Monday, July 6, 2015

Day #16: Shake Your Shoes

I'm back! Sort of! At any rate, I'm dropping in for today!

I hope you all had a good Fourth of July. A friend had a pool party, where I was effectively pushed into the pool while still in my regular clothes. I couldn't be too irritated; I've done to a few friends before, too. Then I sat on the roof of our barn to watch fireworks. It was a very clear, warm night out with a surprisingly low number of bugs, so it was ideal. As always, I waxed a little philosophical sitting on the roof. There's something about rooftops that make the world suddenly seem full of possibility and magical. This year was one of the best Fourth of July's I've ever had in a long, long time.

I have mostly been busy with dancing. I've been casual swing dancing for almost a year now, but I decided about two months back that I actually want to get better than okay at it. I'll be honest about my dancing: I'm not bad. I can keep rhythm, I learn fast, I'm getting better and better at being in tune with my lead, keeping my arms stiff (but not too stiff), and trusting my lead. But I still have a lot to learn. I still have to fight myself to not try and anticipate what the lead is going to direct me to do, my arms go floppy sometimes still, my elbow doesn't always go where it's supposed to when being pulled into closed position, and my trust in my leads isn't complete. Granted, this in part does have to do with who I'm dancing with. I have a total of I think four leads who I trust completely, but then I find that sometimes I don't trust myself to know what my lead is telling me to do, so I falter on my moves.

I'm a fair dancer, but I'm not good.

At the same time, of course, when I watch videos of me dancing, I discover that I'm actually not as bad as I think. My footwork on East Coast is actually quite good! My left arm stays where it should in turns and spins, while my right maintains almost the proper amount of tension. But this is why I'm taking Intermediate East Coast classes - to polish all of that. I finished up the beginning lesson last week and took a Charleston class on top of it - and pat on the back, I finally can do the turn through! Which is serious progress. For whatever reason, I couldn't figure the turn through out, even though the mechanics are perfectly simple. Starting tomorrow, though, is the Intermediate class - should be fun!

However, I always get a nice reality check at my Lindy Hop class. Regarded as the most (or at least one of them) athletic, most complicated social dance style out there, I'm far from being even moderately good at Lindy Hop. I've watched videos of Lindy Hop championships and admired the style. It is awesome and fun and exhilarating - and hard. Sure, I have the triple step down; that's the easy part. The very easy part. Perhaps, in fact, the only easy part. Whereas in East Coast swing follows get to be a tiny bit lazy, Lindy Hop is dependent on both. Between the footwork and maintaining proper tension in the arms and back, it's a lot to work on. Last night's class was a lightbulb moment for me in terms of footwork, but now I face the frustrating fact that: I don't have anyone to practice with outside of the class. It's not impossible to practice, but it does make it really hard to work on some things, like tension.

Like starting anything new, I had an idea of how hard it would be in the beginning, but I didn't quite realize how hard it would be. However, that's also part of why I signed up. I enjoy a good challenge, and Lindy Hop is definitely that. I love East Coast, but was perhaps getting a little lazy with it because it is a more relaxed social style. Lindy Hop is keeping me on my toes, constantly reminding me what I'm doing wrong, what I need to fix. It would be a little disheartening, but I never back down from learning something and I know that the more I do it, the more I will improve. And it's been a while since I've undertaken a task that took effort.

But my dancing escapades don't stop there. A friend and I are seriously considering taking Blues on Thursdays - and possibly a mix of dances on Fridays. Because why not? I spent my childhood and teenage years not getting to dance. And now I can; mine as well take all that I can. And every form of dance helps me be more and more aware of myself, and that in turn helps me with all the other dancing I'm learning.

All I can say is: I am so glad I invested in several pairs of dancing shoes!!

Monday, June 22, 2015


Hey, everyone!

So I know I've been big-time absent from this blog. A lot has been going on to where it was hard to maintain two blogs (this one and The Reading Hedgehog), and I had to take a break from both when I got back from New York. So, yes, life has been crazy.

Which you would think means I would have been focusing on this blog more, since it is a personal blog and designed to relate the craziness. I guess I'm still learning the finer points of personal blogging.

As a quick overview: I have been traveling, and hopefully I'll get posts up about that sometime in the near(ish) future. When I got back from traveling, I got super busy with taking more swing dance classes - including Lindy Hop. I've also been busy making summer plans, hanging out with friends, outlining my gameplan for finding a new job in the very near future, and reading and writing.

I'm going to try and return to blogging on Curves In the Road. I miss it; I really do. And I want to get back in the kitchen again, too, and share awesome recipes with all of you. So keep your eyes open; I will return!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day #15: More New Gadgets

Yesterday two big things happened: I finally got my highlights and a smashing new haircut. I have never gone this blonde before and I'm having to get used to it.

 And my mum and I went to the local(ish) Apple store so I could pick out my new computer. I made the geeks there very happy. I breezed in and said, "Alright, boys, I need a computer that does this and this and this. Here is my budget; pick something out for me." Normally, I don't like doing this to fellow retailers. I know what it's like to have a "not picky" customer who is, in fact, very picky and doesn't like any of the suggestions you give. But in my case, I really wasn't that picky. I just needed something that would do all the things I required. In the end, I walked away with the newest version of the MacBook Pro. I've been messing around with it a bit and love it so far.

Since it took hardly any time to get my computer - now named Colin - my mum and I had time to breeze into Powell's City of Books. Yes, I spent more than I intended, but my computer wasn't as much as I was expecting, so I thought: Why not? I completed some more series, so I'm not going to feel too guilty about it.

After that, we headed to Voodoo Donuts - because how can you go to Portland and not go to Voodoo Donuts? We seem to have the best luck whenever we go there; there's hardly ever any lines. And this time, there was no one else around. It's pretty unheard of; Voodoo Donuts is kinda of known for having hours-long lines of people, though I think that's mostly in the summer.

And then we decided to have an adventure. Donuts, computer, and books in hand, we headed from Voodoo back to where we'd parked. We figured if we cut one way, we would get there in the half the time from Powell's. We got a little turned around, a little lost, and I saw a part of Portland I could have gone my whole life without visiting. I can now say that I've been offered marijuana by some very high people, as well as a "very" tempting deal from a homeless guy to do a strip tease for a donut. That's sarcasm, by the way; I was in no capacity tempted to trade him one of my lovely donuts for a strip tease.

We eventually got out of the unsavory part of town and finally back into the safe spots. Other than being an interesting tour, I also got to test out how good of walking shoes my new sandals are. And I'm pretty sure they'll hold up in Nashville and New York.

I've spent all of this morning setting my computer up and syncing my iPod so I can actually listen to music on it. I intend in filling it up with lots of songs for my flights to Nashville. Unless I'm sitting next to some very interesting people indeed, I don't really want to talk to anyone. ;-)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Honey Balsamic Chicken

This recipe is courtesy of Budget Bytes!

Another quick dinner recipe that is yummy and can go with all sorts of things! Toss some vegetables with the chicken, too, and it's doubly good (if you like vegetables; I don't).

2 medium chicken breasts
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp honey

  1. Slice the chicken into six diagonal strips. Place the strips in a ziplock bag with the 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, and the salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients all together and let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the remaining olive oil on a skillet over medium heat. Cook the strips until browned on both sides. Remove chicken onto a plate.
  3. Turn the heat to low. Add the butter and remaining 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Stir everything up in the skillet. Add the honey, increase the heat, and let the sauce simmer until thick (approx. 5 minutes).
  4. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, then add the chicken back into the skillet and toss until coated. Toss in vegetables for extra yummy and serve with rice!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Bookworm's Corner #6

The Bookworm's Corner is weekly updates on anything bookish! What I've read through the week, any books I've bought this week that I'm super duper excited about, recommendations lists, book news - whatever! This is where the Bookworm wades in.

What I've Finished

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
The Goddess War: #1
YA, fantasy
3/5 stars

The ancient gods are dying and Athena and Hermes are determined to find out why. The answer may lie with Cassandra, a teenage girl in Kincade, New York, who is the reincarnation of Cassandra of Troy: the girl cursed to see the future, but have no one believe her. The only problem is: Cassandra doesn't remember who she is - and Apollo isn't about to let her be used by the gods. So I read this for my book club, and so many members hated it that I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. When I finally started reading it, I knew that I disagreed with them. Antigoddess could be so much more and it does have nigglies and holes, but I liked it for what it was. I liked the plot and the Author's portrayal of the gods was very interesting and unique. We aren't seeing the gods in their full glory; for once, we're seeing them after they've been forgotten, after they have become less than gods, and when they are dying. At times the plot felt like it was running in place: stuff happened but it didn't really go anywhere. And I have questions. But this is the first book in a trilogy, and I'm willing to see where it goes next.

The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond
YA, alternate history
5/5 stars

It is 80 years after the Nazis won WWII with their genetically engineered soldiers that turned the tide of the war. Zara lives in Nazi-controlled America, trying to go unnoticed by the Nazis. Because she has a secret: she has mysterious powers. And if they ever found out, she'd be executed. I love all things WWII, and the idea of the Nazis having won the war is very intriguing. So of course I had to read this book! It was incredible. Minus the genetically engineered soldiers - the Anomalies - the author presents a very believable and frightening image of what things might have been like. The characters are really good and the plot fast-paced and engaging. I loved it.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Dorothy Must Die #1
YA, fairy tale retelling
5/5 stars

Amy Gumm is the other girl from Kansas. And like Dorothy Gale, she's been swept away from her boring life and into the land of Oz by a tornado. But this isn't the Oz Amy has read about. Dorothy has returned - and she's evil. Now Amy must ally herself with the Wicked and kill Dorothy. I hate Oz with a passion, after reading all 15 originals about two years ago. But this Oz - oh my gosh, this Oz was incredible. Creepy as all hell, dark and twisted and disturbing - and so awesome. Dorothy is one of the best villains ever! And Amy is a spunky, sassy protagonist with the attitude. I loved it.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Snow Like Ashes #1
YA, fantasy
3/5 stars

Meira is one of eight surviving refugees from when their kingdom - Winter - was taken by Spring and their magic stolen. Now, they're on a quest to regain their magic and restore their prince to his throne. At first I wasn't hugely impressed with the whole idea of kingdoms being stuck in one eternal season. But as the world building was continued, I liked it more and more. The characters were great - Meira very capable and tough - and the villain impressively intimidating. I didn't care for the love triangle - though it certainly wasn't the worst I've read - and the pacing was at times way too fast.

The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
YA, thriller
4/5 stars

When Stephen is forced to move to boring small town Spencer, Michigan, he knows his life is going to go from sucky to downright awful. But then he meets a group of guys who hang out in the cemetery and he has hope that he's found friends. Until their little group starts to take a very dark and evil turn. . . .The author told me this book was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. And that was literally all I knew about it before I read it. I didn't look up reviews or read the synopsis beforehand. And oh my gosh, this book. I don't know what this book did to me, but it was awesome. It was creepy and captivating and disturbing and frustrating as all hell. And that ending. . . .I still haven't gotten over it.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter: #4
Middle Grade: fantasy
3/5 stars

It's the beginning of Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Lately he's been having concerning dreams about Lord Voldemort, waking up with his scar hurting. But all worries are pushed aside when the Triwizard Tournament is held at Hogwarts. Harry is too young to enter - but then someone puts his name in the Goblet of Fire. And once the Goblet has chosen you, you must compete. I'm just enjoying this world more and more with each new installment. There's so much world building and attention to detail. Things could have moved at a much quicker pace, but I liked the character development and exploration so much that I didn't want it to. And then the book takes a darker turn at the end, promising further development in future books. Voldemort is probably one of the most pathetic villains I've read, but everything else sort of makes up for that.

What I'm Currently Reading

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan: On page 259
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales: This week, I read N/A
Anderson's Best-Loved Fairy Tales: This week, I read N/A
Wolfsblood by Hazel West: On page 216
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie: On page 175
- A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin: On page 64
The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells: On page 70
- Strangelets by Michelle Gagnon: On page

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sweet & Sour: Derailed Plans and New Gadgets

Sweet & Sour is a weekly feature where I talk about one "sweet" thing that happened - and one "sour" thing. Because life throws us lemons and cookies! But because bad news should always come first, we're doing this in reverse order!

The Sour

It seems like it's been one of those weeks where any plans I make are derailed. Getting the group together to go see Insurgent has proven to be a bit more difficult than I thought it would, and I'm still so tired from being ill that I have had to skip rock climbing for the past few Wednesdays. I'm going to be so out of shape when I get back to it.
The Sweet

I got a new iPod! A nano iPod! A gorgeous green nano iPod!! See it here! Isn't it pretty?! My very old one broke a while back and I realized I needed a new one before I went to Nashville; otherwise I wouldn't be able to listen to anything on the plane over. o_0

Friday, April 17, 2015

Quote Wall #6

Quote Wall is for everyone to comment and share their favorite quotes of the week. Be it from a book, movie, other people - whatever you like! Share them in the comments and I'll put them up on the Quote Wall page!

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see." - Arthur Schopenhauer -

Monday, April 13, 2015

Honey Mustard Salmon

This recipe is courtesy of Cooking Classy!

If you're looking for a really quick, easy, and yummy salmon dish, this one is perfect. It takes hardly any time and makes little mess.

2 salmon fillets, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with greased aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the dijon mustard, honey, and garlic. In a shallow dish, mix together the Panko bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest. Add olive oil and toss to evenly coat the crumbs.
  3. Brush the tops of your salmon with the honey mustard mixture. Then dip the coated salmon in the bread crumbs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat until all of the salmon fillets are coated.
  4. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Serve with steamed asparagus and lemon wedges.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Day #14: Illness

So my body decided that it needed a forced shutdown. Wednesday I woke up with leringitis - which pretty much takes away my voice and saps my energy. Annoying, but still workable. Thursday morning I woke up with the stomach flu. Which is a lot less workable, and I stayed home from work to sleep.

Normally, I can have a love-hate relationship with being sick. On the one hand, of course you feel awful and look awful and there's just nothing fabulous about it. On the other hand, though, it does give you some down time. Catching up on TV shows (which I haven't done in a while), reading, eating ice cream and other "invalid" foods.

But the stomach flu is an entirely different matter. I was too tired to watch or read anything. All I did was curl up underneath a blanket on the couch and shut my senses off to the world. If I wasn't sleeping, I was too miserable and nauseated to want to do anything except die. Forget ice cream and other treats; it just made my stomach more upset and I was stuck with eating ice chips and that's about it.

I have, since then, returned to the land of the living. I did get some reading done in between being awake and asleep. My voice has been returned to me and I can stand up and walk around without feeling like I'm going to pass out. But I'm still very exhausted. I feel like a sponge that has been wrung out one too many times, and what appetite I possess is still totally and completely gone.

Tonight I meet four YA authors, and while I probably should just go back to bed after my shift at work, there's no way I'm missing these authors. So glad I get to sleep tomorrow.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Day #13: Pottery & Author Events

Happy belated Easter and all that! I hope you guys enjoyed my special Easter recipe that I posted, in lieu of my usual reading update (I figured I should have something special for Easter). Also, I apologize for my erratic updates and absences. I've been a little busy with stuff.

So, in news - The Reading Hedgehog, my other blog, is back up and running. And I'm enjoying it ten times more. I have a few new things on it, such as weekend recaps and a new reviewing format! Maybe you should check it out at some point. ;-) Still in book news, I've been prepping for upcoming author events. On the 10th, I am meeting YA authors Victoria Aveyard (Red Queeni), Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die; The Wicked Will Rise), Sara Raasch (Snow Like Ashes), and Heather Brewer (The Cemetery Boys). So I've been trying to read all of their books before the big day. I have also, of course, been planning for my trip to Nashville on the 29th, where I'm going to meet YA author Sharon Cameron (The Dark Unwinding; A Spark Unseen; Rook). I've been clothes shopping and scouring touring websites to figure out what I want to see in Nashville. If any of you have any ideas of must-see places for a history/book/food nerd, please let me know! Recommendations would be welcomed.

I also had two separate  girls' nights with some friends a few weeks back - the first one we went to a pottery place where you can paint your own designs. My results were returned a couple of days ago!

To commemorate Sherlock's return!
A bookmark jar! I have so many bookmarks; I needed a place to put them.

The second girls' night we went and saw the new Cinderella movie. That was a lot of fun. I needed a fluffy, fairy tale story. And all in all, I liked the movie a lot. The casting was perfect and the changes they made to the story, while subtle, were very good.

That pretty much brings you up to date on what I've been up to. I of course will be posting about how the author event goes; really, really looking forward to it!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Italian Easter Bread

This recipe is courtesy of Grains of Earth!

I put myself in charge of Easter dinner this year because I had a ton of new recipes I wanted to try out! While everything turned out delicious, this Ukranian Easter bread was my pride and joy. It turned out so perfect. Yes, that is a whole duck egg in the middle. The great thing about this bread is you can make it for anything - just leave the egg out of the middle. It won't compromise the bread shape and you can save it for Easter, to make it special.

2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups milk
pinch of salt
1/3 cup salted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups (approx.) flour
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
6 eggs, dyed or not (your choice)
pearl sugar

  1. In a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter together, just until the butter is melted.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, salt, eggs and sugar. Add the warm (too hot and it will kill the yeast) milk mixture.
  3. Add one cup of flour, mixing in between, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. You may end up using more than 3 1/2 cups of flour; that's fine.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.
  5. Placed in a greased, covered bowl, and let rise for 1 hour.
  6. Punch dough down and divide into 12 pieces. Roll the pieces out into 1-inch thick ropes about 14 inches long. Taking two pieces, pinch ends together and braid, then form into a loop and pinch together.
  7. Lining a baking sheet with greased aluminum foil, place braided circles on it.
  8. Once you've braided all of your loops, cover the sheet and let rise for 1 hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  10. When the circles are done rising, brush with the egg wash. Place a whole, raw egg in the middle of each circle. The egg will bake through in the oven. Sprinkle the circles with pearl sugar as generously as you like.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a rack.
  12. NOTE: because of the eggs in the middle, this bread does need to be stored in a refrigerator. If you don't put the eggs in the middle, store it like any other bread!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Bookworm's Corner #5

The Bookworm's Corner is weekly updates on anything bookish! What I've read through the week, any books I've bought this week that I'm super duper excited about, recommendations lists, book news - whatever! This is where the Bookworm wades in.

What I've Finished

Bone Gap by Laura Riby
YA, mythology retelling
4/5 stars

In the small Illinois town of Bone Gap, strange things are afoot. One day, a Polish girl named Roza entered the lives of brothers Sean and Finn - and then she was gone, like so many others in their lives. Everyone is convinced she just left. But Finn knows differently. Finn saw the strange gray man who moves like cornstalks in the wind. Finn saw him take Roza. And Finn will do everything he can to bring back the girl his brother loves. Even if no one believes him. When I first started reading this book, I was confused as all hell. Magic realism is a genre that I'm still getting used to, and I'm not sure I ever will. So throughout the majority of Bone Gap, I scratched my head and declared it one of the weirdest books I had ever read. But I was curious to see how it would end. I wanted answers. More than halfway through, I suddenly understood that it was a loose retelling of the Hades/Persephone legend. And suddenly everything made sense. This book isn't being marketed as a retelling, and maybe it's an accidental retelling, but thinking of it as one clears up all the nigglies and puts some sense into the weirdness. And this realization pushed the rating up to a 4-star rating, where it might have been as low as 2 stars. The characters are all very fascination and interesting, and as I got to know Roza, I became emotional invested in her and Sean. I never was invested in Finn and Priscilla "Petey", though I loved Petey's no-nonsense and Finn was just an oddball. If you're looking for a weird, engaging, surprising read, look no further.

Dracula by Bram Stoker
4/5 stars

Something is amiss in London. A creature stalks the dark streets, tormenting young, gentle Lucy, leaving strange bleeding marks on her throat. His presence sends the inmates of a local sanitarium into a frenzy. The only way to hunt this creature down before he destroys anyone else may lie with strange Professor Van Helsing, who studies lore and legend and the accult. But even he may be no match for the creature. I really, really wish there was a way I could have read this book having no clue what was going on. What was it like picking this book up the first time it was published, before it was a classic and had been destroyed with numerous bad movie adaptations? Dracula is spooky and deliciously Gothic. The narration style - through journal entries and letters - is extremely effective, and the insane asylum an absolutely perfect touch. I dearly wish someone would make a movie that is actually close to the book, because it's chilling and creepy and awesome.

 Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass: #3
YA, fantasy
3/5 stars

Celaena Sardothian, the King's assassin, has been dispatched to a neighboring kingdom to assassinate its royal family. But Celaena has other plans. She's looking for answers - about herself, her inherited power, and how to destroy the ruthless, cruel king of Adarlan. But a monstrous army is amassing and Celaena is running out of time. I knew that this series would eventually impress me. The world building was too good from the beginning not to; I just can't stand Celaena. However, we follow several characters in this third installment, so we actually spend very little time with Celaena. And with Celaena being separated from her love interest, Chaol, I was able to appreciate everyone. The world building continues to impress me, and the plot is getting thicker and more complicated and more engaging. I even found myself liking Celaena just a tiny bit in the end. Once she faces her inner demons and stops being pathetic and broken down, she is pretty awesome. I only hope her awesomeness continues. And as always, the ending pulled a twist that was totally epic. I can't wait to see what happens next; I'm officially hooked to this series. It lived up to expectations in the end.

What I'm Currently Reading

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan: On page 259
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales: This week, I read N/A
Anderson's Best-Loved Fairy Tales: This week, I read N/A
Wolfsblood by Hazel West: On page 216
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling: On page 363
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie: On page 175
- Antigoddess by Kendare Blake (just started)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Day #12: Hanging Out With Myself

Today I needed time to myself. So I decided to make a date with me. ;-) As a reward for completing a side job, filing my taxes, and getting through a boat-load of emotions, I had a day out in town. Just me and my music and a cool breeze through the car window.

There were two major used book sales going on in town today, so I hit the first at ten o'clock, then hung out in downtown until the next one opened. I visited a used bookstore I haven't been in for a while, popped in and out of some antique shops, and stopped by a local tea and dessert parlor to enjoy a cup and a nice fresh brownie - as well as a couple of sheep-shaped dark chocolate Easter truffles (oh my gosh, those were good!). It was so nice to sit in a window seat and read while sipping some hot orange spice tea.

After that, I walked down to the last book sale. In total, I came home with 20 books. All of them ranged from $0.50 to $2.00. There was some great finds. And when I got home, I just felt so much better. Relaxed and happy and excited and refreshed. I've spent the rest of the day recording videos, shifting my bookshelves to make room for the new books, and moving my hedgehog downstairs - as the weather is turning warm and sunny and my bedroom is just getting too hot for me and him to sleep up there.

I had a funky week, but I feel loads better now. And tomorrow I might be going to the beach!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Day #11: Traveling Fool

When I was little, I dreamed of nothing else but traveling to distant places and seeing things (okay, I also dreamed of owning my very own private library). As I got older, I craved this more and more, but the means seemed unattainable. During what I call my Dark Days (when I was pessimistic and depressed and negative), I totally despaired of ever seeing anything outside of Washington and Oregon. And to be honest, I haven't even seen much of those two states.

Life seems to have new plans for me; or maybe it was its plan all along. I'm turning into a traveling fool! This weekend, I spent the night up in Seattle with some friends, where we ate at Bambino's and then went to Seattle Swing (pictures will follow this Friday). It was awesome. I thought I would be dead Monday morning, as I stayed up until 12:30am, and then had to get up at 7:00am to drive back for work. The exhaustion didn't hit me until today, actually.

At the end of April, I'm spending five days in Nashville, Tennessee. Well, actually, one day in Nashville - where I'm going to attend the launch party for YA author Sharon Cameron's newest book at Parnassus Books. Then I'm heading to Kentucky to visit relatives. But I'll have quite a bit of time in Nashville before the event, so I'm hunting up things that bookworms need to go see - as well as coffee shops and places to eat. Recommendations are so very much welcome, by the way!

At the end of May, I'm heading to BookCon in New York City for five days! I'm going to get lots of site-seeing in while I'm there. Museums, bookstores, and as many ethnic food street vendors as I can possibly find. And since I'm staying in a historic art deco hotel, I'm totally doing some hotel explorations!

I'm probably going to do a day trip to some places in Oregon and Washington that I have been to, but have never actually explored. Like Port Townsend, Astoria, Port Angeles - just to name a few. It'd be awesome to go to Yahats again, too. What I really want to do is do a bookstore/library tour of Washington. How fun would that be?!

And next year, I want to road-trip to the LindyHop Festival in Houston, Texas, and the year after that - a pony tour of Iceland. If things really line up and I have a job at the prosecutor's office next year, these traveling dreams will be even more likely.

Rewards really do come to those who wait. You just have to accept that if it isn't happening yet, it just isn't the right time. But your dreams and wishes will happen - eventually. Mine certainly seem to, and I don't think it's just because I'm "one of the lucky ones."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Bookworm's Corner #4

The Bookworm's Corner is weekly updates on anything bookish! What I've read through the week, any books I've bought this week that I'm super duper excited about, recommendations lists, book news - whatever! This is where the Bookworm wades in.

What I've Finished

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Twilight Saga #1
YA, paranormal, romance
1/5 stars

Bella is recently moved to Forks, Washington - one of the rainiest places on the Pacific Northwest. She's prepared for a dull life in the small town, settling into a new school and making new friends. What she doesn't expect is to fall head over heels for the mysterious Edward Cullen - a young man with a very dangerous secret. There is absolutely no logical reason why I read this book. So I won't even try to explain; I read it and that's the end of it. It was, predictably, absolute torture. I went into this book with an open mind - I really did. I was prepared to let it speak for itself. Forget my preconceived expectations and all the gripe and hype surrounding it. I was giving this book a fighting chance to prove itself to me. The writing immediately hit me as some of the worst I've ever read, There was simply nothing to like about Bella; she was one-dimensional at best. It irked me that she liked books, her clumsiness was not endearing, and I just wanted someone to kill her. Edward is a classic stalker/abusive boyfriend, and any of the side characters could have had some potential if I hadn't been reading about them through Bella's perspective. Alice and Carlisle were kind of awesome, and as I read the book, I could do nothing but moan over all of the missed opportunities. If only this author had told someone - anyone else's - story other than Bella's. Carlisle has an awesome past! Or Alice! I would have loved to read Alice's story. Why couldn't we have gotten her as a protagonist instead? In short, this book did not defend itself well.

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments #3
YA, fantasy
3/5 stars

Clary's only hope to wake her mom from her self-induced slumber lies with a mysterious warlock in Idris, the capital city of the Shadowhunter world. But Jace is afraid that the Clave with use Clary's special abilities as a weapon against the impending war with Valentine. Meanwhile, secrets come crashing down around them as Valentine's web is woven tighter and tighter around them. This is the volume that everyone has told me things start to go downhill. And I chose to read this simultaneously with Twilight. Very. Bad. Idea. However, my general opinion of this series continues, even after this book. I really, really like the general concept. Simon, Luke, and now Sebastian do make it easier to bear the annoyance that is the romance between Clary and Jace. When the book wasn't focusing on that, I enjoyed it. And if Jace wasn't causing so much romantic tension, I would even like Clary. But I really dislike Jace; he's pouty and moody and "oh, pity me." And of course, with Clary and Jace being brother and sister, the romance is all levels of awkward. It's a little sad, in fact, when the only halfway romantic relationship in a book is the gay couple - and even that relationship feels like molestation is taking place. But I like the storyline itself well enough to continue on.

What I'm Currently Reading

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan: On page 259
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales: This week, I read The Glass Coffin
Anderson's Best-Loved Fairy Tales: This week, I read The Galoshes of Fortune
Wolfsblood by Hazel West: On page 216
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling: On page 363
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie: On page 175
Dracula by Bram Stoker: On page 383
- Bone Gap by 174

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sweet & Sour: Emotional Overload & Launch Parties

Sweet & Sour is a weekly feature where I talk about one "sweet" thing that happened - and one "sour" thing. Because life throws us lemons and cookies! But because bad news should always come first, we're doing this in reverse order!

The Sour

I have been running nonstop for the last three weeks. Despite my love of being busy, hanging out with friends, and just always having a full schedule, I am still an introvert at heart. And introverts need at least one day every week for Alone Time. However, I haven't had that 24-hour Alone Time in 3 weeks. I knew an emotional volcano was going to erupt; I had hoped it would happen after the weekend - more specifically, after Sunday - but it didn't. It happened a few nights ago. On retrospect, though, it's probably better to have had it happen before my big night out to Seattle Swing. And at least I knew that I just needed to let it happen and I would feel a lot better. I don't know about "lots better," but a little calmer, at least. Now I'm just bone tired.

The Sweet

YA author Sharon Cameron has personally invited me to come to the launch party for her new book Rook in Nashville, Tennessee! And my grandparents are offering to pay for the plane ticket, provided I spend some time with them. Whether or not I take them up on that offer, if my boss gives me the okay, I am going to Nashville at the end of April, and I am meeting Sharon Cameron!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Day #10: Running On Empty

So I really do love being busy. There's nothing more satisfying than looking at my calender and seeing full days. But while I have fun getting out and doing things, I am still an introvert at heart, and introverts need a day to be by themselves and recharge. I especially do, because I will never say no to another social engagement if I have time to squeeze it in. And the ending result of being an introvert who doesn't turn down invitations? I don't get nearly enough rest and then I crash.

I'm hitting my crashing point.

The last two weeks were busy as all hell. My off days from work were taken up with shopping errands, which are almost most exhausting than work. My mornings have been taken up with another side job that is (thankfully) coming to an end this week. I've had something going almost every Saturday evening, so my usual Pajama Day has been interrupted. I have had so much baking and cooking to do for various occasions and events and club meetings, I have been finalizing plans for my visit to New York and BookCon, which has been both fun and a burden.

And, to top it all off, my car broke down right when I needed it. Some friends and I are going swing dancing up in the Big City this weekend, and I was supposed to be the third driver. While parents are scrambling to find a new car, I'm desperately trying to get used to carpooling to positively everywhere again. It's no fun.

I can feel The Crash coming. I know it'll happen, and there will be tears and maybe some screaming. I need to let it take its course. I only hope I don't get so tired that I can't enjoy the big plans I have this week.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Czech Poppy Seed Bread

This recipe is courtesy of See Aimee Cook!

I loooove poppy seed bread. I always have, and I used to make muffins and loaves from the box mixes all the time. But I really don't like making things from boxes. So I decided to try out this recipe. I couldn't believe how fluffy my batter was, and how perfectly moist the bread turned out. This is incredibly good and I'll never go back to a box again!

1/2 cup poppy seeds
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour (the original recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups flour, but I found that it made it too dry)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

  1. In a small saucepan, cook the poppy seeds, honey, and water for 5 minutes on medium-low heat. Let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cooled poppy seed mixture to creamed mixture, and egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in sour cream and vanilla extract.
  3. In another bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, beating well.
  5. In a small bowl, beat together egg whites until stiff, then fold into batter.
  6. Pour batter into a lightly greased 9-inch tube (or bundt) pan. Bake for 40 minutes (the original recipe says to bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. I baked mine for 30 minutes, checked it, then added on an extra 10 minutes. This cooked it perfectly. It's a good idea to cut the time in half, then add on 5 or 10 minutes as needed, checking after each time)
  7. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. The bread will collapse a little; that's all right. Remove from pan and cool totally on a wire rack. Slice and sprinkle with powdered sugar!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Bookworm's Corner #3

The Bookworm's Corner is weekly updates on anything bookish! What I've read through the week, any books I've bought this week that I'm super duper excited about, recommendations lists, book news - whatever! This is where the Bookworm wades in.

What I Finished

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine's #2
YA, supernatural, time travel
3/5 stars

Jacob and the peculiar children are on a dangerous quest to find the only person who can save their headmistress and hopefully shed light on what exactly the hollowgasts and wights are after. My initial thought as I read this sequel to Ransom Riggs' unique and spooky novel was that it wasn't as good and even a tiny bit boring. But as the story continued, I got swept up in the world of the peculiars, the wights and hollowgasts are perhaps more terrifying than before, the world building becomes more complex, the characters more endearing, and then there are some quick twists in the end that left my mouth hanging open. Hollow City, in the end, did not disappoint, and I cannot wait for its sequel.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen #1
YA, fantasy
4/5 stars

In Mare Barrow's world, Redblood are ruled by Silverbloods - cold, austere people with mysterious powers. Reds don't have any powers; they are simply there to serve. But Mare is different. Mare has powers. And they will either save her - or condemn her. This is an absolutely promising beginning to a brand new YA fantasy series. There's been a lot of hype surrounding this book, and I'm usually quite skeptical of hyped books. But Red Queen lived up to expectations. While the author's terminology for the powers and the people that wielded there was a little unimaginative, that is my only real complaint about this book, and that's pretty minor. Mare is a very strong, unassuming, yet capable protagonist who doesn't shy away from a fight - even though she didn't ask for anything that happens to her. She knows there's no other choice, so she takes it head on. Cal, Maven, and Kilorn were all excellent male leads, and Elara - the queen - properly terrifying. Mare's world is brutal, there's lots of deaths and executions to enforce the realistic image of tyranny, and the romance is so cleverly woven into the plot that it's downright subtle. Even better, this book took a twist that I guessed correctly and put another twist on it, so I was equal parts pleased that I was right, and equal parts surprised. I cannot wait to see what happens in this series next.

Beth's Story, 1914 by Adele Whitby
Secrets of the Manor #1
Middle Grade, historical fiction, mystery
3/4 stars

It's the eve of Lady Beth's twelfth birthday, and she's about to inherit the famous family heirloom, the Elizabeth necklace. But someone is trying to frame Beth's new lady's maid Shannon, and as Beth investigates, she learns that her ancestral home holds all sorts of secrets! This was a really fun, quick, easy read. The writing style is surprisingly mature and fitting for the era, and while the mystery itself is very easy to solve, it will delight its intended audience. Beth is a plucky, intelligent, and kind protagonist, and I look forward to seeing what happens next and solving the mystery of the Elizabeth necklace.

What I'm Currently Reading

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan: On page 244
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales: This week, I read Allerleirauh; Cinderella; Simeli Mountain
Anderson's Best-Loved Fairy Tales: This week, I read The Neighboring Families; The Shepherdess and the Sweep; The Wicked Prince
Wolfsblood by Hazel West: On page 208
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling: On page 313
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie: On page 162
Dracula by Bram Stoker: On page 365
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer: On page 433
- City of Glass by Cassandra Clare: On page 177

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sweet & Sour: Break Downs and Reading Funks

Sweet & Sour is a weekly feature where I talk about one "sweet" thing that happened - and one "sour" thing. Because life throws us lemons and cookies! But because bad news should always come first, we're doing this in reverse order!

The Sour

Our car is broken. I was driving it in town yesterday, Friday the 13th, and it overheated and died. Thankfully, my mum was with me and we got a tow truck and my dad was able to take us home, and I still managed to get my shopping done. But I'm back to carpooling into work and catching rides with friends to and from events. It's inconvenient, but it does also mean we're getting a new car, and I'm excited about that. I only hope it doesn't take too long. . . .

The Sweet

My reading funk is over! Ever since my decision to take two months off my other blog, The Reading Hedgehog, I've been enjoying my books a WHOLE lot more, and I've been whipping through them right and left. It's so nice to be able to actually want to read, rather than it feeling like a chore all the time.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Quote Wall #5

Quote Wall is for everyone to comment and share their favorite quotes of the week. Be it from a book, movie, other people - whatever you like! Share them in the comments and I'll put them up on the Quote Wall page!

"With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?" - Oscar Wilde -

Monday, March 9, 2015

Brazilian Cheese Bread

This recipe is courtesy of RasaMalaysia!

These little bite-sized bits of cheesy bread are sooooooooo good and soooooo easy to make and so, so, so yummy and filling! You won't be able to stop eating them,

1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup milk
scant 1 1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 packed grated cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
1 tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a mini muffin tin.
  2. Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour the batter in the mini muffin tins, filling it to about 3/4 way full.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until very light brown.
  5. Eat them all up!

Blackened Cajun Chicken

This recipe is courtesy of Flavor Mosaic!

Obviously this is with some side dishes (which I will post recipes to later): Brazilian cheese bread and roasted sweet potatoes. I also served the blackened chicken with avocado cream sauce.

Ingredients (for Cajun chicken)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp olive oil

Directions (for Cajun chicken)
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the first 9 ingredients.
  2. Halve your chicken breasts, then spray each side with cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle chicken with the spices (an easier way is to put the spices in a plastic bag, then throw the chicken in and shake it around a bit).
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cover the skillet with a lid. Let the chicken cook for 8 minutes, then flip it onto the other side and let cook for another 8 minutes. You want the sides to be blackened.
Ingredients (for avocado cream sauce)
1/3 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 avocado, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Directions (for avocado cream sauce)
  1. Throw it all in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
This recipe is courtesy of SkinnyMom!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Bookworm's Corner #2

The Bookworm's Corner is weekly updates on anything bookish! What I've read through the week, any books I've bought this week that I'm super duper excited about, recommendations lists, book news - whatever! This is where the Bookworm wades in.

Finished This Week

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
(Delirium Trilogy #1)
YA, dystopian
4/5 stars

In a futuristic America, love in all of its forms has been declared a disease and has been eradicated. When they turn seventeen, everyone is required to take the Cure. After that, you don't feel anything. No family love, no compassion, no anger, nothing. Lena can't wait for her Cure; until she meets Alex. Then everything changes. My first Lauren Oliver book! I'd heard a lot of people rave about her writing, and once I met her, I wanted very much to read her books. Delirium is one of the best dystopian novels I've read. Lena's society is brutal and unyielding. People are constantly monitored, neighbors report neighbors, dissenters are jailed and/or executed. The writing is gorgeous, the characters well developed, and the world quite convincing. The romance is paramount to the plot, but I loved Lena and Alex together, there is no love triangle, and it isn't as mushy-mushy as you might think. I'm impressed with Lauren Oliver.

What I'm Currently Reading

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan: On page 226
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales: This week, I read Maid Maleen; The Skillful Huntsman
Anderson's Best-Loved Fairy Tales: This week, I read The Little Elder-Tree Mother
Wolfsblood by Hazel West: On page 197
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling: On page 209
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie: On page 148
Dracula by Bram Stoker: On page 349
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer: On page 196
- Hollow City by Ransom Riggs: On page 205

Click for source

Book Nerd Problems by Epic Reads. Ever run into those people who are like "it's just a book!" Here's a video relating to that problem:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sweet & Sour: Feeling for Friends and New Frocks

Sweet & Sour is a weekly feature where I talk about one "sweet" thing that happened - and one "sour" thing. Because life throws us lemons and cookies! But because bad news should always come first, we're doing this in reverse order!

The Sour

One of my friends is having a rough week. She found out some unhappy and very serious news about a friend. While I don't know her friend, my heart and prayers go out for her, and meanwhile I feel pain for my friend. I don't like to see my friends upset, and I'm trying to just be here for her while she gets through the sucky week.

The Sweet

I got a new dress! A gorgeous mint-green lacy frock. Why did I get it? Sunday Swing (yep, I go dancing twice a week now) is having a green dress night this weekend and I suddenly realized that out of all the dresses I own, I do not in fact own a green one! So an emergency shopping trip was required. Isn't it a lovely dress?!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Quote Wall #4

Quote Wall is for everyone to comment and share their favorite quotes of the week. Be it from a book, movie, other people - whatever you like! Share them in the comments and I'll put them up on the Quote Wall page!

"I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed." - Booker T. Washington

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Day #8: A Good Kind of Tired

So this week has been the furthest thing from restful. Yesterday was errands, appointments, planning out menus, binge-reading Delirium (and limping painfully through more chapters of Twilight), and then dancing (of course). I look like Death today, but it's a good sort of tired. I like to being busy.

Best of all, though, I got my hair cut! I would post a picture, but I want to wait until April, because I get auburn highlights! I want to show it off when it's complete. We'll just say that it's awesome and giving me an excuse to learn how to use things like hair mousse and hair spray. Also got some lovely spring eye shadow colors that I'm loving.

I had some philosophical thing to muse on today, but I'm frankly a little too tired, so I'll save it for tomorrow. How is this Wednesday treating you? How did your Tuesday go? Share!

Day #9: Emotional Fences

"You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal, against hope, and without fear." - Delirium by Lauren Oliver

I just finished reading this book yesterday morning (you'll get to hear my thoughts on it later this week), and I have to say that that is one of the most thought-provoking ending paragraphs in a YA novel I've read in a long while.

Maybe it's just because of my current thought process and life situation, but that quote really spoke to my soul. Up until six months ago, I was pretty gloomy and cynical and pessimistic. My future dreams and plans had been blown out of the water and trampled on, and for once in my life I didn't have any idea what I was going to do with myself. The affect this had on me was to turn me completely distrustful, negative, and hateful towards people who told me differently. They hadn't tasted the bitter brew of disappointed hopes; they were living a sugar-coated fantasy that would eventually be destroyed, just like mine.

Thanks to a few friends who didn't give up on me, and a few personal realizations, six months ago I gave up my bitterness and decided to treat my life as the gift that it is. So looking at this quote now, it makes me think back on how true it is. In this instance, Lena - the protagonist of Delirium - is talking about an oppressive government that has eradicated affection of every kind, literally fences their citizens in, and kills those who oppose them. But literal fences erected by an oppressive government aren't the only fences that exist. By holding onto our disappointments, resentments, bitterness, regrets, and hatred we create emotional and mental fences. That's what I had done to myself. And the more I held onto those things, the tighter my fences became.

Life will always throw things at us to try and make those fences exist again. Something or someone will always be trying to hem us in. But so long as we don't stop believing in the good; so long as we're not afraid to show our love - for life, for people, for our interests and passions - those fences can't keep us in.

What are your thoughts? What chord does this quote strike with you?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Day #7: Coincidence Isn't Just For Novels

Ever had that moment where you're just going about life and suddenly run into someone you never would have imagined running into at that particular time, at that particular place? What are the odds, right? What was the likelihood of both of you being at the same location at the same time?

I had that happen to me the other night. My sister and I had a Girls' Night Out this weekend. A local historic theater was playing Raiders of the Lost Ark, and of course I had to go. I grew up on Indiana Jones. And it was also the perfect excuse to check out the theater, which I've never been in. It's gorgeous and I look forward to attending more events there.

But I ran into an acquaintance there that I never would have imagined running into. The odds of us being there at the same time, same place just aren't high at all. Some people roll their eyes at coincidence in novels because the likelihood of it actually happening - or the protagonist and an old friend running into each other in London - just isn't high. But it happens. Sometimes things line up. Coincidence isn't just for novels. Don't ever assume that just because the possibility isn't high that it won't happen.

Now that I've recovered from the weirdness of that oddball occurrence, I can appreciate the weekend. It was a girls' weekend, and it's exactly what I needed. I woke up Saturday morning with a relapse into my chest cold. Bleh. And because Life sometimes likes to deliver double whammies, my friend Catherine With a C (I know two Catherines) woke up with a full-on chest cold. So our plans for Sunday night were canceled. We both need to rest.

So my mum and I took Saturday as a much-needed Mom-Daughter Day. My dad and sister were off doing something, so we got up, made a bowl of cheese-and-caramel popcorn, some virgin margaritas, and put in Eat Pray Love. While I cannot 100% relate to the protagonist's problems, that movie's ultimate message did really speak to my soul: Once you learn to love yourself, the good and the bad, you can find it within you to love others. While I didn't need a year-long tour of Italy, India, and Bali to "find myself," I did recently go through my own "self discovery" and still am a little bit. I don't suppose we ever stop learning about ourselves, though, do we?

My forever-friend Megan paid a surprise visit in the afternoon, and brought with her chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaves. Comfort food! Ever since she got busy with college, we haven't gotten to see each other very often. We've known each other literally for our whole lives and we are probably as opposite as forever-friends can get. But we are besties. It was super duper awesome to see her and gossip about life over tamales and more virgin margaritas.

With that and the movie, it was practically a perfect weekend.