Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Five

This week we've had two snow/ice days and have done some little projects like cleaning our pantry and freezer that have given me the urge to do a little spring cleaning before it's spring.  I haven't gone through my closet yet, but I feel like it might happen soon. And if it does, I have lots of ideas of things I'd like to put in my closet.





1.  Talbots Chevron Printed Vest - this vest comes in a variety of colors. I like the slanted stitching on it as well. One of my friends tried to tell me it was slimming, so I'm all for that.






2.  The Statement Sweater- The Road Trip "Woody" Wagon - I've never owned a "woody" but have some deep affection for them anyway. This sweater is calling my name.








3.  Favorite Flannel Mixed Plaid Shirt - Eddie Bauer's new catalog features this plaid shirt which is a mix of plaids.  There are a few other styles as well.







4.  Women's Utility Tunic - and I'm all about shirts that aren't super tight and showing off any fat ripples I might have.  








5.  Gap Botanical Print Leggings - I haven't purchased leggings in quite a while, and mixing the flower print with the black is a nice change. 





So, that's it for me.  What's caught your eye this week?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Second Five-Star Read: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

It's only the middle of January, and I've already finished up my second five-star read. 2017 is shaping up to be a fantastic reading year.






The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is a debut novel by Lindsey Lee Johnson that is amazing.  Johnson captures what life is like in high school (the most dangerous place on earth truly) perfectly.

Johnson grew up in Marin County herself, and although this is not autobiographical, the setting is a place that she knows personally.  

The focus of this novel is several characters: Molly Nicholls, a young teacher who wants to be a part of her students' lives; Callista, who in junior high wasn't sure how to deal with the advances of the school outcast and who continues to feel some guilt for his suicide; Abigail who has a relationship with a married teacher, and David who can't quite meet his parent's high expectations and takes desperate measures to ensure acceptance to a prestigious university. These stories come together, as the characters' lives and friendships overlap. 

Johnson's writing is engaging and smart and her ability to weave together the various storylines is something I greatly enjoyed.  I am anxious to read her next novel, which I have heard is already in progress.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday: The Hollywood Daughter



Each Wednesday bloggers share a title they are excited about being released soon.




This week's pick: The Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott
Due out: March 7, 2017



Synopsis taken from Amazon:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker and A Touch of Stardust, comes a Hollywood coming-of-age novel, in which Ingrid Bergman's affair with Roberto Rossellini forces her biggest fan to reconsider everything she was raised to believe 

In 1950, Ingrid Bergman—already a major star after movies like Casablanca and Joan of Arc—has a baby out of wedlock with her Italian lover, film director Roberto Rossellini. Previously held up as an icon of purity, Bergman's fall shocked her legions of American fans.
    Growing up in Hollywood, Jessica Malloy watches as her PR executive father helps make Ingrid a star at Selznick Studio. Over years of fleeting interactions with the actress, Jesse comes to idolize Ingrid, who she considered not only the epitome of elegance and integrity, but also the picture-perfect mother, an area where her own difficult mom falls short. 
    In a heated era of McCarthyism and extreme censorship, Ingrid's affair sets off an international scandal that robs seventeen-year-old Jesse of her childhood hero. When the stress placed on Jesse's father begins to reveal hidden truths about the Malloy family, Jesse's eyes are opened to the complex realities of life—and love.
     Beautifully written and deeply moving, The Hollywood Daughter is an intimate novel of self-discovery that evokes a Hollywood sparkling with glamour and vivid drama.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

TLC Blog Tour: Secrets From the Eating Lab

Last year as a part of a blog tour I reviewed The Well Path which was a fantastic book about achieving your weight goals while not undergoing some rigorous (and sometimes ridiculous) diet plan. I felt like the information in the book was well researched and made sense.  

I was excited to read Secrets From the Eating Lab by Traci Mann that is just as chock-full of good advice as The Well Path.  I found myself devouring this book last Saturday morning.  When I took short breaks from reading, I found myself on the phone chatting with friends, reading them excerpts.





This was a great book for me to start the year off with.  I've taken away many bits of information that I've been thinking about ever since I started reading.  While I can't share all the things that stuck with me, I'm sharing a few important gems, and encourage everyone to read this book for themselves.

From the beginning Mann emphasizes that dieting will not help you attain your goals.  (The subtitle does happen to be: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and why You Should Never Diet Again). Although people do lose weight while dieting, the weight is often regained.  In fact, five years after a person has had dieting success, they are often heavier than before they dieted.  
Mann's done her research and can back up her claims about dieting.  Identical twins in a study were given the same number of calories to eat. The twin pairs gained roughly the same amount of weight, but some pairs of twins gained as little as nine pounds, while some gained twenty-nine pounds. This just goes to show that your genetic make-up controls how many calories are burned, and it is different for everyone. 

Obesity is not as unhealthy as people think. Yes, it may contribute to cardiovascular problems and pre-diabetes, but it does not kill you.  As Mann looked at death rates, the data shows that people who are slightly heavier may actually live longer.  

Just as "sitting is the new smoking" became my mantra after reading The Well Path, I have found a quote that really has stuck with me in Secrets From the Eating Lab: Willpower is like holding your breath. At some point you have to breathe. 

Common sense seems to be the key to maintaining a healthy weight.  Mann's advice includes getting enough sleep, not spending too much time at meals since the more time food is in front of you, the more you end up eating, and making healthy choices in your diet.

I loved this book. Even though there isn't an easy solution to weight loss, the research she has conducted and has used in this book affirms what I have long believed about weight loss and dieting.

For anyone wanting to kick off 2017 with a change to their lifestyle, or at least the information to make a change if they want to, Secrets From the Eating Lab is a fantastic read.  This is non-fiction at its best and even with all the research and results given, isn't dry or boring.  

I'm keeping this book because it is a title I will refer to often.




Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of this book. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.  

Visit the HarperCollins website for more information on this title.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Five: A Hodge Podge of Things

Happy Friday!  As you look through this week's Friday Five, you'll notice I didn't shop online for clothes this week much at all.  I did, however, find several things that caught my eye.  





1. Women's Ultra Light Down Compact Vest - this vest was recommended to me (and every other podcast listener) by Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft on their Happier podcast.  It comes in a variety of colors and at this point I'm holding off ordering it, but am not sure how much longer I can hold out. The two of them raved about it.








2.  Side Hustle School  - and that Gretchen Rubin. She did it again. I am now listening to another podcast she recommended. This is one that airs every day but is only 5-10 minutes long and focuses on side jobs where people made money and how they got their ideas. I love it and I'm still waiting for my inspiration to come so I can have my own side hustle.






3.  Bosu Ball - we used these in our exercise class a few times now. I could buy one for at home, but know it would sit around and not get used. And they are pricey.  Target is selling them for $99. However, they do provide some interesting workout options.



4.  Faux Fur Stool at Target - there have been variations of this a Target for a while.  I think I just need to bite the bullet and get one since it would be useful in our living room.



5.  For my birthday my husband gave me a Buff after he received one himself. I'm practicing on a variety of styles I can wear it.  On Monday my daughter helped me fix it like a hat, but told me I should take it off before I picked her up from ice skating lessons. I guess that wasn't my best look.  





6. US Postage Stamps honoring Ezra Jack Keats - and since my kindergarten kids are reading The Snowy Day now, and Amazon Prime also features a movie version of this, I am super excited about the stamps. Ezra Jack Keats' book is one I remember from my own childhood.  
  



And that's it.  I am sure I will have more clothing items that make it to the Friday Five by next week. And, if you have anything that's caught your eye this week, I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The First Five Star Read of 2017





The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan was a great way to start my reading year.  Although I had read a few novels before this one in 2017, this is my first five-star read.  I loved it!

Set in England in 1940 in the village of Chilbury, the story is told in journal entries and letters written by various people who live in the village.  When the men leave for the war, the women are left to keep things going at home.  At first their choir stops practicing and performing, but soon someone gets the idea to begin a choir composed of only women and the Chilbury Ladies' Choir is born.

Although the  focus of the book is not the choir, but the various residents of Chilbury participate in it and find some companionship and purpose in it. 

The journal entries and letters share the various goings-on of the residents of the town including a possible baby swap, some black market dealings, an unplanned pregnancy, and bribery.  As the story continues these plotlines are developed and kept me reading to find out how they are resolved.  

I stayed up late reading this book that reminds me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a novel set during World War II on the isle of Guernsey.  Fans of that novel will fall in love with this book, as will anyone who enjoys historical fiction, World War II stories, books about small towns, and stories that will make you smile as you turn the last page.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday: The Devil and Webster



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that highlights soon to be published books.



This week's pick: The Devil and Webster by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Due out: March 21, 2017

Product Information taken from Amazon:

Naomi Roth is the first female president of Webster College, a once conservative school now known for producing fired-up, progressive graduates. A former student radical herself, Naomi isn't alarmed when Webster students, including her own daughter, begin an outdoor encampment to protest a popular professor's denial of tenure, but when Omar Khayal, a charismatic Palestinian student with a devastating personal history, emerges as the group's leader, shocking acts of vandalism begin to destabilize the campus. As the crisis slips beyond her control, Naomi struggles to protect her friends, colleagues, and family from an unknowable adversary. A riveting novel about who we think we are, and what we think we believe.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

TLC Book Tour: The Fireman

Every once in a while I feel like getting out of my comfort zone and reading something that isn't normally what I pick up.  Both The Martian and Dark Matter were books outside my normal reading diet, and I loved them. The Fireman by Joe Hill is the book that is forcing me out of my comfort zone right now.






This is a dsytopian novel is full of suspense and action - I can't believe it won't be made into a movie someday.

There is a plague that is spreading quickly among humans around the world.  Draco Incendia Trychophyton, known as Dragonscales, is infecting people by first covering their bodies in a black and gold scales, but eventually causing them to die by bursting into flames.  No one is safe from this disease and it is spreading quickly.

Harper is a young nurse who uses her skills to help those who are infected. Although she takes the precautions that seem to help eliminate the risk of infection, she finds the black and gold scales marking her body. From that point on, her life is about survival - not just for her, but for the baby she is carrying.

This book is action packed.  There are struggles at danger at every turn.  Hill threw in some surprises along the way, and just when I believed things couldn't get worse, they did. 

Although the reality of the events in this novel actually occurring are slim (at least I sure hope so), I couldn't help but imagine what people would do if confronted with something like Dragonscales.  

The Fireman is a long novel (750 pages) and that might deter some people. But it is a fast read, and once you begin it, you will be racing to the end to find out what happens to Harper and the community she has surrounded herself with.

Thanks to TLC Books for providing a copy of this book for my review.  All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.


For more information about The Fireman, visit the HarperCollins website.


Monday, January 9, 2017

The Sleepwalker

Chris Bohjalian never disappoints me. His most recent novel, The Sleepwalker, is released today and I have been waiting for a while now to talk about it with someone.



Annalee is a beautiful woman. A wife, mother, successful architect.  She is also a woman with a sleep disorder.  She sleepwalks when her husband is not home, away at conferences for his work as an English professor.  Her disorder has been under control over the past few years, but this may be more to do with the fact that her husband has chosen not to travel for work.  

Her oldest daughter comes home from college when her father is going to be gone for work for a few days.  And while he is away, Annalee disappears.  Liliana and Paige didn't hear anything in the night and have no idea where their mom may have gone. Whatever happened to her that night while she was sleepwalking has prevented her from coming home.

As Liliana narrates, she shares memories of her childhood: her mother's many miscarriages, the few times she experienced her own sleepwalking as a young child, and what she remembers of her mother's sleep disorder.

As the search for Annalee continues, Liliana moves home from college, and begins a relationship with the detective assigned to her mother's case- a man with his own sleep disorder.

Bohjalian throws some surprises in this story that kept me turning pages frantically. Although I had things mostly figured out  I loved this novel. I love how Bohjalian shares the mundane details of his characters' lives and makes them real. I love how just when you feel like you know where a story is leading, he can throw a surprise in that will totally change things.   

The Sleepwalker is Bohjalian at his best.  This one ranks right up there with Midwives, his novel that was chosen as an Oprah Book Club pick long ago.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday Five

Oh, 2017! I thought I would be done online shopping after the holidays. Well that was before I discovered there are so many great things I still want.  Seriously, I've mostly been pinning things I'm in love with to my Pinterest board and not spending money, but I could certainly find many things to purchase at this time of year.





1.  Classic Slim Kristin Pull-on Boot - I've had a pair of grey UGGs my mom bought me for my birthday several years ago now. I appreciate how warm they are in this winter weather, and still wear them all the time. However, they are starting to look old, and I like the heel/sole on this pair.   I also think the chestnut color would be a nice change from my gray ones.





2.  Katie Couric co-hosts the Today Show during the week of January 2 - I have missed Katie Couric and Matt co-hosting today since she left years ago. It's my lucky week!  Next week Meredith Viera will be co-hosting with Matt while Savannah continues on her maternity leave.






3.  Not Parent Approved Card Game - sold out before Christmas, I've already ordered it for a future holiday. I think this would be a fun family game, and apparently so does everyone else right now.





4.  Camp Camouflage Piko Top  - if you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll know I have a soft spot for anything camouflage.  This is my latest camo find.







5.  Knitted Cowl Neck Sweater - this popped up on my Facebook page, which of course meant that I need it. Right? And it is super discounted. Originally it was priced at $169, and is now a cheap $59. 







6.  Warm Embrace Top - And, although this one looks a little fall-like, I am loving it. Especially with the necklace.  





So, how about you? What's caught your eye this week?