The Sunday Salon [1.25.15]

I didn’t mean to come back from a break and then immediately go another. Whoops. 2015 does not seem to be any less busy than 2014 so far, so we’ll see how this blogging thing goes. Does life just get busier and busier and busier? It seems like it.

Anyway, I finished my first and second books of  2015. Betsy and the Great World in print and Her Fearful Symmetry on audio. I started Grasshopper Jungle in print but there is no way I can finish it before my book club meeting tomorrow night so I think I may put it down in favor of something I’ve picked out on my own. Brutal Youth perhaps? Or the one review copy I have laying around from when I still thought requesting books was a good idea? I am debating my next audio. Her Fearful Symmetry took me ages (well, months, at least) to get through so I want to make sure I choose wisely.

I’ve got a lazy day at home, after a fun/busy day not at home yesterday, so I might be able to read a few lines. On Wednesday I am heading to Tallahassee sans famille for a meeting for a few days. Perhaps I can get some reading done then.

What are you all reading?

 

The Sunday Salon.com

TSS: 10 Years of Marriage Statistics

In January of 2005, right after Ben and I got married, I decided to read Anna Karenina. While I was reading that Russian chunkster, Ben read 8 books. He then challenged me to “catch up” to him, so we started actually tracking the books we read. This became an ongoing competition and it means that we can actually tally the number of books we’ve read in our entire ten years of marriage. As I was thinking about whether or not that would be an interesting post, I started thinking about other marriage statistics I could share. It became a fun task for us to think back and try to remember everything we have done together. I hope you enjoy reading this at least a little bit because we had a lot of fun compiling it.

  • Books Read: 1079 (Michelle – 507/Ben – 572)

This means that Ben averages just over a book a week and I average just under a book a week. Of course, these averages are rapidly falling, but that’s pretty impressive, right?

  • States Visited: 21
  • Countries Visited: 10
  • Homes Lived In: 4
  • Months Lived Apart: 17.5
  • Cars Owned: 3
  • Pets: 2 (plus temporary custody of another)
  • Kids: 1.4?
  • Surgeries: 2 (Both Ben. Both ACL reconstruction.)
  • Jobs: 18 (Michelle – 7/Ben – 11)
  • Degrees Obtained: 2 (Michelle – JD/Ben – MA)
  • Tweets: 76,953 (Michelle – 76,200/Ben – 753)
  • Races: 12 (Michelle – 10/Ben – 6)(ran 4 together)
  • Concerts Attended Together: 10 (This seems low and is based entirely on Ben’s ticket albums. We must have lost a lot of tickets along the way.)
  • Sporting Events Attended Together: 44 (That’s a lot of Tigers games.)
  • Plays/Musicals Attended Together: 6

And then of course there are all of the uncountable things, like the number of times we’ve laughed, the number of times we’ve cried, or the number of hours we’ve spent on the couch watching Netflix.

It’s been quite the adventure so far…

Three Things I Love

I’ve never really tried to monetize this blog. I don’t have ads. I have an amazon associate account but I am terrible at actually using it. I pay to host this blog out of my hard-earned money because I like it.

But today I have referral links for you. I want to be up front that they are referral links, but I am not sharing them simply because they are referral links. I am sharing them because they are products/services that I actually love. The referral bonus is just that, a bonus. And remember, I am going to have another mouth to feed. JK. Sort of.

First up: Gazelle.

Gazelle is where I trade in all of my old electronics. They usually pay me enough for my old iPhone to cover the subsidized cost of a new one. Why leave your old devices sitting around when you could trade them in for actual cash?

How does it work?

You tell Gazelle what electronic you want to send them. They give you an offer. If your product lives up to your description of it, they send you money via check, paypal, or Amazon gift cards. It’s worked out for me every single time (several iPhones, an iPad, and counting).’

Interested? Check it out here. Using this link will get you an extra $10 on your first item.

Next up: Stitch Fix.

I won’t be using Stitch Fix for awhile, both because my belly is expanding at a seemingly exponential rate but also because it just isn’t in my budget. But if it is in YOUR budget, it is a fantastic and fun way to get new clothes. I’ve never had a box where I didn’t like at least one thing and I have kept my whole box on at least one occasion. If they get your style wrong the first time, you can teach them for the next box. Easy peasy. And keeping a pinterest page on outfits you like is super helpful for them.

How does it work?

You pay $20 and schedule a box to be delivered to your house. There is no monthly commitment – do it as often or seldom as you like. The box arrives with 5 pieces of clothing or accessories in it. You keep what you want and send back what you don’t. If you keep the whole box, you get a pretty sizable discount. The $20 you originally paid can be used toward items in the box, so as long as you keep one thing, you’re good.

Interested? Check it out here.

Finally: Southwest Chase Credit Card.

I may be a Dave Ramsey follower now, but I haven’t closed this credit card yet (but it is paid off). I was able to get Evan a companion pass for nearly 2 years (meaning he flies for free with me) and I was able to get all three of us to DC and Michigan, Evan and I to Minneapolis and Santa Fe, and myself to St. Louis all on points in 2014. And I think I have enough to cover myself for a trip home in March so we only have to pay for one plane ticket for all three of us to go home. Out of all the credit cards I have ever had, this is the best reward value I have experienced. If you fly and can fly Southwest, this card is amazing.

How does it work?

You sign up. You get 50,000 points just for signing up. You use your credit card. You get more points. You use it at Southwest or one of their partners and you get double points.

Tip 1: They also have a business card, so if you qualify for that, you can get both and combine your signup bonuses for 100,000 points. Then, you only have to earn 10k more to get the companion pass. This is what I did.

Tip 2: Southwest will tell you 50,000 points will get you two roundtrip flights, but used wisely, it will actually get you more. I could get home and back 4 times on 50,000 points if I scheduled it right.

Interested? Check it out here.

So, there you have it. Referral links for three of my favorite products/services. Let me know if you try any of them out.

Yes, Please [Audiobook Review]

I am still debating whether or not I will actually catch up on reviews. For now, I guess I am trying to give you at least a few thoughts.


Title: Yes, Please
Author: Amy Poehler
Narrator: Amy Poehler (with special guests)
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 352
Audio: 7.5 hours
Year: 2014
Publisher: Harper Audio
Source: Personal Collection
Book Rating: 5/5
Audio Rating: 5/5

Summary:

This is Amy Poehler’s addition to the wonderful string of female comedian memoirs. Discussing her career, her family, and everything in between.

My Thoughts:

I learned a lot about Amy Poehler. While I am a devoted Parks and Rec fan, and her stint on SNL corresponded with a time in my life in which I could still stay up until 1am, I actually didn’t know anything about the Upright Citizens Brigade. She is one busy woman!

I also learned that Amy is a little cruder, but perhaps even funnier, than I thought.

Seth Meyers’ chapter was my favorite. Or maybe the one written by her parents. I would be happy with a tribute half as touching in my own memoir.

Audiobook Thoughts:

If you read this in print, I think you made a mistake.

The Sunday Salon [1.4.15]

Let’s talk about resolutions. I made a bunch last year. I kept some of them, I broke some of them, and I half did some of them.

I counted calories until I fit back into my skinny jeans. I drank more water, but I could always do better. I fell off the wagon with respect to diet coke. I seem to do better with allowing myself one once in awhile. I ran my first 10k, but I was awful about getting to yoga. I am not debt free but I am definitely on a much better plan toward getting there than I was a year ago (we paid off nearly half of our consumer debt between August and December). And I am really terrible at photo-a-day prompts.

This year, I have less lofty goals.

I’d just like to have a healthy pregnancy and welcome home a new baby. I’d like a natural, out-of-hospital birth and I’d like to exclusively breastfeed again (with a little more ease than last time, hopefully).

I want to keep working the debt free plan, but I recognize that the new baby (with his delivery and daycare costs) makes it more likely that 2016 is the year we hit our first goal of knocking out all of the non-student loan/non-mortgage debt. But as long as those credit cards stay locked up, I’m happy.

I want to eat healthy and exercise, but with a baby coming mid-year, I have no actual goals for these.

I want to read again and get back into the blogging world. I miss you guys.

And, finally, I want to be more present. I want to put my phone away more and step back from behind the camera once in awhile. When I’m with my family, I want to be fully with them. When I’m at work, I want to be fully at work. I’ll make time for wasting time, but I want to do it more consciously – does that make sense?

So that’s all I have for 2015. I know it will be a year of joy and love and sleepless nights. And I’m ready for it.

The Sunday Salon.com

2014 Reading & Favorites

It seems like a top ten list in a year I only read 34 books is a bit ridiculous, so let me just share a few thoughts.

Favorite: Girls in White Dresses, Attachments, and Yes, Please

Runners Up: Cress, We Were Liars, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, This Side of Salvation, Leaving Everything Most Loved, and One Plus One

Least favorite: Madam Bovary or Hemingway’s Girl

Best Audio Narration: Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Completed Series: Daugther of Smoke and Bone (finished), The Selection (finished), Maisie Dobbs (caught up)

And the complete list of books read:

  1. Parasite| Mira Grant | audio | 4 stars
  2. Fun Home | Alison Bechdel  | print | 4 stars
  3. The Dangerous Animals Club | Stephen Tobolowski |audio | 4 stars
  4. The Circle | Dave Eggers | audio | 1 star
  5. Cress | Marissa Meyer | audio | 4.5 stars
  6. Madame Bovary | Gustave Flaubert | audio | 1.5 stars
  7. Independent Study | Joelle Charbonneau | print | 3 stars
  8. Elegy for Eddie | Jaqueline Winspear | audio | 4 stars
  9. One Summer: America, 1927 | Bill Bryson | audio | 2.5 stars
  10. Attachments | Rainbow Rowell | print | 5 stars
  11. The Raven Boys | Maggie Stiefvater | ebook | 3.5 stars
  12. We Were Liars | E. Lockhart | ebook | 4.5 stars
  13. Dreams of Gods & Monsters | Laini Taylor | audio | 4.5 stars
  14. The One | Kiera Cass | audio | 4 stars
  15. Siren’s Song | Heather McCollum | ebook | 3.5 stars
  16. This Side of Salvation | Jeri Smith-Ready | print | 4.5 stars
  17. Hemingway’s Girl | Erica Robuck | ebook | 1 star
  18. The Golem and the Jinni | Helene Wecker | audio | 3.5 stars
  19. Graduation Day | Joelle Charbonneau | ebook | 3.5 stars
  20. Syndrome E | Franck Thilliez | ebook | 2 stars
  21. Looking for Alaska | John Green | print | 4 stars
  22. Panic | Lauren Oliver | ebook | 4 stars
  23. The Story Hour | Thrity Umrigar | ebook | 4 stars
  24. Leaving Everything Most Loved | Jacqueline Winspear | audio | 4.5 stars
  25. Girls in White Dresses | Jennifer Close | print | 5 stars
  26. Runaways – Vol. 1 | Brian K. Vaughan | print | 4 stars
  27. How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky | Lydia Netzer | print | 4 stars
  28. American Gods | Neil Gaiman | audio | 3 stars
  29. One Plus One | Jojo Moyes | print | 4.5 stars
  30. All Fall Down | Jennifer Weiner | print | 4 stars
  31. A Briefer History of Time | Stephen Hawking | audio | 4 stars
  32. Runaways Vol. 4: True Believers | Brian K. Vaughan | print | 3.5 stars
  33. Anna Dressed in Blood | Kendare Blake | print | 2 stars
  34. Yes, Please | Amy Poehler | audio | 5 stars

A Few Book Stats:

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Aww,  2011-Michelle is so cute and naive. I gave up my stats last year. This is all you get now because TIME.

  • Books Read: 34 (down from 62 in 2013 and 80 in 2012)
  • Audio: 14
  • Print: 12
  • Ebooks: 8
  • Female authors: 24
  • Male authors: 10

How was your 2014 reading year?

 

Hi There.

Happy New Year, readers. I said I would be back in the new year and here I am.

So where have I been?

Well, as most of you probably know from Twitter and Instagram, I have been off growing a baby. I’m 14 weeks pregnant and expecting another baby boy in late June. That was the main reason for the break from blogging. It’s hard to prioritize blogging when just making it through a day without puking is considered a success.

Here was our official internet announcement:

I didn’t want to leave the blog out of the rounds but I wanted to respect the break I had taken. (Now I am on a Facebook break so you guys will know more than my IRL friends soon).

What have I been reading?

Nothing. Literally nothing. Since October, I have listened to one audiobook and read zero print books. Early pregnancy and reading really don’t mix well for me. Reading makes me nauseated, just like every other activity that is not sleeping. I fought through it with Evan. This time, I just gave up.

So what have I been doing?

Not much. Working and parenting, of course. They don’t go away when you get pregnant. Other than that, I’ve been watching a whole bunch of Gilmore Girls. I swear it has nausea-fighting properties.

What are my plans for my books. my life.?

That is an excellent question. I’ll let you know when I figure it out. If I ever figure it out.I still may do a 2014 wrap up of some sorts, even though I don’t feel like there is a lot to wrap up. For now, consider me back to sporadically telling you what I think about things.

For now, I’ll leave you with photos from our Toddler New Year’s Eve Bash. 

I am pretty sure no one can beat me in cute on this one.

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Goodbye…for Now

Today I am making official something that has been unofficial: I am taking a little break from this blog. And, largely, from reading.

I am not posting with any regularity, nor am I reading with any regularity. I am finding that parenting a toddler is a lot more time consuming than parenting a baby was and it just keeps getting busier. I also just feel busier in general. I am away from home 2-3 nights a week. I only have so much free time in my life (8pm-10pm, basically, on nights I am actually home) and I would rather spend this time with Ben, even if it is just watching Netflix together, rather than isolating myself with a book or my computer.

I hope to be back in the new year. I am hoping that if I let myself off the hook for a few weeks then I will be reenergized. Maybe it will happen sooner and I’ll be back for some year-end posts (not much to wrap up this year though). Maybe it won’t happen and I’ll extend the break.

I really appreciate all of you who read this blog. Especially those of you who stuck with me this year as I ran out of steam. I will continue to be around on twitter and instagram and maybe I’ll post some bookish thoughts on the blog’s facebook page.

To all of you: Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays. Enjoy this season with your friends and family.

Halloween, Arrgh [Wordless Wednesday]

I’m a little late, but here are a few Halloween photos for you. I don’t have any official E-posed-in-his-pirate-costume photos but I snapped a few photos while he was out trick or treating with a friend. He had a blast and loved the concept. He especially loved answering our door when the older kids came once we were home. The only problem now is that he doesn’t understand why Halloween is over.

The Sunday Salon: October in Review [11.2.14]

In October, I read:

  • All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
  • A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • Runaways Vol. 4: True Believers
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

At the moment, I am reading Rooms by Lauren Oliver and listening to Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.

This month I reviewed Girls in White Dresses; shared how and why I am getting out of debt; where books have made me want to visit; and shared photos from the pumpkin patch.

How was your October?

The Sunday Salon.com