Posts Tagged ‘books’

What I’m Reading Lately

Last week we (me, Bobby, Kurt) took a road trip up to Canada for our summer vacation. We drove up through Boston, into Portland ME, and hopped on an overnight ferry cruise to Nova Scotia before trekking further up to Prince Edward Island where we spent a few peaceful days relaxing.

With all the driving and ferrying I had plenty of time to read. Here’s what I’ve been reading both on my Kindle app (for iPhone/iPad) and real paperbacks.

astonish me maggie shipstead

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead. I read this on Kindle. It is a ballet story that follows young dancer Joan throughout her life as she moves from being a professional ballerina to being a mom and wife and all the drama that comes in between. She has a brief and passionate fling with a Russian dancer in her early days that follows her throughout the story.

Review: As soon as I got into the book, about 2 chapters in, I couldn’t put it down. I did ballet growing up and ballet stories have a special place in my heart. Very well written and a very engaging story. Even if you don’t love ballet you will love this book. (I will admit that in the beginning of the book, when I wasn’t really sure what direction the story was going to take, I was slightly paranoid that some horrible tragedy was going to happen – thankfully it didn’t.)

flirting with french by william alexander

Flirting with French by William Alexander. Another Kindle book (which I started on the subway). A true story in which William sets out to master French, the ever-elusive language of romance… it turns out to be harder than he thought.

Review: It took me a few days to read this but once I got going I couldn’t stop. I too would love to become fluent in French, but it is massively difficult. Admittedly, I haven’t put in the effort that William has. If you like languages you will love this.

missing mom book joyce carol oates

Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates. I picked this up simply because I miss my mom. I got it in paperback at a store in Charlottetown, PEI. This is a story of a woman, Nikki, who loses her mom tragically and suddenly when she (Nikki) is 31. It follows Nikki over the year after her mom’s death as she grows and changes and her life continues on.

Review: This was my first book by Joyce Carol Oates and it will not be my last. What a beautifully written (descriptive but not flowery) and engaging story. I couldn’t put it down.

paris key book

The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell. This was sent to me as an advance copy (paperback) and comes out tomorrow (Sept 1). Genevieve Martin moves to Paris after separating from her husband and her uncle dies (it’s her mom’s brother; her mom passed away when Genevieve was a teen) to take over his locksmith shop. She learns about her family’s history while figuring out who she is herself.

Review: I loved the writing and the story. I am a sucker for Paris. I’ll have to check out more of Juliet Blackwell’s books.

What are you reading lately?

November Goals; Pure Yoga Review

Back at the end of June, I joined a yoga studio in my neighborhood. It’s a beautiful studio – Pure Yoga, owned and operated by Equinox – and I go fairly regularly. The studio is in the basement levels of a building on 86th street, but the lack of natural light is not even noticeable. The facilities are absolutely beautiful and the showers…

(Source)

…Are to die for. This photo doesn’t do them justice.

Anyway, I wanted to highlight the studio because it’s included in some of my November goals. Here we go:

  1. Go to 15 yoga classes this month. (I wanted to make it 20, but I am going to be traveling for 1 week and I don’t think 20 is doable.)
  2. Floss once a day (night). I floss but sometimes I miss a day.
  3. Try 3 new restaurants. Bobby and I eat out a lot – but we tend to go to the same places over and over again.
  4. Try 3 new dishes at restaurants I already go to.
  5. Go to a yoga class on my business trip (to… India! More later.).
  6. Stay healthy during holiday/family gatherings. For me this means making the difficult decision – bread, wine, or dessert?
  7. Test and then make a new recipe for Thanksgiving dinner (this year it’s sort of potluck-style).
  8. Read 2 books.

What are your November goals?

2011 New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions are tricky. It’s great to want to make a positive change in your life, but if you bombard yourself with expectations at the beginning of the year, it’ll probably be nearly impossible to follow through on all of them. That goes for any time of year I suppose. If you have all these resolutions and have trouble realizing them, it might make you more likely to abandon them all and give up. And that is not what we want.

Maybe it’s time for a new way of thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. What about 12 resolutions, but instead of starting them all on January 1st, you start a new resolution each month (and try to keep up with the old ones as you add the new)? On January first, start with one new intention – it doesn’t have to be hard; maybe it’s even better to start with your easiest goal to give yourself some confidence for the harder ones ahead. (See below the lists for my own resolutions plan.)

Here’s a list of ideas to get started:

Food & Fitness Resolutions

  1. Ditch diet soda (and artificial sweeteners in general).
  2. Eat less. (Makes you live longer.)
  3. Go to a yoga class 2-3 times a week.
  4. Get out for a 20 minute walk every day. Take a friend or family member.
  5. No eating or snacking after dinner.
  6. Eat breakfast daily.
  7. Cut back on caffeine (1 cup a day!).
  8. Eat less grains and sugars.
  9. Eat more organic and local food.
  10. Eat more salads.
  11. Only have dessert once a week (but make it good).
  12. Do 5 sun salutations each morning when you wake up.

Mental & Social Resolutions

  1. Read more – a book a week? (Or at least 30 minutes a day, if the book is too long to read in a week.)
  2. Hang out with friends twice a week.
  3. Laugh often.
  4. Go to the movies, a concert, or another kind of show – 3-4 times a month.
  5. Stay hungry. Stay foolish. (What does this mean to you?)
  6. Join a credit union. (Going “local” for finances.)
  7. Track your spending and then find a way to save $100 each month (that’s just $25 a week, less than $5 a day).
  8. Meditate for 5 minutes a day (option to increase time on a weekly or bi-weekly basis).
  9. Go out on a date once a week with the husband. (Get dressed up!)
  10. Give away old or unused clothes. (Or any other items you’re not using.)
  11. Donate time to charity.
  12. Organize one area or room of your home each week.

My plan is to pick one from each list each month and stick with it. For the first month I’m going to do Food Resolution #1 (ditch the diet soda and artificial sweeteners) and Mental Resolution #1 (read a book a week). I already broke Food Resolution #1 by having diet soda yesterday and no-sugar-added ice cream (I think it had Splenda) at a dinner party, but I’m counting today as my start because I didn’t come up with my lists until today.

My book for the week is called Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson (who also wrote A Walk in the Woods) (my dad got me the book for Christmas). The title may sound boring, but it is in fact packed with juicy tidbits about the evolution of American English as well as a much needed refresher on US History (I have forgotten most of what I learned in APUS). Did you know that the word dime (as in 10 cents) was originally supposed to be pronounced “deem”? It came from the French word disme, which meant “a tenth”.

I will leave you with this delicious salad that I bought at a little deli near my apartment for lunch today:

It has a mesclun-ish base, grilled chicken, roasted veggies (zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant), mushrooms, diced beets, and sauteed fajita veggies.

What are your resolutions? Do you have multiple, or do you stick with one?

Five Things Friday – from France!

Bounjour again from Paris! We are here until Sunday in the wee hours of the morning. (We leave around 9ish France time which is 3am NYC time.) We’re having a lovely time and I will be sure to post more pictures soon. Today I wanted to share some things.

  1. Clare is giving away a t-shirt. It ends tomorrow (6/11) at midnight.
  2. I am in love with cutoff jean shorts. I just saw two today – on Little Tin Soldier AND on What Would a Nerd Wear. I cannot resist any longer. I will have to pick up a pair of thrift shop jeans when I get back to the states and hack away.
  3. On a friend’s recommendation I recently finished reading this book: The Philosopher and the Wolf. The book is memoir-ish and follows the lives of Rowlands (the author) and Brenin (the wolf). Rowlands, a “snarly misanthrope”, writes about what he has learned about the human animal by observing the wolf. I hesitate to say “his” wolf, as Brenin seems to have been just as much an owner of Rowlands. A wonderful book, with incredibly intelligent insights into the nature of us “apes”.Side note: The friend is Bobby’s best friend from middle school and high school – they were in school together from 6th or 7th grade all the way through the end of college. He was Bobby’s best man and Bobby will be his; his fiance was my bridesmaid and I’m going to be hers in November. She was my freshman roommate and then the next year we met Bobby and his friend. They started dating a year after we did :)
  4. Last week I saw Midnight in Paris (Minuit a Paris) with my cousin, and then saw it again last night with Bobby here… a Paris. It is possibly my favorite Woody Allen movie. Go see it.
  5. Catacombs were so cool. Over 6 million (six millione, en francais) sets of bones now lie underneath the streets of Paris in out of use limestone mines.

That’s it for my 5 things. What a fun way to share juicy little tidbits. What are your things, and what are you doing this weekend?

This weekend for us – tomorrow we are going to go museum hopping and then Sunday we are headed back to the states. And Monday it is back to work. This week has flown by.

Weekend Link Love – 05.01.2011

Bloggy Stuff – Recipes, Health, Fitness.

Nail Polishes… (These are just a bunch of colors that caught my eye.)

Randoms – Books & More.

What are you loving right now?

My Quirks – 7 Random Things

I saw this on Erin’s blog and decided to do my own. My first thing is shared by Erin.

1. I am tall too. I am 5’9.75″ (… rounded up to 5’10” usually). But I do love my heels. On my wedding day I wore bare feet. Bobby is 6’1″.

2. I am a sometimes vegetarian. I don’t eat much meat, but I can’t say I am fully vegetarian because I make exceptions every so often for things like Bacon Chocolate.

3. My favorite kind of exercise is yoga. This morning I did a 20 minute yoga session from yogadownload.comGentle Hatha Yoga #3. On Friday I took the day off from work and in the morning I did Crunch Super Slimdown with Ellen Barrett on Netflix. It’s a combination of yoga and pilates. Love! (My yoga recs here.)

 

Honeymoon yoga!

4. I have a love-hate relationship with coffee. I love it, but I hate that when I start drinking it every day I get a headache when I wake up until I have my caffeine fix. I suppose this is what they call an addiction. My favorite kind of coffee right now is made by Stumptown Coffee (based in Portland, Oregon). I ordered the coffee online. I grind it with a burr grinder and brew it in a French press.

(Image Source.)

5. I have a love hate relationship with shopping, too. I love it, but I don’t like to spend $$. My favorite store is Anthropologie and I also like to browse random thrift shops. I used to like Gap, but I’ve found recently that a) I don’t really like the Gap style anymore, b) their clothes seem cheap-ish as of late, and c) I don’t usually wear the stuff I get there (especially when I buy something simply because it’s on sale). I worked at Gap briefly at the end of college and that is how I got hooked.

6. I can never make up my mind about anything. Sometimes I am perfectly happy the way I am and other times I want to travel or go do the Peace Corps. Sometimes I want a kid; sometimes I think I would be happy forever with just me and Bobby and the cats. Sometimes I want to live in Manhattan forever; other times I want to buy a farm in the middle of nowhere and eat eggs from organic chickens that I raise myself. Sometimes I want to blog every day; other times I stop blogging for a week or 2. It’s confusing. But I think everyone feels this way in some way or another.

7. I keep stealing Bobby’s new iPad. He already knows that. He got a book by Ken Jennings (of Jeopardy! fame) – Brainiac – and I cannot put it down. I was never into trivia but now I think it’s kind of cool.

What are your 7 things?

Leave them in the comments or blog about it. You’re all tagged :)

P.S. I cleaned up the blog a bit. It’s streamlined and organized better. Click through if you want to take a peek.

Weekend Link Love – 01.26.2011

Here are some cool reads I found in the last week and a half or so.

Also, I finished that book I mentioned the other day, and it was wonderful. I think I am going to go get a biography of Laura Bush. She seems like an interesting lady. I’m currently working on…

Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson.

Summary: Private detective Jackson Brodie—ex-cop, ex-husband and weekend dad—takes on three cases involving past crimes that occurred in and around London. The first case introduces two middle-aged sisters who, after the death of their vile, distant father, look again into the disappearance of their beloved sister Olivia, last seen at three years old, while they were camping under the stars during an oppressive heat wave. A retired lawyer who lives only on the fumes of possible justice next enlists Jackson’s aid in solving the brutal killing of his grown daughter 10 years earlier. In the third dog-eared case file, the sibling of an infamous ax-bludgeoner seeks a reunion with her niece, who as a baby was a witness to murder.

Can’t put it down.

***

What are you reading? What news stories or articles have you liked in the last week?

Also…

Did you watch Obama’s speech? If he follows through on what he said I will be very pleased.

More Great Books

I hope this blog is not turning into a book blog! Or maybe I do. Anyway, here is what I’m reading this week.

Just Finished: Exit Ghost by Philip Roth.

From Amazon:

When Nathan Zuckerman returns to Manhattan from his self-imposed rural retreat for the first time in 11 years in Exit Ghost, what does he find? Along with his surprising and unsettling encounters with an aged and ill woman who had once been a young mystery to him, an aggressive biographer who won’t take no for an answer, and an alluring young writer who tempts him back into the adventure of seduction, he is confronted with a city whose streets are filled with people behaving quite differently than a decade before.

I really liked this book. It was particularly relevant because I live in New York, but even if you don’t, it’s still relatable. I liked the main character (an aging old man who had cancer that made him both impotent and incontinent – poor guy) and I enjoyed reading about his interactions with the other characters as well. That was basically the whole point of the book – the interactions. It was a great book for vocab-building as well. I got all sorts of goodies that I can’t remember right now but I do have them written down on the back of a paystub at home.

In Progress: American Wife By Curtis Sittenfeld.

From Amazon:

In her third novel, Sittenfeld offers a thinly veiled account (Wisconsin, not Texas) of the life of Laura Bush, in the story of Alice Lindgren, who marries Charlie Blackwell, the ne’er-do-well son of a political dynasty who becomes President. The early chapters, in which Sittenfeld depicts an innocent childhood and adolescence disrupted by tragedy, are the most compelling. As the book progresses to more recent and familiar events, she has difficulty enlivening the ins and outs of electioneering and policymaking. The object of Sittenfeld’s fascination is the seeming incongruity between Alice’s liberal sympathies and her bookish intellect and Charlie’s conservative nature and general insouciance. Neither character is very likable—Alice weak-willed and martyrlike, Charlie unbearably self-centered—but the novel, Sittenfeld’s most fully realized yet, artfully evokes the painful reverberations of the past.

I am still in the first third of this book but already I can’t put it down. Highly recommended so far. I am oddly enthralled by this fake story of Laura Bush – she’s a pretty cool lady, apparently. I picked up this book without realizing that I had read the author’s other book, Prep. Also good.

In the Queue: PHP Object-Oriented Solutions by David Powers.

I won’t bore you with the summary of this one. A picture will suffice.

In the Queue: PHP Objects, Patterns, and Practice by Matt Zandstra.

Same here. Just a pic! My job is programming so I suppose I might be considered a nerd. That’s okay though. I enjoy it :)

I have a bunch of other books in the queue as well… I would only ever read a programming book for fun if I’m reading other things for fun concurrently.

***

What are you reading?

Weekend Link Love – 01.08.2011

Workout Love

  • I just did Crunch: Fat Burning Dance Party. Jennifer Galardi is one of my favorites! She has a great body – lean and toned – which is motivating, and she’s really energetic. Her routines are fun and the time flies. This video was 40 minutes long and it’s free if you have Netflix streaming.
  • I am about to do Yoga for Buns #1. This is podcast #9 from the Yogadownload podcast. Only… 40 more to go. I have done a lot of them in the last few years but I thought it would be fun to go from the beginning and do them all in order. I don’t remember if I have done this one before. It sounds painful. (20 minutes)
  • More of my Netflix favorites can be found here. And yoga faves are here.

Food Love

Other stuff I love.

Happy Weekend :) What are your plans?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book Giveaway

**UPDATE: Giveaway is now closed. Katie won. Congrats Katie! I will email you shortly.**

I mentioned yesterday that I had another giveaway for you, so here it is.

I have too many books. It is a problem. My bookshelves are completely full and I don’t have room for another bookshelf, so I am going to start giving away the books that I have read. First up…

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I figured I would start with this one because it’s pretty popular.

How to enter (same rules as last time):

  1. Leave a comment here telling me what your favorite book is. (1 entry)
  2. Follow me and tweet my giveaway: “Check out @TheSaladGirl’s book giveaway – a free copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: http://bit.ly/8XjjSR” – and leave a comment letting me know. (1 entry)
  3. Blog about it and leave a comment letting me know. (3 entries)
  4. Check out my recipes page and tell me one recipe you want to try by leaving a comment on this post. (1 entry)

This contest will end next Wednesday, September 22nd, at 10:30pm eastern. Only open to U.S. residents (I’m sorry! It’s too expensive to ship it out of the country).

What are you waiting for… enter now!

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