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.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Bookworm's Corner #1

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'm Currently Reading

- Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan: On page 198
- Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales: This week, I read (coming soon)
- Anderson's Best-Loved Fairy Tales: This week, I read (coming soon)
- Wolfsblood by Hazel West: On page 192
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling: On page 171
- Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie: On page 82
- Dracula by Bram Stoker: On page 320
- Twilight by Stephanie Meyer: On page (coming soon)


White Wine Chicken

This recipe is courtesy of Happy Wives Club!

I paired this delicious recipe with garlic knots and a bed of fettuccine. It's very filling, very yummy, and pretty quick to make, too!

4-6 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup olive oil
1 cup flour
1 stick butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp parsley, chopped
1 lemon
5 oz white wine (I used Barefoot Charbonney)
3 chicken bouillon cubes (the original recipe calls for 6; 3 is just fine unless you want it really salty)

- In a shallow bowl, dip the chicken breasts in flour, until they're lightly coated. Dust off any excess.
- Cut lemon in half and juice one of the slices. Cut the other half into wedges and set aside.
- Pour olive oil into a large skillet until it coats the bottom and heat over medium-low heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Cook until it turns white, but not totally cooked through. Remove the chicken and place on a separate plate.
- Lower the heat and add the parsley and garlic. When the garlic turns transparent, add the butter, wine, and lemon juice. Let it simmer on low heat.
- In a container with a lid, add 10 oz of hot water and the bouillon cubes. Shake vigorously (the bouillon cubes don't have to be completely melted). Add 2 tbsp of flour, then shake vigorously again. Add this mixture to the skillet.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Put the chicken in a baking dish and pour the sauce over it.
- Bake chicken for 20-30 minutes.
- Serve with pasta! Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and squeeze a lemon slice over it all.