Sunday, August 24, 2014

50/50 Challenge Update: Reading Frenzy

shared from Read It Forward's Facebook page

I read two books this weekend. Actually, I finished one book, then started and finished two more. Toot, toot, beep, beep - you read that right. While I would love to do a book report on every book I read (really, I wouldn't), I am dedicated just not that dedicated. So, here is are my short sum-ups for the last 7 books I've read. 

If you've read any of these and want to share your reviews, thoughts, and/or tweets with me, I love hearing from other reading enthusiasts. Book nerds unite!

24. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Ms. Chopin, must you complain so much? Feminism? Me thinks not.

25. The One & Only by Emily Giffin
Giffin-style with made-for-tv movie written all over it.

26. We Were Liars by e. Lockhart
A bit predictable, but not all disappointing.

27. Orange Is the New Black by Piper Lerman
Was indifferent about reading it. Ended up enjoying it. No, haven't seen the show yet. Nor do I have plans to.

28. Night Film by Marisha Pessl
One of the better ones I read in this stretch of books. Love the mystery and haunted feel of the novel because I am fascinated by topics in that category. I wrote a review on Goodreads for this one.

29. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire.
Do you like the song: "Love the Way You Lie" by Eminem feat. Rihanna? Then, you'll love this book. Makes you feel good about that "bad boy" that got away.

30. Delicious by Ruth Reichl
I love reading about food. This is fiction but with plenty of food discussed. Thought it was great.

I've only watched four new movies since my last update because let's be honest, this summer has sucked in terms of new movies. Blockbusters? Please. Millions of dollars at the box office still does not a good movie make. 

30. The Expendables 3
Whenever the first one came out I thought it was a parody. I'm still not convinced this is not the case. Lots of action. Crappy plot. And, those men are getting OLD.

31. Love Is Strange
Sweetly simple but dealing with a lot of complex emotions and topics. 

32. TMNT
No, I never saw the original. I was a kid who hardly watched tv and played outside or read. Big surprise there. Those turtles are kinda creepy, yeah? 

33. Guardians of the Galaxy
Had hoped for better. Love Vin Diesel's dialogue. Ha! Watched it at the drive-in with TMNT which was cool. Fun night out. 

I'm happy that I am whittling away at my library and book club list, and some of my must-see movies are coming out soon. Until my next update, which I know you await with bated breath, happy reading and watching!

Monday, August 18, 2014

L'Oreal Hair Makeover: Sweet and Simple

the tools

It's always fun to change your look and color your hair. But, it's even better when you can get a friend to help. After receiving the new L'Oreal Superior Preference Mousse Absolue in Light Auburn Brown, I knew just the gal who would want to try it out: my friend, Kim!

Kim has light to medium brown hair and I thought this color would be perfect for a richer hue just in time for fall. 

the before

The mousse is so much better than the hair dye that you mix in the bottle and usually drips onto your clothes, the floor, and everywhere else. The mousse bottle already comes pre-mixed and you just apply in sections of the hair. There is hardly any dripping during the process and there's not nearly the heavy scent of regular at-home color.

the after
The color was perfect for her, the process easy. If you're thinking of switching it up, for only fifteen bucks, this product is a good choice. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cheers to the Patron life!

Once upon a time, Patron Social Club asked, "Hey, would you like to be our Secret Dining Society guest and eat and drink to your heart's content while you get a sweet beach buzz?" To which I quickly replied, "Um, YEAH!"

On a perfect August evening, M and I enjoyed a culinary adventure courtesy of Patron and their traveling dining crew. When they host these dinners for an exclusive 50+ guests, it is an EVENT. 

I read that when they stopped in St. Louis, it was held at Busch Stadium, an experience M would have loved being from STL and a tried and true Cardinals' fan. However, our San Diego experience on Silver Strand Beach was none too shabby. 

Here are some photos of the fun-filled evening if you didn't catch me posting minute-to-minute updates on Instagram. I also rehashed the whole beautiful thing for Examiner, complete with food menu created by one my favorite Top Chef alum, Richard Sweeney, for your reading (and drooling) pleasure. 

If you had seen me eat this, it would confirm my lack of elegance, mainly in dining situations. I first attempted to nibble it from the side and then just chomped it from the top. 

It's like we were crashing someone's beautiful beach wedding. Hey, Patron, can I just hire you to cater my upcoming nuptials? 

I don't have a bad tequila story. You know those stories you hear about people falling off curbs and vomiting in gutters, never had that. Talk to me about vodka, different story altogether. Wouldn't it be insane if Absolut had a secret dining society. Who can I start a petition to for this cause? 

I forgive whomever made up these menus for misspelling "dessert" because they were probably drunk off Patron. Hey, shit happens.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Change of (Work) Scenery

SILO in Makers Quarter
Are you one of those people who power through a day with no breaks or do find yourself hitting a wall at oh, about 2 p.m. like me? 

I wake up at 7 a.m. most mornings to begin my day and crank out a good chunk of work before noon. Why? Because I know that once that early afternoon hour crawls around that my productivity level begins to dip. Why is that? Do I need a snack? A nap? Both? 

Am I not that different from a toddler and can only focus on certain activities for a few hours at a time before becoming hangry or overcome with sleepiness? 

I believe that our bodies are just not made to go on auto-pilot. They can; they just don't like it. I would rather break up my day and work extra hours if it means a big ol' break in the middle. 

There are deadlines to meet and projects to complete and that is not always an acceptable answer. I find whenever I hit this wall, a change of scenery is always necessary. Whether that's a stop for a coffee break, a trip the library or a new work space that does not include my home office, whatever it is, it always seems to help. 

There are many downfalls to being a freelancer. I know you're not supposed to say that because we are supposed to be ripe with optimism for those who want follow suit and be self-employed as well. But, the truth is that when you have freedom to essentially do what you want, you better be doing something

Otherwise, you find your asleep with Food Network blaring in the background and dreams of Barefoot Contessa baking you homemade brownies. (This may or may not have happened when I was suffering the sweltering heat inside my apartment and reacting to too much Tylenol Cold & Sinus)

Movement of any kind is key. Due to my endless hours on the computer, there are times when I think my legs might become fused into the seated position. That's why I do yoga, pace around my living room like a dog waiting for its owner, and yes, at times, lie down for a power nap. 

If you want to make your life different than what it is, you have to be prepared to move. This goes for both the physical and emotional sense. The fear of being stagnant keeps me constantly changing. 

The to-do list stays the same but the change of scenery makes all the difference. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

50/50 Challenge Update: First of the Month

Well let's just come out and say it, July was a blur. Yes, I was traveling during a lot of it, but I just think -- kids are going back to school! What even happened in July?!

I am just getting over a summer cold, which was the absolute worst. Note: Tylenol Cold & Sinus mixed with baking-inside-my-apartment temperatures is not a good combo!

But now onto my challenge update, which I am still determined to conquer this year. #thingsgeekssay

Movie #29: Magic in the Moonlight

I wrote a lengthier review of the movie, but I was a little underwhelmed.

21. The Rosie Project by Graeme C. Simsion
22. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
23. Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

The last book I received free from Blogging For Books. If you love books like I do, then you should sign up to! The only "catch" is that you leave a review of the book you receive. How easy is that?

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

Herman Koch writes in such a way that has the reader intrigued at what's to come but not in a hurry to get there. For Summer House with Swimming Pool the novel is a mystery unfolding, but not a typical page-turner pace that most thrillers have. That's not to say the writing is slow or dull; it's more to the credit of the writer for setting the tone early on and allowing the reader to craft the story in the mind. 

Dr. Marc Schlosser is a family doctor who is bored with what he does and has a watered down look at the world. He and his wife are constantly invited to social events and after one such premiere, he meets actor Ralph Meier, a larger than life personality, who at the beginning of the story has wound up dead after a possible misdiagnosis, and the story travels backwards from there. The description of Ralph and more importantly, what he does (hacks at a swordfish on the patio to cook up on the BBQ) gives the reader a keen sense of what type of personality we are dealing with from him. 

Ralph is a ladies' man and takes an interest in Marc's wife, Caroline but is fleeting, while Marc, on the other hand, take an interest in Ralph's wife, Judith. They follow-up with a dinner party at the Meier's house, and this begins the subplot to the story that creates an interesting tension and intertwining of the families. 

The Schlosser family (Marc, Caroline, and their two daughters Julia and Lisa) take a camping trip near the Meier's summer house where they have been invited as guests. After their teenage daughter, Julia runs into the Meier's son, Alex the two families come together again and end up spending time together at the summer house. The families then face a dark turn and the details that follow lead to clues regarding Ralph's death.

It's interesting to hear the voice of Marc and how he sees things from a doctor's perspective in comparison to a father's and also in comparison to any other average person. Details from a doctor's perspective, while matter-of-fact, can be gruesome to the reader or at least create some discomfort, but it fits with the darker tone of the story. 

I enjoyed the writing of this book and the story overall. It definitely would ignite interesting discussion.