Friday, May 27, 2016

What's Making Me Happy - 5/27

This week's edition of What's Making Me Happy is really some of my "forever happy" sources, but still worth the share.

First off, there was the Dancing With the Stars finale. I've been a DWTS watcher since Season 4 (FYI - They're now on Season 22), and this cast was of my favorites. I would've been happy with a Paige and Mark, or Nyle and Peta winning. However, I have to give all the love to this routine. If you're not familiar with Nyle, he's the recent winner of America's Next Top Model who has been deaf since birth. In other words, he can't hear any of the music. This routine has been on repeat all week. (P.S. If I started a blog feature called, 'What's Making Me Ugly Cry This Week,' this would be there, too.)

And then, of course, it was SPELLING BEE WEEK!!! This is the best sports week of my year, and this was one of the best Bees yet. First off, there was Nihar v. Jairam as the main event: 

We also upped our Spelling Bee Watch Party game this year, and we added a draft. I was able to take home a co-win with Nihar!

(We've also already started planning for what next year's party might include.)

And finally, I've saved the best, happiest, cutest thing for last - AKASH! Akash Vukoti was the first grader who qualified for the Bee, and he is just adorbz on adorbz on adorbz:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

2016 Reads - #53 - 56

Wedding Night is/was a predictable Sophie Kinsella. She writes a certain kind of way, and this book was in that vein. I actually was concerned for a bit that this book was going to go a whole different, terrible direction, but it didn't. It's a good light read perfect for summer.

One Hundred Demons is a book I read in college. It's phenomenal. It's got some incredible quotes in with the drawings. It's one I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend to everyone.

Tina's Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary was a book I found at the library and was intrigued. As part of a high school assignment, Tina has to write letters to Sartre (the existential philosopher). Through the comic, she talks about the ups and downs of high school as an Indian American teenager. It was so, so fantastic, and another I would highly recommend.

Shoplifter was another random find. It is the perfect comic to describe life and career in your mid-twenties. . . At least it reminded me of my mid-twenties. It's a quick read, and it's just great.


P.S. I'm currently going through a graphic novel/comic stint, so expect to see lots of those blogged in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lessons in Closet Organization

In preparation for an upcoming garage sale, I've been cleaning and cleaning AND cleaning our apartment. Hands down, the biggest endeavor has been my closet. It's been a process, and I didn't realize just how much "stuff" I'd gotten rid of until this weekend when I spent two Lifetime movies and a Royals game (aka eight-ish hours) pricing the former residents of my closet. Here are some things I have learned through this process:
  • I wear a lot of stripes. Too many stripes. All the stripes. I wasn't even aware of how much my wardrobe had been overrun with stripes. I don't even know if I like stripes? I am no longer buying anything with stripes.
  • Just because I like a clothing item doesn't mean I need to buy it in all of the colors. One of something is just fine to start.
  • It is better to buy something at close to full price that I love and can wear often than to buy something on sale that I only sort of like and don't really wear.
  • Things I Have Bought in Excess/Can No Longer Buy Any Time Soon: Grey cardigans, Black pants, White v-necks and Scarves in any/all forms.
  • If I feel "meh" about something, it has no place in my wardrobe.
  • When I went back through my clothes to price them for the sale, I had little remorse. The only things I even "took back" were a baseball tee, a black v-neck (to go with all the scarves I own) and a pair of blue shorts. I don't know how and/or why I was housing so many things.
Now that this project is done, I can honestly say that I love everything that is in my closet. Each item (depending on the appropriate occasion) has a chance of being worn. I also already feel like I've become a better shopper. When I see things, I think much, much more about if I really want to bring them home. I'm not buying just to buy, rather I'm finding things that I'll actually look forward to wearing. There was a time that I thought the quantity of clothes I owned matter, and I now know that the quality of what I have is so much more important.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday Menagerie - 5/23

Welcome to Monday on the blog. This is the day where I give you a post with a whole bunch of unrelated topics and thoughts that aren't enough to be stand-alone posts, so they land together here:
  • Will someone please try those Root Beer and Orange Crush Pop-Tarts and let me know how they are?
  • I'm convinced the reason I'll never win the lottery is that I use all my good luck on things like "getting home from the gym five minutes before it downpours." (I'm glad to not be soaking wet, but still.)
  • I watched a Lifetime movie this weekend with Chris Klein. 
  • This haul of VHS tapes were by our apartment trash yesterday. It was the perfect picture of 90s awesomeness. I went back today, and they were in the actual trash. It was sad.

  • We are currently house-hunting. One of the houses had this globe collection that I am now obsessed with and really, really want. Not interested in the house, but would pay for these globes. (FYI - I am the curator of a small, yet growing globe and map collection that adorns our guest bedroom.) I have hopes that they'll have a moving sale where they'll sell them. . . Stay tuned.

  • Tonight begins the two-night finale of Dancing With The Stars. I want Nyle to win, and I would also be happy with Paige taking home the mirror ball. Also, I unapologetically LOVE this show.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Pieces of Me - My Favorite Shoes

I bought these shoes ten years ago. . . aka a decade ago. . . aka #wut. They've been literally everywhere with me over the years. They are (sort of) falling apart, but I still wear them out and about on a regular basis, including last night to meet up with friends in Lawrence (where our adventures together began). I have tried many times to buy another pair online to no avail because let's be real, BC isn't still making shoes they made in 2006. I've even tried to find a comparable pair also to no avail. So, I plan on keeping these until they actually fall apart, and even then, I'll probably find a way to patch them up, so they can last forever. I love them so much I even kicked off a regular feature on the blog with an ode to them. Cheers to the best shoes I've ever own. If you see me out and about today, I guarantee I'll be rocking them.

Friday, May 20, 2016

2016 Reads - #49 - 52

Excited to have knocked out two more books from my queue with this round!

Moonflower Vine is a classic read that's really flown under the radar. It was actually published in 1962! It starts slow, but then the story really picks up. It's divided into stories about the members of the family - parents and their daughters. Each story has an unexpected secret/twist. It really is a beautiful, timeless read that's worth checking out if you haven't had the chance in the last 55 years!

Sprint: Solve Big Problems And Test New Ideas In Just Five Days was a book I happened upon at the library. It was an interesting process to read about. I'm still overwhelmed (and predictably be so) about how I might implement the whole process, but there were definitely activities and structures that I think I could use.

Sisterland was. . . interesting. I love Curtis Sittenfeld. Man of My Dreams is THE defining book of my twenties. This book is in a completely different vein. The story is about two twin sisters who have psychic abilities. One of the sisters predicts an earthquake in St. Louis, and it goes from there. I use the word interesting because is the last 1/4 of the book, it really goes in a whole different direction. It wasn't bad, it was just unexpected. Once you get into this one, it's hard to put down. Also, if you've not read Curtis Sittenfeld, you MUST.

Not That Kind of Girl was one lent to me from a friend. I'm actually not that familiar with Lena Dunham as I don't know watch Girls at all. It was a good read. I liked the variety of essays and the honesty with which she talked about her past (embarrassing stories and all) and what she'd learned along the way.

What's Making Me Happy This Week - 5/20

For this week, there are three things making me especially happy!

I've recently started regularly listening to Lithium on SiriusXM. It's 90s alternative and grunge rock, and y'all, it's incredible. I'm not quite sure why I haven't checked this out before now. It has helped me realize I had surprisingly good taste in music in middle school and high school when I listened to a fair amount of this stuff, and also, it's been great to hear so many of these songs again.

My next happy thing is this cookie jar. You may not be able to discern what this is, so let me tell y'all - IT'S A GIANT STACK OF FIG NEWTONS! I happened to see this gem in a post my cousin had about an upcoming garage sale, and I immediately asked about it. Unbeknownst to me, my dad saw my comment, made a call and had them hold the jar for me. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I walked in my parents' house, and THIS WAS THERE! I don't quite know where I'm going to put it (we're kind of at capacity for our apartment), but I know I'm going to love giving it a home.

And finally, there's this!

WE GOT TO SEE THE WORLD SERIES TROPHY!! My dad and I went to the game on Wednesday, and I made it a top priority to go see this is in all its glory. It still is surreal to think this happen, and I love celebrating it every chance I get! Plus, we got to see a Royals win!

Monday, May 16, 2016

2016 Reads - #45 - 48

In preparation for the JoCo Used Book Sale, I've been trying to empty out my queue. Plus, I've just hit a stretch of really great books, so I've been reading at a crazier rate than normal.

Strengths-Based Parenting was a book I read not because I'm a parent, but because I like StrengthsQuest a whole bunch. It was interesting to read about Strengths from a different lens and to think about how to utilize these in both parenting and for kids. This book also included some of the assessments available for kids to take, and I could totally pick out what mine would have been when I was a kiddo.

First Comes Love was an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) I received from NetGalley. The book is set to be released at the end of June. Emily Giffin is generally pretty reliable for me. This one is about two sisters who've taken very different paths in life after a family tragedy. It was interesting to think how curveballs can change the paths we've laid out for ourselves and how they continue to influence us. I read this one pretty quick because it was captivating, and I wanted to know what happened next. It's definitely worth checking out when it's released - It'd be a great beach/poolside read.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less was actually a book I recommended the library purchased after seeing Brooke Burke-Charvet talking about it on GMA a few weeks ago. In typical Chicken Soup form, it's 101 short stories. This one was focused on reducing clutter and distraction in a variety of forms. It's something I've been working on a lot lately, and this was needed inspiration for the process. 

The Truth Hurts was a book I picked up at a recent used book sale. I love two of Nancy Pickard's other books - The Scent of Rain & Lightning and The Virgin of Small Plains. What I didn't realize is that these were actually different than her normal "lane," and she was more of a mystery writer. I breezed through this one, and the story kept me guessing. The premise is that a true crime writer is told she's going to write about her own murder, and it just goes from there. It was an unexpected gem I really enjoyed.

Friday, May 13, 2016

What's Making Me Happy This Week - 5/13

Borrowing from the gang at Pop Culture Happy Hour, I'm going to take Fridays on the blog to share what's making me happy each week.

For this week, there's this cup.

A few weeks back, my brother received a Yeti cup as a gift. As he drank out of it, we were shocked at how the ice cubes stayed in tact for hours. A family friend tipped him off that Walmart had a similar, far cheaper brand that worked just the same. The tricky thing was people were onto this, so finding them was tricky. NOTE: I AM NOT A REGULAR WALMART SHOPPER. I did some searching this week, and I found one, and y'all, it lives up to the hype. It runs $7.74 (a comparable Yeti tumbler is $29.99), and it keeps drinks hot or cold like you wouldn't believe. I highly recommend tracking one of these down for yourself. You can find them in the camping section of your local Walmart - Don't be surprised if you don't find them right away - They go quick!

The second thing making me happy is this moment. Last night, during the Angels-Cardinals game, a cat ran across the field. It's the little things, y'all.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

2016 Reads - #33 - 44

Oh, hi, it's time to blog books. While I usually blog in fours, I got behind (again), so I'm kicking this part of the blog off with a 3-for-1 deal!

Local Knowledge was a book I had in the queue for awhile. If I'm being honest, I wanted the drama it had to be bigger and flashier, but alas, it is wasn't. (Translation: I was hoping for a Lifetime movie in book form.)

Good to Great is a book that gets referenced a lot at work, and while I've read a crazy amount of business and leadership books I've somehow not actually read this one. So, I did. I really liked it, and I could see the appeal for utilizing this so much. I was definitely a fan, and I've started thinking about how to integrate the principles.

Day After Night is historical fiction story about women in a British internment camp during World War II. Each woman has a very different background and path, and their stories also all intersect. This was really good - At the same time, I had to own that this was never going to be The Red Tent which is just a masterpiece of masterpieces.

Love That Boy was an Advance Reader's Copy I received (thanks, Shelf Awareness). This is a story of a journalist who chronicles the presidents who is also the father of a son with Asperger's. The father and son take a road trip to various presidential libraries, and along the way, they learn a lot about each other paralleling with a tale of the father each president was. It was really intriguing and beautiful, and I learned a lot. I think it's an awesome read for fathers, people who geek out about presidents (i.e. me) and anyone else who just likes a well-written book.

Quitter is phenomenal. It's Jon Acuff who I LOVE. It's a really good book about not wasting time doing what you don't enjoy, and instead figuring out who you want to do and how to do it. It's a wonderful book to reflect on life and career.

It's A Wonderful Lie is a book I LOVED in my twenties. I decided to reread it in my thirties to see how true it still rang. The best part was revisiting all the passages I'd tabbed and remembering why I'd picked each one. It was a fun visit back for the most part, and I even found some new passages I really liked. 

The Crown is the final book in the Selection series which I have been obsessed with since I read the first book. This is the sequel to The Heir which I read in a day, and because I needed to know how this ended, I read this in a day (also, I bought it on the day it came out). I had a way I wanted this to end, so part of the reason I breezed through this was I needed the assurance that this is what was going to happen. If you haven't checked out this series, you MUST.

Start is another Jon Acuff. Because I adored Quitter, I had high expectations. It's definitely worth the read as part of the Jon Acuff trilogy, and I found some good "nuggets" in here as I have in his other reads.

Six Years was another read from Harlan Coben. I rarely read mystery/thrillers, but when I do, it's always HC. I'd found this one at a recent random book sale. It was a good read that kept me guessing, but at the same time, it wasn't my favorite HC.

The Borrower wins the award for my favorite book cover of the year. It's a story of a small town librarian (in Hannibal, MO) and a boy who comes in regularly. It's a quirky story, and it was just beautifully written. 

The Weight of Blood is a story of two women (one present and one in the past) and how their stories intersect. It gave me that "Lifetime movie fix" I'd been craving, and the plot kept me guessing.

Escape was alright. Barbara Delinsky has been a reliable author for me, and this read was interesting enough. . . It'd be a good beach read if you need that sort of thing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What This Blog Could've Been

Truth be told, I've always wanted to have a blog called "People Moving Mattresses Poorly." It's probably the result of the twelve years I spent living in college towns. Regardless, every time I see a mattress mishap, I'm reminded of said blog idea.

This was my all-time best sighting.

 This was my most recent sighting.

I guess that's my way of saying that's not what this blog is going to be about. Sure, there may be a mattress here and there, but it'll be about other stuff. So, here we go.