Current Reads.

Current Reads In 2015

 

I was a reading fiend these past couple months… here are a few that were on the list!

If I Stay. By Gayle Forman

I liked this book, but didn’t love it. Given the fact that there’s a movie based on the book and an awful lot of hype… I just expected a little more. It was a pretty quick read and if you’re looking for something that doesn’t require a ton of thought (albeit it is very sad), this might be worth a read.

Where She Went. By Gayle Forman

Because I can’t leave a story unfinished, I read the second chapter in the “If I Stay” story. This one, got off to a rocky start, but definitely told the another side of the story. If you took the time to read the first book, then the second installment is worth your time.

We Were Liars. By E. Lockhart

I had zero expectations for this book and, boy, did it twist and turn in ways I never expected. Now that I’m reviewing all the books, my first bit of 2015 was packed with sad/dark themed books. This book weaves a story that you wouldn’t imagine off the bat, and would make a good pool read, if you want something that isn’t heavy on romance and light on content.

Certain Girls. By Jennifer Weiner

I grabbed this book at a book sale and read it because I’d previously enjoyed Jennifer Weiner’s books. The main character was so relatable and the teenage angst from her daughter was palpable. Again, with the sad theme — this one also has some hard story lines. Sensing a trend…

Suddenly. By Barbara Delinksy

Let me start by saying this book starts with someone dying — geez, Megan, what the hell? This was a very light read that I also picked up at a book sale. I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t hate it either — probably wouldn’t recommend it.

Hollow City. By Ranson Riggs

This is the second installment of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children — which was one of my favorite books last year. It’s wonky but fun to step into a make believe world for a while. Hollow City is book two (book three is in the works, as is a movie) so it left a lot of open ends and didn’t accomplish a whole lot — but I loved it nonetheless.

Side Effects May Vary. By Julie Murphy

No one died in this book, but the main character did have cancer along with some serious high school vendettas. Frankly, I had a hard time relating to this book. The main character was manipulative, cruel and over the top — the majority of the time I just kept thinking that real people don’t act like this. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t… maybe I just haven’t encountered them?

Three Wishes. By Barbara Delinsky

Someone dies in this one too. (Are you surprised?) This is a light read. At times I like the plot, the characters and at other times it was too hokey. Probably won’t be your bag of chips.

Illuminations. By Mary Sharratt

Besides Hollow City, this was my favorite book this year. It was incredibly fascinating. History + early religion + feminism = a book that I’m just going to love. I would highly recommend this book if any of those three things strikes your fancy.

Satisfied. By Jeff Manion

Our church did a series on this book, so I read it right along with about 5,000 other people. It focuses on our materialistic “not enough” culture and how to find happiness in what God has given you. The book has a great premise and some very good messages. I was, however, looking for some harder hitting narratives and practical tactics to apply.

What have you been reading lately?

Currently.

Oh Lawdy – it’s been a bit. With that said, here’s a shot at what my life looks like, currently:

Currently

Currently Reading: I’m going back and forth between “The 19th Wife” by David Ebershoff (Whoa, roller coaster of emotions) and “A Thousand Acres” by Jane Smiley — both of which, at this point, I highly recommend.

Currently Listening: Technically I’m listening to “The 19th Wife” — via Overdrive & my local library. Have you heard of Overdrive… because if not, look into it RIGHT NOW. Free audio books directly on my phone? Yes, please.

Currently Indulgence: It’s my birthday this weekend and I’ve had a very real craving for Funfetti cake (which I haven’t had in years).  I might also have some ice cream cake at some point… probably, certainly, definitely.

Current Nail Color: None — my sister-in-law and I invested in a gel nail system which has been fun, but I’ve let my nails “air out” for the last month or so!

Current Drink: Mostly water and green tea with jasmine. I’ve been addicted to this green tea, specifically, and could drink unlimited cups.

Current Food: We had stir-fry for dinner. Brown rice, bok choy, bell pepper, onions, steak + sauce for dinner. My impromptu, throw it together, meals have been top-notch lately.

Current Favorite TV Show: It seems like Christian and I go through phases with shows. We started the summer out binge watching New Girl and now we’ve killed three seasons of Fringe (we just started season four and I’m already sad knowing that it ends after season 5).

Current Wish List: New shoes. I’ve worn the same style of nude, Steve Madden flats (these, actually) for the past two years. I’ve gone through 4 pairs because I wear them everyday. I’m thinking that I probably need to mix it up, but sticking with my tried and true pair just seems easier. (Plus, they go with everything — or at least I think they go with everything.)

Current Needs: More time — isn’t this what everyone says? Working out, prepping meals, writing, cleaning the house, walking the dogs, spending time with Christian, spending time with family and friends, trying to make our house (with ugly blue carpet) a home… you get the picture. It’s busy and I could use a couple more hours a day.

Current Thoughts: That this has been a pretty crappy summer — which I might go into a later date. Due to a semi-crappy June and completely awful July, I feel like 2/3’s of the summer have just slipped through my fingers and I can feel the frigid temperatures from the season that shall not be mentioned inching their way closer to reality. Does that sound dramatic? It feels dramatic, but also true.

Currently Anticipating: Crossfit. I’ve been going pretty religiously, three times a week, since February (whoop, whoop – 6 month mark). On the days I go, I either dread or excitedly await the 5:30 start time. On the days I don’t go, I sort of (sickly) wish I did or could. Also, we’re having a birthday WOD tomorrow… I have no idea what’s in store (just praying, hoping, pleading that there aren’t any double unders).

Current Blessing: That we have a home. We moved in July 4 – which was one of the most supremely miserable weeks of my entire life, thus far. I was hoping that moving into our new home would be fun and exciting, instead it was draining, stressful and couldn’t have happened at a rougher time.

Current Bummer: That summer is going so quickly — whaaaa. <—- for the record, that’s my crying big, pathetic tears of sadness for the quick passing of my favorite time of year.

Current Outfit: Nothing attractive. A black running skort, pink sports bra and forest green ribbed tank top. Bare feet. A fashionista, this summer, I am not.

That’s it — I can’t say that I’m pulling out all the exciting stops or doing anything CRAZY. Frankly, I’m taking it day-by-day knowing that things will eventually get better.

Currently.

I want to be better at having regular posts. I’ve gotten semi-good at my Finally Friday posts and I’ve followed through with posting my whole 30 meal plans so I thought I would challenge myself one step further and give a monthly update for each month of 2014. A currently update.

With that said, here’s a shot at what my life looks like, currently:

Currently

Currently Reading: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Have you heard her TED talks? If not, please pause and go get yo self caught up by clicking here and here. The premise of the book is learning to be more comfortable with vulnerability, denouncing shame and leading an authentic life. She’s amazing and I find myself underlining page after page after page — this is one of those books that you could read more than once and still not absorb all there is to learn. Also, I’ve thought (more than once), “how does she know me so well?” — that’s the makings of a great book.

Currently Listening: Nothing new on the music front this month, but  I have been listening to Body Double by Tess Gerritsen in the car. I downloaded (via the library) for my weekend drive to the mountains and still have several more hours to finish up. If you’re ever looking for a good mystery to listen to in the car… I can’t recommend Tess Gerritsen’s books enough.

Currently Indulgence: Since I’ve been rocking Whole 30, I don’t have a big indulgence to report. I have had a few glasses of wine (with friends) and I’ve also snuck a few glasses of fruit juice (oh the shame!) at night after dinner.

Current Nail Color: Some sort of grey — I got my nails painted last weekend in Vail and I’m doing my very best to keep them “nice” for as long as possible.

Current Drink: Mostly water and green tea with jasmine. Though, I’ve also added hot water with lemon to the repertoire!

Current Food: Salmon cakes with sautéed kale! I actually can’t wait to eat this — who am I?

Current Favorite TV Show: Oh man… how do I pick. Can I have a top 3? If so, they would be (in no particular order): Blacklist, White Collar and Grimm.

Current Wish List: A new pair of jeans that fit well and make my butt look like a million bucks – what, is that asking too much?

Current Needs: Probably some sleep. I got hit with the nasty cold of the season a couple of weeks ago and I still feel like I can’t get enough zzz’s. This nightowl starts fighting the need to collapse into bed around 7:30 — hmmm, maybe I should apply for my AARP card.

Current Thoughts: I can’t wait for President’s Day weekend — three-day weekend, here I come! Also, I need to get some vacations scheduled and planned… having trips to look forward to is high on my list of priorities.

Currently Anticipating: I have a doctor appointment on Monday to review how I’m doing with PCOS, my hormone levels and probably going on medication. There’s been a lot of thought, discussion and prayer (not to mention a crazy restrictive diet) regarding what my next steps will be so I’m anxious to talk it all through with my doctor.

Current Blessing: Feeling happy and thankful. PCOS has been a big-time roller coaster of hormonal swings while trying to get things balanced out over the past six months and after 3 weeks of feeling nothing short of grinch-like, I’m so glad to be feeling back to my old self. Hormones, you’re a real kick in the pants.

Current Bummer: The snow + cold. On days where you’ve got nothing to do but sit at home, in your sweats, and watch a movie — I really dig the snow + cold. On days where I have to get up at the butt crack of dawn to make it ANYWHERE on time due to said snow + cold, I do not dig it. Come on winter… make way for warmer days!

Current Outfit: Banana Republic Outlet jeans (similar here) + this top. All Banana Republic – my one true shopping love.

Currently.

Sometimes I wish I could just take a snapshot of my life. Something that would capture exactly what it’s like in this moment with a husband, puppies, a house, a job, an amazing family, fabulous friends, wonderful weather and more joy that I’ve felt in a really, really long time. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time that my life just felt good. I’m not saying every moment is good. There are cranky days and disappointments, but they are far outweighed by the hope and blissfully everyday occurrences I’m trying to get better at appreciating.

With that said, here’s a shot at what my life looks like, currently:

Currently

Currently Reading: Wheat Belly + Bible. Christian and I committed to reading the bible in a year. I’m totally caught up on it too — if you don’t count the fact that I gave up on part of Leviticus and still have to go back and read the Psalms/Proverbs and haven’t started the month of June, yet. Progress, right? The actual bible we’re reading lays it all out in chronological order, which makes it even more interesting to see how different events and people led to the famous stories we all remember from Sunday School.

Also on my nightstand is Wheat Belly. One of my very best friends (and lobster) Jacqui loaned it to me after she finished reading it. As I may have mentioned, recently, I’m a little obsessed with the breakdown of nutrition, different evolutions of food and the science behind what we should be eating. This book is fascinating and learning how wheat and our relationship with it has changed over time keeps my mind reeling long after I’ve set the book down for the night.

Currently Listening: Pretty much anything country with the occasional hip hop tossed in for workouts. I just like the stories behind country music and the fact that I can understand the words (and not be offended if I listen too closely).

Currently Indulgence: A warm Ghirardelli brownie with ice cream. We don’t have it often, but when we do it is absolute heaven.

Current Nail Color: Mod in Manhattan by Color Club. It came in my June Birchbox and while the color wasn’t my favorite at first, it has a peachy hue and has held up really well. Considering buying the entire Birchbox collection.

Current Drink: Mostly water. I’m boring and I like it that way.

Current Food: A big bowl of organic strawberries. These are the first organic strawberries I’ve ever bought and they are D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S… are all organic strawberries this way? If so, I’m a total convert.

Current Favorite TV Show: Burn Notice (the last season). It took Christian approximately 3 years to get me to sit down and watch an episode… but, boy, when he did, I quickly watched the entire Netflix collection in the matter of a couple weeks. I can honestly say that Michael Weston is my one and only TV crush of the moment. He’s kind of self involved, but I love him. Also, my heart breaks with each new episode simply because I know they’re counting down to the end.

Current Wish List: A fun vacation to look forward to. I can’t make up my mind, though, about what I want in my next vacation… a relaxing week at a mountain cabin, beach palooza and lots of sunshine, saving up for something in Europe? Most of the time I’ve already got my heart set on my next travel locale, but this year, it’s a total toss up.

Current Needs: A good haircut. It’s been at least 4 months since I had my hair cut and the ends are crispy, it’s tangling easily and needs re-shaping. About once a year I’ll have the urge to cut it all off (which I did with several inches back in February), then the rest of the year will be spent trying to grow it back out.

Current Thoughts: I’m taking this Friday off, so my 4th of July weekend is turning into 4 days off. It will be so nice to get things done, relax and just enjoy some time at home! With that said… I can’t stop thinking about it.

Currently Anticipating: A girl’s trip to Austin. This September my three best girlfriends from college are all convening in Austin for a long weekend. I. Cannot. Wait. Also, I hear they have tacos there. I can’t wait for those.

Current Blessing: Life. Christian and I’s first year of marriage was hard. I don’t think I realized how hard it was until things started to get better and life got good again. Maybe it’s a survival instinct, maybe it’s avoidance… I’m not sure. Either way, life is good (knock on wood) and I’m hoping it will stay that way.

Current Bummer: Somehow, somewhere I ripped a big hole in my favorite jeans. I’ve had them almost 2 years and have worn them multiple times a week (if not more) the entire time. Buying jeans is one big #tallgirlproblem, so having to retire a pair is always sad… plus, the prospect of having to shop for more jeans is always a little daunting.

Current Outfit: These jeans + this top. All Banana Republic – my one true shopping love.

The growing pile.

Reading is one of my one true loves in life. I love it so much that a book can envelop my entire consciousness for days and wind its way into my inner workings. I’ve got shelves crammed full of books I’ve read and don’t have the heart to get rid of, books that I can’t wait to crack open and devour and even more books that others hope I’ll want to read. I’ve spent hours in book stores and even more time at the library book sale each fall scouring the titles for something that speaks to me – meaning it could be anything from the Poisonwood Bible to something about vampires (cough, Twilight Series, cough).

I’m not one of those people that wants to sit down to a book only to find myself falling into a twisted story (while beautifully written) that in the end will only leave me wishing I hadn’t opened the book to begin with. I read to enjoy the words, to learn something or to find solace in something I can’t find outside of books. Books are like coming home – an escape from reality and a chance to live through something you otherwise would have missed.

Now that I’ve quit my job I’ve had a bit more time to read with less of an imposed bed time — meaning I’ve flown through 6 books in just about a month. What was it I was reading with such fervor?

See, a little of everything. With days like yesterday with the snow flakes spitting from the sky, nothing sounds better than curling up with a cup of hot apple cider and a book. Not sure what book is next on the list, any suggestions?

It’s been six months – update!

Today is my half birthday, and in honor of such an exciting occasion I thought I’d give and update on where we are with my 25 before I’m 25 list. Here we go:

  1. Spend a week on a beach. Any beach. Unplugged. (No such plans yet. Sad.)
  2. Re-work the design of this site. (Went to polka dots, that counts right?)
  3. Read 12 books, one per month. (On my way, so far we have Leota’s Garden, Devlin Diary, The dive from Claussen’s Pier, The Friday Night Knitting Club, The Shack… and many more to come)
  4. Post 100 times… 30 will, hopefully, be cranked out in November. (I’ve got a way to go on this — especially since I am a Nablopomo drop out)
  5. Be healthy. Get back to working out and eating well. (I’m re-starting the eating well,  and working out is next on the list)
  6. Try yoga. (Still need to do this)
  7. Take cooking classes. (Still need to do this)
  8. Schedule time for myself each week. (Still need to do this)
  9. Find a classy purse that suits me. And buy it. (Still need to do this)
  10. Be able to do 10 push ups. (Back to the working out, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed on this one)
  11. Attend Canvas and Cocktails. (They’re opening a new one by my house and I got a gift certificate for Christmas – BONUS!)
  12. Smile more often — especially at strangers. (Well under way)
  13. Fix Charles. Surgery and all. (Done and done. He has his last blood test this month)
  14. Be happy. So much of it is in my control. (Working on this, but I’m one happy camper lately)
  15. Pick a cookbook and make all the recipes – except the ones with mushrooms or other inedible objects. (I’m a total flop here. I just can’t commit to one cookbook. I’m a cookbook and recipe slut, ok?)
  16. Tell everyone I love, why I love them. (Still working on this)
  17. Send more mail. Cards, packages, random gifts. (Sent a few)
  18. Stay up late drinking wine and talking, even though I have to work the next day. (Done with Jacqui, Liz, Lindsey, Kaitlyn, Marcy… and the list goes on)
  19. Buy a pair of *perfect* boots for winter. (Hmmm, any suggestions??)
  20. Spend a weekend in the mountains with friends. (Went to Vail in October and going again in March with Kaitlyn and her new fiancé Griffin – so excited)
  21. Buy something from Etsy for someone and for my house. (Bought a purse, now something for my house… ideas welcome)
  22. Develop my favorite pictures and hang them up. (Once I’m all moved in I’ll get on this)
  23. Be a positive impact. Be aware of what I do, what I listen to and how I behave. You never know who you’re impacting. (This would be a work in progress)
  24. Eat locally and naturally. Try to buy local and eat out at local restaurants. (Doing a little better, but those Red Robin french fries get me every time)
  25. Stop to smell the flowers. This year flew by and I was constantly caught up in the day-to-day. I want to remember to take it one step at a time and pause to enjoy it! (Now that I’m moved down South again I think this will be much easier — I’ll keep you posted)

Hopefully I’ll have individual posts on more of these soon…
*Image by Libertinus

An unexpected legend.

I read the Thorn Birds a few years ago and this story has always stuck with me. It was so unexpected and so tragic. I’m not sure what made me think of it tonight… feeling a little reflective.

“There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to out carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain… Or so says the legend.”

— Colleen McCullough (The Thorn Birds)