Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Travel Lust: Africa

My brain is already on vacation mode (I leave tomorrow!) so is anyone up for a virtual vacation?

Welcome to Africa -- 



Singita Lodge.

Sun City.

Cape Town.

Cape Town.



Monday, June 6, 2011

Do you have a to-do list?

Dreams. Goals. Wishes.

Have you ever sat down and thought about these things -- really thought about them?

Life list. Bucket list. To do list.

Have you written them down in one place? Created a bulletin board of pictures? A scrapbook of magazine tears heets?

I've made a million different lists over the years. Some have been more grounded in reality while others reach for the stars (literally).

For a long, long time I thought somewhere in the back of my mind that anything I wrote down on my list had to be done. This is completely unreasonable, and I knew that but somewhere inside of me I felt like if I wrote it down that meant I had to commit to it and want it 100%. Naturally my list was extremely short.

Today things have changed and I've thrown some seriously crazy things into the mix. There's still a little part of me that says Hey, do you really want to do that? Does that sound like a logical idea to you? That'd be expensive and you probably wouldn't like it and it's impossible anyway. We all have that voice inside of us! The people that do great things are the ones that ignore it.

Anyway, here's a glimpse of what's on my list right now...

Own a bakery or a cafe that specializes only in pies. Think Pushing Daisies or Waitress. I just really love pie.

Create something New Orleans related. Possibly a coffee table style non-fiction book on Mardi Gras.

Write a novel. The title of this is a little misleading. It doesn't have to be published. I'd just like to finish the two stories I've started telling. We've got two unsolved murder cases on our hands!

Take a hoop dancing class and learn to hula hoop.

Own a bike -- and actually use it. I have the bicycle riding skills of a 6 year old but I'd still love to have a beach cruiser with a little bell and basket.

My list is pages and pages long of jumbled sentences and half finished thoughts but as far as a life list goes I think it's perfect.

There are always things to change or add and that's the beauty of it! I can cross things off when I finish them or I can cross them off when I move on to something even better.

Don't feel constrained to what's on the paper or on your screen -- I think lists like these serve best as inspirational starting points rather than step-by-step directions.

What's on your list?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday, Sunday

Linzie Hunter
I woke up at 6:45 today so I've had lots of time to be productive. I cleaned, ran errands, cooked breakfast, read, and watched a few episodes of Party Down (a truly funny show cancelled before its time!).

A few things I love from this morning...

How to Create an Awesome Summer Reading List from Lifehacker.

The Importance of Daily Writing from author Allison Winn Scotch's blog Ask Allison. If you need a spot to keep your writing all in one place, I recommend 750Words!

Pink Ruffle Cake. Sugar Duchess shows you how to create this yourself. PS the Eiffel Tower is 100% icing. Yummm.

Make sure you watch this in HD and full screen! One of my favorite timelapse videos. 

Summer Reads: Flashback - August

Though I only had 5 books scheduled for August I ended up reading 9. This was a great month for books, I hit up the chick lit and continued with cozy mysteries and threw in a couple of mystery/thrillers for good measure. I've never been drawn to literature with a capital L, so I have to apologize for my simple tast in reading. That's been changing though lately!

Again, there are so many books to catch up on that I'm just going to do a mini recap with a few notes.

Hurricanes in Paradise by Denise Hildrith ***** out of 5
Hope in a Jar by Beth Harbison **** out of 5
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen ** out of 5
One for the Money - Janet Evanovich ***** out of 5
Bookmarked to Death (A Booktown Mystery #2) *** out of 5
Witch Way to Murder by Shirley Damsgaard**** out of 5
Look Again by Lisa Scottoline ***** out of 5
I Scream, You Scream (A Mystery ala Mode #1) ***** out of 5
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane ***** out of 5
Obviously I was super generous with my stars this month! I also started books from more than one series which may not have been the best idea. The only one I actively kept reading is the Booktown Mystery series. Her Royal Spyness was my least favorite book of the month and I actually had to stop reading it partway through. I know many people love it, but it just wasn't interesting to me at all. I finished Shutter Island in a matter of hours and I thought it was fantastic. Still haven't seen the movie though! Lisa Scottoline books are great if you like fast pace with lots of cliffhangers.

Question: Do you read one book at a time or do you bounce around? When I was younger I'd get a bunch of books from the library and start them all the same day. Naturally, I wouldn't finish any of them before they had to go back!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Summer Reads: Where we left off - July

When I left you all last summer I was in the middle of my own little reading challenge. Though I wasn't updating here, I was still reading myself into a frenzy!

I picked up the pace in July and ended up reading 7 books (That's 3 more than 'required' for anyone keeping track). Rather than do a review for each one, here's a mini recap. Each book links to GoodReads.
Murder is Binding (A Booktown Mystery #1) by Lorna Barret
 **** out of 5
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach
*** out of 5
The Quilter's Apprentice (Elm Creek Quilts #1) by Jennifer Chiaverini
 **** out of 5
One Little Secret byAllison Bottke
*** out of 5
VisonMongers by David duChemin
***** out of 5
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
**** out of 5
Thr3e by Ted Dekker
***** out of 5
I loved VisionMongers and Thr3e. If you have any interest in photography or the creative process at all I recommend you check out any of David duChemin's books. He's a fantastic photographer and an all around great person!

We broke a record in Memphis yesterday for the hottest temps and we're well on the way there again today. Stay cool, y'all!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer is HERE.

It's official, we've reached summer! I've officially turned in my very last assignment of my senior year and I leave in less than a week for graduation. I'm not sure I'm ready for the real world!

Here's a peek at today's forecast...

(click to make bigger!)

Oh my goodness, it's HOT! I'm really not used to weather like this anymore and those 70 degree Oregon summer days don't seem so bad in comparison. The humidity hasn't been too bad but I'm sure that will catch up with us soon!

How else can I tell it's summer? I've started waking up around 7:30 every morning. Doesn't matter what time I fall asleep or what time my alarm's set for or if I shut my blinds -- I've woken up at exactly 7:28 every day this week. I'm okay with that though, it's so much easier to be productive when you wake up early!

Fingers crossed for a weekend full of painting furniture, fro-yo, outdoor concerts and cookouts.

Keep an eye out for another book post later today.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Reads: It's that time again!

Last summer I created a challenge for myself and I did lots of reading (28 books, to be exact!) and I talked about a few of the books here on the blog. As school started again at the end of September I slowed down and didn't read quite as many 'fun' books during my fall quarter, but I made sure to check a few off my list.

After totaling up all the books I'd added to my read in 2010 shelf last year on Goodreads, the grand total came in at 50. Crazy, right? I wasn't expecting a number that high!

Now, I'm not really one to make resolutions on January 1st --much less stick with them -- but when I saw that Goodreads was hosting a 2011 Reading Challenge I knew I had to jump on the bandwagon. So I upped the ante to 52 books for this year and I'm almost halfway done!

2011 Reading Challenge

2011 Reading Challenge

Natalie has

read 22 books toward her goal of 52 books.


Okay, I'm less than halfway but I'm one book ahead of schedule so I count that as a success.

What are you reading right now? Do you like to set goals for yourself or do you just read? I definitely used to read at random, and during the school year that usually meant I never read for fun, but I've really enjoyed having goals to meet each month!