Friday Book Review

apartment therapy

You won’t believe how gorgeous this book is. I can honestly say I looked at every single page with joy. Although the title might have you think this book is about apartments, it is not. The book showcases homes all across the nation.

The layout and photography in this book are so pleasing to look at. I also really enjoyed all the hints for a happier home. These pages offered great tips and advice for homeowners.

The book is composed of three parts. Part one is setting up your home. Part two is living in your home. And, part three is maintaining your home. At the end of the book there is: meet the homeowners, resources, acknowledgments, and an index.

In the introduction the authors tell the reader, “we want to put everything we’ve learned about decorating, organizing, cleaning, and repairs between two covers you can hold in your hands.” I think anyone that reads this book will be happy that they did. It’s a well written, helpful, and gorgeous book.

This book would make a great gift for yourself or anyone else who loves beautiful, creative, well-designed homes.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Changes Are Coming

Happy Wednesday!

I want to thank everyone that follows my blog and reads my posts on a regular basis. I started my blog nine months ago. It was nerve racking at first. I wasn’t sure what to write or what I was doing. I just knew I wanted to try it. I can honestly say I love my little blog.

Having said that though, I want to always be growing and open to change. I think being consistent is important, but I also think things can get boring if they become too much of a routine.

As you know I post three times a week. That might be a bit much, especially book reviews every Friday. I actually like the challenge, but need to be honest about the time and effort it takes to read a book every week. My husband likes to tease me about this. Especially when I am trying to finish a book review just so I can get another complimentary book.

I am posting my usual book review this Friday, and then I am taking the same break that my kids get from school: Dec. 18th through Jan. 4th. I want to focus on family and friends as well as taking time to think about my blog and website. Things are picking up with my freelance writing and this is exciting! I also believe I may be teaching several college classes this coming year. I might also be doing some coaching/consulting for individuals who need help with their presentation skills.

Everything will unfold, and I am looking forward to seeing what comes about. I want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a new year full of more blessing than you can count.



Fun Finds From the Web

I think we all struggle with the concept that we don’t have enough time to do all that we need to do. Check out this article on that subject. I thought she made some very valid points.

One of my sisters shared this link with me: 39 stocking stuffers that will actually be appreciated, don’t feel like a waste of money, and won’t be broken/destroyed/forgotten by New Years.

I found this from Penguin Random House: Books For Everyone On Your List.

For most of us, the holiday season involves lots of cooking and baking. Here are several sites that I think are fun and very helpful.

Christmas Menu Plan from Recipe Girl

Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (one of my daughters wants to make these!)

Here is a gift guide for foodies from Food52

Terrific Christmas cookie recipes from Recipe Girl

And, 5 Christmas Breakfasts Everyone Will Wake Up For from bon appetite

Speaking of food, I made Chile-Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Rice this past Saturday. I modified the recipe a bit (just the rice – I cooked the rice all the way and added the cilantro pesto, no chicken broth). It was delicious! I will definitely make this again.

I am writing this on Sunday afternoon and waiting to see if we get the five to ten inches of snow that is predicted. We have a fire roaring in the fireplace and one of my daughters is making s’mores. Dogs are relaxing by the fire and some of my family are curled up reading. I’ll be joining them shortly.  It’s a really nice afternoon.

Have a wonderful week!


Friday Book Review


I have never read anything by Ellen Hopkins. She is known for writing YA books in verse. Each chapter starts with a poem written by the character the chapter is about. Then the rest of the chapter is written in verse. The writing flows and the reader goes with that flow.  The author tackles real life, incredibly tough situations that teens can find themselves in.

Tricks is about five teenagers from different walks of life who are all on paths that take them to some pretty dark places. Each person has their own tale to tell.

There are three girls and two boys. Each have endearing qualities that pull the reader in. Circumstances make each teen more or less leave home and go on paths that lead to some form of prostitution.

I found myself hoping beyond hope that things would turn around for each one of them. By the end, there is a shimmer of hope that things will turn around and be okay.

It’s tough reading at times, and even tougher, to realize these stories are a reality for teens today. At times the writing is very graphic, harsh, and hard to read. As I read it, I wondered what teens would think while reading it. I’m not sorry I read it, but I can’t say I’d like to read anything like it again real soon. I would read other works from this author. I believe she started off writing nonfiction. I think it’s important to read all different kinds of books.



It’s Not Too Late

A couple of weeks ago one of my sisters asked me how I had done on my New Year’s Resolutions for 2015. I told her I didn’t know because I hadn’t checked my list for a while. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure where the list was!

I found my list and I am happy to report all is well. I had met most of my goals with the exception of one, which was to get through a 700 page book on metaphysics. I had forgotten I even made that goal. I found the book and looked where I had last read. Good news! I was on page 312. I looked at how many days were left until the end of the year and calculated that if I read about 10 pages a day I would finish the book. Yay, me!

So, here’s my point. If we have resolutions, goals, dreams, etc., we can accomplish them in all kinds of ways.

Sometimes I make “to do” lists and then simply cross off the things I really don’t want to do. A lot of things aren’t as important as we make them out to be. It’s our lives, we can choose quite a bit regarding what kind of life we want to have. Usually, not everything on my list is imperative.

Sometimes I make new goals or simply decide to be a peace with something I thought I needed to change.

We have only a few weeks left until 2015 comes to a close. Check your own resolutions/goals/dreams, etc. How did you do for the year? Any you want to scratch a line through? Are there some you can underline and say to yourself “Yes, I did it!!”

I am grateful my sister asked me because it encouraged me to take stock and look at what I had hoped to accomplish. I realized that sometimes things come true even when I’ve forgotten that I had written goals down. In this case, I  realized I still have time to pursue my goal.

There are days I struggle to get the pages read, but I’m betting I’ll finish. It is a goal that is important to me, and we always make time for the things that are important.

Fun Finds From the Web

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….” I’m singing aloud as I write this. We got all the Christmas decorations out this weekend and started the huge task of going through every container. This year something wonderful happened. We put out only what we really loved and boxed up everything else to donate. Yay! It’s an incredibly happy feeling: embracing what you love and letting go of what you don’t need anymore.

It’s the perfect time of year for soup. The other day I saw this recipe for Asiago bisque. I haven’t tried it yet, but I thought it looked good.

Is gratitude a part of your daily life? Take the quiz.

From edutopia: Winter-Worthy Reads for Teachers.

I believe 100% in this quote from Becoming Minimalist.

With the holidays fast approaching, I thought this article might be helpful: 25 Ways to Fight Holiday Stress.

Enjoy your week. Take deep breaths if you need to (my mom says this works well for her). Look for the good, and remember to be grateful every chance you get.


Friday Book Review


I knew I would enjoy this book even before I started reading it because I read part of Mindy Kaling’s first book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).

She has a great voice, so genuine. She is also quite funny. This book is a series of personal essays that are both insightful and entertaining. It’s one thing to be funny in person; it’s quite another to be able to pull that off in one’s writing. She does this very well.

The book is divided into four sections: 1) For The Ladies; 2) Take This Job And Love It; 3) Love, Dating, And Boys Who Ru(i)n The World; and 4) All The Opinions You Will Ever Need. The book is interspersed with black and white photos which add to the entertainment factor of this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. To me, it does seem more geared to the female population, but I think anyone could read it and enjoy parts of it.

More info.

Author bio

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.



Everything’s How You Look At It

I was visiting with one of my closest friends on the phone this past Monday, and while I was regaling her with all I had to do, she said, “Well, sounds like a lot of good things.” This made me pause. I guess she was right. Although I felt like I had a lot to do and most of it involved things I didn’t really want to do, she was right. I did have a pretty full, great day if I chose to look at everything that way.

I was very grateful for this gentle reminder. Our attitudes are everything.

Okay, so skip to Tuesday. The morning was going well until I realized we were starting to run late. I enjoy being early to everything. I really dislike being or running late. I was hurrying around and I realized one of my daughter’s hadn’t put up her basketball uniform and lunch bag from the night before. This made me yell. Then I saw lights were on in the basement. Again, another yell. I realized I was just looking for something to be aggravated about. The thought came to me that we can look for the bad or the good at any given moment.

I am happy to report that I got my thinking turned around and started looking for the good the rest of the day. And, no big surprise, it was a good day.

I’m always learning something. I know this recent lesson is nothing new. We all know our thinking dictates our experience. However, I still need reminders every now and then.

Have a happy day and look for the good.