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Book Review: First Comes Love

First Comes Love

I had high hopes for this book. I love Giffin‘s other books and really wanted to like First Comes Love. But…I really didn’t. It followed the accounts of 2 sisters who lost their brother at the beginning of the book. Fast forward 15 years and read how their lives have turned out. Honestly? Not great but it follows their relationship together, with their families, friends, and their own selves to try to turn around. I don’t want to give away spoilers so I’ll focus on the main characters: Meredith and Josie. Neither is all that likeable but if I had to pick, I’d pick Josie. Meredith is cold and skeptical while Josie has a job she excels out and loves that seems very mature yet she’s a mess outside of it. She doesn’t seem to see past herself…even when there’s something/someone staring her in the face to see past herself and her own desires. Meredith on the other hand is skeptical of everyone and plays martyr the whole time.

One could argue their both strong women knowing what they want and going after it but there are strong arguments for seeing them both as broken, selfish, and blame-placing. The book does turn around a little in the end for me but I still look back on it a few days after finishing it being disappointed that the characters were so unlikeable and selfish in the end.

If you like Giffin, I recommend reading it. I’m really hoping it’s set up itself up for a sequel so I can read it and hopefully see the story continue to try and redeem itself.

Book Review: A Spool of Blue Thread

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I just finished A Spool of Blue Thread last week.It was a slow one to read. The story was interesting but I never really felt like there was a true plot. It wasn’t until about halfway through I realized the plot was the lazy story-telling about the family it follows–The Whitshanks. I don’t mean lazy as in bad, I just mean lazy as a story you’d tell on someone’s front porch, which incidentally a front porch is key in the story. In fact, the house is key as much as the people are. The book follows The Whitshanks and how they became The Whitshanks. It’s an interesting story to see how a family becomes the family they are…all siblings and extended parts of them. You find out the personalities and relationships behind each person and how or why they interact the way they do. It’s relate-able in that everyone has a certain type of person in their family…you know, the know-it-all, the caretaker, the slacker, the hot-head.

While I liked the book, it’s not one I got really drawn into until the end and then I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more. While broken into parts, it still felt like the story was told backwards and primarily in flashbacks. But the ending was very abrupt. I wish I’d read it as part of a book club because there were discussion questions at the end that really made me want to have someone to talk to about it! So if you read it, let me know so we can talk about that ending.

Book Review: I Do It With the Lights On

I’ve been reading like crazy and felt the need to start up this blog again with book reviews of what I’m reading lately. I’ll just pick up with what I’ve just finished:

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I watch Thore’s My Big Fat Fabulous Life and while I find her a little high on drama,  unlike some reality shows, I don’t find her fake. Sure, with any reality show recording you can imagine some scenes are set up and situations are probably made more dramatic than they’d normally be but she seems real. So when she announced she had a book coming out, I put it on my “to-read” list. I just finished reading, “I Do It With the Lights On.”

I thought it was a good read. It was an easy read and it details her journey to becoming a fat person. She says she always struggled with her weight and talks about dealing with that in a society that is hard on fat people but especially fat women. She talks about growing up with parents who were incredibly loving and doting but fed her insecurity with her size. I’ve read some books with a similar message but what I liked about this book is she details her journey to really dealing with society and haters (and some lovers) of fat people. I know she still deals with people hating and saying she’s promoting obesity. I think she’s promoting loving herself, no matter what shape (physical, mental, emotional) it’s in. She seems to generally love a person no matter what they have going on with them. She’s a loud person who happens to be fat and unfortunately this brings her a lot of negative attention. I’m sure she (and this book) are not everyone’s cup of tea but I hope people at least look at her message “No Body Shame” and understand it’s important to respect people, whether you agree or like how they look. You never know what someone is dealing with and she points this out in her book. She made me even take a step back and look at how I view others and myself and realize I do a lot of things to appease society’s view of how I look.

Overall, do I say this should be next on your “to-read” list or stack of books? No, but I think it should be on your list somewhere along the line.

 

Friday is Fabulous Because…

I don’t know about y’all but I’m extra glad that it’s Friday. This week has just been long. I’m taking my PMP exam next Wednesday so I’ve been studying extra hard this week. I’m just ready for it to be over now. I’m taking off Tuesday to study a bit and just relax my brain then Wednesday morning I’ll probably be a nervous wreck until noon when it’s time to take the exam. So today I’m telling you that Friday is fabulous because:

1. I started the day with an extra powerful “push/pull” series in my training session right after a seriously heart pumping Spin class. 

2. The fella and I are headed to Amish country tomorrow for the day. I can’t wait to get away and and enjoy some special time with my favorite person! (He’s also pretty damn fabulous himself.)

3. This Friday is fabulous because in 2 weeks at this time we will be hanging with my family for 4 days in North Carolina. Cannot. Wait. Family time is a need right now.

4. It’s finally warmed up a smidge around these parts. This week has been bitter cold and it’s finally just a teeny bit warmer.

5. I’m looking forward to SO many fun things coming up in the next 6 weeks that every day feels fabulous because it gets me closer to something fun! 

Happy Friday!

Guess what day it is?

It’s hump dAAAAAAAAAy! Really, does the camel ever get old? No.

So I’ve been trucking along the last few days getting back on track with healthier eating and back into my workout routine. I spent a lovely Friday night and Saturday afternoon out with the fella. Saturday night it was out on the town for a dear friend’s bachelorette party and then Sunday? Sunday was full of couch time. I caught up on DVR, watched football, napped, and just hung out with my guy. It was a splendid weekend where you look back on it and say, “Man, I love my life.” Then, the government shut down. Now, fortunately we’ve determined this doesn’t impact my job (for now). But I’m so saddened by it and my heart goes out to those that are directly and immediately impacted. Shame on the government. Not a good way to set an example they claim they want to set. But I do believe my country will perservere because it’s amazing full of amazing people. Ok, off the political soapbox.

I have such a fun October planned. My dear friend from above? Well, she’s getting married next Friday night so off to celebrate that next weekend. Then I’m going to take the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam prep course later in the month followed by the Clemson/MD game for the last weekend. October is my favorite month so I’m excited for the already planned things and for the things that will happen that have yet to be seen!

Lovin’ Bloglovin’

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Happy 2013!

So, I slacked. I slacked hard at the end of the year with blogging. It was a crazy last few months. But I kept up with my working out until the last 2 weeks when I just kind of took vacation…and apparently a longer vacation from working out than I had off from work. Ah, well. I’m back at it today with Zumba Toning coming up tonight.

Once I can get my head out of the clouds, I’ll update on the fitness side of things. I have some new plans, some forced, some simple personal choices.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2013!

Happy Halloween!

What I Love Wednesday: Cupcake Edition

Seriously, y’all, how have I not done a “What I Love Wednesday” post on cupcakes? What is wrong with me? It’s happening today. All of these photos are of cupcakes I’ve made.

A nice chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream. Classic.

 

Cookies ‘n’ Cream

 

Fun Halloween Cupcakes

 

Pina Colada – one of my favorite decorations

 

Peppermint Patty

 

I didn’t make the cupcake, but I decorated it. I love it.

 

Marble cupcake with simple vanilla buttercream – made for a superhero themed birthday party

 

Chocolate cupcake with a rose decoration

 

Hands down my favorite decoration – nest cupcakes! Saved chocolate for the nest and cadbury milk chocolate eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Start (for a new year)

I’m not a big fan of resolutions. I like the idea of a new start but I don’t like the idea of saying, “I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m going to not drink coffee” or “I’m going to sell my soul to be a different person.” Ok, maybe the last one is just really how I feel some resolutions sound or end up feeling like by the end of January. I love the idea of a fresh start with a new year but let’s be honest, why is January 1 any different than July 19 or December 24? Well, I mean, in the grand scheme of things?

A few days ago I was reading an article where a woman talked about how she lost a significant amount of weight and she took an approach I liked. Her motto was just, “Better every day.” I think it’s a vague kind of statement but it can be applied in so many ways. It can be eat better, work your body better, treat other people better, and just genuinely “Be better.” We can all be better people than what we currently are in some way, right? I know I can. Plus, it’s a forgiving motto. It’s a motto that says (to me) that I’m human and I’ll mess up but just try again next time. We all have bad days (unintentionally and intentionally) and all we can do is learn from them and move on and not dwell. Sometimes that’s hard because society has made us think that new weeks and new years are the times to start over but truth is, we can start over whenever we want.

So my new motto is simply, “Better every day.” The last few months I’ve been a very busy gal and I’ve realized a lot of bad habits and not so great things that can use improvement and/or change. So while I’d like to use January 1 as an “official” start (whatever that means), I’ve already begun thinking the past few days how I can be “better every day.” It’s hard for me to put some things in place while I’m away and may even take until I have a weekend off at home to officially get them going but there’s plenty I can think about and plan on.

I’m hoping to do a series of posts about what and how I’m doing once I get it all figured out and have done enough to actually talk about. So stay tuned! In the mean time…

What are some things you’ve tried when trying to get a fresh start? Tell me what worked and didn’t work.