Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

I mentioned that a friend of mine recently had her second baby. Unlike with the first pregnancy, second pregnancies don’t get nearly enough attention. I kind of hate that about second pregnancies because it’s still a baby, a miracle of life, a tiny individual person, and deserves just as much fuss as the first baby.

But no one asked me, so it is what it is.

Since Jen was having her second boy, I knew she didn’t need much in the way of baby-related stuff. So instead of bringing a pack of onesies I’m sure would only be worn once, I decided to go a slightly different direction with my gift and focused on her – the mom. (And who wouldn’t love that?!)

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Here’s what I gave her, and the rationale for each item:

1. A good book. When I was on maternity leave, I actually read quite a bit to pass the pumping time. Jen loves good chick lit and Nicholas Sparks is the epitome of that. At First Sight is his latest novel and while I ran the risk of her already having it, I just made sure to include a gift receipt. (Bonus: she didn’t have it already!)

2. Chocolate. It’s a must for any gift-giving occasion.

3. Starbucks Via Refreshers. For nursing moms trying to watch their caffeine intake, I knew coffee wouldn’t be a great idea, but I thought these little strawberry lemonade mixers looked yummy and would serve the purpose of helping her stay hydrated too.

4. Trailmix. When your hands are full, sometimes it’s all you can do to scarf down a handful of something. Trailmix is usually packed with good proteins to keep your energy levels high when you’re “on the go” (even if you’re just “on the go” in your own house).

5. Burt’s Bees baby shampoo and body wash. Ok, so this is actually something for the baby, but I LOVE the smell of this stuff and it seemed to be gentle on my son’s sensitive skin so I’m hoping she has a similar experience. Is there anything better than a delicious smelling baby?

6. Emery board and nail polish. The emery board serves dual purposes – for her nails AND for filing the baby’s nails because I wouldn’t get near my son’s tiny fingers with clippers those first few months. A quick file with the emery board every few days was all he needed for a long time. And the blue polish was just something fun. And what better color for a boy mom??

7. And last but not least, a candle that smells like the beach. When life gets stressful, smelling the sweet scents of coconut makes me feel like I’m on the beach, sipping a pina colada. And since we’ve been to Hawaii together, I’m hoping this little candle has the same effect for her.

8. The basket is a find from Target in their home decor section. I loved that it was cloth so she could reuse it in the baby’s nursery for toys or ointments or whatever. And it won’t splinter like a wicker or wood basket (even though I love how those look!)

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What are your go-to gifts for new* moms?

*the “new” here applies to any mom who has just given birth – whether it’s her first or fifth kid.

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The Power

I’ve been reading this book called The Power. It’s essentially a book about the power of positive thinking, and how we are all meant to have amazing, happy lives but it’s in our mind’s control on whether or not we actually do. It’s an interesting read that ties in the law of attraction and the concept of giving love in order to receive love. It also talks about gratitude and being thankful for things that we normally take for granted, like electricity, running water, and roadways. I was only part of the way through the book when I decided to start a gratitude journal. I’d heard of people keeping journals like this before, most recently from Sherry over at Young House Love, and I loved the idea of having my own “little book of happiness,” as I like to call it. So for the last few days, I’ve made it a point to keep a running list in my head of all the little things that I’m thankful for or that made me happy throughout the day, and every night I jot them down in my little journal. I even purchased a pretty little journal that makes me happy just by looking at it. And I use my favorite pen to write in it.

For the first few days, this new philosophy was great! I noticed things that I might not have noticed before – my favorite songs playing on the radio one right after the other; helpful, cheery people in the checkout lanes; a kind word (or 10) from coworkers; surprise flowers from my hubby – and life was extra happy! Then, my old ways creeped back in. Someone would ask me about my day or my weekend, and I would pick out the worst parts to tell them about. If I talk about anything, it’s usually negative because for some reason, I feel bad talking about good things. It’s so much easier to chit chat about something that annoyed me during the day than something that made me smile. Instead of saying, “I had the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich today,” I would rather tell people about the soup that came with it and how gross it was. I think in some weird, twisted way, I think putting myself or my actions down will make the other person feel better about themselves. I do it automatically, without even thinking.

It’s a hard habit to break, but I’m trying. I’m trying to focus on the positives, and ignore the not-so-positives. I’ve always been pretty happy, for the most part, but lately I’ve been more dissatisfied with life and my plans (or lack thereof) for the future. I haven’t really wanted anything for so long, and that’s mostly because I’ve just been satisfied with what I had, except I couldn’t figure out why everything was staying the same. Not that I was complaining though. The “same” was still “pretty darn good.” Now I know that I not only need to be grateful for what I have (which I’ve always done) but I need to be grateful for the things I don’t have YET. I know, it’s kind of confusing, but read the book and it will all make sense. If nothing else, this book contains some of my very favorite quotes, some of which I will leave with you today:

All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own. – Edwin Markham

The world is but a canvas to our imaginations. – Henry David Thoreau

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win. – William Shakespeare

Gratitude for the abundance you have received is the best insurance that the abundance will continue. – Muhammad

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. – Albert Einstein

Everything is possible for the person who believes. – Jesus

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Reading Fiend

I’ve never been a very fast reader. I would  try to read books at the same time as my friends and they would always finish a good two weeks before I would. I like to think that maybe they just had more free time, but the truth is, they’re just faster readers. I never “rush” through a book, mostly because I don’t know how. If I feel like I missed something, I go back and re-read paragraphs or sentences to make sure I read every line thoroughly. I often catch spelling and grammatical errors because of this, too.

But lately, I’ve surpassed my own personal goals of reading one book per month. I finished reading the fourth book in the Twilight series – Breaking Dawn – on June 3, two weeks later I finished The Shack, and two weeks after that, I finished John Grisham’s An Innocent Man. Before the end of the month, I started reading Harlan Coben’s The Woods and after finishing that on Friday, dove right into The Time Traveler’s Wife, which I hope to finish before the end of this month. And as dorky as it sounds, I get a thrill out of updating my virtual bookshelves on GoodReads. I have a few other books that I purchased from Amazon.com about two weeks ago just waiting in line to be read, so those should last me until the fall, but I’m curious – what’s the best book you’ve read lately?

And if we’re not already friends on GoodReads, you can find me here: http://goodreads.com/profile/liz8227

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1. Twlight collection in hardcover (I’ve been borrowing my boss’ books). The good news is, a little bird told me that my in-laws have purchased this for me.

 2. Snowboots. I had to shovel the driveway last year (while fighting a bad case of bronchitis). These would’ve been nice to have:

3. A personal trainer. I’m sure my workouts* would be 10 times more intense if I had someone with abs of steel barking orders at me.

*this would imply that I actually work out. And I did…for awhile… but yesterday was the first time in about 2 months I’ve set foot in a gym. It’s pathetic. If only tummy tucks and lipo weren’t so… invasive.

4. Anything argyle

5. New dishes. I currently have two sets of dishes – hubby’s white and blue set from Wal-Mart, and my first anniversary (of dating) set from Bloomingdale’s that hubby bought for me in Chicago. Oddly enough, my expensive set from Bloomingdale’s has chipped and cracked while the Wal-Mart stuff has held up like steel. I’m leaning toward a purely white set like this white pearl set from Crate & Barrel (NOT pictured below) though if left to purchase them myself, will likely come from Target instead.

And thus concludes my wishlist for Xmas 2008.

Wait…it feels like I’m forgetting something…

Oh, right.

No list is complete without the Stamos.

There.  That’s better.

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I never thought I’d say this…

But I have a crush on a vampire. A completely fictional character from, what else? The book Twilight.

I just started reading it over the weekend and I’m only about 200 pages in, but holy crow is this book addictive. I have to force myself to put it down so I can get a good night’s sleep. And for anyone that knows me and my inability to stay awake while reading, particularly at night, understands that this is quite the big deal.

So now you know, dear Interwebs. I’m cheating on you with a “hard” copy novel. No pun intended. And blame the imaturity on the young adult literature.


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Because it’s Friday and I just love Fridays (both the day, as well was the restaurant), I figured I would take a moment to talk about some of the other things I love, besides my new camera of course. 


I’m about 35 pages from the end of this book. It’s an easy, enjoyable read and if I didn’t have a husband who is greatly annoyed by bedside lamps, I would already be finished with it. It’s not a life changing book or anything (not unless there’s something spectacular in those last 35 pages) but it’s good.

Okay, I realize it’s lame to blog about my love for a cleaning product, but I can not get enough of the bald man. I use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on everything! Tile, sink, shower, walls…It’s the only thing that works to get the grout in my kitchen floors cream colored again instead of the brown it usually resembles after a month of shoes and muddy paws walking all over it. Which reminds me, I should probably clean my floors before we take off for vacation. There are few things that annoy me more than coming home to a dirty house.

Though this pic is about two years old, Sam Adams Octoberfest still tops my list of favorite beers. If it wasn’t raining here in the Midwest, we would pick up a case tonight and sit out by the fire pit. Instead, we’ll probably pick up a six-pack and just sit on the couch and watch The Sopranos.

Speaking of…

Not since high school have I ever had the luxury of HBO. We’re basic cable kind of people. Actually, we’re Blockbuster kind of people, which is why I’m now into watching TV shows on DVD. I figured I’d start with The Sopranos to see what all the hype was about a few years ago. And so far, I’m loving it. So is my husband. In fact we nearly got into it last night over this damn show because after watching an episode, we realized the next episode on the disc was actually the season finale for season 2. Oh the suspense! It was almost 11pm and hubby wanted to stay up and watch it. I (aka the voice of reason) said we should go to bed and save it for the next night. Eventually, I won the debate, but it took some convincing.

So tell me, what are you loving today?

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