Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Winter 2014 Book Challenge

It's time for another semi-charmed reading challenge! My freebie is going to be whatever floats my boat after November 1st. If anybody has suggestions for a collection of short stories or a book with a song title/lyric as a title I would GLADLY take them. I couldn't find any that were already on my TBR list. (Also, sorry for the centered text. No idea what happened, but it won't move and I'm done attempting.)

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.

10 points: Read a book written by an author who has published at least 10 books. — Submitted byMegan.
Her Highness' First Murder - Peg Herring, 345 pages

This has been on my TBR list for five years, I figure I should probably get around to reading it.
10 points: Read a book of short stories. — Submitted by Meredith.
ETA: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories - Stephanie Perkins

This could probably work for the song category as well.

10 points: Read a book with a food (not a drink!) in the title. — Submitted by Megan.
I Was Told There'd Be Cake - Sloane Crosley, 230 pages

15 points: Read the first book in a series that is new to you (so no rereads for this one!). — Submitted by Crystal.
Matched - Ally Condie, 369 pages

Yet another YA dystopian that I'm way behind on, which is weird because they're one of my favorite types of books.
15 points: Read a book that was originally written in a language that is not your native language. — Submitted by Belle.
The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafรณn, 487 pages

15 points: Read a book written by a local author (either an author from your state if you live in the United States, or in your country if you live somewhere else—note: author must be from where you currently live). — Submitted by Katelyn.
Fer-de-Lance - Rex Stout, 285 pages

So far this is the only one that wasn't already on my TBR list. It was difficult to find something that wasn't poetry and wasn't Laura Ingalls for this category.
20 points: Read a "bookish book" (in which books play an important role, e.g. the setting involves a bookstore or library, a major character is an author, or a book that celebrates reading and books. Examples: The Book ThiefThe Shadow of the WindThe Thirteenth Tale, etc.) — Submitted by Jen.
The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield, 406 pages

20 points: Read a book with a direction in the title (e.g. north, south, east, west or any combination of those). — Submitted by Donna
The Mark of the Golden Dragon: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Jewel of the East, Vexation of the West, and Pearl of the South China Sea - LA Meyer, 378 pages

THREE directions in the title. Wah-bam! I do have one book in this series to read before I get to this one, maybe it'll be my freebie.
25 points: Read a book from a genre you don't usually read. — Submitted by Jenn.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot, 370 pages

I'm not really a huge fan of biographies or autobiographies, but I do have a few on my TBR list.
25 points: Read a book with a song lyric in the title. Be sure to tell us the song name and artist as well! — Submitted by Daire, who was kind enough to provide several example books, as this challenge is quite tricky! A few possibilities include: Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson (English nursery rhyme of the same name), The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes ("Girl You Left Behind," Pixie Lott), or Somewhere Only We Know by Cheyanne Young ("Somewhere Only We Know," Keane).
ETA: Juliet - Anne Fortier (Juliet - LMNT)

I'm totally gonna have that song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
30 points: Read two books with a different meal in each title (e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, brunch; update: meals like feast, banquet, picnic will also count, but try not to get too "creative" with your meal words!). — Submitted by Amber.
Fifth Avenue, 5 AM: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman - Sam Wasson, 231 pages, and Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult's Attempt Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It's Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner - Jen Lancaster, 352 pages

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Moving is not very fun. That's, more or less, why I haven't blogged for a while. That and the fact that our internet kept going in and out. You might have seen my desperate/pleading tweets about it. But it's finally (FINALLY) fixed. But I still have boxes to empty and rooms to organize and an old apartment to clean. Thankfully I have until the end of the month for that last one and I got most of it done yesterday, but I'm sore today. Did not help that I didn't sleep well last night. Bljkadflknalgijdlkgjs. Anywho... I will probably be randomly tweeting and sharing sunrise pictures from our new place on Instagram, but who knows when I'll blog again? Soon, I hope. I have stuff I really want to share. Enjoy this picture for your time:

Friday, September 26, 2014

True to Title, It's a Knockout

Thanks to Blogging for Books, I got another book to review! And once again, all opinions are my own.

And my opinions are that I was so not ready for this book. I've only been knitting since February (ish) and there were a few things in this book that I wasn't confident in doing, but I did them anyway! I knit in the round for the first time, whoop!

The needles look all fancy on the book, but they're only there because the book wouldn't stay closed after I had kept it open for so long. I'm no photo stylist.

This next photo is the first thing I attempted knitting from the book. The instructions are super clear and there are guides in the front and back of the book for some stitches and abbreviations that aren't necessarily common. Now, here's what it's supposed to look like:

And here's what it does look like:

Not too far off, especially for my first try. But now I have to make a second one, which will probably look better since I know what I'm doing now. Unfortunately it'll have to wait until after we've moved (tomorrow!!!). The part I was most worried about was the thumb gusset (I love that word, by the way), but the way it's written was very clear. I'm really excited to try out some of the other patterns that I thought might be too difficult.

I also knit Quinn a bracelet when I got tired of knitting in the round. I love the technique of double and triple wrapping the yarn to create those ladders. I'm not sure if those are the technical names or not, but whatever. I like how the bracelet looks with the rainbow yarn and the wavy pattern. Quinn likes it too, so that's good.

There are some patterns that introduce beading and I'm not sure when I'll get to those because the beading isn't exactly my style. They might make good gifts and they do look pretty, at least. The thing I loved the most is that all of the patterns only require a skein or two (or less, for the bracelets) of yarn. That's really nice for my budgeting (aka cheap) self. I'm sure I'll go into sticker shock the first time I buy yarn for a blanket.

If you're interested in Knockout Knits you can check it out on Random House and Laura Nelkin's blog.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Non-Reality TV Shows Are Back!!!

I realized that the only shows I really watch over the summer are reality shows. While I enjoy Masterchef, Project Runway, and The Great Food Truck Race I'm really looking forward to some fiction coming my way. I'm not sure if I'm more excited for the new shows that look great or for my favorites returning.

Red Band Society: September 17, FOX, 8pm (all times are in Central since that's where I am)

I watched the pilot and it was GOOD. I called a few things, like what you discover about the cheerleader and the guy playing guitar, but I'm still excited to see how those things work out. I love Octavia Spencer and I think all the kids were cast well, at least as much as you can tell from the first episode especially with one character in a coma. This one is added to my "TV Shows I Watch" list provided it doesn't disappoint me.

Gotham & Sleepy Hollow: September 22, FOX, 7pm & 8pm respectively

I'm not really all that into Gotham, but Jarrod wants to watch it (he's Batman obsessed) and it comes on right before Sleepy Hollow, which I AM into, so I'll probably watch at least a little of it. Plus the actress for Selina Kyle looks cute. Mostly I'm excited for Sleepy Hollow (supernatural AND historical? I'm there!) to come back, especially with the way last season ended. HOW ARE THEY GONNA GET OUT OF THAT?

After watching: Gotham was okay, I don't particularly care if I watch it again or not, but I'm pretty sure Jarrod will be watching. As for Sleepy Hollow, I totally called it! I knew it was *an illusion and that Crane Jr was totally playing them* (highlight for spoiler). I'm excited to see what happens this season, but I'm gonna have to start watching it on Hulu because Quinn's too into it and I'm pretty sure it's not 3-year-old appropriate.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: September 23, ABC, 8pm

I LOVE THIS SHOW. I don't know what it is, but I almost love this show more than all the Marvel movies. Maybe it's because this show is more about the techy, behind-the-scenes people and that's more likely who I'd be. I was not quite expecting who the double agent wound up being, but I'm okay with who it was. Better than the other options! Also, Fitz Simmons are my FAVORITES.

How to Get Away with Murder: September 25, ABC, 9pm

Why is this on so late? I know all of you night owls are looking at your screen like I'm crazy, but seriously. I can't always stay up that late because Jarrod gets up at 5:30 and things just get wonky. I'm going to try because this looks SO GOOD. Plus, Dean Thomas from HP! It's also slightly reminiscent of Veronica Mars and her college profiling class, which I loved.

Saturday Night Live: September 27, NBC, 10:30pm

Obviously I watch this via Hulu instead of live, if I can't even stay up for a show that's on from 9 to 10. I'm excited because Chris Pratt is hosting the season opener and on Hulu you can skip past the musical guests, which I almost always do even if I like them. I think it's really cool that Darrell Hammond (known for Bill Clinton impersonations) is taking over the announcer position since Don Pardo passed away.

Once Upon a Time: September 28, ABC, 6pm (two hour season premiere)

I'm hesitant to be excited about OUAT this season since they're introducing Frozen. I think the Peter Pan story line almost had me quitting the show. It just dragged onnnnnn and onnnnnn, I'm glad it's done. I think the whole Zelena thing ended abruptly, but I did like her back story. We'll see if this one stays on my "must watch" list.

Castle: September 29, ABC, 9pm

I can't believe I've gone the entire summer without obsessing over what could have happened. I'm pretty sure deleting my Tumblr was good for my tv-watching sanity. This is another show I usually watch via Hulu since it comes on at 9. And since we're gonna be moving and may or may not having internet soon, I might be doing a LOT of catching up once we get it.

Gracepoint & A to Z: October 2, FOX 8pm, CBS 8:30pm

Gracepoint sounds like a book I'd like to read, not necessarily a show I'd want to watch. We'll see. Especially since I can't watch the entire episode AND A to Z, which I REALLY want to watch because of Cristin Milioti (aka the under used mother on HIMYM) and Lenora Crichlow (aka the awesome ghost Annie on the UK Being Human, it's on Netflix, watch it!).

Supernatural: October 7, CW, 8pm

I am so close to being done with this show, but I REALLY don't want to be. This will be it's 10th season and not many shows can last that long and stay great. I think Abaddon ended too abruptly, but it also didn't seem like it was going anywhere. I'm interested to see what happens, especially because it looks like the writers are tying stuff in from earlier seasons, which is nice to see. This is another show where it's good that I deleted Tumblr. Goodness that got annoying. It's much nicer to just tweet Kay about it whenever I want to.

Marry Me: October 14, NBC, 8pm

Casey Wilson: Hilarious. Ken Marino: Hilarious. Really, there's only good things that this show can bring. The premise is loosely based on Casey Wilson and her husband, a writer of the show, which makes it even cuter. I'm pretty excited for this, especially since Ken Marino will be a role where I can actually like him, instead of Vinnie Van Lowe where I ranged from utter disgust to not-dislike.

2 Broke Girls: October 27, CBS, 7pm

I'm pretty sure I've given up on this show. As much as I love both Beth Behrs and Kat Dennings, it's just kinda bleh. I LOVED seeing Ryan Hansen, aka Candy Andy, on the show, but eh. I'll probably watch the season premiere and see if it's worth sticking with.

Masterchef Junior: November 7, FOX, 7pm (I think)

I love this show. I love regular Masterchef, but seeing how the judges work with kids make me like them SO MUCH MORE. Seriously, even if you don't like cooking shows the kids make up for it. You should totally watch this show.

Obviously I have a few scheduling issues, but I'll make it work with Hulu if needed. Which shows are you watching? Any I should add?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

You Need to Read This

A few weeks ago, I read Tiffany's review of Lea Michele's book. This led me to see her disclaimer of "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review." And I thought "Blogging for books? TELL ME MORE." And that is how I came to be able to review How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Natural Disasters aka the best book ever.

First, if you haven't figured it out, I got this book from Blogging for Books for this review and all opinions are my own. Second, you need to read this book. And I mean NEED. It's the most amusing book I think I have ever read.

That is partially due to awesome lines such as:

"Your brain shorts out. Your legs won't move. Without this book, the best you can hope for is to be killed in a dry pair of underwear." (pg 15)

Then there are real science facts interspersed within the science fiction:

"Arachnoquake spiders live in a colony. While this isn't unique, it is rare. Out of close to 40,000 species of spider, less than two dozen exhibit social behavior. Forget dinner and a movie -- most spiders don't socialize outside of mating." (pg 28)

All of the (un)natural disasters mentioned in the book are based on SyFy original movies or have had movies based on them. I don't normally watch those movies, but I've seen bits and pieces of a few. I think once you come to accept the fact that they're not trying to win Oscars, they become better movies.

The two biggest things I learned reading the book are that the further from the coast you are, the safer you are (usually) and everybody should have access to a nuclear fallout shelter. In some cases, that's the only way to survive. At the end of the book, there's also the Shepard Survival Assessment Test (SSAT) to determine if you'd survive any of the aforementioned disasters. Jarrod and I both passed, luckily.

If you'd like to know more about Andrew Shaffer, you can find him on Twitter and at his website.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cute Clothes, Cuter Kids

I wasn't able to blog about Quinn's July outfit from Fab Kids because there were shipping issues. Do you remember the blue dress she got around the same time as Crocky? That dress and this skirt are very similar looking in their packages AND their sku numbers (if you've never worked retail, the number that tells the computer what item is what) are only one off. So we were accidentally sent the blue dress again. We finally got it fixed (shoutout to Jane at Fab Kids for being awesome about it!) and she finally got her blue tutu.

Shirt & Skirt: c/o FabKids Shoes: c/o Grammy via Wal-Mart
She wore her cute new outfit on my birthday to jump in puddles and go to Target. She kept twirling around and around. I'm pretty sure she's obsessed with tutus/skirts/dresses/etc.

However, I love that she can go from girly clothes to play clothes that are basic t-shirts. This is nice because even though she owns a LOT of dresses, there are only so many dresses to be worn. I chose this shirt because I wanted to test out Fab Kids jeans and they don't really offer any in the girls section. Quinn loves jeggings and I wouldn't hate for some to be included ;)

Headphone Smart Tee: c/o FabKids
The shirt is super soft and comfy and she loves the headphones because they remind her of Jarrod (he's super into music and video gaming, he uses headphones for both). As you can see, she's not wearing the jeans. The jeans did not fit her at all. I got a 3T since that's pretty much what she's in, although I was prepared for them to be a little bit big. They were a LOT big, but they had an adjustable waist so I figured I could make it work. I could not make it work.

I do have a nephew (often referred to as Cousin L) who's a little taller and a little heavier than Quinn (despite being 2.5 months younger) so I thought they might work on him, even though his mom said he was in a 4T. They were hard to get around his feet and they were too big in the waist too. I'm really not sure if it was just these two or what. I'd be more than happy to try a pair of jeans from Fab Kids again because the quality was awesome, especially for $10 jeans.

Contrast Denim: c/o FabKids
 And, L, if you're randomly reading this when you're older I apologize for the lack of your face in pictures. This is what happens when you won't stand still and make wonky faces while running around.

Cousin C had to get in on the action as well. My sister got this ADORABLE dress, I love the exposed bright zipper. Seeing all my posts and seeing Quinn's cute clothes in person, I think my sister was finally convinced to get something. She also got L this adorable ant shirt, but again, he wouldn't cooperate. It's okay, he's a toddler, it's expected.

Back Zip Marled Dress: Fab Kids
 I did finally get her to stand still, but couldn't get a stand still AND smile. She loves the dress so it passes the 4-year-old comfort test as well.

Then this happened. Not really sure what's going on, but that's par for the course.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

ADIML: 25th Birthday

I really like doing A Day In My Life posts, but usually whenever I think about doing them I've already been up for hours and it feels pointless. Luckily, I finally remembered and the day I did was my birthday!

I usually wake up with Quinn, but Jarrod got up with her to let me sleep in, which only lasted about 15 minutes.

And when I did get up, they were gone. I was confused, but figured they were doing something for my birthday because I'm a smarty like that.

I forgot to take a picture of the giant cupcake Jarrod got me, but I did remember the numbers. I thought it was cute and I might have to buy a 6 for Jarrod's birthday in December.

After breakfast, for which I did not eat my cupcake, I got dressed and ready to go out for my present. Getting to go to garage sales alone! I love taking Quinn, but it's not so fun getting her in and out of the car.

Then, of course, I had to fuel up with some free birthday coffee from Starbucks. Which I promptly spilled on myself.

I also got my free birthday donut and drink from Krispy Kreme, I take advantage of as many birthday freebies as I can, but I forgot to take a picture of it until after I ate it. It was a chocolate cake donut and it was delicious.

After driving past two sales that were closed it started raining and I was worried I wouldn't get to go to ANY sales.

I was able to go to about five sales and I got some really good deals! In the picture below the pink thing on the left is a snow bib that will hopefully still fit Quinn this winter (if not it was only $1, so no big), the floral thing on the bottom left is a dress for her, the floral thing in the middle is a kimono for dress-up, the stars and black fuzzy thing is a dress and cover up that is GORGEOUS and only worn once by the previous owner. I also got Pinkalicious Scrabble, a couple books, a Little Einsteins DVD, and some other things.

After I got back we decided to run to Target because I had a giftcard burning a hole in my pocket. Quinn decided to dance in puddles before we left.

shirt: c/o FabKids skirt: c/o FabKids shoes: c/o Grammy
I tried quite a few things on at Target, including the pink/grey maxi I mentioned in my vlog, but I wound up getting two shirts (again, the ones mentioned in my vlog).

This was cute, but not quite the right color for me and a teeny bit short for a maxi.

This was SO cute, but not the right shape for me. There's no cinching in at the waist or anything and that's something I need.

I really liked the idea of this, but it just wasn't quite me.

One of the shirts I got, but the skirt fit super tight through the tummy/hips and made me look lumpy.

This was also a resident of lumpsville. I wanted it to work because it was super comfy.

The dress I wanted. It technically fit, but was just too tight in the waist and I knew I wouldn't wear it.
We were originally going to go to a fancy-ish place for brunch on Sunday, but it wound up being even more expensive than we thought so we got Chick-fil-A instead. Delicious.

Then we watched Lego Movie until Quinn's nap time and I worked on a Shutterfly book and caught up on blogs while she napped. And I ate my cupcake, mostly so I wouldn't have to share.

After Quinn woke up from her nap we played. And Darth Vader finally got into the father role and taught Luke how to drive.

Took advantage of my Starbucks giftcard birthday gifts and went to get Jarrod and I drinks for the afternoon. We watched some Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, I drank some wine, we watched the Tinkerbell Bake Off (which, I'm not gonna lie, I had totally been looking forward to), then I painted my nails (which I forgot to take a picture of).

Nothing extravagant, but it was a really good birthday :)


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