Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Young Love

I didn't join Pinterest for the recipes or the decorating tips or the DIY projects (even though I definitely appreciate those pins now that I have my own place!). I joined Pinterest because I always saw adorable, generic images on the blogs I read, and I wanted to find some adorable images for my own blog! One of the first boards I made was "Young Love" to collect all those so-sweet-it-makes-your-stomach-churn-but-you-still-can't-help-but-smile pictures of gorgeous young people doing cute relationship things. For today's link-up with "Oh How Pinteresting Wednesdays" at The Vintage Apple, I'm going to share some of my favorite pins from that board:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Travel Tuesday: Week 1

Welcome to a new series I'm starting on my blog: Travel Tuesdays! As you might have garnered from my last Friday's Fancies post, I'm suffering from a bout of unfulfilled wanderlust. I haven't been on a plane since January 8, and that is just not normal in my world. When I started this blog, I had hoped one of my major themes would be travel. I finally realized: Just because I'm not traveling right this second, does that mean I can't blog about travel? No! So today, I'm going to share with you one of my old travel experiences:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mad Men-Inspired Ads

Technically, I guess these are the type of ads that inspired Mad Men, not the other way around, right? But to get to the point, my grandma often sends out pretty funny chain letters through e-mail. I got one containing a bunch of old-fashioned advertisements a few weeks ago and kept it in my inbox until I found the time to sort through my favorites. Since she sent this, I've started watching Season 1 of Mad Men on Netflix Instant by the recommendation of my sister. These ads kept reminding me of the stereotypical homemaker women in the show. Can you believe they used to attract customers?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Favorite gift: Kindle

Photo via you + me ... who used it to illustrate exactly why she wouldn't be buying a Kindle

I included a Kindle as one of my travel necessities in my most recent Friday's Fancies creation. In that post, I promised you a longer explanation to justify my newfound love of the e-reader, and here it is:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

On My Own: Play

Welcome to the second-to-last installment of my "On My Own" series! I've already shown you my living necessities, my eating areas and my comfy bed. Now, it's time to share how I entertain myself:

1. I'm not sure what that strange circle of light is in the photograph, but here is my futon! I like to sit here to eat on my TV tray or read a book after work. It's also where I do most of my blogging and/or television watching. Which brings me to ...
2. My television! I haven't had a television with cable since the 7th grade, so this is pretty exciting. The only things I really watch on cable are college basketball and the new episodes of Law & Order: SVU on Wednesday evenings, but my Netflix account is also hooked up to the set, which is wonderful. Underneath the TV, you can see all my books (mostly writing books, but also a few novels I haven't gotten to yet) and my scrapbooks and photo boxes. I bought the lion bookends at T.J. Maxx my first weekend in Santa Fe for less than $20 (together). I think they're pretty nifty!
3. My apartment also came with this wicker chair (kind of random?), but I don't usually host company so I never use it. Instead, it has ended up being my storage chair for the few pieces of exercise equipment I bought at Target (and have since used approximately three times).

Stay tuned for the final installment in the series: Work!

Things that make me go "hmm."

Welcome to this week's edition of "Things that make go 'hmm.'" I had a ton of interesting links this week, so I tried to edit them down, but there were still just too many good stories to pass up. (And in honor of Mizzou playing Kansas today, I present you with an adorable baby tiger.)

This author's new book was rejected 12 times before she sent it out under a pen name and sold it within three days. Definitely putting it on my to-read list solely for that reason.

So people can be good when left to their own devices.

Composite sketches of some of literature's most infamous characters, from Daisy Buchanan to Mr. Ripley.

A new study (refreshingly) suggests social structures and nature are more indicative of a country's happiness than it's GDP. Take that, big money!

The myth of 8-hour sleep cycles: Why it might be a good thing to wake up in the middle of the night.

This immature ex-boyfriend definitely deserves jail time. What do you think?

Limits on food truck locations in San Francisco? This cannot be.

The answer to the world's high demand for meat? Growing burgers from stem cells, of course.

Do you think honesty boxes would work in America? I have to say, I'm skeptical.

This couple found love while traveling. Aww factor: “I tried to convince her to come up to California by asking her for her favorite fruit, vegetable and flower,” Monger explains. “I told her if she came to visit, I would have all of those growing in my garden. She said raspberry, carrot and sunflower.” (Spoiler alert: He kept his promise!)

How would you feel if you found out you didn't have cancer after you already had the mastectomy? Relieved, angry or a little bit of both?

Fruits and vegetables like you've never seen them before.

I realize this video is a little long, but if you have an extra eight minutes, you HAVE to watch this. It's a 160-square-foot apartment, but completely livable!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday's Fancies: Week 5

In honor of the Oscars coming up on Sunday, {av} planned a lovely "Hollywood Glam" Friday's Fancies this week. Unfortunately, I'm not the "glam" type, and I don't watch the Oscars, so I decided to deviate from the planned theme for the first time (which {av} encourages!) and show you what my typical travel outfit looks like. (I apologize in advance; it's not very "fancy.")

I decided on this theme because lately, I've been suffering from a slight case of cabin fever. I've gone almost seven weeks without any having any pending airline itineraries, and I don't know when I'll have one next! Growing up, my family was constantly traveling to visit family across the U.S., and in college I was often planning weekend trips to visit my sister or boyfriend in other states. Now that I'm in the "big-girl world," however, I don't have the luxury to skip Friday classes and hop on a Southwest flight somewhere, so I'm just biding my time until the next travel opportunity presents itself. And finally, behold my typical airplane outfit (and accessories, of course):

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Date Night: (Long Distance) Valentine's Day

Our dinner and a movie!

I'm aware this post is a little behind the times, but hey! Maybe that means it won't get lost in all the other Valentine's Day posts out there. So, as you might know, I am dating my high school sweetheart. Because we attended different colleges and have different graduation dates, we've been long-distance for a few years. This year for Valentine's Day, we decided to have a regular dinner-and-a-movie date from 800 miles apart. It was fabulous!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy National Margarita Day!

Did you know today is National Margarita Day? Well neither did I, until Esquire magazine so thoughtfully told me. That inspired me to troll Pinterest for some margarita recipes, and in what is probably the laziest blog post ever, I'm sharing some with you here. I haven't tested any, so don't get upset with me if they're not good, but let me know if you try any!

This is reputedly "The BEST Fresh Margarita": 

Blood orange margaritas:

Strawberry margarita popsicles:

And finally, some margarita cupcakes!
Source: via Linsey on Pinterest

Unfortunately, this person pinned straight from Google (grr), so I tracked down the original site for you.

A weekend in Angel Fire.

Last weekend (Feb. 11 & 12), I went skiing with a group of the other interns and some of their friends from Santa Fe at Angel Fire Resort. It was my first time skiing in two years (Northern California didn't any good snow this winter), and I had a blast! It was also a really good time to get to know the other interns beyond just passing each other in the office.

1 & 2: First views of the slopes from the lodge.
3 & 4: Gorgeous views from the slopes.
5 & 6: I skied until the lifts closed!
7 & 8: The resort at the base of the slopes, where we stayed for free in the press rooms! Score!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On My Own: Sleep

I had the opportunity to catch up with some of my sorority sisters from Mizzou this past weekend, and one of them reminded me I still hadn't posted pictures of my apartment. (Well, not unless you count my uber-exciting bathroom and kitchen.) I took advantage of President's Day to catch up on some blogging, including two new posts in my "On My Own" series: Sleep and Play! (Play is scheduled to be posted on Saturday.)

1. After living in a twin bed for my entire life (and a bunk bed for the past several years), I am so excited to sleep in a queen bed now! It's quite funny, though, because I still only use about a third of the bed. The extra space is convenient to lay down my laptop or TV remotes, however, when I'm too lazy to get out of bed and put them away.
2. Although my apartment has an overhead light, it isn't close enough to my bed to provide ample reading light, and the switch is all the way across the room by the front door. I decided to build myself a makeshift nightstand by stacking up a few cardboard boxes from things I had bought for the apartment and covering them with this awesome fabric I bought at an open market in Kigali. Now I have a reading lamp and a nice little spot for my stuffed animals (I know, I'm basically a 5-year-old) and whatever book I happen to be reading before I turn out the light.
3. A close-up of the fabric I bought in Rwanda, which now covers my "nightstand."

P.S. - I'm planning on utilizing the blank wall above my headboard to hang this puppy when it arrives in the mail and finally fulfill No. 27 on my to-do list!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Munchies

I've been on a roll with trying new recipes lately, so I thought instead of posting every time I make something (because I'm sure you don't care that much), I'm starting a new series to recap my recipes of the week. And it has an alliterative title, too: "Monday Munchies." Pretty clever, right? Here goes....

I tried a new pasta last week for Valentine's Day, but you'll get a separate post on that later this week. Then I was out of town all weekend, so I only have one recipe to share with you this week, but man is it yummy! Today I made jambalaya in my crockpot.

I picked jambalaya because (1) it's delicious and (2) I'm running a little tight on my budget this month so I wanted to use up ingredients I already had. For the latter reason, I didn't really follow any recipe but made up my own as I went. I used this recipe as a guideline (found on Pinterest, of course), but my recipe ended up being as follows:

Winter Office Style Contest: Lovely Undergrad

Jessica over at Lovely Undergrad is hosting a contest to see who can design the best winter internship interview outfit, so I decided to take my chances!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

2012 Book Challenges!

Hello friends! First, let me admit I am actually writing this on January 27, but as I am in the middle of my 30-Day Book Challenge right now, I don't want to overwhelm you with too much bookworm-ness. So, I'm scheduling this post to go live the day after the 30-Day Book Challenge ends. (Today!)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Things that make me go "hmm."

Happy weekend, everyone! I was pretty busy at work this week (making cool stuff like this), so I don't have as many fun links from the week as I usually do, but I hope you enjoy what I've found!

Random picture of the week: Did you ever play airplane with your parents when you were little? I think this is such a cute reminder of that (but not with your parents, obviously).

The world's first ski-in/ski-out Starbucks opened at Squaw Valley last week! (You have to scroll down the page a little to find the story.)

A sweet love letter from my new favorite website.

Robots riding camels? Yes, it's true. And has been since 2005.

Introducing: The best (and easiest!) egg sandwich you'll ever have.

Is sportsmanship dead?

Man has heart attack at Heart Attack Grill. You can't make this stuff up.

The new, environmentally friendly slogan for Mardi Gras beads? "Catch and release."

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 30

Day 30 – My favorite book of all time

Image via Goodreads

Les Miserables. Full disclosure: I don't know if this is my favorite book, but it is definitely my favorite story. I haven't read the book since I was 12, so I hope to be able to revisit it soon with my increased wealth of knowledge and maturity level, but when I read it back in the 7th grade, I remember there being a lot of long, boring chapters about the student revolution. I would get to one of those chapters, realize it was about the war and not my beloved characters from the Broadway adaptation, and skip it. But as far as stories go, Victor Hugo wove quite the tale of personal struggles, romance and societal challenges. I own a paperback version and downloaded a free version on my Kindle, so I definitely need to reread it soon.

Friday, February 17, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 29

Day 29 – A book everyone hated but I liked

I honestly cannot think of anything to put here. I even went so far as to sort my read list on Goodreads by average rating, but every book I've read has at least a 3-star average rating (even the ones I didn't like). So instead, I'm going to tell you a book everyone liked that I didn't:

Image via Goodreads

The Glass Castle. I usually love memoirs, and there wasn't anything wrong with this book necessarily, I just really didn't care for it. My mom and sister both really liked it, and the average rating on Goodreads is 4.14 stars, but I only gave it one. It's just not a book I would recommend to anyone. Sorry!

What about you? Have you read The Glass Castle? Can you think of any books everyone hated but you liked? Have you hated any of the books I've mentioned so far in this challenge? (It's okay, I won't be offended!)

Friday's Fancies: Week 4

I absolutely love {av}'s theme for today's Friday's Fancies. As an avid traveler with a whole slew of places I want to go one day, the hardest part about this was picking the destination! When I originally decided on Ireland, I thought today was St. Patrick's Day. It wasn't until I was actually writing this blog post that I realized I'm a month ahead of myself! (Oops.) I decided to stick with Ireland anyway because it's pretty close to the top of my to-visit list.

Source: via Erin on Pinterest

If I were to go to Ireland, I would want to spend all day hiking among the gorgeous hills and all evening kicking back in a pub. With a utilitarian (but still cute!) outfit like this, I could do just that without ever having to stop by my hotel for a clothing change!

1. I've wanted a military shirt ever since I saw Angelina Jolie wearing that green one at the end of Tomb Raider. I think they're tough yet feminine.
2. Green jeans! I just had to.
3. Any outdoorsy girl knows the importance of layers! The review for this jacket even mentioned that it will keep you warm on "a blustery Scottish cliff." Pretty perfect.
4. I fell in love with this San Francisco map cuff on Pinterest, and now I'm pretending like it really shows the streets of Dublin.
5. A Claddagh ring. Need I say more?
6. I think these hiking boots are cute enough to walk off the hills and into a pub, right?

Oh, the places I could go!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 28

Day 28 – Favorite title

Image via Goodreads

Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages. So I haven't actually read this book yet, but it's on my to-read list for no reason other than the title. I don't know anything about it; I haven't even read the summary. Just the title drew me in. I think that makes it good enough to fit this category, right? (And we all know how much I love milk.) Actually, while scrolling through my Goodreads account to find a good book for today, it was mostly non-fiction titles that caught my eye. I'll leave you with a few more examples:
  • The Sexual History of London: From Roman Londinium to the Swinging City - Lust, Vice, and Desire Across the Ages, Catharine Arnold
  • The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School, Alexandra Robbins
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, James W. Loewen
  • Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, Jon Krakauer
  • Fraternity Gang Rape: Sex, Brotherhood, and Privilege on Campus, Peggy Reeves Sanday
  • Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality, Hanne Blank
  • From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame, Mark S. Monmonier
And now upon review of the many strange titles I included, I must add that these books do not necessarily reflect my political, religious or otherwise ideological views. I just think the titles are very intriguing!

What are some of your favorite titles?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 27

Edited to add: Jessica at Sweet Green Tangerine chose endings as the topic for her April 5th book chat. I decided to link up with this old post because it already explains one of my favorite book endings and also mentions some of my least favorite. Head over to Jessica's blog and check out her post; she hosts a book chat link-up every Thursday!

Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending

Image via Google Images

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I know I said I wouldn't use the same book twice in this challenge, but there's a reason the third Harry Potter book is my favorite of the series - the ending is insane! Who would have ever guessed that Ron's rat was an Animagi? Who is actually a Death Eater and responsible for the Potters' murders, no less? Or that Sirius Black was Harry's godfather? And is actually a really nice guy? Or that Lord Voldemort was Harry's father?? (Just kidding!) But seriously, this was always my favorite book because of the sheer twists and turns the plot takes. (What ever happened to the Time Turner, anyway?)

Just to provide a little variety, I'll also share two of my least favorite endings ever, which happen to be from two of my favorite authors:
  • Handle With Care, Jodi Picoult
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
I generally tell people just not to read the epilogues of both these books, because I think they're wonderful right up until the end of the last chapter. I don't want to give anything away in Handle With Care, but I'm assuming you all know how Harry Potter ends, so I'll just say it: I would have known who was marrying whom without J.K. telling me! I thought the epilogue was super cheesy and unnecessary. Although after seeing the epilogue in the movie, I do like how she included the part about Harry naming his son after "the bravest man [he] ever knew." That was sweet. I'm getting goosebumps just typing about it!

What surprise endings did I miss? Has the ending of a book ever ruined an otherwise great story for you?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 26

Day 26 – A book that changed my opinion about something

Image via Amazon

Applying Ethics. It wasn't really the book itself that changed my opinion on something but rather an assignment associated with the book. This was my primary textbook for a philosophy class I took in my second semester of college. (It was one of my top five favorite classes I ever took at Mizzou, btw.) Each chapter in the book deals with a major ethical dilemma (war, abortion, euthanasia, etc.) and presents different philosophical viewpoints on each issue. Occasionally, my professor asked the class to write "reaction" essays to an issue and defend one viewpoint. Our papers didn't necessarily have to reflect what we really believed, and there were times I defended the position I didn't personally side with just because I felt like it.

When I got to the essay about capital punishment, things got interesting. I had never had strong feelings one way or the other, but I did tend to lean toward one side of the debate. While writing my paper, however, I learned that I most definitely was on one side of the fence, and it was not the side I had previously imagined myself to agree with. Now isn't that the ideal academic assignment: something that shows you a part of yourself you had never known before? No wonder I loved that class so much. (Thanks Dr. Melanie Johnson-Moxley!)

P.S. - I admit this post is a little bit of a cop-out because I picked a book about ethics, but I honestly couldn't think of any novels that had changed my mind about something.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Recipe: Pesto Grilled Cheese

Remember when I posted about this delicious-looking sandwich a few weeks ago? Well, I finally got around to making a version of it last week using the leftover pesto from my Pesto Pasta with Sausage recipe.

The simple sandwich I made was inspired by this recipe found on Pinterest (pictured above). I didn't use the asparagus simply because I was too lazy (and cheap) to go buy some, but it was still delicious! I lightly toasted and buttered two slices of whole wheat bread, spread some pesto on the inside of both slices and laid a couple slices of Monterey Jack in between. Yum! I highly recommend this for a quick lunch or dinner any day.

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 25

Edited to add: Jessica at Sweet Green Tangerine posed the question, "What character are you most like?" for her March 8th book chat. I decided to link up with this old post because it already answers that question! Check out Jessica's blog; she hosts a book chat link-up every Thursday.

Day 25 – The character I can relate to the most

Okay, so I'm not British and my parents aren't dentists. And I guess I can't do magic either.... So maybe this is just wishful thinking, but I have to pick Hermione Granger for today's theme. I remember when I read the first book, before I knew there would ever be a movie, I thought I should play Hermione if a movie ever came out. I had big front teeth (and a gap), I was nerdy, I loved logic games (remember how beautifully she performed on the way to the sorcerer's stone?) and all of my friends (except one) were boys. I would have been perfect! That's why I chose the above picture of Hermione. Look at her dorky little smile and her arms full of books! That is totally me.

Image via the University of Hawaii
But I have to admit, I do love Emma Watson. I guess she's an okay alternative to me. In fact, I always answer Emma Watson (with an American accent) during icebreaker games when I'm asked who would play me in a movie. I think that's my last hope at somehow finding a connection to Hermione.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 24

Day 24 – A book I wish more people would read

Image via Goodreads

Ender's Game. I had never heard of this book until my sister told me about it last year. She had read it for an English class her freshman year of college and written a paper about it. She explained that even though it was science fiction, she didn’t really feel like that’s what the book was about. (Neither of us are big science fiction fans.) Sure, there were alien lifeforms and gravitational alterations and galactic wars, but she insisted the book was more about children and their relationships to each other. Well, she was right. The book was fascinating and I couldn’t put it down! Definitely one of my favorite books now. I think this is a great read for anyone, from children to adults.

P.S. - Ender was the character I wanted to use for Day 15, but I decided to save his story for today instead.

Have you read this book? Heard about it? Apparently it's a series, so I need to go find the second one soon!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Things that make me go "hmm."

This photo doesn't have anything to do with the links below, but I just think it's gorgeous. Do you agree?

Did anyone else notice the middle finger during the Super Bowl halftime show? I thought something controversial might have happened when my screen freaked out for a minute, but I wouldn't have even noticed if the network hadn't tried to censor it (too late).

Have you been craving some iguana meat? Then you're in luck!

How did I not know about this?

Be careful when streaming Netflix away from home, or you could get an $10,600 bill like this family.

This is probably old news, but I've never seen Toddlers in Tiaras, so I don't know. I do know I'll definitely never watch it now!

Did you know Americans eat almost half of the world’s yearly supply of chocolate?

This Victoria's Secret model retired to save her body for her husband.

An interesting controversy over whether home-schooled students should be allowed to participate on public school athletic teams.

And you thought you had a big salt- and pepper-shaker collection.

A New York Times "Modern Love" essay on how a woman became her own in-law. Yup, you heard that right.

And just because I am a complete nerd: The evolution of a turtle's shell.

Happy weekend! I'm skiing up in Angel Fire today. What are you doing? Anyone seeing/saw The Vow?

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 23

Day 23 – A book I've wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t

Image via Goodreads

The Great Gatsby. This is one of those books you would think I would have had to read in high school, but that was not the case. So it's remained on my to-read list for a long time, mostly by virtue of being a classic, but also because there are so many references to The Great Gatsby in other literature. For example, I read The Double Bind a few years ago and pretty much learned the whole Gatsby story through reading that novel but was still quite confused by some things. It's my plan to finally The Great Gatsby after I finish Stieg Larsson's trilogy, but who knows what will come up in the meantime.

Friday, February 10, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 22

Day 22 – Favorite book I own

This one was tough because I own almost all my favorite books! In fact, I own almost all the books I've written about during this series so far, including the complete Harry Potter series, The Time Traveler's Wife, a good number of Jodi Picoult novels and of course all my childhood favorites (I'm saving those to read to my kids one day). But I don't want to repeat books in this challenge, so I'm going to go with a stocking stuffer I got from my mom a few years ago:

Image via Noblemania

What's the Difference? This book came with me to college and was often a source of amusement for my friends and me. It is quite the wealth of knowledge: my favorite section is "geek vs. nerd," which also includes bonus information about the related terms "dweeb" and "dork." I know you're dying to know the difference now, so to sum it up:

"A geek seems to be any smart person with an obsessive interest. Despite widespread misconception, that interest does not have to be computers or Star Trek."

"A nerd seems to be any smart person with an obsessive interest, but also a lack of social grace. (Yes, this implies that geeks can indeed have social grace.)"

"A dweeb is a nerd with an extra piece of tape around the nose bridge of his glasses - in other words, a 'mega nerd.' A dork is a person you don't even pretend to like, with good reason. Unlike most geek, nerds, and dweebs, dorks are often stupid, grating, or otherwise unpleasant."

P.S. - When I opened the book to find "geek vs. nerd," it fell open to the right spread (p30-31). I guess I've referenced that section one time too many!

Friday's Fancies: Week 3

In honor of Valentine's Day, {av} is hosting a red- and pink-themed Friday's Fancies this week! I found this amazing pair of red pants right away, so I decided to go two directions with them: On the left, I dressed them up for a romantic date out on the town, and on the right, I created a more casual outfit for a movie night with the girls. Whether you're attached or single this holiday, you can still look fabulous and enjoy yourself!

One piece, two ways: Red jeans. 

Dinner with your man: My favorite pieces here are the jewelry (ring & necklace) - so flirty and feminine! I figured layering a simple pink camisole with a blazer is appropriate for almost any restaurant on Valentine's Day, and then I broke the white rule with these ankle booties. Oh well!

Movie with your girls: Get comfy but still look cute in a loose cardigan and ballet flats for the movie theater, and don't forget a bag big enough to smuggle in your own candy and drinks.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 21

Edited to add: The Book Chat topic today (May 17) at Sweet Green Tangerine is favorite childhood books, so I'm pulling this gem out of the archives. Enjoy! Of course, Harry Potter only isn't included here because I already used the series too much in this challenge (yup, that's six times!). Plus, though I started reading the series when I was 8, I read them into my high school years, when it ended, so I don't know if I would qualify the whole series as "childhood" books. Also, see my post on The Baby-Sitters Club series—another childhood favorite—here.

Day 21 - Favorite book from my childhood

Image via Goodreads

The Velveteen Rabbit. And here I go again with the sadness. I don't know what it is, but I just think books, movies and music are infinitesimally better when I have to fight back tears. This also could have worked as "Favorite book turned into a movie," but The Velveteen Rabbit worked for both categories and the one I ended up choosing for the book-turned-movie didn't.

Honorable Mentions: Anne of Green Gables (I actually had that one planned for here, but then I found out it fit somewhere else as well), The Giving Tree, Bridge to Terabithia, Tuck Everlasting, Where the Red Fern Grows and Ella Enchanted.

So tell me, which childhood book(s) will you definitely be reading to your children? 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Gift Guide: Valentine's Day for Anyone

Valentine's Day is about love, right? But who says it has to be romantic love? Here are a few gift ideas for the other special people in your life. Bonus: They're all under $30!

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 20

Day 20 - Favorite romance book

Image via Google Images

Message in a Bottle. There are many books I prefer to this one but have already been used on other days (including The Time Traveler's Wife and Peony in Love). I'm not a huge Nicholas Sparks fan, but I feel like today's challenge is just begging for one of his books, so I will succumb to that desire. Message in a Bottle is my favorite Sparks novel, and it was also turned into a movie with Kevin Costner, who is definitely my old-man crush. Warning: It is really sad, so don't expect a typical romantic tale of happily ever after.

Edited to add: I'm linking up this old post with this week's Book Chat over at Sweet Green Tangerine! Check out the other posts by clicking the button below:


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 19

Day 19 - Favorite book turned into a movie

Image via Goodreads

The Time Traveler's Wife. It's books like these that make me think twice about the old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover," because that's the very reason I picked this book up. I was in Border's a few summers ago when they were doing their "buy two paperbacks, get one free" deal (oh how I miss Border's), and I plucked this off the shelf solely because I liked the way the spine looked. The cover was also intriguing, as well as the title, so I flipped it open and read the first page. Hooked. This book made me laugh and made me cry. It was a book that made me think and question certain plot lines as I worked out the overlapping timelines in my head, but not to the point that I couldn't thoroughly enjoy the story.

Then, of course, I found out they were making the book into a movie. With Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, no less! Excellent. I wondered how they would fit all the intricacies of the book into the film, and of course they couldn't, but it was still a great movie. I definitely laughed and cried at the film version, too. I saw it opening night with my dad, brother and some friends, and I remember my dad looking down at me at one point with tears in his eyes. "Great movie, Megan," he half-joked. It was a great movie, but it made all of us cry. Well, except maybe my little brother. :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Recipe: Quinoa with Nuts and Cilantro

Tonight I tried my second recipe from Pinterest (and finally got a chance to try quinoa again!): Quinoa with Pine Nuts Slivered Almonds and Cilantro.

Unlike last time, I stayed pretty close to the original recipe (from Kalyn's Kitchen). I traded out the pine nuts for slivered almonds, but even that was a recommendation from Kalyn. I also made chicken and mushrooms on the stove while the quinoa was simmering, and threw it all together in a bowl at the end. Yum! Definite repeat recipe. (And so easy! Not many ingredients.)