Friday, April 30, 2010

April Book Tally

Except The Queen by Jane Yolen & Midori Snyders
Confessions of A Little Black Gown by Elizabeth Boyle
Vampire Taxonomy by Meredith Woerner
The Beach House By Jane Green 
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Five books this month. As you can see from my library loots, I've been slowing down on the number of books I get from the library. I've been getting less books so I can actually read what I bring home. It's a more intentional approach and it's working. I haven't relooted yet. 
I read one off my Fill In The Gaps list bring my total this far to 18. 
And my total read for the year is at 25.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sorry, This Post Isn't Perfect

Ever been in a job interview and they ask you what your weakness is? I usually say perfection. I won't stop til the job is done perfectly. It's a half truth though. I use perfection to excuse my laziness, insecurity and procrastination. If I cannot do it perfectly it ain't worth my time to do it all.
If see a recipe that I'd like to try, I save it with the expectation I'll try it when circumstances are perfect. Only when I have all the ingredients, plenty of time, and the moon is in the correct house, can I attempt to make that perfect meal. But how often do I hit something out the park on my first attempt? Rarely, but I expect to every time.
When I was a kid, my dad would ask me to try something-soccer, softball, camping. But nope, if I knew I'd fail then forget it. I don't even want to attempt something if failure is even a possibility. I've left numerous project half done because I got tired failing to understand how to needlepoint, bead lampshades, write a good end to a story. While my dad was encouraging me to try something new and maybe fail in the process, my mom was on the other said saying "You aren't good enough, don't bother". I believe the negative and question the positive! Riding myself of her negative voice is a lifelong journey!
When I think of all the things I didn't try cause I was too busy feeling not good enough or afraid of failing, it makes me mad. I missed real honest experiences that might have been fun even if I crashed and burned. Ever had someone over and apologized for the lack of perfection in your home?  I'm sorry my house isn't perfectly organized. I'm sorry I didn't dust the top of the cabinets before you arrived. I'm sorry I didn't make a gourmet meal. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I say sorry way more often than I should. why should I apologize for who I am? I wish I could shake off the expectation (all mine, btw) of perfection.
Now the perfect way to end this post would be to resolve to stop being perfection. To stop living in that fear of not being perfect, but that would be too perfect. Instead I'm going to ask you to encourage yourselves (if you share my problem) and others to lay down the perfect expectation for an afternoon, a day and just be real with each other. Once I get comfortable with being real (letting my warts hang out) maybe I feel ok with failing. Because maybe after a few hundreds failures, I'll feel right with myself.
Since this post was devoid of pictures, I'll share this awesome video my gorgeous husband sent me. I inspire to be like these ladies and make peace with it!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
 Another one off my Fill In The Gaps list. The Sun Also Rises by Hemmingway.
I finished Confessions of A Little Black Gown and Vampire Taxonomy. Both really cute, fun reads. Vampire Taxonomy gave me a great list of other vampire books and movies that I've missed. Can't wait to read more vamp books!
I did a review of The Beach House on the Fill In The Gaps blog too.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

It was a beautiful weekend in the PNW. I took the opportunity to take some pictures of the pretty flowers growing in our patio area. Planted courtesy of the previous tenants.

There's also an azalea bush out there too. I can't wait for that to start blooming. Now to get some patio furniture so we can enjoy it!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Wok Winner!

I won this beautiful wok from Sharon at The Culinary Adventures of A New Wife:
I can't wait to use it. Any suggestions for my first recipe in my new wok?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bathroom Remodel

Over the weekend, I went over to Dad's to help him with some yard work. While I was there we started talking about his main bathroom. He's been wanting to remodel it for a while. Dad's the DIY type and has all the new fixtures (sink, cabinets, tub) but he lacks the strength to do it. Since I tend to be over zealous, I offered to help gut and remodel the bathroom. Yeah I know next to nothing about plumbing. I think I've seen The Old House a few too many times! But I'm fascinated with the idea of learning and creating something.Here are some pictures to show you what I'd love to do with his bathroom:
If I do go through it with, Dad will be without water for a few days. So he'd have to stay with us or at a hotel til it was all done. Kind of scary. I'd really like to try my hand at remodeling but it's a big commitment. Think I am over my head?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Ever since I heard that Glee would be doing an all Madonna episode, I have been waiting for tonight. I know what songs they'll sing but I wanted to do a post of my 10 favorite Madonna songs in honor of tonight's Glee episode.


Don't Cry for Me Argentina

Beautiful Stranger

Material Girl

4 Minutes

Hung Up

Express Yourself

Crazy For You

Don't Tell Me

I'll Remember

Ray Of Light

What's your favorite Madonna song?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thoughts on Except The Queen by Jane Yolen & Midori Snyders

Sisters Serena and Meteora were once proud members of the high court of the Fairy Queen- until they played a prank that angered her highness. Separated and banished to the mortal realm of Earth, they must find a way to survive in a strange world in which they have no power. But there is more to their new home than they first suspect...

A sympathetic Meteora bonds with a troubled young girl with an ornate tattoo on her neck. Meteora recognizes it as a magic symbol that will surely bring danger down on them all. Serena, meanwhile, takes in a tortured homeless boy whose mind is plagued by dark visions. The signs point to a rising power that threatens to tear asunder both fairy and human worlds.

And the sisters realize that perhaps the queen cast them from their homes not out of anger or spite- but because they were the only ones who could do what must be done...

 I saw this on The Happily Ever After... and immediately put it on my library queue. It sounded that good. And it did not disappoint.
Serena and Meterora were exiled from fairyland. Separated, they have to learn how to live in the mortal world. They each meet interesting characters (changelings, other banished fey, sympathetic humans) that help them along the way, teach them the ways of the human world. I really liked the different characters plus plenty of dark fairies. The story twists and winds through a wonderful world.
Yolen and Snyders do a good job of fleshing out the sisters and creating a magical world around them (especially for Meterora). As fey, the sisters were young but as humans they are old. I loved the contrast in their minds about how old they were. The aches and creaks they had no idea how to handle. Imagine being young for hundreds of years to wake up in your 70's. If that won't mess you up, nothing will. Then add on top that you need to learn to be human! There are some great laughs especially about the post office and some magic brownies! I highly recommend Except The Queen. Also reviewed by The Book Smugglers, Charlotte's Library, and The Spindle's End.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
 Slowly growing my pile of books to read.  First Luxe for my Fill In The Gaps Challenge. I got it once before but never got to read it. I hope to read it this time around. I spotted Vampire Taxonomy on the library shelf and thought it looked like a silly quick read. Plus it's been while since I read a book with or about vampires. I'm going through withdrawals :)
What did you get this week?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pretty Shoes

I haven't been out shopping that much lately. First I haven't had a lot of time to head to the stores and second I haven't had a ton of money spend on things I don't need. But lately I've been looking at shoes. I've got a craving for cute shoes:

I think I can justify a little splurge but which one?

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I usually leave Zumba singing the songs in my head. I thought I'd share my favorites. If you've never see Zumba before, most of the dance steps are similar to what we do in my class.

I have a hard time not doing my own thing during this song:

And this is my current favorite song. The Wednesday teacher always plays this. It makes me so happy!

Zumba is so much fun. It hardly seems like a workout.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
 I've been having a bad reading streak. The last few books haven't been that fantastic. And it's been making a little sad. So I went over my Fill In The Gaps list and my To Be Read pile and found 2 books that hopefully will get my reading mojo back.
First up is The Beach House by Jane Green off my Fill In The Gaps list. I heard about Predictably Irrational from ProBlogger on twitter. He mentioned it was the best book he read recently. I decided to give it a try. Then off of my tbr list, I got Confessions of A Little Black Gown which I blame The Book girl of mur-y Castell for.
I posted my "review" of the Marquis De Sade books on the Fill In The Gaps blog.  Not what I expected at all. I actually quit reading them since I got so bored.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Review-Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

From Goodreads:
Toby Daye-a half-human, half-fae changeling-has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world had other ideas...

Now her liege, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills, has asked Toby to go to the Country of Tamed Lightening to make sure all is well with his niece, Countess January O'Leary. It seems like a simple enough assignment-until Toby discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, and that if the killer isn't stopped, January may be the next victim.

I really enjoyed Rosemary and Rue and was very excited to see the second October Daye book out. But this one wasn't as good. October is sent to Tamed Lightening to check on her king's niece. But strange things are going in Tamed Lightening and October just gets herself into the middle of a murder mystery.
I like October. She's a smart cookie. I like Tybalt, The King of Cats. He's definitely a gray area character. He could help or he could harm October's investigation. I like to see what he does. But I was uninterested in the inhabitants of Tamed Lightening. They were a shady bunch to start and I was rooting for every single one of them to be the killer. I did like the ending and to discover how the victims had been killed. But I was racing to end without really caring what was going on. Hope the next one is better. Other reviews can be found on Darkly Reading, The Discriminating Fangirl, and Fantasy Cafe.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Progress Made, Goal Met

About 2 months ago I made some health and fitness goals. I'm happy to announce I met my first goal-Lose one pant size by July. I tried on a pair of jeans one size smaller this weekend and discovered they fit. Yeah! So my new goal is to lose another pant size by July.
With the exception of two weeks, I've been to at least one Zumba class a week, but usually two. I'd love to add another one, but it's been difficult lining one up with my schedule. I'm going to try to add one on Mondays but I'm usually in a horrible mood on Mondays and rather come home and sack out on the couch. But Mondays are my best option and hopefully Zumba will be something I can look forward to at the end of a long day.
I'm doing better with my fruit and veggie intake. I'm still not hitting 6 servings but I am closer to 4 servings. I add fruit to my after workout shake and pick up fruit on my way into work every morning. If I could add an extra veggie I'd be set. I am loving these Fruit Crisps. I bought a box at Costco and I am plowing my way through them. Even Tai likes them. Gotta make another Costco run soon to get more!
Just had to share my progress. Fitting into those smaller jeans really made my day!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thoughts on The Secret Currency of Love by Hilary Black

In this anthology of original essays, some of the country's most respected women writers reveal their deepest feelings about money and how it affects their most intimate relationships - with parents, children, spouses, siblings, and ultimately with themselves. They examine the childhood experiences that set up lifelong, and sometimes self-destructive, financial habits. And they divulge how all the intangibles - romance, status, power, security - become tangled up in their financial lives. The essays in these pages are written from many different perspectives: a single woman trying to reconcile feminism with a secret desire to be supported by a man; a wife with radically different spending habits from her husband's; a divorcee who has become the family's chief breadwinner; a single mother struggling to make ends meet. They also explore complicated social issues. Sheri Holman (The Dress Lodger) reveals how she fell in love with a homeless drug addict. Leslie Bennetts (The Feminine Mistake) weighs the social and emotional costs of giving her children a private-school education among the super-rich. Bliss Broyard (One Drop) ruminates on the intricacies of maintaining friendships with wealthier friends. And Amy Cohen (The Late Bloomer's Revolution) considers the price - financial and otherwise - of having a child on her own.

I choose to read this after reading an article on Each chapter is a story about how each woman deals with money. Most of the women are writers and have had periods of little to no income. Some of the women were raised in affluent households and some were raised in poorer households. In 80% of the stories , it didn't matter. Most of the women had trouble with money-credit card debt, poor paying jobs, poor money management. And money always played a role in their relationship. They married for money, found men who drained them of every last cent, family members who stole. It was eye opening to me to see how money rules our lives.
I'll be the first to admit that I can't manage money to save my life. I've worked in nonprofit (social service) land where the pay is low. I have a credit card that has a balance higher than I like. My retirement account could be fatter. I'll also admit when I was younger, I hoped I would fall in love with a rich man who would keep me living in the way I could get accustomed to. But I married Tai who is not rich. Tai like me wants to be comfortable, have enough to eat, take a trip every once and a while, and see some shows and concerts. Now we could get lucky. A start up could become the next Google but we'll most like just being trying to make it for the rest of our lives. Which is fine with me. I grew up that way. My parents owned their own business and struggled to pay both business bills and household bills. Some months we were living fat, some months things were more lean. I disliked being without the necessities-Guess jeans, JCrew shirts, purses from Nordstroms. My friends had plenty of these things and more. I assumed they lived how people should. But as I've grown up I discovered that many more people are living pay check to pay check or close to it than living large.
I do without expensive shoes because those are not as important as enjoying a great meal with friends or enjoying a concert. But I buy what I need and occasionally what I want. And I leave the money management to my husband. He's a far better budgeter than I am. He's spent more time learning and figuring out what we need to save, spend, etc. He tells me what I need to pay and I do. I give myself an allowance and use that to do my own thing. I prefer not having to think about what I need to do (although we do talk about it and the decisions we make we make together). I know it's a cop out, but it's working for me so far.
As you can see this book made me think about my own money skills or lack of. I recommend this book. Other reviews can be found at Articles That Make You Think, The Story's Story, and My Open Wallet.