Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 08 – Most overrated book

Day 08 - Most Overrated Book

There is a book, which is considered a "classic", that I despise with the fire of 1000 suns. I had to read it in high school, I had to read it TWICE in college. It is considered one of the great "romances". I HATE THIS BOOK!

This book is Wuthering Heights. There is nothing, and I mean, NOTHING, romantic about this ridiculous book. This book is about the weird, dysfunctional, incestual relationship between a bunch of weird hillbillies living in the moors of I don't even know where. I really didn't like Twilight, and one of the main reasons I really didn't like Twilight is that somehow, Wuthering Heights was made out to be this great romance. No. Nothing about this book is romantic. Ugh. I can't even describe to you how much I hate this book.

This book makes me so mad, I can't even write a synopsis. This is what goodreads' has to say, "An intriguing tale of revenge in which the main characters are controlled by consuming passions." I'm not even putting up a picture of the cover because I don't want it to taint my blog.  Pin It

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Silent Sunday

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

What I'm Reading...

I'm about halfway through A Storm of Swords, which is the fourth book in the Song of Fire and Ice (aka Game of Thrones) series. I like it, although not as much as the first two. There's so many characters to keep track of that I find myself having to google character's names to make sure I'm remembering their storyline correctly. I also feel like George is trying to make me dislike one of my favorite characters, and I refuse. I've been realizing it is more and more treacherous to become attached to a character. He will kill any of them. Hopefully I'll like the last half a bit more than the first.

I just finished reading The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. It is set in 1890's NYC when the elite were still written up in the gossip columns of legitimate newspapers. It stars the Holland sisters, the elder Elizabeth who is prim, proper and perfect and the younger Diana who is rambunctious, troublemaking, and feisty. The story begins with Elizabeth's funeral, then back to when she was alive, all the way to her death. The book portrays the disparages between the elite and the lower classes. You can see how at that time, the differences began to dissolve. I did enjoy this book but I thought it could have been much better written. There are three more books in the series. I'll probably read them eventually but they aren't at the top of my to-read list.

I'm not going to lie, I read this book based on the cover. I am totally guilty of judging books by their cover. It usually works out in my favor. But seriously, take a look at that dress. Gorgeous. Pin It

Blast from the Past Saturday

I thought this would be a funny idea. In addition to my Silent Sunday pictures, every Saturday I'll post a picture from my past. It should be a funny little trip down  memory lane. I already know which picture I'm doing first... cuz I'm an evil big sister....

Mwahahahhahahahhahaha. ::evil cackle:: This is my little sister in the 2nd grade. Loving the Sarah Jesse Rafael glasses. Before you feel too bad for her nerdiness, let me show you a picture of her today. 
She's totally that girl that all the boys wish they hadn't teased so much when they were little. My sister is gorgeous. I am so jealous. Love you Toni Baloney!! Pin It

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene

So apparently Hurricane Irene is coming my way. I'm a little nervous but we are all stocked up on food. The hubby isn't concerned in the least. CJ loves the rain, so I'm sure he'll think it is hilarious. If the storm does come, I will probably be bringing the baby into bed with me to snuggle. Just one less thing for me to worry about. Our building is made of pretty solid concrete, so I'm pretty sure it can hold up to some wind. My in-laws house might blow away though... I'm on the coast of Massachusetts so I'm right in the middle of the 80mph-70mph zone. We'll see.

So how about all of you? Is Hurricane Irene making an appearance at your house? What are you doing to prepare? Pin It

Most underrated book - Wideacre

Day 07 - Most Underrated Book

A lot of people are big fans of historical fiction author Philippa Gregory. Her biggest hits are her Tudor series, mostly centering on the Boleyns, which starts (time-wise) with The Constant Princess. The most famous of the series is obviously The Other Boleyn Girl. I think the most underrated book is from her Wideacre series. I'm a big fan of the first one called surprisingly Wideacre.

The book series follows the Lacey family. Wideacre begins the series with Beatrice Lacey. She's beautiful and strong-minded and desperate to escape the constrictions imposed on her in the 18th century. Knowing that once she is wed, she will lose herself as well as her home, she goes to drastic measures to ensure her ancestral heritage. She will use seduction, betrayal, murder, and even incest to get what she wants. The book will keep you riveted the entire time. The series continues with The Favored Child and Meridon. I think that I actually began the series with The Favored Child and then went back to Wideacre.

These books were my first introduction to the wonderful world of Philippa Gregory. She has the most amazing ability to bring you back in time. She can make you feel pity for the most vile of humans and hate the most innocent. She is just a wonderful author. I recommend almost any of her books. Pin It

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

York Animal Kingdom

Today we took CJ to York Animal Kingdom which I think is in New Hampshire. It's a really cute zoo. We went to the Stone Zoo a week or two ago and it was a really sad zoo. This zoo was much bigger and better. CJ had taken Benadryl about an hour before we got there so he was a little discombobulated for a big part of the experience.
CJ loves the elephant from afar. 
He loved the goats. His new thing is saying "baaaa" when you baaa like a sheep, so he was "baaaa"ing the goats. So funny. There was this tiny little baby monkey that I wanted to take home so bad. He was just about the size of my hand and was being crazy. He climbed to the top of the enclosure and the mama monkey goes over to the dad and the dad looks up. You could almost hear him saying "HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU NOT TO CLIMB UP THERE?!" as he goes and pulls him down. It was hilarious. We fed some deer and some of the goats. We saw a bear pacing back and forth in his cage which just kind of made me sad. But all in all, it was a fun day.
Up close, not so much!

Smiling at all the ladies.
Chasing the ducks
Being held back from diving in with the ducks
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Still sewing

Paisley re-usable shopping bag
CJ baby pirate bunting
I can't believe how well I'm doing with this whole sewing with a sewing machine thing. It's amazing. I've done two more projects from the online home ec class and here they are:

I've learned how to make Xes on bag straps to make them stronger, how to sew circles, how to shape circles with fabric and all kinds of neat tricks. Next project is a bit more complicated since I have to sew through vinyl but we'll see. Pin It

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Can Sew!!

No really, I can!!

I just finished the first project in the on-line home ec class, a drawstring gift pouch. I used some pirate-y fabric I've had for a while, so I decided to make the pouch for the bambino's little toys. Here's the end result...

I am so darn proud of myself :) Pin It

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Home Ec

I just signed up for the Home Ec class from I'm super excited. It's not really "Home Ec", it's how to sew and use your sewing machine and all that. The class is a go at your own pace course. Everything is laid out in explicit detail with images. They give you a bunch of projects that teach the techniques. The projects are gorgeous themselves. They even teach you how to hem jeans (important since the hubby walks on his jeans) and how to re-purpose clothes. It's $50 for the course. I already feel like it's worth it and I haven't even turned on the machine yet.

I have a computerized Brother sewing machine I bought in South Korea. I have never even turned it on. Until my mom was visiting in July, I never even took it out of the box. I see all these awesome crafty things that people sew and I want to do that too!! It would broaden my crafting horizons tenfold.

So far, I love the course. They break everything down Barney-style. I have been staring at the sewing machine for 3 years just boggled by everything on it. Then I watched Leigh-Ann's tutorial on filling a bobbin and threading the needle, and now it seems REALLY easy. This alone made the $50 worth it. Well, I'm about to plug it in and try it myself. I'll let you know how it goes.

HOLY CRAP I CAN SEW!! I figured out how to thread a bobbin, thread my machine, and stitch foward and backwards. This is AWESOME! I tried to take a picture of my work, but it didn't come out. Once I finish one of the projects I'll post a picture. Yay! Pin It

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A book that makes you sad - The Outsiders

Easy. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. This is the most beautiful, saddest book I've ever read. There's a certain part (you know it if you've read it) that makes me cry every. single. time. I'm not talking little tears. I'm talking body-wracking sobs of despair. I've always been amazed that this book was written by a teenager. I'm 27 and I have a hard time writing this blog, let alone an actual legitimate book.

The book centers around Ponyboy, his brothers Sodapop and Darry, and their gang of friends. They are members of a gang known as "greasers" and their enemies are the preppy uptown kids, known as the "Socs" for "socialites". The two groups only interact to fight each other in what they call "skinfights". This all changes one night when Ponyboy and his friends meet Cherry, the girlfriend of one of the Socs. No, this isn't a romance. They don't fall in love and everyone lives happily ever after. But through their interaction, Ponyboy has to grow up just a little bit. The consequences of befriending Cherry greatly affect his life and the lives of everyone around them.

"Stay gold Ponyboy. Stay gold." Aaaand commence tears.

Ps. My baby sister read this in high school. She remembered that I had read it over and over again and cried every time. She read the entire book waiting to burst into tears. When she never did, she called me asking what the heck had made me cry so bad. Therefore, my sister has no soul.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

A book that makes you happy - The Three Musketeers

Day 05 - A book that makes you happy.

I'm going to go with The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

I used to be slightly obsessed with Alexandre Dumas, pere. In 7th grade French class, I dressed as him (complete with a mustache) and gave a lecture on the importance of reading great literature. I've probably read this book twenty times since I was young. I started off with the children's illustrated classics version, eventually got to the actual book, and I've even read it twice in French. It has everything an adventure should have: a villainous cardinal, a beautiful maiden, a conspiring vixen. Then there's the amazing swashbuckling heroes D'artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. I've always been a little bit in love with the character Athos. His story is the most interesting of the series. Not everyone knows this, but there are actually sequels to The Three Musketeers. There is Twenty Years AfterThe Vicomte de BragelloneLouise de la Valliere, and finally The Man in the Iron Mask. There is also Ten Years after, which comes between Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragellone, but it isn't really a stand-alone book. It is actually kind of confusing and seems like it is just filler. I recommend these books for kids of all ages. Children should definitely read them for their exciting adventures. Adults will love them again when they re-read them and find all the subtle little dirty jokes thrown in. Pin It

Baby Blues

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Favorite book of your favorite series - Seduction of the Crimson Rose

Day 04 - Favorite book of your favorite series...

I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to give you my favorite book from the series I mentioned in day three (the Gemma Doyle trilogy), but since this is my blog and I can write what I want, I'm not going to. I'm going to give you my favorite book from the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig.

There are currently nine books in the series (one is yet to be published). The books concern spies during the Napoleonic wars a la The Scarlet Pimpernel. They go back and forth between present day with Eloise Kelly to the past. Eloise is a Harvard grad student determined to write her final thesis on a series of spies related to the Selwick family. She gets access to their secret archives and meets a mysterious heir to the Selwick family, Colin (yum!). At the archives, she settles in to read a little bit from letters and miscellany, and all of a sudden.... we are in London 1803.

In London, we follow the exploits of the mysterious Pink Carnation, Scarlet Pimpernel and Purple Gentian. The stories manage to combine history with mystery and romance. They are all really good.

My favorite however, is The Seduction of the Crimson Rose. This is the fourth book in the series. I think perhaps this is my favorite because who doesn't love a rake? I mean really. The rake in this book is the devilish spy Lord Vaughn (again, yum!) and Mary Alsworthy, whose sister just accidentally stole her suitor. (In her sister's defense, it was an accident AND Mary deserved it.) Lord Vaughn uses Mary to trick the mysterious Black Tulip, who prefers raven-haired petals to his tulip. Another reason I liked this one the most is that Mary has a lot of spunk for a girl in Victorian times. I definitely recommend this series. I'd start with the first one, but I think they could be read out of order if you are so inclined. Pin It

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I apologize for being gone for the last few days. Nothing special has really been going on. I've just been working on the syllabi for the English classes I'll be teaching. It's for a home-school co-op like I mentioned before, so I get to come up with the curriculum completely on my own.

The bambino has been a great big grump the last few days. I have no idea why. He doesn't seem to be getting any teeth but he won't stop whining and just driving everyone crazy. He also has been nursing like crazy. Maybe it is a growth spurt. Tomorrow we'll be taking him to a zoo for the first time, so that should be fun.

I've been reading the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater. I am actually surprised at how much I like it. I have been reading them one after the other. I have a feeling I'm not going to like the ending, but I'll give a full review later. I'm also reading the third Song of Fire and Ice book. Pin It

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Double Stuffed Baby

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Your favorite series - The Gemma Doyle Trilogy

Day 03 – Your favorite series

This is one is a toughie. ObviouslyHarry Potter and my newest obsession The Song of Fire and Ice series are high up there in my heart. But, I'm going to go with the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. 

The first in the trilogy is called A Great and Terrible Beauty. I'm the worst for this, but I totally judge a book by its cover. And LOOK AT THIS COVER! It's gorgeous. The second I saw it I said yep, I'm reading that. And I did. And it was awesome. 

The book centers around a girl named (obviously) Gemma Doyle and it is set in Victorian times. Gemma has been raised in India, but is sent back "home" to England to attend a boarding school after her mother's death. At Spence, the boarding school, she discovers secrets about her mother's former life and forces herself into the "cool girl" clique. Gemma begins to receive visions, one of which leads her and the other girls to an other-worldly realm. Gemma discovers that she has been followed from India by a boy named Kartik (oh Kartik. Be still my heart.) Experiencing magic and amazing power, the girls find it hard to go back to being simple Victorian women expected to live simple lives as wives and mothers. They also learn that magic doesn't come without a price. 

After I read this book, I went out and devoured the next two books, Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing. I cried my eyes out when I got to the end. Not only was the ending wonderful and terrible at the same time, I simply didn't want it to end. I didn't want that to be it. I wanted to continue life with Gemma, Pippa, Felicity and Ann. I wanted to see how they grew up and whether they had children and did their children go to Spence and did they do magic too?! I also wanted to take Kartik out of the book and love him forever and ever and ever. He's definitely in my top 10 literary crushes. I actually lost these books somewhere in my many moves and just went out and bought them all again in hardcover so that I could re-read them someday. 

I highly recommend this book. It's good historical fiction, girly fiction, feminist fiction, young adult fiction, etc. It's just plain good fiction. Pin It

Happy Breastfeeding Week!!

This week is World Breastfeeding Week! Woohooo! CJ and I are still going strong with the nursing at 1 year, 1 month. It was a rough start, but we are still trucking. I had all the normal problems in the beginning. He wouldn't latch, I didn't have enough milk to keep him happy, etc. Add to that the fact that we were separated for 3 days will I was in the ICU and that the nurse on the day I came back told me it was going to be too hard and to just give up. :( I was a sad mama. Then the day we left the hospital, I was waiting for Craig to bring the car around front and CJ started crying. I didn't have anything with me so I figured I'd give it one more try. He latched on like a champ and the rest is history. :) I love my little bambino.

Let me just say this. I am really happy and proud that I was able to breastfeed. This does not mean that I judge people that don't. What you do with your boobies is your business. Don't breastfeed? Fine with me. Breastfeed until age 5? Fine with me. I don't know when CJ and I will stop, but it won't be until he and I are ready.

Check out this hilarious blog post called 10 Things about Boob Feeding for a little more truth about breastfeeding. I could not stop cracking up.

Tell me about your breastfeeding journey. Was it hard? Easy? Any tips for new moms? Pin It

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A book that you’ve read more than 3 times - Gone with the Wind

Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times

There's actually a few that I've read more than once, but the one I've probably read the most times is Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. 

I don't think I need to expand much on what Gone with the Wind is, but in case you've lived under a rock since 1936... The book centers on a spoiled Southern belle named Scarlett O'Hara and her experiences before, during, and after the American Civil War. Since I first read it in elementary school (seriously, I did, because it is also my favorite movie), I've probably read it maybe 15 times? Like I said, the movie is my favorite, but I love the book even more. The movie pretty much sticks to the same story, but changes a few details. Those are either major or minor details depending on your view of the book. My favorite character from the book is Mammy. She is a "house slave" that is owned by the O'Haras. She is extremely dedicated to the family, especially to Scarlett. She also has some of the funniest lines in the whole book. The book shows a different way that slaves were treated than you'd normally think. After they are freed, many of the O'Hara's slaves continue to stay at the plantation. Mammy stays with Scarlett until the very end of the book. When the book was released, many Southerners were upset with Margaret Mitchell for her portrayal of the South. Certain things just weren't expected to be talked about and then she went and put it all in a book. I would recommend it to fans of war novels, historical fiction, fiction, romance, adventure, etc. The book has something for everyone. Pin It

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cleopatra's Daughter Review

Day 01 – The best book you read this year

This is actually a really hard decision. Also, it's only August 3rd, so who knows what the rest of the year may bring. I also had to go back to my 2011 reading challenge on goodreads to see what I had read this year. 

I'm going to go with Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran. As you can tell from the title, the book is about Cleopatra Selene, the only daughter of the more famous Cleopatra. Most people forget that she even exists, let alone that she played a huge part in Egyptian, Roman, and African history. It begins with Selene, as she was known, being brought to Rome by Octavian after the deaths of her parents. She and her twin, Alexander Helios, are paraded through the streets of Rome as war captives. They are then taken to the home of Octavian's sister and their father Marc Antony's "true" wife, Octavia. There they are raised as true Roman citizens, but are unable to completely fit in and forget where they come from. The story follows Selene as she grows into a beautiful and formidable young woman. 

I would definitely recommend this to fans of historical fiction. Michelle Moran has an amazing way of putting you right there in the story. After I finished this book, I immediately went to the library and checked out her other books: The Heretic Queen and Nefertiti. I had to wait a little while for Madame Tussaud to come out but I devoured that as soon as I could too. She made Cleopatra Selene so real for me that I couldn't stop reading about her. As soon as I finished all of Michelle Moran's books, I went out and found Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray, as well as the Sphinx's Princess series about Nefertiti by Esther M. Friesner, and the Numinous World series by Jo Graham which  concerns various people from this time period.  Pin It