Saturday, January 30, 2010

February's Group Read is....

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. It is a New York Times Notable Book, Los Angeles Times Book of the Year and a #1 National Bestseller.

Fun Fact: This book was originally written in German and then translated, somewhat like our book last month was also translated. Interesting way to start out 2010.. :)

The Back Cover: When young Michael Berg falls ll on his way home from school, he is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover, enthralling hi with her passion, but puzzling him with her odd silences. Then she disappears.
Michael next sees Hanna when she is on trail for a hideous crime, refusing to defend herself. As he watches, he begins to realize that Hanna may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder.

Why I am excited to read this: Not only is it in my TBR pile, it also counts towards all of my reading challenges. And I really want to see the movie so I can finally do so after I finish this book. Plus, it has intrigued me for awhile.

Checkout theses reviews by other bloggers... here and here and the movie page here..

Who is planning on joining us??? Anyone who wants to is more than welcome. If you would like to guest blog about something regarding The Reader in the month of February contact me at pinkflipflops44 at gmail dot com ! HAPPY READING!

Friday, January 29, 2010

January Re-Cap

Stolen shamelessly from the lovely Lisa.

Current Book(s):Finished - Cross Country by James Patterson and Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. PATHETIC for a book blogger.

Currently reading - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Current Music: Darius Rucker

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies.. cannot say no

Current Colors: Dark Purple

Current Obsessions: Planning my workouts that I may or may not do. Weighing myself every morning.

Current Drink: Green Tea

Current Song: Don't really have one..

Current Movie: The Hangover ...I believe I have now seen it 8 times and it is still cracking me up.. haven't loved/laughed/watched a movie this much since Anchorman and Elf .. tonight or tomorrow the husband and I plan on watching Pregnancy Pact that Lifetime movie on demand.. :) it was his idea too haha

Current TV Shows: Big Love, The Good Wife and Mad Men (on demand)

Current Wish-List:- Ice Tea Maker (I think that's what it is called, just saw it on a blog today and I want it ha)
- Snow Day

Current Needs:- a maid
- dinner

Current Triumph:- Finishing the Atwood novel, working out and eating somewhat better

Current Bane of my Existence:- Water. I cannot drink enough water. I try and try and try and I would much rather drink something with flavor.

Current Goal:- Do ALL my workouts next week

Current Indulgence:- Chocolate Malts

Current Blessings:- IT'S THE WEEKEND BABY!

Current Slang or Saying:- Is that a good choice??????

Current (Fav) Outfit:- Blue fleece pants with ANY comfy sweatshirt with my slipper socks

Current Excitement:- Not having ANY plans for the weekend.

Current Mood:- Tired

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

“When I was younger I used to think that if I could hug myself tight enough I
could make myself smaller, because there was never enough room for me, at home
or anywhere, but if I was smaller, I might fit in.” (P 33)

Alias Grace is based on the true story of Canadian Grace, who was accused and convicted of killing her employer, Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper and mistress, Nancy Montgomery. She along with the stable hand are arrested in an inn after the bodies are discovered.

The book flashes to the present where Grace Marks is being interviewed by Dr. Simon Jordan who was hired by a committee that wants to free Grace from prison. She slowly tells her story to Dr. Jordan from crossing the Atlantic with her family to her various jobs before landing at Kinnear's house at the age of 16.

Atwood became interested in Marks' story after reading the works of Susanna Moodie who had written many items on Grace and had met her at least twice. Atwood originally believed what Moodie wrote and even wrote a collection of poems and a television script based off of Moodie's version of Grace's life. However, after digging a bit deeper Atwood realized huge discrepancies in Moodie's version and set out to write her own. In the back of the novel, Atwood contends that she didn't change any of the absolute truth but added her own to other parts.

I really enjoyed Atwood's writing in this book, much more so than Cat's Eye. It would probably rank second after Handmaid's Tale in my favorite of Atwood's novels I have read. It wasn't laced with too many descriptions of crap I don't care to know about or symbolism that made me want to poke my eyeballs out. I did like how the chapters were different names of quilts, which I didn't know right away I will admit I used my trusty google to help me. :)

I also liked how she linked things together and that you got a great picture of the type of people that the main characters were. Not just a glossing over. I also enjoyed the quotes, letters and snippets from Moodie's writing and other newspaper articles throughout the book.

Gone mad is what they say, and sometimes Run Mad, as if mad is a direction, like
west; as if mad is a different house you could step into, or a separate country
entirely. But when you go mad you don’t go any other place, you stay where you
are. And somebody else comes in. - Alias Grace

I will say in the end, I think Grace was a very troubled girl who probably didn't tell the entire truth and based on Atwood's version probably believed herself innocent even though she played a part. Did she actively participate or play a silent partner? Did she know what was going to happen or only after the fact? Did she have amnesia or was that a cop out? I do think she was incredibly selfish, but who wouldn't be. She was all alone in the world and had to look out for herself.

Definitely worth a read. If you've read this book what did you think? Have you heard the story of Grace Marks before? What are your opinions? And Canadian readers, any other awesome Canadian authors I should check out?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - Bridal Shower #1

I am not sure if I mentioned in my earlier posts or just alluded to the fact that we had well over 300 people at our wedding. Yikes. Mainly because my husband has a HUGE family. So it only was natural we have two showers. Or I would have been there for days or we would have been crowded or some important people to me would have been left out.

So yeah, two showers. My MIL, my SIL's and my husband's aunts put on a wonderful shower for me at my in-laws church. Like anytime that family is together, we had a ton of great food. It was a lovely Mexican themed lunch with lots of good desserts. Absolutely fabulous. We played games. Of course.. Why can't women get together without stupid games?? I know for sure we played Bingo while I opened my presents and people had filled out squares as to what they thought I would get. I also know we played a true or false game about my husband and I. Though as I am thinking back right now I am not sure if that was played at this shower or my other one.

I do know that I received some pretty awesome gifts. I got a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, lots of kitchen utensils, some of my dishes, a blanket with our names and wedding date, photo albums, lots of stuff for my kitchen and some Pyrex.

Not only was the shower full of my husbands relatives, but all my bridesmaids, except SIL in Montana, my mom, my grandma and a close college friend came. It was a beautiful sunny day in May, and after my shower my SIL and I went to the store bought paint and painted a bedroom to surprise my husband who was gone all weekend. Then I also threw away things I knew he would want to keep but we didn't need now that we had our new gifts. :)

Next week... Bridal Shower Numero Dos.. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo --- Discuss

Psst.. February's Reading Poll is posted on the side...

I am the worst Book Club Host ever this month. Too make up for it :::martini's, cheeseball and crackers :::: for all!! I am soo sad that I am a failure this month but I must complete the novel I started and I will be done by Wednesday (yeah I know I said Sunday, but then the weekend happened and friends came into town and plans changed..) And work happened and yeah, I am busier than ever in the new year and I am working out and am waaay to easily distracted by shiny new blogs and google searches.. I digress...

Here are some questions to get you who were good and read the book on time and all that jazz talking .. :) Feel free to add your own in the comments and talk back at each other.. Discuss Discuss Discuss..:)

Shamlessly stolen from LitLovers.Com
1. Lisbeth Salander's character is enigmatic and antisocial throughout much of the book. What do you see as the catalyst for the slow emergence of her personality?

2. While poverty, social injustice, parental abuse, and difficult childhoods are often cited as explanations for criminal behavior, Lisbeth believes in free will and choice. Do you agree?

3. Were you surprised by the book's portrayal of right-wing fanaticism and violence against women in a country known for its liberal views?

4. Discuss Mikael Blomkvist's role in the investigation. Do you feel that he made as important a contribution as Lisbeth? Why or why not?

5. The narrative contained a number of plot twists. Who did you imagine sent the framed flowers to Vanger each year?

I am excited to get cracking on this and if I have to self-impose strict reading rules upon myself again I shall.. And since I slacked this month if you are interested in guest posting about any aspect of this novel contact me at pinkflipflops44 at gmail dot com. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

McFatty Monday.. slow slow slow

I wish I could have a WAM BAM Thank You Ma'am week of kick ass weight loss and feel like all the hard work and effort I am putting forth is doing something. But, no. So I have to find the small and promote them with the spunk of a 15 year old teenage girl who just made the cheerleading squad. Are you ready to get started? Yes, we are

Weight = down 1 pound. *yeah I have an official weight loss* Oh and my husband can suck it when he said, it's normal water weight fluctuation. Because my stomach feels smaller dangit and my legs feel stronger. Ughh.. GO TEAM GO!

Workouts = Tuesday & Thursday treadmill/bike/elliptical combo keep increasing the minutes and sweating my butt off. Even did a ridiculous incline change up on the treadmill on Thursday. Wednesday I THOUGHT what the heck I can handle Level 2 of the 30 day Shred. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I am so uncoordinated that all I could do was pray that it was almost over. Yeah, I don't even know if I burned enough calories that day because I could barely get into the correct position. Accelerate, go non-stop, give it all you've got.

Eating = I did a dang good job of eating last week. I also did not go out for my weekly meal out. (I should clarify lunch out). YAY TEAM! Every day but Friday I had Kashi Go Lean Original Cereal with a banana cut up in it. It was fabulous and kept me full until lunch, every day but one. I made a conscious effort to eat lots of fiber and protein. Not a lot of cheese. And smaller portions. I felt really good about my eating and even my weekend eating when I don't pay attention to things like dieting and exercising. A-W-E, S-O-M-E! Awesome, Awesome! To-tal-ly!

Water = Better but not great. I try all sorts of tricks, but I just can't seem to drink a lot of water. But I also don't drink a lot of much else either, so at least I am consistent. Big G, little O, Go! Go!

This week I am throwing in like 5 minutes of exercise in the mornings I shower. Today I did 50 jumping jacks, 50 high knees and 30 crunches. (Note to self, wear a bra next time.) The bra less holding my boobs did not do much for the workout and it had to end early haha. Tuesday 30 minutes on the treadmill, Wednesday 30 Day Shred or day off to hang out with friend, Thursday 19 minutes on Treadmill, 14 on bike, 12 on elliptical, Friday 30 Day Shred.

Any favorite living room workout routines? What is your favorite workout on the treadmill?

Good luck to all.. :) It's time to work. Get in the groove. What comes next? Hey Bust-a-move!

Friday, January 22, 2010

January's FREE giveaway

As I was clearing out my shelves I came across these to give away to the first 3 lucky readers who comment and say hey give me ______. Leave your email, and I shall respond and send you _______ .
Thanks for reading and commenting!!!
Oh and have a fabulous weekend.. (I am counting down the hours until happy hour time!!)
1. Right Next Door - Debbie Macomber Pixie13
2. What Men Want - Gerstman, Pizzo and Seldes
3. The Doctor's Wife - Elizabeth Brundage acdc080109

Thursday, January 21, 2010

February's Group Read..

It's about that time again to pick another group read.. :) I am so bad at this month's read because I should not have started my book before we picked ours and started working out and losing out on somet ime to read each night. Or time where my eyeballs don't fall asleep when I read at night.

Back to topic.. What shall we read in February? Some love story? A classic? A heartbreaking tale? Something dark? What shall we read in the shortest month?? Wooho, that means it's only a quick jump and a skip a way to my *gulp* 26th birthday *gulp.*

What do you want to read dear readers?? Leave your thoughts/suggestions in the comments and I will put a poll up on Tuesday.

And if anyone would like to guest blog for this month's book, let me know!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wedding Wednesday -- Planning Part 2

Last week I covered the wedding/reception site, bridesmaids dresses, DJ and photographer). Here is that part.

This week I am covering Wedding Dress shopping, flowers, cake, and Officiant.

These are all topics that I was so wishy washy on. I knew what kind of dress I wanted, but the daunting task of trying on a gazillion dresses never really appealed to me. I had gone to a bridal store near here one afternoon with my mom and pretty much narrowed down the style / designer I liked but didn't find THE ONE. So came the all day extravaganza shopping trip downstate with my mom, MIL, bff, aunt and two cousins. We went to a ton of different stores. And I pretty much tried on the same type of dress at every store, except for the times I let them all talk me into something I didn't really like to see how it looked.

I believe by the time I found my dress I was STARVING. I had wanted to go to one last shop before I hate food and bloated out like crazy. So of course I found the dress I wanted and that took forever and a day and my BFF and my cousins and I were wilting away. We need our food. My mom is a darling and bought me my ridiculously expensive Maggie Sottero dress. Then she got swept up in the moment and bought me a ridiculous tiara and veil that we should have gotten cheaper elsewhere but there was no talking my mom out of it. She threw waaaay too much money on it. But I love her, she loves me and I loved my dress and everything.
Flowers: I knew I wanted Gerbera Daisies and bright colors. I probably was in the flower shop all of 15 minutes. I got simple and I got pretty. Plus, we were going to be outside with tons of flowers all around us. Who needed the extra expense?? I mean seriously our flowers were nothing compared to everything else. Plus, the people who own the flower shop are relatives of one of my former bosses so they delivered them for free. Yay.

Cake - It was a given from the beginning that my husband's cousin would make it. I had two meetings with her and at our first I was kind of pushed into a direction I had no intention or desire to be going in from my mom and her. It just wasn't anything I ever wanted but then again I am not a huge cake person and already knew I was going to have cookies for dessert as well. Then we had the shower my mom's family threw for me and my aunt had gotten the cake and it was FABULOUS. I took pictures, emailed them to the cousin and said, can we do something like this??? And viola, the most yummy beautiful cake ever. There were multiple flavors and I think they were french vanilla, rainbow chip and umm something I don't remember... Whoops.

Officiant - These would be the funniest part. Neither of us really go to church. The pastor at his parents church? I'd rather gouge my eyes out. Our one friend was ordained online and we had asked him kinda informally and he was wishy washy about it because he was a bit overwhelmed with the size of the wedding and what not. We really didn't have anyone to marry us until a few months before the wedding. We were discussing the situation with my aunt and she was like why not your uncle??? So my uncle got ordained online to marry us. He would also be THAT uncle. The uncle every family has. The loud funny out there uncle. The inappropriate uncle. Yeah, he married us. He may have had a story about exotic shaving that he shared in the middle of my ceremony. It was great.
Coming Next Week: Bridal Shower 1

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - Alias Grace

"Also, she has culprits cutting Nancy Montgomery's body up into quarters before
hiding it under the washtub, which surely was not done. The newspapers
would hardly have failed to mention a detail so sensational. I am afraid
the good woman did not realize how difficult it is to cut up a body, never having
done so herself." - pg. 190 Alias Grace....

I am halfway through this beautifully written novel by Margaret Atwood. It has taken me a ridiculously long time to put a dent into since after break, most times I start to read my close. Whoops. I was trying to read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and this at the same time but that was getting ridiculous.. So the game plan is to finish this off by Sunday and get moving on the book club book. Ooops.

What is everyone else reading? Any good teasers?

Monday, January 18, 2010

McFatty Monday Progress

I am happy to report that this last week I at least succeeded in eliminating the gained pound from last week and am once again at my starting weight. While this isn't awesome. At least I went down??

Water intake continues to be a struggle. I just can't do it. Any advice? I keep water by my side at work, though I rarely get a chance to drink in the morning anyway. I try to drink tea at least in the afternoon but still not good.

Workout Report from last week..

Monday - nada
Tuesday - 30 Day Shred Day 1
Wedesday - 30 Day Shred Day 2
Thursday - 15 minutes treadmill, 11 minutes elliptical and 10 minute bike
Friday - off
Saturday - 30 Day Shred Day 3
Sunday - off
Monday - off

So I at least did a much better job at that..

Eating I tracked my calories every day at Sparkpeople except Dinner Friday-Today..

I am doing pretty good staying within good ranges but I did notice that I need more fiber and protein, which I kinda knew but really focused on looking at how much I was eating with my normal diet..

So for this week I want to focus on increasing my fiber and protein intake. I bought some Kashi Go Lean Cereal which was super good. I throw a banana and some milk in and it is a fabulous breakfast. I also bought some of my favorite Fiber One Bars and some beans..

Now here is where I ask for advice.. any ideas / recipes / foods you would recommend in my quest for more fiber and protein?

Today's no cheese or soda pop Monday was a fail. I woke up to irritable and cramping so I kinda needed my coke and chocolate today. And there happened to be some cheese in my FREAKING AMAZING White Chili and in my dinner sub. Whoops. Though I know I have made a HUGE decrease in the amount of both so I'm okay with that.

This week's workout schedule tentatively looks like this..

Tuesday - Treadmill/Bike / Elliptical possible weights
Wednesday - 30 Day Shred Day 4
Thursday - Treadmill / Bike/ Elliptical
Friday - 30 Day Shred Day 5

Any workout DVD's anyone would suggest that don't take toooo much coordination and are easy to follow? I like a lot of coordination ha...

How is everyone else doing?

More McFatty Monday's over at Blair's site..

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Booking Through Thursday..

Do you read the inside flaps that describe a book before or while reading it?

If it is a random book that I am picking up based on its cover *gasp* or one that I got off a list and heard nothing about, then yes. If it's something that was recommended to me or something I know I want to read, then no. I tend to have read reviews online or I just know it's an author I like so I will pick it up. I also very rarely read the cover for James Patterson books or the Kinsey Milhone series by Sue Grafton or any mystery book for that matter. It tends to ruin the book for me because I figure out the "surprises" from the cover.

What about you?? Do you read the flap / back cover? Are you like me and pick books by their cover?? :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wedding Wednesday --- Planning Part 1

So I prematurely posted last week and didn't realize it right away because I am a nerd who totally wrote that post like a week and a half before I posted it. So.. sorry to just end it with a photo (plus I had meant to post more.. but I forgot.. whoops)..

Anyway, today's topic... Planning (Wedding/Reception Site, Bridesmaids, DJ, Photographer)

Planning was probably my least favorite. And I will be honest --- My mom did a lot. A super lot. My hubby and I did the initial leg work and then we kinda petered out. I never was a girl who was sooo excited about planning my wedding day. I had certain ideas and after that I was very willing to let my mom take over. She was awesome.

(this photo is of the pavilion we we would get married.. i
n keep in mind these were all taken in April 06 so it's not pretty
outside yet ha)
We knew immediately where we wanted to have our wedding/reception. The summer before we got engaged we had been to an outdoor wedding at this place which was beautiful. Plus, the hall was AMAZING and huge and it looked out over a golf course and the garden area where we would get married. Honestly, like 3 weeks after we were engaged we already were trying to get a weekend for the next summer. We had wanted to get married in July, close to the date we met, but the nearest Saturday wedding day they had both the outside and the hall available was August 18th, 2007. And our wedding day was settled.
(few of the pavilion from the hall)

a picture of part of the reception hall ( it was HUGE!)
though we did have over 300 guests.. eep

the cute little corner that would hold my cake and cookie table :)

a view of the dance floor where we would be boogieing..

I also found the style and color of my bridesmaid dresses super early. I was also trying on bridesmaid dresses at this point to be in another wedding. So I had all of the David's Bridal packets with me. But I really had no intention of ordering anything through them just wanted ideas. I want short, sleeveless and non tacky. I would say I was successful. They are still dresses I look at and wish I had one! I could totally see myself wearing it to a summer wedding and I know a couple of my bridesmaids DID re-wear them.

one of my beautiful bridesmaids trying on the dress

As I mentioned in the last post, we went on spring break RIGHT after we got engaged. I brought notebooks and planning stuff for our car ride. (My mom bought me a super cute folder to store all my papers in.) We had our bridal party figured out by the time we got to Tennessee. We each had 6 people, which is a lot but to include his sisters and my brother we adjusted. I had 3 of my good friends since I was like 3 in it, as well as his cousin who I became super close to and his 2 sisters. I honestly wish I could have included my dear college friends because they were so dear to me as well, but I couldn't very well have had ANYMORE in my already excessive bridal party. I also had 3 ring bearers mainly because they were all three very important to me. (My godson and the two brothers I nannied for.)

Our DJ was super easy for us as well. His cousin got married in 2005 and had a really great DJ. We already knew we wanted him and thankfully he was available. He came across the state and didn't charge a traveling fee at all. I loved him at his cousin's wedding but honestly he pissed me off at mine and I will talk about THAT in a later post.

Our photographer was also a quick pick as she was a client of my husband's and a family friend. Now here is where I say, don't have family friends who aren't REAL photographers but used to be do your weddings. Because if you are like me, you will end up hating all of your forced photos and wish you would have spent more money on a photographer. Here is where you should care about your photographer and not be like me who decided I really didn't care. One big wedding regret. I hate seeing beautiful lovely candid shots of people and my terribly forced photos.. Boo. Also, if I could have someone who would have said FIX YOUR MAKEUP a few times to me, that would have been nice too. Yucky, sweaty photos.


That is all for today's wedding post.... Part 2 of the Planning coming next Wednesday.. I will cover (Wedding Dress shopping, flowers, cake, and Officiant! To catch my other Wedding Wednesday post click here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo

With that, the subject was exhausted, and not another word was exchanged
for almost a minute. The retired policeman leaned back in his kitchen
chair and drew on his pipe. He knew he was no longer expected to come up
with a pithy comment or any sharp question which would shed a new light on the
case. pg - 4

Just picked it up from BN yesterday. I used the rest of my gift card. I feel so torn because I really want to finish Alias Grace, which is slow moving but good and I read the first chapter of this because I felt as though it deserved a post soon since it was our book of the month. Got lots of reading to catch up on. :)

Here is a good review for the book from a blog I read..

So, what are your thoughts so far? How far along are you? Favorite part? Thing you want to share?

If you are interested in guest blogging about this book contact me at pinkflipflops44 at gmail dot com.

Monday, January 11, 2010

McFatty Monday FAIL...

I started out last week rocking it. I was watching what I was eating, hitting my calories and getting my excercise. Then Thursday hit and it was a scheduled day off anyway since I had to switch with Wednesday and I had an emotionally draining day and completely flipped out. It was bad. McDonald's bad. Friday equally bad. And weekends are off. So umm... yeah Week One = +1. Whoops.

Let's recap. Monday was fab. No cheese, no pop and excerise.
Tuesday and Wednesday = fab.

This week.... Monday's eating = fab
Monday's work out = fail. However, I did finally purchase the 30 day shred. So tomorrow will be day 1 of the 30 day shred. I even picked up lighter weights to do the workouts with to help out my back. I do think I am getting sick though which is why I took a 2 hour nap and just now ate dinner. Whoops.

Tuesday - 30 day shred and possibly the workout room at work depending on the time I get out of my meeting

Wednesday - running/ Strength Training
Thursday - 30 day shred
Friday - running / Strength Training

This week my goals are to drink at least 32 ounces of water a day *yeah i know it's not a lot but i can't seem to drink a lot and it at least won't have me feeling like I'm failing*

Do my scheduled workouts

When I have a crappy day do not get McDonalds and instead workout and then cry...

Sorry that today's McFatty Monday was a bit ole fail. Here's to this week. :)

Cross Country - James Patterson

I was on an Alex Cross vacation for 2009. Kind of because I was a tad burnt out and kind of because it was hard to get the book from the library. However, for my first book of 2009 I went with an old friend and walked away a little disappointed.

Cross Country finds the DC area hit by vicious murders of entire families. Cross and his girlfriend are of course on the case to find The Tiger, the ringleader of the violent gang of young African boys. Alex is of course personally touched by these murders because one of his ex-girlfriends and her family was savagely killed by The Tiger. Alex gets a tip that The Tiger is back in Nigeria and surprise, surprise has to go and track him down.. Because I mean, it is HIS case of course.

Of course there is dramatics. Of course he finds an attractive woman to spend his time with. Of course there is deception. Of course there is a twist. Of course he somehow is a hero. Of course I may have rolled my eyes a time or two.

I am glad I went on a hiatus of Alex Cross and am still wondering why I continue to read them. Probably because I am a sucker for a series. But I will say, that James Patterson must be a magnificent author for me to feel strongly about how his character has become too narcissistic for me. Like I told him my husband, Alex Cross should have died within the first 100 pages, but of course did not. At that point I got annoyed. I kept getting annoyed. The twists at the end? Stupid, predictable and unbelievable.

Now I will say, this book did touch on some very important subjects. Mainly the very uneasy and unpredictable and violent nature of life in Africa. About the abuse of power and the stealing of resources. Of using power and violence to get stuff done. Of government corruption and denial. Of rape and genocide. However, I think that was lost in the Alex Cross love affair with himself. Oh, lets save these ladies from the Janjaweed and ooh now they are calling him Mohammad Ali... ::rolls eyes;::

So, I may have outgrown Alex Cross but it definitely left me feeling uneasy for those who do not have an easy and safe life that we enjoy here in the US.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Wow. Crank is about a teenage girl who goes to visit her estranged father for the summer and meets a boy who changes her entire world.

Kristina is a straight A do-gooder until her trip to Albuquerque where she meets Adam. Adam introduces her to meth, nicotine and pot. A lethal combination. She returns home to Reno with a new tattoo (whoops) and an incredible hunger for the monster. The monster has her changing her name and persona to Bree --- a badass, in so many ways that Kristina isn't. Oh the cute lifeguard at the pool? Bree will hit on him. Oh Chase, a bad boy? Him too... Kristina not so brave.

With her hunger for crank and these two boys willingness to give it to her and get what they want Bree slips further and further from her self.

I found this book to be fascinating. So fascinating that I read it in one day. The style it's written in is hard to get into, but after you do you are hooked. Much like Bree is to the crank. I think this is definitely a must read for teens and for parents. It's honest. Much better than D.A.R.E

Has anyone you know suffered from drug addiction?? It's rough.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"D" is for Deadbeat

Oh Kinsey Milhone, I hadn't had any of you in 2009 until the very end. It was not without trying but getting the "D" book from the library took a lot of work. Apparently it is popular. :)

Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone's mystery's are a fast read and give me a little mystery in my life. In D is for Deadbeat, Kinsey is contacted by a Mr. Limardo who wants her to locate Tony Gahan and give him a cashier' s check for $25,000. Kinsey is first very suspicious of his story but agrees to take on the case after his check clears of course. Which it does not. She tracks him down and realizes he is NOT Mr. Limardo, but instead John Daggett.

Kinsey tries to find Daggett to get her money and then to figure out what to do with the cashiers check. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, Daggett winds up dead. The police say accident, Kinsey says homicide. She is enlisted by Daggett's daughter to investigate. In the process Kinsey uncovers a heck of a lot of dirt on Daggett and the clues start to be dropped.

Also, she continues her flirtation with Sergeant Robb and takes stuff a little further...

I enjoyed the book. It's obviously not the best works out there but it's not heavy and a good thing to round out a year. I like to pick these up once in awhile, just like I like my Evanovich or Patterson. I really don't understand how Kinsey stays safe. Because honestly, sometimes she isn't the smartest about making choices, which reminds me of Stephanie Plum without the laugh and no Morelli or Ranger to safe the day and heat things up!

I will continue to slowly plug away at this series as the library has them available!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - The Engagement

This is a new weekly feature that I am going to host where I give out the gory details about my wedding. Because, it was a huge undertaking and by golly I should get some more mileage out of that very expensive day! I know I have shared some photos before and some I may re-share while I go through and discuss the various parts of one of the most fun days of my life.

So for installment one we have… dun dun dun… THE Engagement..

March 2nd, 2006 I had a snow day from college. It was really snowy and the roads were not good. I had to work until noon and then I had the rest of the day off. I went to Hungry Howie’s and picked up a supreme pizza and stopped by the corner store picked up a 12 pack of Killians. My now husband was busy working because he worked full-time even when we were in school. So I kept emailing/calling telling him about how much fun I was having on my snow day and how he should join me. Well he finally did around mid-afternoon and we were being really being lazy and took a 2 and a half hour nap.. We drank some Killians and had some pizza then we watched part of Never Been Kissed. Do not ask me how I got him to watch that because I have no idea.


At like 7:40 he's like we gotta get ready to go to Applebee’s and turned on music. So I turned off the TV (and he later said if I had not, he wouldn’t have proposed that night) and started getting ready. The song he put on was, "How forever feels" by Kenny Chesney. And I of course was dancing around the room like crazy, being silly, while brushing my teeth and putting on makeup. Of course the whole time during the song thinking, man I want to know how forever feels, ha ha... SO AFTER thee song he comes over to me washing my hands and took my arm and I was like can't I finish washing my hands and he said, "No, I want to know how forever feels." he got down on a knee and said.. "Will you marry me?" and I of course said OH MY GOD.. started crying, hugged him, kissed him, said I love you and then I went after the ring, which was a gorgeous white gold princess cut with 3 stones which was 1 carat. He also was a dear and had it resized before he gave it to me so I could wear it right away!

a picture of my ring soon after we were engaged

we went on spring break the week after we were engaged, and this photo is from the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee

this was also on that spring break trip.. not sure where we are

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

knocked out by my nunga-nungas

Oh my goodness, Georgia is hilarious! Her journal starts right back where she left us banned from school and a Sex God's girlfriend. I think the best part of this is her ridiculous thoughts and sentences. And the fact that she is SO selfish that I don't think her friend Jas (who she talks to a lot) ever gets a full sentence in!

In the ever mind changing pace of a teenager, while Georgia is so happy to be SG's girlfriend (swoon, and let us think about the snogging) she also may possibly like Dave the Laugh again, even though she dumped him and he was just a Red Herring. Oh boy, what to do?

Angus the cat is going through a serious love affair with the Across the Road Neighbor's vixen of a cat. There is serious discussion of removing his trouser snake addendum's to keep him away from Naomi the cat.

I also just have to share some random lines from Georgia...

My only slight worry is Rosie's theory of things growing if they get snogged (like your lips). If he goes on snogging my ears, will I get elephant ears? pg. 128

11:00 p.m
Before I went to bed I explained to the elderly snoggers (from outside the door just in case they were touching each other) that I will not in a zillion years be going on the family excursion to Scotland tomorrow and said good night. pg. 7

I have come on holiday by mistake. p.8

Georgia really is Stephanie Plum for the YA crowd! :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

McFatty Monday

McFatty Monday was started (today!) by Blair at Heir to Blair. Blair is fabulous and hilarious. She also just had a pretty darn cute baby boy named Harrison and he may be the reason she has a few pounds to lose and a few stretch marks she never wanted. And McFatty Monday was born.

This is the first day of McFatty Monday and I am going to try my hardest to have a post every Monday about my progress. *gulp*

I weighed myself today and re-logged into and set myself up again. I did a 10 minute Cardio Kickboxing Video, followed by 15 Minute Stability Ball Workout and finished with a 10 minute Day 1 New You Bootcamp Workout.

I had a yogurt, glass of water, and a large green tea for breakfast. Chicken salad and applesauce for lunch. Dinner was brown rice, veggies and sweet potato with 1/2 a glass of wine. I am finishing off my water bottle to hopefully end the day at 40 ounces of water. Possibly more. I am also thinking a glass of milk and two Thin Mints are in my future this evening.

I am going to challenge myself to a No Cheese or Pop Monday. This means I will not eat cheese or drink any pop on Monday's. I am kind of cheese addicted and I think actively eliminating it at least one day a week is a good idea! Also, I started drinking a TON of pop again in December. It went from a can every once in awhile to every day to up to maybe 3 glasses of diet coke a day over break. Yeah, not needed. So I am thinking if I can actively cut it out of Monday that is a good start!

I also am aiming at working out Monday-Friday and anything on the weekend is bonus. Using Sparkpeople I have made up a Strength Training Plan that focus on upper, lower and core depending on the day. My cardio plan is going to probably change every week because I need it too.

This week's cardio is shaping up to look like this..

Tuesday - 30 minutes on the treadmill
10 minute Day 2 New You Bootcamp Workout
Wednesday - 10 minute Day 3 New You Bootcamp
Thursday - 30 minutes on the treadmill
10 minute Day 4 New You Bootcamp
Friday - 9 minute Day 5 New You Bootcamp

I am probably going to throw in something extra on Friday, but I haven't decided yet. I plan on re-starting the 30 day shred next Monday. I really need to find different ways to incorporate the stability ball into workouts and workouts that don't take too much balance. I am clumsy. The kickboxing almost did me in today because I have no balance.

So here is to McFatty Monday's and Blair for starting it out. If you want to read other peoples stories click here. And good luck to everyone out there trying to make changes in their lives!

You Picked 'em and I'm gonna read 'em!

So after I opened up the comments and let you choose 10 books for me to read in 2010 I have now tallied the results and have a winner of Bananagrams!

The books in order of their votes....

Revolutionary Road – 5
Middlesex – 5
Water for Elephants – 5
Teacher Man - 4

The rest of the books that received votes only had one vote each... they were

The Perfect Wife
Summer Reading
Jane Austin Ruined my Life
The Bachelor
The Joy Luck Club
Agnes & the Hitman
Wednesday Sisters
Those Christmas Angels
Bridget Jones

So now I am in the dilemma of which of those to pick.. I'm not going to make my final decision quite yet but I am going to separate them from the rest so I make sure to read my 10 picked by all of you!

I am leaning towards

The Perfect Wife
Summer Reading
Jane Austin Ruined my Life
The Bachelor
The Joy Luck Club
Wednesday's Sisters

But god knows I want to read others as well.. I guess I should just get reading! Thanks for all your input!

And the winner of the Bananagrams game is Stacy from Stacy's Books! Congrats Stacy! Send me your email at pinkflipflops44 at gmail dot com and I will send you the game!!

After two votes.. the winner for January's Group Read is..

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is written by Stieg Larsson and is the first in a triology. I know my local library has at least one copy in our recent releases section and it should not be hard to come by this either thru amazon or other used and/or new bookstores!

Amazon has Publishers Weekly review which states:

Starred Review. Cases rarely come much colder than the decades-old disappearance of teen heiress Harriet Vanger from her family's remote island retreat north of Stockholm, nor do fiction debuts hotter than this European bestseller by muckraking Swedish journalist Larsson. At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden's dirty not-so-little secrets (as suggested by its original title, Men Who Hate Women), this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple: disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist, freshly sentenced to jail for libeling a shady businessman, and the multipierced and tattooed Lisbeth Salander, a feral but vulnerable superhacker. Hired by octogenarian industrialist Henrik Vanger, who wants to find out what happened to his beloved great-niece before he dies, the duo gradually uncover a festering morass of familial corruption—at the same time, Larsson skillfully bares some of the similar horrors that have left Salander such a marked woman. Larsson died in 2004, shortly after handing in the manuscripts for what will be his legacy. 100,000 first printing. (Sept.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

The other two in the series are The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

Thank you for all of your votes and patience as we had a lot of new interest this month. And thank you to those who have twittered or spotlighted me on your blog. I appreciate it! If anyone would be interested in guest posting about this month's book, be it insight, questions or a review email me at pinkflipflops44 at gmail dot com !

Later tonight I will post the 10 books I will be reading from my TBR list determined by you the readers and the winner of the Bananagrams game!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Challenges.. I'll Bite...

First, make sure you re-vote for this month's book club. There was a 3 way tie. Second of all, you have until tomorrow to leave me a list of books to read next year, and enter to win a prize!

So, I know I said a month ago that I was failing miserably at my 2009 reading goals, and I did. But as an ever hopeful optimist I am willing to do it again. I am going to make an even extra special effort since I have gotten so used to blogging about my reviews. Plus, I am guaranteed books this year, by way of our wonderful blogger book club. ;)

So, 2010 reading challenges / goals ...

Read 10 books from my TBR pile picked my lovely blog readers (hopefully, I will read these 10 plus more since I have added more to the pile already!)

A-Z Authors (So it is supposed to be new to me authors, but that's no fun. I am just going to make an effort to do the A-Z part.)

Which leads too... A-Z Titles

Books that are also movies (I want to focus on reading books and then watching the movie .. I have a list started but I don't know if I will do all of them)
Gone With the Wind
Sense & Sensibility
Great Expectations
The Bridges of Madison County
The Cider House Rules
High Fidelity
The Scarlet Letter
The Jane Austen Book Club
Because of Winn-Dixie
White Oleander
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader

Participate in the Winter book Challenge from (I know I won't complete it, but I want to participate)

And the one I've attempted the last 2 years.. Read 100 books (I know this is doable, but when I set goals I tend to not achieve them.. but this year I will do this.. I will I will..)

I also want to try to read more non-fiction and more classics. I think I can incorporate all of these goals in the direction my reading is going and in the varying challenges, it opens up more reading possibilities. Which is good. I like reading different things!

What are your 2010 reading goals / challenges??

Friday, January 1, 2010

January's Group Read...

We had a three way tie! The poll is open until early Monday morning and I will post the winner that day...