Tag Archives: Books

Read Watch Listen | No. 4

Read-Watch-Listen-JuneI wish this installment of “Read Watch Listen” had a theme, but like my brain these days it’s a little scattered and that’s ok. Hopefully it means that there’s something here for everyone, whether you enjoy witty parenting stories, beautiful cinematography with crazy characters or the beautiful sound of the mandolin. And if not, well it’s just a glimpse into what’s been catching my attention lately.

READ // Bringing Up Bebe – I bought this book months ago when I saw that Kathleen had read it in preparation for her little man to arrive. There are, of course, a lot of stereotypes and overstatements in this account of an American raising her children in France all the while trying to learn the art of french parenting, but I think there are some really great take-aways too. I don’t have enough space here to share all my thoughts on this book, but if you are starting a family or think you might one day start a family, it’s a great and insightful read. I think it will definitely have an effect on our parenting style (Phil is reading it now).

WATCH // The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson does not disappoint. The story is hilarious, the cast of characters perfect and I loved seeing Ralph Fiennes play a role like M. Gustave. If you can still see this where you are, see it!

LISTEN // Sarah Jarosz – I stumbled across this artist on a mix playlist and immediately began searching for more of her music. She is one talented lady with a beautifully perfect, yet relaxing voice and intricate but calming instrumentation. Music like this inspires me to slow down and really enjoy the small moments in life.


Top Picks: Young-Adult Fiction

Young-Adult-SeriesI read my fair share of classic novels and non-fiction books, but recently I have really been enjoying the imaginative and thrilling worlds, not to mention easy-reading, found in a lot of  young adult books. It’s been a welcome escape during busy times or on vacations when I’ve just wanted to get lost in an all-consuming story and because the writing is typically not as complex, I turn the pages so quickly that I get that satisfaction of having completed another book.

I say that I recently got into reading young-adult literature, but really it all started back in high school when I was transported to Hogwarts to follow along the journey of a certain wizard named Harry Potter. I can still remember the day when the final book was released. I was working in DC at the time and had reserved a copy at the book store down the street. I spent my lunch hour on a bench devouring as much as I could before I had to go back to work.

Since then I’ve read many different YA series, most of them recommended to me by friends, family or Phil (his favorite is the Garth Nix trilogy). For me, venturing into the young-adult or teen section of the library or book store makes me feel a bit out of place…and old, and because the book covers tend to look pretty cheesy, I never know what to pick up if I’m just browsing. So I like to request my books online from the privacy of my home, based on recommendations from those I trust. In case that’s also how you roll too, here is my list of “Top Picks” for young-adult fiction (in no particular order):

  1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  3. His Dark Materials (most recognizable by the 1st book “The Golden Compass”) by Philip Pullman
  4. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
  5. Abhorsen by Garth Nix
  6. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  7. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

Happy Reading!

Read Watch Listen | No. 3

Read-Watch-Listen-FebruaryWhile I enjoy reading non-fiction, watching PBS documentaries and listening to some classical piano, sometimes it’s nice to just be a kid and enjoy books, movies and music that just make you feel good!  That’s just what I’ve been doing.

READ // Divergent – If you liked the Hunger Games, you will love this new YA series. It’s going to be made into a movie next month so you better hurry. But don’t worry, it won’t take you long to finish it. I think I read all 500 pages in a couple of days.

WATCH // Despicable Me 2 – I have my sister to thank for this recommendation. I laughed so hard the first time we saw it that I had to own it myself. Minions. Enough said.

LISTEN // Happy – I’m always rolling my eyes at my husband’s eclectic music choices, but this one needs no eye rolling. And it’s from Despicable Me 2!  Give it a listen. You’ll be Happy!

Reading Routine

I-love-readingIf you follow me on goodreads, no doubt you’ve seen my status updates and ever-growing list of books I want to read…someday. With everything I have going on, or should I say with all the hobbies I have going on, it’s by no accident that I am able to finish as many books as I do.
reading-3-waysYep, that’s me. And no, I’m not actually reading two books simultaneously while listening to an audio book, but you get the idea. This is my plan of attack: the kindle for when I’m on-the-go (i.e. lives in my purse), a library book for the evenings (usually just before bed), and audible for my commute. I used to think that reading multiple books at the same time would be confusing, but it’s really not. And especially when each book is in a different medium, it’s easier to keep them separated in my mind too. Do I finish more books this way than if I just completely immersed myself in one book at a time? I like to think so, because I don’t think I would remember to pack my library book each day before leaving the house and I certainly wouldn’t be reading while I’m driving.

Having a routine for a leisurely activity like reading might seem a little too rigid, but it works for me. There are so many books that I want to read and learn from, that if this gets me a little closer to getting through that list, I’ll take the routine.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin

What’s your reading routine? Do you use a kindle for when you’re on-the-go or audio books? Do you read every night before bed?

Reading Recap {2012}

At the start of 2012, I set what I thought would be an ambitious reading goal for the year – 18 books – or a book and a half a month.  And now, to hold myself accountable, I’m reporting on my results.  In 2012 I came in oh so close at 17 books.  When I think back on everything that took place in 2012, I am pretty happy with those results.  For 2013, I think I’ll keep my goal at 18 books with every intention of meeting or exceeding it this year!

Here’s my 2012 reading list.  If you have any suggestions for me for 2013, please share them in the comments!  And for real-time updates on what I’m reading throughout the year, follow me on goodreads.


1.  Hunting and Gathering – Anna Gavalda
2.  The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
3.  The House of the Scorpion – Nancy Farmer
4.  Born to Run – Christopher McDougall
5.  Crafty Superstar – Grace Dobush
6.  The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
7.  Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout
8.  The 4-Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss
9.  Wife 22 – Melanie Gideon
10.  No Flour No Sugar Diet – Peter Gott
11.  Then Again – Diane Keaton
12.  1Q84 – Haruki Murakami
13.  Cupcakes and Cashmere – Emily Schuman
14.  7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess – Jen Hatmaker
15.  Bossypants – Tina Fey
16.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
17.  The Forgotten Garden – Kate Morton

30 before 30

{via pinterest}

I had every intention of publishing this post yesterday, but since it was my birthday I decided to celebrate instead with a big ol’ slice of pizza!  It’s the one thing I’ve missed the most since giving up sugar and flour and I decided that it was the perfect excuse to give into the craving.

I bring up my birthday because this concept of a 30 before 30 list is driven by the milestone that I celebrate every 22nd of October.  Yes, the title sounds a lot like 30 x 30 but I promise it has nothing to do with remixing my wardrobe (though I am tempted to take on a fall/winter challenge).  30 before 30 is sort of like a modified bucket list focused on squeezing every last bit of energy out of your twenties.  It’s simple…make a list of 30 things you want to accomplish by the time you turn 30!  You can start it at any point.  I’m starting with two years to go, and while that seems like plenty of time, I’m sure it will fly by and I’ll really have to monitor my progress or else October 22, 2014 will be here and I’ll have nothing to show for it.  This is, of course, not all I will do between now and then – if you know me at all you know I will always have a project, a challenge and a list in process – but this is the big picture for the next 2 years:

  1. Find my signature cocktail and learn how to make it
  2. Run a 1/2 marathon
  3. Ride in GOBA with my husband, father-in-law and sister-in-law (can you tell I married into a cycling family?)
  4. Become a home owner
  5. Visit Las Vegas
  6. Memorize a poem (probably this one)
  7. Yarn bomb
  8. Compose music and lyrics with my husband
  9. Complete a sprint triathlon (or this)
  10. Refinish/refurbish a piece of furniture
  11. Buy the perfect little black dress
  12. Learn to make my mother’s strawberry jam
  13. Meet a fellow blogger in person
  14. Take a grant-writing course
  15. Be a guest speaker
  16. Start a business (an etsy shop counts)
  17. Sing at an open-mic night
  18. Go zip-lining
  19. Take my husband to NYC and see a Broadway show
  20. Go scuba diving (completed Feb. 2013)
  21. Learn to ski
  22. Publish a knitting pattern
  23. Take a pole dancing fitness lesson
  24. Read Anna Karenina
  25. Be a guest blogger
  26. See a movie by myself
  27. Stay at a Bed and Breakfast
  28. Spend time at Lake Tahoe
  29. Go rock-climbing (indoor or outdoor)
  30. Knit a sweater for myself

This list was not easy to put together and I’m still second-guessing myself on a few.  Have you ever considered a 30 before 30 list or something similar to mark a milestone in your life?