Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year of Books:

via weheartit

I read 42 books this year! I'm not going to lie; I'm pretty proud of myself. But I didn't always do a great job of sharing them on here as I went. So here, are a few that never made it to this space, but that you should really look into reading if you get the time:


  1. An Assembly Such as This, Duty and Desire, & These Things Remain -- all by Pamela Aidan. This is the story of Pride and Prejudice told in three parts, all from the point of view of Mr. Darcy. If you love Pride and Prejudice as much as I do, then you simply must read these. They are written in a style similar to that of Jane Austen. And I thought they did a good job of getting in Darcy's head. 
  2. I Feel Bad About My Neck -- by Nora Ephron. I love Nora Ephron movies. Or so I thought. Turns out, after reading her memoir, I really just love Nora Ephron. She's funny in all the right places, and serious when it counts. This book actually made me sit down and right her a letter, which is my new thing, by the way: writing to authors of books I've enjoyed.
  3. Shopgirl -- by Steve Martin. Steve Martin continues to amaze me. Earlier this year I read his new book, An Object of Beauty and really enjoyed it. I loved learning about the world buying and selling fine art and was amazed to learn that Steve Martin is actually an expert in this field. So that led me to more of his work and that's how I stumbled upon this novel. It's short, it's good. I liked it. I know there's a movie but I haven't seen it yet. And he's in it, which I think it funny. How funny to star in the movie about the book you wrote.
  4. Little Women -- by Louisa May Alcott. I have read this book about 20 times in my life. Reading my favorite books over and over again it what I imagine eating comfort food must be like for some people. This is one of my very favorite books. It's absolutely wonderful. I get something different out of it each time. Like always, I loved the relationships. I longed to be one of the March sisters. And I especially loved Marmee -- how strong she was and how fiercely she loved her daughters. 
  5. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children -- by Ransom Riggs. This book has some of my very favorite elements in it: orphans, mystery, boarding schools. I wanted it to be terribly, horribly creepy. I think it was set up perfectly for that. But for me, it just never really got there. I felt it never really lived up to its potential. And yes, it's a very good story, very entertaining, it just wasn't creepy enough for me. I heard a rumor that it's being made into a movie though and that they're trying to secure Tim Burton as director. If that's the case, this may be one of those rare stories where the movie is actually better than the book. It could use Burton's touch.
  6. Beautiful Chaos --by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This is the third installment of the Beautiful Creatures series. It's a weird combination of witches, voodoo, southern history and legend, incubi, and high school. But it's interesting and although this wasn't my favorite in the series, it was good. If this seems like your kind of thing, give it a try. It's an easy read and the story is pretty decent. I'm eager to see how it ends.
  7. Wuthering Heights -- by Emily Bronte. I think I may have been a Bronte sister in another life. I just love them so. This was the second time I've read Wuthering Heights and though it's dark (which I love), there's just something about it that doesn't sit well with me. I can appreciate the story but I can't get behind Heathcliff. I read an article the other day that said something Heathcliff being the ultimate romantic hero and I'm sorry, but I have to disagree completely. I much prefer Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. But I prefer Charlotte Bronte to Emily in general. If you've never read this novel, I encourage you to attempt it at least. It truly is a wonderful novel, I just always find myself depressed at the end.
  8. The Invention of Hugo Cabret -- by Brian Selznick. I bought this book after reading a review about it from a children's book author. I was very curious to read it. And at the same time, I was very curious about the movie, Hugo, that I had been seeing previews for. It was only after I started flipping through the pages that I realized that Scorsese's movie is based on this book. It's 600+ pages of a really interesting story told through words and pictures. This is one of the only books I've ever seen that actually uses the illustrations to progress the story. It's almost like a graphic novel. But then, not. It's really cleverly done and I enjoyed reading it. And it only took me about 2 hours to read through the entire thing so do not be discouraged by it's size. 
  9. Jane -- by April Lindner. This a modern day telling of the story of Jane Eyre. It follows the plot line pretty closely and was a nice, easy read. It definitely had it's "yea right" moments and in no way lived up to the original (when does remake ever?) but I enjoyed reading it and if you like Jane Eyre, you probably will too.
  10. The Help -- by Kathryn Stockett. Good book. Interesting subject. I enjoyed the characters and even though I know the author has been criticized for the writing style, I think it adds to the story. Minnie is my favorite character. And after seeing the movie, I though they did a really fantastic job of sticking to the book. I think the casting was phenomenal as well. It's rare to find a movie that lives up to the book but I think this is one of the few that does. So read the book, and then definitely watch the movie because Emma Stone is in it and she is amazing. 
  11. Rebel Angels -- by Libba Bray. This is the second book of the Gemma Doyle trilogy. It's a weird story about a group of girls who stumble upon some kind of strange magic and end up being responsible for the fate of this mystical world. It's the classic battle of good vs. evil but I enjoyed it because, like many of the other stories I am drawn to, it involves orphans and boarding schools. It's just the right amount of fantasy for someone like me who is new to the genre. 
  12. Before I Go To Sleep -- by S.J. Watson. I read this for a book club that I'm in and found it to be really different than most things I would normally pick up but I'm glad I did. This is the story of a woman who wakes each day not remembering anything about her life. And then one day she realizes that her husband, the one person she is supposed to be able to trust, may be lying to her about the details of her  existence. It's kind of like that movie, 50 First Dates, but instead of everyone trying to help Drew Barrymore to remember her life, they're telling her lies to cover up a secret. It's suspenseful and thrilling and kept me up at night. 

For 2012, my goal is to read 56 books by the end of the year. I know it may be ambitious, but it averages out to a book a week. I think I can make that happen. And I've already got a handful of books lined up. So stay tuned.

A Year in Review:

Dear 2011,

Just wanted to drop you a quick line to say thanks for the last 365 days. I've enjoyed our time together much more than your predecessor, 2010. I appreciate the fun times you gave us, such as:

Getting crafty around the house, including this table we made for the dormer window:

Making a t shirt quilt out of my high school shirts:

Watching it snow like crazy:

Andrew running in the Little Rock Relay Marathon:

Celebrating the retirement of a good friend (and the man who officiated at our wedding):

Celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary (!):

Our new, super amazing bikes (and all the bike rides we went on):

Celebrating Andrew's 28th birthday (and my first homemade cheesecake):

Catching the last Harry Potter movie in theaters:

Our first and last trip to Las Vegas, NV:


Making Andrew's t shirt quilt:

That time I got plantar fasciitis: 


All of the brave new cooking we did:



These were all great memories but none of these are what I hope to look back and remember about 2011. What I want to stick with me are the quiet moments in between the big ones. Those moments when we're just us, together in the quiet, doing nothing and saying nothing. I want to remember how it feels to be me at this very moment in my life -- standing on the edge of my future, side-by-side with my best friend.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Goals:

via weheartit 
At the beginning of the year, I made a list of things to strive for. They were some pretty lofty goals. But I actually accomplished some of them:

  1. Get new bikes
  2. Go on a trip to somewhere new
  3. Read at least 30 books (by the time I finish my current book it will be 42 -- more on those later)
  4. Get into the CMP program at work
  5. Sew more 
  6. Buy more vinyl
  7. Grow shoe collection
  8. Wear straw hat and sunscreen to limit sun exposure
  9. Eat more raw foods

I'll be back this weekend to do a year in review. And to share some of my favorite reads of 2011.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Flash Mob:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I want to go to there:

I'd go anywhere as long as it was in this:

via the J.Crew Tumblr


Sunday, December 4, 2011