Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Magic Room

As young girls, we often dream about romance and our wedding day.
We buy into the Disney Dream, of princes riding up on white horses to rescue us from our ordinary lives.

But that's not usually how things turn out.
These days we have to be our own prince...
work hard to buy our own white horse and rescue ourselves.

And, I have to admit, I'd rather rescue myself than have someone else do it for me.

I just finished reading The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow for the BlogHer Book Club.

It focuses on the a 7-generation Bridal store in Fowler, Michigan, stories about the family who has run it and the brides who buy their dresses there.

The stories were overwhelming.
many different brides and different issues.
But overall it touched on the hope that women have about their weddings
and the dreams parents and grandparents have for their daughters and granddaughters on their wedding day...
and how picking out the dress plays such a huge part of that. 

I married my high school sweetheart at age 19, pregnant and rushed,
but my wedding was magical and wonderful.

Now I'm 34, and I've grown up.
I have two wonderful boys, and I'm separated from my husband. 

I'm a bit bitter about marriage, so reading this book was emotional for me.
I found myself cynical about the love stories.
But, then there's the lining of hope that resides around the edges of this story...and I can't help but feel it.

Hope it such an important aspect in our lives. As is love.
Some of us get it wrong at first.
But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist, right?

Join our discussion about weddings, love and marriage over on BlogHer Book Club.

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Reading Challenge


With the New Year comes changes and resolutions...
getting back into shape, 
taking on new projects, 
making ourselves better people

I'm on board with all of these! It's a good time to make changes.
And now I have a new resolution that someone recently shared with me.  
And, that's the joy of taking on a reading challenges.

I'm so excited by this idea! 
Here's the original novel challenge article from SassyMonkey at BlogHer that peaked my excitement.

There are so many options you can choose:

the food-lit challenge
the Jane Austen challenge
the Romance novel challenge
the short story challenge
the deepen your faith challenge
the finish that series challenge
the audio book challenge
3360 minutes reading challenge - read to your child at least 10 minutes every day
the Out Do Yourself challenge - read more books this calendar year than last year

Obviously you can combine challenges in some cases.  
Or you can make up your own!
There is a list of challenges on the Novel Challenge website.

A Novel Challenge

This is the first year I've made a spreadsheet 
and kept track of how many books (and which ones) I read. 
I think I'm at just under 100 books for 2011.
I'm trying to decide which challenges I want to take on...
but I'm leaning towards the Jane Austen one, 
because I don't think I've ever read all her books...
and a Sherlock Holmes one, 
because I've NEVER read Sherlock Holmes!!

Which one will you take on?

"Reading means growth.  Reading is fundamental.  Reading and expanding knowledge are not only important but they nearly essential to long term success in life."


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The PEN Ready Project from Olympus

My first camera was an Olympus 35mm that my mother gave to me when I was in high school.

I was taking a photography class my freshman year,
back when we had to load our own film 
and use dark rooms and chemicals to process.

One of our first field trips was to a junkyard.
At first I was horrified by a photography assignment there...
but once you start looking at things through a camera lens,
you won't believe what you'll find.

It was magical.

Photography is still magical to me today,
almost more so now that we have digital cameras.

To show how easy it is for everyday people to take amazing pictures
Olympus gave over 1,000 people a new Olympus PEN® E-PM1. 

It's all part of The PEN Ready Project—more than 1,000 cameras, over 1,000 people, 6 cities.  
To see what they shot, go to


This post is sponsored by Olumpus, but my words, of course, are always my own.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Just around the corner


I love this time of year. 
The leaves falling, the vibrant colors. 
Winter blustering in slowly. 

I'm looking forward to the next few days, 
where I can visit with my sister who's in town visiting, 
spend more time with my boys, 
enjoy quality moments my parents and grandmother. 

What are you looking forward to?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Secret to Morning Inspiration: Lego Star Wars?

This is the first ten days worth of my son's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar.
He LOVES it.

Every morning, he pops out of bed and goes to make his Star Wars Lego kit for the day.
BEST Advent Calendar EVER.

However, two days ago, he popped out of bed as usual...and grabbed some paper and wrote down a poem.

A poem.

A poem he took to school and made the equivalent of an A+ on!!

If only I could pop out of bed with such energy, fizzing thoughts and inspiration.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

T-Mobile Christmas Flash Mob

These holiday shoppers had NO IDEA of the holiday surprise they were about to receive. T-Mobile pulled off a great performance/flash mob.


Really touching. I'd actually go to the mall if I thought I might see this!!

This post is sponsored by T-Mobile.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

She's a lover, not a fighter

I laid down in front of Miss Annie to get a photo from her level.

She may not be able to speak to us, but she says a lot with her eyes.

She lets us know when she urgently needs to go outside to the bathroom.
Or if she's hungry.
Or if she's just begging for people food from our plates.

Or if she just needs love.

She's such a sweetie.  A lover, not a fighter.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Teenage Psychological Warfare

If you have a teenager in your life, then you know how they use psychological warfare in their combat exercises.

My 14-year-old has had two surgeries this fall.  One for his appendix and the other for a knee injury from football.  This has led to him believing that we should all wait on  him...and serve him...and bring him everything he desires.

Granted, for a short period, post-op, he needed this extra catering to his every whim...but that period is over.

And now, when I ask him to feed the dog, he tells me his knee is hurting.
When I ask him to take his dishes to the kitchen...his knee is hurting.
When I ask him to clean up his room...his knee is hurting.

But, it doesn't hurt when he plays basketball.
Or when he hops up to grab his phone.

I'm sensing a theme.

Oh, also, his latest response when I actually refuse to do something for him?

"Mama, can you pick up a steak tonight? I need meat."
"Donny, I'm not going to pick up pizza for dinner tonight."
"You don't love me anymore."

That, my friends, is teenage psychological warfare.

Have you experience this widely contagious phenomenon plaguing our nation's teenagers?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lake of Dreams

What would you do if you discovered that your family history had an unknown story? 
One that changed much of what you believed about your family? 
Would you explore it, or would you let it be? 

In Kim Edwards' Lake of Dreams, the main character, 
searches to answer a family mystery 
while also trying to decide what to do with her life. 
The author uses nature effortlessly in all her settings, 
and the history is rich with details. 

The family secret drives Lake of Dreams, 
a puzzle that goes back generations 
and intertwines with the 1910 appearance of Halley’s comet, 
the suffragist movement in upstate New York, 
and the burgeoning early 20th-century industry in the Finger Lakes region. 

I loved the symbolism built into the earthquakes in Japan and the study of water.  
The glass making and the lock picking.  

There were so many wonderful aspects to this book, that I read it so quickly...
but for some reason was left with a sense of dissatisfaction when it was complete. 
I'm not sure why.  
But, I'd recommend it as a good read.

This book made me want to go sit down with my grandmother and listen to her memories. 
To get them down and preserve them for future generations. 
I never make the time to do that, and I really want to!

Join in on our discussion about Lake of Dreams over on BlogHer Book Club!