28 February 2013


Bidding adieu to February: I am so over this month and extremely happy to see it end. Especially the last couple of weeks. It just feels like if something could go wrong, it has and I am done. I am so looking forward to March especially because I have a BIG trip coming up. A week on a sandy beach with a fruity adult drink in my hand. Yes please!

Listening: I don't know what took me so long, but I am obsessed. OBSESSED with the TuneIn app on my iPhone. Seriously. How have I not always been using it. It gives me my morning news fix thanks to BBC World Service News. I'm able to listen to a little NPR and Diane Rehm when my boss recaps a fairly interesting topic. And all the music I can hope for from markets that actually play good stuff and don't keep Taylor Swift on constant repeat.

Watching: Every year after the Oscars, I go on a movie bender and watch all the nominated films I missed prior to the awards show. Thus far, my favorite has been Beasts of the Southern Wild. If you haven't watched this one, please do. It was incredible.

Reading: As per usual.....so many books, so little time! But thankfully I've been in a mood to read which has been great. I finished reading One Step Too Far last night (review to come soon!) and am trying to decided what to read next. It's going to either be Mania or Whistling Past the Graveyard, both of which I received from NetGalley for review.

Changing: Change seems to be in the air right now, especially around the blogosphere. I've been thinking a lot about my space here on the internet lately and what I want to do with it. There are things that are important to be. Things I want to write about. Things I want to share. But trying to figure out how to incorporate them has been a bit tricky. They aren't major changes, but little changing here and there that some might not even notice. And it's mostly on my end--how I approach what I do and don't post.

27 February 2013

Weekly Reads: Glitter, Buyer Beware & Copping To It

This week I was kind of all over the place with my reading selections, but that's how I like it! This week I read a book that was inspirational in an unconventional way. One that was pretty good and has some potential. And one that was a complete and utter disappointment.

How is that for variety!

Description via Goodreads: Glitter is about the female sexual experience, which contrary to what the media would have you believe, is not all bubble baths and chick flicks.
Women are constantly judged as slutty, or uptight, but the reality is somewhere in between those two, and sometimes, nowhere near either. We have secret shames and private desires and we all feel we are the only one.

We are good church-going girls with a fondness for the paddle, PTA moms who hire escorts, feminists who like to bottom in the bedroom, slutty virgins, bi-curious married laddies and women with a past. We are gay, straight, and undecided.

We are all over the map, and we are amazing.

Ok-honesty is the best policy right? Here it is. Read this one. Pick up a copy. Read the stories and support woman everywhere. Random "review" I know, but this is one of those books that as soon as I received a copy, I devoured it. Not because of the subject matter, but because it reminded me that I'm not alone. It reminded me that despite all the trappings of a small town and small town thinking, there is a bigger world out there and that it's good.....NORMAL to want/desire what I want/desire without feeling weird or guilty about it. Make sense? Meh.....just read the book. 

Buyer, Beware by Diane Vallere
Description via GoodreadsOut of work fashion expert Samantha Kidd is strapped, until the buyer of handbags for a hot new retailer turns up murdered. When Samantha is recruited for the job, it comes with a caveat: she’s expected to find some answers. The police name a suspect but Samantha's convinced the label doesn’t fit. With patent determination and a tote bag of tenacity, she turns to a sexy stranger for help. As the walls close around her like a snug satin lining, Samantha must get a handle on the suspects, or risk being caught in the killer’s clutches.

First things first. There were some major formatting and editing issues that I found to be quite distracting. It's hard to follow a story when there is an errant line (or two) of text that doesn't exactly fit the scene you are reading. My initial thought was that it deserved 2 stars because of the wonky text/typos/editing issues, but decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and go with 3 stars. Here is to hoping someone gives it another look over before it is released!

All that aside, the story was pretty entertaining. It is about Samantha Kidd, an unemployed designer retailer buyer who is caught up in a murder mystery that really did have me guessing "who did it!" until the end.

I liked Vallere's writing style, using the perspective of Samantha to tell the story so we learn the the facts of the case as she learns them. All the characters were pretty well developed and kept things interesting. This is the second book in the series (Designer Dirty Laundry preceded this one) and there were a couple times I wished I had read the first book, well first. It wasn't enough though to make me feel like I was missing anything--just bits and pieces at the beginning as to why Samantha was at the point of her life this book started at. Overall it was o.k. and I could definitely see this being a perfect summer reading series.

Copping To It by Ava Meyers
Description via GoodreadsRespected journalist Claire Fullerton fantasizes about being a bad girl, but she also fears that revealing her dark fantasies will open her up to being hurt. 

When undercover cop Ty Williamson enters her life, the intense passion she feels for him scares her. Even though Claire is tempted to reveal the vixen inside her, she decides to play it safe and walk away, when walking away is the last thing she wants to do. Months later, Claire is captured by a notorious gang of bikers, the Demon Guardians, the same gang Ty has infiltrated. 

Ty and his partner, Luke, have managed to earn the trust of the gang they are trying to shut down. When a senior gang member orders Ty to prove his loyalty by having sex with Claire, all he can think about is getting her to safety - until he sees the desire burning in her eyes. 

Reunited with the woman he's been unable to forget, Ty becomes determined to bind Claire to him. He'll prove he wants all of her, the good with the bad. In fact, the badder she is, the better they'll be - together.

Are. You. Kidding. Me? I am by no means a prude (despite what my friends might think) but for crying out loud. If you're going to write a short story that is essentially just about sex, then go with it! Don't try to dress it up with some fancy schmancy description that has NOTHING to do with the "story" except telling the reader where it takes place.  Seriously, the description given on Goodreads---don't pay attention to it. There is no talk about the gang, or how/why Ty the undercover cop joined the gang or even what makes Claire Fullerton a "respected journalist".  Really all this is, is a sexual encounter that just keeps going and going and going. If you want to read something that is straight up sexy time (and don't mind a little m/m/f action) then have at it! There is plenty to share.

21 February 2013

The Project that Wasn't

Do ya'll ever have those days where nothing goes quite like it is supposed to?

That is how today went which kind of makes it the perfect day to just admit failure. Defeat if you will in my attempt at completing my Daily Square Project.

Believe me when I say I tried and boy did I try but it just wasn't happening. The more I learn about crocheting and discovering new patterns and projects I want to try, the project just became too much. It was turning into a burden rather than fun so I'm ditching it. And I'm not feeling the least bit bad about it.

I'll eventually pick up where I left off with my moms afghan and will also work on a granny square blanket for myself, but for now now if I don't have to make another granny square for a bit I'll be quite happy.

And that brings us to the next project of failure.....my 365 Days project that I have been quietly completing over on Flickr. I think I hate this project even more than the granny square project. I don't get it. I completed two non-self portrait projects back to back, 2009 and 2010 and LOVED IT. Ok so not like every single minute of it, but didn't HATE it enough to bail. This time though, just like the last two....it's not going to happen. I'm done. Tossing in the towel. Kicking it to the curb because let's be honest, life is too short to be doing something you don't want to do, even if it's as trivial as a photo a day project of my face. I have however been toying around with starting a non-self portrait project to help aquatint myself with my new camera but that is still undecided as of now. If I do decide to do it, my OCD won't let me start until March 1 so I have a few days decide.

So that's where I'm at. Embracing a shitty day to its fullest.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a bottle of my favorite wine and a movie calling my name.

20 February 2013

Weekly Reads: Beautiful Creatures & Mixed Up Fairytales

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia: I was really impressed with this book. YA fiction seems to be flooded with supernatural characters and story lines right now, so they all end up feeling like the same story told over and over. This one really stood out though. The writing was fantastic--as much as I wanted to speed through it to the end to find out what happens, the way it was written naturally slowed you down. It was also a welcome change for a story/book to be written from the perspective of the hero and not the heroine. There were parts of the book that were funny, some that were sad (o.k......really really sad--nothing like sitting in bed at 3am sobbing because of a book), some that were frustrating and everything in between. This is definitely a book I would recommend and a series I can't wait to finish reading!

On a side note: while I have not seen the movie yet, whoever decided to cast Jeremy Irons as Macon Ravonwood was a bloody genius. It almost felt like this character was written with him in mind.

I love reading alternative versions of fairytales and the idea that maybe things weren't quite so cheery as Disney portrayed things.

The Grimm Diaries Prequels Vol 1-6 by Cameron Jace: I love reading alternative versions of fairy tales. One of my favorite books that I read last year was Brom's take on Peter Pan in his book The Child Thief so when this set of novellas showed up in not only my recommendations from Amazon, but also Goodreads I knew I had to check them out. Each prequel is a retelling of a one of the Brother's Grimm's fairy tales that we are all familiar with, with a darker twist. It was a really quick read and a great way to get ready for the full series of books.

Her Mad Hatter by Marie Hall: I don't know about this one. I gave it three stars just because. It was a quick read but I felt like it could have had some real potential had the author stuck with it a little longer. The characters, especially The Hatter could have had a really interesting backstory had the author taken the time to really develop the story. How did he get to Wonderland? Why was he Mad? There are a couple more stories in this series, which I will most likely end up reading  But they will be reserved for an afternoon when I can't find anything else to hold my interest and I need something quick and easy to read.

18 February 2013

Link Up: The No Stress Book Club

I love books.

I love link-ups. 

And I love Stephanie and her blog Bassability (and you should, too!) so joining her link-up was pretty much a no brainer for me.

The details:
Write a post answering this week's question on your blog.
Post the link over on Bassabilty
Grab a button to share!
That's all there is too it. No stress! 

As much as I love reading now, that didn't always used to be the case. Growing up I had a heck of a time keeping up with reading assignments at school and was one of those kids tripping over every other word when they were asked to read out loud. It wasn't until I was 12 or 13 that I finally discovered I loved to read, no matter how long it took me to get through a book. I told myself it was just my way of savoring each of the words as they rolled across the pages. 

When I was 17 though I "discovered" the book that would quickly become my favorite, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I still remember the day I bought my first copy of it: I had traveled to East Lansing with a school group for an event at Michigan State University. We had stopped at a restaurant at a stripmall for lunch and I wandered into the Barnes and Nobles next door. The book was sitting on one of the tables next to the front door and I remember thinking there was no way, no way I'd be able to fit in reading a book of that length with my schoolwork, sports, etc. But I bought it anyway and started reading it on the bus ride home. I finished it in only four or five days.

To this day, I adore this book. It was the first book I had ever read (for fun or for assigned reading) where I connected with the character. I felt like I could have been Jane and Jane could have been me. I loved the strength that comes through from Jane and even though it sounds ridiculously cheesy, I loved that in this story the love she shares with Rochester really does conquer all-in fact I still do. For me, this is the best love story of all time.

My favorite passage from the book is as follows (three cheers for Google so I didn't have to type this up on my own, although for you dear readers, I would have gladly done so if needed):

"I tell you I must go!" I retorted, roused to something like passion. "Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton?--a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!--I have as much soul as you,--and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh;--it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal,--as we are!"

Bassability No Stress Book Club

Music Monday: Katie Herzig

Happy Monday everyone!

Hey Na Na

17 February 2013

Sunday Confessions

Lazy Day: I do not plan on getting out of my pj's today except to maybe shower before putting on a clean pair to spend some time with my books reading the day away.

Hair Disaster: Why does shortish hair have to be so damn hard to style? The other day a fellow blogger who has a similar hair cut/style as mine posted a ridiculously easy tutorial on curling your hair using a flat iron. Seemed simple enough. Yeah.....not so much. Instead of messy curls I ended up with a head full of frizz. But I shan't be deterred! I'll likely fry my hair to bits trying, but I will end up with curls someday. 

Vacation: I need my vacation to get here, like yesterday. I just need a break from a lot of things and even a lot of people. I need some me time on a beach with a slushy adult drink in my hand reading or napping or watching hunky beach boys do their thing. 

16 February 2013

F. A. T.

I'm usually not one to throw up any kind of disclaimer with my posts, but this one kind of feels like it needs one. Not because of anything bad. I respect my readers enough to keep my language in check (seriously, I have a mouth like a sailor--I don't just put a nickle or a dime in the swear jar at work, oh no, it's dollars and quarters). This gets a disclaimer because it was really hard to write and at times a little off course, but it was important for me to get as much out of me as possible with as little editing as possible. At times it might seem off topic and not make much sense, but as I've said before, that is kind of how my brain works.  

I am a huge fan of words (which is why I write---obviously!) but an even bigger fan of not letting them get to me. Because honestly, they can't do anything. They are just letters strung together into a coherent sound or noise we can all understand.


Over the years I've been called crazy, obnoxious, annoying. a whore, slut and bitch, heartless, mean, ugly, disgusting, a drama queen (side note--of all the words or terms used to describe me, this is the one my friends and I find quite entertaining and most of them have asked if the people who have said this about me have actually spent time with me), worthless, dumb.....I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Most of the time I'm pretty good at letting them roll off me. A friend once told me "you just have to be like teflon and let things slide right off you". I've carried that advice around with me for many many years and it works. Cheesy, but hearing those words in my head remind me that it doesn't really matter what they say. I know who I am and what I am about. I know my truth. And if someone can't (or won't) see that, it's not my issue.

But there is one word. One little adjective I can't shake. One word made of three relatively innocent letters that when put together can bring me to tears almost each and every time I hear it pass between someones lips......

Fat. Fat. Fat. Fat. Fat.

I hate it. But you know what I hate even more than the word itself? I hate that I let it get to me.

The other words, while they may initially sting, are a little easier to take--easier to deflect. Why? Because like I said. I know who I am. And I know they aren't true. O.k. so maybe I can be a little bitchy sometimes, but I digress.

But fat.....that's a whole other ballgame. That can be measured by my weight. What size dress I wear. Or by my pant size or anytime you compare me with the Hollywood standard, I am fat (for the record, that is the first time I have written that in an sentence, it's a little terrifying). It can be pointed out when my hips are just a little to wide for a slim cut pant or a top is cut scandalously low for my large breasts. It doesn't matter that I'm learning to live in the body I've been given or that there are days when I look in the mirror and think "Dang....I'm lookin' pretty good!" when that word is hanging above my head like a dark cloud.

Me and the dress!
Last week I wrote about Five Things I was going to do to make myself happy. And one of those things was to "wear bright colors" which really translates into "wear something outside of your comfort zone". So this week I did. I put on a dress that was two sized smaller than I am used to wearing. And it was all stripes. Black and white stripes. Lots and lots of stripes. Once I got used to the fact that I wasn't wearing something baggy and that it wasn't hiding anything, I loved it. I honestly loved the way it fit but more importantly I loved the way I felt in it. As I stood in front of the mirror looking at me looking back at myself, I was reminded how good it feels to be me. Not some preconceived notion of how I think I should be, but just myself. I remembered how refreshing it was to be at peace with not only myself but also my body that was made especially for me, even if others consider it (it being my body, not me) fat.

I wonder sometimes if I'll ever be able to see or hear the word fat and not cringe. I wonder sometimes if it holds too much negativity and hatred for myself to ever really be free of it. I do hope that someday it will just become another word. Or will in fact become a word that I am able to embrace as just another in the long list of adjectives that I can use to describe myself without all the negative energy tacked onto it.

Until then, F.A.T. will just be another acronym for all the other beautiful words out there to describe myself and others: fabulous, artistic  tender, friendly, amazing, tenacious, fierce, affectionate, terrific, funny, attentive, thoughtful, faithful, altruistic, tolerant, foxy, awesome, talented, fantastic, alluring, trustworthy, free, astounding, truthful.

15 February 2013


I'm just going to go ahead and say it....I'm ready to be done with winter, not matter how pretty it is outside right now. We've had the  most bizarre weather this year and it's really starting to mess with my head. Thankfully thought, there are only about 30 days until I board a plane to the sunny Dominican Republic for a friends wedding and little rest and relaxation!

Reading: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia. I confess I hadn't heard of this until I saw a preview for the movie which opened last night. So far I'm diggin' it. Really like the style of writing (just enough sarcasm thrown in for good measure  and as a friend said last night who is also reading this one, it moves at a pretty good pace for a YA novel.

Writing: I've been writing a lot lately. Or should I say writing about ideas of things I want to write about. Some is blog bound. Some is fiction. Some is strictly on the down low. And there is even some poetry thrown in there for good measure!

Hooking: I am working on my final "request" for someone and get to start working on something for myself! I picked up some chunky cotton yarn tonight and have big plans for a super warm and comfy hat for myself.

Researching: I've been putting in some serious time researching the possibility of going back to school for something somewhat outside of the realm of my current career path. The whole idea of ith is slightly terrifying. O.k. it's more than slightly terrifying. It is terrifying. One of my biggest "hurdles" at the present time is location, so I'm looking at online options which is pretty limited. This may just be a pipe dream, but since I wouldn't really be able to start until summer semester anyway, I've got some time to really think it over and figure out what will work best for me.

13 February 2013

Weekly Reads: Exiled & More!

Ok fine.....I admit it. Gosh darn it I love this series. I don't know why. It's completely ridiculous. The plot lines generally leave me scratching my head trying to figure out why such a thing would happen and some of the characters are equally as puzzling. But I still love it!

Exiled (by Evangeline Anderson) is the 7th book in the series and apparently there is no end in sight for this group of aliens (yes, ALIENS, big hunky aliens). 

Book Description via Goodreads: Lissa is madly in love with Saber and it seems he returns her feelings but she has a problem. She and the man of her dreams both come from the same clan of the Touch Kindred. By the archaic laws of their people, they are too closely related to be bonded. Which means that even though there is no blood tie between them, they are doomed to remain apart.

That pretty much sums up the book except for the part where Lissa and Saber have to go to another planet to track down a scroll to save the galaxy, but that's just a minor detail.

As I said last week, I've also been reading Starvation Lake and A Cold Day for Murder, but sadly I've made very little progress.

I also started reading Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia this week. I hadn't thought about reading the book (or the series) until I saw the preview for the movie, which I will absolutely be seeing. Seriously. Anything that includes Jeremy Irons is a must see on my list!

11 February 2013

Music Monday: Alabama Shakes

Love. Love. Love.

How fun was it to see Brittany Howard last night on the Grammys during the tribute to Levon Helm.

Hold On

08 February 2013

Five Things

Back in December, Jes over at The Militant Baker posted about a series she wanted to start called "This One Thing I Really Love About my Body" and was looking for submissions.

I loved the idea from the first moment I read about it. I mean seriously....a series of thought from ladies about what we LOVE about our bodies, beautiful! An amazing exercise in focusing on the positives without any of the "I love this but it would be better if I could change that". And for me putting it down on paper (virtual or real) to share with others made it feel like it wasn't some empty promise or statement I was making to myself. It felt a little more substantial. Like I'm not just saying it to say it, but saying it because I meant it (not that I didn't mean it before, but you know.....accountability is always nice).

So I sat down to write my submission and I stared a the blank notebook sitting in front of me. I picked up my pen. Stared a little bit more. Doodled in the margins. Thought about it. Stared some more. Rolled the idea around in my head. Wasted some time on Pinterest and Ravelry. Thought about it. Scanned myself from head to toe.

Then I lost it. Full on sobbing and crying--the ugly, face scrunched up and red, snot magically appearing out of nowhere and mascara forming the most awesome tear induced raccoon eyes anyone has ever seen. I cried until it hurt because loving any part of myself at that time was the furthest thing from the truth. And even thinking about trying to find something I loved.....heck, even liked about myself made me feel like a fraud so I set the pen and notebook aside and walked away.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago.......

Rachele over at The Nearsighted Owl posted about an ecourse she was putting together which was kind of perfect for how I've been feeling. A course to get me back on track to not only getting back to who I am, but to feel good about who I am. I immediately signed myself up (ok.....so I signed up twice because my computer was being really wonky) and set to work on the first assignment:

Write down 5 things that you are going to do that make you happy

Wear Bright Colors: My wardrobe is packed full of black, black and more black which is a holdover from lessons on fashion I received growing up. Black is sliming. Everyone can wear black. Once you are larger than a certain size you want to shy away from bright, bold colors because you wouldn't want to draw attention to yourself. Riiiiiiiiight.....it's time to toss those "rules" out the door and which involves picking up a sassy little yellow dress I tried on last weekend.

Dance Like No One Is Watching: Have you every dance and not smiled or laughed? No, didn't think so. I need to do more of this. 

Take Myself To The Movie: a.k.a. date night with myself. 

Create and Write More for Myself: It's time to stop worrying about whether or not people like what I have to say or what I do or blah blah blah. I need to start working on some more things just for me. 

Read More Ridiculous Books: My reading list is full of really heavy books. I need to make sure I threw is some a lot more books that don't require a lot of thinking on the part of the reader. Reading should be fun! I need to add more fun into that pile. 

06 February 2013

Weekly Reads: Current Selections

First I have to share with you bit of writing my friend Micah shared with me: Date a Girl Who Reads. It is pretty spot on. 

As for my reading this week, it's not really going well. 


Because he worst part about finishing a book you really liked (other than it ended), is trying to find the next book to read that you equally enjoy. On this, I am currently failing. 

More times than not I have at least two books that I am reading, one of which I actually really like. This time around, I'm reading three books, none of which have really grabbed hold of my attention.

Starvation Lake by Brian Gruley: I really want to like this book. I really do, but there is something about it that is holding me back. 

Book Descritption via AmazonIn the dead of a Michigan winter, pieces of a snowmobile wash up near the crumbling, small town of Starvation Lake -- the same snowmobile that went down with Starvation's legendary hockey coach years earlier. But everybody knows Coach Blackburn's accident happened five miles away on a different lake. As rumors buzz about mysterious underground tunnels, the evidence from the snowmobile says one thing: murder.

Gus Carpenter, editor of the local newspaper, has recently returned to Starvation after a failed attempt to make it big at the Detroit Times. In his youth, Gus was the goalie who let a state championship get away, crushing Coach's dreams and earning the town's enmity. Now he's investigating the murder of his former coach. But even more unsettling to Gus are the holes in the town's past and the gnawing suspicion that those holes may conceal some dark and disturbing secrets secrets that some of the people closest to him may have killed to keep.

Sounds good, right! So far not so great. I'm about halfway through and struggling to finish. It's slow moving, tedious and extremely frustrating. It's taken almost 150 pages to actually get to the heart of the story (which is where I am now) so I'm hoping things will start moving along. 

Admittedly, I just started this one the other day but so far I'm really enjoying it. It's been nice to read a book centered around a strong female character. I have a feeling this is not only going to be a book I really enjoy reading, but an entire series. 

Book Description via GoodreadsKate Shugak returns to her roots in the far Alaskan north, after leaving the Anchorage D.A.'s office. Her deductive powers are definitely needed when a ranger disappears. Looking for clues among the Aleutian pipeliners, she begins to realize the fine line between lies and loyalties--between justice served and cold murder.

I'm only reading this one because I've read the previous 6, all of which have become increasingly ridiculous. Not that the fits ones weren't, it is just that now there are all sorts of subplots and extraneous characters to keep track of. Thankfully though, it's a book that you can kind of get lost in and read the afternoon away.

Book Description via GoodreadsLissa is madly in love with Saber and it seems he returns her feelings but she has a problem. She and the man of her dreams both come from the same clan of the Touch Kindred. By the archaic laws of their people, they are too closely related to be bonded. Which means that even though there is no blood tie between them, they are doomed to remain apart.

Anyone else reading anything good this week?

04 February 2013

Music Monday: Silver Linings Playbook

Yesterday a couple of friends and I headed out to see a Silver Linings Playbook which has been on my "must see" list since I first heard about it back in November.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around how I felt about the movie. Don't get my wrong....it was really, really good. It's just that of it hit a little too close to home (o.k. a lot too close to home). But regardless of that, I did love the soundtrack. The songs that were chosen were a perfect accompaniment to the story.

This week I thought I'd share some of my favorites from the movie!

Alt J - Buffalo

Jessie J - Silver Lining

Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash - Girl from the North Country

Ambrosia Parsley & Elegant Too - Goodnight Moon

Thanks for reading!

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