Monday, June 30, 2014

June in Review

We're finished with June, which means we're halfway through the year. In some ways I don't necessarily feel like June went by that quick, but it does seem crazy that 2014 is halfway done. But before we go any further, a look back at June.

In June...
...For the biggest news of the month, I revealed that I'm pregnant and started sharing a weekly bumpdate pregnancy updates.
Black Bean Soup
..the boy once again cooked up a storm making black bean soup (impressive since he doesn't actually like soup, but he knows I do),
Steak Rolls
steak rolls,
Having @labride's Black Pepper roast for dinner
and Louisiana Bride's black pepper marinated roast.
More Than That
...I traveld to Houston to see the Backstreet Boys in concert.

...I posted reviews of 5 books and 5 movies.
When Camels Fly by NLB Horton
The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear"
Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out at Night by Shelly Lowenkopf
How to Get Out of Your Own Way by Tyrese Gibson
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
A Million Ways to Die in the West

How To Train Your Dragon 2
The Fault in Our Stars
Jersey Boys

So many awesome books and movies to choose from, and in a normal month several could have been my favorite, but this month has to go to The Fault in Our Star.

...5 years ago, in 2009, I posted how I wound up in Louisiana after spending my college years in Maryland.
Welcome To Louisiana
What are some of your highlights from this past June?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mailbox Monday (82)

Another surprising week of books, with yes, more goodreads wins. What can I say, I'm lucky. As always, linking up with Mailbox Monday.
Mailbox Monday
From Paperback Swap
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
I've yet to read anything by either one of these authors, yet I've heard such good things about Neil Gaiman. In fact I loved both Stardust and Coraline, movies based on his books. I even believe my mom read this once and really enjoyed it. So needless to say I'm really excited that this is our book club book next month!

From Goodreads
Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone
Taken from the subtitle this is about "The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies." While I obviously know of the Wright Brothers, I haven't heard of Glenn Curtiss before. And what I do know about the Wright Brothers is pretty limited, so I'm hoping to learn a lot with this.

Steve Jobs' Life By Design by George Beahm
This is about the commencement address Steve Jobs gave at Stanford in 1995. While I'm sure the address is in here, it looks to go deeper than that and explores some of the history and life events that contributed towards writing it. Definitely sounds like one that will be inspirational.

What did you find in your mailbox this week? And have you seen any movies based on Neil Gaiman's work?

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Last, Last Mortal Instruments

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
: May 27, 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Series: The Mortal Instruments #6
Say what you want about Cassandra Clare, she sure knows how to write an ending. So often in her books I'm bored with the first half or so, but after the last few chapters I'm back in love with her and feel like it will be ages till there's another of her books to read. Except that wasn't quite the case here.

Don't get met wrong, the ending was still pretty magical here. But instead I was impressed with how much I enjoyed the rest of the book. Yes, there were times, especially in the first few chapters, where it seemed all Clary did was talk about how hot Jace was. But a chapter or two later everything came together, and I found myself really enjoying myself. I don't feel like I speed through it, although I do think this is the longest of hers so far, so that makes sense. I do think relative to the size I actually did read it pretty quickly.

Although I do have a small complaint with this book, and overall series. It's just been so long since I read the first three of the series (almost 4 years ago!). And there's been so many books of these series and The Infernal Devices, and I read through them all so quickly, I've forgotten so many details along the way. I would really love to go back and reread them all, but considering how many there are and how long each is, it does seem to be a bit of a daunting task, but eventually...

Back to the ending though, because it is pretty perfect. I don't think it can compare to the ending of The Clockwork Princess, but I think it might be my second favorite ending of Clare's. I think it was a perfect way to wrap up this series, plus tie it into both the Infernal Devices and her upcoming The Dark Artifices series.

Of course I can't wait till next year when that's out, although first I'll probably pick up The Bane Chronicles when they're released in print later this year. As much as I want to dislike Clare's books I can't help but love them, and if you haven't picked them up yet, I highly recommend doing so, even as overwhelming as it may seem.


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

16 Weeks Bumpdate

16 Weeks
How Far Along: 16 weeks

Size of the Baby: An avocado

Maternity Clothes: I did wear a pair of new maternity pants yesterday, but even so was asked how I still managed to fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes by a friend whose pregnant and less along than I am. So I guess that's a plus. Although I did admit to her that they were actually maternity.

Nursery: Still no progress here.

Stretch Marks: Still none.

Sleep: It's pretty much back to normal.

Movement: Still none.

Cravings: I could really go for a bean & cheese burrito from Taco Bell. Which is funny in a way since I can't remember the last time I had one before the pregnancy. But since I've been pregnant I've already been there twice, and will likely be there later this week.

Symptoms: None really, although brushing my teeth gets me about once a week or so. Also I actually had a the mardi gras salad at Voodoo BBQ recently, and almost got sick over a piece of off-texture mango.

What I Miss: Waking up on a weekend and making a coffee in my Keurig. Although I have made hot chocolate in it as a substitute, but it's not quite the same.

Looking Forward To: I'd love to feel the baby move especially since everyone seems to asking me about it lately.
6 Weeks7 Weeks8 Weeks
6 Weeks ~ 7 Weeks ~ 8 Weeks
9 Weeks10 Weeks11 Weeks
9 Weeks ~ 10 Weeks ~ 11 Weeks
12 Weeks13 Weeks14 Weeks
12 Weeks ~ 13 Weeks ~ 14 Weeks
15 Weeks
15 Weeks

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Halfway There

On January 1, 2013 I started my first 101 in 1001 list. It's set to end on September 29, 2015, which puts me just over halfway finished. So it would make sense to think I'm halfway toward completion, right? Except that isn't the case at all. Instead I've completely only 17 goals, which puts me just over 17%. But while I have a long way to go, I think it definitely time for me to check in on the goals I have managed to complete so far.

1. Give my blog a makeover
Which you can see currently. In case you're curious, this is what my blog used to look like before now.
10. Read 100 books
I actually didn't realize until I started this post, but this is officially complete. Since I've started this project I've read 101 books, and I'm sure I'll read a ton more before it's finished

15. Visit 10 new restaurants in the Baton Rouge area (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 9 10)
This one has actually been long completed. As for the favorite all of these restaurants, it would probably be Another Broken Egg Cafe which we've been back to twice since that initial visit.
Sweet Potato Pancake
36. Go on a girl's trip
This was my trip to Houston to see the Backstreet Boys which I did again recently, so this one, as well as the very next one, have actually been completed twice now.
Acoustic Set
43. Go to a Backstreet Boys concert

45. Have a toast for new year's
Grapefruit Juice
57. Make my mom's brisket
Technically the boy may have actually done this. But I was there supervising, so it counts in my book.
Passover Plate
58. Make my family's oyster stuffing
This one though, I did make on my own.
60. Make my mom's "potato pie"
Another one where I may have mainly supervised.
Potato Pie
64. Make a gingerbread crust
And following a similar patter, this was on my own.
Pumpkin Pie
66. Complete a project 365
I completed this one this first chance I could, and decided not to do it again in 2014 to keep things calmer. But I actually kind of miss it, and am thinking of going again in 2015. Plus at that point I'll have a pretty cute subject to take pictures of each day.

67. Buy and learn to use a DSLR camera
This definitely happened thanks to the generosity of this boy. And while I can't say I'm an expect, overall I do feel like I know what I'm doing with it.

70. Order our wedding album
75. Order wedding canvases
Our Wedding Canvas
84. Host 2 major holidays (i.e. Thanksgiving or Passover) (1, 2)
I've actually hosted Passover a second time, for a total of 3 major holidays, so this has definitely been done.

85. Join a synagogue
This was actually far harder than it needed to be since my application was lost the first time. But I can say I'm officially a member of a synagogue now.

97. Go through clothes and donate the ones I'm no longer wearing
Clothes for Donating
And that's it! Although seeing them all written out like this makes me feel a whole lot more accomplished. There's actually a few that while they aren't complete, I expect to be shortly. For example...
32. Visit 3 states (not counting Louisiana or California) (1, 2)
Since I'll be heading to Alabama in a few weeks for vacation, and that will officially be the third on the list.

74. Hang curtains throughout the house
Since I bought curtains for the last few rooms at Ikea. So now all I need it curtain rods to be done.

73. Clean out the "big closet"
This one better get done, since the "big closet" is always the future nursery, so there's a deadline here.

As for the goal that's furthest from completion...
11. Cut my to-read pile in half (from 72 to 38 books
Since I've instead over doubled my to-read pile to a total of 167 books!

Have you ever attempted a 101 in 1001 list? How close did you come to completing it?

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Fault in Our Boys

The Fault in Our Stars
Yes, I finally saw it, and it was well worth the wait. I'm not sure there's much to say here that hasn't already been said, but I absolutely adored it.

It was definitely just like seeing the book come alive on screen. In someways it didn't actually feel like a movie, because it was so close to the book. It was really more like reading the book and watching the events occur in my mind. Yes, there were some details and minor plot points that were dropped, but it didn't really feel like it was missing anything.

There's still a few scenes that I keep replaying over and over again in my mind. I can't wait to see it again, and I'd also love to give the book a reread soon.

Jersey Boys
I definitely know who Frankie Valli is, and I know some of his songs (although watching the movie learned how many songs of his I didn't realize were his), but besides that I didn't know much about his life. I'll be honest, a lot of the reason I wanted to see this was because it was a musical, and knowing Clint Eastwood directed it made it easier to get the boy to agree to it.

It did start off slow though, and overall was a really long movie. I did enjoy it though, but can't necessarily see myself sitting down to watch it again.

Overall, a weekend of two completely different movies, but each good in their own way. Although I think it's pretty clear the one I'd most recommend seeing.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mailbox Monday (81)

My good luck with goodreads' giveways continues. I have no idea what it is, but they seem to enjoy sending me books. Not that I'm complaining, but it's doesn't always seem fair to others. But I'll take 'um! As normal, I'm linking up my new books with Mailbox Monday.
Mailbox Monday
From Goodreads
The Biology of Luck by Jacob M. Appel
I actually thought this was a YA book initially, but reading the summary the main character is instead 29-years-old. It does look to be a chick-lit type book and definitely takes place in NYC. Clearly I don't know much about it, but I'm sure I'll eventually read it and that will change.

What did you find in your mailbox this week? And how often do you seem to win Goodreads' giveaways?

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Best Man I Can Be

How to Get Out of Your Own Way by Tyrese Gibson
: January 1, 2011 by Grand Central Publishing
I'm pretty sure that I'm not the intended audience for this book. I did guess that going it, but I figured I'd at least give it a chance. Who knows, they may have been pieces I could connect with. And while there were items that made sense, overall I think if I was a teenager living in the ghetto or one without a lot going for me, I would have appreciated this a lot more.

For me, I think the worst parts were the chapters on cheating. Basically Tyrese's viewpoint is that all men cheat and it's pretty rare that they don't. And for the one that's don't there's normally a specific reason, something like the fear of HIV or G-d's wrath. It's never just enough to expect to remain loyal on principle. While I definitely don't agree here, I can at least imagine why he'd think this way. After all, I would imagine in the world of R&B singers, male models, and movie stars, most men cheat. And if those are the people Tyrese spends time with I could see how he'd get such an opinion. Still, it's a little hard to read.

The book isn't completely awful though. I did appreciate the first chapter on Tyrese's childhood, and thought it was the best of them all. It is a little heartbreaking to hear what he had to go through growing up, but even more so to think about that fact that this is what so many other children deal with and without the chance of escape.

Normally at the end of a review, even if I dislike a book I can at least say I'm glad I read this. Except I'm not quite sure I can say that here. I have read books I disliked more, and it was fairly easy to read, but in some ways I do think my time could have been better spent.


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Once More in Houston

Last week I wrote about going to Houston to see the Backstreet Boys in concert. Except that's not all we managed to fit in over our 2 days in Houston.

After driving from Baton Rouge to Houston (although The Woodlands more specifically) and checking into our hotel, we went out for dinner. We actually stopped at the same restaurant as we did on out BSB concert trip last year, La Lupita, and I ordered the exact same thing, the steak tacos.
Steak Tacos
My photos though are a last better than last year's when the taco photo didn't even make make the blog. Of course considering how awful my iphone concert photos turned out, I would much rather have bad food pictures and good concert pictures.

Thursday morning we were up at the mall by the time it opened. Of course the goal for this day's shopping was baby shopping, which was more than accomplished. We started off at Pottery Barn Kids picking up bedding. From there went to Jack & Janie which thankfully, at least for my wallet, we don't yet have in Baton Rouge. After hitting up a few more children's clothing stores we made stops for soap (at Bath & Body Works) and olive oil (at Oil & Vinegar, which also isn't in Baton Rouge yet) before ending up at Gap maternity. After spending again for more money than was needed on maternity clothes (including the dress I wore in my 15 weeks bumpdate), we were ready to break for lunch.
Crab Bisque & Bungalow Salad
We ate at Tommy Bahama's, which I'd heard of but had never tried before, and I had their crab bisque and bungalow salad. Of course being pregnant I had to have dessert and went with one my favorites, pineapple creme brulee.
Pineapple Creme Brulee
From there we were back at the hotel where I took a much needed nap in preparation for that night's concert.

Friday morning, we checked out of the hotel, but we weren't quite ready to head back home. After a quick breakfast at Panera, we made our way to Ikea, and of course stocked up on baby furniture. We didn't buy everything we'll need, but definitely bought the essentials, a crib, dresser, and bookshelf, and a few non-essentials too like curtains and a picture frame. All in all a successful trip, both for the concert itself and everything else we managed to fit in.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

15 Weeks Bumpdate

Remember last week when I said I my goal was to include pregnancy updates that change from week to week. Well, I think I failed at that. Or at least my answers this week are going to be eerily familiar, but I'm sure as time continues that will be less true. At least that's the goal!
15 Weeks
How Far Along: 15 weeks

Size of the Baby: An apple

Maternity Clothes: Aside from the one I mentioned last week, I haven't worn any new maternity clothes, which does mean that I'm still able to fit into a few pre-pregnancy item.

Nursery: Still no progress here.

Stretch Marks: Still none, which is pretty impressive considering half of the time I forget to use my belly butter.

Sleep: Apart from a few nights where I've wanted to laze around in front of the tv besides doing anything productive, sleep is pretty much back to normal.

Movement: Still none.

Cravings: Still none, although fruit always sounds good.

Symptoms: If I don't think about what I'm doing brushing my teeth isn't nearly as bad as it used to be. Still not perfect, but definitely getting there.

What I Miss: Nothing really. Although I have basically given up caffeine, and this weekend I really could have gone for a root beer float from Sonic.

Looking Forward To: I'm not really sure, but I would definitely be nice to make some progress on the nursery.
6 Weeks7 Weeks8 Weeks
6 Weeks ~ 7 Weeks ~ 8 Weeks
9 Weeks10 Weeks11 Weeks
9 Weeks ~ 10 Weeks ~ 11 Weeks
12 Weeks13 Weeks14 Weeks
12 Weeks ~ 13 Weeks ~ 14 Weeks

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday Movie Review

How To Train Your Dragon 2
The boy absolutely loves How to Train Your Dragon,so when we heard there was going to be a sequel we knew we absolutely had to see it. Thankfully we weren't let down.

I was actually really impressed with this. So often in sequels it's just a rehash of the last movie, but this felt really original. I also loved how they made the characters older. Not just by the way they acted, but that they actually looked different, something you pretty much never see.

We did upgrade and see this one in 3-D, which I think is the way to do it. With all the flying scenes, in 3-D you can't help but feel like you're flying as well.

I'm pretty sure they're going to wind up with a third movie, and if that's the case we'll be there to see it once again! (And maybe even bring our own baby to the theaters with us?)