Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Five

Although it's getting dark awfully early, we've still had some beautiful fall days this past week.  

We're approaching the end of the XC season for Big Sister and Middle Sister.  Every year I fall in love with this sport a little more.  

Last Saturday was the conference meet.  In pouring rain.  For hours on end.

This is what Big Sister and her teammates looked like after their race. They were clean compared to the JV Boys who had the last race.  

Middle Sister's season ended last Saturday. She took second in the junior high race, with a two mile time of 12:54.  

Yesterday Big Sister's team travelled to Pekin (a two and a half hour trip by bus) to compete at Districts. For the second year in a row, both boys and girls teams are going to XC State. So for a little while, anyway, our season continues.  

Despite all of that excitement, I still managed to find some great things online to share with you:

1.  Women's Flannel Pleated Tunic -I love a good plaid shirt, and I especially like the pleats on this one. It comes in a variety of patterns, and I've got my eye on a few.

2.  Velvet Joggers - ahhhhhhh...velvet. These look super comfy to me.  

3.   Woman's Ilaria Northwest Boyfriend Flannel Shirt - I'm not sure what appeals to me about this shirt.  I'm not really a cowboy type of person, but I like that this is just a bit different than the standard plaid we're seeing a lot of.

4.  Down Filled Puffer Coat - I have finally broken out some coats this season since the weather is getting a little colder.  This comes in a few colors, but I really like this one which screams, "fall!"

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5.  Koben Canvas Embroidered Kimono - my mom introduced me to Johnny Was, and although it's out of my price range, I still look there from time to time. They have some beautiful things.

6.   Breathe Logo Tee - I bought a Gap Breathe T a while back and finally got it out to wear. I love it. It's soft. It fits great.  It doesn't cling.  I want to buy about a dozen more of them.

7.  Velvet Skinny Jeans - I saw these on The Big Mama's Fashion Friday this morning and fell in love. I've been looking for this color of pants and the fact that they are velvet seals the deal.

8.  Women's Dr. Scholl's Harlan Shoes - I'm a Dansko girl, but these are catching my eye, and on sale for only $39.99.


9.  Veggie Tots - my new food obsession. I doubt they are as healthy as I'd like to believe, but they are super tasty.

10.   Her Money with Jean Chatzky Podcast - my list of podcasts I listen to each week continues to grow longer. I have always enjoyed listening to Jean Chatzky on the Today Show, and am so excited to listen to her money advice each week on her podcast. 

That's it for me this week.  What's caught your eye?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Great Alone

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I showcase a soon to be released title I can't wait to read.

This week's pick: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Due out: February 6, 2018

Synopsis taken from Goodreads:

Alaska, 1974.
And for a family in crisis, the ultimate test of the human spirit.

From the author who brought you the phenomenon of The Nightingale.

And that is the whole synopsis that's out there right now.  Kristin Hannah's reputation is perhaps enough for people to pick this one up.  I can't wait!

Monday, October 16, 2017

TLC Book Tour: The Last Ballad

As soon as I heard this book was based on true events, I was in. I love historical fiction and I love it even more when there is an actual event a story is centered around.

Ella May Wiggins is twenty-nine years old, a mother of four young children, making only nine dollars a week for the seventy-two hours she works at a cotton mill.  She lives in Stumptown along with the poor Negroes and her husband has come and gone many times.  

When an opportunity comes along for her to join the union and perhaps make a better life for herself, she takes it.  This decision impacts the rest of her (short) life.  

Cash tells Ella's story in a variety of perspectives, really fleshing out the many different aspects of what she was a part of.  I found myself googling Ella May Wiggins and Loray Mill Strike after I finished this book, my interest piqued by this fantastic novel.  

Although I wished for a happy ending to this story, I appreciated Cash's choice to allow readers to see Ella's children after they had grown up.  Part of this novel is written as Lily, Ella's oldest daughter, writes to her nephew Edwin about what happened to Ella and her children.

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

Visit the HarperCollins website for more information

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Five: Apparently I'm Enjoying Patterns This Week

I had my Friday Five post ready to go last night, but since I had the day off from school today I've spent much of the day on the couch reading.  The girls had school today, so it's been a quiet day around here for me and the dog.  

Here are a few things I found this week:

1. Gingham Car Coat - gingham was in this past summer, and it seems to be sticking around for the fall and winter.  

2. Buffalo Check Shirt-Jacket - I love my red and black buffalo plaid shirt, but I'd happily add this one to my closet for the winter.

3.  Free-Range Pants Regular - I'm forever looking for a good pair of pants.  I've got a stack of pants in my closet, but few are ones I love.  I have yet to purchas a pair from Title Nine and always look at them longingly.  

4.  Lumberjill Button Down Shirt - and if I bought those pants, I might as well add the shirt to my order. Right?

5.  Classic Flannel Shirt - apparently the weather is getting colder and I'm getting in the mood for fall since I can't help looking at flannel and plaid items.

6.  Velvet Kimono Top - Velvet also seems to be the thing this year. This top is simple and could easily be worn with some nice black pants  I'm even thinking holiday party attire.

7.   Patchwork Open Front Cardigan - I love a good cardigan. This one would go great with neary everything. And it doesn't hurt that the Gap is always having sales.

8.  Women's Merino Blend Boucle Cowl Neck Sweater - I used to buy more regularly from Lands End. They always have good quality clothes that are always in style. This is one of this fall's sweaters that I'm thinking looks super comortable.

9.  Truckee Faux Fur Trapper Hat - for many years I've admired these warm hats.  One day I might break down and buy one.

10.  Judy Blume's Master Class - I love Judy Blume.  Seriously considering taking part in this class she is offering.

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The White Chrysanthemum

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I showcase a soon to be released title I can't wait to read.

This week's pick: The White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht
Due out: January 30, 2018

Product description taken from Amazon:

Korea, 1943. Hana has lived her entire life under Japanese occupation. As a haenyeo, a female diver of the sea, she enjoys an independence that few other Koreans can still claim. Until the day Hana saves her younger sister from a Japanese soldier and is herself captured and transported to Manchuria. There she is forced to become a “comfort woman” in a Japanese military brothel. But haenyeo are women of power and strength. She will find her way home. 

South Korea, 2011. Emi has spent more than sixty years trying to forget the sacrifice her sister made, but she must confront the past to discover peace. Seeing the healing of her children and her country, can Emi move beyond the legacy of war to find forgiveness? 

Suspenseful, hopeful, and ultimately redemptive, White Chrysanthemum tells a story of two sisters whose love for each other is strong enough to triumph over the grim evils of war.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Two on Tuesday: Fantastic Middle Grade Novels

Middle grade novels are one of my favorite kind of books to read.  This past week I've read a few gems. 

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser - is a charming tween novel.  The Vanderbeeker family: mom, dad, four daughters and one son- have made a Harlem brownstone their home for years. However, when their landlord, Mr. Beiderman, doesn't renew their lease just before Christmas, the kids set about finding a way to change his mind.  The plot is a little predictable, but entirely entertaining and the Vanderbeeker kids are lovable and quirky.  Although the kids' plan doesn't go exactly as they wanted, they do finally meet Mr. Beiderman, who has always remained in his apartment, closed off from the world.
This book is a fun read.  I am looking forward to sharing it with students but also with my eleven year old.

Lily's Mountain by Hannah Moderow- this is such a heartbreaking novel, but yet I loved it so much.  Lily's dad has just died while climbing Denali, the highest mountain in North America.  Although her dad is an experienced climber, he fell into a crevasse and they receive a phone call telling them of the accident.  Lily is devastated. And she can't quite believe that her dad is really gone.  She and her sister embark on a camping trip to Denali so they can find the place where their dad died, encountering danger along the way.  
I loved Moderow's ability to share how Lily dealt with her grief, the beauty of the Alaskan setting, and the bits of hope that Lily found in life.

Both of these books kept me entertained and with each I was sad to turn the last page.  If you are in the mood for a quick read, I'd check either (or both) of these out.

Monday, October 9, 2017

TLC Book Tour: Unforgivable Love

Unforgivable Love is a novel worth the time it takes to read.  Although it is billed as a retelling of Dangerous Liaisons, my lack of knowledge of that story didn't detract from my enjoyment of this novel.

Scott has set this story in 1940s Harlem, a setting I enjoyed. I appreciated the wealthy black society depicted in this novel, something that isn't commonplace in a great deal of the literature I read.

Mae Malveaux is wealthy, having earned her fortune by having her face depicted on the package of a hair gel her mother developed.  She is the "queen bee" of the black community she is a part of, using men, then discarding them.

This story twists and turns a bit as Mae tries to control Val by agreeing to sleep with him if he can seduce Cecily.  Although this plan is in play, Val becomes interested in Elizabeth, who is married as well.

I loved the setting of this book - both the time period and the place. I loved how Jackie Robinson and baseball provided a subplot that was fun and familiar.

This book was a fun read.  I enjoyed the story but I also appreciated reading an author that is new to me that provided a look at a community that was new to me.

Thanks to TLC Book for providing this book for my review. All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

For more information, visit the HarperCollins website.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Friday Five

It's Homecoming week here which has meant activities every night and crazy dress up days.  Unfortunately it is supposed to rain all day today. That means as a fair weather fan I will not be attending tonight's football game.  

I must have be in a shoe-shopping mood because I managed to find three pairs to include this week, and didn't find a single camo item to share.

Here is what I've enjoyed looking at this week:

1.  Life is Better With Chickens Around T - this company has a ton of cute t-shirts.  This is one of their most popular. It is super cute, but my mother, who grew up with chickens, would not say that life is better with them around.

2.  66 North Backpack - my mom recently got back from a trip to Iceland. While she was there she bought a 66 North backpack.  It is rubbery and would definitely keep everything dry (it rained her entire time there).  This bag is pricey but after seeing my mom's, I still want one.

3.  Perfect Pima Striped A-Line Top - I kind of have gotten out of the habit of shopping at JJill, but they have great clothes.  This t-shirt is one that I could wear to school or at home.

4.  Kenneth Cole Kalvin High Top Sneakers - and JJill also had these shoes. I've seen this style quite a bit this fall and may have to purchase a pair at some point.

5.  Loop Fringe Cardigan - this one makes my Friday Five list only because I find it very interesting.  And it reminds me of a sweater my mother-in-law has in her closet that I've never seen her wear.  It is much like this only in bright colors - and her children made fun of her the one time she put it on.  I'm not quite sure what to think of this one.....will this become a new, popular look?

6.  Puff Sleeve Mock Neck Sweater - Big Sister tried this sweater on at Abercromibe when we were at the Mall of America. She is really good about waiting for things to go on sale.  This one is currently 40% off for the weekend, so I'm thinking I'll buy it and put it away for Christmas.  Unfortunately she spotted it first. I really like it, too.

7.  Dr. Scholl's Scout Slip-on Sneakers - this is pretty popular style right now. But the wine colored fur ones are a new twist to this shoe. And I love it.

8.  Everyone's a Reader T - I have a growing stash of reading/library Ts.  This may be one I need to purchase.  

9.  Bass Whitney Weejun Loafers - once again I'm taken back to the early 1990s. If only I would have saved my shoes from high school and college. I still love how a good loafer looks.

10.  Monarchy on Audible - the newest thing I'm listening to is on Audible. This podcast-like production tells the story of Queen Elizabeth's life. If you are a Crown watcher, this would be a great listen.

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

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Immortalists

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature that showcases a soon to be released title I can't wait to read.

This week's pick: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Due out: January 9, 2018

Description taken from Amazon:

If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?

It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.

Monday, October 2, 2017

TLC Book Tour: The Grown Up Guide to Teen-Age Humans

With sixteen and fourteen year old daughters (and an eleven year old daughter as well), I definitely could use any bit of advice about dealing with teenagers.  I am in the middle of these teen-age years and although I'm learning through experience, I could definitely use some professional input.

Shipp does a fantastic job of covering the many different aspects of having teenagers in the house.  (However, this book isn't only for parents. Teachers may also find it useful as would any person who deals with teens).  He shares his own experience as a foster kid and the many ways he acted out.  He includes various stories and experiences from a variety of people within this book, which makes it an easy read, and not just full of advice.  

Shipp covers a lot of ground in this book, which centers around communicating effectively with your teen and talking with them about a variety of subjects.  His basic premise is that the number one concern teens have is the lack of time they have with their parents.  Working with this premise, he finds different ways that parents can connect with their teen.  The topics he covers are all relevant for the present day as he writes about drug use, sexting, body image, screen time, cyberbullying, and many other important aspects to life with teens.

I'm keeping this book within an arm's reach. I have many more years of living with teenagers to look forward to and will definitely need to arm myself with every resource I can find.

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

For more information, visit the HarperCollins website.