The Last Survivor Series by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Title: Life As We Knew It
The Last Survivor Series
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Publish Date: Oct 1, 2006
Publisher: Harcourt Children Book
337 pages

Barnes and Noble

I am completely and utterly enamored with this book. Instantly pulled in and forever will be talking or thinking about this concept. Fascinating!

All the scientists and world are talking about the moon being hit with an asteroid. The entire world turns out to see it. Only it turns out to be a bit denser that they predicted, completely changing the world - as they knew it. Tsunamis, volcanoes, and all sort of natural disasters destroy so many people and parts of the world. Would you survive? Would your family? And what would you do and how far would you go to save yourself and loved ones?


I just love this book. The characters were awesome. The main character, Miranda, is so real and I love her for that. She is down to earth, a sweet person who wants a normal life and fall in love. What her dreams are become nothing to what she will deal with in the following time after the impact. She has so many conflicts with her mother who is trying to save her family while Miranda is trying to decipher who she is. Then there is her older brother who is away at college, but comes home and learns he may not be the end all be all. Her younger brother ends up being the one the entire family feels has the best chance to survive because he is strong and young. They give up so much to keep him well and alive.

Meanwhile the surrounding neighborhood is drowning in not enough food, beggars, sickness, gangs with guns. As people are dying Miranda's family must decide will they help and risk their own lives.

This raises such wonderful discussions for me and those around me. Okay, really it just impressed me, but I still managed to bring it up in many conversations.

Honestly, I really didn't care for book Number 2 in the series, but I am loving #3 where they pick up with Miranda's family where they left off in book 1.

Summary -
Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

Review: Eve and Adam

Title: Eve and Adam
Author: Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publish Date: Oct 2, 2012
291 pages

Barnes and Noble

I was really excited to get my hands on this book. I love the concept! A woman who creates a boy. Feminist at its best. lol

Actually, it was just really nice to read a book that was totally different than an other I have read. I had an inkling where it was going, as I had participated in a discussion on books and triangle love stories, but things never are exactly as you expect.

Evening, which is an incredible name btw, is a daughter of a brilliant scientist who has done a few things to cut corners around laws and yet, has saved millions of people from deathly diseases. How far would you go to save humans from diseases? But the story goes so much deeper than that.

In comes Solo, a boy that Eve has no idea about. He has been living in the building where his mom works (plays God) and yet, she doesn't know why he is there or what he is doing. There is a definite attraction there though. But what does he want?

Then Eve's mother gives her this project to keep her busy while recovering, to create her dream guy - on a computer. Easy, right? You just input the data and he is shown on a screen. But could he be created to be real? Would she want this? What would she feel if he were real?

Okay, seriously loved this book. CANNOT WAIT to read the next book, Adam and Eve.

Summary -

And girl created boy…

In the beginning, there was an apple—

And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker’s head clears a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother’s research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal.

Just when Eve thinks she will die—not from her injuries, but from boredom—her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy.

Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect... won’t he?

Review - Origin by Jessica Khoury

Title: Origin

Author: Jessica Khoury
Publisher: Razorbill
Publish Date: Sept 4, 2012

Barnes and Noble

When I first started reading this book, the movie Species popped in my head. I kept comparing the two simply because it was a woman/girl that was specially made, kept in a glass box, being watched and tested, then she gets out. In reality, the story lines are very different.

I really liked this book. It was so different than anything I have read it awhile. I love Pia, the main character. She was sweet and innocent and I especially loved that she was kind and caring. She wants the ultimate goal, to get to a point in her testing to be proven worthy to know the secret to herself and building others just like her. Even though she is surrounded by people, her family and workers, she is lonely because no one really knows who she is and what she needs. Then she notices a hole in the fence surrounding her home and curiosity gets the best of her. Out in the real world, she meets a local tribal boy and her world expands exponentially.

This writing was so spectacular. I cannot wait to see where this goes. I really hope there is a followup to this book. I cannot divulge the ending because that is the worst, but I hope for more.

Summary -
Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home--and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin--a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost.

Meal Planning

In order to be healthier, I have to start making my food ahead of time. I really sink low when I don't have food on hand ready to eat. I have tried so many times to wait to make dinner after work, but working in retail really makes that difficult. Some days I am off at 330pm, other 630, 730 and even 930 and later. It just doesn't bode well. I have been really good since my detox. No gluten at all. I did forget one time when I was eating at a restaurant. The fork was poised at my mouth and I realized I hadn't specified gluten free. The server was so kind and switched it out no problem. Whew! So I have been thinking and planning how to be more organized in the food department.

This week I found a really awesome cookbook that has inspired me called Gluten Free Made Simple by Carol Field Dalhstrom. Now let me tell you, I have read a lot of books that say simple and they are not. This one totally IS SIMPLE. I am excited. It is full of recipes I love. So this week, I sat down and planned out five meals I would have along with leftover options. Crazy, I know.

My boyfriend called and asked if because he is not gluten free would he need to make his own food.  This is how uneducated our society is about allergies. I myself knew NOTHING about it until I realized I am sensitive to it. Drives me nuts how many people want to be rude about how they feel it is a fad and won't last! So I told him not to worry. I love to cook and will always want to cook for us. I am such a fan of making my lunch and a lunch for him too!! I told him we would be trying some new stuff, but the weirdest would probably be the stuffed peppers because he is not a huge fan of vegetables. I will definitely warn him when I want to cook something I know he may not like, but realistically it won't have anything to do with gluten free food, but rather vegetables.

Here is what I am planning -

Meatloaf and polenta (with spaghetti sauce over polenta)
Stuffed peppers with salad
Steak with scalloped corn
Chicken nuggets (GLUTEN FREE PEOPLE) and sweet potato fries (real potatoes)

I am pretty stoked because I already made the prep work for the stuffed peppers and I also mixed up a batch of broccoli slaw to go with my lunches. I have bought my first loaf of GF bread and had a really nice sandwich today. It was surprisingly good. I wasn't sure about the GF bread, as I am a fan of really soft bread and the fridge or freezer breads tend to be either too mushy or really brittle. But I bought what I wanted - after much angst - yummy raisin bread. Not a usual choice for lunch bread, but who cares? I'm happy.

I am also planning to revamp my baking cupboards this weekend. I would like to ultimately have a bin for the following - GF Flour (all purpose), lentils, beans, corn starch, premixed dry waffle and pancake mix, dry fruits and a few others ready at hand. I would also love to have some sort of system for herbs, but seriously have no clue what to do for that. Ideas for herbs? Plus, my baking is all up on top of my kitchen so I am looking to make it easier to reach each item.

Also I am really excited that my boyfriend and I are going out on the town to try out some GF beer for me!! I am not a huge drinker. It is actually pretty rare for me to drink, but I am curious and my boyfriend LOVES beer, so why not?

What are your food plans for the week?

PS Check out these really awesome food sacks that I picked up at The Container Store!!! I am so excited to be using less plastic. Seriously some of the best gifts for me revolve around my lunch.

Why I was adorable as a child

One of my favorite stories of myself as a child happens to be horribly disgusting too. I am reminded by it often too.

My mother, sister and I were driving with the windows down. Just as my mother and sister started to gag, I took a deep breath in and said, Wow what smells so good? I'm hungry!"

My mother says, "Well that is the Purina Puppy Chow plant."

At the time, I didn't get it, but every time I pass it again, I happen to start laughing. I can't squelch what a total nerd I was.

Blessedly happy one though.

Detox, Day 5

I realized I went from Day 1 to Day 5 on my blog. Too bad I couldn't have also skipped those days on the actual detox. lol

It has been a very rocky road. Not easy at all.

Day one wasn't too bad . . . compared to the others.

Day 2 was pretty rough as the actual detox hit my system while I was at work. Needless to say I was worried I wouldn't make it through my shift, but lo and behold, it was okay. The actual drinking of liquids was way easier on day 2, but the body effects were tough. I was tired, achy, little headachy, then add in the fact that my own body decided to detox all the food in a matter of 4 hours, uhm not pretty. I felt pretty shaky for that time, but then it cleared and all was ok.

Day 3 was worse due to the fact that I read the detox too literally. (Me? too literal? never!) I ate fruit for breakfast, ugh I miss my cereal SO BAD. Then had a smoothie shake for snack. Then lunch. Ah, lunch, the one thing I was looking forward to. Bummer. The one cup of rice I made, was under cooked. Then the veggies I stir fried were awful!! They all tasted like turnips. Which apparently I do not like. I picked out the turnips and nawed on the rest. Very unhappily. By afternoon snack time I wanted to kill someone. I knew I wasn't going to continue this detox if I couldn't figure out the food.

I texted my boyfriend and asked him to reread the detox. He said I could eat any veggies, not just the detox specific.

Now I am on board.

Day 5 all is better. I have been cooking the rice every other day. I then have a mixture of whatever veggies are around. Last night for dinner, I made a portobello mushroom in oil and onions then a side salad of spinach, squash, blueberries, strawberries and grapes.

But honestly, I would do a lot for a bowl of cereal or a pizza.

Also, sugar is one mean motherf*cker. I am pretty sure I detoxed sugar on day 3 as well. Have you ever wanted to punch someone repeatedly and then just punch everyone else in arms length? I felt like I just could have gone home and called it good. I truly like people, but day 3 was a hateful day.

Yesterday was really the first day I was around others while eating. Since I take my breaks at work by myself and live by myself, I have been eating alone. Then at my boyfriend's house, I felt like my parent's dogs hovering over while he ate his pasta and bread. I wasn't hungry, I just wanted what he had.

One thing I have learned on this detox, is food is fuel for the body. I do not need it to feel better. I do not need it to enjoy life. It is just fuel for the body. Should it be tasteful? Yes, but most crappy food doesn't really taste all that good. I mean the people I work with eat pizzas from work which in reality, are so full of grease I cannot taste the food. They smell heavenly, taste? Not so much. The coffee is so chock full of chocolate, what's the point?

I drank an iced tea that was SO MUCH BETTER than the mocha I ever had at Starbucks and it was so much healthier. I realized that food I can make at home is so much more worth it! And with websites like Gluten Free on a Shoestring, I can cook at home all the time. And I really love to cook!!

I am excited to start being gluten free. And not just because I could take this detox and fling it out the nearest window. I am looking forward to being healthier, feeling better and knowing I am making that choice for myself. There are so many wonderful opportunities out there for gluten free individuals, that I know I will not be missing out.

Two more days and I will wake up to a bowl of Chex Cereal and a banana and a pizza (Gluten free, of course) for lunch and probably a big ass steak for dinner (with veggies)!

Detox, Day 1, Initial Thoughts

Recently tested to have Hypothyroidism, then through more information found out I may have a gluten sensitivity. By the time the time came around to have tests done, I realized that I had cut out pretty much all of my gluten and therefore the tests would be invalid. I chose not to restart on gluten foods only to test myself. Instead, with my doctors approval I moved to a detox cleanse instead and just decided that the next time (if there ever is one) I feel horrible, we can test then. In the meantime, I am happy to move straight to gluten free eating.

It has been almost a month since I started eating clean and then moving to gluten free as well. I have lost two pounds (though I think it may be a little more, but I do not have a scale in my house). My pants feel so much smoother. My body feels lighter, especially my belly and lower belly. I do not have that rock of sickness feeling in my lower abdomen anymore. I am regular (stop there). I am sleeping at night and mostly peacefully. Still have an occasional feeling of not good sleep. I am exercising cardio at least 3 times a week and yoga 4 times a week. I wake up feeling good and ready to start my day. My allergies are better, except for this last couple days with the change in weather. It has been a bit rough with headaches and such, but I am used to the weather changes killing my allergies.

I have been a bit scared of starting this detox because I don't want to cheat and I definitely do not want to turn into a nightmare. I know the two catalysts for me are not eating and being tired. With those two I get really grumpy and unreasonable.

I was a competitive athlete too, so I have been drilled in to always eat and take care of the body. Body needs fuel and food is that fuel. Do not deprive yourself. Which is why I spent weeks thinking about detox and then talking to my doctor about it. 

I am doing the Tosca Reno Detox because it is one I feel I can do. It feels reasonable and healthy. It is only two days of liquids and then clean eating vegetables and 1 cup of GF brown rice for the next 3 to 7 days.

I bought a bunch of Coconut Waters to get me through the first two days. I will be putting 8oz of coconut water then fill with water for every liquid bottle I drink. I then bought GF rice for days 3-7. I have cleaned out my fridge to include only vegetables. All other food, like chicken are in the freezer for safe keeping. I also have Naked Juice to drink 8oz before bed with my meds and also to help my tummy through the night. I haven't decided if I will mix it with protein powder. I suppose I will decide how I feel. I will allow myself one hot herbal decaf tea at work if and when I strongly feel weak and want to cheat.

I woke up this morning with a bit of trepidation. I went downstairs and fed the kitties (wondering if in the two days of no eating food if I will want to eat the cat food) and then filled up my first liquid bottle. I have a feeling I will never want to drink coconut water ever again after this.

I really want to do well and I hope I can keep my spirits up as well.

Have you done the Tosca Reno Detox? Results? Thoughts?

90% Raw

I have been working on going raw for over a week now. Seems minimal, but I feel pretty good. So far. I did experience a HUGE day of food withdrawal. Sadly it was at work. LOL My poor boss. I lost it before lunch knowing I was going to have to eat my healthy lunch and all I wanted was crap. It was horrible. I was literally nuts for 20 minutes. Him pushing me to eat crap is what helped me choose to eat my healthy lunch. Ironic, huh? About two hours later, I felt the relief of normal again. (well semi-normal)

So far I have struggled the most with making my lunch for work. I have to start making it the night before because I keep hitting snooze til I am running late. Damn. I have to get to sleep earlier. I am trying to leave leftovers in an easy to sort out container that I can just grab and go.

My favorite part is grocery shopping. lol And enjoying my meals once I sit down. I am realizing that I am eating much slower and really tasting my food. I still read while I eat, but I notice I am not wolfing down the food. I find myself knowing ahead of time that I am getting full. I don't need to overeat anymore. I leave the table satisfied with the knowledge I will have a snack in a few hours.

At the end of the day, I reward myself with one oatmeal raisin cookie. They are so good and, of course, all natural.

For example, my food journal looks like this -

Breakfast - 1/2 cup of Muesli with one banana sliced and 1/2 cup of organic milk

Snack - 8oz of Naked Juice Green Machine and 1/4 of a peach sliced (1/4 cup of Raw Protein Powder)

Lunch - half a chicken breast with steamed veggies (broccoli, peppers, carrots)

Snack - cup of decaf coffee and a granola bar (natures path choco)

Dinner - whole wheat tortilla with beans (pinto and black beans), spinach, tomato, avocado

Snack - one oatmeal raisin cookie

Initially I was worried about the cereal I love to eat in the mornings, every morning and honestly, I could live off cereal. Not the good kind either. I am talking Lucky Charms. But who knew I love Muesli!!

Next was the sweets. It has been over a week since I ate anything other than Organic Vanilla Ice Cream, oatmeal raisin cookie and/or a piece of dark chocolate bar. These are my sweets. I have found that fruit is very sweet. Especially if I leave it to ripen. I don't mind it to be soft because it really cures my sweet tooth. I especially love soft, sweet peaches.

Next was my decaf mocha at work. Oh man, I have switched to a latte with honey. Not my favorite, but it does the trick when needed. I just purchased Agave Nectar to take to work and replace the honey. I am also considering taking a half quart of organic milk to take to steam as well. The cafe people are really nice and accommodating.

Next was the exercise. Ugh. Having asthma really makes cardio difficult. I have tried to commit to a minimum of 3xs a week, but my goal is 5xs a week of 30 minutes of cardio. It can be anything. The other day my boyfriend and I walked down to the park (a 10 min walk) and then tossed the football around. Which let me tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed!! I feel a little bad for my boyfriend because as I started to get tired my throwing kinda sucked, but he was a great sport and didn't mind. I would like to pull my bike out of the garage and go on a serious ride, but that hasn't happened yet. A girlfriend and I went camping and we ended up kayaking for 7 miles one day! I offset it all with my yoga 3xs a week.

We made homemade pita bread this past weekend, which I am so enamored with. It made the most wonderful sandwiches with chicken, tomato and spinach!

I made a really awesome homemade spaghetti sauce with 5 tomatoes (peeled skins), 4 cloves of garlic and about 1/4 cup of onion. I then added spicy andoue sausage and poured it all over egg pasta. I had steamed zucchini and squash added to the sauce on my plate (only).

It has been really fun to work with this new type of eating. At times, frustrating as well. We hit Native New Yorker and I had a beer (oh man, it was good) and a burger. I ordered the hamburger (no cheese) with tomato, lettuce and pickles, then took the top of the bun off when it arrived. It was still oh so awesome! I didn't eat any fries either! Amazing, lol.

I joined SparkPeople - again. But I love that I am using the iphone app to record my daily workouts and food intake. I don't like to obsess over food, but I do need to identity what I am eating and when my cravings happen.

The biggest change though is the fact that my lower belly feels SO MUCH LIGHTER. I cannot believe how good it feels to not have all that stuff hanging out inside me. I feel cleansed. I have also had a consistently really bad gassy tummy. I do not have that anymore. What an amazing feeling!

Found a really fabulous blog that defines the differences between Raw, Clean Eating and Paleo on Even Was Partially Right blog. 

And I really like this article too - Rawlly Rawlly Delicious

Diagnosis: Hypthyrodism

I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism this past week and realized that many of the dots connected. Finally! I know I shouldn't feel relieved having been diagnosed with a disease, but hey, it's nice to know I can hopefully work on feeling better and not just remain in the dark.

Hypothyrodism - the thyroid gland not producing enough hormone

Symptoms - fatigue (hello?!)
Constipation (just won't talk about this one, mmk?)
sensitivity to cold (all the time)
joint and muscle pain
dry skin (using vanicream)
depression (just thought this was hereditary)
thin, brittle nails (thought this was just dry skin related)

Talking to my doctor, she could put me on medication, but it is so mild at this point neither of us want to go that route until necessary because once I start taking them, I cannot stop. I do not like to be dependent on medications. I just don't.

We agreed to give me up to 30 days to get a diet and exercise plan into action. I have to do the following -
cut out all unprocessed foods (ie: go raw or clean eat)
cardio 3-5xs a week in the morning
continue yoga 3-5xs a week in the evenings

Because of many underlying diseases that stem from this disease she would like to see me eventually go gluten free to help that out as well. Uhm, let's just try to begin the above program first.

I started by buying a couple of cookbooks and sending out a need for good wishes from my family and friends. I then cleaned out my cupboards and fridge. This wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The one thing I worry about is losing my cereal. I LOVE CEREAL! I could eat this all day. I probably could live off it. Not to healthily but I could. The other worry was having the ability to cook often enough at home to allow for variation without a lot of fuss.  I really enjoy cooking, but don't necessarily like to do it every single day. Which is why it has been so hard to diagnose me. I tend to eat really healthy for weeks, then go crap food for a week, then back to healthy. I stay just under the normal thyroid evaluations and usually when I make my doctor appointments it's because I feel crappy and have already switched back to healthy food.

Looking at the diets with hypothyroidism (if you believe them as there is a lot of debate about what is good for thyroidism) they mimic the raw diet as closest. I really like to have recipes to go off of, so that is where I started. (And as my doctor recommended I eat unprocessed it made sense)

I will still be eating lots of protein, in fact it should realistically be the major part of my plate. Followed by lots of vegetables and fruits. I need to cut out all breads and pastas or replace them with all natural made. I have learned very quickly that though there are many foods that profess to be healthy and clean, they are not. I read many a labels while shopping and so many have GUM or weird unpronounceable items in them. These are not clean. This may require I make many of my spreads, dressings, etc at home, but I am willing to take a look at my nearby health food grocery store and see what they have to offer.

The first challenge being cereal, I found that Muesli is wonderfully good and flavorful. I scoop 1/2 cup into a bowl along with either sliced banana or raspberries and blueberries for breakfast. I then have a shake of some kind in a few hours with protein supplement (just purchased Garden of Life Protein from a recommendation of a Vegan friend). For lunch I will need to be crafty because I like to look forward to food while working.

This past week I settled on crock pot of beans where I mixed black beans and pinto beans with half an onion and a few cloves of garlic. I then purchased some awesome whole wheat tortillas to wrap them in with lots of veggies, including sprouts, spinach, tomatoes, avocado. Notice I didn't say cheese? Yep, cheese is very processed. As is milk. I now have organic milk and cut out cheese. I did find a block of unprocessed cheese, but have yet to try it. I will be having to slice and shred my own cheese because only the unprocessed comes in blocks.

That is really the beginning of the process. I am sure I will blog more about this as I find out new tricks and new challenges (like eating out in restaurants)!

May be basic, but it's not easy

Yoga discussion today was based on the phrase, "it may be a basic class, but that doesn't mean it will be easy." I really liked this focus. It has so many meanings. But since I teaching myself to learn to relax and not take myself so seriously, it really takes to heart.

Life in general sometimes feels like it is so basic, boring even, but that doesn't mean it's easy.


Even though it seems like it should be basic, that doesn't mean it's going to be easy. (ie: don't beat up myself)

My boyfriend and I went to this awesome ropes challenge and talk about not being easy. It was basic ropes, swings, climbs, etc. I had an absolutely incredible time. It worked all my muscles and my mind was stretched to it's limit. There were so many times I thought I would give out and fall. Once, I did fall. I was climbing the wall and my feet just went out and down I went. Thankfully, I didn't fall too far, maybe a foot. It didn't feel great getting my harness to grab, but it could have been worse. I used a lot of yoga moves during the course. I used keeping my shoulders over my hips to stay in line with balance. I tried balancing on one foot to minimize the swinging when going from one rope to another. I switched from arms to legs and used my core as much as possible to reduce the amount of tiredness my muscles were feeling. It seemed to work as I had a great time the entire two hours we were there. My favorite part though was definitely the zip lines. There were a few really long ones. I screamed and yelled and hooted and hollered for joy!

It may be basic, but doesn't mean it's easy.

I will be picking up this line to use on a daily basis. I love positive messages and this one takes the cake. It just makes sense.

Heaven help us all

Overall, I am a happy person. I tend to smile and giggle and make jokes. I even laugh at my own jokes. In the past, I have been described as bubbly - which I gotta say isn't the nicest compliment. I even had one manager tell me he wanted to punch me in the face every time he saw me because I was in such a good mood all the time. It's become a side joke with us now.

I really don't see myself as a morning person or an evening person. I am not a huge fan of waking early and I sure as heck do not enjoy staying up. I consider myself a day person, like 10am - 6pm. Those hours suit me just fine, though ten to three are even better. I have even mastered the skill of waking and my mind drifts back to sleep only to wake up again when I am at work. Yes, I do have full conversations with people I cannot remember having.

Lately, I seem to be focusing on what makes me happy. I find that the little things that drive me nuts are what I want to cut out. The list is as follows -

get rid of negative people (or ignore them if possible)
work out/exercise
eat healthier
read a lot
find happy time to do whatever I want
be with my cats, family, bf (not nec in that order)
make my house as resort-like as possible
be outside with nature
get rid of pain
relieve anxiety, pressure to perform

I hunted down a TMJ dentist who I finally found online and sent a random email asking if he would see me when he was in town next. He sent back that he would see me. Come to find out he actually has a practice here. FABU! I am now fitted with a new TMJ mouth splint that I wear full time and at night. After only a few weeks, I am feeling no teeth pain, and less next and shoulder pain.


I am really doing well with the whole learning to relax thing and I can tell the people I work with appreciate it because now when they come to me and say, Oh man so and so happened, I say, "ok I'll handle it," instead of freakin' the F out. I am learning that I don't have to react at all. Some situations I can just mull over or just let go. Mostly I know now that I don't even have to get emotionally charged. It may concern me. I may have to deal with it, but it doesn't have to upset me.


I am working out four times a week doing some serious yoga. I sweat like a fiend through the class which I hope means I am doing something. My belly that has so carelessly decided to bulge a bit over my pants still is there, but I am hoping it is working it way to going bye bye. If anything, I am trying.

Eating healthier. Hmm, it is a bit more difficult that I would like to think. I eat fruits and veggies. I drink lots of water, but I also like sweets. And pasta. And bread. And all types of potatoes. I try to mix it up a bit. But boy, it's hard. I recently bought a low glycemic book that tells what I am craving versus what I should actually eat. Good start.

The point is, I seem to be finding the little annoyances in my life and working them out. Literally out of my life. I have never really done that before. I have so much control over my own life, why not focus a little on being happier?

Heaven help us all (especially that guy at work who wants to punch me) if I actually attain more happiness.

Serious book envy

I have a serious problem here folks.

I cannot seem to find enough time to read.

Every book I see, I want to read.

I have even made a list of books I MUST READ RIGHT NOW or I will perish. And I am not exaggerating at all!

In no particular order -

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka - I keep hearing really good things about this and it looks to be a quick read.

The Forsaken by Lisa M Stasse

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (on my nook now)

The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano (on my nook now) - Flew through Cristofano's other book The Exceptionists - SO GOOD!! Check out my review.

Michael Vey #2 Rise of the Elgen by Richard Paul Evans

Bound To You by Christopher Pike - I really enjoy his books!

When We Were the Kennedy's by Monica Wood
Anything by Tana French - I have never read her before, but man her covers are AWESOME!

Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain - another series book I have not read any of the series before, sigh

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Temptation by RL Stine - has anyone read this? How truly scary is it?

And of course the continuation of sereis I have read -

The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting- frickin' awesome series

Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series - I'm on four, I think

Thirst #3 by Christopher Pike

I know the list is longer, but that's about all I can think of as of right now.

Anything you cannot live without reading right now?

which is being shipped as we speak
care of my bf

Losing Lila by Sarah Anderson
Lila #2

Review - Ruby by Amanda Burke

Title: Ruby
Ruby #1
Author: Amanda Burke
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publish Date: June 29, 2012

Barnes and Noble Nook book $6

Read the First Chapter on Smashwords, here.

Amanda contacted me by email to ask if I would review her book. Since I am very emotionally driven when it comes to books, I have a really hard time accepting review books because I may just not be in the mood to read a certain book. Yes, my inner troll reader is fickle. And apparently has a few personalities as I am constantly saying, "WOW I'll read that one next! No, that one! Wait, that one!"

The book Ruby just seemed right up my alley with a strong female character, Ruby, witches, special powers and maybe, a love story.

Ruby is the daughter of a single father as her mother died years ago. When her father unexpectedly is killed, she follows a letter from her father to go meet her unknown grandmother. Her grandmother turns out to be a witch, as Ruby is a descendent of, is also a witch. Together they embark on a journey to teach Ruby how to hone her skills and possibly, save their world against an old legend. On the way she runs into Blake, a very handsome and rouge warlock.

This was a really nice light read with much entertainment. The writing was exceptional and kept me very involved in the book. Cannot wait to read the next installment! Thank you Amanda for gifting me this book!

Contact me if you are interested in this book, I am happy to pass along the goodness to a fellow reader!

Summary -
During the Salem witch hunts, an evil witch named Natasha Sullivan tricks a demon into confining himself inside an enchanted music box. She casts a spell that foretells that the demon will emerge in an unknown time in future after the birth of a child known as the Lumen Child. This child’s destiny is to bring light to the planet and Natasha knows that if he is killed then darkness will prevail. Natasha’s identical twin Sarah, discovers what her sister has done. Although she cannot break the spell she casts her own prophecy. It states that three witches known as the Triple Enchantresses will be born in the same time as the Lumen Child and they will be his supernatural protectors. The girls are not sisters, yet they will share a common destiny. Ruby is the story of the first witch and how she very nearly dies before discovering her true identity. Having grown up unaware of her powers, she is rescued by her loving grandmother who is also a white witch and taken back to the family estate where she learns everything she can about what her future holds. Ruby is the first in a four book series.

Review - On The Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

Title: On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Publisher: (not listed)
Publish Date: Oct 11, 2011

Barnes and Noble

I kept seeing this book floating around facebook and finally decided that since we were taking a vacation to California, what better book to read there. Sadly, it never made it there. I finished it the night before, reading until I couldn't keep my eyes open. I think I fell asleep with about six pages left.

Such a good read!!

I cannot say enough good things about how this book is written. The story line made me hesitate a bit because I am not a fan of older and younger, not of age. BUT Tracey handled this situation with the up most care and regard for the situation. I really appreciated the way she detailed it.

I love that Anna has a such a wonderful personality. She is sweet, kind and yet, she still makes her student be the student. She is currently in a relationship with a boy who just can't seem to make a decision and so indecision kind of becomes the decision. She takes this job as a tutor to get away and take herself out of the equation and maybe coming back to make the decision, although we get the taste that she may have already decided.

 TJ is a kid who just wants to live. He has been through much in the way of cancer dealing with all the hardships that come with it. He is finally cancer free so he wants to do what all kids do during the summer, hang with his friends. But no, that will not happen. His parent's make him come on a vacation to study with a tutor to be ready to go back to school.

Sadly their trip to the vacation doesn't go so well as their plane goes down in the middle of the ocean and they land on an island all by themselves. The telling of what Anna and TJ go through is horrific. Just image the daily things we deal with - monthly periods, food cravings, sleeping in a bed, being clean - oh wait and food, water and disease!! And then comes in the fact that TJ has a thing for Anna. She's beautiful, smart and funny. I loved the way their relationship develops. Tracey did such a good job with this! (did I say that already)

Best summer book I've read in a long time!!!

AND I WON A SIGNED COPY!! Yes, I bought the ebook and then won a signed paper copy from A Tale of Many Reviews. So stoked!! I better keep an eye on that, though I am already telling a few people they have to borrow my SIGNED COPY!!

Summary -

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island.

Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

Review - The Exceptionists by David Cristofano

Title: The Exceptions
Author: David Cristofano
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publish Date: Aug 7, 2012

Barnes and Noble

I was working the hardcover fiction bay new releases and kept eying this cover. There is something about it that made me want to stare at it endlessly. It made me wonder what it was about. Who was the girl? Why the boy in the background? Sadly, I left that day without even picking it up to read the summary. Yet, I thought about it all the next day, so much so I tried to remember what the title and who the author was. In the end, I waited til the following day at work to check it out. No, I still never read the summary. I am just not a fan of the blurb. I like to be surprised and wonder where this book is taking me. And boy, was I surprised.

It is about Jon, a boy of a mafia family destined to become part of the family business  of pressuring, coercing and killing. The first part talks of his age of six when he knew the power of manipulation and at age twelve, the need for killing. You had me there.

He sees this girl with blond hair who he falls in love with because of her innocence and then inexplicably his naivety is what takes away her innocence. He is then on a mission to protect what is left of her, but at the cost of upsetting his family as he is set to kill this girl.

Amazing. I fell in love with both of these characters. John for his need to be different and choose his own path, but wanting to not upset his family either. Melody for her need to be loved and shown she is worthy, but then surprises me with the funny and irradic things she does.

I was so wonderfully engaged in this book. What a pleasant find!! And now I am off to investigate David Cristofano's other book, The Girl She Used to Be.

WOHOO just realized there is another book after this one about Melody!!!!

Oops, it's actually book 1 in the series. Darn I read them out of order. I'll have to let you know if you should read them in order or if out of order is good.

Summary -
As part of the Bovaro family, one of the most powerful and respected families in organized crime, violence is passed down and becomes a way of life. Jonathan Bovaro always knew he would become a part of his family's legacy, but he never realized how the beautiful little blonde girl he saw when he was ten could change the course of his life forever.

When Melody Grace McCartney and her parents witnessed that legendary Bovaro family violent streak, it was clear they needed to be silenced. But it was too late. The McCartneys joined the Witness Protection Program. Chosen to exterminate the McCartneys and prove himself to his family, Jonathan pledges to do the job. But as he watches her grow into a beautiful but broken woman, he can't get her out of his mind...or his heart. Torn between his duty to his family and his love for Melody-the mysterious, dangerous, yet vulnerable mafioso must choose between the destiny his family carved out for him and a future unlike anything he ever imagined.

Hampster Wheel Brain

Today in yoga, my instructor began the class with explaining how her brain just wouldn't shut off and that yoga is one hour each day she can invite her brain to focus on less, mainly body placement, breathing, etc. I think my head was going to pop off I was nodding so profusely.

I have never been one of those people that understood the comment, "I am not thinking anything." My brain is like the stock market, ticking away with thoughts so fast it can be difficult to catch them. In the past, I had to teach myself to stop before speaking because it would come out jumbled from trying to keep up with my brain. It took years to realize I would interrupt people in order to get my thoughts out before I forgot them. Literally my brain is on full blast all the time. Relaxing is actually a struggle for me. Shocking, I know.

Yoga has opened up a whole new life for me. It has allowed me to give myself permission during each class to block out all thoughts and just feel. I feel the breath going in, filling up my lungs, my lower abdomen, my lower back part of my back, relaxing my hip joints, pushing through the back of my heels, then back up again. None of this requires thinking. None of it requires judgement, pressure, anxiety or revisiting parts of my day. It is completely and utterly me. Inside and out.

I am not sure if I will ever be able to truly meditate. I am sure I could train myself as I am a "mind over matter" kinda gal, but honestly just being able to shut my brain down for one class has enabled me to realize I can be that fun loving person in even in the worst of moments. I can be kooky, bubbly, friendly and still get work done. I can have tough conversations with my team members and still be relaxed and smile. I can get into stressful situations, handle it and then walk away, leaving the situation in the past.

What amazing freedom.

I have always envied people like my sister, who can get into bed at night and simply flip their brain off as if their entire day was spent meditating. As a young child, I knew what she had done and it was way worse than my wrongs. (lol) Yet, here she slept, peacefully.

Now I get it. Nothing is so important that it should interfere with your sleep, happiness and overall peace with life.

I am still in training. There are days I want to punch people in the face, which actually could be considered an improvement because long ago I couldn't imagine wanting to punch someone, now I know right away. And I counteract that feeling with something else; being aware. I have days where I am tired, at wits end and struggle, but they are becoming fewer and farther between. I am also noticing a change in the way I react to others and their comments and feelings. I know that they are solely theirs and I can only control my own reactions.

Yoga has taught me I can have a million things going on inside, but it doesn't have to control me. I control it. By simply breathing. Breath in, move, stretch, adjust, breath out, tilt, turn, push, breath in. Work is the same concept, but I get paid. (lol) It doesn't (and shouldn't) be stressful. I love my job and I am so good at it.

Such simple lessons, but it can take a lifetime to work.

Hey It's Okay Tuesday

Playing along with Airing My Dirty Laundry

she . . . got this idea from Glamour magazine. They have a section called Hey, It’s Okay and will list a bunch of things to be okay about. You're welcome to join in and do something like this on your blog. Doesn't have to be on a Tuesday either. Just make sure you link up (with her at Airing My Dirty Laundry) and that the post you link up is a Hey, It's Okay Post.


I bought a second bathing suit for our beach trip, even though I barely wear the one I have.

To have emailed a random dentist/doctor I found on the internet, who occasionally drops in to the local college health office because there is no one else in this area that works on TMJ. He did call and email me back!! Very happy and hoping that we can figure out why my teeth are so sore they jiggle in their sockets when I walk.

Thinking my kitties are THE CUTEST kitties ever!! Every time I look at them I just wanna squeeze them til their eyes pop out. Thankfully (for them) I have self control.

To be trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up . . . .  for the second time, that is when I turn 50-ish and maybe don't want to be doing what I am doing now. Plan ahead, even if it is a couple decades away.

To use Facebook to check in on all the magazines that I love to read, but rarely ever buy.

Top 3 Books You MUST Read

In no particular order -
ROOM by Emma Donahue - This was a fabulous book. I watched it walk out the door each day. We literally kept running out of stock. It was on the bestsellers list for months. I kept hearing people say, "OH You have to read this!" I kept thinking, I will probably just not like that book. (I am so fd up sometimes lol) When I finally sat down and read this, I was so disappointed in myself for not reading it soon. It was that good! My favorite part of the book was the differences between the mom's point of view knowing the outside world, but being stuck in this one room and the son who only knows this one room and being scared to imagine anything else. Amazing!!

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness - so good I may read it again. And I NEVER reread books. It was a wonderful novel that took the everyday and made it extraordinary. It spoke to my intellectual side while pleasing the light summer reader too. And there's two more books in the series!

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - A very different type of fiction book that incorporates the mystical with the fantasy while intertwined with a star crossed love story.

YOUR TURN - Tell me your top 3 books!!

Review - Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Title: Masque of Red Death
Masque of Red Death #1
Author: Bethany Griffin
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publish Date: April 24, 2012

Barnes and Noble

Just when I thought I had everything figured out in this book, Bethany Griffin throws in a twist toward the end and killed all my hopes for Araby. THEN tosses in another to give me new hope. I cannot tell too much about these twist as it changes the entire layout of the book. AND not in a bad way.

Araby is a girl who lives in a rich part of town, but she isn't supposed to live there as her family is really poor, but because of her father being a scientist that "saved humanity" by providing the designs for life saving masks to protect against the disease they are allowed to stay protected in the towers. (whew long sentence) Araby then if friendly with a rich girl who doesn't seem to realize, nor care about the people who are dying in the city below. Instead her girl friend just wants to party and forget the death.  Araby cannot forget because she knows it is very small circumstances that separate her from the dying people on the street.

Araby gets pulled in to the life of two men, Will the bouncer at the dance club who has two younger siblings at home he cares for and Elliot, the brother of Araby's girl friend who has an ulterior plan. Bethany Griffin does a spectacular job of pulling the reader in to having preconceived notions yet, she keeps throwing in situations that surprised me into changing who I thought was best for Araby. I wanted Araby to have a life with Will the bouncer. He was sweet and kind and thoughtful and understood where she was coming from, but mostly because Elliot seemed self-centered and preoccupied with being a rebel against the cause. Then Elliot would show compassion and woop, my thoughts changed toward him. Each guy was mysterious enough to keep me guessing to whom she would end up with and in the end it all blew up anyway. I wanted to stand on my bed and scream, NO YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! Great ending!!

I really enjoyed that Bethany Griffin gave the impression it was an open and closed book, but in reality she threw in the perfect twists and turns to make me crave the next book in this series.

Summary -

 Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

You're the one that I want (books)

When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood

I just finished reading the book, Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath by Mimi Alford about her intimate relationship with President Kennedy. It was so wonderfully heartfelt while keeping with her naivety with all the going-ons around her. The history brought back memories and was so vivid when she detailed where she was when things were happening. That book really made me want to read more about the Kennedy's, the presidency and history. Then I saw this book, When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood and I can't wait to read this.

I absolutely loved the first book in the Lila series by Sarah Anderson. It gave such a fun spin on the fantasy and adventure teen books floating around right now. Lila was always a step ahead of her family when it came to her life, then she ends up on her brother's doorstep across the country from her dad where she's been staying since they moved. She immediately comes intrenched in all the choas of her brother's life that has been a secret for years. Her secret love for her brother's best friend - what a great love story! I was on the edge of my seat through the entire book.

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
I am a fan of Jennifer Echols and this cover is stunning! I just picked up the arc and it is sitting on my nightstand waiting to be read, but I have a few books in line in front. Grrr!!

What are waiting to read?!?!?