Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blog reading

Several weeks ago I posted about some book blogs that I enjoy reading. So today, I thought I'd sit down and mention some favorite non-book blogs. The funny thing about that -- I realized how many non-book blogs I visit occasionally, and how few I read regularly. I started thinking about how much I enjoy the blogs I do read, and how maybe I should broaden my blog-reading horizon (except who has time for that?). That said, here are a few of my favorites that I visit on a regular basis:

Run Tess Run
Tess writes about running and yoga and her family and just life in general. She is funny and smart and I feel like reading her blog is like sitting down and having chat over a cup of coffee.

Erin is a busy lady! She's a teacher, business owner, knitter, and seamstress. So I always love to get a little peak into what she's up to. Plus, our husbands have the same name

The Listener
Lorie writes amazingly thoughtful essays. I'd try to pin down what they're about, but they're about all kinds of different things. Self-doubt, holidays, memories, exercise, job hunting. Basically she talks about things that are on her mind, things she observes, things that catch her attention.

Lottie and Doof
Full disclosure: I have only made and probably only will make a few recipes from this site. But it is gorgeous, and the recipes I have made from it are amazing. If you love food blogs this is a great one.

Homesick Texan
Yummy, yummy, yummy. That's all there is to it. A word of warning: read this blog with snacks handy, because it will make you hungry.

Smitten Kitchen
Speaking of hungry....I don't visit this site all the time, but it is a great resource for recipes of all kinds. Mostly, I've used it for pies, but everything looks amazing.

Alpha Mom
Great resources from a variety of contributors. There's something for every parent on this site. And if you need a laugh, check out the Pregnancy Calendar. Hi.larious.

Jen Hatmaker
Thoughful, funny, warm. She's even more fun to follow on facebook. Now I just need to go read one of her actual books.

Looking at this list, I see I could definitely use some variety. So I'm open to new reading! Got any blogs...about anything!... that you enjoy visiting on a semi-regular basis?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Reading...Bright Before Sunrise

Bright Before Sunrise Bright Before Sunrise, by Tiffany Schmidt, is an all-it-takes-is-one-day-to-change-your-life stories. 
Brighton Waterford has, in her own words, turned "behaving into a science." Since her dad died when she was 12, Brighton has made it her job to make her dad proud by being nice...by joining the clubs he joined...by doing all the things she should. And it isn't until she spends most of one evening and late into the night with Jonah Prentiss that she realizes how superficial, bottled up, and lifeless she's truly become.  
Jonah Prentiss is a baseball rock star whose life is shattered when his mom has an affair with his physical therapist, getting pregnant, divorced, remarried to the therapist, and moving Jonah to the posh suburb of Cross Point in the middle of his senior year. Jonah is angry at his mom, angry at her new husband, angry at his dad (who blamed Jonah for the divorce and moved to Florida), and simply biding his time until he can leave the soulless streets of Cross Point for college...and anywhere else. Until he ends up spending most of the evening and late into the night with vanilla-ice-cream Brighton Waterford, and discovers that maybe there is something great in Cross Point after all. And maybe it's time he accepted his "now" and lived life moving forward, not backward. 
And, of course, there's chemistry and sparks and swoon. But it's about beginning a relationship where the two people challenge each other and bring out the best in each other. It's a well-written story with two dynamic protagonists. The story takes place over the course of one day and night, and definitely lends itself to being read all at once. I have to say that even I was able to devour it in about a day (I may have stayed up past my bedtime to finish). 
Bottom line: if you're in the mood for a quick, fun read or some well-written teen romance with great characters and hidden depth, pick this one up.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Five points to Gryffindor

Well, the never-ending scarf is finished! I probably could have made it a bit longer, but overall I'm pretty happy with it. Hopefully the recipient will be as well!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Today, we interrupt our (not at all) regularly scheduled programming to talk about something that I am currently obsessed with. It's not a t.v. show, it's not a book, it's not a movie, not a web site, not a blog (which reminds me I need to do another blogs-I-like post), not a band....no, but it's something pretty aweseome.


I'm going through what I've decided to term the Season of Cereal. What should I have for breakfast? Cereal. Time for a snack? Cereal. Don't feel like cooking dinner? Cereal.

I tend to go for non-super-sugary cereals, so things like Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Kashi GoLean, Raisin Bran, and Grape Nuts are currently in the rotation. It's like comfort food I don't have to cook. Easy on the tummy, so good at any time of day. A little protein, a little carbs...perfect. Throw some berries or bananas on top...extra perfect.

It's perhaps not the healthiest habbit, but hey, I could be eating ice cream and at least cereal is usually fortified with a few vitamins and has some fiber in there too. I'm sure I'll outgrow this phase soon...or not. :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Reading things

I think I've pretty well broken-recorded the fact that my reading pace has slowed at the moment, but I'm still finding time to breeze my way through the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. I think I'm on book five right now, and still enjoying them. I keep telling myself I should take a break and read something else, but one book just flows so seamlessly to the next. Hubby did the same thing when he read them a few months ago, so I shouldn't really be surprised. 

I've also just put Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch on my phone to listen to when I need a little kitchen-cleaning/cooking/knitting/walking entertainment. It's the third Gentlemen Bastards book, and I've neglected reading it for too long. These books are so great, in case you haven't read them.

After the successful (eventual) reading of a non-fiction book this year, I've decided to pick up another non-fiction book to work through. As a bonus, this goes along with what I learned in The Accidental Creative about being intentional in your consumption of media/entertainment/inspiration. So, Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott will take up residence on my bedside table. I've had this book for years, and it's always one recommended to writers or aspiring writers. I'm a little embarrassed to admit I haven't read it yet, but that will soon be remedied! 

Happy reading!

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Short Friday List

Today, I'm excited because:

1. There's sunshine! I actually like rain and rainy days, and don't really mind gray days (in fact, I've been known to wish for a rainy day now and then). But for some reason the past few weeks of cloudy and sometimes rainy weather have gotten to me. Maybe it's the difference of being a stay-at-home mom. I miss my neighborhood walks! Regardless, it's a treat to see the sunshine today.

2. I'm making an apple skillet cake this weekend. We're celebrating my mother-in-law's birthday, and I'm making an apple cake that is so good! Apples and butter carmelize in the bottom of a cast iron skillet then you pour a spice cake batter on top and bake it all to deliciousness.

3. I ordered a new tea kettle today! I love my electric tea kettle, but the automatic shut off is no longer shutting off, and I'm pretty sure if I don't replace it I'll burn the house down one day.

4. I am so, so close to finishing my scarf project that I started last fall. A friend of mine asked me to knit a Harry Potter Gryffindor scarf for his fiance. I found a really cool, very authentic-looking pattern and I realize I'm a slow knitter, but it's taken me a lot longer then I thought it would to finish. I've got my next project scoped out -- sadly not finishing my current works-in-progress, but starting some Christmas stockings. Since I started knitting I've had a dream of knitting Christmas stockings, and now that there's a little one in the mix, it feels like I should get on that. Maybe I can at least have her stocking done by Christmas!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Reading...Accidental Creative

The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice A good friend of mine who knows how I struggle with maintaining consistency in my writing recommended The Accidental Creative, by Todd Henry. Henry's definition of a "creative" is pretty broad: anyone who makes a living with their mind. "Every day, you solve problems, innovate, develop systems, design things, write, think, and strategize." As anyone who falls into this broad category of creative can testify to, it's impossible to be excellent and in top form one hundred percent of the time, yet we often put undue stress on ourselves to do just that. Our job is dependent on our ability to produce, and the default is often to just work harder, or longer, or try and muscle our way to success. 
In The Accidental Creative, Henry seeks to give people an alternative way of working, to help them develop a rhythm to work and life that creates an environment in which creativity can thrive. Henry takes a whole-life approach to this rhythm -- what we do away from work has an incredible impact on our work, and our work has an impact on our ability to enjoy the rest of our non-work life. The book starts out identifying problems inherent in creative work, then lays out the components and method to developing a life rhythm to foster creativity, excellence, innovation, and ultimately creative satisfaction.

Although this book is targeted to people who are creative for a living (which I am not at the moment), there are a lot of principles, tips, and ideas that I think anyone can benefit from. Henry talks about being intentional with our time and relationships, being proactive rather than reactive. He advocates making time to check in with ourselves on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis, evaluating upcoming projects, events, and goals so that we can plan ahead and be prepared.

Bottom line, this is a well-written, thoughtful book about opening up creativity in our lives and going after what you want. Hopefully I can begin to apply a few of the activities and principles he lays out soon.