Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August Book Tally

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Moose by Stephanie Klein
Middlemarch by George Eliot

It was a poor month tally wise. Only 3 this month :( 50 for the yearly total. Middlemarch was my only Fill In The Gap book, bringing that total to 25. I'm glad to get that chunkster out of the way.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fighting Negative Talk

Back in February when I was feeling low, a lot of you mentioned you felt similarly. Since then I found a lot of great ideas and tips to help combat negative self image. I thought I'd share what I found and hope it helps some of you as well.

10 Ways To Stop Fat Talk For Good-Weightless is a great blog with lots of great information about eating disorders and negative body image.
Body Image & Self-Acceptance-Another great post from Weightless.
Happily Overcoming Depression- The Art of Wise Living is a great blog with a wonderful message about positive life goals.
The Fat Girl's Guide to Being Irresistible-Even To Yourself-The Fat Girl's Guide talks about all sort of topics relating to living life, happy in your skin.
Women's Magazine: Body Shame and Subtle Messages-One reason that I stopped reading women's magazines.
What We Can Control-Sally has such a positive message and I love how she talks about body image and celebrating all body types.
Boost Your Body with a Mantra-Going from negative thoughts to more healthy positive thoughts.

And I have 2 songs that also help me get through anything:
This Too Shall Pass-Ok Go

The Middle-Jimmy Eat World

Do you have any tips that work for you?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thoughts on Middlemarch (Halfway)

 I wrote a midway post so I could participate in Nymeth's Middlemarch readalong. A post containing my full thoughts on the book will be up next week or the week after.
If I had one word to describe Middlemarch it would be dense. Each page is packed with information that advances the plot. It’s actually caused me to notice why I have trouble with classics. I cannot skim which I do frequently with contemporary books. Yes, I admit I skim books. I usually read the beginning, first 50-80 pages. If nothing really catches me then I skim/read the rest of the book. With Middlemarch there is no room to skim. I have to give it 110% of my attention something that’s so hard for me to do. If I’m not totally engrossed in a book, then look shiny thing!
Around page 200, I considered throwing in the towel. But so many people talked about how they liked the book and since it’s on my Fill In The Gaps Challenge and I wasn’t hating the book, I had to find a way to keep reading. After reading the information in Wikipedia, I felt that I would really enjoy the rest of the book. I’m about ½ and really enjoying it now.
I really like Dorothea. She’s a smart women in an age where smart women weren’t listened to. She’s not content to be left out of the conversation. Dorothea wants to learn more in order to contribute. Here’s another reason I almost quit reading. After the first bit, Dorothea drops out of the story for a few 100 pages. And the other characters weren’t as interesting. Ok, I was interested in Mary and Fred. Mary is another headstrong woman. She’s doing her own thing, making her own “bread” (money). Fred’s a nice guy but not interested in a job. Fred likes to party and gamble. Fred loves Mary but Mary won’t marry him unless he finds an occupation (and not the clergy). I enjoyed their banter. They seemed like the most real couple to me.
I’ll hold the rest of my observations til I finish the rest. Cross your fingers that I can finish it this weekend.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marge 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!
 Just one for me this week. Clementine, the second in the Clockwork Century series. I enjoyed the first one-Boneshaker-and have high hopes for this new one.
I'm still reading Middlemarch. I'll have a midbook post later this week. My book stats for this month will suck!
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Favorite Food Posts

I love food. I love to eat. I love to cook. I love to grocery shop. If it involves food, I'll be there. Here are some of my favorite food posts of the last 3 years.

Yummy Cheese-Ashley, Marta and I went to the Art Restaurant to try their all you can eat cheese bar. I highly recommend this if you are ever in the Seattle area.
Baked Lemon Chicken-This is one of my favorite chicken dishes. I love the yummy lemon sauce.
The Time I Made Risotto-I'm so proud I made risotto once. Sadly I haven't attempted to make it again!
La Carta De Oaxaca-For ladies' night out we tried this fantastic restaurant in Ballard. I have since taken Tai there. He loved it and I see us venturing back there again.
Cabbage Mint Salad-A Tai favorite. I make this all the time.
Jennifer's Easter Soup-I'm looking forward to Easter to eat this again!
Sukiyaki-Tai had wanted me to learn how to make this traditional Japanese dish and I complied. I love to make it on chilly winter nights.
Churrascaria-The first and only time Tai and I have made it to a churrascaria. Someday we'll go to another one.
John McCain's Ribs-my go to rib recipe. I love them!
Dairy-free Quiche and Cheesecake-I attempt to make dairy free options for Tai when I can. I enjoy attempting to recreate his favorite dishes.

I'm hoping that this fall/winter I'll have more time to cook and maybe take a cooking class or two. Plus I'll be trying some more fantastic Seattle area restaurants and sharing my thoughts on them.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Happy blog anniversary to me! Three years ago I started this little blog. I started the blog when I was planning our wedding. Since then I've started blogging about books, food, travel, and life in a suburb of Seattle.
This week I'm going to recap some of my old favorite posts. But I thought I'd do a little recap in case you haven't been here for the whole story.
This is me and Tai. We met in 2006 on match.com. Yes I met my husband on the internet. I "winked" at him, we started emailing and met about a week later. I was smitten from the beginning.
Tai asked me to marry him on Memorial Day 2007 and we got married at Tolt MacDonald Campground in Carnation on July 19, 2008. Since then we've had our share of ups and downs, but we're still going strong. Our most recent happy news is that Tai now has a permanent job (He'd been a contract employee for a year). Yea!
I enjoy reading, Zumba, watching movies, and cooking. I cook less now that our workout schedule has increased and we drink protein shakes after our workouts. We love spending time at home watching tv shows and movies as well as being with our friends. Tai is an avid gamer (both tabletop games and video games) and a voracious reader. Tai plays volleyball and does Krav Maga.
Thank you all for being out there in Internetland and joining me in this adventure. I wouldn't do this without all of you :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marge 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!
 Just one for me this week. I picked up Broken: A Love Story after reading Bibliophile By The Sea's review. I kept it on my tbr list until I had "space" to add it to my library loot. I'm looking forward to reading it.
I'm slogging through Middlemarch. It's not that I don't like it. It's not a book for short reading sessions. I need longer reading sessions (an hour or more). I'm considering reading something else to give myself a little break.
What did you get this week?

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm Going To Be Whiny For A Minute

I want this:
image found here
and this:
image found here
and this:
image found here
Instead I have this:
 image found here

Happy Monday. Hope you're week goes well.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Faith 21

I wrote about Faith 21(Forever 21's plus size shop) a while ago. I considered ordering some items but I kept hearing that the clothes ran small. I decided to wait and see if they brought any clothing to my local store. The one in Northgate does have a fairly decent selection but when I was in Portland I bought a couple of things from Faith 21.
This lace top. I love lace and have been wanting an all lace top. Looking forward to wearing it soon.
Ignore the post workout hair and the fact I still have my gym pants on! I guess the consider this a dress. It's a little short for me so I think I'll wear it with slim jeans.

 These are some other shirts I'm drooling over. Overall I was pretty happy with their clothes. I usually wear a 20-22 top and I bought both tops in 3x. The dress is plenty comfy and the tank is a little roomy (might have been able to buy a smaller size). Have you tried Faith 21? What do you think of their clothes?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Moose By Stephanie Klein

 Thanks to Books On The Brain for introducing me to Moose by Stephanie Klein. Klein reminded me a lot of myself growing up. Insecure about her body, she struggled to lose weight. Unlike my parents, hers hindered to process, telling her that people would stop making fun of her if she was thin. News flash insecurity makes people tease others about fat, pimples, body hair, and height. My father told me that if I wasn't happy I should seek ways to change my attitude, not my body size. Fat, thin, tall or short, you are the same person. Anyhoo.
Klein recounts her summers at fat camp and melds them into one long story full of rejection, love, friendship, and bulimia. I loved her descriptions of the other campers and what they might be doing years later.
"Marguerite Bennetts from Maryland, sat on a top bunk...picking her braces...I imagine her now as a social worker who insists on using a rubber ball, instead of a chair, to strengthen her core."
Or Tara who probably became " a tanorexic, a women who always asks for booth with the newest bulbs".
 Klein is honest and real. After all of her descriptions of fat camp, I expected her to be like and I lost 1000 pounds, I love carrot sticks and exercise for 4 hours a day and I love it! You know like most fat transformation books, but no. I won't ruin the ending but Klein's a real woman with real every day problems-troubled relationships, pregnancy, the fear of being too fat. I highly recommend to anyone who's struggled with their weight or has young girls in their life who may be struggling with their weight. This is a book that will make you think about your own journey and struggles along the way.
Other reviews can be found at Reading Thru The Night, Books On The Brain, Chick Loves Lit, The Book Zombie, and Book Binge.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

I picked up The Strain for Tai a few weeks ago. When he was done, he handed it to me and said "Read this". He doesn't say that often so I read it. Yeah I couldn't put the book down. It was like reading a movie. The action is fast paced and the characters feel generic (old man, doctor/skeptic, teen son) but are likable.
The Strain is the first in a trilogy about a virus that's infecting New York. A plane lands at JFK, all but 4 passengers are dead. The four that survive are sick but recover quickly. We don't learn a whole lot about these four (a lawyer/mom, a rock star, a veteran, and a computer programmer). I think we learn the most about Ansel, the computer programmer. His wife has some severe mental illnesses that make it hard for her to leave the home. She relies on Ansel to deal with the outside world so when he becomes "ill" she can't handle it.
Dr. Eph is a divorced dad, trying to maintain some sort of custody of his son, Zack. Dr. Eph is the CDC doctor in Manhattan and called to figure out why people died on the plane and why 4 people survived. Abraham Setrakian is a Holocaust survivor who's seen this virus before. He's been searching the globe for the creature responsible for the virus. Vasiliy Fet is an exterminator who's concerned about the growing rat problem in New York. There's an imbalance in the ecosystem causing the rats to flood the streets during the day. This team (plus Nora, Dr Eph's colleague and sometimes lover) takes to investigating and irradiating New York of the vampires (yes, the virus turns people into vampires). 
Now before you go thinking this is another vampire book and decided to not read it, let tell you this isn't like those other vampire novels. No one (well, one person) is sympathetic to the vampires. They don't sparkle, have southern accents or look good with their shirts off*. The vampires are hunters, looking for world domination. No living peacefully with the humans. No vegetarian vampires here. These vamps are definitely blood sucking fiends!
I really enjoyed The Strain. It was a terrific, high paced romp. I look forward to the rest of the trilogy. Highly recommended (unless you have a weak stomach or are prone to nightmares, then you may want to avoid).
Others who posted their thoughts on The Strain: A Book Blog. Period, Chaotic Compendiums, Devourer of Books, and Olduvai Reads.
*You know I'm not a hater. I love those books!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My I Don't Have Cancer Story

Carly's post the other day about how she doesn't have cancer made me think about a funny story about how I don't have cancer.
This happened a few years ago. I went in for my normal pap. It came back abnormal. I went back about 6 months later and it was abnormal again. My GP asked me to see a gynecologist for "a more complete exam". I called the lady parts doc for an appointment and was told the first appointment was in 3 months. I figured that it wasn't serious and I shouldn't worry. I waited (patiently) for 3 months and went to my appointment.
Once inside the gynie's office, the nurse asked me some routine questions (if I had abnormal paps regularly, if I had spotting or other problems). The abnormal pap was the strangest thing so the nurse told me the doc would right in.
About 2 seconds later, the lady parts doc comes racing and loudly says "You don't have cancer! I don't see why you had to keep calling in a panic for an earlier appointment." Huh? I never called during that 3 months to request an earlier appointment. And I never thought I had cancer until she mentioned it. Another woman had a similar problem and the doc confused me with her. Nice, glad to see you read the charts. And thanks for scaring the crap out of me. I love being naked and scared!
We started the exam and that's when she tells me she's going to numb my cervix so she can take a sample.
Me: Hm, what does that mean? 
Lady Parts Doc: Oh I'm going snip a bit of your cervix off. 
Me: Wha-Oh shit that fucking hurt! 
A word to the wise, don't let anyone take bits of your cervix. It ain't fun. Doc tells me the results will be ready in about a week and leaves.
I went home and waited (slightly freaked out that I could have cancer). The results came back negative and I've never had an abnormal pap since. I still remember with terror though the cervix snipping. Haunts my dreams, man.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

The lovely Lisa gave me this award-the Beautiful Blogger award! To accept the award, I am supposed to tell you ten things about me. So, here are 10 things about me!

1. I've lived within 20 miles of the house I grew up in for the last 11 years.

2. I went to college in a tiny town in Ohio.

3. Going away to college was the furthest I'd ever been from home with my parents in my life.

4. I have a half brother who is 16 years older than me.

5. I have an overactive imagination and get scared easily by scary books and movies.

6. I have a tendency to multi-task much to the dismay of my husband. I constantly watch tv, while surfing the internet or make dinner with a book in hand. This drives him batty.

7. I have a hard time sitting still. I have to be really engrossed in what I'm doing to not thinking about a million other things I could be doing.

8. Working in a library would be my dream job. I'm looking for opportunities to make that happen!

9. I'm a pretty sound sleeper. Once I'm out you could have a party and I would be none the wiser!

10. I haven't been cooking a whole lot lately. We both have shakes 3 nights a week. Thursday I usually grab something while running Tai to volleyball. Fridays and the weekends we are on the run, meeting friends or being completely lazy. I miss cooking but don't want to change my schedule.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Must Have Shoes-The Basics

When I go shopping, I'm always looking for black shoes and brown shoes. It doesn't matter if I just bought a pair. If I have 2 pairs I love, I will always buy additional black and brown shoes. I wear black or brown shoes just about daily. They go with 90% of my outfits. And I wear through shoes like no tomorrow.
A lot of times I'll have extra shoes in boxes waiting for my current shoes to bite the dust. Prevents me from having nothing to wear one Tuesday morning.
Here are some cute black shoes:

And here are some cute brown ones:

What about you? What are your must have shoes?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

I choose to read Silver Phoenix after reading about it on My Friend Amy's blog. I was hoping that by reading and reviewing this book, I would be able to give it some more press and inspire others to read it and perhaps buy it.
Silver Phoenix is the story of Ai Ling, a 17 year old woman. To escape a bad marriage match and find her father, Ai Ling goes on a journey and learns more about herself and her special abilities. There's plenty of romance, intrigue, mystical powers, and friendship. I liked Ai Ling. She felt ordinary but she's not. She had to learn to trust herself and push beyond society's norms for women. I really enjoyed the story. I'm looking forward to continuing the series. Recommended.
Other reviews can be found at: The Book Smugglers, Mindful Musings, and The Ya Ya Yas.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marge 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 was almost of books (well I always own something to read on my own shelves, but I was down to my last 2 library books) so I picked a few more books from the library. First we have Middlemarch by George Elliot. It's on my FITG list and Nymeth is having a Middlemarch read along this month so I decided it was a perfect time to read it. Next is Moose by Stephanie Klein which I read about Books On The Brain. The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery is also for my FITG list.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

Wow, I now know a lot about Salt. I remember seeing Salt: A World History back when it came out. I don't read a lot of nonfiction but I love history and I love food. When I find a book that combines both, sign me up!
Alton Brown (my favorite Food Channel personality) talks about salt and why people cook with it.

Once I saw this episode of Good Eats, the more varied in my salt collection (seen here). It's easy to see why I wanted to read Salt. I love salt but I didn't know much about this important element. I learned how salt is harvested, used as a currency and how it shaped cultures around the world. I know now more about salt than I ever thought I would. Salt also talks about 2 of my favorite condiments and how they rely on salt-soy sauce and Tabasco.
Kurlansky really walks you through the world and it's need for salt. Not only in food form but as a commodity to trade with other countries. The book is never dull as it shifts from Asia to Europe to Africa to North America. Telling stories we've heard before, uncovering facts and teaching me about history through one item-salt. Fascinating! Recommended for foodies and history buffs.
Others who read Salt: A World History and shared their thoughts: Lal's Niche, Ex Libris, My American Essentials, and David's Irreverent Book Reviews.

Monday, August 2, 2010

July Book Tally

Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall
This Year I Will...by MJ Ryan
The Short Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
Six Characters In Search Of An Author by Luigi Pirandello
Dry by Augusten Burroughs
Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
The Newlywed Kitchen by Lorna Yee

Nine books this month. Best month ever! Brings my yearly total to 47. I'm pretty close to beating my last year's number (52). I read two books (Dry and Six Characters in Search of An Author) off my Fill In The Gaps list which brings the list to 14 this year (24 total). I'll have reviews of Salt and Silver Phoenix up this week.