Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Classy Bookshelf: 2014 in Review

2014 was a pretty good year in books, I'm not going to lie.  I felt like I read some really excellent books, some really overly hyped books (looking at you, The Goldfinch)... it was just a solid year.

Let's look back, shall we?

In 2010, I read 65 books and didn't document them particularly well on the blog.
In 2011 (the year I met Mr. RH and fell head over heels), I read only 39 books!
In 2012, I got engaged and read 78 books! Those were the days.
In 2013, I read 63 books.  Not my best work!

And this past year, 2014, I read.... 71 books, out of my goal of 73 books.  In my defense, I was positive I nailed 73 books with a few days to go, so I got lazy.

Come to find out, as I'm reviewing my list on Goodreads - I had TWO books listed twice.  FAIL FAIL FAIL.  Stinking goodreads... isn't there a way to make sure I don't do that?!  Ugh, broke my damn heart.

I set my goal at 75 for 2015... I'm really not sure about that AT ALL.  I think 73 was hard (and come to find it was only 71!!)... so who knows.  In retrospect... I do not like to fail at anything... but oh well.  I guess I'm going to have to carve out some reading time!

I'm using the following color-coding system for my recommendations: 

MUST READS (Bold and green!)
Excellent Reads (Blue!)
Hated the Plot Reads (Red)
And the ones in black...meh.  Clearly they didn't make an impact.

  1. A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff
  2. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
  3. Legend by Marie Lu
  4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  5. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  6. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  7. Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
  8. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  9. Partials by Dan Wells
  10. Perfect Timing by Jill Mansell
  11. The Selection by Kiera Cass
  12. Easy by Tammara Webber
  13. Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
  14. Someday Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham
  15. The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski
  16. The Elite by Kiera Cass
  17. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  18. Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
  19. The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot
  20. Prodigy by Marie Lu
  21. Champion by Marie Lu
  22. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  23. Waiting for You by Shey Stahl
  24. The Wager by Rachel van Dyken
  25. The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window by Kirsty Moseley
  26. The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore
  27. The Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore
  28. The Prince by Kiera Cass
  29. Single by Saturday by Catherine Bybee
  30. Mint Juleps & Justice by Nancy Naigle
  31. Wait for You by J. Lynn
  32. Innocence by Dean Koontz
  33. The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani
  34. The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle
  35. A Not So Model Home by David James
  36. Angelfall by Susan Ee
  37. The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank
  38. World After by Susan Ee
  39. Unravel Me by Taherah Mafi
  40. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
  41. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
  42. The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger
  43. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
  44. The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty
  45. The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
  46. The Matchmaker by Erin Hilderbrand
  47. Shades of the Earth by Beth Revis
  48. Son by Lois Lowry
  49. Messenger by Lois Lowry
  50. A Million Suns by Beth Revis
  51. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  52. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
  53. The Dead & The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  54. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  55. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  56. The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani
  57. The World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  58. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
  59. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
  60. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
  61. The One by Kiera Cass
  62. The Storied Life of A. J. Firkey by Gabrielle Zevin
  63. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  64. Isolation by Dan Wells
  65. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
  66. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
  67. Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
  68. The Ladies Room by Carolyn Brown
  69. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
  70. People I Want to Punch in The Throat by Jen Mann
  71. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
By the numbers:
  • 2011:  16,801 pages
  • 2012:  25,706 pages
  • 2013:  20,638 pages
  • 2014:  23,971 pages
A 16% increase in one year... not too shabby!  I don't have such high aspirations for this year... maybe just break even?

If you need a a less-intense list of book recommendations, I would suggest:  The Selection series by Kiera Cass, anything by Rainbow Rowell but especially Attachments, anything by Liane Moriarty but especially What Alice Forgot, The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen (will be reading more of her in 2015!), Across the Universe series by Beth Revis, The Legend series by Marie Lu, Innocence by Dean Koontz (out of my normal genre but excellent), and The Giver quartet by Lois Lowry.  All excellent and well worth the read!

If you have a list of book suggestions or a year-in-review post - I would love to read it!  Leave me a comment and I'll be exploring it!!

Happy Reading!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

All Quiet on the Blogging Front

I have been burning to get a post out of my fingertips for days... but unfortunately, work hit the fan over the past week and I feel like all I've done for the past 11 days is eat, sleep, and go back to work.  With a side of online shopping.

So I've been a bit of a zombie lately, but in the midst of the crazy I have been fixating on something that happened during Halloween.  I had been wanting to dress up as Rosie the Riveter for over a year now, ever since I had a cute headscarf in my Forever 21 cart a million years ago and it got away from me.  RIP F21 HEADSCARF.

Etsy to the rescue.

Bonus points to everyone who didn't think I was Lucille Ball.... which was approximately almost everyone.

Side note:  That pic was taken with my husband's brand spankin new iPhone 6 plus, which apparently besides being super ridiculous takes extremely sharp and focused pictures.  I mean, I can see every stray hair and forehead scrunch wrinkle.  Dang.  Luckily I should be the proud owner of a contract that's ready to be renewed on... Black Friday.

So I wore the scarf, loved the scarf, became obsessed with the scarf.  (Bandana?  Headband?)

Either way, one of my customers nominated this to be my "holiday look" for the year, and I'm pretty much obsessed.

I already have the red polka dot on the bottom left... and I need the red/white/blue because I'm American... but I'm just overwhelmed with possibilities for the other ones I need.

I mean.... the possibilities are endless when you think of clipping on a little pin, sparkly hairbow, etc.  I seriously don't know which ones to order.  (All these pics are from SandChica's etsy shop.)

I think I'm going to try to limit myself to maybe 5 head scarves.  That's not excessive, right? 

And damn if the shop isn't having a sale.  What's a girl to do?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Every year on this day, I open my computer, go to my pictures and expect to see something new.  There's a little piece of my brain that can't reconcile the fact that there are no new pictures of my mom in there. 

I think that one of these days I will "get it", but the truth is that every time I pick up my phone or drive towards the side of town where we used to live, I kind of expect to see her, hear her voice.

If I look back at my old posts from these last few years (Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One), the same pattern seems to hold:  I've been at work super late, had less than 5 hours of sleep in multiple nights, and have an insane amount of things going on at work to distract me. 

I always think that I should maybe take a day off, mourn properly, but then I think that maybe the busy-ness distracts me from all of the sad, awful thoughts that are better left un-thought. 

But then again... just because I don't have the time or energy to say them out loud doesn't make them un-thought, right?


Over the years, I've realized that pain is something that scabs over, maybe heals entirely, but the memory of that pain, the memory of being that 22-year-old who really needs her mom right that minute - it never goes away.  

Time heals all wounds, yadda yadda yadda, but time is also a real asshole too, because it takes you further and further away from the one you love.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fall Hobby 2014: Apple Orchards

About a month ago, Mr. RH and I were with his family when we made a spontaneous trip to the local apple orchard.  We bought lots of random, fun goodies - and I knew I was on a dangerous path.  I literally couldn't live one more day without a flippin cup of honeycrisp apple cider every hour on the hour.

Damn, I wish this picture was better.

Anyway, as we drove home, I immediately texted both BFF's with babies and told them we needed to make immediate plans to get to an orchard.

Plans were set and we were off with two tiny princesses in tow.

Princess #1 - my #BFFbaby who apparently doesn't have a name on my blog, except #BFFbaby.  It was so much easier when there was only ONE BFF baby, but now that there are two... I mean... #BFFbaby2 doesn't really have a great ring to it...

Princess #2 - Miss Maeven, the tiny peanut of the group.

Anyway, I loaded Miss Maeven into her carseat and she immediately gave me a big smile.  We had a 30-minute drive to the orchard, so I took this as a GREAT sign.  She was excited, we were going to have a great day!!

I mostly missed her smile with my camera... but trust me, she was happy!

We arrived at the orchard and were immediately assaulted by... bees!  Definitely not what we had planned for, but we improvised.

We found a random apple crate in the parking lot, ducked ourselves under a giant apple tree... and, well, #BFFbaby really worked it. 

You guys, I love all my friends babies with the fire of a thousand burning suns... but this cheese is literally too much to handle.

Her mom claims she learned all her cheese from me... and truthfully, I can't dispute that claim. 

That tongue kills me dead!!

On the other hand... #MissMaeven got like .24% of a nap in the car, which wasn't exactly her favorite thing ever.

And it might make me a bad aunt that I was like... well, sorry Maeven, we take what we can get around here even if that means a screaming baby.

Luckily, she had some cute buns on so that we could ignore her screaming face and focus on the cute butt.   And it was a really cute, pumpkin-y butt.

Don't tell me it makes me a bad aunt that I let her scream her head off for bursts so we could take a few photos.  Girl needs to learn how to act right in a picture or she's in for a world of pain with Aunt Sarah.  #poorbaby

Someday we will use these photos as proof that diva/sassy personality traits emerge early in the first year of life.

Until then, we can just use them to remember a lovely trip to the apple orchard.  Screaming baby and all.

Why oh why doesn't fall last forever?!  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Arkansas 2014

If you asked me what was the halfway point between my Texas family members and my Indiana family members was, I doubt I would ever answer Arkansas.  However, if you ask my dad and aunt, who were searching for midway-locations for vacation loving families... apparently, it's Arkansas.

Anyway, way back in August we packed up a (rented) minivan and drove 3 adult males and myself to Arkansas.  On the way, we played a game where we flipped the XM radio to various stations and if you guessed the correct artist you would win a point... and it was a CLOSE call with around 100 points each to my brother and I.   

Side note: Ed Sheeran and the guy from Passenger (the guy called Passenger?) sound almost exactly the same but they aren't!  Also, Ed Sheeran has more songs on the radio than ANYONE ELSE EVER.

Clarification:  Indiana to Arkansas is a long-ass drive.

The fun part about vacation is that it's basically a non-stop photo shoot because all of the new places and sun-kissed skin and good vacation happiness.

Luckily, we hung out in Arkansas for the most mild week of "southern" weather ever, meaning there was low low humidity and the temperature never got above 90 degrees.  MAJOR score.

We stayed at a vacation-rental-by-owner property that wasn't necessarily the nicest vacation home I've ever been in, but it was clean and had plenty of space, so everyone survived.

Of course, the private dock down by the water didn't exactly hurt our good moods.

I can't say that we really "did" much on vacation - other than roast marshmallows, catch up on my Goodreads reading list, take a duck-tour of downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas, and go up and down every single aisle at the local Wal-Mart (when in Arkansas...).

We also rented a pontoon boat on a pretty small lake... which resulted in Mr. RH shouting out to me that my hair looked bad and if I was going to be doing more posing than tubing that I should at least fix it if he was going to take a picture.

Noted.  Although I can't say it looks any better.

I forced my dad and brother to take pictures, and they only look 25% like escaped convicts (yay for vacation beards?) so that was exciting. 

We also discovered that certain candy wrappers (like leftover ones from my wedding) actually burst into colorful flames in the campfire.  I'm 99% sure that it's not super toxic or cancer causing, so we threw approximately 20 dozen of them into the campfire.

 Can you see the colors?!?

Luckily, we had the lake to ourselves for the entire week until our last day... at which points the hellion-raising neighbor children arrived.  Luckily, we had pretty much reached our lake quota at that point... and I was 20% covered in mosquito-welts.  Scratch scratch.

 Pffft as if I would waste a decent hair day by jumping in the lake.

And last but not least, I think we took my new favorite picture.  I can't say it's particularly flattering on my upper arm area, but the sun was so glowy that we literally look airbrushed.

And next time somebody asks me if I want to go to Arkansas in August.... I would probably say yes.  So relaxing, I almost forgot we had a 14 hour drive to get our butts home.

Is it vacation time again?  

(Sad note: NO.)

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