Oct 31, 2012

May the candy be with you...

As promised, here are some photos from our family Halloween...

I love creating and making our costumes each year.  And if you couldn't tell, I can't pass up the opportunity to coordinate.

Hope you all had a great Halloween!!


Wordless Wednesday: Autumn in Atlanta

This past weekend, we took a spontaneous trip to Atlanta.  It is truly one of my favorite cities.  We always have fun when we visit.  This time we chose to check out Stone Mountain Park, just east of the city and enjoy the cool weather and breath-taking autumn colors.  

They have so much to do there.  You can choose to go on independent hikes around or up the mountain.  We chose to take the sky tram route.  
Don't be alarmed.  Even though it appears my children are standing near a sharp cliff, the top of the mountain is actually just a dome shape, and that is only an illusion.  
No cliff, I promise.
The weather was Beautiful.  The views were breath-taking.  The kids had a blast.  It was an overall perfect day.
After resting up that afternoon, we headed out for the State fair that was in town.  My husband, as it turns out, is a huge fair fan.  How did I not know this?  He was so pumped to take Jonathan on all of the fair "musts" including the Ring of Fire.  We paid far too much for a ride on the very chilly Ferris Wheel.  We rubbed elbows with Georgia's finest and the boys oogled over the world's largest hog and the tiniest horse.  It was the fair at it's best.

We braved the cold, crowds and high prices for simply the best day we've had in a long time.


Oct 26, 2012

Book Review: What I Didn't Say

This book is what I love about YA fiction.  It is heartfelt and enthralling without being immature.  Even after the first couple of chapters, I knew that I could trust this author.
  At the surface, this seems like just a story told by Jake after he suffers a tragic car accident that leaves him without his vocal chords.  It's actually about so much more.

What I loved about this book:
-  It had integrity.  Taylor told the story with an earnestness that was entirely believable.  I kept wondering if it was a true story because it really did feel more like an memoir than fiction.  Jake and Sam were real people to me.

-  Great love story.  This is one of those high school sweetheart stories that had me in tears.  It wasn't over-the-top, and it didn't feel scripted.

-  Multi-layered.  Don't be fooled by the title or the synopsis.  This book is about so much more than Jake losing his voice.  Sam has her own unfolding story that is so captivating.

- No cliches.  The story was entirely unique.  The author didn't cut any corners with generic settings or characters.  Jake's family and hometown were so different than anything I've read.

You will like this book if you like...
- Contemporary fiction.
- Male point-of-view

Get this book...
Kindle // Nook
Only $1.99 on Kindle!


Oct 25, 2012

Just checking in...

By now, those of you participating in the swap should have already received your book swap partner.  I hope everyone is getting along well & getting to know each other!

Talk about books.  Stalk each others' blogs.  Swap addresses & get to the shopping!  Remember, it doesn't have to be a new book.  Thrifted is perfectly acceptable. <--in fact, it's encouraged.

Some people have been asking if a package with other small gifts is acceptable.  Absolutely!  I hope people really put time and heart into it.  Send a sweet note.  A bookmark.  A nice card.  A memento.  Whatever your comfortable with!

Keep in mind that if you are just mailing books, you can ship via Media Mail.  It's much cheaper!

Here are some fun and adorable shipping ideas to add a special touch to your package.

It's not too late to sign up!  There is still plenty of time to join the swap!  Leave a comment below with your blog link, email and/or Goodreads profile along with the genre of books you prefer.  We have been receiving new participants all week.

If you have signed up but haven't received your swap partner yet, please email me

Please spread the word if you haven't already.  The more the merrier.


Have you seen my co-hosts?  They are all fantastic bloggers you should totally be following.  Please stop over & say hi.

Any more questions, please comment below. :)

Happy Book Shopping!!


Oct 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Jude's Room

Jude's room has been a work-in-progress since we moved in.  
I knew I wanted his room to be simple and classic.  
Every trip to the flea market or antique store, I grab a thing or two to add.

The YGG banner was from his birthday. I found the idea here.
The Ernie cross-stitch was from my childhood.  My mom made it & it hung in my room.
The story book chair I found at a flea market & immediately fell in love with it.

I like to collect decorative letters at antique stores.  The E doesn't stand for anything.  I just put random letters up around his room.

vintage Fisher Price toys are the best.

I keep a collection of old books in his room.  They have the best covers.
The Rolling Stones in the back of the pile is one I bought when I pregnant.  It's the special edition "Best Songs of All Time" issue.  Hey Jude is #6.

Well, that's just bits & pieces of his room.  It rarely looks this clean.  It's the most tranquil room in the house.  I love sitting in there with him and reading a book while he plays around me.


The Blogger Book Swap is still open!!  There is still time to join.
Blogger Book Swap

Oct 21, 2012

A glimpse into our lives

I'm sorry.  I don't even mean to do it, but sometimes I'll go weeks on this blog without sharing anything personal in our lives.  I get caught up in the book chats, swaps, reviews & tunesdays, and I forget.  I promised myself to be a blogger who does reviews and not just some anonymous reviewer.  You should know who's opinion you were listening to, right?

So here you go.  If you interested...a glimpse into our lives lately.

Jude has been sick all week with a cold.  It was either due to the changing seasons or the nearby peanut fields being cleared.  We live in the peanut capital of the world (that may or may not be true).

We've also been working on the big P.T. (potty training) lately.  I probably should have used this week of being cooped up indoors all day to do more P.T. but it just seemed like too much to handle at times.  We've had some success, but he's not ready to go diaper-free yet.  I'm not pushing it, just introducing the idea. Wish us luck.

Jonathan just finished fall soccer.  It was so much more fun than we expected.  He learned a lot and seemed to really enjoy himself.  As for the parents, we were so pumped up at each game, we probably should have charged admission.  Jonathan scored one goal, and contrary to what you see in the movies, you are not allowed to run out on the field and carry your child on your shoulders chanting his name.  No matter how much you want to.

Jeremy has been busy, busy, busy with school.  I can't believe how fast it's all going by.  This week is a very exciting week for us because Jeremy has aircraft selection on Friday.  Basically that means that he gets to pick which model helicopter he will be flying.  It may sound insignificant (they're all helicopters, right?), but it makes a difference in what missions he will get and what posts he can be sent to.  Plus, it's the helicopter he will be flying for the next (at least) 12 years so I think it's pretty significant.

As for me, I've been spending most of my free time reading & working on the blog.  It's been a pretty exciting couple weeks because I have the Blogger Book Swap going on AND I've started doing book reviews for NetGalley AND I've been writing album reviews for Confront magazine (you might know the editor).  I'm loving it so far and cannot get enough.  You can see my music reviews here and here.  And my book reviews here and here.


As for the book swap...it's still open!  We have 26 people signed up so far, and there is always room for more!  Just leave me a comment below or email me if you are interested.

Have a great week!!

Oct 18, 2012

Blogger Book Swap!

I'm so excited to announce that I am hosting a Blogger Book Swap!  


What is a book swap?
Well, it's simply a chance for bloggers to meet other bloggers and share their love for books.  We will not only make new friends, but also receive a new book!

What do I have to do?
If you choose to join, you will be paired randomly with another book loving blogger.  I will email you with your partners information, then you can follow each others' blogs and Goodreads profiles. (Don't have one?)  Once you get to know each other, you choose a book & send it to them.  I think it's best to keep the book a secret, and if possible, send them one you have read and loved.  Try not to send them one they've already read if you can avoid it.

How much will I have to spend?
You don't have to spend a lot!  Christmas is coming up and new books can be pricey.  In case you haven't noticed, a used book is still as functional as a brand new one (in most cases).  There's no shame in shopping at a thrift store or from your own shelves.  I, myself, love the feel of a pre-loved book.  Wait, that didn't sound right.
Anyway, shipping shouldn't cost more than {five} dollars.

Then what?
When you do receive your book in the mail, do a little blog about it.  Then, head back over here on November 8th to link it up so we can all share the book swap fun!

I have enlisted the help of some of my favorite bookish blog friends to help me host.  Please check them out & say HI!

Also, please spread the word about the book swap so we can recruit even more bloggers to participate!  If you post about it on twitter, use the hashtag #bloggerbookswap.

Also, please place this button on your sidebar so your readers can share in the fun too!


So now that you have decided that you must participate in this book swap, here are the steps to follow to join in!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me

Can't wait!

**The.book.chat will take a small hiatus for the book swap and will begin back up on November 15.**

Oct 16, 2012

Tunesday: Videos

Today, I just want to share some spectacular "music videos" that I have been loving lately.  I say "music videos" because it reminds me of MTV, but this really like the YouTube of MTV, which for music loving folks like myself, is much better.

Of Monsters & Men - Mountain Sound
This video was featured on the Bonnaroo365 channel.  Oh Bonnaroo, the gift that keeps on giving.  I have so much love for this band.  

Royal Teeth - Wild
It's rare that a song will capture me from the first time I hear it.  I heard this song on the radio one day (AltNation on XM) and even the kids were asking me to keep it on.  I wonder what brand will snatch it up for a commercial first?

Matt and Kim - Let's Go
When I heard Matt & Kim created their music video for Let's Go with Funny or Die, I knew it would be gold.  It's those awkward family photos set to music.  You have to love a duo that doesn't take themselves too seriously...or at all.

Let's Go from Matt and Kim      

New this week...

A Fine Frenzy - Avalanches
This is one of my all-time favorite artists.  I have been over-the-moon for this girl's style since her first record so I'm so glad to see that this album sounds more like that original.  Her second album was fun, but she seems more at home in this woodsy scenery.  
Her new album, Pines, is released today.

Smoke and Jackal - No Tell
This really isn't a video, it's just audio, but I wanted to share this pretty exciting new project from Jared Followill of Kings of Leon and Nick Brown of Mona.  I get giddy everytime this song comes on the radio.  It's worth a listen, I promise.
Their album, "EP 1" is also being released today.

Ben Gibbard - Former Lives
Another exciting release today.  The solo album from Death Cab for Cutie (and The Postal Service) frontman, Ben Gibbard.  It's been streaming all over the place for all to hear, but I'm pretty sure after today, you're just going to have to buy it.  But so far, I can say, I love it.  Perhaps a review is in order...

One last video...

St Vincent and Andrew Bird - Black Rainbow
This is a video of one of those very unfair private sessions with some amazing artist playing a secret little concert for a room of people.  Anyway, what's important is that they captured a crystal-clear recording of this piece of magic.  A collaboration so sublime I can't even take it.  It's such a haunting song and the best part of it has to be how incredibly impromptu it is.  Stick around for the end. 

You will never be the same.

Music is amazing.

Oct 15, 2012

Guest Post with Ola Mae: Record Collection

I'm so excited to have a guest post friend today!  I sort of "met" Kristen in an online Resource Party with Alt Summit.  I posted about wanting some guest posters, and right away she emailed me with the idea to share some of her (amazing) record collection and maybe an inspired outfit to go with it.  What a fantastic idea, right!

So here you go.  Please meet Kristen.

I'm going for the straight faced sullen look.  Johnny doesn't smile on his album covers.  He is a serious guy.  Johnny was know as the man in black and he wore a lot of denim.  If you wanna represent, it's pretty easy.  I put on my gray denim jeans and a black top.  I made a bracelet to top off the look.  My Johnny inspired bracelet has a denim base with gray lace and black leather strips stitched on with silver thread.  You can see the pink thread used on the backside peaking through the top.

I've amassed a decent sized record collection since I first took an interest at age 15.  I've got something around 300- 500 records sitting in my basement.  It's about half decent stuff half stuff I may never listen to again.  My biggest individual collection is my Johnny Cash records while I have no where near everything he put out I do have 35 of his records.  Only a few are repeats which are good incase one has a scratch.

The Johnny Cash library is endless, the American recordings he put out towards the end of his life are great but here is a top 10 list to get to know the guy if you're not familiar.

1.   Ring of Fire
2.   A Boy Named Sue
3.   Sunday Morning Coming Down
4.   Jackson
5.   Big River
6.   Folsom Prison Blues
7.   Frankie's Man, Johnny
8.   The Ballad of Ira Hayes
9.   Five Feet High and Rising
10.  I Walk the Line

Kristen Weigand lives in Kansas City, MO with her daughter Gretchen and dog Gwen.  She writes a sewing and crafts DIY blog over at www.ola-maes.com. Shop her bracelets at www.etsy.com/shop/olamaes.

Thank you so much Kristen!  I just love that Johnny Cash inspired wrist cuff.  
You can find many more creative bracelets at her etsy shop, so go take a look!  
And how about that record collection?!  Crazy jealous.  Thanks again, Kristen.  


Oct 11, 2012

Book Review: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Wow.  I loved this book so, so much (if you couldn't tell by the five stars).  As a fan of usually heavier fiction of a darker nature, I did not expect to fall so abundantly in love with this story and these characters.  This is more than just a "fun" read.  Yes, it's funny (very funny) but it's also thoughtful and reflective.

The story is based around Lily and Dash and a notebook that they exclusively communicate through, leaving each other dares, clues and diary entries.  The story picks up immediately when Dash finds the mysterious journal and it's clues on page one.

The  novel is written in alternating chapters of first person either from Lily or Dash.  As you probably guessed, Dash is written by David Levithan and Lily by Rachel Cohn.  Whereas you might think this would be confusing or tiresome, I assure you, it is not.  In fact, I found the nature of this storytelling so natural, at times I forgot I was reading and that these people were fictional.

What I loved about this book... (everything)

* It is so funny.

* The characters are unique, lovable, in-depth, flawed.

* I love that the plot and character development is interwoven through out the novel, and you know that everything you are reading has a purpose in the story.

* The plot is unpredictable and genuinely enjoyable.

* It so quotable.

One of the greatest things about this story is, like I said, it's more than just fun and quirky.  It has a true sincerity that is constantly touching on the characters' struggles with love, happiness and teenage existence all-together.

"I was attempting to write the story of my life.  It wasn't so much about plot.  It was much more about character." -Dash

You will like this book if you like...
* Sarcastic humor
* John Green
* Laughing at hipsters

This is one of the most enjoyable reads I've encountered in a long time.  It wasn't nail-biting suspense, but pure literary companionship.  This is the first book I can say I cannot wait to read again.

5 out of 5 stars.

Find this book here:
Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

{the.book.chat} Literary Costume Ideas

I mentioned before that Literary Costume Ideas is one of my most common search terms that leads to my blog (all year round).  I find it funny because most people don't consider that every Alice in Wonderland, Luke Skywalker, Frankenstein and Dracula walking the streets on October 31st is a Literary Costume.
I have always been a fan of unique and homemade Halloween costumes (I get it from my mother), so I have fun brainstorming ideas, planning, crafting and sewing each year.  I won't say yet, what we're going to be this year, but I will say that this will be our FIRST all-in, family Halloween!  I'm pretty excited about that, so check back in November 1st for pictures of that mess.

But back to the task at hand.
Last year, I did a post sharing literary costume ideas for women (Katniss Everdeen, Elizabeth Bennet, and Lisbeth Salander).

Here are few more ideas to add to that collection...


This would probably work best with a Romeo.  All you really need is a classic dress, an empire waistline and some long pretty hair.  Don't forget some of that youthful puppy love.
My dark, humorous side says some fake blood and a dagger would really send the message home.

It's essentially a flapper (which my mother once dressed me up as as a child. You'll have to harp her for the pictures) but you'll have the right to pretentiously argue that you, sir, are no flapper.  You are the iconic and glamorous miss Daisy Buchanan.  Then, sigh heavily, flick your super long cigarette and saunter away.


Effie Trinket.  Basically the Lady Gaga of the literary world.  This would be the most fun costume to put together.  Just spray paint a wig purple, snatch up the 80's-iest prom dress you can find at the thrift store and say "It's Mahogany!" all night, and people will get it.

There are so many options out there.  I like to think that women can dress up for Halloween without having to resort to the stripper version of Dorothy or the Cat in the Hat (it exists).  The best thing about unique literary costumes is that you always know who you'll get along with at the party.  The person who refers to you as the Elizabeth Banks character...no.  The person who says "May the odds be ever in your favor" in passing...yes.

If you could dress up as any literary character, who would it be?  Perhaps you already have...then you must share pictures.  If you choose to blog along with us on this topic, please link up below!


There won't be a book chat next week, BUT there will be a super fun and exciting announcement, so check back then!