Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

This was another impulse pick up at the library. I was walking out with another book and saw Mennonite in a Little Black Dress sitting there and I grabbed it. I think I remember hearing about it a few years ago, or reading  review. No idea, but I saw it, I recalled it, I grabbed it, and then I read it.
Good story, I know.
But Mennonite in a Little Black Dress actually is a good story. I found myself reading odd passages aloud to Tallman, laughing to myself at the way she worded things, and staying up late one night last weekend reading until I fell asleep with the light on.

Basically this is the story of a woman who grew up as a Mennonite (who are NOT the Amish, which is what I originally thought) but distanced herself from faith in general as an adult. She is writing this book from the interesting perspective of getting back on her feet. She suffers an accident, a divorce, and a horrendous medical procedure (not in that order) and spends some time visiting friends and family afterward. These visits are the backdrop for the story telling.

Its definitely a light read, but ultimately interesting, if a little slow in parts. But we'll forgive her because she is an english professor who is the daughter of a theologian, it is probably her natural inclination to have her mind wander down random philosophical paths.

Jewelry Armoires

The first time I heard of a jewelry armoire I thought it was silly, who has so much jewelry that they need a separate piece of furniture to store it? Well, friends, I'm not there yet, but I do find organizing my jewelry inconvenient. There is a bag for long necklaces, pouches for dangling earrings, a place in a travel jewelry portfolio for rings, some stud earrings and small necklaces, and a pile on my dresser of bracelets. Its disorganized and all over the place and I wish I had a better system.

Then one day I was killing some time in a Pier One when I saw a few jewelry armoires. I fell in love. Oops.
World Market Oak Lakeview Armoire
I like that in a jewelry armoire your necklaces can hang, I feel like this might prevent tangling. I also like that most of them also have mirrors. Its like a storage case and a vanity in one!
Chase Armoire with Charging Station
I like this one better, even though its more expensive, it has a charging station (awesome) and has more space in it, more drawers, less empty space under it.
Blaine Wallmount Jewelry Armoire
This is a mirror with a jewelry case built into it. This is awesome too, but not as awesome as the full armoire, but maybe more practical if you have a small space. However, in the full armoire you could have a drawer full of scarves, or clutches, or such small items that wouldn't work in the mirror option.
Silver Mirrored Jewelry Armoire
Ok this one is a bit of a joke, sure its gorgeous and looks like it would hold a lot of your jewelry and accessory stuff but its also over $1000 more expensive than the other armoires. Wowza. Ouch. No thank you.
Hayworth Jewelry Armoire
Pier One has this cute mirrored design that is cheaper (only $350) but would you want to buy it being unable to open those doors and see what the storage situation is like inside?
Ashworth Jewelry Armoire
I saw this one when I was at Pier One and I really liked it. Its got cubbies you wouldn't have considered and the top opens up to reveal a mirror and tray area. Also, its cute. But $400 is a bit steep for a jewelry case.

After typing that last sentence I went to craigslist and saw that there are a fair amount of nice jewelry chests online for pretty cheap (under $100), of course they might all have bed bugs.
How do you store your jewelry? Do you think a jewelry armoire is ridiculous or awesome?

Happy Birthday Al!

Happy Birthday Al! 
I'm so glad I have a friend like you, so glad I raised Marylin Monroe from the dead and brought her to your computer screen to wish you a Happy Birthday!
From Pinterest
Hope you have an awesome day and that you are showered with presents and cake!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Piggy Platter

Oh my goodness, I was browsing this awesome home goods store Napa Style when I came across the most hilarious plates!
Pictures and Piggy ware found here
Oh man, if they came in green I'd buy them for my kitchen, if they came in blue I'd buy them for my dad (my dad likes pigs, he has about 6 piggy banks, odd, but whatever).
Wooden Piglet Bowl
Don't worry though, they do have this wooden piglet bowl. I think I can safely say I just found my dad's birthday present. I'll just need to remember this is November. Oh what hilarious serving dishes!

Cutting Down on Starbucks, or Tallman's Anniversary Gift

Image from here...
Remember yesterday how I was talking about doing things that are good for the planet? We one thing that is terrible for the planet and Tallman's wallet is his Starbucks habit. He goes at least once a day, sometimes three times, and sometimes buys me my morning coffee there as well. This gets really expensive. Also, the cups pile up, and when you see them all in one place it looks like the most wasteful thing ever (Tallman has his own work trash can that is just his Starbucks, and since it is up to him to take it out, it can become quite full.)

Now I know that going to Starbucks in the morning saves us time, and allows him/me to sleep in and avoid his grumpy roommate in the morning (I'm not a morning person either, but man, this guy.) But it might be nice to save the $50 a week at Starbucks, save the calories from the high fat sugary drinks (those flavor shots are just sugar), and who knows maybe it'll save time because we won't be taking time at Starbucks in the morning/afternoon/night (I told you Tallman has a problem).

So the plan is for our Anniversary (end of September) I'm going to purchase three things.
Bodum 1 liter French Press
This giant French Press and then two of these thermos'.
Thermos Nissan 34oz Vaccum Sealed Briefcase Bottle
Then in the morning, I'll make tea for me and put it in my bottle, and coffee for Tallman and put it in his. Reviews say that these bottles keep things hot/cold for 24 hours and are awesome. I'd love to go to Starbucks less (even though Tallman pays, it bugs me how much we as a couple spend there). I just hope I can get Tallman as excited over a liter of coffee as he currently gets over his triple grande vanilla lattes. (And don't worry, this blog post isn't ruining any surprises, I've mentioned this idea to Tallman already, and he rarely reads my blog, so we're good.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene turned Tropical Depression

Courtsey of the Daily Mail
The term tropical depression has always stuck me as a little funny, a little odd, and very appropriate for how I imagine weather men feel when they find out the storm they've been reving us up for gets downgraded from Hurricane status.

I am not one to get particularly excited over inclement weather. I've never been harmed by a natural disaster, instead they are usually reasons to stay inside and hang out with friends and family.

But I recognize that some people get very excited and need to prepare and sometimes this is necessary and sometimes people and property are damaged by the weather even if you have properly prepared.

I slept in Sunday, listening to the rain, after hanging out with good friends Saturday night where we drank hurricanes. Sunday I drove from Tallman's to my parents and was not even buffeted by the wind while I drove down the high way, visibility was pretty good too, and the roads had so few cars on them, driving was excellent

But some people were hurt or seriously inconvenienced by the storm. I hope you aren't one of those people, and if you are I'm sorry, and I hope everything is on the way to being ok.

Compostable Partyware

I want to compost. Trash bothers me, the amount of it we produce, how much we could eliminate. When Tallman uses paper towels to dry something instead of a regular cloth towel it rubs me the wrong way, like a cat being pet wrong, or like he is trying to be wasteful on purpose (I know he isn't but it just feels so wrong). With all the environmental problems it seems that wasting less is something we could easily tackle.
But I admit sometimes paper napkins make more sense, and paper plates, etc. But wouldn't it be great if instead of throwing them away to be put in a landfill or burned we could compost them. NOW WE CAN!
What? Yes.
Wasara Sample Kit
Wasara Compostables are something I found out about on Branch Home, a sustainable living website. They're by a Japanese Company and they come in all shapes and sizes, specifically designed to be easily held, like you would at a barbecue or something.
Veneerware Party Kit
Then there are bamboo plates and cups, which can also be composted. They also sell recycled paper napkins. Anything made out of bamboo gets me a little excited, not just because bamboo is pretty but it grows so fast and its really strong and super sustainable.

So next time you're having a party, maybe skip styrofoam and instead get something that will rot after a few months in the ground. Sure it might be more expensive, but isn't the planet worth spending a little more for? I don't know about you but I don't mind the slightly more expensive Target instead of supporting Wal-Mart who barely pays their employees.

Sleepy Kitty of the Week

Happy Monday!
Monday Morning, we wake up and look at pictures of sleepy cats (to the tune of "Lucky" by Britney Spears... it doesn't quite work, its ok.. its early).
I hate this couch. I hate it because it matches the curtains. Its the same exact fabric. My mother thinks this means it goes, sigh. Anyway... the cats like the couch, so that's cool.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Barnyard Pic of the Week

From Pinterest
This week I'm feeling like chickens. Lets not question it. Lets just have a great weekend!
Happy Weekend!

Job Search Update

Ladies and Gentlemen, I feel discouraged. I still do not have a job, despite applying to at least 5 a week. Not only do I not have a job, but I do not even hear back from the places I apply, which is very discouraging.
I understand that there are lots of unemployed lawyers, and limited available opportunities, so they must be flooded. But not hearing back from anyone starts making me a little paranoid. Is there a glaring mistake on my resume that automatically takes me out of the running? Is it the school I went to? The fact I was never on a journal? Do I have too much experience with research and not enough in law firms? Are the places I'm applying being flooded with applications and they're never even seeing mine?

Paranoia is good for no one, and I'm trying to keep mine in control. I started volunteering this week, and I keep reminding myself that I'm still not a licensed attorney so it would be premature to hire me as one.
But I'd like to be earning money, sooner rather than later. Sigh.

Book Review: Commencement

I don't remember where I heard about Commencement, and I'm pretty sure I heard about Maine first. But I decided to read J Courtney Sullivan's books in the order she wrote them and started with Commencement.

I really enjoyed Commencement, and not just for the obvious reasons. The most obvious reason is that it is well written chick lit, that is light to read and enjoyable. The second most obvious reason is that it is about four friends who met at Smith College in Northampton MA.  I went to a similar women's college just over the mountains from Smith and I could easily identify with a lot of the women's college jokes, arguments, friendships, fights and descriptions of Northampton locations.

I think that the best part of the book, though, is the fact that it is surprising, and goes a little bit beyond your average chick lit. The arguments about feminism are sound, and well thought out, and are similar to arguments I've had in classes, with friends, or in my head. Also, the story goes somewhere you'd never expect, or at least I didn't.

If you are familiar with the pioneer valley, read this book. If you went to a women's college, read this book. If you like feminism, read this book. If you want to read something slightly better than the average summer chick lit, read this book.

I recommend it, not because it was the best book I've ever read, but because it was very enjoyable, and sometimes that is all you need from a book.

Happy Birthday Mom!!!!!

My mom doesn't read this blog, and if she did I doubt she would want me to mention its her birthday...
BUT IT IS!!!!!
From Pinterest
Happy Birthday to the very special lady who gave me life, taught me to read, drove me to ballet, softball, ice skating, piano, pottery, and has always been huggable.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Review: The Postmistress

This book I took out of the library on impulse. It seemed similar enough to other books I've read and liked to give it a try. My response: meh. The idea of it is good. The story is good. It might even be executed well. But it didn't grab me as much as every other book I've read this week has. And that might not be its fault. If you're looking for a decent book about World War II and its impact on Americans, but more a book about small town dynamics and heartbreak then this book is for you.

But honestly, it was a little stilted. There were too many plots going on that weren't completely dealt with. You saw someone in emotional pain,  then on the next page it went into depth about the rise of the dunes, then it mentions a busy body and how some third person also sees the emotional pain of that first person. It lacked a depth that for the sort of book it was trying to be, it needed to have.

The Postmistress sets itself up to be a book about a woman who steals letters, but it ends up more being about a woman who tries to tell the story of the Holocaust, and the post woman only ends up stealing one letter, I was disappointed by her lack of theft after all the set up.

In the end, my recommendation is to read something else. Day after Night if you're in the mood for Historical Fiction about WWII, Book of Tomorrows if you're in the mood for a quick awesome read, or The Distant Hours if you want to read an awesome story that will take you on twists and turns and keep you guessing about what is going to happen next.
(and don't worry, I just picked up two new books from the library, and they're more beach chick lit, so we'll have a break from the serious stuff)


I really want to can. A week ago I made a chicken/duck stock out of some old bones I had lying around (when my family makes a bird we save the bones in the freezer, then later boil them to make a stock), but when I went to reduce it further, I must have not been paying attention and burned the heck out of it, creating a stinky smokey mess and no stock. Oops. Also, completely destroyed the pot. My bad.

Food Storage
What I'd love to can is my tomato sauce. And have it around, either frozen or not, so that a can size amount was always available if I wanted to make pizza, or pasta or ravioli or something. (Tallman recently stopped deriding my tomato sauce because he learned that Italian Pasta Sauce is suppose to not have much else besides tomatoes in it, not the 12 ingredient pile of crap (including heavy cream and butter) he thought made an appropriate sauce).

I'd love to have a freezer shelf or pantry with glass jars full of tomato sauce or home made butter on them.

Maybe its the crisp breath of fall in the air, maybe its a desire to be self sufficient because I have no job, but I have a definite desire to nest and get ready for winter and can.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review: Day After Night

I love Anita Diamant. I've read almost all of her books, and I especially enjoy her books on Judaism, she writes in a very approachable way that is scholarly, practical, and touching. I've had Day After Night on my queue of books to read for some time now, and I am so glad I finally got a chance to read it.

I love books about World War II, it was an extremely difficult time for many people, and in many different ways. Some shockingly horrible, some just plain terrible, and some a level of bad that they had not experienced. Perhaps it is particularly interesting because of the atrocities that are recent enough to be relate-able and happening in places I have been. But they are not so recent as to raise my ire of why are these things still happening.

Day After Night is about Jewish refuges in Palestine. It takes place in a refuge camp run by the British. It is a good story. Its also about a time that many books don't focus on, what happened after the war ended. I recommend this book if you've read The Secret Key or Those Who Saved Us. This is not nearly as tear jerking, but has interesting insights on how people deal with overwhelming grief and guilt.

Fake Flowers

Tacky you say? Long Lasting and cheap I say. (Though there are some that are not at all cheap.) Also, fake flowers won't poison your pets, and when they knock them over it won't get water all over your rug.
Also they last longer than regular flowers, take these magnolias, have you ever been able to bring your magnolias inside without them turning brown and getting petals everywhere almost immediately?
Magnolia Centerpiece
Calla Lily
Calla Lily's are a great flower to fake, because they are a naturally waxy flower so they will not be immediately obvious as a fake.
Poinsettia Bush, Velvet
Poinsettia's are poisonous for cats, but they are so festive at Christmas time. Fake flowers prevent your pets from dying due to your holiday cheer.
Mixed Wreath from Home and Floral
A wreath of real flowers is going to die pretty quickly, and I don't like wreaths of dried flowers, something about the smell and the crunch. But this wreath is festive and cheery and reminds me of an English garden in late summer, overflowing with blossoms.
Pretty Purple Posty by Diane James
Course, fake flowers can be very expensive if they are high quality. Arrangements by Diane James are usually over $200. But the quality is remarkable and the blooms are beautiful.
All in all fake flowers can be tacky, but they can also be a practical alternative if you want pretty pops of color in your home.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I do not have any walls to paper...

Despite the fact that I have no walls to paper, I am about to do a post on wallpaper. Weird huh?
I like wallpaper, I have some nice memories of being little and stripping wallpaper with my dad and grandfather in my grandparents dining room, and then helping them hang new wallpaper (I'm pretty sure all I did was mix the glue).
In Al's parent's house on the Cape they have a lot of awesome wallpapers, usually flowers but some are amazing textures. And I always love seeing cloth on walls, it looks so warm and rich.
So when I stumbled on a Real Simple article from many moons ago about wallpaper I had to explore the sites and share what I had found.
Green Forest Japanese Silk at Design your

This green Japanese silk wallpaper would be an amazing accent on one wall of a bedroom. The green is so vibrant, I wonder if it shimmers in the right light? It is silk afterall.

Stars Wallpaper at Design your

I like this star wallpaper. It is bright and cheery. It reminds me a little of Le Petite Prince. But I can see it as a boarder in a very tall room, along the bottom half of a room, or even in an entry way (would there be any better way to welcome people into your home?)

Enchant, by Graham and Brown

I'm not brown/taupe's biggest fan. But I love this subtle tree patterned wallpaper by Graham and Brown. It looks like you might be able to step into a magic fairy land from it. I might want it running down a long corridor, or behind a set of bookshelves so that every time you took out a book you glimpsed a forest behind it.

Spirit by Graham and Brown
I can't actually imagine wanting to use this floral one, but I like it. Its so soft, I can imagine liking it in a little girl's room, in a very feminine powder room, or perhaps on one wall where the fire place is in a very formal living room. But still, its so girly I cannot really see using it in a house of men. But I do like it.

Bamboo Lattice Grasscloth by Wallnut Wallpaper

I enjoy this bamboo grascloth design, the silvery bamboo against the more neutral colored background. Excellent. I can't think of a room I wouldn't like this one in. I can even see it in a kitchen, would wallpaper make a terrible backsplash? Can you wipe it? hmmm

Book Review: The Book of Tomorrow

I was running into the library while Tallman got us our morning Starbucks and I picked up this book because it was the first inviting book I saw. Which is oddly similar to what the main character of the story does in The Book of Tomorrow in which a girls life is turned upside down and then she finds a book that tells her what will happen that day.

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern, was amazing. Truly gripping, and I read it in a day. Also, I feel like its the sort of book I wouldn't mind reading over and over.

It is set in modern day Ireland, post Celtic Tiger and the main character's father has just killed himself because of a development bubble bursting and being on the brink of bankruptcy. Upon his death the girl (she is really a teenager, but for so much of the book she acts like a petulant child, the word girl seems appropriate) and her mother move in with their uncle in rural Ireland. This turns the girls life upside down and she is quite displeased, her mother is deeply depressed and there seem to be secrets all around her. The book is her unraveling those secrets, growing up in a short period of time, and did I mention she finds a diary that tells her what is going to happen that day. Pretty cool.

I don't know if this is the BEST book I've read in a while, because The Distant Hours and The Girls from Ames were both amazing, but this book was engaging, light in places and deeply enjoyable. I highly recommend it!

Monday, August 22, 2011


From Pinterest
To Steph and Phill on their Engagement last Wednesday August 17th! (I feel really blessed to have been able to witness your joy, thank you.)

To Sam and Emma on their Engagement last Wednesday (was there something in the water that day? or just on the water, these guys got engaged on a boat!)

To Maya and Rohit on their Marriage on Saturday August 20th! (May your happiness be as joyous as the dancing this weekend and abundant as the boozing!)

Book Review: Girls from Ames

Last week I had a bit of a book reading spree, this week proves to be no better (worse? I do like reading). It started with finishing The Distant Hours, then I moved on to the Girls from Ames by Jeffery Zaslow.

I'd heard good things about this book a few years ago when it first came out and man is it good. Not only is it a good story, it is a good reminder to be a good friend.
I have lots of lovely female friends, and I think I've expressed on this blog before how much they mean to me and how lucky I am to have them and how great I feel when I'm with them. Reading this book made me think about those friendships, how important they are to me and what I can do to strengthen them, maintain them and keep them for ever.

The girls from Ames are 11 girls who grew up in the same town and are still friends 40 years later. The book looks at them now and recounts the difficulties they've seen each other through recently and in the past. But it also looks at times they've been mean, or haven't been there for each other, or have been too involved. Its hard to talk about the book in such vague terms without giving anything away. But it is a really good (and true!) story of women growing up together and developing into individuals and a group. It also makes note of the importance of female friendships.

I highly recommend this book. It made me cry, it made me laugh, and it made me want to give all my friends a hug and tell them that I love them.

Sleepy Kitty of the Week

Happy Monday! 
Parsley was sleeping, minding her own business splayed out on her back-- like she does-- and Sage comes up, tucks her head under Parsley's chin, so Parsley licks her head for a while. So sweet. Almost like they love each other... almost.

Have a happy Monday!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Barnyard Pic of the Week

My really good friends are getting married this weekend! Wooooo! There will be a horse, but I think that's it for barnyard animals... too bad.

From Pinterest
Happy Weekend Ya'll!

Anthropologie Dress Spree

Do you ever go into a store find lots of lovely things, try them on and look horrible in all of them? This happens to me. But Wednesday I went into Anthropologie and I figured I'd kill some time and try to find a back up dress to my friend Maya's wedding (its a multi-day indian wedding with lots of outfit changes for all, bride, bridal party, men, women, children). So I went through the store and snatched up any dress that might be even a little bit appropriate for the wedding. No black, no white, nothing too short, and nothing too casual. I ended up with maybe 10 dresses.
Folks, let me tell you, I was not having a particularly gorgeous day, but when I stepped into that fitting room it was like entering Narnia. Not only did I have to get nearly all the dresses in smaller sizes, the dresses looked amazing on. AMAZING. So I did the only sane thing imaginable. I bought four.

Yes, I'm poor and jobless. But they were so pretty!
Avon Bloom Dress from Anthropologie
I like this one, it fits where it should, has pockets, and is a bit longer than I normally wear things so its visually interesting in that respect.
Ajisai Dress
This dress is cut very similarly to a few dresses I already have (I like them because they're flattering) but it is more casual, and the background is olive with coral and lime and navy flowers/stems which sounds hideous but its very pretty.
Whirligig Dress
I got this last one in Lavender and Navy. I wore the Navy one last night to Maya's Mehndi (where we put henna on). They're really soft and comfortable, but because of the draping they look dressy. Awesome!

Do you ever buy more than you intend because you can't resist how gorgeous you look? Is that narcissism?

Do I like this bag?

Honestly. I just can't tell. I think I might?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Making the Seasonal Transition

Think/Scroll back to this morning's blog post about Jcrew Shoes. Remember how I said that I was on polyvore and had another blog post about these sandals in mind. Well this is that blog post.
Reese Back Zip Sandals
I like these sandals, that are now out of stock at JCrew. What I love even more are all the posts on Polyvore showing how to use them in outfits. I love them because together they show how to make a smooth transition in your wardrobe from summer to fall, while remaining comfortable. Here, lets go on a photo journey.

Madras Shorts

Reese Witherspoon

These styles all would be good for summer days or warm summer nights. I like the play of comfort and dressy making the outfits so universal.


The white jeans make this outfit so summery and crisp.


Bermudas by tjmcd featuring a boho belt
The cashmere sweatshirt with the shorts makes me picture the cooling nights of summer turning into fall.


Cool Spring


Heather Agate


I love these final outfits the way the tops are warm and cozy but still allow the feet to be in summer mode. Also, love the way these series of outfits use accessories and color to make similar outfits seem more and less dressy.
Hope you enjoyed this journey from summer to fall. I did.