Wednesday, December 17, 2014

4

Bloglovin' isn't working and both Quinn and I are still waking up, so I figured "why not?"


4 names people like to call you other than your real name:
1. Brina/Breenah (depending on if you know me in real life vs. the internet)
2. Mommy/Mama (duh)
3. Sunshine (this has been my mom's nickname for me since I was born)
4. Sabby (Jarrod's best friend Tyler is the only person who calls me this)

4 jobs you've had:
1. retail at JCPenney
2. optician
3. retail at Goodwill
4. RA

4 movies you've seen more than once:
1. Mean Girls
2. Heathers (it's on Netflix!)
3. Princess Bride
4. It's a Wonderful Life

4 books you'd recommend:
2. Uglies
4. I'll Scream Later

4 places you've lived:
1. Kansas
2. Washington
3. Kansas
4. Wichita, Kansas

in Arizona, March 1993

4 places you've visited:
1. Georgia
2. Arizona
3. Maine
4. Texas

4 places you'd rather be right now:
1. on a beach
2. at a nail salon
3. at a masseuse
4. alone and reading

4 things you don't eat:
1. capers
2. grape jelly (I will if it's the only kind of jelly)
3. eggplant
4. raw onions (cooked and/or caramelized are good though)

4 of your favorite foods:
1. sushi
2. fruit salad
3. Olive Garden salad
4. garlic mashed potatoes

I even had sushi earrings at one point, but between three moves they've gotten lost

4 TV shows you watch:
1. Supernatural
2. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
3. Red Band Society
4. Castle

4 things you're always saying:
1. "That is NOT a toy."
2. "Turn off the lights!"
3. "Quinn Lauren!"
4. "Since you're up..."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Two More Book Challenges? I Might Be Crazy

The first challenge is Erin's challenge.  It overlaps with Megan's and the Bout of Books (which I talk about at the end of this post), so that'll work in my favor.

* 5 points: Read a book, any book that is at least 200 pages long.
Jeneration X - Jen Lancaster, 352 pages (yes, I'm using this one for Megan's book challenge too, but as long as I don't start it til January 1 I can use it for both!)

* 10 points: Read a book that begins with the “A”, “An”, or “The”.
The Mischief of the Mistletoe - Lauren Willig, 340 pages

* 10 points: Read a book with a two word title.
White Lines - Jennifer Banash, 304 pages

* 15 points: Read a book with an animal in the title.
White Cat - Holly Black, 310 pages

* 20 points: Take the first letter of your first name and read a book that the title begins with that letter. 
Shoe Addicts Anonymous - Beth Harbison, 327 pages (for those of you confused, Breenah is not my real name)

* 20 points: Read a book set in any country in Europe.
The Zookeeper's Wife - Diane Ackerman (Poland), 368 pages

* 25 points: Read a book from the NPR’s guide of great books from 2014.
The Witch and Other Tales Re-Told - Jean Thompson, 272 pages

* 30 points: Read a book by a favorite author that is not a re-read. (submitted by Shana)
Peeps - Scott Westerfeld, 312 pages

* 30 points: Read a book by a comedian or comedic actor. (submitted by Ann Marie)
Yes Please - Amy Poehler, 288 pages

* 35 points: Read a book about science, discovery, or a scientific process – non-fiction only. (submitted by Susan)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot, 370 pages (also part of the other challenge, but seriously, two birds and one stone)

And I'll be participating in my first Bout of Books, which is explained below:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Any Excuse to Post an Old Picture of Myself

I've been nominated for the blogging Liebster award before, by Torrie here and by Katrin here. But it still feels super good to get nominated. I feel slightly popular when it happens. Also, does anybody know where it originated? I have no clue.

Anywho, now I can add that Erin nominated me and I've got some questions to answer.


1. What is your favorite holiday?
Does my birthday count? It should totally count.

This might be my 8th birthday? All I know is I got two cakes because my Papa knew I liked ice cream cake and went out and got one without talking to anyone else.

2. If you could spend a week by yourself (no travel companion, just you) anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Someplace that had a library, and endless wine and coffee. Preferably beach side, but I'd take a cabin in Washington type weather as well. 

3. You can only have one of the following totally materialistic items; which one would it be? The house of your dreams, the car of your dreams, the wardrobe of your dreams.
Wardrobe FOR SURE. I don't really want to clean the house of my dreams, so unless it comes with a staff that's a 'no'.

4. Do you blog most often during the day or at night?
Whenever I get a chance. Right now it's a quarter to 4pm, but I'm gonna schedule this for tomorrow (even though it's Thanksgiving) since I just posted my Sleepy Hollow review.

5. Coffee or Tea?
Usually coffee, but I like both.

6. You are forced to give up two of the following; which do you keep? Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?
That's kinda tough. I think I'd keep Instagram, then just Instagram whatever I would have Tweeted otherwise. If it weren't for the games, I probably would have gotten rid of Facebook already.

7. Bath or Shower?
Shower. There's always a part of me that's sticking out of the bath and very cold. I'm too tall to take a bath in a regular sized one comfortably.

8. What's your favorite (something visual that involves admiring other people's talents) concert, or musical, or play, or painting?
Cabaret as put on by the Atlanta Shakespeare Company about a million (read: seven-ish) years ago.

9. Cats or Dogs?
Either, but I prefer doggies.

10. You kill an hour in front of your television. You watch reality tv, a drama, a documentary, a comedy?
Drama, probably of the supernatural/sci-fi persuasion.

11. Do you dance, sing, or play a musical instrument?
I can dance if I practice, Jarrod says I can sing-ish to country (lower notes, not the high pitch poppy stuff), and I used to play the clarinet and can play London Bridge on the piano.

I'm gonna nominate anybody who's bored on Thanksgiving (or Thursday the 27th for you non-Americans or your birthday if you're my little brother or BIL) and wants something to do. Feel free to jack Erin's questions and let me know if you post it. Or you can just answer them in the comments.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Secret Journal of Icabod Crane

I received this book from Blogging for Books for review.

So I've had this book way longer than necessary for a review. I've read it and started this review in my head at least five times, but c'est la vie. I was in a wedding last weekend (as was Quinn) and Thanksgiving is tomorrow. My brain has not been focused on anything for more than a minute, but I'm finally sitting down to write the review!

First, if you're not away of what Sleepy Hollow is about, I'm surprised, but I'd also suggest this summary from Goodreads for the book and this from IMDb for the tv show. Much better than (or exactly what) I could've written here.

Tom Mison has a pretty face.
Many of you are aware that I'm a HUGE fan of Sleepy Hollow, the tv show. I'm a mild fan of the movie with Johnny Depp and an eh fan of the book itself (my apologies Washington Irving). Lieutenant (spelled correctly on the first try, again!) Mills is my favorite character by far. She's the bestest. I do also love Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane, so I was especially excited to see The Secret Journal of Ichabod Crane available for review.

The book starts out with Crane in his cell in Sleepy Hollow before Abby is fully aware of the whole Witness thing. If you haven't seen the first season of Sleepy Hollow, this would be a great introduction, but you'd also probably have a lot of questions. As someone who has seen the entire first (and what has been shown of the second) season the book was more of a refresher course with some extra tidbits here and there.

Katrina Crane
There are little doodles and pictures and demonic info spaced throughout the book as though it really was Crane's journal. Alex Irvine did an AMAZING job writing in Crane's voice. I could hear Tom Mison in my head while I read the book. I wish I could hear Tom Mison all the time, his voice is lovely.



My favorite part of the show is the deep friendship that Abby and Crane have and that's not quite as apparent in the book, which I would have liked, but it's not the end of the world. No, that's where Moloch comes in.

Moloch, the big baddie.
There is a lot of historical fact and myth information inside the journal. If you're into history or mythology at all, it might be an interesting read even if you're not into Sleepy Hollow at all.

I loved reading the book because it was very similar to going through the "trivia" part of IMDb (which I've been known to do before an episode or movie is even over, oops). If you have even an inkling of interest in anything Sleepy Hollow, then I would highly recommend this book to you. And if you're interested in weekly recaps of episodes I'd highly recommend Head Over Feels. Their reaction GIF game is A+.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Movie Challenge Update

The movie challenge ends at the end of this month and I've been able to watch fourteen of my movies, which isn't too bad actually! Especially considering we moved in the middle, then our internet wouldn't stay up, Quinn stopped taking naps, etc etc. Here's a few little mini-reviews in case any of you were wanting to watch any of these.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters - watched 9/2/14
Category: Action/Adventure
It was a lot gorier than I expected and I felt like most of the cursing was unnecessary, but I've come to expect it especially in R rated movies. Besides that, I did like it. I don't think it's the best movie ever, but I don't think it deserved to get as many bad reviews as it did. My favorite part was how creepy looking the witches were and how quickly they moved, it was kind of like in The Grudge. Also, Gemma Arterton is SO pretty.
***/5

Legends of the Fall - watched 9/3/14
Category: Oscar for Cinematography
I can't imagine riding a horse in a three piece suit and in summer. No bueno. Brad Pitt was the most gorgeous he ever was in 1994. It's nice to see a movie that looks good even though it was made before all the fancy stuff we have now, I almost prefer it over all the fancy stuff. Slightly before the part where Tristan goes to jail, I got a little bored. This is not my kind of movie, at all, so that's probably why. It's good for what it is, though.
**/5

Seriously, 1994 Brad Pitt is the best Brad Pitt. Second is Fight Club Brad Pitt.

Camp - watched 9/24/14
Category: Actress Whose Last Name Starts with K (Anna Kendrick)
I really liked the idea of this movie, I was a theatre kid after all, but it was just okay. I don't know if maybe it's because it's 11 years old or what, but I just wasn't wowed by it. I did love Anna Kendrick, as usual.  I'm still jealous of Michael's glittery black comforter, though.
**/5

Mortified Nation - watched 9/26/14
Category: Drama/Biography/Documentary
This was okay. It was a documentary of a bunch of shows where people read from their teenage diaries and journals. It was interesting, but I didn't like how much back and forth there was between the shows and interviews with the crew. I guess that's part of why I don't like documentaries. I'd rather just watch the show OR the interviews.
***/5

All About Eve - watched 10/19/14
Category: Oscar for Best Picture
I loved seeing the differences from a movie from the 50's to today. Everything from costumes to acting nuances have changed. Even the how the actors and actresses looked is different. They all looked unique instead of the cookie-cutter image that's tended toward now. The story was good (and this was a much better theatre-centric movie than Camp was) and I'd highly recommend it.
****/5

The Fault in Our Stars - watched 10/21/14
Category: Adapted from a Novel
I did actually read this book before I saw the movie. I didn't cry when reading it, but I did tear up. I cried during the movie though. This is just such a great story and even though it's considered "young adult" I'd recommend it to all adults as well. Weird to me is that it was cast really well with Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley as romantic interests, but I also think Divergent was cast really well with them as brother and sister. Good actors, those two.
****/5 (only because movies are never as good as the book)

The Raven - watched 10/30/14
Category: Filmed in Budapest, Hungary
I have a soft spot for all John Cusack movies and historical fiction, so I was pretty much going to love this one anyway. And I did. I read a little online about Edgar Allen Poe and his last days and I really liked the fictionalized account. I did think it was funny that most of the actors were European (mostly British, I think) doing American accents.
*****/5


X-Men: Days of Future Past - watched 10/31/14
Category: Actor Whose Last Name Starts with J (Hugh Jackman)
Other than leaving me confused with what was retconned and what wasn't, I really liked this. I liked the introduction to Quick Silver (interested to see how Marvel tackles him in the Age of Ultron) and the progression of Raven to Mystique. And it's always good to see Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Always.
****/5

The English Patient - watched 11/1/14
Category: Oscar for Editing
Dear goodness this movie just about bored me to tears. That's all I'm gonna say about that.
0/5 (the ONLY one I'm giving ZERO stars to, that's how boring it was)

The Usual Suspects - watched 11/2/14
Category: Oscar for Original Screenplay
I knew the twist before seeing this, because it's 20 years old and the internet exists, but I still loved it. GREAT movie.
*****/5

Love Actually - watched 11/2/14
Category: Filmed in London, England
Oh my goodness, how did I not see this sooner? I don't usually choose romantic movies though, so that's probably why. I loved this. I might make Jarrod watch it with me closer to Christmas.
*****/5

Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day - watched 11/8/14
Category: Actor Whose Last Name Starts with U (Blair Underwood)
This was pretty good. I enjoyed the story and they did a good job teasing you with hints as to what else was going on. The kidnapping aspect (it says that in the blurb, not a spoiler) was kind of wrapped up quickly and there were some weird filming things with coloring and whatnot that I didn't like, but it was mostly good.
***/5

I did love seeing Nicole Beharie in something other than her Lieutenant Mills role.

The Hours - watched 11/12/14
Category: AMC's Top Movie Quotes (Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more. - Virginia Woolf)
I was so bored through this entire movie. But, I guess if you like Virginia Woolf maybe give it a shot?
*/5

Waiting for Forever - watched 11/17/14
Category: Romance
This was weird. The "protagonist" was a stalker, then it went from creepy romance to there's a murder. Just not good. I do like the actors involved, but that is it.
*/5

Monday, November 17, 2014

Just Fab for the Holidays


Quinn got another super cute outfit from FabKids the other day. Will she wear it and let me take pictures? Of course not. I can get a picture of her doing a million other things, but not in the review outfit. Silly girl. But, I shall not be deterred! I gathered a few of the holiday clothes on FabKids and put together a few super cute outfits.

First up, some of the cutest dresses and skirts!

The black one is the one I thought Quinn would pick, especially since she has the pink version, but she went with the red one instead and it's super cute on her. I'll share a picture one of these days! Let me just tell you that the red dress has lace sleeves and the rest is velvet and, oh my goodness, it is some of the softest velvet ever. Super cute on Quinn, and honestly the cut of the dress would be super cute on just about anybody. I love it.


I'm also surprised she didn't choose either of these sparkly ones. She LOVES pink and the blue one reminds me of Elsa.

Another awesome thing is that FabKids has a HUGE selection of both tights and leggings since the holiday season is also the coldest (for most of us). There is also a rather large selection of shoes. I'm partial to these blue ones with a super cute bow.

Now, this brocade skirt might just be my absolute favorite. Quinn loves the metallic one, although she said she wants it "more pink".

For the super fashionista in your life, FabKids also offers a (faux) fur jacket and vest. How stinkin' adorable?




And, don't worry I'm almost done, but I just couldn't forget about the boys. It is hard to find little boy clothes that are just as cute as the clothes for little girls, I think. I obviously don't have a son, but I do have a nephew I occasionally shop for (and a nephew due in just two months!) so I don't shop as often as I do for Quinn, but when I do it's difficult! But FabKids has some super cute little boy clothes!

 

How great are these jackets??? If I thought my nephew would actually wear it, I'd totally get the red one. It's velvet!

These plaid shirts are just adorable and, what I consider, the staple of boys' fancy wear.

 
I love seeing little kids all fancied up for Thanksgiving and Christmas and holiday parties. I almost wish we were doing more so I could get Quinn fancied up even more, but I'm not sure she'd have it.

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.
TBD

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


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