine this book is a lot like Sh*t My Dad Says except from a Jewish grandmother. The book is filled with all types of insights and knowledge from the author's grandmother, Ettie, that sure learned while her grandparents raised her in New York in the 1940s and 50s. Wisdom like while talking about "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby, "Irving Berlin, a Jew wrote that song. So would it have been so terrible if he'd dreamed about a white Hanuka, instead?"

Next to all the insights are cute little doodles or pictures that help the illustrate and hit home the point. For example, when we hear the story of how Ettie knew Sara Delano Roosevelt, there's pictures of each women each on top of a doodle of a folding chair.

Overall it's a quick and entertaining book. (It probably took me about an hour to read the hundred pages.) It feels a little bit like spending time with a treasured Jewish grandmother, and I think this has the potential to be a great gift.


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