July 31, 2011

My Top 10

Recently I've been asked by multiple people for reading suggestions! Perhaps this means I talk WAY too much about the books I'm reading or maybe I've given out enough good recommendations that people agree with me :-) Either way I thought I would share my Top 10 Books that I've read within the past few years! Maybe later I will work on a Top 10 Overall but for now lets stick with the recent shall we?

Top 10 Books to Read!

1. Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
         - Hands down this is by far one of my favorite non-fiction books. I fell in love with the Julie Powell in both her books (Cleaving is her second) and not with the movie character. She's a real person who isn't afraid to put her mistakes and failures out there, which for me meant that when she excelled at something or accomplished a goal I felt genuine joy for her. I was just as heartbroke for her when she recieved a call that Julia Child didn't respect her and I was over-ecstatic when she was able to "bone a duck" :)

2. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
         - I know I just finished this book but it doesn't matter. It most definitely deserves a spot on this list. This book will inspire you to become a happier person (no matter how happy you are) and it is very thought-provoking. This book will make you stop and think about how you act and how you can change it. It will make you want to get out and try something new. Besides who doesn't want to be as happy as they can be? It's worth the read for everyone, young, old, man and woman! When you have the time or if you are just wanting to start any process of changing things in your life then you should read this book first!

4. The Frugalista Files by Natalie McNeal
       - Another inspiring book. I swear if you read this book and you DON'T want to tighten your budget I'll be shocked and I will insist you re-read. Can't we all "trim the fat" in our lives? While Natalie really need to harness her spending and you may not it's still a very helpful book. Plus she can definitely guide you on how to score free stuff and who doesn't love free stuff? Not only is Natalie now a Frugal guru but she's so damn sweet and fun that you might wish she was your personal friend. I know that if I ever meet this chick we'd click immediatly! She's real, she's sweet, and you get a little insight into the struggling times that newspapers have gone through and are still going through.


5. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
      - I'm not one for history, in fact the only times that interest me directly relate to the musical aspect and the criminal history. Other than that I don't really care too much about the previous wars we've been or the Presidents who have shaped this country. I don't particular care about how or why certain things happen. So sue me! I'm sure all my History Buffs out there (Yes Mandy and Alycia I'm calling your names) are having heart attacks but it's just not for me and I am A-Okay with that! But despite my dislike for history this book is amazing. It's an extremely sweet story of a young chinese/american boy who has to deal with losing his closest friend when the Japanese were put into camps. I had absolute no interest but since the book club wanted to read it I was going to comply. I am so happy I did. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone because the story is well written, easy to read, not filled with historical facts where you feel like you're falling asleep in school again. Nope this book was by far was the sweetest stories we've read in our Book Club and I am so happy I've read it. Make sure to read this at some point in your life just for a good read.

6. Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
       - Technically this is a 3 book series but I'm lumping it in one because you cannot read one and not the other two! I promise that you won't be disappointed and that once you've read the first one you won't be able to start the second fast enough. You are definitely left with wanting more and more and more! I honestly don't even want to say what this is about because no matter how you phrase the series sounds horrid! It sounds morbid and dark and while it's pretty intense it's an amazing book. I'm not sure if it's the way it's written or if its the actual story but it's amazing. I'll let you read the summaries for yourself but please do not shy away cause it's something you think you'd hate. I was definitely turned off by the plot summaries I read and my sister insisted I read it. Now I am constantly checking for updates on the movie and I cannot wait for March 23rd 2012 to get here for it's release. I am a Hunger Game Fan for sure!! Please just give them a shot, it's well worth all the "badness" of the story line.

7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
         - Is there even a word to describe how much I loved this book? I highly doubt it. This book was addicting (read it in 3 days) and one of the best stories I've read in a long time. It's an easy read, no question about that, but it's so well written and the flip flopping of narrative is absolutely fabulous. The story is about Southern Maids and one white woman's goal to expose the mistreatment of them in a book. I gurantee you will fall in love with Skeeter, Minny, and Aibileen and you will HATE little Miss Hilly. This book takes place in Jackson in the early 1960's which I've gotta be honest it's hard to wrap my head around the fact that this crap was still happening then. It's gotta be one of the best books I've ever read!

8. Confessions of a Beauty Addict by Nadine Haobsh
        - This book is probably one of my favorite "fluff" style books. It's just a super cute chick lit novel that involves absolutely everything I loved when I was younger, when I wanted so badly to work in the magazine industry and live the fun life! Naturally those dreams died and I realized I just don't give a crap about fashion or make up enough to enter that cutthroat world but I still love being reminded of my love for the magazine industry. Now Miss Nadine lets you into her world of an editor who gets gobs and gobs of free stuff. The main character is a beauty editor and gets the boot only to get a job at a, lets say less glamorous, magazine and she has to change her entire focus. Her audience has shifted, her selection of products cut to practically nothing. But it's sweet and it's a great summer read! Plus if you really love the book then you will absolutely love her "real life" blog.

9. Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris
       - Just from reading this book I've fallen in love with a new author! Joanne Harris is a fantastic writer and has quite a collection of novels, including Chocolat, yes the novel was turned into a movie starring the hunky Johnny Depp. This book revolves around an old style school and a murder mystery! You meet a lot of characters and you're constantly guessing the "Who Dun It?" I promise you will get wrapped up in all the school politics and the student's lives! I could not put this book down because you have to find out what the heck is going on. Not only does it provide murder mystery but there are a lot of instances of things gone missing that you feel like Sherlock Holmes trying to crack the big case! This is a must read and I know that I'll be reading it again and again despite knowing the "murderer".

10. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
        - This was our very first book club book and I think we really started off with a good one! I had first seen this book listed on our local libraries website for their book club and I was intrigued! And when I found out a couple of our book club members wanted to read it as well I was stoked! This book does not disappoint. It centers around  a very old recluse author who has never given a true story about her life. She reaches out a bookly woman to finally tell the truth before she passes away. It's quite an adventure the author (character in the book) takes you on and I think everyone is suprised by the real story of her life. I highly recommend reading this book while curled up in blankets, a hot cup of hot chocolate (or coffee or tea) and a good storm going on outside. If you have a fireplace get it roaring, if you have a cat get them settled on your lap and enjoy a good book!

There you have it folks! I'm sure how all of regular readers are like okay duh we've read all your reviews on these but I think it's kind of nice to go back in time and revisit them. In fact I'm totally itching to reread a couple of these, meaning I need to get going on the rest of my book list for this year, which I'm starting to worry I may not finish. I'm already contemplating taking two off that I've started and have not been able to get into it. And why should I waste time reading something that I am learning have no interest to me. It will be a sad day to remove any books from my list but I refuse to waste precious reading time by forcing myself to plug through a book. Stay tuned for my final decision on that...

For now really consider reading some of the books listed above, they are all wonderful in their own way!

July 29, 2011

To Be Happy You Just Need to "Be You"

Awesome Book Alert! Awesome Book Alert!

Just finished reading our book club book for the month of July and let me tell you how amazing this book is.

First off the biggest thing I loved about this book was how "real" Gretchen Rubin is! She tells it how it really is without shame. She is who she is and I love it!

This book is her journey of trying out different resolutions to see if these things would make her happier. To be honest this book took me awhile to read it but not because it was dull and not because I couldn't connect. Quite the opposite actually. I spent a lot of time reflecting on the book and applying certain resolutions to my own life. It was very thought provoking and I 100% intend to do my own Happiness Project.

Now the thought of doing this actually somewhat overwhelms but that's because I don't have a plan. I am going to use her blog site as a guide and work at setting up my own happiness project for 2012. I might be crazy for trying to do that and plan a wedding but if it will help keep me sane during those moments of time I'll feel like it's a success. I think I also might do another one in 2013 to see how a different year of no wedding planning will make a difference.

One of the biggest theme throughout the book was to "Be Gretchen" A.K.A Be yourself. Just cause you feel like you should like something doesn't mean you have to. If you don't like it you just don't like it. I cannot wait to apply the "Be Kendall" aspect to my life cause I defnitely feel there are a lot of things I really wish I liked or really wanted to do but lets be honest I don't really like them and I need to just be okay with it. No matter how many times I tell myself that I should like this and I can convince myself to like I really can't and this book has brought that idea to the front of my brain. It's quite interesting how many people are this way and I loved that Gretchen encourages you to just "Be You"!

Everyone needs to read this book and everyone should check out Gretchen's blog.

July 25, 2011

oH mY

Do you ever come across pictures that make you LOL or that completely capture a moment! Yes I'm sure you have, who doesn't? And that is the reason we take pictures right? to capture a moment?

Well how about catching a personality?

Recently I went and got some pictures from my parents that I've been needing and in those I came across these two super funny pictures and I have to share!

I love this picture cause my Paps and I love to goof around and horseplay! This picture to me shows how we have been for as long as I can remember. I even have a picture from when I was in junior high (or possibly freshman year of high school) that I've kept cause it captures this same thing.

Personally I love photos that are not posed and that really capture more than just a "snapshot"

Now my Seester will kill me for posting this but I laughed my ass off over this one.

Of course my Paps took it and it captures the "WTF" look on my face showing off my attitude as well as my Sister's more relaxed attitude. She may look goofy but it shows her laid backness in comparison with my more "showing" attitude!

While I know that there was nothing going on in this picture warranting a WTF moment, but how can it not look that way right? No we were simply hanging out at an event for Father's Day and my Paps just snapped at a great moment!

I of course have many other pictures with these moments but it's been awhile since I've come across new ones.

In fact one of my favorites is one of my Mom and I on one of our annual baking day! It is a very clear Mother/Daughter role picture because even though I was 19 (or possibly 20) my Mom is scolding me for goofing off in the kitchen. Was she seriously "disciplining" me? No, but our body language and my facial expression remind of a little kid getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar! It is seriously one of the best pictures cause I know it's just my Mom and I's playful way :-)

So I'm risking some backlash from my lovely Seester about posting that picture but I have to share cause these are two awesome pictures that I intend to get developed just for me. Who knows maybe one day I'll combine all my favorite "moment" pictures and do a mini scrapbook!

Who else has some funny pictures to share?

July 23, 2011


Ahhhhhh - Vacation! Is there a better word?

Chuck and I were so excited to take our vacation this July as we were trying out a "new" KOA. New for us, not new for them! We took a few days and headed up to the Manchester Beach KOA in Mendocino!

We rented one of these :-)

Which was FABULOUS!! I've done tent camping and RV camping as a child but Chuckles had only ever tent camped and had only spent a brief amount of time in my parents RV. But after this trip he was hooked. Since the weather was very cold at night he was extremely excited to get into a nice warm trailer with a real bed!

This KOA had this amazing sign right across from our camping spot! 

So of course we took the dogs! This was more than just a dog walk my friends it was a massive dog park.
Normally we stay away cause Roxy does not normally do well with random dogs but since there were not a lot of campers we got to take the dogs twice a day each day we were there!

Buster was in heaven as soon as he was released and we threw the ball! Yes he is that dog from Eddie Murphy's Doctor Dolittle!

And to our suprise little Miss Roxy took off like a bat out of hell and barely stopped to breathe! She seriously ran all over this place, no ball needed!

After putting in some quality time at the dog park we still wanted to go on a walk around the KOA and they had this pretty view! Unfortunately the beach directly connected to the KOA is a "No Dogs" beach so we never got to step foot on sand but we felt the coastal breeze, heard the waves, and still got pretty pictures!

After our long walk we took our pooped puppies back to camp where the temperature did not improve. So Roxy got herself all wrapped up and took a nap

While we got out the Yahtzee, the beer, and our food to BBQ!! Despite the cold on the first day we still had a blast and the next day it was sunny to the point where we both got a little sunburnt!

Because of the chilly weather we decided to start our campfires at 6 and ended up each night in the trailer in between 9 and 10. What really blew our mind was that even at 9 when we'd head inside it was still bright out. I'm not talking super bright but enough light out that we didn't need a flashlight!

Of course we had smores!

The next day was much better! We spent the morning at the dog park along with a nice walk, then settled back at camp in the brilliant SUN!!

Look at how happy Buster-Roo is! He was exhausted but he just loved the dog park and he loved spending the whole day outside!

I of course spent some quality time reading my book!

While Roxy sunbathed!

Chuck bbq'ed us some Bacon Chicken Sandwiches for lunch - SUPER YUM!

Then after another campfire we retired our sunburnt faces to get a good nights sleep before heading out the next day!

The ride up we took one road but had the pleasure of traveling down HWY 1 for the ride home and took in the beach scene the whole way home!

Don't worry we were at a complete stop! While we were both sad to be leaving camp, we were also happy to be heading home!

Roxy was ecstatic! She doesn't seem to be a big fan of camping!

And Buster seemed to be in the same boat as us, sad to be leaving the beautiful outdoors, but he was happy to get home and slept all afternoon!

I would highly recommend the Manchester Beach KOA! The location is gorgeous, the staff was extremely friendly and helpful, and if you go you might as well rent the RV cause it was awesome! I did miss our cabin camping but at the same point we would have frozen our butts off at night!

All in all a great vacation that was too short (aren't they all) but we cannot wait to go back and spend an entire week here!!

I hope everyone has been able to take a vacation and get away this summer or that you will be able to before the summer leaves us!

July 21, 2011


Edited to add recipe link - Here Ya Go

This post is EXTREMELY LATE!! I made this delish baked good back around 4th of July!! YIKES Super over due but I've been a busy bee! Right after 4th of July I spent many hours at work cause we were leaving for vacation the next week!!

Oh yes vacation was AMAZING! I'll make sure to post pictures and get you all updated on that asap!!

Until then let's explore the AMAZING Smore Pie recipe I made!

Gather up the necessities: Baking Powder, Flour, Sugar, Butter, Egg, Marshmallow Creme, Brown Sugar, Hershey Chocolates (2 King Size), Vanilla, Salta, and Graham Crackers!

Right from the get go you get to have some fun by smashing the crap out of some crackers!

Before the beating

And after they have been pulverized!

Toss them into a bowl with your flour and baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl combine your butter, sugar, and brown sugar.

Whip those sugars and butters, then add in your egg! And continue to whisk away!

Then gradually add in your cracker/flour mixture!

Once that's done, spray a pie pan with nonstick spray!

Then press 1/2 of your above mixture into the bottom of the pan. Add your Hershey's, you will need to break them up and make them fit around the pie pan. I even ended up getting an extra square of chocolate to eat as a teaser :-)

Next carefully spread your marshmallow creme over the chocolate bars. Do NOT just melt marshmallows, you need to use a creme or fluff for this! After you've spread the creme then spread the remainder of your cracker crust over the top. And pop your pie in the oven!

Umm delish looking right?

This was PHENOMENAL!! I am a huge lover of Smore's and this little pie is an absolutely amazing alternate! It was so easy and it really is worth every single fat and calorie in it!! It's best right after it's been baked when it's still warm, but even the next day when you go in for your 2nd (or 3rd) slice you can just pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds and you've got warmed up goodness!!

Technically this is a recipe for Smore Bars and you put them in an 8x8 pan but I just threw out our 8x8 pan and haven't had time to replace it. But hey the pie pan worked just as well and who cares what it's baked in as long as I get to consume the final result :)

As soon as I can find the recipe online again I'll make sure to link it because this is a MUST TRY for anyone who has ever enjoyed a Smore. I promise to get the exact recipe up here for you all!

July 19, 2011

The Nanny is BACK!!

I am a little disappointed because over vacation I only finished ONE book!! Yup only one :-( I had planned on reading two but we spent a lot of time on vacation walking the dogs or taking them to the dog park, or playing Yahtzee and we had super early campfires cause it was cold so I ended up just reading one!

But I had a blast on vacation and I can read books any time :-)

I finished up Nanny Returns (the sequal to the Nanny Diaries) by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

This book was alright. I kind of wish I had not put it on my list but it is what it is. This book was A LOT of FLUFF!! The storyline was somewhat interesting but not delivered very well. If you've read the Nanny Diaries I wouldn't even bother reading this one. It's hard to like the main character again and it's just slightly strange. Maybe I need to live in the Upper "Rich" Area of New York City in order to understand but I was not impressed.

Overall grade - C.

Anyone else read the Nanny books?

July 15, 2011

For the Love of Music!

Remember when Chuck and I got free tickets from my work?? I got to scrapbook those pictures at the crop as well and it turned out FABULOUS!! I am super happy with this layout considering when Storyteller's sent it to me I thought I'd be sending it right back cause I had nothing to use it for!! WRONG-O this paper and embellies were perfect for these pictures!

I had a heck of a time trying to figure out a title, turns out simple is better :)

Check out my pocket :-)

Other than journaling these pictures are now scrapped! I am getting ahead on my 2011 album WOO HOO!!!

July 13, 2011

So Ya Think Your a WiseGuy Huh?

My book list is finally shrinking to a level where I feel comfortable. I am really hoping to finish all my books but again I'm feeling like I may have over extended my book list for this year! But regardless of my feelings I am still plugging away and I finished up Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi!!

Have you seen Goodfellas (With Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, and Joe Pesci)?? If you have then you already know the book! I'm not saying that you shouldn't read the book but it really follows the movie pretty damn closely!! And I love love love the movie so I was pretty excited to delve into this book!!

And it was all that I hoped it would be! I loved this book and I am very excited to read the next "wiseguy" book on my list! I'm not sure why crime interests me so much but I really enjoy reading true stories of these "mafia" guys! For example I love Johnny Depps movie Public Enemies and have even done research on the characters from it. I just think it was such an interesting (and corrupt) time.

And to think it wasn't that long ago that Paul Vario, Henry Hill, and Jimmy Burke were causing havoc! Heck I was alive for part of it, I was a child and wouldn't know anything about it but I was still alive during some of their shenanigans!

A huge A+ for Nicholas Pileggi and I defnitely intend to look into more books published by him on other crimes! If you love Goodfellas go check out this book, it's a quick easy read, and it's pretty interesting to read about all the horrible things these guys did. What's even more interesting is how they don't see anything wrong with it!! Somewhat mindblowing actually!! Enjoy

July 10, 2011

Birthday Bash-TASTIC

Another layout I finished at the Crop was a 2008 layout (yay only a few more left until my 2008 album is FINISHED!). This layout was for the combined birthday celebrations of Chuck and Jenny! A small group of us spent some time downtown just hanging out and having a few drinks!

So much fun!

I LOVE the background paper I used and I think it may have come from my Mom :-) It's so fun and sparkly though, perfect for a birthday!

I am so happy I have these pictures to scrapbook! Getting all of us together is impossible these days so it's fun to look back at these nights of family and friends :)

I cannot believe I am so close to being finished with 2008!! I am so excited to scrapbook our Housewarming Party pages! I've got a bunch of pictures so I want to make sure to do it right and include as many as possible but after I finish that big layout I think I will only have a small handful (think counting your fingers on one hand) to finish up!
New goal - Finish 2008 Album before the Holidays!

July 9, 2011

Teeny Tiny Little Bitty Lies

It's official this book is completed mis-titled. It should read - HUGE BIG LIFE CHANGING LIES!!! And then I could say it describes the contents of this cute book by Mary Kay Andrews!!

I am definitely falling in love with Mary Kay Andrew's books and unfortunately by the end of this year I'll be at least 80% through her books!! Another one of her books to love is Little Bitty Lies!

The main character Mary Bliss (yes very southern) decides when her husband just ups and leaves her while royally screwing her financially to stage his death to cash in on the only life insurance policy left. I first of all could not believe that this was the plot of a story and then imagine my shock when I got myself all wrapped up in the "Why the hell is her jerk husband doing this?", "Where is he?", "What the eff is going with her bitch of a daughter?", "When will Katherine and her husband get back together?"

Oh yes, it's safe to say  I got myself completely hooked on this book! This morning I had planned on dropping my car off for its oil change and then getting our house cleaned up, but what did I do? Got right back in bed with Chuck and finished reading this book :-)

It was worth the late start to my day and I am so happy I read this one! Super cute and I recommend it for a really good light summer read, complete with all your Southern drippings!

Happy Reading and Thank You Ms Andrews!!

July 8, 2011

Happy Anniversary

It is OFFICIAL!! Our book club has been together for one year and we are still going strong!!

Last month we gathered at Mom's house and read our last book that we picked from last year!! And we are officially starting a new list this month!

I just had to share because I am so excited and I look forward to book club every month! We have a wonderful group of ladies!!

Anyone else belong to a book club? How long have you guys been reading "together"?

July 6, 2011

Love Bug

Another great Valentine's Day layout, using another Storyteller's Pack YAY!!

Mom and I went to a crop last month and I got a few fun layouts done, one of them being our 2011 Valentine's Day pictures!! We went to our favorite breakfast restaurant Louie's and had some AMAZING grub!!

I just fell in love with this layout cause it's so stinkin cute! Gotta love Storyteller's!!

You betta believe I snagged a menu to scrapbook :-) Ever since my Mom has been doing little pockets for items I've been hooked. So recently I've begun making little pockets for my extra stuff!! And this one worked out so well cause I had the super cute embellishment to add :-)

This not only makes me want some Louie's but I also want some more Love Day pictures to scrapbook!

July 3, 2011

Upgradin' It!

A long time ago my Mom passed on to me her smaller Cricut when she upgraded to the Cricut Expression. And I have loved that little Cricut so much, but since I've gotten more comfortable and was using my cricut essentially every time I was working in my scraproom I felt it was time to UPGRADE IT!!

I scoured the Internet for deals and finally settled on doing some good old fashioned bidding....Ebay bidding that is! I spent a friday evening browsing the best deals and then sat and waited on one items bid to come to a close!! And guess who walked a WINNER?!?!? That's right Kendall Did!! Go Kendall Go Kendall!!

So I present to you the newest addition to my scrapbook room!! My Cricut Expression!!

Can you believe this baby sat in the box for one entire evening before I even got to open her up!!

Major bonus is that she still fits on my Cricut station table AND I got to leave my little pencil box of Cricut tools and few cartridges sitting on the table too!!! I was so excited to sit down and use her that I spent two hours just cutting things out...I just had to see how big things could be cut!!

It was like Christmas that day when I opened up the box and placed my new baby in her spot! I am in love with the new Expression. She's a little stiff right now but with some wear and tear I'm sure she will loosen up and discover she's found a forever home where she'll get lots of TLC!!

Happy Scrapping My Fellow Cricuters!!


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