Thursday, March 31, 2011

I may be late... but I'm not any less thankful.

Over the last few months I've gotten a bunch of cool stuff in the mail from bloggers who love me. Or at least hope I don't die. Which either way, I love it. And some of these are a few months old... but at least I'm still thanking in the same year. ;)  (And you're right- I'm not linking to any of these bloggers because I don't want you to steal my friends. That's right. I'm kind of the possessive girlfriend. HA!)

First up, is my new friend Jen. She's planning to come and hang with me for the Breaking Dawn premier in November, and I'm going to hang with her in June in Michigan. But WAY back in January she sent me an out-of-the-blue love note with a gift card to McDonald's... so I can fund my addiction to fountain coke before work. It lasted me two weeks and it was glorious. :)
 Then my friend Jamie who lives in Alabama who I would squeeze to bits if I could mysteriously asked me a favorite lyric, but didn't tell me why. Fast forward a few weeks and I get the most amazing package in the mail. First up, a gorgeous hand made picture with my favorite lyric on it, from Coldplay's "Yellow". It looks amazing on my bedroom wall.
Then she sent me a brooch from her Etsy shop that I LOVE. I have it on my dark gray peacoat and I get a ton of compliments on it. Can you tell my favorite color is blue??
 AND she made my kids some homemade crayons. Which of course they totally loved. They also love that her packages always come with a ridiculous amount of bubble wrap. Which they wore as clothes and accessories, so they loved that too.
 And finally, but not least. One of the first blogs I ever started reading is Finny. Obviously not her real name, but I love her so. If I didn't have a mom already, I'd probably make her adopt me. Except she would totally make me eat veggies and healthy stuff and dig out bermuda grass. And keep bees. None of which really sounds excited. But she's great and the reason I started running is because she makes it seem like I can actually do it. So if I die while running a 5K, you better believe I'll have something on my body that says "Finny made me do it". Anyways. So on my 30/30 is to go skiing, and while she worries I'm going to die because I probably will, my fear is that I will freeze. And then die.

She sent me a link for these Cap 3 top/bottom from Patagonia and yeah. No way I could afford these. So I go sledding with the kids and freeze my ass off because not only do I not have proper winter clothing, but I really can't afford to get any. So one day, I get a package in the mail. And with that package is this packing slip, and the message from Finny totally made me tear up. Seriously.
Guess what it was? My VERY OWN Cap 3 pants and top (base layer clothing) from Patagonia, in BLUE. Mother effers I was in love. And if Finny didn't live so far away I'd clean her house for free forever. I would. And while we didn't get to go skiing this year, Matt and I are going to make a weekend trip in early December to do nothing but ski, and maybe try snowboarding, and you better believe I'm wearing this. BUT.. I did wear it when I went walking on super cold days. And guess what, Finny? My tits are still intact! My ass too! I stayed toasty warm and I didn't die. My face kind of felt dead, but with good tits and ass I figure the face isn't super important anyways.

But this year hasn't been all about me receiving. Nope. I've been sending out little packages of love all year too. One of my other fav bloggers, Amanda, was preggers. She's since had her baby, but since she gets my humor I decided I had to send her a really fantastic baby gift. Sure.. I got her practical stuff like clothes and toys and things she needed. But let's be real. Giving birth is a harrowing event. No woman should go unprepared. So in addition to these things, I learned one of my other blogger friends, Shirley is a nurse in the labor/delivery unit. BEST THING EVER. Because Shirley sent me all kinds of stuff you child less ladies don't know about. Things like... mesh underwear. The largest pads you'll ever see because after having a baby your insides fall out of you. I sent her nipple shields to train your nipples to stick out (and yes- that IS a really uncomfortable/sometimes painful thing), stool softener (because it will hurt to poop) and just other scary stuff. I only wish I could have seen her face. I also sent her a note of what to really expect when a child explodes out of your vagina.

A few weeks after I sent her box... I got this in the mail:
Yes. Epic. Love it.

I also have a package for a friend down under almost ready to go, I have the box for the winner of my birthday giveaway (seriously-- it's all done, just waiting for payday so I can mail it!), I sent a thinking of you card to a blogger I don't even know who I heard through the grapevine is having a difficult time right now, I sent a baby swing to another blogger who's having a baby, and one of my favorite books to one of our weightloss challenge bloggers. And I have lots more love to spread. :) One of my favorite things is just randomly giving gifts because I like you.

And it's all to say thanks to you guys- you rock my world with each and every comment and you are amazing. I don't care what anyone says- I have the most amazing blog readers ever. So.. watch your mailbox. I'm always on the lookout for random good deeds. ;)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I need the Cat Whisperer. For the sake of my toilet paper and sanity.

Folks- these cats will turn me into an alcoholic if Matt doesn't do it first.

Stumpy and Batman have taken to being freaks in general. Lenny was weird, but now that he's in kitty heaven/decomposing under my apple tree, Stumpy and Batman obviously feel like they need to make up for his crazy which only adds to the crazy they were already bringing to the table.

In short, I have two cats who are mildly retarded and/or ADHD.

First, it was the ladybug that both cats stared at for over an hour. The bug was on the ceiling but my cats were like on surveillance and were not going anywhere.
 Then they sleep in the 69 position almost every night. Until Stumpy hogs the bottom 1/3 of the bed because he's obese and only one. But then Batman sleeps either on top of my head or in the crook of my neck. Which was cute when he was small but Batman, under his filthy and uncleaned mounds of fur, is a bit of a tub-o-lard himself and it's pretty much him trying to strangle me. But they start in the 69 and lick each other's special spots. Which Matt and I have to listen to. If that doesn't make you horny, I don't know what will.
 You may remember when my bedroom was a CSI crime scene a few weeks ago? Yes well, I have noticed that the cats are ALWAYS staring at the threshold of my bedroom. My bedroom floor isn't finished, so this is what it looks like. Now, I've looked down there thinking there MUST be a mouse. No. I can't see anything. But Batman was eating all of the insulation that was in there. So.. maybe that's like cat crack? But in my paranoia I made Matt put a board on this so a mouse (if that bastard is in there) can't come up.
 And then one morning, I woke up and had to pee. I knew I wouldn't make it upstairs so I went into the laundry room.. which is off my kitchen. I find this. This is TWO rolls of toilet paper and the basket upside down. Mother fuckers.
 Not even a week later, Matt goes up to take a shower and see this. Those fuckers not only clawed up the toilet paper, but knocked the garbage can over and chewed on EVERYTHING. Batman has a taste for qtips while Stumpy (who's obviously already mentally deficient) chewed the cotton balls which were soaked with nail polish remover. And Batman chewed on a pad. A used pad. It was really horrible to clean up.
 THEN. This morning, I go upstairs to pee and I see this. And folks? This is happening EVERY DAY. I'm going through so much toilet paper it's unreal. Do you know how expensive toilet paper is???
And don't tell me to shut my bathroom door. Because it doesn't shut very well and that's where the only heat vent for the upstairs is... and it'll be like a sauna with the door shut while the rest of the upstairs is frigid. So that's not an option.

But seriously. What the fuck? WHAT IS GOING ON??? Why can't I have cats who aren't weird assholes? Is it me? Do I push them over the edge and make them this way? All I know is that I can't afford a super pack of toilet paper every week.

So.. what should I do?? Does anyone know where I can get quality toilet paper for cheap??

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weigh In Monday.. rocking the running. And.. Angelology winners.

I know some of you have given up. And that makes me sad because god dammit- you said you were fat and were all, "OH--- I'm so fat" and we moo'd together. Or maybe it was just me that moo'd but whatever.

But guess what? I'm losing weight and seeing progress. My goal this week is to keep up my running, drink more water, and start doing lunges/squats. I have to start working on my upper thighs. (or invest in some serious cellulite cream.)

I also decided that weighing myself every week was just too much pressure. So I'm changing it up to weighing on the FIRST MONDAY OF THE MONTH. This goes for all of you too. That way you can see how you did after a month of exercise and eating better. But I'm still updating goals/challenges every week.

Ok, so I am noticing differences, like I said. Ignore my face/hair because this is my about 5 minutes after waking up and in the first stages of getting dressed:


You'll notice my ass is still a bubble but that my stomach is getting smaller. The pouch is still alive, well and huge as it always will be, but my stomach is definitely shrinking. SCORE.

And I have been very good about my exercise. This week I did my walk/run Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. And I went today. The last three days I made it further than I have before. I also didn't die. I felt like it but I didn't really die. I did dry heave, but I didn't puke so I think that's progress. I know the last .25 mile I probably had ugly face going on and close to tears but god damn it I wanted to finish my stretch that I had as a goal.

The only thing is that on Saturday I discovered why people have face masks. They are for assholes (like me) who think it's ok to run when it's in the low 20's with a 10 mph wind blowing in your face. It was so awful that my filling? In my back molar? Fucking FROZE. It still hurts and that was Saturday. I think I actually need to call the dentist about this. It's awful.

Yesterday was a bit better. It was still low 20's, but there was no wind, so it was much more manageable. Today it was 35 and you would have thought it was summer. I went without mittens (stupid for the first 30 minutes because my hands went numb) but then it was ok. The only down part is that two old people were going faster than me running. So... that kind of kills all the positive "you be rocking it, bitch" thoughts going in my head as motivation. I guess maybe another goal should be to be faster than old people. I'll work on it.

OK. So here's your pep talk, funny faces, and the winners of Angelology.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

So maybe the weekend wasn't a total bust.

I thought this weekend was going to be a bust.. but it wasn't.

I decided that since I've been a bit slack on my Etsy shop that I would get some stuff done. I have  two sets done and in there now and I have two more going up this week at some point. And I'm going to restart my 10% off coupon- all you have to do is type in "SARASBLOG" at checkout to redeem that discount. And don't forget- for every purchase you make, I'll send two greeting cards on your behalf to Operation Write Home!
OK. So that's my plug. Buying cards = feeding my kids. And cats.

I know I have mentioned it a few times but right now I have a boudoir shoot on my calendar. And while this might change, I've been constantly browsing online shops for things I might want to wear. My problem is that I have this pouch that is kind of a pain in the ass. If you go HERE you can see the Self-Esteem Saturday post I did on this and it includes pictures so you know what I'm talking about. Anyways.

So I had this $10 off coupon from Victoria's Secret for my birthday that expires at the end of this month AND they had their 7/$25 underwear sale and yeah. I can't pass up discounted underwear. I have a thing for underwear. But I did buy this in the hopes that maybe it'll work for my pouch?
After I bought that I went upstairs and realized that yeah. If I'm actually going to ever wear that I need to get even more serious about this weightloss shit. So I decided that I was going to run outside. I'll tell you how that worked out during my Monday Weightloss Check In post tomorrow.

The other highlight to this weekend was not only did I make some chocolate chip muffins on a whim, but I bought tickets to see Death Cab for Cutie in concert May 21 in Minneapolis.


That's one of my favorites from them. So since I have that to look forward to I've been listening to them quite a bit. Oh! The other cd I love a lot and oftentimes forget how much I love... is Civil Twilight. And I decided that this song is probably my favorite on the cd.

And I'm not going to lie. I think one of the reasons I started listening to them is that the lead singer *kind of* looks like Robert Pattinson from afar. :) Fortunately, the band is really good and they put on a great show. I was thinking on my walk/run today that it sounds like sex. I hear this cd and I think sex. I don't know why. Just do.
OK. So I'll be back tomorrow with our weight loss check in. Huzzah.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dear Sara... it's back.

Sorry for the unintentional hiatus.. but I'm back. And I got some good questions this week. :)

1. Do monkeys fly? No. If you see this, hide under a table and call 911 immediately.

2. Why do I always end a text with a smiley face or a "ha ha"?  I don't know. But you never end your texts to me with that. Clearly I'm not on your awesome list. Loser.

3. Why did zooba pants go out of style? Because they were heinous. And I'm probably one of a few people who can proudly say I never wore them. But I will admit to jumping the equally lame flannel pants trend in high school.

4. Whatever happened to MC Hammer? Well he's obviously broke. Then he went gangsta which.... right. You can't be praising Jesus holding a Glock. It just send mixed messages and really? Who is your audience?? Then I think he went back to praising Jesus 24/7, like a preacher or something. For all I know he's the guy on the corner by my grocery store saying he's a disabled vet and homeless (yet he's wearing very expensive clothing to be pulling that scam.)

5. Psychics- real or fake? I don't know. If you are seeing them at a county fair-- probably fake. If you are seeing them in the middle of the sidewalk... probably fake. But if you are brave enough to venture into the swamp to meet one... maybe real. Because psychics are kinda crazy and I'd expect them to live in a swamp.

6. Would you ever want to live until you were 150? What would you do? It depends on my body. Like, I wouldn't want to be 150 with a frail and deteriorating body. Now, if I had my current body and 150 and I didn't have to worry about breaking a hip.. maybe. But once stuff starts failing... let me go. But no matter how long I live, I want to be doing awesome and fun things my whole life.

7. Biggest lesson you learned as you have gotten older? Apologize when you need to. Learn when you're wrong and accept it graciously and apologize accordingly. And be sincere.

8. Do you think it's ever ok to wear flip flops to a dressy event? My friend and I are arguing about this. Um, not unless you're white trash and going to a block party in the middle of the trailer park. Dang. There are enough strappy and heeled sandals out there that you can wear that you don't have to resort to the $2 Old Navy flip flops. Have some class.

9. My husband wants a dog. I don't. He's hardly ever home so I would be the primary care taker of this animal. Should I give in? No. My thing is that if you want a pet, you need to take care of it, not pawn it off on someone else. Unless we're talking about my dream of fainting goats in which case I only want to clap and make them fall over while Matt takes care of them. But he knew that when we got married. I don't do pet care. :)

and for a vlog question.. (ps) I'm trying to grow my bangs out so this is how you'll be seeing me for like... 2 years I'm sure. Should I continues.. or go back to having my regular ol' bangs?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I wee'd and I'm a busy beaver.

I always want to play along with scrapbook/card challenges.. but then I get lazy. But this week.. I actually pulled my crap together and played along with Wee Memories for their challenge this week. And I used my cat stamps.. that I bought awhile ago and just didn't know what to do with them. I made two for me and a set of six that will go into my Etsy shop later this evening.














So yesterday I announced that I was going to Las Vegas in July for my (second) grown up vacation. But then I should also tell you all of the other awesomeness I have coming up.. which means adventures for me to tell you about:

April
  • Jackson turns 3, and he's having a party on the 9th.
  • I'm going with my sister in law, Kate, to see My Chemical Romance on the 12th.
  • All Time Low/Yellowcard/Hey Monday/and some other band with Kate on the 21st.
  • Kindergarten Round up on the 29th for Olivia
May
  • Elton John concert with my mom on the 6th.
  • Death Cab for Cutie concert on the 21st.. maybe
  • Milwaukee with Amy for a Jen Lancaster book signing the 25th and 26th.
June
  • Going with Amy to see Chelsea Handler on the 4th.
  • Matt and I are driving to Michigan to meet Jennifer and her hubby Jon. Oh, and we're hiking Tahquamenon Falls too. (see picture below) That's the weekend of June 10-11
  • Matt and I celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary on the 12th. Probably recovering from our MI trip.


July
  • Vegas.. the entire last week of July.
  • Probably going to have a 4th of July party at my house as usual.
August
  • Canoe/camping trip.. date unknown
  • Boudoir photoshoot on the 14th (hopefully)
  • Family picnic gathering.. date unknown
  • Trip to the WI Dells (it's on my 30/30 list).. date unknown
  • Matt turns 31 on the 17th.
  • Hog Jog 5K with Amy.. date unknown
Um yeah. That's only through August, homies. And while a lot of stuff on here is going to cross stuff off my 30/30 list.. it's becoming a major fear of mine that I won't be able to complete everything. Like.. learning a song on the piano probably isn't going to happen. So here's my thinking. What if I have my main 30 before 30 list.. but if I can't (for whatever reason) complete one of these.. I need to choose something off a "bonus list"? Like substitutions?

All well and good.. but I have no bonus list. So here's where you come in!

What would you like to see me do before my 30th birthday? Leave a comment with a suggestion! I'll be making a list and I shall work on it!

But in the mean time.... Dear Sara will be back tomorrow. I have 2 questions lined up so far.. but I need a few more. Email me (or send me a Facebook message) with your question! sarastrand9438 at hotmail dot com. Night lambwhores!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My (second) grown up vacation. Without kids.

That's right. I am going on a VACATION. A grown up one.. without kids. It's going to be glorious. The first grown up vacation was our honeymoon and that was fun.. but in June that would have been 7 years ago.

It's time mama got out.

So since Las Vegas is on my 30/30 list (which I promise an update is coming soon).. I decide oh fuck it. Spend what I have and just book the son of a bitch already. Except I couldn't because I'm a pussy and I can't just blow money like that. (Unless it's on clothing or music. Or Wendy's chicken sandwiches. Then it's OK.)

But Allegiant had a buy one/get one flight (but you still pay fees).. and then there were good hotel deals and yeah. I couldn't pass it up. So I did it.

Matt and I will be spending the hottest week of the year in Vegas... at the Luxor.

 Because frankly, I'll probably never get to Egypt so I'm going to pretend I'm going to Egypt. I just have to prevent Matt from walking like an Egyptian in front of the damn place. He can be embarrassing.

But I'll be ok with the heat. Matt might die, but we're going to look into his life insurance. (Which is only sensible.. shut up.) I'm not worried because while you all are doing housework and cleaning up poop from animals/kids/husbands/yourself... I'll be sitting poolside.
 Most likely with some kind of fruity drink. Hopefully with an umbrella. And let's hope that I'm not the chunkiest girl at the pool. That might be sad and might force me to have multiple fruity drinks. All with umbrellas.

But the BONUS, in very small print, on my confirmation was that we got two free tickets to a show. One of the shows was KA by Cirque du Soleil. Which, hello- going into this I knew I couldn't afford a show... but I can afford a free show! So we just called and got our tickets reserved. Hell fucking yes.
So I'm going. Well, Matt's coming too. But when are we going?? The last week of July, baby! So if you live in the area or have an uncontrollable (hopefully not homicidal/sexual/creeper) urge to see me.. then you should come.

Have you been to Vegas? Are there things that we MUST see/do? Remember.... we are officially broke and so we have to do as much as we can with as little money as possible. Do you have tips for getting free/reduced stuff? Do you have a friend/relative who works there and would get me a deal? Because I want to be their BFF.

So yes. I'm excited. It's going to be a good vacation and I am already excited about it. But this means I need to get serious about my weight loss because I really, really, REALLY don't want to be the chunkiest girl. I'm hoping there is an obesity convention so I'll look super small compared to everyone else. I also will have to tan because I don't want to fry out there, and I don't want to blind people with my almost translucent thighs. Nobody wants that. Even Matt probably doesn't want it either, but it's what he gets. :)

Angelology, me getting my geek on, and GIVEAWAY.

Oh man. MAN ALIVE you have no idea how excited I was to see this book come into my book list and how effing fast I read it. You have *no idea*.

But I'm going to tell you because I know you have no idea.

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
Angelology: A Novel
Sister Evangeline was just a girl when her care was entrusted to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Now, at 23, she discovers a 1943 correspondence between the convent's late mother superior and the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller that plunges her into a secret history stretching back a millennium: an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and monstrously beautiful descandants of angels and humans, the Nephilim. Blending biblical lore, the Miltonic fall of the Rebel Angels, the apocryphal Book of Enoch, and the myth of Orpheus, Angelology is a luminous, riveting tale of ordinatry people caught up in a battle that will determine the fate of the world.

I'm going to get my geek on for you. I totally love books that have a weird, supernatural/paranormal theme. Which is why I love Twilight, Harry Potter, True Blood, etc. Now, while part of me thinks this kind of stuff can't possibly be true, the other part of me thinks it's awesome and kind of hopes it is.

Because I'm a dork and you love me anyways.

But this book was RIVETING. Seriously. I actually read Cassandra Clare's series The Mortal Instruments, which is a young adult series, so I had previously read stories about angels and nephilim and the like. So some of the material in this book wasn't new to me. What WAS new to me were all the religious teachings and information. I'm not religious really and I can count on one hand how many times I've been to church let alone opened a Bible. So some of this was a wee bit over my head and to be honest-- I felt like I had a case of the dumbs.

The story was absolutely fascinating- the underground battle of good vs. evil. As I read it I felt the urgency of the Angelologist's mission and I felt the confusion Evangeline would have felt trying to absorb it all so quickly. The twists and turns of this book are really fun and exciting and you have NO clue how it ends. The secrets revealed at the end make you pause for a minute to take it in and think about the implications.

I love when you read a story and can tell that not only is the author an immensely talented writer but that you can absorb the vast amount of research, education and literature they must have poured over in order to do justice on such a subject. While it's a novel it feels like an actual document of events in history. I absolutely loved this book and I'm excited to say that .....

two of you will win this book!

Just leave a comment on this post saying you are interested and I will randomly draw names on Friday for two winners to receive a free copy of this book. Unfortunately, this is only open to US/Canada lambwhores only. :)

I encourage you to go HERE and see what other tour hosts have said about this book, check out Danielle's website HERE, or the Angelology website HERE. I was looking at the Angelology website, specifically at the pictures and yeah... pretty cool.

I don't know about you, but I always think there can't just be humans. I totally believe in aliens. And angels, Nephilim, etc... I don't know. I guess we will never know. But reading stuff like this totally gets my geek on and I love it. :)

So tell me... do you think it's just us? Or do you think there could be more out there... or with us on Earth??

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Map of True Places

A few days ago I did a post that came on because of a book I read. Well.. this is the book I read. And I suggest you do too because it was really quite good.

The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry
The Map of True Places: A Novel
A respected Boston psychotherapist, Zee Finch has come a long way from a motherless childhood spent stealing boats. But the actions of a patient throw Zee into emotional chaos and take her back to places she thought she'd left behind. What starts as a brief visit home to Salem begins a larger journey. Suddenly having to care for her ailing father after his longtime companion moves out, Zee must come to terms with a strained and awkward relationship that has always been marked by half-truths and haunted by the untimely death of her mother. Overwhelmed by her new role, Zee must destroy the existing map of her life and chart a new course- one that will guide her not only into her future but into her past as well.

So.. what can I say. First off, the description doesn't really describe the book very well at all. Sure, all of these things happen throughout, but there are so many more things that happen. Zee is a frustratingly complex character and I found myself feeling bad for her but then at the same time wanting to smack her. I have a hard time with people who play the "I had a hard life/past/whatever so it impacts my current life" card. I hate it. I really dislike it. I had a shit alcoholic, drug addicted father and I have gone through some really heinous and awful things but you don't see me all sad face up in here. No. Basically, I have a problem with people who feel sorry for themselves. Get over it.

Anyways. Let's talk about this book again. I really liked how the author walked us through all of the obstacles Zee is up against: a father dying of Parkinson's that is much more progressed than she thought, her father's companion who just wants to be back into the fold but since dad is slipping into Alzheimer's at the same time it's not working out so well, her patient kills herself which forces her to reconcile her mother's suicide, her questioning her abilities in her career, an engagement that goes to hell, a hot new guy coming into the picture, etc. Seriously. It's a LOT of stuff and this poor chick has it all at once.

What I loved about the book is that once all the groundwork was laid out, you knew the characters and you knew key pieces of their story... Brunonia Barry weaves it together. It goes from a "find yourself and life is good" story to a potential murder/mystery/romance story and then it wraps it up with the ending you hoped for. At least for me.

It was a fascinating read. It makes you question the little things you let get into the way of relationships and if they are really worth it. In the end.. we all die. And is it worth being unhappy, trying to please others, holding grudges, etc? No. It really isn't. So while I thought I'd have a hard time getting into it when I first started, I found myself devouring this book.

Check out the other bloggers on this book tour HERE, check out the author's website HERE. Also, Brunonia is going to be at a few upcoming events. If she's in your area- stop by and tell her you saw her book featured on a blog tour!

Thursday, March 31st, 7:00 PM: Discussion & signing; RJ JULIA BOOKSELLERS; Madison, CT
Friday, April 1st, 12:30 PM: Author luncheon/signing; BANK SQUARE BOOKS; Mystic, CT 06355
Saturday, April 2nd, 7:00 PM: Discussion & signing; NORTHSHIRE BOOKSTORE; Manchester Center, VT
Thursday, April 7th, 6:30 PM; The SPIRIT OF 76 BOOKSHOP; Marblehead, MA
Wednesday, April 27th, 7:00 PM: Book club discussion; MORSE LIBRARY; Natick, MA
Friday-Saturday, April 29th-April 30th: NEWBURYPORT LITERARY FESTIVAL; Newburyport, MA
Thursday, May 5th, Time TBD: Women’s Lunch Place Boston, BOSTON, MA
Saturday, June 4th, 1:00 PM: Reading & signing; BAYSWATER BOOKS; Center Harbor, NH

And finally, Book Club Girl on Air Show will have Brunonia and talk about the book Wednesday, April 20th, 7 pm EST and you would go HERE to listen to that.

A milestone, gifts, and examples of my burgeoning life.

First off... this is my 600th post. Let's all just take a moment that after 600 posts I still have random crazy to spew forth.

It's really quite amazing if you think about it. Because most people suck.

Anyhoodles. So that was my milestone to brag up. But now I've been promising for awhile that I'd show you my birthday gifts. And I drone on and on and ON about how awesome my friends are. While you might think you've heard enough I say you haven't and so there. My friends are the shit. You should all be jealous you don't have friends as good as mine. My friends are like extensions of me and they all know me so well, and they just know what I love. And I love that they know what I love.

OK.. so here is what I got:
 picture frames that match my living room, a yummy candle, iTunes gift cards and yes.. a Coach wristlet.
 Oh. Here are some prezzies I bought myself. A whole bunch of new Stampin Up stamps and two punches.
 Then my friend Amy sent me this. Now.. I had recorded a vlog for this, but I can't upload it to YouTube and when I tried to today it said I had an invalid file format. Um.. it's the same as I do for every vlog?? So I tried to re save it and yeah.. I can't open it now. Matt's said he'd look at it, so that might come, but for right now- you can see the picture. Um, how hilarious is this shirt? HUH?? It's FANTASTIC, that's what. I seriously can't wait to wear this. In fact.. it's going to be a part of tomorrow's wardrobe if we aren't snowed in. She also pays attention, because anybody who read my blog as of late knows my love for Bic Mark It pens. Seriously. They are like permanent marker pens in awesome colors that I love. LOVE.
 And my neighbor dropped these off for me because hello-- I love to snack. So I'm more than excited to eat these. And make a cheeseball. I've NEVER made a cheeseball so I'm excited to try. Let's hope I'm better at that than meatballs.
 And then I've mentioned I've been doing stuff. Well, this weekend Matt and I went on a date. Actually- we went to dinner with another couple I know but we snapped a picture before going in. Do you LOVE my flower pin?? Do ya?! Well, one of my very favorite people, Jamie, made it for me. She has an Etsy shop and you should go and buy stuff because she is preggers with her first baby. So.. I'm more than excited to be putting a gift together for her.
Then we also had to act like responsible parents and take Olivia to Kindergarten Transition night. Which hello--- if we want to talk about a waste of money? Let's talk about Kindergarten Transition. We had to eat gross cafeteria grade pizza for dinner and then they just told us to come to Kindergarten Round Up. Hardly anybody showed up as it was, and basically... in the two hours we spent there I could have gotten all that information on the registration papers. Which hey--- we already filled out because they were due a month ago so yes- everyone there already seen this information. WASTE of time and money. Oh well. Olivia was pretty damn excited to make herself a name tag and sing songs with some singer guy. So.. whatever.

So yeah. Tomorrow I am going to tell you about my trips coming up. What? Did I say TRIPS? As in plural?? Why, yes. Yes I did baby. ;)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Even the awesome fall sometimes.

Seriously. I did nothing this week. I even forgot to weight myself. BUT... I made a video and I reveal the winner (and more deets) in my vlog.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I'm sorry I pretty much suck.

Dudes.

I *know* I've been slacking. I am completely aware that I have missed blogging for a lot of days.. and that I'm late on the giveaway winner and I missed Dear Sara and yeah.

I GET IT.

But my horoscope for the month of March according to Cosmopolitan magazine (which is pretty close to a real psychic so shut up) says:

Strengths: Weirdly intuitive, sympathetic, creative
Weaknesses: Possessive, hesitant, a bit touchy
What makes you sexy: You're compassionate and fun-loving; no wonder so many people call you their BFF. Still, you have a bad-girl side, and this mix of naughty and nice hypnotizes men.
Your birthday month: Popular Mercury slams you with invites midmonth. Say yes to them all, even if you have to go solo. You'll meet a key person at one event who can help rocket your career to the level you've worked so freaking hard for.

And it goes on to dating tip/love advice but who fucking cares. I'm not dating. But it's true pretty much all the way, except for the career thing. Unless that's yet to happen but I kind of doubt it. More importantly, I've been a busy bee. I've been doing things with Matt, going out with friends, staying up until the wee hours of the early morning... all of it.

And it's been great.

So I will be back tomorrow to my regularly scheduled shit. But don't fret pets, I have three things I want you to check out because you want to be a cool kid and all the cool kids are doing it.

1. Join in the accessory swap. Because it's going to be fun and the sign up is almost done.
2. Join the postcard project. This too is closing very soon, and you should do it.
3. Please, please, please read my very good friend Neal's travel blog. (And tell him I sent you) He is on a massive trip and if you want to feel like a lazy asshole who never does anything fun, you need to read this. OR if you're too broke to travel anywhere fun, read this. OR if you want to follow Neal around the world and hope he's not captured and made into a sex slave, read this. (Which, might actually happen because he came really close here).

OK. So sign up for these, visit Neal and tell him I sent you because I'm awesome, and come back tomorrow. Where I swear on my vagina I'll announce the winner of the giveaway during my vlog.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Horns

It has been said many times, but this book was weird. And at first, I wasn't really sure if it was weird in a good way, or not. In the end I decided it was. But you have to finish it for it to really make any sense. If that makes any sense?

Horns- Joe Hill
Horns: A Novel
Merrin Williams is dead, slaughtered under inexplicable circumstances, leaving her beloved boyfriend Ignatius Perrish as the only suspect. On the first anniversary of Merrin’s murder, Ig spends the night drunk and doing awful things. When he wakes the next morning he has a thunderous hangover . . . and horns growing from his temples. Ig possesses a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look—a macabre gift he intends to use to find the monster who killed his lover. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. Now it’s time for revenge . . .


It’s time the devil had his due. . . .

OK. So what this little snippet does not tell you is that it's a really tangled web of awful that you have to get through to get to the end of the book. I seriously felt terrible for Ig through the whole thing. He knows he didn't kill Merrin, but doesn't know who did so his goal, after growing horns, is to find out what happened. What this also doesn't explain is that his gift involves his ability to influence others to do what he wants, but he also compels people to speak only the truth to him. Sometimes the truth helps him unravel the web of Merrin's murder, but sometimes the truth just hurts- like when his Grandma (whom he loves and felt like she loved him) says he should have just killed himself. I mean, that would hurt hearing anytime, but when you're already down that's kind of harsh coming from your Grandma.

The twist that I thought was interesting was the concept that maybe Satan/the Devil/whatever isn't really a bad guy but more of a hero because he's essentially finding the responsible parties of a horrific crime and bringing them to "justice" so to speak. I mean, I can really see that line of thinking when presented with this story. I felt like it was really interesting and I am very glad I stuck with it because the ending was really superb for me. I really liked it. I have been suggesting this book to people who are looking for an interesting read that isn't like anything else out there right now that I can think of. And I am basically describing it as weird. But a good and interesting kind of weird.

The first 1000 people to preorder Joe’s latest novel and then email joehill@harpercollins.com with proof of purchase will receive a specialized bookplate from Joe – he’s been signing and doodling all sorts of creations on bookplates for days now! For more information on this giveaway and the rest of Joe’s books, visit www.joehillfiction.com and follow Joe on Twitter @joe_hill.

Also check out his website for updates! If you have read this or are planning to, let me know what you think of it when you finish it-- I'll be interested to hear what your thoughts were as well!

When reading something makes you think about stuff.

I was going to post this for tomorrow, but because I haven't had the time (not the energy) to take pictures of birthday stuff for my post, I'm going to switch it up. And it actually works out because tomorrow will be my LAST post about birthday stuff (for at a year-ish) and it'll be when I announce the winners of my giveaway.

What giveaway? Oh yeah- that super duper awesome Sara's-Favorite-Things Giveaway that you should have entered because you want to be cool. If you haven't (we'll point and mock you) you can still do so. But today is the last day. Swearsies.

Anyways. So next Tuesday I am supposed to put this book review up for The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry and I will. But the book got me thinking and I didn't want to put my observations in with the review because then it gets LONG and I have a feeling the majority of my readers maybe have ADD. And that's ok. So I'm splitting it up. But I will say that I encourage you to come back and read the review because.. while I'm not totally finished with the book (will be in about 20 minutes or so after finishing this post) it's going to be good.

The book is basically about relationships and how a person goes with the ebb and flow of a normal relationship's course and then what happens when major events change them. So, you have a woman who witnessed her mother die from a suicide, maybe or maybe not because of the father's relationship with another man. But then from that her life makes it hard for her to be emotionally connected with people. Then you have other people who are no longer friends because of a mistake/misjudgment/error of another and who are never able to look past that and move on. So, that is kind of a quick snippet of the book without really giving too much away.

It makes me wonder.. why do people hold grudges? I mean, really, what's to gain from it? The person you're angry at likely doesn't even care or know why you are angry with them- and you're left being angry for no reason. What's the point? You see so often that people who have a history of failed relationships (either family, friend, or romantic) who just keep doing the same thing over and over again blaming other people for the failing of that relationship. Wouldn't a normal person eventually say, "Hey... maybe it's me? Maybe I'm the one to blame?" It's confusing to me how people who have so few friends, or so few close family members, are always quick to blame others when really, it was probably them. It was probably them all along.

So then I was watching Dr. Phil reruns. Because, judge me all you want, I like the damn show. I may not always agree, but these people need help. Anyways. Well this lady brings her family on the show because they favor the older sister or whatever and she's sick of it. Yet, while she's talking about this, it's pretty clear that she's a selfish, whining, baby who just starts drama all the time. No WONDER her parents didn't invite her on the vacation. (Except that IS kind of cold. But after seeing her on the show for 10 minutes I didn't want to hear her voice any more either.) So essentially, she's making a "her or me" argument just because she doesn't get her way, or people don't agree with her drama making gossip, or whatever she's doing. That's crazy.

I remember when I was younger I got into a fight with my friend. And it was over something stupid, I used too much of her hairspray. And she was REALLY mad at me. Of course, I thought she was mad about something else and I remember talking to my mom and being really mad that my friend was really mad. So my mom was like, "So.. why don't you just apologize? Maybe if you just said you were sorry and were sincere, it'd be ok." Clearly my mom was crazy. But I did anyways because hello- I needed a group to sit with at lunch. (Elementary school is brutal folks. You have to have a lunch crowd.) And it worked. My friend was totally fine and just told me not to use all her hairspray. Cool. I mean, it's a stupid thing to fight over but it was 5th grade- it's not like we had serious things to worry about. But that was probably the first time I ever apologized to someone, and really meant it, and so it was definitely a learning moment for me.

So as an adult, I have always tried my best to be open and honest when I feel like my friend or family member did something that made me mad or upset. And I've always tried to be sincere and honest when I know I've done something to upset them and apologize. And I feel like once an issue is discussed, that should be the end of it. Matt and I learned that through marriage counseling once you fight about something- it's done. You can't EVER bring it up again. Period. Say your peace or hold it forever. And then once you discuss it and work it out, not only do you not bring it up or hold it over someone (whether you were right or wrong) but you also don't rehash it with other people like friends and stuff. And that's hard. I've been guilty of not following through on that sometimes but I really, REALLY try to catch myself.

But as I read this book and I hear the dramas going on with people and I watch TV and I read stupid shit on Facebook and everything else... why doesn't anyone else do this? Why is it so hard to just be honest and open with people? Why do people hold grudges and keep drama alive? Is it really worth losing a friend or family member over? I mean, how many families have been divided because of a stupid fight?

It just seems crazy to me and I don't understand. Maybe that comes with age. I don't know.  I spent the better part of this afternoon thinking about this and wondering how the book will end with all the characters, but then trying to figure out how I can relate to it in my own life.

But what are your thoughts? Why do you think people hold grudges, keep drama alive, etc? Have you dealt with family or friend things like this? How did it end?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Best Birthday Party I've Ever Had.

I'm going to be honest- this was THE best birthday I have ever had, and my 30th will have a lot of pressure.

First I invited pretty much every cool chick I know within reasonable driving distance, and there really aren't that many. (If we're being honest). And then everyone who could come, came. What is really cool about my friends is that we aren't really a "group". Most of my friends don't know each other, but when I get them together you wouldn't know we haven't been friends for years. All of my friends are similar to me (which is why they are awesome) in some way or another, and so then everybody ends up being pretty compatible. I never really worry if the group will bond or have fun- I know they will once they warm up to each other.

So to do that we started with a dinner out. Some girls couldn't make it to that and that was just fine. The girls who did come were Amy, Jennie, Tammy, Emily, Kate, and Jess. Great group of chicks, let me tell you. So we had a really great dinner where I talked about horribly embarrassing things about me growing up and they all got a great laugh. The really cool highlight was two things: 1. Amy, my relatively new friend from almost 4 hours away, drove up for my party. She came up earlier and then we went shopping and she surprised me with cupcakes (picture in a bit) and yeah. She is just really great and awesome and I am so very glad I met her. AND my friends totally thought she was the bee's vagina so that is cool. 2. My friend Jess came. Jess was my first friend when I moved from Florida to Cloquet, MN so from like 4th grade until the end of 7th grade we were BFF's. Lots of embarrassing but fun stories with her. But then I moved to Superior and we lost touch. And then we'd run into each other from time to time but never really reconnected. So then when I'm planning my party I'm like fuck it, I'm inviting her and THANK GOD because she came and it was great. It was like we had never been apart for like 15 years or whatever it is. So yes, having Amy and Jess there just made it a million times more awesome.

So after dinner we came back to my house for a sex toy party. Now, out of respect for my friends I decided not to post a bunch of pictures of it. BUT I am posting a picture as proof the party happened.

And that I wore a strap on so we could play ring toss. Nobody can ever say I'm not a good sport and I can't have fun.
The party ended up being a hit, I got some really cool new toys on their way and three of my friends booked parties so I'm going to have even more coming. Also, Batman and Stumpy really like vibrators on cords.

And we ate cupcakes with But-R-Creme. Thank you Sam's Club for inadvertently selling sexual cupcakes. You rock.

After the party some girls had to go home, but because Amy had driven all that way I thought maybe we should really make it a night and go out to a bar. Now, I'm not a drinker so I don't really know what bars are good or not in my area, but Jess suggested Keyport because they have karaoke and it's not usually super crowded. AND my brother Travis and his friend Phil were going to meet us.

And what a good decision that was. Not only did we close down the bar but Travis and Phil helped my friends have a really good time by buying all of their drinks. Seriously? If I haven't mentioned how awesome my brother is, I suck. Because he IS awesome and him and Phil are hilarious. They are also complete enablers because they got all of my friends drunk. :) Which was super fun and everyone had a great time. Jess, Amy, and Tammy got along so well and it just thrills me to no end to know that I have AH-MA-ZING friends. Seriously. I do. I can't gush about them enough.
So here's us looking awesome. The bar was not that bright, but my flash is so it looks like we're drinking in the day time. But I was drinking Pepsi because hey- I don't drink and I love being sober cab for my friends. I'm cheaper than a cab and I'm awesome! :) And we also came with glow in the dark bracelets and I believe most of us were fist pumping to random karaoke songs. I think all of us sang along to the guy with a Justin Beiber in the front/mullet in the back hair singing "Welcome to the Jungle" like he was god damn Axl Rose. I mean, he OWNED it. And we were singing and fist pumping.
And somehow, Amy convinced Travis and Phil to let her paint their nails? And she did a damn good job after 4 rounds of shots. Seriously. She's better with drinks than I am sober and I'm not sure what that says about me?? But the best part was that the boys forgot about their manicure and went to work like that the next day. Fun fact- brake cleaner apparently removes nail polish.

And here's me and Amy. Seriously- she is such a fun person to hang around. Next time we're totally singing what I'm going to call our song. Yes, I'm going to refer to the song in this video that is playing while everyone is trying to figure out how to take our picture with her phone. I should mention this is all going down late in the evening, and we're all either a little tipsy and/or tired.



And if you're a loser and DON'T know the name of that song-- shame on you. SHAME. Bitches, that would be the classic duet between Stevie Nicks and Don Henley.. Leather & Lace. Lovers forever, man. :)

At the very end of the night, which was really like 3am since we hit daylight savings that night, I got a complete stranger to take a picture of the Cloquet Crew. Me, my bro, and Jessica. Seriously. We tore up the streets of Cloquet in our younger year. Specifically with crab apple fights, Travis almost drowning (a lot) at the pool, baton twirling sessions (which Travis wasn't a part of.. he probably wants that clarified), and just a lot of awesome fun. When I think of my childhood I think about hanging out with her and Travis and his friends and doing stupid stuff because we were all poor but thought we were the shit. (But I still stand by my opinion in that we WERE the shit.)
All in all, it was a great night. I had such a good time, I seriously can't remember when I last laughed so much and had that much fun. Seriously. I had a friend text me and say she wishes she would have came out to the bar and then another who couldn't come at all said she heard the crazy fun time we had and now wishes she would have come. Yup- you missed out if you weren't there. But oh man.. my 30?? Yikes. It's going to be fun. How are we going to top it chicks??

Anyways. The next day I met Amy for breakfast at Perkins since it was next to her hotel and yeah. Shittastic service. I swear, of the Perkins' I have been to I always get the WORST service. I mean, Amy and I were chatting but our waitress sucked ass. She literally dropped our bill at the table not even 5 minutes after dropping off our food and then never came back. Hi bitch- we'd like some mother effing refills. Or hey- could you split our bill since you didn't?! Annoying. I hate, hate, hate bad service. And it wasn't even that busy in there. And I'm sorry- but if you don't offer to refill? You shouldn't get a tip. We left one, but still. The other stupid thing, is that I lost $10 either in the parking lot or the restaurant. And yeah, so that sucked. But I was glad Amy and I got to have breakfast and just chat before she went home.

Oh, and I woke up with a major fucking head cold on Sunday. Swell. I didn't drink but I felt hungover. Even better. :)

So yeah. That was my party. I'll post my prezzies another day (maybe tomorrow??) because I got some really good ones!! AND I got some bloggy love in the mail recently that I need to share with you. BUT.. I'm beat. Later bitches!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fitness baby.

Seriously-- this time change is effing me all up. And it feels like forever since I've blogged? Weird.

But it's time for our Weightloss Check in shit and you'll notice there is no vlog. Because I have a head cold and I want to get this up right away and go to bed so I can maybe just die quietly into the night.

I took pretty much everyone's advice and weighed myself this morning, after I peed. So either there is something to this, my scale is fucked up, or I lost 16.2 pounds in a week. You pick. (For the record, that says 149.2)
I don't get it, folks. Let's be honest.

But I have been doing really well with my exercise. I got my running in, still doing a mile without dying, three times a week. My arm exercises and crunches still hurt. Most importantly, I've cut down on my Pepsi intake. Not drastically... I have to ween myself, but I have been doing better. So I'm pumped.

I also ate a ton of cupcakes over the last two days, so the fact this isn't higher is kind of nice. :) My goal for this week is to get 4 workouts instead of 3 in. I'm feeling a little better about myself and my body and so I want to keep going with it while I still have some motivation.

How are all of you doing?? Are you noticing any improvements in how you look or feel?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dear Sara... birthday edition

So.. I'm not doing a vlog today, for two reasons.

1. I got my eyebrows waxed not that long ago and they are still red. Like the top half of my face is red because I had the most violent eyebrow waxer lady EVER. Seriously. I just hope the redness (and swelling) go down before my party tomorrow.

2. I'm going to do this really quickly so I can mop my floors. I know. I haven't gotten to mop in two weeks and I had to buy a new mop head today because I just felt like the sponge thing was gross. So I have a brand new one and I'm going to attack my floors with gusto. They don't look bad, but because I'm kind of a freak, and it's been two weeks, and we've had a mouse.. I just can't go to sleep another night knowing all of that AND knowing I have a new mop head. It needs to get done.

OK. So these questions all came from one person who said she'd like to see me do a reflection of my life of sorts. So.. ok. I'm game.

1. What is the worst moment of your life to date? Damn. It's kind of hard to narrow it down to one, because while I've had a lot of awesome moments, one that I remember often is one of the last nights I saw my real dad. It was a particular violent night and I still remember how terrified I was of it all and not really understanding it, even though I think I was just about 3 when it happened. I can give you every detail of the night and it still upsets me. The second worst moment is right after Matt got fired from his job, almost 4 years ago, and why it happened. I have never felt as betrayed as I did in that moment and I still struggle with it.

2. And what would be your best moment? The birth of both of my kids, although I was in a much different emotional and mental state for both of them. With Olivia I was excited and then went into depression. With Jackson I was depressed and then got better. Go figure.

3. If you could give yourself one piece of advice, knowing what you know now.. what would it be? Lots. HAHA! First, stop using your credit card. Second, breaking up with JR is not the end of your life and things will get better sooner than you think. Third, go out and have fun now. You'll get married and have babies so quickly and sometimes you'll wish you would have had fun. Even though you are broker than shit. Fourth, don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and what you believe to be right. Some people are going to call you a bitch and it's totally ok. Being honest doesn't always make you a bitch. Fifth, do not move into an apartment with JR. You'll lose a lot of money and most of your stuff. AND the apartment is in such bad shape it should be condemned and yes- pigeons really ARE living in the closets. <-- and all that is just from the 2 years you spend in college.

4. If you could know one thing for certain about your future... what would it be? It'd be nice to know when I was going to die or how.. but I figure that happens to everyone. Everyone dies. So I guess if I could only pick one.. I'd like to know if I made the right decision to stay with Matt. It's something that's always in the back of my mind and weighs heavy on my heart sometimes.

5. Most embarrassing moment to date? Oh god. Like there is only one. HA! I'm going to say it was when Matt and I had been dating for 3 months. It was super nice out around my birthday so we decided to go to Jay Cooke State Park. Now, it was still icy and snowy outside, but I chose to wear my Adidas shell top shoes. You know, shoes with absolutely NO traction on them at all. So, we get to the park and I fell right in the parking lot. People standing around, totally laughing. We get our park pass and walk towards the swinging bridge. Which is really high up and the rushing waters of the St. Louis River are under you. You would die if you fell off and this thing wobbles and swings. And I am basically shuffling my feet like an idiot to get across. I'm pissing off a whole crowd of people behind me because of course, I'm that asshole going super slow. We get to the end of the bridge and it's a little slope and the trail goes in two directions. The slope is also sheer ice. And I go down. HARD. I not only land on my ass but then I bang my head onto the ice, and there's Matt-- walking away. And the crowd of people, stepping over my body and laughing. And that was the extent of our trail walk because I shuffled my ass across the bridge. And SOMEHOW, someone in the parking lot calls out to me, after noticing me limping to the car, and says, "Hey asshole! Wear trail shoes!" I get it. Fucker. Seriously. To have an entire park of people laughing at you? Kind of embarrassing.
**
OK- that was it for this week. Tomorrow is my birthday party (yay!) and my camera is charging as we speak so I am able to capture all kinds of fun stuff. Pretty dang excited homieoats.