Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Author I Love: Sarah Addison Allen

A few weeks ago I finished reading all of Sarah Addison Allen's books. She has four published right now and I flew through them. The stories were so good that I could not put them down. I would even tell my friends that my favorite part of the day was going to home and reading while munching on some girl scout cookies. What can I say, that is my idea of a good time.

As I was finishing her most recent book called The Peach Keeper I snapped a few photos of some of my favorite quotes from the story.

 "Happiness is a risk. If you're not a little scared, then you're not doing it right."

"Childhood was magical. Leaving it behind was a magnificent loss."
"Most of her lists were about control, about breaking her life into manageable pieces. But some of the lists were simply wishes. There was nothing more satisfying than putting what you wanted most onto paper. It gave substance to something that was before as thin as air. It made it one step closer to being real."

I could not agree more with all of these quotes. Happiness can be scary and sometimes I have to tell myself that it will be worth it in the end. Childhood is a lovely time in life and I don't think you truely appreciate it until you are no longer a child. The quote about lists felt like she knew exactly what was in my head. I love lists, they bring order to life which in turn makes it not so overwhelming. I also love what she said about lists giving life to wishes and making them real. I have definitely been known to write a few lists like that in my life as well (bucket list anyone?)

Besides The Peach Keeper, the other three books by Sarah Addison Allen are Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen, and The Girl Who Chased The Moon. I can't tell you which is my favorite because I enjoyed them all so much. If I had to put these stories into a category I would call them magical realism love stories. Not romance, I wouldn't go that far, but each story had two sets of couples dealing with some sort of love related issue and a magic realism element that gave the book a good twist. 

Sarah Addison has a new book coming out later this year (soexcitedcantwaittoreadit!) but the rest of her work is so captivating that I will probably re-read these stories in a few years. I would recommend her work if you enjoyed The Night Circus, anything by Nicholas Sparks and/or Harry Potter (because obviously Harry Potter is the best magic realism book in the history of magic realism.)

So, have you read any of these books? Do you have any recommendations for other magic realism stories I might enjoy? What are you reading lately?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Good Morning

Today, like most weekdays I am up before the sun. Usually I have about ten to fifteen minutes after breakfast that I spend reading or... napping. Yes, on a regular basis I have woken up and twenty minutes later fallen back asleep for a ten minute nap. When I write it out like this I realize how ridiculous that sounds.

However, today I am being more productive with my time and writing here on the blog. This mornings post got me thinking about mornings. Do I love them? Do I hate them? Do I wish they started later in my day? The answer is yes and no to all of those questions.

I can't definitively say I'm an early bird or I am a night owl. I am a little bit of both. I love being up early and feeling like I've got all the time in the world to make good use of my day. I like slow mornings when I can sip coffee and flip through a magazine. I love mornings where I'm powering through my to-do list and have most items checked off my 8am. I also love sleeping in and walking up to sunlight pouring in the windows. So I guess it just depends on what each and every morning brings.

I like the fresh start that comes with each morning. I haven't had a chance to mess up my diet yet (ha!) or hear any bad news. It's a new chance to show all the people in your lives how much you love and appreciate them.

I like the pink in the sky just before the sun rises. Even though there are houses that block view of the sunrise, the way their rooftops are outlines by the colors in the sky like adding another element to a wonderful painting. It makes me appreciate how God, the most beautiful painter of all also gave us technology build wonderful houses for shelter and living. It's a wonderful combination of the natural and the man-made but none of it would be here if it wasn't for God's blessing. Morning is also my time for Bible reading and reflection if you haven't figured that out yet.

This morning I'm challenging myself to acknowledge and be thankful for all the blessings in my life I sometimes take for granted. What a wonderful way to start a day.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Currently Listening

Right now, at this very moment in time I am listening to the Tangled soundtrack and I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


My sister is an amazing seamstress. The girl made a fully lined trench coat when she was in high school and then moved on to reinvent our grandmother and mom's wedding dress for her wedding this past July. (My mother wore her mothers dress, hence it being both my grandma and mom's dress)

But I always thought the sew skills skipped me. Every time I attempted to sew something I would get frustrated and give up. This year for Christmas my mother-in-love gave me a sewing machine and I decided that this time there would be no giving up. It was time for me to learn how to sew.
Back when a much younger version of me first attempted sew lessons from School of Mom, I wanted there to be a way to guarantee my sewing would be in a straight line. Just like a straight edge can guarantee drawing in a straight line, there had to be something like that for sewing, right? I mean how else was I not supposed to mess this up. Fast forward to present day and School of Mom is teaching mean to sew long curtain panels. Mom, showed me the line guides on my machine and gave me tips about eyeballing about a half inch seam etc. but I realized that if I’m ever going to finish this project, I have to let my perfectionist ways go. The saying “done is better than perfect” is appropriate here. And you know what, my curtains are done and hanging up with less than perfect seams. Really, who was I trying to make them perfect for? Me or Mr. V? We do not care that much, and neither one of us inspect the curtains on a daily basis. We are just happy they block a little more light making the room darker for sleeping.

I am a thinker and this “breakthrough” got me thinking about other areas of my life where trying to do something perfectly has prevented me from doing it at all. Housekeeping, couponing and decorating are some of the few areas that come to mind. I’d love for my house to be perfectly clean and decorated with a pantry full of food bought for pennies on the dollar (who wouldn’t) but the thought of maintaining that level of perfectionism could be overwhelming and I would give up before I even got started.

So I started doing just one thing to keep the house clean per day. (My house was not a giant mess to to begin with, I would just do all the cleaning at once and be tired and cranky from spending my day with a mop in hand, which is not fun.) Some days I vacuum the main living areas, other days I wipe down the bathrooms or clean out the refrigerator. No, my house is not spotless all at once but I have a better sense of peace about it because I know it is still clean. There are also days where no cleaning gets done and I tell myself that is okay too. This method keeps my house looking neat without the feeling of wasting an entire day cleaning. The little things add up.

I have also started couponing my own way. I have been to the classes, I know all about the websites to check and the filing systems to have in place. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of grocery shopping. If food magically appeared in my kitchen without having to pay delivery and fees, I would be a happy camper. So I’ve revised my method to flipping through my coupon inserts, cutting coupons for things I actually buy, putting them in my baseball card holder binder and when I’m writing out my grocery list I will flip through the binder and pull out the matching coupons. No coupon database searching, no printing a ton of coupons or checking every single sale flyer out there and going to a bunch of stores. I'm only going to one store and only buying things I actually use. I am not going to save thousands of dollars this way, but I will be saving some money and that is good enough for me.

Decorating is a whole other mountain I have not even begun to climb. First off, I LOVE decorating. Ever since I was a kid I have enjoyed flipping through decorating catalogs, walking through model homes and watching HGTV. Seriously, what fourth grade kid would list their favorite shows as Room by Room, Decorating Cents and Trading Spaces (remember those shows) well this girl would. I have thousands of decorating images pinned on Pinterest. I have pinned my dream kitchen at least twenty five times and keep telling myself someday, I will redo my kitchen to look like my dream kitchen. It does not just stop at the kitchen though; it is every room in the house. The thing is, a complete kitchen renovation is not in the budget right now, but if I can let my I’m not going to do anything until I can do it perfectly mentality go, then I can decorating my whole house in a budget friendly way. A few gallons of paint, some accessories and hanging some art of the wall does not have to cost an arm and a leg. I can embrace my love for decorating now instead of waiting until everything is perfect.

I just have to remember to let it go.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I miss blogger

So I'm struggling with my new website. WordPress is a lot different then blogger and I haven't figured it out yet. I'm getting spammed with over 100 spam comments a day and I can't figure out silly things, like how to see my stats or how to get a small bio with a picture in the side bar. I feel like I should be using it because I paid for it, but I'm kind of having buyers remorse.(Note, you can use WordPress for free, I am only paying because I bought my domain name and I am paying for a hosting company to host my website. WordPress is simply the blogging platform I am working with on my website.)

Right now I'm trying to decide if I should spend time with that site trying to figure all of these little things out, or switch back to Blogger (which is more user friendly in my opinion.)

Because of my mixed-up-blog-platform feelings, I haven't been blogging at all. Which is not good because I have things to say!

So today I'm blogging here and I'm going to tell you about my day.

Today Mr. V and I both took a random vacation day from work. We have done this a few times in the past and random vacation days are one of my absolute favorite things to do. It's like creating your own three-day holiday weekend.

We got up early to the sound of pouring rain, which made me want to stay in bed longer because who doesn't love to sleep in to the sound of rain. But we got up anyway because we didn't want to waste our day sleeping. We headed out to breakfast at an Amish restaurant for some good home cooking. Mr. V got the breakfast buffet and ate so much he didn't have room for lunch later. After breakfast we picked up a small chocolate peanut butter pie to go.

We just had some of the pie for an afternoon snack and oh wow it is such good pie. We still have some left over for dessert later (if it lasts that long.) Even the pie crust was fantastic, and I don't typically like pie crust. I only eat is because of all of the other pie goodness it contains.

After pie, we hung up our curtains in the bedroom.

I made the curtains out of painters drop cloths last weekend. They are my first sewing project and I can't tell you how happy I am to see them finally hung up. At last, I can sleep without the harsh glow from the street light outside in my eyes.

Pretty great vacation day so far!

Oh and this weekend, I watched all of season one for Downton Abbey and I am in love! I can't wait until season two comes in for me at the library. Also, Once Upon A Time was fantastic I can't wait to see what next Sunday's episode brings.