Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Hunger Games Series, by Suzanne Collins

Last week I told you that I was reading the final book of The Hunger Games Series, Mockingjay. Pam commented that the third book got mixed reviews. I was intrigued, but didn't want to look up those reviews because I didn't want it to influence my opinion.

Having finished the book (literally reading just over half of it on one Sunday morning), I have to say that I have mixed reviews of my own. Please be warned that if you are one of the few deprived people that have yet to read the series, there are spoilers in the rest of this review.

First, I would like to say that the first book, The Hunger Games, was by far my favorite! I loved Katniss's character because she was strong, independent, and rough around the edges. She continued to be engaging and strong in Catching Fire, which was such a riveting sequel. I am not going to break down each book for you, but I must say that Mockingjay didn't quite live up to my expectations. Really though, with how much I fell in love with the first two books, I don't know that there was anything Suzanne Collins could have done to live up to my unreachably high expectations.

See, I felt that as the story progressed in the sequels, the strong Katniss that I loved became somewhat of a bystander through a lot of Mockingjay, even part of Catching Fire, and missed pretty much all of the major events; being broken out of the arena during the Quarter Quell, the rescuing of Peeta, the ending of the civil war that she helped start and was the voice of. I wanted Katniss to be an active part of the story, but she either was passed out or just waiting around.

I should probably take the time to mention, though, that I was so engrossed in the final book that I felt like I had rushed through it and had I taken my time, I likely would have cried a lot during the third part of the last book. Taking my time could also change the way I feel about the book overall. But I was just so anxious to find out how this saga ended: Do the rebels prevail? If so, does a new kind of Capitol emerge (because really, although District 13 doesn't have the Hunger Games, they are still oppressing their people)? Does Katniss choose Peeta or Gale? More importantly, do all the main characters even live?

Hence, came my biggest problem with Mockingjay: The death of Prim. Of all the characters that I felt Suzanne Collins could have killed off, Prim was not one of them. Katniss's entire reason for living was to protect her little sister. It was the reason that she was in The Hunger Games to begin with. With the death of Prim, Katniss failed at her mission and, for me, it marked the end of the Katniss that I had come to know and love. It wasn't bittersweet, it was just bitter.

Having said all that, though, I have to say that the very end of the book, specifically the last couple of paragraphs and the epilogue, couldn't have been written any better. In fact, I read those last few pages several times after I had finished the book! It was just that good. The character development of Katniss as a woman was perfect; her deep seated fears were still there, but through Peeta, she was able to have that little bit of hope for the future that anyone would need in order to continue on with their life after such a traumatic event. My bitter ending became bittersweet.

I can't express enough how much I enjoyed this series and I am very sad to have finished it! I had recommended the books to my boyfriend, John, and he got the audio version, which I am now listening to so I can relive Suzanne Collins's wonderful story and characters. Hopefully this will keep me occupied enough until the movie comes out!

I can honestly say that the next time I am asked what my favorite book is, it will undoubtedly be The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hunger Games Fan Made Trailer

As you know, I have been reading The Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins (review of the books to come soon!). I am super attached to the books and as with all books that I love, I make my own personal dream cast for the potential movie. I haven't found everyone that I think would be great, but based on looks alone, I found my Peeta Mellark.

My daughter LOVES "You Belong With Me" by Taylor Swift and so I let her watch the video recently and as I was watching the video with her, I thought to myself that the boy in the video, Lucas Till, is exactly what I would imagine Peeta to look like. Yay or nay?

Today, a co-worker sent me this article and at the bottom of the page was a list of trailers made by fans. I clicked on one that had Dakota Fanning's little sister in the still shot and lo and behold... my Peeta!

I don't know why I got so excited. Maybe it's because he isn't a well known actor and someone else still shared my same opinion.

I just can't wait for the movie to come out!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Home Edition: Kitchen Handles

I have mentioned before that despite the fact that I have lived in my house for nearly two years, we still have a long way to go to furnish it.

One of the purchases that we have put off was handles for the kitchen drawers and cabinets. Mainly because I was bitter that the previous owners took them as well as the blinds from every window. Between blinds/curtains and kitchen handles, we opted for the luxury of privacy and bought the blinds first. Anyway, the time came for us to finally start looking for the handles a couple of weeks ago and now I don't know why we waited so long to buy them.

We ordered them online because it was too hard to find a matching set in the store. See, the upper cupboards had holes that were drilled six inches apart and the bottom cupboards had holes three inches apart. I wanted them to match and there were some slim pickings of matching handles in different sizes in the store. The employee at Lowe's suggested that we order it online because there is a much bigger selection. We did go online but ended up buying them from Knobs 4 Less (insert immature laughter here).

After looking at the available selection, I decided that I rather liked the darker handles with the brass finish. I also had the idea of using the "cup" pulls for the drawers and handles for the cupboards. I think it turned out rather well. What do you think?

The finished product!

3" cup pulls for the drawers.

6" handles on the upper cupboards

3" handles on the lower cabinets

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Hunger Games

Image borrowed from Feli's Book Corner
My goodness, how in the world have I lived this long without reading The Hunger Games? Of course I had heard of the series by Suzanne Collins from numerous people and blogs. It was certainly on my list of books to read, but I just never got around to it.

Recently a co-worker offered to loan a copy to me, but she needed it back in a couple of weeks. I was a little weary because I am a pretty slow reader, but she said, "I really don't think you will need that long to finish it though. It is one of those books that once you start, you will likely zip through the rest of it."

That was the understatement of the year.

Once I started reading The Hunger Games, I was hooked! I neglected my house and my family to finish reading the first part of Katniss Everdeen's story (um, and how great is that name?! The prediction around the office is that "Katniss" will start rising in popularity amongst baby girl names). I loved the book so much that I decided to buy the box set - in hardcover! Gasp! Any books that I have purchased for the last two years were made on my Kindle, but these books are so good that I wanted to have a set to display on my bookshelves. So, in the last week, I have finished the The Hunger Games as well as the sequel, Catching Fire, and am currently beginning the third and last book of the series (sad!), Mockingjay.

It's funny how one persons amazing writing can inspire me. After reading these books, I started to work on my current WIP again, after a month of no writing. My WIP is absolutely not the same genre as Suzanne Collins's books, but it still got me motivated. I was even talking to my honey about collaborating on something together! He doesn't write or read much, but he listens to books on tape, his favorite being The Legend of the Seeker, by Terry Goodkind. He also loves role playing games because of the storylines and the backgrounds and has been working on his own RPG video game off and on for a couple of years. I was thinking it would be fun for us to come up with a plot together and he could give me input on magic and other fantasy type subjects and then I could get to writing them and include my own fun love story in the midst of it. Suprisingly, John didn't laugh at my suggestion and was actually very intrigued by this idea! Don't hold your breath though, we have all seen how long it has taken me to write a story on my own.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bella Journal 3/3/11

Well hello! My it has been a while. I have been super busy lately at work and in my home life, which leaves no time to read my favorite blogs, let alone write my own posts! I can't wait to get reaquainted with you guys!

Like I said, my house is an absolute mess right now, borderline unlivable. But we have some new furniture and the rooms that are "done" are looking great! I will share some pictures of my home with you shortly!

To start off this week, I have another lovely drawing done by my daughter. She is in a Pre-K class right now and they have journals that they write in about once a week. The kids draw the pictures and the teachers write what the kids are narrating to them about the the picture. This was Bella's entry from last Thursday:

I would like to clarify that my dress was so tight that I barely ate that night. Also, my daughter wasn't at the same table I was during dinner. Any other night, her statement would probably be true. Ah, gotta love kids!

One more MAJOR thing to share... I am going to The Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos in October! Time to go on that Turks and Caicos diet! Be prepared for diet and exercise posts to start up again!

Monday, February 7, 2011


If you were to ever meet my daughter, you would gush over how cute she is. Really, she is darling! There is so much I love about her: her giggle, her energy, her sense of humor (yes, she tells jokes!), her sweetness, just so much about her is amazing. However, an ego-boost she is not:

I did laugh out loud the moment I saw this. Kids really do say the darndest things! Yes, the statement is true that Mommy is bigger than Bella, but really? Of all the things out there, she had to pick the one that was so body-conscious? Oh my love, thank you for keeping Mommy in check. Time to hit the gym folks!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rachel Roy Booties

I recently went shopping and I wanted to share my favorite purchase with you. These amazing Rachel Roy "Roye" suede booties:

They were on the top shelf of the clearance rack. I saw them and picked them up, you know, "just to look". From the front, I had expected a stilletto heel, but when I saw they were wedges, I gasped and had to try them on! They were half a size smaller than what I normally wear, but they happened to fit perfectly! Ok, they are a little snug, but they certainly zip up with no problems. It feels like there is some extra cushion in the sole so they are super comfortable. These babies ended up being half off and I knew that it was a sign from the Shopping Gods! Done deal, they are mine. Amazing, right?!

If I was skinny, my ideal way to wear these beauties would be with a pair of black or jewel-toned tights and a short bubble skirt or even a tight patterend skirt. Sadly, for now, they remain covered up under a pair of slacks.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Lauren Alaina

It is very rare that I watch TV shows during its original airing. In some ways, DVR has ruined my social life, but whatever.

So, recently we caught up with American Idol and on one of last week's episodes there was this young lady and she blew me away. Enough that I just had to blog about her. Watch the entire video, she sings twice!

Sorry, Faith, but young Lauren Alaina sang your song better than you did! The tone of this girl's voice is so pleasing and the control she has over it is amazing. There are so many talents out there that I would love to own, and singing is one of them. What would it be like to just be able to blow people away with some amazing pipes like this? I would throw concerts out of my garage every weekend if I could sing like this. She has my vote!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

There are so many things in life that I would love to splurge on: clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry, makeup - gosh, I could really go on and on. Sadly, I usually don’t have the funds to backup my outrageous shopping cravings and have to settle on less luxurious stuff. However, the one thing that I believe takes precedence over all other material things is my home. We moved into our house in June of 2009 and slowly but surely we are furnishing the house, however, a lot of work and big purchases are still needed:

- Formal dining room set.
Although this isn’t a priority since we have a big table in our informal dining area and I have thrown out the idea of putting up bookshelves and placing some chairs in there as a reading “nook”. At the moment this space is housing Bella’s trampoline and other toys.

- Blinds in the master bedroom and spare room.
Yes, the previous owners took the blinds with them. I didn’t really see a point in taking them. I mean, their new place probably doesn’t even have the same sized windows!

- Handles for the kitchen cabinets.
That’s right, the previous owners took all of the cabinet handles in the kitchen as well. Ok, I get that they aren’t the cheapest things in the world, but what if the place they move into already has handles? And what if they are now renting and can’t really put those handles on anyway.

- Coffee table and extra seating for the family room.
We splurged on a nice recliner for two, which I love, but I have found myself sitting on the floor on more than one occasion when we didn’t have enough seating.

- Other frivolous décor.
Our walls are pretty bare, so some artwork or shelving; something to really make a house a home.

As you can see, there is a lot of work to do in my home, so it is a good thing that John recently got his bonus from work (which is about the same amount I make in eight months as a receptionist!) and has allotted me a little bit of money for “house stuff”. I never have extra money for this kind of thing, so I was super excited to have a chance to get creative and, again, start turning my house into a home. For this post, I wanted to share some of the home décor that I found. The bigger ticket items will be for another time.

Let me preface the below décor ideas with telling you that all of the furniture in our house has pretty much been chosen by me. Of course I only picked things that were gender neutral so that John wouldn't feel like he was living in a cupcake; I am super girly and my ideal home would have pink and white everywhere, flowers, lace, ruffles, hearts, canopy beds, flowing curtains, overstuffed sofas and chairs, and – ok, you get the picture. Since the rest of the house is so contemporary and something I basically compromised my personal style on so that John would also be comfortable, I have been granted free reign on our as of yet empty spare room.

I am pretty set on a romantic, modern version of a Victorian era room and have found some wonderful knickknacks at www.shopplasticland.com, which I first heard of through Mimi at Irresistible Icing.

Black Baroque Oval Picture Frame $24.00

Cast Iron Key in Lock Hook Wall Hooks - Set of 3 $22.00

Set of 3 Antiqued Vintage Style Mirrors $52.00

Black Baroque Noir Candlestick Lighter $14.00

And how cute are these teacups?! I thought they would look really pretty on a decorative shelf.

Do you love?!

I have such visions for this room and hope it comes out just right! John's family is probably coming to stay with us for a visit (they live in DC) in June and I would love to not only have our spare room furnished, but completely decorated as well!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekend Roundup

Having children is expensive. It is the most expensive venture a person will take on. Adding to the cost of your own children is other people's children.

This time of year seems to be the birthday season. Everytime I check my daughter's folder at her daycare, there seems to always be an invitation in there. Bella and I have different reactions to seeing an envelope in her folder: as Bella screams for joy, "Yay! Are we going to the party after naptime?!", Mommy is grunting in her head (whatever, I know other parents must think the same thing when they get an invitation for Bella's party!).

We had two birthday parties this weekend and a memorial service. Hmm, sounds like the making of a good movie á la Four Weddings and a Funeral. Anyway, Saturday was no big deal, went to the jump house (Bella jumped so much that she was super sweaty and I saw a boy touch Bella's head to see what was glistening), ate cake and fruit, went home. Perfect, my kind of party.

Sunday was another story. I took Bella to her very first drop-off party, which was a Princess Spa theme. I was nervous about leaving her at someone's house, but she was too excited to care that I was leaving her. I went straight home and started getting ready for the memorial service to follow. I drove back to the party to pick Bella up, which was just under 30 minutes from my house. I then drove back towards home, where my brother lives close by, just to find out that he wasn't going! Great, that was a waste of gas. I had to turn around and drive 40 minutes south to pick up my mom. We then drove another 20 minutes south to the memorial service in Seattle. Had no problems finding the church, but was very discouraged when I found out the church doors were locked. I tried to call all of our relatives and finally reached my cousin who informed me that the memorial service was on Saturday!

Let's recap that:

Dropping Bella off at a party:
Marysville to Everett 30 minutes
Everett to Marysville 30 minutes

Picking Bella up from party and intending to pick up my brother and his wife:
Marysville to Everett 30 min
Everett to Marysville 30 min

Driving South to pick up Grandma after finding out my trip back to Marysville was useless:
Marysville to Lynnwood 35-40 min

Driving to the memorial service:
Lynnwood to Seattle 20 min

Driving back after finding out that the entire trip had been worthless as we were there on the wrong day:
Seattle to Lynnwood 20 min
Lynnwood to Marysville 35-40 min

I spent way too many hours driving yesterday to pointless destinations. I literally used half a tank of gas in two days. To put this into perspective, a full tank will usually last me eight days, sometimes nine or ten.

I have four sorted loads of laundry sitting on my floor, waiting to be washed as I wasted time driving all over the state of Washington this weekend. Hopefully your weekend was better spent!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kids Are So Innocent

This was a fun little drawing that my five-year-old made for me of our small family. She was very cute and told me that it says, "Mom, Bella and Dad." I had to point out that, "Umm, I think that says 'bab', honey." She looked at it and giggled. In addition to "bab", there are a ton of things about this picture that would make one smile: the flower being bigger than the child, the fact that my hair looks like gigantic ears, that there is no way our bodies could possibly fit in the tiny house, etc. But the funniest part? Dad, on the far right, is looking a little, well, how to put this lightly? Phallic...

Happy Friday!

Monday, January 10, 2011

One Week Down

Saturday marked my one week abstinence from soda, which included a kid's birthday party, thank you very much! I find it hardest to to resist at home since my house is stocked full of soda. I was tempted several times at the birthday party to indulge in one cup of soda, just one! But I know myself, and the moment I start, I won't be able to stop again. One week down, 51 more to go!

On another note, right before winter break, I started writing again. It started out as such a great idea in my head, but it is slowly turning into a very poorly written romance novel. I am determined to finish this book, though, if only just to go with the momentum and prove to myself that I can keep up with this hobby of mine. I am about 30,000 words into it.

As I am writing and reading more, more new voices and plots pop into my head and I am horribly tempted to veer away from my current project and move onto the next, but I want to stay focused!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Less than half of the American population will stay committed to their New Year's Resolution past the six month mark.

Every year, I make the same resolutions and every year, I break them. Instead of the habitual "I will lose weight this year!" I have decided to modify that goal with another one that is equally as weight-loss involved and possibly more difficult.

I am quitting soda.

Yes, yes. I know that may seem like such a meaningless goal to the rest of you, but if you can imagine giving up your greatest vice (e.g. cigarettes, weed, gambling, SHOES!) then you have an inkling of how much of a feat this goal really is. Yes, I am basically telling you that soda is my crack. There is nothing more potent on a summer day than the crisp sound of an ice cold Coca-Cola Classic can being opened. To understand my addiction, you will need to take a peek at my pantry:

I had lunch at my brother's house yesterday and when I told his wife about my resolution, she gasped! My family is well aware of my addiction to this sugary bubbly and I am sure they don't think I can really give it up. I probably should've started with giving it up for Lent and seen how that went; 40 days is a lot more feasible than 365. Go big or go home!

I am hoping that eliminating this kryptonite from my daily diet will allow me to lose weight naturally and that I don't substitute it with something else. Day One was no problem for me at all and I am doing great on Day Two so far. Only 363 days to go!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Happy New Year!

Yes, I have been absent from blogging, yet again! With New Year's comes all those wonderful resolutions just waiting to be broken! But more on that when it isn't so late in the day.

My New Year's Eve was rather mellow. John and I played with one of his Christmas presents - an electronic dartboard (with built in trash-talking feature!). At midnight, we allowed Bella to play with silly string, but that wasn't the best idea I have ever had - it was a pain to get out of her hair and out of my floor!

I hope you had a wonderful New Year's Eve too! Bring it on 2011!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pre-Thanksgiving Rant

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. The day that I am supposed to acknowledge all that I am thankful for.

But today? Today is my day to acknowledge the crappy last few days that I have had.

Last week, I had car troubles. Took the car to get fixed, spent a little over $200 to "fix" it, then got stuck in Seattle and had the car towed 45 miles or so.

Monday was the worst though. It snowed heavily on Monday and I live on top of a series of hills. I got stuck. Royally stuck. About a foot from hitting the car parked by the sidewalk behind me. Finally got home 4 1/2 hours later.

Still working on the details of the posts for the above mentioned "mishaps". Suffice it to say, this week has sucked. Hopefully, I will have a fun happy post for you tomorrow!

Anyone else want to vent about their shitty lives at the moment? Now is the time to do so.