Thursday, February 26, 2009

Peony in Love

I almost forgot to review this book! I just finished Peony in Love by Lisa See. It was recommended by a couple of book boards and it was on the shelves up front at the library (my fave place to find new books) so I went for it. The story follows Peony, a teenage girl in China, nearing her arranged marriage. When she sees the opera The Peony Pavilion, she meets a man and becomes lovesick that she cannot be married to him instead of her intended husband. The lovesickness kills her (no, I didn't give away the ending) and she spends the rest of her years as a hungry ghost trying to make her way back into this man's heart, having a rightful resting place while manipulating those around her.

I realize my description of the story doesn't make it sound very appealing, or maybe it does. But it was a good read. The book is steeped in ancient Chinese traditions, which I knew nothing about. And I liked See's writing style. I'm interested to read her other one, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. If you're looking for relatively light reading with a heartfelt story, pick up Peony in Love.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recipe, yes. New hair product, NO!

I tried a new recipe for dinner yesterday and it was a big thumbs up! It was a Mexican lasagna. I did it with ground turkey instead of ground beef and all ingredients, except the cheese, were fat free. Thanks, Kraft! I really like the Kraft website for easy recipe searching and finding healthy new recipes. See the Enchilada Bake for yourself and try some others too!

I tried a new hair product today as well. When I ordered my normal moisturizer at a few months back they also sent some free samples, as they often do. I enjoy Kiehl's because their products, while a tad on the pricey side, are always worth the money. I specifically love the tinted moisturizer with spf. You should check it out! Anyway, today I applied their Creme with Silk Groom to damp hair. It was very thick when I squeezed it out and it's possible I got too much on my hands but I went for it anyway. I worked it into my hair and started drying, which seemed like it was taking FOREVER. Then I realized the parts that were dry were sticking straight out like mental patient hair. By the time I finished drying, which took twice as long as normal, my hair was weighed down and looked greasy. So the entire day my head felt gross and I had to hide the business with a headband. Not the perfect disguise but at least my roots weren't hanging out there screaming, "Hey! I'm oily." So, this was a product FAIL. I don't know if maybe I was supposed to rinse it out before drying but the directions did not indicate anything of that nature. Thanks but no thanks, Kiehl's, for this free sample. Hopefully the other 2 I got will redeem you. I still love your moisturizer and lip balm. Maybe your hair products just aren't for me.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My bologna has a first name....

O-S-C-A-R. I love the Oscars but this year, I failed them. I didn't see any of the nominated films. John promised we could see a movie this coming weekend so I'm waiting to see what wins. Since the show ends well past my bed time, I guess I won't know what we're seeing until Monday. I'm just going to make bullet point comments during the Red Carpet coverage and part of the show.

  • Jessica Biel -- Why are you always at the Oscars? 7th Heaven doesn't include you in this elite list, neither does your slew of movies no one can even name (Ahem, Summer Catch). Is it just because you're pretty?
  • Beyonce -- I don't like your dress. I still love you, though. Where is Jay-Z?
  • Kate Winslet -- Just stunning.
  • SJP -- I thought you guys were getting divorced. Your barely mint dress is nice.
  • Taraji P. I can't remember your last name -- I like your haircut.
  • Holy sequins, Miley! Also, she just told someone that she hopes she'll be getting an Oscar for her upcoming movie. Good luck with that, Hannah Montana.
..............Break for Vino...........
  • Penelope Cruz -- I like your dress but I don't really like you. Also, you won't win. Oops, or maybe you will
  • Hugh Jackman -- Bravo. I appreciated your efforts. Your number with Beyonce went on a bit long but that's ok. And really, the HSM kids too?
  • Camera people, way to cut to Angelina while Jennifer is presenting. Classy.
  • Oh, Heath Ledger. *tear*
  • I would like to go to Bollywood.
  • Mmmm, John Legend.
  • In Memoriam -- Touching. Nice with Queen Latifah instead of orchestral stylings. Oh, the director of Jean de Florette died. That means nothing to you unless you took French.
  • No surprises on awards. Guess we'll be seeing Slumdog this weekend.

As a whole, the show was fine. It flowed well and moved along more quickly than in past years. I don't have a whole lot more to say. And I don't feel like digging up pictures to comment on fashion. Ashley out.

Move over, Martha

Yea, I finished a project! Last weekend, I went a little crazy at the JoAnn's President's Day sale. I spent $38 and came out with 5 patterns and enough fabric to make 3 dresses, a jacket, and an apron. Wow, right? So I dusted off my trusty Kenmore (doesn't have the same ring as a Singer, does it?) and got to work. I was cutting out the pattern for the first dress which proved difficult as Sadie was very interested in what I was doing and walked all over it. I have decided I will instead cut the dresses on my lunch hour at the office.

Thus, I moved onto another project. The apron.
It's a hostess apron from Simplicity #3752. Here is the fabric I selected:

And then I got busy! I just love cutting fabric. This is why I aspire to work at JoAnn's when I retire. I could cut fabric all day! This pattern required teaching myself how to make ruffles. Luckily, it wasn't that difficult and now I am a ruffle master. I was having trouble with my bobbin thread, which was annoying, and I ended up having to re-ruffle one of the layers multiple times. BOO! But, I think it all paid off in the end.

And here it is on me, with a freshly bathed Sadie! Don't look at my baggy sweatpants and purple shirt. I didn't really do much with my hair or face today so I asked to be shot waist down. What do you think? Can I host with this little number on or what?

Saturday, February 21, 2009


If only John weren't allergic to cats........ I interrupted my previous book reading when I spotted Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron, on my library's Express checkout shelf. Express checkout books can only be kept for 1 week as opposed to the typical 3. Even though I was in the middle of another book I was enjoying and will review when I finish it, I jumped all over this one. It was recommended by my mom, who is notorious for taking a long time to finish books. However, she said she finished this rather quickly so I figured it was okay to pause the other one. OK, onto the review. #1) How can you not pick up a book with this cat on the cover who is named Dewey Readmore Books?, #2) I have been missing my own cat, Tigger, and Dewey kind of looks like Tigger (who is turning 16 this year!) and #3) I don't have a #3. Moving on.

Dewey is the story of an Iowa kitten who was shoved in a library's drop box on the eve of a terrible winter storm. The librarians adopted him as the library cat in the town of Spencer. This cheerful tale delves into not only cute feline antics, but also the heart of a dying town and how Dewey helped to bring everyone together. I especially enjoyed the tales of how Dewey warmed up even the most curmudgeony library patrons and won over the hearts of folks near and far. Myron is the librarian, and self-proclaimed Dewey mom, who took him in. Her writing style leaves a bit to be desired but, I wasn't looking for a Pulitzer winner. What I wanted was a heartwarming story and that's what I got. If you are a cat person, and maybe even if you're not, I think you'll enjoy this book. It's a fast read complete with pictures and cute little lists written from Dewey's perspective. I even chuckled out loud a few times. I enjoyed departing to a little non-fiction. Even if it is just about as fluffy as non-fiction could be. Get it? Fluffy? Anyway, I dug it.

In other news, my wellies have not yet arrived and I'm becoming distraught. To cheer me up, I have jumped head first into a number of sewing projects. Will post pictures when complete, if they don't look like crap.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Attention: Lady at Zumba

Please stop making faces at yourself in the mirror during class. It is really distracting. You are over 60 and look like your face is in permanent facelift mode. You can mueva your colita without that face. Also, I get to class early to stake out the same spot I have been standing in for over a year. Please do not bring yourself and 2 new friends and crowd around me. I can hear you call me the tall girl. I know I'm tall. I stand in front so that I can see and no one has to look over me to see the instructor. And I know the routines because I have been attending this class a LOT longer than you. If you want to fight for Tuesday night, BRING IT ON!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Life of Pi

I FINALLY finished Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I don't know why it took me nearly 2 weeks as it was an interesting read but man, I must have been slacking. Anyway, I chose this book because it was a departure from my usual reads. It delves into the Indian culture, a culture I know nothing about. And I'm proud of myself for moving right onto another book I wouldn't normally have chosen, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Life of Pi follows the compelling story of teenager Piscine Patel (Pi), the son of a zookeeper. There is MUCH exposition about zookeeping ways and animals. This endears the reader to Pi but I think it's possible that it slowed me down, thus the length of reading time. Anyway, Pi and his family decide to move to Canada from India and make a life there instead. On the way, their cargo ship wrecks killing his entire family and a large menagerie, and Pi spends 2/3 of a year on a life boat with Richard Parker, a tiger. His is a story of survival and co-habitation with a dangerous animal. Over the course of the journey, we learn much about Pi and what he does to keep Richard Parker sated and himself alive.
Life of Pi is a couple years old but is critically acclaimed and Martel won many accolades for it. There is a bit of humor sprinkled throughout but mostly, like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, you find yourself rooting for Pi and becoming very concerned about the end result. It is Ashley recommended, but, be prepared for it to take longer than you think it will. Is it strange that 2 books in a road were regarding a journey of sorts? My current book is not a journey, not yet. And stay tuned for my first foray into book on CD.

P.S. Birthday be damned. I bought the wellies for myself. Come soon, please!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Killed it!

19:46. That's how long my 2 mile took today. I totally rocked it. I have been working towards sustaining that pace and today I did more than 1 mile at it. I did TWO miles at an approx. 10 min/mile pace. This may not sound like much of an accomplishment but I started running 3 years ago and I'm finally here. So exciting! I'm attributing this to my pigtails today (which I also rocked) and running to my zumba music, which I don't normally do. Whatev. I killed it.

In other news, I still have 100 pages left in the book I'm currently reading. I don't know what's wrong with my reading pace these days. Maybe it should take a lesson from my running pace. Anyway, hopefully I can finish it this week and review. And then I might go back to the types of books I normally read. Departure from those genres has not gone well.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Why do you cost so much?

Hunter Wellies, I NEEEEEED YOU! I understand that you will last me a lifetime and so the investment is worth it but I cannot justify $115 on rain boots at this juncture. I would take any color of you. I do not discriminate. You would be well loved.

P.S. My birthday is just over 2 months away.