Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January in Review

Let's see if I can wrap up a little of what has happened in January :)

1) I started linking up with Tara & Vicki for The Nail Files every Friday. It's amazing. I love it and it keeps me on my toes to keep my nails looking pretty. {Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4}

2) I admitted to being such an awful blogger.

3) I went nutso after Ron Paul didn't win Iowa. Then I felt like I'd probably annoy every with my rants, so I didn't say anything when Romney won NH and Gingrich won SC. I do hope that everyone knows that your vote counts though. Your opinion matters. Everyone should care about politics because it's your liberties that they are trying to get rid of. And if you are one of those people who think Ron Paul is crazy, then talk to me. I'll explain why he isn't. He has the most sound take on everything. We are not the world's police and the government shouldn't have say in what we do with our lives. End rant. LOL

4) Are you still reading? I didn't scare you away, did I? :)

5) I talked about "resolutions" and will be posting those at the end of the post to update on how well/awful I've done so far.

6) I made a post for fashion..I'm a girl, but a really awful girly girl. I love Pinterest. Yep.

7) I talked about tv a little. I'm really behind in a lot of my tv shows from my hubby getting home in October from a year long deployment AND from being gone for a month for Christmas. {#1, #2}

8) I had to have broke my record for reading this month. I finished 8 books and reviewed 7 of them. I plan on doing at least the same in February, if not more. I also participated in my first swap - it happened to be a book swap! Yay. Check out my goodies!

Here's what I reviewed:
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth {here}
  • Cell by Stephen King {here}
  • Matched by Ally Condie {here}
  • Crossed by Ally Condie {here}
  • Stoner & Spaz by Ron Koertge {here}
  • Now Playing: Stoner & Spaz II by Ron Koertge {here}
  • Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke {here}

January was a good month overall :) I'm excited for February!!

Now to sum up my progress on "resolutions":
  • Eat more fruit - not been doing well on this one.
  • Drink more water - I've gone from 0 oz. of water to 16 oz. of water daily with the help of those little add-in flavor packets. I've been doing great. I would love to add at least another 8 oz. in February to my daily intake.
  • Exercise 5x a week - I've exercised a whopping one time this month :(
  • Get organized - I will say I've done much better with this.
  • Stay on schedule (I'm hoping to manage my time better) - Doing well here too.
  • Read A LOT - Yes!
  • Keep track of finances and save lots of money - I started off strong and then kind of dropped off mid-month. Starting fresh in February.
  • I want to blog more - regular blog stuff. Just talking about whatever. Less fluff. - I'm not sure that I accomplished this. :/
  • Book blog more - I actually am transitioning to where my blog is at least 1/3 books. I think that will make me happy. - Book blogging has been working - out of 26 posts (not including this one) - 8 were book reviews. That's perfect!

Hope you all had a wonderful January! :) Going to try and wrap up February just like this.

P.S. My food blog is open for sponsors - since there hasn't been much interest, it'll be for the beg. of March. If you are interested in sponsoring, stop by and let me know! :) Fantastical Sharing of Recipes

Monday, January 30, 2012

Phone Photo Fun & Book Swap


Today is reveal day for all of the swappers :) I'm happy to show off what I got from Rachel of Running Backwards in Stilletos. We found out we have a similar taste in books and I can't wait to get to know her better.

So what Rachel swapped to me:

#2 in the Stephanie Plum series - I am so excited to read these! 
They are on my reading schedule for this year :) Plus the movie just came out and it looks super funny.

And SQUEE! City of Bones! AHHH! The very first in the Mortal Instruments series. My friend Jaime told me about these back in like 2009 and I have yet to pick them up and read them. They are also on my reading schedule for this year. I adore the cover art! Isn't it pretty?

Both books have found their spot on my full full bookshelf :)

Thank you, Rachel! So excited to read my books and you were an awesome swap partner! :)

And now for the rest of my week in photos with a little...

Firstly, my kids are always "naked" - by naked, I mean in undies alone. I don't know why. Right now they are both fully dressed which is odd. Hmm.

Cute lil cracked out kitty, Muffin. She's a sweetie pie, but she acts like she's on the nip 24/7.

Yum. I made chocolate donuts this week.

This poor child inherited my odd hair. Go to sleep looking awesome, wake up with cray cray hair.

My big girl :( She's going to be 4 in 12 days. *cries*

I've upped my water intake twofold lately by adding these suckers into my water. I love the Ocean Spray Blueberry Pomegranate and Walmart's Dragonfruit. Yummo.

My sweet Bella. She's been sleeping on Nick's side of the bed during the day. She's so cute!

Yesterday was dubbed Successful Omelet Day by me. I made two perfect omelets consecutively for the first time ever. I don't know why I all of a sudden can make omelets, but I'm freakin' loving it!

Muffin is a cuddler...she's also Nick's cat. =]

While trying to get cute pictures of the kitty cuddling...my phone did this...wtf? It was also really foggy?

I'm Sarah and I'm a nail polish addict. Thanks to Tara & Vicki :P
I got these 3 colors this weekend. The Essie is a deep purplish brown. The middle is a Kardashian glitter. The third is just freaking awesome for under $2. :)

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder [Review]

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #4)

#4 in Series
349 Pages [Ebook]
Published Jan 2003

Every Friday is Pie Day at The Cookie Jar coffee shop and bakery. One such Friday, lemon meringue pie is the featured dish. Hannah, an expert baker and dedicated amateur sleuth, is saddened when one of her luscious pies is left practically untouched. And when her mother -- rooting about for antiques for her own shop -- finds a body in the basement of the house Hannah's boyfriend is knocking down to make room for their dream house, Hannah is devastated to discover that her mostly uneaten meringue was part of the murder victim's last meal. Given the location of the corpse, everyone in town seems to feel that Hannah has a vested interest in the case. Even her sexy ex-boyfriend, a local cop, thinks it's better for Hannah to look into things than to continue allowing her mother to stir things up in his investigation. Struggling against the temptation to cheat on her new diet, Hannah takes the case as a welcome distraction and soon discovers that counterfeit cash and a clandestine affair are just two of the dangerous ingredients she's got to contend with.

My Thoughts:
This one started out a little slower than the other 3, but it was still just as fantastic.

I think I've finally settled on Norman over Mike and I'm hoping that in Book 5, Hannah will finally choose between the two.

I loved the addition of Michelle's character - she is like a young Hannah and I love that :)

Recipes included in this book: Almond Kisses, Cinnamon Crisps, Cottage Cheese Pancakes, Lemon Meringue Pie, Mystery Cookies, Orange Snaps, Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cookie Bars, Praline Charlottes, and Walnuttoes

Previous Review:
Now Playing: Stoner & Spaz II by Ron Koertge [here]

[Counts toward my TBR Pile challenge: here]

Linked up at...

The Nail Files #4

The Nail Files

Last week I didn't get to post a color because my nail polish was bad :( So to remedy this, I went out and got new nail polish on Friday night!

This week I decided to try out Sally Hansen's Salon Effects Nail Strips. I got a pretty red with black lace design. But apparently not so pretty pictures.
Pros: They are freaking pretty! They lasted all week with minimal chipping (without a top coat). Did I mention they are pretty?

Cons: They took forever for me to get on...like 40 minutes. I have small nails...and had a time and a half trying to match up the right strip for my nail. They are pricey for a one-time use. Also, they were an incredible MESS to get off. I had polish streaking on my nails after I had cleaned them off and polish on the pads of my fingers. I was not a happy girl.

Overall thoughts: I think that these would be something I'd use for a special occasion. There are many different designs and are so pretty, but with the hassle of price and application...they are not for a regular basis (for me).

In addition, I thought I would share with everyone a huge tip that my friend, Melissa, who is a nail tech, posted in response to my questions last week:

There is a trick to getting your polish to go on easier & last longer.

First, dehydrate the nail. Polish is not going to stick to oily nailbeds. Don't even buy non acetone polish...get pure acetone (the clear stuff). It will take the polish off 10 times faster (especially dark colors). You can use acetone or alcohol to dehydrate the nail. Basically just soak a cotton ball in it & wipe your nails really well with it before you polish...and AFTER you apply any creams or cuticle crap. Get that stuff off your nail beds! Next, use a base coat! First of all it will keep your nails from staining, & also it will make the polish adhere to the nail better. True story. Then apply 2 coats of your polish. I always do 2 coats. Always. Let the 1st one dry completely before you apply the 2nd one. Sometimes I'll do one coat & let it dry all day & then finish them after the kids go to bed. Lastly, do your top coat. Top coat is important too because it not only adds shine but it also seals the polish & makes it last longer.

I do all of these steps (and more actually, if you include prepping the cuticles) every week & my polish stays on pretty much all week now. Sure I touch them up once or twice when the edges chip a little...but that's just another coat of color & another top coat.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Boob Tube Babble

Boob Tube Babble

This week I spent time catching up on shows that I've been way behind on since my husband got home from Afghanistan in October.

Switched at Birth - obviously this didn't start in October, but I did need to get caught up on the 3 episodes I had recorded. I'm not so sure about Angelo and Daphne is beyond annoying. It was so sad seeing Emmett get arrested :(  Oh and Marlee Matlin - that woman is just a brilliant actress! I love her. She plays her character (Emmett's mom, Melody) so well!

Secret Circle - This is one show that I love, but I hadn't seen any episodes since episode 4 aired. So I caught up (except for this week's episode) and WOW. So many questions - why was Ethan at the boatyard that day? Who was that lady that could see Cassie in the memory? Where is Blackwell? Is Cassie going to get together with Jake or whatshisface Diana's ex? What is going to come of Faye's involvement with that voodoo guy?

American Horror Story - I know that season 1 had ended and it's been off for a while. But I decided to give it another go after seeing the episode wrap ups on That's What We Said. I cannot believe that show. It's CRAY CRAY. I will definitely be tuning in to season 2 - it's scheduled for 1 Oct 2012. I also love how there are like 8 billion True Blood actors in it. Oh and the guy that plays Travis is the voodoo guy in Secret Circle!

Big Bang Theory - I had not seen any of season 5. I'm so glad we caught up on this :) BBT is seriously one of my very favorite shows of all time. I love it. I've heard many people don't...and you know what I think of them? I think they are too dumb to get the jokes. I think you have to be a nerd to love it as much as BBT fans do. No offense to you non-BBT people. But it's a damn good show. My favorite episode to date in this season was the one where Sheldon completely dismissed Amy's big news and then gets her a tiara to make up with her!

Other shows I'm watching: Mob Wives, After Lately, HIMYM, New Girl, Tabatha's Salon Takeover, Whitney, Are You There Vodka,  Hot in Cleveland, The Soup, The Exes, Up All Night, and Fringe.

Shows coming soon: Ringer, Psych, and Walking Dead all return in February. A third season of Worst Cooks in America premieres on 12 Feb. Khloe & Lamar and Ice & Coco are back on 19 Feb. AND Keeping up with the Kardashians comes on 9 March.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Phone Photo Fun Mondays

First time for this meme in the new year - it has a new name and Savanah has a new co-host :)

On the way home from Tennessee, not sure what state we were in here. But pretty sunrise, nonetheless.

We barely got into NY before it got awful and cloudy and blah.

And hey...there's ice!

I love how weird my kids are. Hammocking on the corner of the sectional.

For some reason, we had a shortage of both fresh chicken and hamburger.

Friendly little deer stopped by...
I tried to go downstairs to the kids' rooms to get a better picture, but startled him :(

Cami was super proud of drawing a "g"
 ...and a "t" too

Party Zone - I took this one specifically for my husband...
I guess you'd get it if you were also a Tenacious D fan.

Why I hate living here in NY. This is what winter looks like...for months and months.

Bought a couple new polishes since I had to throw out over half of mine. Can't wait to share them on Fridays!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Now Playing: Stoner & Spaz II [Review]

Now Playing: Stoner &Amp; Spaz Ii

#2 in Series
208 Pages [Hardcover Edition]
Published 9 August 2011

Beautiful but troubled Colleen Minou is the only girl who ever looked at Ben Bancroft as more than a spaz— more than just that kid with cerebral palsy. Yet the more time Ben spends with her, the more glaring their differences appear. Is what Ben feels for Colleen actual affection, or more like gratitude? Then there’s Amy (aka A.J.), who is everything Colleen isn’t, and everything Ben’s grandma wants for him: clean-cut and upper-class, academically driven, just as obsessed with filmmaking as Ben is. But what does A.J. see when she looks at Ben? CP? Or the person behind the twisted body? In Ron Koertge’s sharp, darkly humorous follow-up to the award-winning Stoner & Spaz, Ben tries to come to terms with his confused feelings toward A.J. and his inimitable connection to Colleen, who is sometimes out of it, sometimes into him, and always exhilarating.

My Thoughts:
Compared to the first, this was very dry. Colleen is a little more cleaned up and there was very little time making movies or hanging with AJ. Little is resolved with the main conflicts that were in the first book and now in this book. I really hope there is another book. This one left me waiting for something to happen.

Previous Review:
Stoner & Spaz by Ron Koertge [here]

[Counts toward my TBR Pile challenge: here]

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Nail Files #3

The Nail Files

I had full intentions of posting a pretty color this week. In fact, it was Sally Hansen's Plum Luck - it's a pretty deep purple. Unfortunately, it just didn't go on right. So I decided to ask more questions!!! Last week, I asked about cuticles...

So does nail polish go bad? I mean I know that it can separate if it sits too long and you just shake it vigorously...but does it go bad? The Plum Luck was a couple years old and in the middle of my nail, it left a very thin layer of polish, even after 2 coats. It just looks awful. I'm thinking it's time to clear out my nail polish. And that just means I need new ones, right?

What are your favorite brands/colors right now?

{Also, go me! 3 posts in one day! I'm seriously on a blogging roll lately!}

Boob Tube Babble

Boob Tube Babble

It has been too too long, right?

Since my husband got home in October from Afghanistan, I've been so off with my tv watching.
This week I took the opportunity to catch up on some Mob Wives. So let's discuss a little mafia smuttiness.

Episode 1
Renee gets her surgery.

She freaks about how it was a nightmare. Girl, you sat up while you were drugged and ripped your stitches. That isn't anything to do with a plastic surgery nightmare...that is drugged recovery dumbassery. Then she bitched about how she didn't get the results she wanted...maybe that's because you took a shortcut? You took the easy out.

I cannot stand Drita or Carla. Drita, however, is removing the violence from her personal life and putting it into a career, boxing. I think that is a good idea. I think she needs to see a therapist like Renee though. She is a mouthy little thing. Mouthy mouthy little thing that acts like she is BIG.

Renee invites Karen AND Drita to her "I'm alive" party, but not Carla...because Carla didn't excessively badger her after her surgery. Petty, if you ask me. At the party, Drita wants to get Karen alone and Ramona (who does seem pretty manipulative and button-pressing). Then there is Big Ang - ooooh my gawsh. Too much Ang, too much.

Episode 2
Opens with Big Ang going to get Karen to talk to Drita on the balcony. I always want to like Karen but she goes all ghetto when she tries to act big. I really don't like Ramona. Karen talks a lot of game too though. She's not a fighter...seriously. She is NOT a fighter. Drita is a little scrapper. But in all reality...those are grown ass women. They are really going to sit there and keep trying to go after each other. From what I saw though, Drita was trying to hit Ramona because that bitch was running her mouth AT her and riling Karen up. And for Ramona to say a guy really intentionally hit her?? Gahhhh. What a twat!

In the real world, the cops woulda been there in 2 seconds and all their asses would be sitting in jail.

It also seems like Ramona is boastingly proud of having a criminal as a grandfather.

Episode 3
Big Ang might be a scary looking "woman", but that woman has a brain in her head.

Ramona is full of shit...talking about how there was drama all because of Drita. Drita was calm until Karen snapped and Ramona was hollering at her for no reason.

I think Drita's daughter is smart enough to know that her mom wants a divorce...she probably should just come out and man up and talk about it.

Renee and Carla make up. Yay. Now the drama is with Karen.

Renee and Junior are getting back together.

Ramona got arrested. Good job, twatface. Now how's the mob life treating ya?

Stoner & Spaz [Review]

Stoner and Spaz

#1 in Series
128 Pages [Paperback Edition]
Published 7 Oct 2002

Colleen Minou is a hard-core stoner, a girl whose motto is, "I'll get high and do anything." Ben Bancroft is a movie-addicted preppie who suffers from cerebral palsy, "the resident spaz, invisible as the sign that says NO RUNNING, the one no one pays attention to." Together, they form the most unlikely couple since Dharma and Greg. He's Brooks Brothers, she's Salvation Army. He's never even smoked a cigarette, she's got 20 different chemicals running through her veins. But when these two lonely teens meet one night at Ben's favorite hang, the Rialto (a classic film theatre that "smells like butter from the Paleozoic"), sparks fly. At least for Ben they do. Maybe it's because Colleen's the first girl to ever really notice him, to have the nerve to tease him about his disability instead of pretend it's not there. For once, Ben is actually more interested in his real life than a movie. Colleen takes him clubbing, lights his first joint, even challenges him to direct his own movie. But when Ben, in turn, dares her to stay straight, Colleen admits that, despite his devotion, she still needs the drugs to "smooth out the edges." Is Ben capable of convincing her otherwise? If not, how will he ever be cured of his Colleen addiction?

My Thoughts:
When I first read the synopsis, I didn't think that I would like the book. I did a little prejudging. I figured it'd be a cliche. One of those really weak books with a plot that has been told a billion times.

I'm almost glad that I set myself up to not like this book...because I ended up loving it. The story is told in the boy with Cerebral Palsy, Ben's point-of-view. Koertge made it incredibly easy to get sucked into the story and I could easily see this turning into a movie at some point. It would definitely be something I'd watch. It was dark and honest. The "about author" actually says that Koertge's wife worked with a humorous boy with CP and one of Koertge's students had been in rehab for substance abuse. I'm going to start the 2nd book immediately. I want to know so much more about Ben's world and what happens with Colleen.

Previous Review:
Crossed by Ally Condie [here]

[Counts toward my TBR Pile challenge: here]

Linked up at...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crossed [Review]


#2 in Series
367 Pages [Kindle Edition]
Published 1 Nov 2011

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

My Thoughts:
** spoiler alert **  

I can't really say that I liked this book more than the first, but I also can't say that it wasn't what most second installments are in trilogies. It's kind of that filler in between the big stuff. I am incredibly excited for the third book though because I know it's going to be epic.

This book starts off where the first left off, Cassia is sent to a work camp. One night she boards an air ship that she isn't supposed to be on and ends up getting sent to war with the Rising/farmers. Basically sent to die. Her new "friend" is Indie. Overall, I don't think she is trustworthy, but I still kind of like her. Meanwhile, Ky is also in the middle of the war. He makes "friends" with a guy, Vick. Vick is much like Indie, in the sense that you know he isn't trustworthy, but you can't help but like him. Up until the halfway mark, you are waiting for Ky & Cassia to meet up.

I do like how Condie paved the way for the big conclusion. There are many more elements of mysteriousness added in: the tubes, Xander's secret, the Rising. At this point, I am pro-Team Xansia. I think Cassia is going to end up with Xander.

Currently Reading:
Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #4)Stoner and Spaz

Previous Review:
Matched by Ally Condie [here]

[Counts toward my TBR Pile challenge: here]
Linked up at...