Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Review: Blueberry Muffin Murder

Blueberry Muffin Murder (Hannah Swensen, #3)Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hannah Swenson finds herself displaced when famous cookbook author Connie Mac is found murdered in the pantry of her shop, The Cookie Jar. Though Mike (one of the two men she's "dating" and her brother-in-law's partner at the sheriff's department) has warned her to stay out of it she can't just sit around and wait for them to catch the killer.
When she and her sister Andrea start digging into Connie Mac's affairs they find Connie Mac was not a very likable person and their list of suspects grows faster than they can eliminate them.
On a more personal note, both of the men in Hannah's life seem to be okay with knowing she's dating the other, but they also both seem to step their game up a little. Hannah's not sure what to make of things when they all sit down to dinner though... I'm not sure I do either...

Don't let my consistent 3 stars rating fool you, I am enjoying this series. I like the characters and the stories are interesting enough. There's just nothing big and spectacular happening. Hannah keeps finding bodies in this small town, which is kind of weird. Sounds like Lake Eden has the largest number of homicides to population ratio I've ever heard of. Her love life doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Business is doing well at the cookie shop. There are funny moments, but none that make me laugh out loud. I don't know... it seems like the books just kind of carry you.
Like I said though, I do like them. They just don't seem to be my favorite. They're kind of simple. I'll continue reading. Hopefully one of these guys steps things up a bit and we can see some progress or see the dynamic between the characters change a bit.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Book Review: Kill Alex Cross

Kill Alex Cross (Alex Cross, #18)Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The president's children have been kidnapped and Alex Cross is personally invited onto the team despite some FBI folks trying to keep him on the sidelines. This seems like a very personal attack on the president himself but other government officials are finding themselves in danger as well. Are the Saudis planning these attacks responsible for the kidnapping, too?

Meanwhile, back at the Cross residence, Nana Mama is attacked by a young girl on the streets and decides to take her in. What will this do to the Cross family dynamic?

Okay, sorry there's not much more to that review, but that's really all I could give it. For some reason, this book just didn't appeal to me like the rest of the series. The wait list at the library for this book was incredibly long, so I also added myself to the wait list for the audio file. The audio came up first, so I took it. Maybe that's where the problem lies? I don't see why it should matter though. But for whatever reason, I just couldn't get into this one. I'm not sure what was missing exactly though. Maybe not enough action. Not enough time in the mind of the killer. Something just wasn't there...

If you're a fan of the series, like I am, I'd say go ahead and read it, just in case events of this book have anything to do with the next. But if you're just now coming into the series, I definitely don't think you should start with this one. Especially not since there are several references to a previous case to which you'd have no idea what they meant.
I don't know... just proceed with caution.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

5 Question Friday

If you're here from My Little Life for 5Q Friday, welcome! Glad you're here. Feel free to check things out, but be forewarned, this is a new one, so not much is going on just yet. I'll get there someday... Anyway, on to my answers...


1. What's your favorite way to spend down time (alone or with a significant other)? Should I happen to have some down time while alone I usually find myself reading or catching up on my shows on the DVR. And depending on how much of this time there is, it's likely I might try to catch a nap as well. I know some people can't just nap, but I find it pretty easy and rather enjoyable :-) Downtime with the hubby is also a nice treat. Though when we have down time we usually find ourselves looking for something to do, lol. Dining out, catching a movie, things like that. If going out doesn't appeal to us we're probably snuggled up watching TV or a recent Redbox release. Nothing too exciting, but it works for me :-)
2. Are you the kind of person that wants things more as soon as you know you can't have it? I guess it would depend on what it is, but in most cases I guess I learn to let go. Why antagonize myself, ya know? I guess there is one thing this may not always apply to though... Sometimes I get these wild hankerings for a certain food, whether it's a restaurant specific order of seasoned french fries, a side of perfectly smoked asparagus I've only ever experienced in Centreville, VA, or a specific flavor or Sour Straws candy... that craving isn't likely to go away unless I feed the beast. So, in those instances, yes, I definitely want it more, more, more if I can't have it right away :-)
3. If you were given $1000 to spend on yourself, what would you buy? First things first- new tennis shoes. As much as I've said I despise the thought of spending the money for a good pair when I usually hate the confinement of tennis shoes, I can really tell the shoes I have now are just not cutting it in the gym. No, this wouldn't take up the whole $1000, but I'd be sure to head to a runner's shop and get fitted for a good pair. So, I can imagine that would cost me.
After the shoes, assuming someone was really monitoring to make sure I spent the money on myself because as a mama it's so easy to forget and dote it all on your loved ones. But if someone did enforce the rule I'd probably put some moolah in my Amazon account next to save for a rainy day book or to have on hand when a new release comes out that I just can't wait for.
After that I'd probably try to pad my wardrobe a little. I've recently decided to ditch half the crap that's in my closet. You know, the stuff I haven't worn in forever, or have worn knowing I shouldn't (whether it's ill-fitting yet comfy, out of season, out of style or whatever), or the stuff I'm hanging on to thinking I'll eventually wear it again. That's right, as soon as I can make the time, it's all gone! Then, I'm going to build a nice wardrobe for myself. Some "me money" would definitely help with that :-)

4. Do you ever go out to eat by yourself? I'm certainly not against it. I've gone to lunch by myself on a few occasions, and not just fast food. Of course, going with loved ones and friends is certainly a favored experience, but I don't mind alone time. I was never one of those girls with a bathroom buddy, not that there's anything wrong with them... but I hope to teach my daughter to me independent as well. Let her know that it's okay to do things on her own. To cherish her girlfriends, but to be strong enough on her. Hmm... what was the question again?

5. What company would you want to do a blog review for? Oohh... that's a tough one... Maybe Nike, Adidas, Reebok... did I mention I was in the market for some new shoes and that I have little to no experience with them? I'd love to review a pair and get to know a little more about the difference in the types o athletic shoes and the importance of the right pair of shoes when working out. And I wouldn't be picky to the big names, like I said I'm just not familiar... which means others may not be either, so I'd be doing us all a favor :-)
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Accountability: Week 4

Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  169 lbs. 
           Current weight:   168 lbs.           
Weight +/-:          -1         
Total weight loss: -4          
Short term goal:   160 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

I have to be honest here... While I am happy that I'm at a loss this week, I was a bit deflated to see that it was only one pound. I did another week of 5 days at the gym and really felt like a made a huge effort. While I didn't cut all the bad food from my diet yet, I am still sticking to my caloric intake goal set on LoseIt. I watched how much I was eating and was under my calorie budget for the majority of the week.

This will not bring me down though! I am still motivated! In fact, I started up with the machines this week. I did the 30 minute circuit last night, which alternates between cardio boards and machines, giving you a full body workout in 30 minutes. I plan on doing this at least two nights a week for a couple weeks and hope to take it to three times a week soon. The backs of my legs are a bit sore tonight, but it was nice feeling the burn. It was also nice having the stamina to make it through without feeling as though I were going to die, lol.

So, I'm keepin' on! Hopefully I see a little something more next week...

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book Review: 24/7

24/724/7 by Jim Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

24/7 is a new reality show, much like the current 'Survivor', but on a much grander scale. The contestants are to be on the deserted, some think cursed, Vassa Island, which happens to have the single most powerful communications tower in the world. The show will broadcast their every move. Not only are they over 600 cameras on the island, but each contestant is fitted with a collar cam. The prize for enduring the public eye as they compete in challenges to face their biggest fears? Two million dollars and your heart's desire.
For single mom Dana Kirsten that means her daughter Jenna can join the hopefully life-saving trial in Switzerland to treat her muscular dystrophy.
Things go terribly wrong the moment the show begins. The stakes have jumped considerably. The contestants are now fighting for their lives.

When I read my Goodreads friend Justin's review of this book, I immediately went in search of it. His review made me think 'Hunger Games' with adults. FYI, there is no Kindle or e-reader version of the book, so I hit up my local library.
The story starts off with a bang and builds momentum from there. Its fast pace kept me turning the pages. Like Justin, I never could find a good place to stop. The twists and turns kept me guessing til the end.
While it wasn't as much like 'The Hunger Games' as I'd been expecting, it was still definitely worth the read. Thanks for recommending, Justin!

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Review: Everything I Tell You is a Lie

Everything I tell you is a LieEverything I tell you is a Lie by Fingers Murphy

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is the story of a guy going through his final prison-mandated therapy sessions. With prodding from his therapist he gives you a recap of his life and the events that lead to him being there.

While it was what I can imagine to be a very real accounting of such emotion and inner turmoil, I just didn't see the point. I kept reading, waiting for something to happen. Nothined ever did. The guy had a poor set of circumstances, but who doesn't?
Not a fan.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gingerbread Party

So, this post is a bit dated, but I wanted to share it. Back in December the kiddos and I were invited to my hubster's aunt's house for a Gingerbread party. Aunt A sure knows how to throw a party! We couldn't wait to see what she had in store for everyone. She invited the kids and asked that they bring their mama's and their grandmama's for a fun day!

The decor was so festive and definitely put you in the Christmas spirit!
She had fun favors hidden in plain sight. She had fun candy cane cups for each child that they were to take home when they left. There was a large vase full of cute, colorful candy ornaments which I thought was just for decor. Turns out each kiddo got to take one home at the end of the party.
And there were gifts!

 And then it was time for the real fun to start... decorating the giant gingerbread cookies!
Even the adults got in on the fun :-)
Having a great time!
Having a little snack afterward
Their finished creations

Aunt A outdid herself again! The party was a lot of fun and everyone had a blast! While I doubt I could compare with her decorating, this does seem like a fun and easy thing to possibly do for some of DD's little school friends next year. We shall see :-)

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Friday, February 17, 2012

5 Question Friday

If you're here from My Little Life for 5Q Friday, welcome! Glad you're here. Feel free to check things out, but be forewarned, this is a new one, so not much is going on just yet. I'll get there someday... Anyway, on to my answers...

1. What do you do when you are really upset to calm yourself down? Usually I would say have a good cry. That's what I've been known to do in the past... But last week I got a visit from my sister, my little sister (whose birthday also happens to be today :-) ). We haven't spoken in a while for some personal reasons. I love her to death, but the relationship just isn't healthy right now, and I can't take the drama. Anywho, the visit really upset me and I found myself at the gym. I pounded the treadmill and elliptical going further and faster than I've gone yet. It felt really good to put all that emotion into something! Don't get me wrong, I still went home and had a good cry, but I think there's something to this gym thing. I'll have to test my theory next time it all becomes too much. I'll let ya know...

2. Do you go all out for V-day or is it just another day? I wouldn't say I go all out, but I like to put in a little effort here and there. And it's not just about the hubby and me. I make it special for the kiddos, too. Hopefully it sets a precedence for my daughter to see she deserves a little special treatment and for my son to see he should do something nice for the ladies in his life down the road. And, who doesn't look for any excuse to show their kiddos a little extra love anyway, right?

3. Are you more or less productive when Hubs is away? Hmm... this depends. I always think I'll get so much more done without anyone there, but then when it happens, sometimes I just relish in it and take some "me time" for a nap or to just sit. Uninterrupted. For five minutes. But, yes, other time I am super motivated and catch up on things. I guess it just depends on priorities for the day... Although, I must say, the Hubs is the man. He does a lot of the household chores... and yes, that means laundry and bathroom detail. So a lot of the time I'm more motivated when he's home, either because he telling me what to do, lol, or I feel obligated to do a little more just out of pure guilt. Eh, I've got it pretty good with this one ;-)

4. What is your favorite time of day and why? 8pm. The kids' bed time. Don't get me wrong, I love any time I spend with my kids and family. Dinner talk. Family tv time. All that good stuff. But I'll tell ya, there's gold in putting my kids to bed.
Sitting for a few quiet moments talking to my daughter, telling her how much I love her, no matter what. Answering random questions her little mind comes up with with no provocation. I tell ya, that girl's a thinker. She's gonna go places. She's so inquisitive and has such a big heart. I just love her to pieces.
And that boy of mine. Such a sweetie. Every night, he has his routine (he's his father made over, that's for sure). We start with me. I pick him up and he hugs me with his head on my left shoulder. Then I get a kiss, an eskimo kiss, butterfly kisses, two kisses on my forehead, a hug to the right shoulder, a hug to the left shoulder and another kiss. Then I get me some "ears". And it's off to his dad to do the whole routine over again. Then he slips me one more little kiss before Daddy puts him in bed. Where he blows each of us a kiss as we walk out the door. This has been the routine for I don't know, at least a year now... although the forhead kisses were only worked in a few months ago. Not sure where he picked that one up, but he liked it and it stuck. The smiles and giggles melt my heart each night.
I just wonder how long it will last. If we'll be doing this 2 years from now, or even 6 months. When will he start to grow out of it? When will she stop coming to me with all of her questions? These are the moments I treasure. This is my truly happy time of each day.

5. What is your go to karaoke song? HA! That's funny right there...

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Book Review: Killer in High Heels

Killer in High Heels (A High Heels Mystery #2)Killer in High Heels by Gemma Halliday

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shoe-a-holic Maddie Springer is back and things are apparently not going as well as the ending to the last book would lead you to believe... She's doing her best to get over it when she gets a frantic message from her dad- not Faux Dad but Real Dad. Seeing how she hasn't spoken to him in twenty something years, it comes as a bit of a surprise.

Despite having said she wouldn't call Bad Cop, Jack Ramirez, the sound of a gunshot on the message sends her into a bit of a panic. Since she has no idea what happened or where Larry (Real Dad) even is, there's not much they can do. Or is there?

Maddie takes it upon herself to head to Larry's last known destination, Las Vegas, to get to the bottom of this. Nevermind Ramirez forbidding her to go. With her on the road trip are her best friend Dana and "dahling" Marco from Faux Dad's salon. You can just imagine how much help the two of them are...

There's plenty of adventure and mishaps in this installment of the series, along with plenty of laughs. And watch out, there are a few surprises along the way as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Halliday's writing style is right up my alley. She writes like a woman dishing a good story to her girlfriends. She paints her characters very well. I love Maddie and Jack. And the dynamic between them- whew! We got a little glimpse of Marco in the first book, but he really got to shine here. He's a riot! Hopefully we can finally get to some good stuff in book three... read this one, and you'll know what I'm talking about :-)

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Accountability: Week 3

Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  170 lbs. 
           Current weight:   169 lbs.           
Weight +/-:          -1         
Total weight loss: -3          
Short term goal:   160 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

Woohoo!! Another loss! I may not be dropping it like the Biggest Loser contestants, but I'm happy with a loss. Period. I hit the gym 5 days last week, which again, I'm very proud of. I can really see myself succeeding this time. I'm not sure what's different now than any other time I've ever said I was going to lose weight or get healthy, but for some reason, I am motivated like I've never been before. And I like it!

This week is still cardio only. I've been hitting the elliptical and the treadmill. When I started I could only do 10 minutes on the elliptical before I had to quit. Last week I was doing 35 minutes and last night I set it for 37 minutes. Tonight, I believe I'll go for an even 40 and see how that leaves me feeling. After that I've been doing a brisk walk for 40 minutes. Hopefully doing all this cardio will work as conditioning getting my body ready for the bigger stuff.

Feelin' good!
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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book Review: Strawberry Shortcake Murder

Strawberry Shortcake Murder (Hannah Swensen, #2)Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hannah Swensen, owner of the Lake Eden's Cookie Jar, has been asked to judge Hartland Flour's first Dessert Bake-Off. One of the other judges has to back out at the last minute and Hannah's neice Tracey picks a fill-in judge at random. Who should be drawn from the hat but none other than Lake Eden's local lovable basketball coach, Boyd Watson... who also happens to be a domestic abuser in his private life.

When Hannah's friend Danielle calls in a panic, she rushes right over. There's not much eveidence to go on and based on the circumstances of their home-life, it's not difficult to tell who the police suspect. Hannah can't let her friend go down for this, so she's quickly on the case.

Apparently Ms. Lucy Richards was also on the case, but for all the wrong reasons. Her evidence seems to open the suspect pool a little more...

Once again, Hannah finds herself face to face with a murderer. Who will save her this time?

Things in her personal life seem to perk a little interest at the end of this book as well. Hopefully more will come of it in the next book...

I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more said about how the last book ended. It's part of what had me coming back to read this one. Even so, I still liked the characters and enjoyed the story. I like that the plot keeps you guessing for a while and it's not immediately obvious who the culprit is. I know we're only two books in, but so many of the series books tend to get a bit predictable. I'll continue on with the series for now though :-

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Friday, February 10, 2012

5 Question Friday

If you're here from My Little Life for 5Q Friday, welcome! Glad you're here. Feel free to check things out, but be forewarned, this is a new one, so not much is going on just yet. I'll get there someday... Anyway, on to my answers...

1. How often do you shave your legs in the winter? To be honest... Maybe once a week. My hair is blonde, really fine, and doesn't grow quickly, so it's usually not bothersome. The hubby doesn't seem to mind, so I typically just do it when I have the time.


2. Valentine's Day cards for your spouse: funny or romantic? Depends which one strikes me first. I've been known to buy more than one card because I can never really decide. I like them both...

3. What are you most looking forward to about spring? Longer hours of sunlight and seeing flowers in bloom.

4. What's your favorite way to pamper yourself? Pamper myself? Huh? I don't think I'm familiar... But if I were, it'd be a nice relaxing massage and a pedicure. I wish I had an on call masseuse. That'd be sweet bliss...

5. Does your tax return go into savings or do you spend it instantly? Spend it... on bills. Don't see the point in putting it in savings if we have debt which may be accruing interest and what not.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hand Print Christmas Tree

Back in December I became addicted to a very popular site, Pinterest. You may have heard of it... If you haven't, you should check it out. (And let me know if you'd like to join; I'd be happy to send you an invite.) There are a bunch of very creative people on there passing on their wonderful ideas for crafts, recipes, home decor, fashion and so much more.

Anyway, I've found several crafts and recipes I'd like to try, some of which I already have. And I've been meaning to blog about them so I could show my progress... so travel back with me to December 4th, where I tried my first hand at a Pinterest project...

A Hand Print Christmas tree.
 (Click here to see the original post on The Other White House blog)

I love crafts that incorporate the kids' hand/feet prints. They're so personal. Years from now those crafts will remind us just how little they once were. I especially liked this one since I can get it out each year and display it. (I'm really into Christmas, fyi.)
So, while Daddy was out doing some Christmas shopping, the kids and I got to work.

Paint (green & brown)
Foam brushes
Yellow paint, if you'd like to paint a star
Ribbon, needle and thread if you'd prefer to try my topper...

We're ready!!
 1. Squirt some green paint onto a palette or plate

2. Use the foam brush to paint your child's hand

 3. Leaving room at the bottom for the tree trunk, apply the child's hand to the canvas.
I apparently missed the part where she tells you to do the outer edges of the tree first. I started with DD's (Dear Daughter) hand prints as the base and then used DS's (Dear Son, if you hadn't already deduced...) for the top. We started to run out of room before we could get the full tree on there...

Luckily I had purchased a two pack of canvases and we did it the right way the second time. So, like she suggests, we took DS's hand, being the smaller of the two, and did the outline of the tree and then DD came in and filled in the middle.

4. Paint a tree trunk and a star at the top if you'd like.
I thought it would be neat to do something a little different and had my mother-in-law tie a bow for the topper of ours. She sewed it right onto the canvas for me, too.

Since we had two canvases, and the other didn't really turn out so bad, we gave one to my mother-in-law to keep as well. I forgot to get a picture of hers though. I think they were really cute and it was a nice addition to our Christmas decor. Its definitely something I'll cherish forever :-)

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Accountability: Week 2

Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
           Current weight:   170 lbs.           
Weight +/-:          -2         
Total weight loss: -2          
Short term goal:   160 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

Whoop-dee-whoop!! Yep, I'm that excited over two pounds! I really pushed myself to do better this week. I used my app every day and really tried to keep within my calorie allotment for the day. I did good most days, but I noticed I'm still not eating the right foods. But, hey, at least I'm cutting the portions back on the bad foods, right?

Oh! I went to the gym 5 days last week, too! I am really very proud of that one! I'm still only focusing on cardio right now. I'm thinking maybe this week and next and then I'll start on strength training as well. As for now, I'm just glad I'm getting there as often as I'm wanting.

Yay me!!

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Review: Divergent

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story is set somewhere in the future of our country, although I'm not sure just how far from now it is... where the country is now divided into 5 Factions, Abnegation, Candor, Amity, Dauntless, and Erudite. Each faction consists of people with certain personalitlies and traits. They are raised in their factions until age 16 where they each take an aptitude test to see which faction their true personalities most coincide with. After they get their results they attend a Choosing Ceremony where they make the decision for themselves. Do they stay with their families or set out on their own path choosing a new faction.

Beatrice has never quite felt like she belonged in Abnegation, where the people always put others ahead of themselves. They are brought up to be completely selfless. They all wear grey, aren't allowed many luxuries, appear plain and aren't even allowed to look at themselves in the mirror. Luxuries and vanity make people jealous, so they've eliminated those things making them less selfish. Beatrice just can't always put others first, no matter how hard she tries.

Her aptitude test is inconclusive and sets a series of questions in motion for her. Who is she really? What makes her who she is. Why is she not like the others. She can't even ask anyone. The test administrator warned her that this was not a good thing. Being "Divergent" is dangerous and she should dicsuss it with noone.

When Beatrice decides to leave her faction and join the Dauntless, whose traits are courage and bravery and values are not as strict, her world is quickly turned upside-down. That's not necessarily a bad thing. She feels she fits in more here than she ever did before. Even with that though, she still feels different. She still has questions...

Something big is about to happen and somehow she takes it upon herself to figure things out and make them right. She finds her unorthodox training in Dauntless has definitely prepared her for this task. She is forced to make some very difficult decisions along the way.

Oh, and she meets a boy- Four. Four is two years older than she is and is overseeing her initiate class during training. She can't quite figure him out, but she feels drawn to him nonetheless. They come to learn a few things about eachother and something between them starts to grow.

This book was recommended for those who enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy (which I thoroughly did), so after hearing several other praise it, I decided to give it a try. I couldn't put it down! Even though the subjects are technically kids at 16, the society in the book considers them adults, so it's easy to forget they are still so young.

It's hard for me to believe this is Veronica Roth's first novel. She is clearly a creatively talented person. She depicts her characters very well and I find them very intriguing, especially Four. This is definitely a story that will resonate with me as the Hunger Games did. I have already pre-ordered the sequel (Insurgent) which is to be released on May 1st and am wondering if maybe there's any fan fiction to tide me over until then...

Looking forward to the next installment!

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Friday, February 3, 2012

5 Question Friday

Here's a fun little Friday post I picked up over at a blog I enjoy reading, My Little Life. I've done the 5 Question Friday before on my personal family blog, but never linked up for privacy issues. I figured since I'm attempting to be more reserved with names and whereabouts on this blog, that it wouldn't hurt to link up.... Anyway, the concept, for those that don't know, is that each Friday there will be 5 random questions posted to which you post your answers. Simple as that. Enjoy these random tidbits to my life and then go check out what other are saying :-)

1. What have you done recently that you are proud of?
Joining the gym last week! I'm very proud of myself for taking that step! Woohoo! Yay me!! (See? Very proud!)

2. What is your favorite way to work out? Or if you don't workout, what are you wanting to try?
I'm digging the elliptical right now, but am looking forward to getting back to the arc trainer (those things are hard core!)
3. If you knew your best friend was cheating on spouse would you tell?
Eh, probably not. It's not my business. Situations like that are painful, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news...

4. If you could afford a live-in maid or nanny, would you have one?
Nah... not my style. I wouldn't, however, mind someone to come take my kids while I clean my house... or rather someone to come clean my house (I'm talking a good scrubbing from top to bottom) while I take my kids out. Even better :-)
5. Do you stress out about birthdays (specifically the age) or do you enjoy them?
Are you kidding me? I enjoy them to the fullest! As my best friend Dimples (her nickname from like 5th grade which I am recently considering bringing back) once said, "I think people should put up birthday trees!" I'd decorate mine in cupcake ornaments and shiny, sparkling things. Fun, Fun!

Bonus: Lights on or off?
Depends on the mood ;-)

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Book Review: Spying in High Heels

Spying in High Heels (A High Heels Mystery, #1)Spying in High Heels by Gemma Halliday

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maddie Springer is a fashionista on a budget whose Ken Doll boyfriend has suddenly gone missing. Oh, and she's late... as in late late. She refuses to go through this alone, so she's is on a mission to find out just what's happened when she meets hot cop, Jack Ramirez. While on the case she finds a dead body, lets her best friend convince her to dress as a hooker and winds up at the scene of another murder, and finds out that said boyfriend is married.

It's a whirlwind of craziness with lots of laughs in between.

This was recommended to me by fellow Janet Evanovich fans that say this series is similar to the Stephanie Plum series (which I love). I read the free sample from Amazon and was in love immediately. It's very much like the Plum series, but has its own appeal as well. I love Gemma Hallidays writing style and the charm and wit she's given Maddie. Maddie's best friend Dana is a hoot and I see them getting into lots more trouble in the future! I'll definitely be reading the next in this series soon!

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lose It dot com

I initially thought by just going to the gym I could start to see some progress and then take baby steps toward working on my diet as well, until eventually I would have changed everything and been looking like a little bombshell. Clearly that's not going to work out like I was hoping. Apparently, going to the gym doesn't do diddly-squat if you're not eating right (but I bet you could have told me that... that is, if there was a "you" out there reading this).

So anyway, in an effort to start watching what I'm eating I thought I'd see if I could find a way to easily track my daily intake. A friend recommended since she uses their app and loves it. I'd tried other apps before, a long time ago, but I wasn't happy with their functionality or ease of use. I have to say though, I was pretty impressed with Lose It when I checked them out. Not only do they track your intake, but you can record your daily exercise as well.

You can sign up for an account online, download the app, and you're all set. Lose It asks what your current weight is, what your goal is and how many pounds a week you'd like to try to lose. Then they figure up how many calories per day you can eat in order to reach that goal. When you log your exercise you're allowed more calories based on the exercise.

Lose It has a great database of brand name foods, restaurants, and others that have been added by users. You can create your own custom foods as well. I was also impressed with the list of exercises and activites they have. They make it really easy to log everything and customize the meals and activities to suit me exactly, from portion sizes to speed and effort of an exercise.

I especially like it that I can record on both my phone and at the computer. I can use the app on my phone to quickly record my workout at the gym, and log on the pc at work and record what I ate for lunch. The user interface is great and so easy to read, as you can see here:

I'm hoping to make great use of this tool and see it work for me. I can already tell by using this app I'm making a more conscientious effort to watch my portions and make better decisions. Is that candy bar really worth going over my daily allotment by 87 calories? Nope!

I don't know about you, but seeing something in black and white really helps me to understand. This is just what I needed. The only thing I think they're missing is a blog widget where I could show the world by daily diet and exercise. That'd just make me more accountable...

Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think.

This post carries a disclosure Level of 0. Please see my disclosure page for more details. I am in no way affiliated with, but I am becoming a big fan of their site and accompanying app. and thought I'd share my excitement with you :-)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Accountability: Week 1

Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
           Current weight:   172 lbs.           
Weight +/-:          0           
Total weight loss: 0           
Short term goal:   160 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

As you can imagine, this is a pretty big bummer...

In all honesty though, I think I know exactly what the problem was... it was my birthday. And for my birthday, I went out to eat... a lot. With friends, parents, the fam, you get the idea. Oh, and there was beer... and wine. Not good when you're tyring to lose weight. I shouldn't have let it be an excuse considering I am trying to do this for myself, but what can I say? It was my birthday, and food makes me happy.

Now that my birthday has come and gone, there should be no distractions. Hopefully next week we see better results!