Monday, November 28, 2011

In Memoriam

My Mom
January 4, 1953 - November 19, 2011

I just wanted to thank you for inspiring me throughout my life. You fostered my love of gourmet food. I’m probably the only 7-year-old Girl Scout who asked that we serve a pear and gorgonzola salad at our end of the year party. You loved to garden and helped me plant my first ever herb garden at my home. You sewed my prom dress and every Halloween costume, and I had always assumed that you would be there to help me do the same. You remodeled almost every room of the house, and those that you hadn't yet, you had plans for. You’d also talked about flying out to Louisiana just for the weekend to complete redo our bathroom or help build a deck in the backyard.

You could do, fix, or create absolutely anything. You pretty much did everything for our family and nurtured us all whether it be through your amazing food or just your support.

I can’t believe you that you won’t be at my wedding, but know that while you won’t physically be there, you will still be there with all of us. Again, I can’t believe that my future children won’t actually get to meet you, but I will make sure that they will know you because you’ll be inspiring their lives as well.

I miss you and love you,

Love always,

My parents at their wedding
June 6, 1982

Our first family photo
May 3, 1987

One of our last photos together
February 5, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

We'd Like to Thank You... Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar
I was looking forward to seeing this movie mainly because Leo was in it. The boy on the other hand was a fan of the fact it was directed by Clint Eastwood. Overall I think it was a good pick on our part.

I will admit that it was a bit confusing. The movie goes back and forth within several time periods. You can kind of tell based on whether Leo's in his old age make-up or not, but still the scenes all felt a bit out of order.

You definitely lose Leo in his character and even though I'm clearly on a first name basis with him, you really forget it was him in there.

I do think it was a good movie, but honestly I can't see myself sitting through to watch again. Although I do think that watching it a second time, would probably be a little less confusing.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Play or Get Played

The Julian Game by Adele Griffin
This is the first book I've read where facebook really played a part. It's surprising on a way considering how facebook obsessed I can be, but it's also a sign of how quickly our world has changed with social media that contemporary books haven't quite caught in. In the story Raye decides to create a fake facebook account for fun at first, but then is lead into trying to take revenge on Julian one of the hottest boys in town.

Honestly reading this made me glad that I'm not in high school today. Part of me thinks it would be fun to have had facebook around back in high school. But what I didn't have to really deal with 10 years ago, was the thought that your actions in high school could stay with you and be online forever.

This was a really interesting story and unlike anything I've ever read. Although I have read books about bullying (Judy Blume's Blubber comes first to mind) it's nothing like the cyberbulling done in here. Throughout the book I really felt for Raye. While I didn't necessary approve of some of her decisions, and it's easy to see why same made them.

It's definitely a book I'm glad I had the chance to read, and honestly it surprised me a little by how much I enjoyed it.


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

Friday, November 18, 2011

The City of ... Babies?

Paris, Baby! by Kirsten Lobe
I really think that if I was happier reading this book I would have enjoyed it more. I was really hoping to read a happy glamorous story of a single mom, doing it all, while in Paris. Except it's a memoir and it's real life, and real life isn't always a pretty picture.

I was really hoping to read more about Paris in this. Yes, there is quite a bit of it in here, but I never seemed to really get a feel for the city. Also while the start of the book is in Paris, quite a bit of it is actually back in the US.

Time also seemed to jumped faster than I expected. Based on the way the story was written it would seem like no time had passed. Except then she'd mention her son, and he'd was almost 2, when it felt like he was only born a chapter or two ago.

Then there's the fact she flew home from Paris because of the worry her mother, who also had alzheimer's was dying. Not quite the fun happy book I was hoping for.

But there is a list of resources for visiting Paris with a baby in the back, which I thought was a nice touch. It's definitely a book with a lot of potential, but it didn't quite get there for me. Still though, I do believe that I would have enjoyed the book more if I was happier myself when I read it.


And just for fun... here's a picture of me, as a baby, in front of the Notre Dame, in Paris.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Checking In

Today makes 3 and a half weeks that my mom's been in the hospital (all but one day in intensive care). In general, there's hasn't been a lot of change since I last wrote. She's still on oxygen, she's still on a ventilator, she's still heavily sedated. But we're still all hopeful that the doctors are able to come up with the right combination of drugs and medicine to get her lungs back to working. I did want to thank everyone for their kind words on my post last week. It has been kind of amazing to see people reach out on here, on facebook, in real life, and connecting with people I haven't talked to a lot recently. So I just wanted to say thank you to everyone and share a few high notes from the past few weeks.

Last week the boy called me on his way home from work asking if I wanted him to pick up anything for dinner. I told him that I wasn't really that hungry, but the one thing that sounded good was lasagna, except you couldn't really pick that up on the drive home. Not long after the boy called back to say he was stuck in traffic and would be late, except showed up at the house with a carryout box of lasagna and a bottle of wine.
I was also surprise by the flowers above sent to me at work by the boy's family. A few of my co-workers commented that they only wished they got along with their in-laws enough for flowers.
Caramel Apples!
On another sweet note, my BBF/MOH/sistah and her boyfriend sent me the caramel apples above. Included was pecan caramel,
Pecan Caramel Apple
chocolate caramel,
Chocolate Caramel Apple
peanut caramel,
Peanut Caramel Apple
and surprisingly what wound up being my favorite, cinnamon sugar caramel. (I was expecting it to be the chocolate caramel, but I think the difference in flavors from the cinnamon sugar did me in.)
Bite Taken
So again, thank you to all! But as much as I've appreciate all of this, I only wish I was in a situation where it really wasn't needed. Still all I can really do is what and hope something good happens. And when it does I will be sure to let everyone know. But until then we're all just hoping & praying for the best.

Monday, November 14, 2011

H&K with NPH

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
Talk about movie that's so ridiculous & over-the-top that it is completely amusing. I mean when else will you ever see a movie with 3-D pot smoke. And yes, we saw the movie in 3-D, although it wasn't really an option. Our theater was only showing 3-D viewing, which we were a little leery about at first. But given the amount of references throughout the movie about the fact it was in 3-D, I'm not sure how many places you could find it in 2-D. And honestly, the 3-D was good. Completely in your face & out there. Which wouldn't work for most movies, but it definitely does for this.

It's definitely been a while since I've seen either of the Harold & Kumar movies. So it may not be completely reliable, but I think this could easily be my favorite of the series. It's filled with jokes that you won't stop talking about, and I don't think there's another movie, especially a 3-D one, with an experience like this.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (29)

It's Sunday, and I'm participating in The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. So let's keep this intro short & sweet and get started!
In My Mailbox
From Goodreads
Both of these actually came signed, one even personalized, and I was going to post those pictures, but clearly forgot. Next time, maybe?

Breath by Abbi Glines
This is a YA about a girl who spends her summer at the beach, not hanging out, but instead working in one of the wealthy homes. Except it turns out the home is owned by the hottest teen rocker, and one guess from the cover as to what goes on. Sounds like a cute summer-y read, right?

The Julian Game by Adele Griffin
This sounds like the exact opposite type book. It is still YA, but it's about 2 girls who decide to sabotage one of their exes over facebook. Not quite cute, but does look like a lot of fun.

Borrowed from my mom
I was in California two weeks ago now, visiting my mom who was (and still is) in ICU. She had set these two books aside to mail to me, but since I was already there I flew back with them.

The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig
My mom actually lent me the first in this series (The Secret History of the Pink Carnation) about a month or two ago, although I've still yet to read it. I guess now that I have the second book in the series, I probably should get started on it!

The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato
This is another historical fiction that takes place in Venice in the 1600s. I don't believe I've read a historical fiction in Venice before, and from the looks of the summary, it sounds like something I'll really enjoy.

So, that's it for me this week. What did you find in your mailbox?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thoughts & Prayers

Growing up my mom did almost everything. She loved to cook, and practically spoiled me for life with her gourmet meals.

Via my mom's facebook
Roasted Salmon with potatoes & peas
She did all types of project around the house. She built our porch in the backyard, and the patio. She redid our bathrooms, and my bedroom.

Again via my mom's facebook
Her most recent project, the breakfast room
She was always gardening and growing in our backyard.
the backyard in bloom
Via my mom's flickr account
Blooming jasmine, apricot, plume, & pluot trees
She loved to sew and each year made sure to make a Halloween costume for my brother & I, and even made my prom dress.

Scanned family photo
I believe Halloween '88. My brother & I dressed up as Peter Pan & Tinkerbelle
She was my girl scout troop leader and even spent a year as my soccer coach leading us to a first place finish.

And recently with my brother and I out of the house, she's started to get into canning.

again via facebook
Pluot Ketchup
When I had my bat mitzvah, again my mom did so much. She diy-ed my invites while I was away at sleep away camp. (I remember her sending me ribbons samples and asking me to send back the one I wanted to you.) We customized my ceremony, and she edited the whole think and got it printed out bound. She created the thank you cards, and the photo guestbook. She did the centerpieces and I think even my make-up.

Once the boy and I were engaged I knew there were projects I wanted to do, but would need my mom's help, the invitations being the big one. There were also items that my mom herself wanted to do. She didn't want to make the cake (although she did make my godmother's wedding pies for her wedding), but she did want to sew my veil.


Except my mom is currently in intensive care and has been for the past two weeks. She's battling a rare auto-immune design, dermatomyositis, that has infected her lungs. I was out in California last weekend and at that time, while my mom was suffering and needed oxygen she was at least awake and talking. Except at this point, all there is to do is wait and hope she gets better. It still doesn't feel real, and it's kind of crazy, but at this point we're all hoping and praying that my mom is able to get better and survive. So I'm not really sure how the end this post, except that any thoughts and prayers would of course be appreciated, and share one final picture from Christmas last year.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In My Mailbox (28)

I actually meant to share these book last week, but I've had some things going on and haven't really had the chance to till today. So here's my edition to The Story Siren's In My Mailbox!
In My Mailbox
Mistress Shakespeare by Karen Harper
Right now I have so many book in my TBR pile that I really didn't need a lot more, especially since at the rate I'm reading it will probably take me about a year to get through all my books. But the red dot on the spine meant the book was on sale for only $2, so purchased it was.

Honolulu by Alan Brennert
This book has actually been on my list of recommended books on goodreads, and seeing it bargained priced I couldn't pass it up. It's a historical fiction that takes place in the early 1900s in Hawaii. I've never read anything that takes place there, so I'm hoping to really enjoy this one.

Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
I loved Dray's first book on Cleopatra's Daughter and so I bought this one almost as soon as it can out. I can't wait to read it, and hopefully it lives up to the first.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
If you're into YA book blogging I know you recognize this. I've actually already read and reviewed it, and of course I loved it.

Royal Sisters by Jean Plaidy
I recently posted about my love for Jean Plaidy so this one shouldn't be a surprise. I actually have another Jean Plaidy book I haven't read (Courting Her Highness), and went to pick it up, but realized that if I did I would be reading them out of order since The Royal Sisters comes first in her Stuart Series. But now that I have it I can rest comfortably knowing I'll be reading them in chronological order.

So that's it for me this week. What's in your mailbox this Sunday?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dare to Be Popular

The Popularity Rules by Abby McDonald
Back in high school Kat's best friend Lauren dumped her to hang out with the popular crowd. Except 10 years later when they run into eachother, Lauren explains that it was because of the popularity rules that shes changed and offers to teach them to Kat in hopes to turn around her life.

Going into this I wasn't sure what to think. It felt a little like a YA plotline, except these were supposed to be 20-somethings. And now that I read the book, it IS basically a YA book for 20-something and it makes complete sense. Recently Jessica at Cover to Cover wrote a post asking, "Where Are All The Books For Twenty-Somethings?" While this isn't an entire genre it fits that niche perfectly. This books is Kat's journey towards finding her character, establishing a social life, and exploring and reevaluating friendship. There is a subplot that involves dating, but I wouldn't define that as a defining plotline.

I loved how each chapter began with one of the popularity rules, and each time I thought about how I could make use of it in my daily life. So often I read YA books, and think, "The would have been perfect for me back in high school," but being a 20-something this is perfect for me now.

The book was origonally published in the UK, and takes place in London. Based on this fact I was expecting, and looking forward to, a British type book. Except Kat and Lauren are American, and the book didn't neccessarily have a British feel towards it. My thought is that since I love reading books that feel British and I'm American the opposite is true for Brits. And since it was written initially there, that's the market for which it was written.

I'm definitely glad I read this and the book more than exceeded my expecatations. I am a little worrried that since this book is different than a lot of books currently out there, it may be difficult for it to find its niche. But here's to hoping it does!


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

Friday, November 4, 2011

Just Next Door

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
About halfway through this one I told myself that this wasn't quite in the same class as Perkins' other Anna and the French Kiss. That's not to say I wasn't enjoying it, because I was, just more that I hadn't completely fallen. But after I work my way through the second half I have to admit that well Anna is still my favorite, this one more than holds its own.

First to start with, what I wanted to know before I read the book, was about Anna & Etienne's cameos. I was expecting a one-liner similar to the way Emily Giffin does it. But they wound up being pretty important characters, and more than that I don't think you had to read the first to get it. I believe that if you picked up Lola first, you would really have no idea that Anna had her own book because she fit into the story so seamlessly.

Now it feels a little silly mentioning, mainly because it was written so well and felt so normal it doesn't need to be pointed out. But the fact that Lola was being raised by by two gay males felt completely ordinary, and not the least bit awkward. It did help that the story took place in San Francisco, but not once did any character really remark on the living situation or not feel at ease. It was just that these were Lola's parents with a typical parental relationship.

And then of course there's Lola. If there ever was a book that I wanted to see made as a movie this was it. Lola wants to be a costume designer, and some of the outfits shes where are so over the top and magical. There's one outfit, the final outfit actually, that I can somewhat picture in my head, but think is the number one reason this should be a movie.

I definitely think this is a perfect companion to Anna, but more than that stands perfectly on its own feet. If you haven't picked up anything by Stephanie Perkins yet, than really what are you waiting for?