Friday, January 31, 2014

The Husband's Secret - Blogger Book Club

I read a book.
I started and finished a book.
It's been so long since I took the time to do that I wasn't sure I still knew how.
Good news - I do.

While we're on that subject, let's chat about Blogger Book Club's January 2014 book choice.
The Husband's Secret.

I want to start by saying I really and truly liked this book! I do recommend it and I do hope those of you who haven't read it decide to read it. It was a pretty quick read. Once I got into it I finished it that night. I read pretty fast, but still I think this is a quick read. Even slower readers would finish it in a weekend.

GoodReads Summary -
My Darling Cecilia
If you're reading this, then I've died . . .

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret - something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick achieved it all - she's an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia - or each other - but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband's devastating secret.
The Good - 
I loved the dialogue! I also loved the way this book was written. I hate using the term "witty" to describe something, because it feels so generic, but it was very witty! It made even the tough parts very relatable.
My favorite characters? The supporting cast! I didn't mind the 3 main women necessarily, but for some reason I found myself much more interested in many of the supporting characters.
I felt that in all 3 of the main character's stories the author did a good job of connecting them (especially later) by having all of them question their actions and the actions of those close to them. A big theme of the book is "What would you do?" and I think that question linked Cecilia, Tess, and Rachel more than almost anything else in the novel.
Other than the witty writing, my favorite things about this novel are the characters. I wouldn't have minded a liiiiittle bit more character development in some places, but that's because I've read books with amazing character development and I'm completely unable to please now.
I loved Rachel's storyline. Her grief felt real and leaped from the page and gripped me tight and she's really the story that pushed the storyline for me.

The Bad - 
First of all, I think my expectations were far too high. This is a best selling book and it made many, many lists. It was in People magazine and Entertainment Weekly and it was a New York Times bestseller. I know I had built it up in my head to be some huge book of our generation with some huge theme that would completely change my outlook on life. Not so much. So I was a little letdown by the whole thing, but again, I think this might be my own fault.
Now, I saw the "big twist" coming. In fact, most of the story was pretty predictable for me. Not necessarily predictable in a bad way, just predictable in the "my mouth was never hanging open" way.
Also, I did not get into this book immediately. It's written using 3 different character's viewpoints. Every chapter is written a different character's perspective. It was a smidge annoy at first, but I quickly got over that. The problem was that the author teased this letter and you knew if you had read the back cover of the book that this letter was going to be huge. The problem is that you don't find out what the letter says until halfway through the book, so until then I almost didn't care too much about anything else. Actually, I was only sucked in because of Chapter 3. In Chapter 3 you meet Rachel and holy moly, her story sucked me in and I have no idea why.
I did not like the Epilogue. At all. It actually annoyed me and was dangerously close to ruining the entire book for me. It felt so unnecessary and just so.. I can't think of a word to describe it. I was legitimately cranky while I read the Epilogue because it didn't need to be there at all. Honestly I wish I hadn't read that and I had just closed the book after the last chapter. It had basically suggested a ton of alternate endings and ahhh oh my goodness I can't even write about it because it annoys me so much. I just did not like the Epilogue. There you go.

The Undecided - 
The novel is metaphor heavy. From Pandora's Box to The Berlin Wall to Tupperware? I love a good metaphor! Seriously, I do! But I did feel like the author might have been pushing the metaphors on the reader a bit heavily. I prefer more of the subtle metaphor technique. So this is just a personal preference thing maybe?
Also, I'm not married. I know, news flash! I think that maybe when I do get married and maybe after I've been married a few years I should read this again (minus the stupid epilogue) and maybe then I'll be able to relate to some of the other themes in the book. I understood them now, of course, but I didn't really relate.

Final Thoughts - 
You will rarely hear me say this and I can't believe I'm about to, but I hope someone makes this book into a movie. For the first time ever, I think I would LOVE this movie, even though I only liked this book. I'm definitely a book over movie girl, but this book has the potential to be a fabulous movie. Oh, and if they ditched the Epilogue bullshit in the movie, it'd be even better. :)

Link up below and let me know! I know a lot of you are going to disagree with me, which makes me excited to read your reviews!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Now let's talk February's book choice.
I spent a long time, far too long, trying to figure out BBC's February book.
I was trying to go for either a love or romance story or something ironic about love and romance. Ya know? Being the month of love and all that.
I just could not find a book I really wanted to read that fit my criteria. On the plus side, I did figure out March and possibly April's book choices.
Anyway, then I had a huge chat with myself and decided it was time that I read a light, easy, funny book. The books I used to read and finish 3 or 4 in a week, every week.
Now I present to you February 2014's Blogger Book Club book choice...

The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she's gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor's nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy's athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly...

In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight...

I KNOW that a lot of you just checked out and you're not going to read February's book choice.
That's unfortunate, but I think it is perfect for February and the Month of Love.
Wink wink.
I warned you guys there were going to be changes. Welcome to the first glimpse.

We're linking up February's BBC book choice on Friday, February 28th.
Be there or be square.

The Best of Intentions

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Photo A Hour - Birthday Edition

Um, number one - HUGE thank you to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday yesterday! Big hugs to everyone because when I was reading my email last night and a tiny bit this morning I almost cried. I love this blogging thing.

B. I'm sharing with you guys a photo a hour from my day yesterday! On my birthday! Mostly pics, very few words. Oh and I'll be honest.. the times aren't exact. They're all within that hour, but yea. Go with it.

January 29th, 2014..
 5:15am - The worst part of the day.

 6:15am - Gym.
 7:15am - Blogging

 8:15am - Getting ready

9:15am - Birthday breakfast at The Village Deli with my parents. Mushroom and onion scramble. I also totally asked for some Hollandaise sauce on the side and it was delicious.

 10:15am - Working

 11:15am - Running errands with my boss lady. I was waiting in the car. I got bored.

 12:15pm - Bosslady took me to lunch. Three cheers for bosslady!

 1:15pm - Like I said, times were screwed up. We were technically still eating and getting some free pie to go, but we left right after this.

2:15pm - Working. Making labels and addressing a billion envelopes.

 3:15pm - Post Office.

 4:15pm - Working.

 5:15pm - Working.. ish.

 6:15pm - My baby brother took me out for my birthday dinner. I love this kid.

 7:15pm - I went to my parents house and they were watching Pitch Perfect. We're all a little obsessed.

8:15pm - Still all watching Pitch Perfect.

 9:15pm - Back to my apartment to open my presents.

 10:15pm - A birthday glass of wine and Chicago PD. My sister and I are obsessed with this new show!

11:15pm - I was asleep the minute I laid down.

My 24th Birthday came and went, just like that!
Now everyone should go creep on everyone else that linked up with Steph and Meg O. for A Photo A Hour!

Oh, and did anyone (besides my stepdad) notice that at the beginning of this blog post I started with "number one" and then moved onto "B"..

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

24 on my 24th.

This is my 200th blog post.

The best advice I've ever been given was "cope and adjust".
Ironically, I guess, I actually have very little respect for the woman who told me this.

I'm going to run a 5k this year. Period.

On my first day of high school I got up early, got ready, then watched Cool Runnings and ate Fruit Loops before I got on the bus. I don't think I'll ever forget that and I have no idea why.

I read this article on Sunday and now I'm completely paranoid when I'm sitting at the office.

My ultimate goal in life is to know a little about a lot. Just enough to make me dangerous.

I think birthdays are the most important day of the year for everyone. I'm a big supporter of birthdays. When someone passes away, what day do you take the time to remember them and their life? Their birthday. One whole day all about you. However, I care way more about everyone else's birthday than my own. Today is just another day for me.

My actions when no one is watching are the most important ones.

Today is also Oprah's birthday. I wanted nothing more than to be on the Oprah show on my 18th birthday. Spoiler Alert: That didn't happen.

This year I want to throw the word "busy" out of my vocabulary. Everyone is "busy", I'm not special. I want to make time for the people and things and activities that I want to have and do in my life.

I know that no one believes me, but these next 365 days are going to be magically huge.

I want to do something that takes a lot of bravery this year. I'm not very brave. I want to work on that.

I had one bad experience involving an oil change when I was 18 (bad as in it totaled my car). Now? I'm obsessive to the point of being incredibly annoying about my oil changes. My grandpa is so proud. No, seriously.

One thing I'm going to drill into my future daugther's/niece's head? Friends with benefits never actually leads to an actual boyfriend. Man, I wish I'd been taught that sooner.

This year I'm going to stop apologizing for being weird. Ya know what? I am weird. Ya know what else? Any time I say that someone always fires back "Oh my gosh, me too! I'm so weird!" So there you have it, we're all a bunch of weirdos. Time to wear it proudly.

Turns out thinking of 24 things to write down when I really want to do about a thousand other things is incredibly hard. I take comfort in knowing that most of you will just skim this list and probably won't even notice this one.

A Square peg that is the same size as a round hole is never going to fit. Ah, but a square peg that is slightly smaller than a round hole? Now you've got something..

In 4th grade we made these super elaborate science projects and I won Most Creative because mine looked the best. This is probably my greatest accomplishment and I don't want to brag, but I'm kind of known as the Poster Queen, because my shit always looks awesome. Again, not trying to brag... Except that I am. So.. just saying.

I'm glad to kiss 23 goodbye. 

When in doubt, be the nice person. 

My parents are not always wrong, but they're not always right either. They're human, not superheros. How strange to discover.

I before E except after C is the worst grammar rule I ever learned in Elementary school and I refuse to let my future kids learn it.

I listened to the Frozen soundtrack at the gym this morning. I may be turning 24, but I still pretend like I'm 5.

I do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Post About Toast... And Other Things You Want To Know

Today is a new day and I could not be more excited about it!
I successfully ate TWO pieces of toast last night. I even put cinnamon sugar on one piece. It was the most delicious piece of toast I've ever had in my life.
I'm also planning on eating some eggs for breakfast after this blog post. Things are moving in the right direction, people! So ready to kick this flu to the curb.

So because Sunday, my usual prep for the week day and yesterday, Monday, my back up prep for the week day were both such shit shows, I'm scrambling today to make this week NOT utter chaos.
Have I mentioned I cling to my lists like baby blankets?
Anyway, here are some things you need to know about the rest of this week..

Wednesday - My Birthday. Doesn't really matter to any of you, but matters a bunch to little 'ol me!

Thursday - Super fun little link-up with Steph and Meg O. A Photo An Hour! It's going to be so much fun! Here for more details and an example.

Friday - Blogger Book Club link-up! I know lots of you have been reading The Husband's Secret this month with me and I hope you all come back on Friday! I'll also be announcing February's BBC book!

Other than that.. I don't have much of anything else to discuss today. I have a pretty full week ahead for you guys and I'm working on the very first Blog Of The Day post. Happy day, happy day!

Tuesday Conversation Starters
  • Who are all of these people who "freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays"? What is leftover wine? 
  • Why did FX, the tv channel that shows American Horror Story bleep out every single potential curse word in Friends With Benefits last night, including the part where Jamie's mom asks if she's "Puerto Rican" because she keeps her bananas in the fridge. The changed it to "Key West". What? 
  • Who thought having the Superbowl in an outdoor stadium, in New Jersey, in February was a good plan?
  • Who else is pumped for the Olympics? I get obsessed with them while they're on, so this is me preparing you for that.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ferris Wheel Weekend

In honor of The Grammys last night I'm going to sum up my weekend in one song lyric. A little Brad Paisley..

"Like the Ferris Wheel goes around and around
Well the trouble with up is there's always a down.."

My weekend started with my 1st birthday celebration!

And it ended with about 15 hours of vomiting.
Good times, I tell ya. That flu had me like..
I even had to call off work yesterday and I missed my first home IU Men's Basketball game in 6 years. It was the weirdest thing to realize that and it depressed me just a little bit. Watching them on TV is so not the same.

Goals for the day?
1. Make it through the day.
2. Successfully eat a piece of toast.
Lofty goals, people.

Monday Conversation Starters
  • Why are The Grammys 3.5 hours long? Related: Why do they save the one dang thing I want to watch for the very end?
  • Who else turns into a P.I. slash internet stalker trying to figure out who T. Swift's songs are about? I don't even like Swifty, but I HAVE TO KNOW.
  • Why was I so into the Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar collab? I LOVED IT. Side Note: I just typed "Kendrink" and almost didn't change it.
  • I've over Lorde. Yea, I said it
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. The End. "It's human rights for everybody, there is no difference."

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bringing Back The Pits & The Peaks

It have been FOR.EV.ER. since I've done one of these bad boys! In fact, the last one I did was on March 1st last year. So like I said, it's been a hot minute.
It's been so long that this little link up is co-hosted by someone NEW now!
Allie is still around, being awesome and shit and now Jen has joined her!
Probably you already know these girls because I've mentioned them both on this here blog multiple, multiple times.
So, let's get started..

  • I had a brownie and a piece of cheese for dinner on Monday. Not diet approved.
  • Winter. Just.. everything.
  • IUBB lost and my main man Will Sheehey had to sit out from an ankle injury. This season is going to put me in the hospital for high blood pressure, I'm sure of it.
  • I hit the snooze button approximately 45 times this morning. I'm just barely, JUST BARELY exaggerating. 
  • I still haven't made my neighbor the cookies I promised him as a thank you for cleaning the snow off of my car every single morning. Gentleman of the Year. 
  • I went to breakfast on Monday with 1 friend who lives in St. Louis and was in town for the long weekend and 1 friend who I haven't seen in probably 9 months. She's getting married this Spring (destination wedding in Jamaica) and we talked wedding plans and she showed me her dress and invited me to her Bridal Shower and Reception when they get back home. Then she told me really nice things about our friendship and myself and I cried over my eggs. 
  • My new favorite baby boy! Shooter! AHHHHH, he's perfection.
  • Texting my dad during the entire IUBB game. Texting my aunt during Supernatural. Texting my sister during Chicago PD on Wed and The Vampire Diaries last night. When I have to watch things alone, I like having someone I can text during the whole thing. Especially when the texts back and forth make me laugh and laugh and laugh.
  • Speaking of TVD.. The episode last night. One of the best in a long, long time! Right up until the last 2 minutes.. I haven't decided if it ruined the episode or if it's going to be a good plot point. But right now I don't care because #Klaroline
  • All of the amazing comments and emails I got from yesterday's post! Seriously YOU GUYS.. I was really worried about putting myself out there and writing any of that and so many of you said you could relate and that it's what you needed to hear and UGH.. I was a pile of mush all night last night! I've been working on returning the private emails last night and this morning and I'll respond to the comments later this morning too! I promise. You guys.. I love ya!
  • That tonight begins my BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS! So excited!!! 

Oh and to wrap it all up, how about I give some things away with these pretty ladies?

Now don't you say I never gave you anything.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Five Reasons My Diets Always Fail

More often than not when I'm writing a blog post I figure things out about myself or about a problem I'm having. The things I've learned about myself this past year of blogging have been incredible, enlightening, and terrifying.
Next week I'm turning 24 and while I firmly believe that 23 was one of those not-so-good years for me, I also think I've grown a lot personally. I spent 23 learning about myself and really being honest with myself about who I am and who I want to be. There were many nights I worked myself into a blubbering mess and many nights I went to bed in a not-so-good head space. But, I also had many come to Jesus moments and many moments of personal growth.

Something that's been on my mind that last few months is my dieting. I sat down with myself recently (ish) and had a good and honest chat with myself.
"Self, why do my diets always fail?" Well..

Five reasons my diets always fail

1. Carbs. I like carbs. All the carbs, all the time. Mac-n-cheese is my favorite meal in the world. Pasta and Italian foods are second on that list, followed by rice and Mexican foods. Do you know what doesn't help you lost weight? Carbs. I have food issues, probably an addiction of some kind to my favorite carbs. It's a real problem when I'm trying to cut carbs, because suddenly I want nothing except mac-n-cheese or spaghetti or cheesy rice. Carbs, carbs, carbs.

2. I'm impatient. I don't think anyone in my life realizes how much I struggle with this. It got much worse when I graduated high school and went to college. Some people deal with anxiety or depression, I deal with my patience. I have all of the patience in the world when it's someone else. I can stay very calm, cool, and collected and handle anything with the grace of Princess Kate. I have no patience with myself. It's a very real problem that I very much deal with every single day. In regards to my diets or my weightloss, I know that things take time. It took time to put the weight on and it'll take time to get rid of it. It'll take time to completely change my lifestyle. I know this, but I'm impatient. When I don't see immediate results, I get frustrated. When I get frustrated, I give up.

3. Fail to plan, plan to fail. I'm a listmaker and a planner. I cling to those 2 things like gosh darn baby blankets. It's a huge reason why "be spontaneous" is always on my monthly goal lists, because it's something I need to work on. Weeks when I plan things out really well and plan out my workouts and meal plan and food prep - those are the best weeks. Because by Wednesday, I'm tired and over it. So if I don't have a plan and a meal ready or prepped, then I'm eating something not healthy.

4. I lie to myself. I don't come close to lying to anyone as much as I lie to myself. Again, something I'm working on, but it still happens. Usually in the form of excuses. When I miss an AM workout I'll tell myself that I'll workout later in the afternoon, but I know this is a lie. When I eat mac-n-cheese, I'll tell myself this is my cheat meal for the week. Lie.

5. The mental. 
I haven't been "skinny" since I was in 3rd grade. Looking back, I wasn't as over weight as I thought I was in my head. Gosh, it honestly makes me cry for the girl I was in junior high and high school. It is unreal how low my self esteem was regarding my body image. Oh the things I would tell my 14 year old self and my 17 year old self. The things I would tell her. I'm crying right now typing this.
I think the number one reason I always fail my "diets" is because I can't get past the mental block I've put in my head. Years and years of a poor body image and years and years of tearing myself down, more than anyone else ever did, has taken it's toll on me. I was/am my own worst critic. 
It's really hard to put it all into words for this blog, because it's something I'm just now realizing and discovering about myself. It's something I've been silently struggling with for so long that I just can't put it all into words just yet. And putting it all out there is not something I'm comfortable with, but good things happen outside of your comfort zone. So here we go.

So where does this leave me now?
I don't know.
But I'm working on it.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

He's So Fluffy, I'm Gonna Die!

My best friend has wanted a pug since we were in jr. high. She constantly talked about it and had pug calendars and a pug mug and a stuffed pug. She always said she'd eventually own a pug.
Finally last April she decided it was going to happen. So since last April getting her pug has been in the works. After lots of ups and downs..

Everyone, meet Shooter.

He's the most perfect little guy in all the land!
He also gets really angry at his reflection and barks at it and it's the most adorable bark ever!

I spent the whole night last night with my best friend, her boyfriend, and her family playing with Shooter, so my puppy fever is approximately through the roof!

It took us almost 2 hours to all agree on a name. Originally his name was Hollywood and they were going to keep that name, but at the last minute the breeder decided Hollywood was going to make a better show dog, so she flew Armani to them instead. Very stressful for everyone. After that stressful debacle they decided he needed a fresh new name.

Potential names were:
Gru. - "He's so fluffy I'm gonna die!"
Dobby - "Dobby love Harry Potter"
Abu - From Aladdin
MJ - For Michael Jordan
And about a thousand other ridiculous names, but when her boyfriend said "Shooter?" and she said "I like Shooter!" and then the little guy started running around like crazy and jumping up and down, it was a unanimous decision - Shooter was his name.

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