Friday, July 27, 2012

High Five for Friday!

After an extremely busy week, I am extra glad that it's finally Friday!
Linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk to share my highlights of the week:

There's a little fish pond outside of a restaurant right by our church.  My little one gets super excited to see the fish as soon as church is over.  It also gets him to sit quietly for the small feat for a 2 year old!

Family trip to the zoo!

Last Saturday my hubby and I celebrated our fifth anniversary.  

Badger lip balm...It has taken me months and months to find a lip balm or chapstick that doesn't have something that my son is allergic to in it.  Finally one that is safe for me to wear!

Our DIY light box.  This is an awesome idea I saw on a blog that I read religiously.  It is amazing how much more fun our light box makes our daily activities.  (Also amazing is how much longer it holds a toddler's attention!)  I'll be doing a post on this next week.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

"The Weird Sisters"

Review-- “The Weird Sisters” by Eleanor Brown


I love books.  I love books about books and I love books with characters that love books.  And the family at the center of “The Weird Sisters,” well, they love books, too.  While the Dad is a Shakespearean professor (hence his daughters all being named after characters in the Bard’s plays) and quotes Shakespeare for his part in just about any conversation, no one in the family is a book snob.  They read just about any book, without discrimination, mainly because it happens to be closest to them.  With the exception of the works of Shakespeare, we aren’t informed of a single title that any of the characters reads throughout the novel, and it seems to be because it doesn’t matter to them what they are reading, so long as they are reading something.

The original “weird sisters” hail from Macbeth, and here, at the center of the novel, we have our own “weird sisters,” who will explain to you, early on in the book, that “weird” to Shakespeare doesn’t mean anything close to what “weird” means to us.  For the first time since reaching independence and taking their own paths, the three sisters are all home together.  They’d tell anyone who asked that it was because their Mom has breast cancer, but the truth is that they each have their own reason for returning and staying.  We have Rose, locked into her sense of responsibility as the eldest daughter, refusing to leave out of the certainty that the family would fall apart without her.  But the truth is, something else is keeping here there.  And then there is Cordy, who clearly wants to be by her mother’s side although there is no denying that something else really forced her into giving up her nomadic lifestyle.  And finally, Bean, who for the first time not only can but must leave her carefully created life in New York.  Caring and dealing with their mother’s illness serves as a backdrop as the women each struggle to overcome the Shakespearean idea of what makes them “wyrd,” and instead realize that people can, in fact, change, and make a life for themselves rather than letting it happen to them.   

An interesting aspect to the novel is that it has a first person plural point of view, meaning it is actually narrated by all three sisters as one voice.  And while we learn, over the course of the novel, each individual character’s personal truth, we get the impression of all three sisters as one.  Interesting, because isn’t it true that sometimes our family see things in us; our true motivations, fears, and feelings, that we try to keep neatly wrapped and hidden away?  Your siblings will tell you the bottom line, point blank, which is that the collective voice of the sisters does for the readers in each circumstance.

Overall, the story is an interesting exploration of the complicated relationships of sisters and the family as a whole.  Truthfully, it didn’t suck me in and while I didn’t mind the characters, at times I had a hard time finding a reason to really be rooting for them.  I wanted it to work out; I just didn’t care all that much, or maybe I knew that, predictably, it would.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

30 with 30

It's Tuesday again, and I just barely managed to get my 3 new outfits in before getting the little guy down for his nap!

Here we go...
Dress:  Mossimo/Target
Sandals:  Target

Cardigan:  Forever 21
Belt:  H&M
Shoes:  Nine West

Top:  The Loft
Skirt:  H&M
Shoes:  Nine West

It's not to late to join in on the challenge!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

30 with 30: Week 4

The 30 with 30 challenge is in it's fourth week, although it's only Week 2 for me since I got a late start!
I love that this challenge is already pushing me to think of new ways to wear things I already have.  What it is NOT doing for me is making me think "I have so many clothes, I don't need to shop ever again." is at least making my desire to shop much more focused.  Instead of just shopping for a cute top and then figuring out something to wear it with, I'm more likely to look for something like a great belt that would give me several more outfit combinations.  Anyway, here are this weeks 3 looks...

Necklace:  Ebay
Cardigan/Skirt:  American Eagle
Sandals:  Steve Madden

Necklace:  Anthropologie
Top/Skirt:  American Eagle
Sandals:  Steve Madden

Necklace:  Ebay
Cardigan:  American Eagle

Want to give the 30 with 30 challenge a try?  Check it out here!  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: "The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Crossing the first title off of my "Summer Reading" list!  Definitely a good one.  Up next:  The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown.

The Language of Flowers centers around Victoria, a just emancipated eighteen year old that has been hardened by a lifetime of being passed around through the foster care system.  From the time of her abandonment, Victoria has had little experience with security, familial love and positive relationships.  In a sense, Victoria has almost always been “on her own” and this is just the first time she has no one directing her next movement.  She doesn’t have a family, a plan, hopes or dreams, but she does have her connection to flowers.  Homeless, she spends her days creating a garden in an untended section of a park until, driven by hunger and necessity, she uses her talent to secure a job with a local florist.  Here, Victoria’s boundaries are tested.  She is uncomfortable with opening up, gets ill at the slightest touch, and has no desire to be attached to anyone or anything permanent.  Anything that is, aside from her flowers.  And suddenly, in the form of a young man at a flower market, it all begins to change.  She is forced to consider a future, but also to face the secrets of her past.

The story opens on the day of Victoria’s emancipation, and alternates between momentous moments of her childhood and her current struggles to overcome her past, forgive herself, and learn to love.  Diffenbaugh’s history as a foster parent lends great authenticity to the characters and their complicated relationships.  I found her writing to be very real, and at times raw.  She doesn’t hold back on showing the good and the bad of her characters in order to win the reader’s approval of them.  This is especially true of Victoria.  You won’t always like her…in fact there were a few times when I was reading that I wanted to look away.  But, if you’re like me, you will always root for her.  I think it’s because underneath it all, we can sense that she’s doing her best with what she has…it’s just that what she has isn’t much. 

And then there are the flowers.  Flowers are to this book what New York is to Sex and the City.  The story would be impossible to tell without them.  Diffenbaugh is well versed in the use of flowers to communicate in Victorian times, which I found fascination.  From the beginning the flowers are critical in understanding who Victoria is.  Where Victoria doesn’t “get” people…or herself for that matter, she “gets” flowers.  They become her key to learning to communicate honestly, to understanding others, and to making new beginnings.

One additional note:  Vanessa Diffenbaugh co-founded the Camellia Network to support children “aging out” of the foster care system.  Check out her website…the statistics are staggering. 

Have you read The Language of Flowers?  What did you think? 

Friday, July 13, 2012

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday!

5 Highlights from my week:

1.  My silly toddler:  "Mommy!  Look at me!"  I can dump my food on the floor and balance the bowls on my feet!  

2.  An early high five for lunch with my bestie today!

3.  I woke up on Thursday and my extremely 1980's alarm clock told me it was 8:30.  Which meant for the first time in a week we got more than 4-5 hrs of sleep!

4.  My J.Crew-ish necklace came from ebay, rounding out my 30 items for the 30 with 30 challenge!

5.  Annie's Artisan Treats Kettle Corn.  I found this at Target.  So.  Delicious.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

30 with 30 Round 1

Not exactly week one of the 30 with 30 challenge, as I am starting a few weeks behind. Here are my first three outfits:
Dress:  Express
Belt:  Forever 21
Sandals: Steve Madden

 Dress:  Express
Necklace:  simplylivly @etsy
Wedges:  Target

Top:  Nordstrom Rack
Scarf:  Forever 21
Sandals:  Vince Camuto

Sorry for the horrible picture son broke my camera yesterday, so I had to make due with my phone for today!


Monday, July 9, 2012

30 with 30 Challenge

I'm so excited to start the 30 with 30 Challenge!  Basically, the challenge is to choose 30 items from your wardrobe to make 30 outfits from.  Since the point is to find new ways to use items you already have, I decided to try using a few things I haven't worn in awhile.

I know I am getting a late start, but can't wait to jump in!

Here are the 30 items I'll be using:
5 pairs of sandals
3 Necklaces:  American Eagle,
simplylivly on Etsy, Anthropologie
3 skirts: American Eagle, H&M,
Forever 21
6 tops
3 cardigans
1 scarf: Forever 21
2 belts

2 pairs of jeans: Express,
Seven for all Manking
Forever 21 shorts

Not pictured:  1 top, 1 necklace (in the mail!)


Friday, July 6, 2012

It's Friday!  My first link-up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog and Hollie at Hollie Takes Notes with some of the highlights of my week.
1.  Yes...this is a VHS.  I found it while packing (we are getting ready to move) and put it on for my son on a whim.  As it turned out, he LOVED this 15 minute 1980's version of Corduroy and was looking in our dryer all afternoon to see if Corduroy was in there.  Made me feel so nostalgic!

2.  My new nailcolor...Peach Daquiri.  It's a cheery pink/coral shade and I love it.  Even better...I earned enough Extra Care Bucks buying paper towels etc at CVS to make it free!

3.  I wrote in my journal this week for the first time in about two months.  I credit She Reads Truth for motivating me to open it during these busy summer months!

4.  Somewhere along the past two years I've kind of become a couponer.  I was excited to see this week that in six months, I have used the sales, coupons, and extra bucks at CVS to save just over $365!  Woo-hoo!

5.  I'm halfway through my first summer reading pick for the summer.  So far, I love it.  

What were the highlights of your week?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer Reading

A summer reading list is a beautiful thing for a bookworm like me.  I spent some time scrolling through my “To Read” list on Goodreads, and finally compiled my pile for the summer.  (That is, I think I have finally compiled a's so hard to choose.)  Here’s what I’ll be reading:

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Seating Arrangements  by Maggie Shipstead

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris

Grace by T. Greenwood

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

The Age of Miracles by Karen Walker

First up:  “The Language of Flowers,” mostly because I already have it.  I’ll be posting my reviews as I go.

Have you read any of my selections?  What are you reading this summer?