This weekend I finished my first book of 2011, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.
This was a truly fantastic book. Franzen is an amazing writer that paints scenes and characters with beautiful and witty language. And while I didn't find myself liking a lot of the characters for much of the story, I was incredibly captivated with them and how real they were. This is one of those books that "stays with you" for days. I give it 5 stars/5 stars and highly recommend it. I almost want to read it again!
But tomorrow I start reading The Help and I am excited!
In March I'm going to be a bridesmaid in my soon-to-be sister-in-law's wedding. I just ordered my dress and this is what it looks like. It's really cute, but I am not 100% sure about how I feel about the bubble hem.
Last week I finally bought new skis after skiing on the same skis for nine season! I bought the K2 True Luv skis. I'm so excited to try them out in Utah next week!
I have not owned K2 skis since my FIRST pair of skis in 1988, which were K2 Mickey skis that looked like this...
In an effort to complete the never-ending name change process I finally took a new passport photo. Apparently you're not allowed to smile with teeth in passport photos anymore. Oh and he made me move my bangs to the side all wonky. So my goofy new passport picture looks like this...
This weekend I finished putting the 2010 Christmas cards in my "Christmas Card Scrapbook" that I started in 2009. I love it!
The Mr. and I just finished watching Season 4 of Dexter of Netflix. Holy intense season batman! It was as good as Season 2 and may have been the best season yet.
This living proof that our cat Judah is crazy and will literally play with anything. This is him playing with a green bean that he stole off of the counter while I was cooking dinner.
On Friday night I made Kale Chips for the first time using the Kath Eats recipe. Delish! I didn't even know that I liked kale, but I got some from our CSA so I decided to give it a try. Thanks to my tweeps, Mrs. Smith and Rachel for the help!
I finally bought a new desk chair for my home office and it's awful. It was just $30, so I guess you get what you pay for. Sigh. Does anyone know where to buy a nice but inexpensive desk chair?
I'm now contemplating buying this as wedding gift... via
Speaking of scripture word art, I love how beautiful and modern this is... via Don't you love that verse written out that way?
I would be so happy to someday hang this in my child's nursery... via My parents used to sing that to me and I think it's just the most adorable song. I'd love to design a a modern, whimsical, sunny nursery around this art someday.
And this is pretty awesome for a nursery too... via
I love this as a shower gift if you know the baby's name... via
OK, enough baby stuff. Here's just another fun one that I liked a lot... via If I had an office at work (instead of being on the road), I'd hang it there.
Those are just some of my favorites that are out there. The possibilities are limitless!
So what phrase, motto, or verse would you like to have on the walls of your home?
2011 is definitely going to bring lots more business travel, which means more fun travel too!
We are probably not doing any international travel this year because in 2010 I earned a 2011 Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. So anytime I fly on a Southwest Airlines flight the Mr. can fly with me for FREE. Pretty awesome, right? So we're trying to maximize that pass. :)
Here's our travel plans as I know them thus far, but I've only officially booked the first two...
January - Santa Cruz and Monterey A friend is getting married in Santa Cruz but the Mr. and I are making a three day trip out of it.
February - Salt Lake City Skiing! The Mr. has never been to SLC, so I'm excited to take him.
March - Oregon The Mr's younger brother is getting married in Oregon. And we're going to stay an extra day and go skiing on Mt. Hood.
April - New Orleans I've never been to New Orleans, so I think a trip is in order! I know lots of you have been there so I'll definitely be asking for advice when we confirm our trip.
May - Arizona We had SO much fun at the Westin Kierland in Arizona last summer that we're definitely going back.
June - Napa I'm ashamed to admit this, both as a wine-lover and a Californian, but I've been to every wine region in California except Napa. Isn't that crazy?
July - San Diego Friend I've known since I was born is getting married.
August - Oregon Annual camping trip.
September/October - East Coast Since we don't have a September/October trip planned I was thinking of going out the East Coast. Maybe see my Mom in Boston or maybe try to go to Washington DC and the mid-Atlantic. TBD based on a lot of other life factors. :)
I used to be SUPER intimidated by green cleaning. I wasn't sure what I needed to clean green or how it would work. But I discovered it was SUPER easy.
All I need are these ingredients: (Baking Soda, Castile Soap, Vinegar, Lemon, and empty spray bottles)
And some cloth rags and my house can be totally clean. And green!
I use bulk castile soap and bulk vinegar, cut them with water, and put them in spray bottles to make my main cleaning supplies. Here are my recipes...
Castile Soap Mix recipe: - 1 empty spray bottle - 1 teaspoon of castile soap - Fill bottle with water Note: You can buy Castile Soap at Trader Joe's.
How to use: Spray on granite counters, wood furniture, and pretty much anything that needs cleaning and wipe down with a rag. I literally use this on walls, floors, cabinets, surfaces and furniture. Everything shines!
This Christmas was definitely different than years past. I'd be lying if I said we had a very good Christmas overall. Not to say that we didn't have a wonderful time with my family, or eat great food, or have a great time exchanging gifts. It's just that we were not really in the "happy holidays" spirit. (Sorry if that sounds depressing or bratty, but I gotta keep it real with you all here)
You can tell I wasn't in the spirit by the fact that I hardly took any pictures. But we did manage to take our annual, obligatory, "in front of the Christmas tree" photo at my parent's house:
But I am very thankful to my parents, the Mr., and my Grandma for doing thier absolute best to make my spirits bright, including giving me some wonderful gifts.
The Mr. gave me the William-Sonoma Goldtouch pans that many of you recommended to me. I can't wait to make cookies on them.
He also gave me the book, "Freedom", which I recently started reading and am enjoying a lot.
My Dad knows what a germaphobe the Mr. is so he gave us these awesome new "elevate" cooking utentisils. They have this little thing on the back that keeps them elevated when resting. Genius!
My Mom also gave me this herbal bean-filled heating/cooling pad that she got a craft fair. I love it! I think I may have gotten the most use out of this so far than anything!
"Judah" bought me this to go on my desk. Kind of looks like him, right? :)
And my grandma gave me money, which was much appreciated, because I am in the market to buy new skis, and will probably put the money toward that. I'm considering the K2 True Luv Skis. And this purse was a HUGE added bonus present that my Mom bought for me when we found it on super sale at Nordstrom while doing "day after Christmas" shopping. It's so pretty and goes so well with my new wallet. Thank you Momma!
What were your favorite Christmas gifts this year? Did you get any "day after Christmas" deals?
May – Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah 3 stars out of 5. My full review here.
May - The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan 5 stars out of 5. My full review here.
June – Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner 2 stars out of 5. My full review here.
July – I Will Carry You by Angie Smith 5 stars out of 5. My full review here.
August – The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain 5 stars out of 5. My full review here.
September – Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver 3 stars out of 5. My full review here.
September - Baby Proof by Emily Giffin 3 stars out of 5. My full review here.
October – Stuff Christians Likeby Jon Acuff
3 stars out of 5. This was fun little read. I picked it up because I've read the blog "Stuff Christians Like." This book made me laugh out loud a few times, but it was not Pulitzer prize winner. :)
November – Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall 5 stars out of 5. I know this book is a fan-favorite of bloggers and it did not disappoint! Beautiful, touching, engaging story. I bawled my eyes out reading the end on the plane ride to Oregon for Thanksgiving.
December – The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian 4 stars out of 5. I actually spent almost all year reading this and finished it up in December. I really enjoyed reading it a couple times a week as a night time devotional. I definitely know how to better pray for my husband because of it.
Did you read any of these books in 2010? What did you think?