Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Real Food For Mother and Baby

http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/1596913940.jpg http://www.insidesuccessradio.com/images/people/Nina-Planck.jpg
Real Food For Mother and Baby:
The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, And Baby's First Food
by Nina Planck
288 pages
Health/Food, Nutrition
Bloomsbury USA (March 31, 2009)

Nina Planck is an amazing food activist who believes in making good choices about eating. Her previous book Real Food gets rave reviews everywhere. This is a follow up, for those who are trying to get pregnant, those who are pregnant and it even shares ideal first foods. It is full of really interesting information and Nina Planck is a food nutrition guru. Her basic premise is that whole foods are best- however it may shatter some of your current thoughts on what is okay (or even good) to eat.

I haven't read her first book Real Food, but I love the whole food and real food concept. However, this book was a hard one for me. I just couldn't get over that she seemed too opinionated and sure of all that she was saying even when it really didn't seem to sit right with me. I have some examples that threw me off: she condones drinking alcohol while pregnant, saying sometimes she even drank more than a glass of wine a day, but she says it is not good to be a vegetarian while pregnant. That to me seems waky. Yes, crazy. I don't know if it was wrong, but after I read that I had a hard time taking in her logic and ideas in the same way.

Overall it does hold really interesting information, but I just couldn't get over the fact that she pretty much seemed to just want to push what she felt like eating or not eating on the rest of us. Oh, and yes there is plenty of liver to boot. I guess if you love wine and liver and don't want to give up anything while you are pregnant- this is your book. This is a grouchy take on it, I know. I just fear that when something is proven negative- to even guess at how much you and/or your baby can handle and still make it out okay, it is just crazy. Yes I am hung up on that.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Jaime Ford
304 pages
Ballantine Books
(January 27, 2009)

In Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jaime Ford creates not just a book about the issues surrounding the Japanese living in the US. during the relocation period of WWII, but he creates an entrancing and dynamic family and ethic relationship, by the end of which your nails will be bitten down to stubs. This is a novel, based on the historical facts of treatment of Japanese immigrants (including those of Japanese ancestry) who were living in the Seattle area during that period, but it would be so bland to let it lie there. Yes, it would, that is just the historical backdrop for a tale that is so much deeper, and more personable.

Henry, the son of Chinese immigrants befriends a lovely American girl of Japanese ancestry. Although she is a second generation American, and does not speak Japanese, she is the enemy not just to other Americans, but to Henry's father as well. He grew up in China at war with Japan and holds on to incidences of mistreatment towards his own people in the hands of the Japanese against Keiko. Through years of stubbornness, dominion and silence Henry learns to find his own way of surviving, of thinking and feeling. He comes to the understanding that what is most important is that he look out for those he loves, no matter what.

The things that really allowed me to immerse myself in Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet were the deep relationships, the strong writing of Jaime Ford, my love of all thins Japanese, that I am completely interested in history, that the book is based in the Northwestern United States (where I live), and the depth of the characters. I loved Henry, Keiko, Sheldon, Marty and well, I guess actually each of the characters, even the ones with bitterness and regret. I somehow felt like I understood their actions, their mindset and although not in agreement with them I could see through the words on the page to people of flesh and bone.

It is a love story in so many ways but not just a fleeting romantic love, but a love that stands the time it takes to reach it, and that spoke to me. It is the story of first love, and the story of a love that endures and is faithful, the story of love between father and son, mother and son. It never felt gushy to me, but I am a girl so hold that lightly. I don't know...I guess you'll just have to read it, and I really hope that you will because this was a STELLAR FIVE CHICKEN BOOK! I guess that means that Jaime Ford has to do a happy chicken dance? :)

Here are some pictures of posters that were plastered on all the walls in the Japanese section of Seattle in the 1940's:


Newspapers showing headlines written during the displacement of the Japanese people:

Rounding them up and putting them on trains headed to 'inland' camps (supposedly for THEIR own protection!):
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Trailer by Jaime Ford about his book, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet:

Trailer on the historical background of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet:

Jamie Ford's Website

Challenge Mania! Any suggestions?

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This is a cool one at Parole (words)the Polyglot Agatha Reading Challenge it involves becoming more proficient in a second, third or even fourth language while reading Agatha Christie! Yep, you read that right...so meander on over and check out this challenge. I think I'll shoot for EspaƱol and Italiano and see where that leads. I still don't know what I will read since I have never picked up Agatha in my life. I'd happily take your best suggestions!! (pretty please)

Challenge runs from April 1st to December 31st.

Yeah, so from May though September you can read five non-fiction books. I can do that! (at least try right!?) I don't know what I will read yet. I do have some good self-helpers (ie. How to Mess up Your Child's Life) Do you have any amazing suggestions for this one? Make sure you let me in on that! This one is hosted by one of my all time (top five) favourite bloggie people: Trish, from Trish's Reading Nook. She is a blast, make sure you head over (even if you don't want to join the challenge)

I am up for the option three FEAST of this challenge! Yes, this challenge last year is what broke me of my fear of classics. Well it wasn't really that I was scared of them, but just that they seemed all incredibly boring and too jam-packed with meaningless descriptions. I now know better. It goes April-October. What are you waiting for?! This one is also hosted by Trish, but it has its own blog The Classics Challenge.


And in case you didn't remember, I have tons of challenges that I am hosting too! Make sure you head over. You can stretch yourself to think more globally, have more of an international mindset. Whatcha think? The Orbis Terrarum challenge is one, but four at the same time, the main challenge, the film challenge, the bilingual challenge, and the poetry challenge. It has its own blog: Orbis Terrarum

Monday, March 23, 2009

Anne of Avonlea

Anne of Avonlea
by Lucy Maud Montgomery
256 pages
Ages 9-12
Sterling (October 7, 2008)
first published in 1909

The second book in the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Mud Montgomery, was just as spectacular and worthy of its classic status as the first. I am not a big believer in sequels, I know there are few occasions on which sequels work, but to me it seems they have more of a cult following than actual talent. Of course there are exceptions, but generally the story that needed to be told was told and people move on (or should move on) to different character entrancements. Anne of Green Gables left me no where near done learning about Anne Shirley nor Gilbert Blythe, I guess I am a cult member of the Anne club now. I love those two youngins!

In this book Anne starts out at 16 years old and she takes on the local school, she is just as hazardous as always and while she has grown out of the vain mischief that so surrounded her actions in Anne of Green Gables, she will still find ways to cause damage to property, people and well, just some good 'ol time confusion. Oh, yes it is always an accident, and always more than entertaining to watch her try and fix the problems that she has caused.

In this book I never felt a pinch of annoyance with Anne as I did in the first one, she is much more mature and less dreamy and chattery. I did expect things to move quicker between her and Gilbert though, and was a little disappointed that it didn't progress more rapidly. That is just the romantic in me though, the rest of me loves that they held off, I mean they are still really young when this book ends and it wouldn't make any sense to move so fast, but still I wanted to gush.

Yes, this is another stellar performance by Anne Shirley, Gilbert Blythe and of course author Lucy Maud Montgomery! I loved the whole world of Green Gables and beyond that she created for me to inhabit as I read through Anne of Avonlea. I will no doubt pick up the next one when I go to the library. Yes this book takes the cake as a five star "On the Lowest Shelf Children's Book Reviews" feature. Well worth the read! Careful though, you'll get sucked in!

I have been interested in watching it on the screen, but I am a little confused with all the different versions out there. Can anyone help me who is a Anne fan? I would like to watch Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea on DVD or if possible online. Any hints or ideas? Are there good versions and bad ones?

B&b ex libirs reviews of the Anne of Green Gables series:
Anne Of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Who by Fire

Who by Fire
by Diana Spechler
368 pages
Harper Perennial

When Ash and Bits where young children their sister Alena was kidnapped. Since then the kidnapping has torn their family apart and brought them to different methods of dealing with the grief, guilt and pain of loosing their sister, and daughter. Bits runs to men whenever she is sad, Ash scurries to religion, living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel in hopes that it will fill his gap and their mother's outlet is blame. She blames herself, and guilts her other children because they do not perform the way that she would like them to, they just can't fill that void that her youngest daughter, her favourite daughter left. For years, even decades the pain has formed wedges between them all, pushing and pulling them further and further apart. Will a sudden protectiveness arise within them when they feel someone on the outside is threatening their family?

Who by Fire is a tightly knit net of interactions and paths that cross and intersect and dodge each other. The book had its clenching grip on me the whole way through, I could relate to pieces of each of the characters. I do recommend it, I enjoyed it and it took me through the emotions a long with it. I felt the writing was precise and while not stunningly beautiful, it was practical and felt just right for the book. I was never distracted by cliche or bored by descriptions, so yes the writing was very good.

This is certainly a book for most people, but it would especially strike a chord for those who have suffered loss and learned, or have yet to learn how to cope with the loss endured. As dark as this book could have been, it wasn't, somehow through the whole reading I felt an underlying stream of hope and perseverance. Who by Fire is not flavoured by sad and depressed draining feelings, but of a changing life and the acts that futures are made of. Read it and you'll be glad that you did.

Here is a brief interview with the author:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Throw Out Fifty Things

Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life
by Gail Blanke
304 pages
Self Help, Cleaning
Springboard Press
Published 20th, March, 2009

Throw out fifty things? That sounds easy until you understand that your whole magazine collection counts as one, your dried up nail polish bottles that clutter up a whole shelf also count as one, your sock drawer filled with miss matched socks and single gloves, yep you guessed it, one. However room through room the articles add up as you go from bedroom, to bathroom, living room, dining room and finally to the horrors of your attic and garage.

This is a new approach in that it doesn't just stop there. Gail Blanke, a life coach and internationally known motivational speaker takes you through all four stages in which you release yourself from more and more stuff that really making you feel heavier. Her four parts are: Getting Rid of the Physical Stuff, Your office Pairing Down the Professional Clutter, Attacking Mental Mess, and Stepping into the Clearing. The first two are possessions, the second two stages are getting rid of unwanted mental mess or feelings, labels and poor self image.

Her main slogan throughout Throw Out Fifty Things is: if it doesn't make you feel good, get rid of it. I was a little shocked the first time that she mentioned that you don't need to go on value, worth or purpose, that even if you use it-and yet it makes you cringe, get rid of it! That is different than where I was thinking this all would go. I am very practical, and I have never thought that things that have no purpose should remain to collect dust while things that you use (even if you hate them) should be gotten rid of, but I see the logic in it after reading this book. That you should surround yourself with pleasing environments, places and rooms that you enjoy, that you want to be in, and clothes that you feel good when you wear.

After just looking at the title, I was nervous that she wanted people to actually 'throw out' all the stuff. But that is really not what Gail intends, she makes sure that you understand that you should only actually throw away things that are broken, useless, or something to which pieces or parts are missing. The rest of the stuff can go to someone else who will love it, to a secondhand store, or you could resell it to get some of your money back. I appreciated her practical take on that. And throughout the book Gail Blanke makes it a point to discuss green methods of discarding pait, batteries, an old AC, and other such toxic waste items.

What did I get out of it? Well, I got the crazy urge to clean my house and get rid of things that I had been holding on to for no reason other than that I didn't know what to do with them (or felt guilted into holding on to!!!). Gail mentions that if it is a very hard decision, that means you just need to get rid of it, and that most of the time we don't get rid of stuff, but we just move it around our homes and garages. That rang a bell with me, we have been shuffling junk for SO LONG! I am in the 'get it out of here' mode and now I know how to attack the problem thanks to Throw Out Fifty Things by Gail Blanke. It sure does make me feel a lot better inside when I get my junk out the door. This was a very helpful, and practical guide to getting rid of things. If you want to throw out your junk but can't seem to figure out the practical aspects of the process, or just aren't motivated to do it, read this!

If you want to jump on the bandwagon, it has its own website!:
Throw Out Fifty Things

What is the one thing that you would love to get rid of, but feel guilty about??? This may be horrible to say, but for me it is my wedding dress, it takes up so much room and I will never wear it again, I want to re purpose it, but it was my mother-in-laws wedding dress and I don't know if I should ask her first or just do it. All I want to do is make it shorter, and dye it so that I could wear it...is that horrible?

What is your one thing?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Teashop Girls

The Teashop Girls
by Laura Schaeffer
256 pages
Young Adult Fiction
Simon & Schuster

Annie, Genna, and Zoe have been the closest of friends and at the age of six they all fell in love with the Steeping Leaf. It was there that they were coined Teashop Girls, by Annie's Grandmother Louisa when they were almost too young to remember. The teashop was their childhood, they made treats and served them to each other for tea, and spent hours pouring over their Tea Handbook learning all there is to know, making up special advice and interesting uses for different types of tea. They even had a Teashop Girl rules one of them being that it was required to meet weekly for tea together.

Eight years later they are all still close friends, but there is much more to do now that they are in middle school. Annie discovers troubling news about the shop, it is likely to not be around much longer. After earning herself a position as a barista at the teashop, there is no stopping her, she wants to keep Steeping Leaf open! She wishes she could run to her best friends for help and support but will the years have allowed them to stop valuing their teashop the way she still does?

I adored the Teashop Girls. The writing was great, the characters developed to where I felt I knew them, and I couldn't put it down. The clocked ticked and I stayed up reading it hour after hour. I needed to know what was going to happen to the Steeping leaf, and the Teashop Girls!

What I respected the most about this young adult read is that it is one that I would actually let my kid read. I have read other books in this genre which are just to mopey, dark or depressing for me to want to pass on. The Teashop Girls however is spectacular. It isn't that the girls are perfect, or that they always do everything right, but they try and they know what is right and that is what makes the difference. Sure, they are in the midst of their awkward years (do those years ever end!?!?) but they have security in knowing who they are and this book is helping them develop a sense of what is important to them. Most of all I love Annie, she sees what she wants and grabs it, she is motivated, brilliant and extremely sweet...just my kind of gal! I strongly recommend this book, it is sure to satisfy, as long as it is read with a cup of tea in hand at all times.

Q&A with Laura Schaeffer
Author of The Teashop Girls:


What is your favourite tea? Do you drink different teas at different times of the day? Do you worry about caffeine intake, or do you just sip away?

I have lots of favorites. Lately, I like to begin the day with jasmine bloom, Masala chai, or English Breakfast. I don't really worry too much about caffeine, but I try not to have any after 7pm. That's when Salada green tea comes in handy, because it is decaffeinated. Another tea I tried recently and loved was the French Breakfast variety from cha cha tea. Cha Cha is a local Madison tea company and has some really delicious tea.

When did you first fall in love with tea, and who was it that shared that first cup with you?

I didn't experience quality tea until after college. A whole new world opened up when I finally tried it! My best friend Aimee and I went to high tea at several places including teany in NYC and Sherlock's in Florida. I realized then how special good tea could be.

My two little boys love tea parties, we use my fransiscan china apple tea cups and they love the little saucers. We drink licorice root (mostly because they love the natural sweetness of it and I love that it doesn't have any stimulants). What are the best teas that you know of which are naturally sweet for little kids like mine?

I agree that sticking to herbal teas is probably a good idea for children, because most herbals do not have caffeine. I'd recommend peach ginger tissanes, or herbals that include dried berries or mango. It also never hurts to add a little honey for extra sweetness! I find I enjoy most teas more with just a little honey.

The Teashop Girls:

Lets move on to your book, The Teashop Girls. Personally I can't wait to share it with my daughter when I have one who is old enough to read it. You are an amazing writer and even though it is a YA book, I was engrossed like crazy!

What books did you read when you were that age (between the ages of 8-14) that really inspired The Teashop Girls?

I loved Anne of Green Gables, The Babysitter's Club books, Harriet the Spy, books by Ellen Conford, and the Anastasia Krupnik books by Lois Lowry. I also liked reading some classics like The Secret Garden, Little Women, and Gone with the Wind. I read all the time when I was a tween.

I personally loved the purity in this book, the girls acted like girls and yet they were honest, kind, and it was clean and wholesome. Was that a goal of yours while writing it or is that naturally your style for that age group? Did you consciously remove things that you found questionable for young girls to read?

Writing this way came naturally to me, but it is also a goal of mine to write books featuring girls who I'd want to befriend. There is plenty of time to be a grown-up, why rush it?

Also, books have always been a peaceful escape for me, and I wanted to create a warm world for my readers to enjoy. That's part of the reason Annie has such a great family and lives in such a wonderful neighborhood.

I cannot describe how excited I was to read a novel for girls in which the girls have their faults but are still very secure in themselves. They didn't question everything and were loving to their parents. Did you intend Annie, Genna and Zoe to be three role models for young girls (not that we all can't learn from them!!)?

Yes, I did. I believe that everything we read, see, and consume becomes a part of us in some small way, so I wanted my characters to be respectful and interesting girls. It's completely normal to be a bit self-conscious when you're 13, but I wanted to convey that the Teashop Girls where doing amazing things, not just putting their energy into looking good. It's SO much more interesting to be a tennis champion, an artist, a loving part of a crazy family, or a new barista than it is to just worry about how "cool" you are.

Annie is a very mature girl, thinking about things way beyond her age, worrying about the teashop that she has grown up in and really is home to her. Did you write her character from experience? Do you find you have a lot in common with Annie when you were that age or even now?

Well, first of all, I think there are a lot of 13 year olds out there who are extremely sensitive to the world around them, perhaps more than adults even realize. Annie is mature, but I also feels she's realistic. Tweens live in the world, and want to change some things and have a voice, just like adults do at times. I did have a lot in common with Annie at that age. I think it would be hard to write a main character who isn't, at least in some ways, me.

The Making of The Teashop Girls:

I'd like to ask you about the writing of this book. When did you start writing The Teashop Girls?

I began in the summer of 2005.

I know first second and third drafts are common, did the story change drastically from when you first wrote it?

Yes, it did. The first draft was set in Florida instead of Wisconsin. Can you believe it? I'm so glad I "brought it home," so to speak.

Besides tea and cupcakes where did you find your inspiration?

I've worked for a local restaurant called Imperial Garden for nine years, so I have a good idea of how food service jobs work! I also found inspiration among my family and friends. For example, my best friend Aimee is in to yoga, and my good friend Stefan is a Zen Buddhist monk.

I already have gushed over how much I loved this book, how great I think it is...so tell me, is there a sequel!?! Do you have a title for it and release date or am I getting ahead of myself!??!?

I would love to write a sequel. I have an outline, but no title or release date yet. I will say that I plan to have Annie become involved in Madison's amazing farmer's market and learn more about the local food movement.

Laura, thank you so much for this interview. I wish every book I read had this stature, this quality and the appeal that this one did. I can't say enough just how much I liked it. Thank you for writing a book that I think should be on every young girl's shelf and I will hold onto my copy in hopes of a daughter to share it with. Thank you.

The Perfect Tea Pairs:
What tea is Laura Schaefer drinking right now?

Gingerbread Cupcakes(p.35) & Organic French breakfast from Cha Cha Tea
Spiced Blueberry Scones(p.78) & Jasmine bloom from Adagio Tea
Cucumber Sandwiches(p.189) & Citrus mountain oolong Cha Cha Tea

You are in luck, Laura Schaefer is going to share the Gingerbread Cupcake recipe with my readers, but if you want to try the other scrumptious delicacies, well that is just one more reason to buy the book!

Gingerbread Cupcake &
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

(Published on B&b ex libris with permission from the author. original recipe is from The Teashop Girls p. 35)


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
1 cup all -purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup milk
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a large bowl combine the butter with white sugar. Add the molasses and the egg to the creamed mixture.

In another bowl stir the flour, two kinds of ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt together. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add in the milk mixture. Pour the batter evenly into the lined tin.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool.

To make frosting: combine cream cheese, half-and-half, lemon zest, and powdered sugar. Frost cupcakes once they are cool.

Makes 10-12 cupcakes.

B&b family Teatime
(aka. who says tea parties are only for girls!?)

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Mighty Queens of Freeville

The Mighty Queens of Freeville
: A Mother, A Daughter and the People Who Raised Them
by Amy Dickinson
240 Pages
Hyperion (February 3, 2009)

Family relationships, values and friendships have always been important to Amy. While growing up she had especially strong bonds with the females in her life. Now that she is older she wonders if it is a curse or a blessing that all of the important people in her life are women. Even the women in her life, (her mother, most of her sisters, and her friends) can' t seem to hold onto the men in their lives at all. Her father just up and left when she was young, her brother doesn't speak to them, and her aunts (all but one) are divorced. Amy, seeing the doom is decidedly going to break the mold, determined that her marriage will be a success, it will be but not in the way she expects. The fruit of her attempt at marriage gives her a beautiful daughter, which she now gets to raise amongst the Mighty Queens of Freeville.

This is a memoir by Amy Dickinson, the author of the syndicated advice column ASK AMY and also an NPR contributor. The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, A Daughter and the People Who Raised Them is an interesting read, and I did like it, however I didn't love it. I think if I could have related more I would have enjoyed it more. I grew up with the stronger relationships in my family being male, I have a loving mother, but we just didn't have much in common. My brother was my ultimate soccer buddy, and we always had guy friends, now that I am older I see the value in female friendships, but for a long time I would have chosen a guy over a gal any day. Guys just made more sense to me, they fought it out, played it out and didn't play any manipulation games or talk about their feelings all the time (at least the ones I knew).

Yet, I did enjoy the community in this memoir, I loved reading of their weekly gatherings for breakfast at the same little diner, and their random spur of the moment gatherings which occurred almost daily. I love strong family ties, I think they keep people out of trouble, those who are most connected to loving families seem to know that they are loved and are secure. I found this in the Mighty Queens of Freeville. No matter what happened she had a sense of security that was beyond herself, it was the bonds of the mighty queens, who were always strong enough for the weakest link.

Did you grow up with strong family ties? Do those bonds still secure you in times when nothing else will? Maybe those same bonds at times felt smothering, why do you think that is?

Book Trailer for The Mighty Queens of Freeville:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Plain Truth

Plain Truth
by Jodi Picoult
432 pages
Washington Square Press (2001)

Katie, an eighteen-year-old Amish girl sneaks out at 2 am to give birth in her family's barn. After the newborn is found dead, there are many questions that need answering and Katie and the rest of her Plain people don't seem to do any answering. Ellie Hathaway, a cousin of Katie is disappointed by the superficiality of her life in the city and she moves to Paradise, Pennsylvania to live with their common aunt. She has no idea that the two cultures that she is a part of, city living and the Plain Paradise of the Amish will collide with such force, pinning her in the middle. What is the truth? Who is telling it? It will be Ellie's responsibility to find the answers, the answers that no one is giving.

I read this with my book club, and we all seemed to agree, it was an entertaining read, but not much more than that. The writing was not amazing. To me it felt more like a movie than a book, probably just because of the different twists in the plot, it felt like it was set up for film. I have to say that because I am fascinated by the Amish customs and mindset, that aspect of the book really did make me think. I am interested in why they do what they do, and how it works for them. I know this was fiction, but when it came to the culture Picoult tried to stay factual as far as the Plain people go.

Final analysis of my first Picoult experience: it was entertaining and interesting to learn more about the Plain people, but beyond that it wasn't something any of us will wave around in the air telling our friends and family to read it. It was okay, and I don't see the need to seek out any of her others at this point.

Have you read Plain Truth? Which is your favourite book by Jodi Picoult? How many of hers have you read? What did you think?

Get Positively Beautiful

http://beautygeeks.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/get-positively-beautiful1.jpg http://mtblog.teenvogue.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/08/19/carmindy_head_shot2.jpg
Photos by Peter Buckingham

Get Positively Beautiful: The Ultimate Guide to Looking and Feeling Gorgeous
by Carmindy Makeup Artist of TLC's What Not to Wear
227 pages
Beauty/ Cosmetics

A new approach to what all of us women have to work with every day, Carmindy's book is designed to focus on a persons strengths by enhancing them. Get Positively Beautiful is meant to be a makeup book with the bonus of a good mindset. The goal of this distinct makeup book is for each individual to discover her greatest assets, strongest features and to focus on her unique and natural beauty. Everyone is different so comparisons in this book are out! Carmindy gives step-by-step guidance on how to discover what you already have going for you. There is another section in the book with before and after photos of regular women, who when the importance is placed on their strengths and not covering up everything in tons of makeup, they end up looking natural and stunning in that confidence of possessed beauty.

I adore Carmindy, I used to have cable and watch her on TLC, she was my favourite part of the show as she is incredibly positive and reassuring to the women. She sheds a new light on makeup, and that is how to focus on what makes you beautiful already, which seriously is not common among all those famous rockstars in So Cal. She is a gem of a gal, who makes women realize their potential and see themselves as truly beautiful in their own unique way.

As much as I am not a true cosmetic enthusiast, his book works really well for me, even the list in the back of good producs (with a scale of price as well) to purchase that are recommended. I pretty much do the same thing every day, but after reading this book I am excited to try out some of the spiffy ideas she uses. There is just something amazing about Carmindy, and this book really does let that shine through, I see something different in her which comes through just as strongly in Get Positively Beautiful as it does on TV. And there are tons of amazing tips to use too!!

Personal cosmetic routine: my make up routine takes me a max of 2 minutes. I do a tad bit of dark brown eyeliner, mascara, under eye lightening and a little pink blush. After two kids, I have gotten down to the basics of cosmetics, I don't do all the foundations and stuff because they make me feel made up and strange. My sister-in-law was convinced that this was due to me using cheap makeup, so she powdered and buffed my face with her spendy stuff. Not any different, well it looked better, but still it was to much for me.

What is your routine? What are your must haves when it comes to makeup?

Carmindy:Less is more in Spring/Summer makeup. Watch this video:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire


Slumdog Millionaire (India)
Written by Vikas Swarup (novel) and Simon Beaufoy (screenplay)
Directed by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan (co-director: India)
Awards, 8 Oscars as well as 71 other awards and 26 nominations (see here for complete list)
Released: 23 January 2009 (USA)

The Mumbai slums kid Jamal K. Malik (actor Dev Patel), possesses only the answers- nothing more. He is honest even if it will kill him despite his harsh life experiences. Jamal makes it to the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?". The film flashes back and forth between how he knows the answers, each being a gruesome experience (death, tyranny, betrayal) but each enables him to commit a fact to memory thus enabling him to answer another question correctly. Because of his success on the TV show his is thought to be a fraud, a cheat. For that reason he is interrogated, and with each blow any onlooker (as well as the interrogators) can see that this is no regular teen, his inner strength awes with a jaw-dropping force.

Love is a key element in Slumdog Millionaire. Jamal is loyal and faithful in his pursuit of one unattainable girl Latika (Actress Frieda Pinto)as children, as youths and still as teens. He encounters her over and over throughout their young lives only to have her taken from him just a second too soon. Are they meant to be, is it destiny?

I saw this movie almost a week ago and I can't stop thinking about it. I can't. I loved it on so many levels. I hated the violence, and it wasn't Hollywood violence, it was street kid raw gore. I disliked the villains in this film and that they made it their life goal to destroy Jamal, who I loved from the first second I saw him. As harsh as his past is, he becomes beautiful despite it, I am a believer. Oh, and the music is really fun!

Slumdog Millionaire easily earns a full-on 100% recommendation from me. I saw it in the theater and I will buy it when I see it out on DVD. My only slight warning is that if you can't handle violence, well you still should go, just be sure to cover your eyes, and go with someone who can nudge you when it is time to look again. It didn't bother me, but I was allowed to watch Die Hard as a 7-year-old. It is written: THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST SEE.

Slumdog Millionaire trailer:

I reviewed this film as part of the Orbis Terarrum Film Challenge.

Results are in!

Okay, I have been a BAD blogger, or at least a bad giveaway hostess. Yep. I knew I had giveaways to announce winners for, but I didn't even know which ones they were. I am just being open with y'all. Hope you still come back and visit:) I am announcing them now right!?!?

Please, if your name is on the lists below click on the email me button on my blog and send me your address so I can get these off to you!! Congrats!!!

The Survivors Club

Sunday's at Tiffany's
Mrs. B.

Love and Other Natural Disasters

Get your addresses to my by the end of monday (the 16th ) or you'll miss out.

Miles from Nowhere

http://www.acappellabooks.com/images/ft_mun.jpg http://seattlest.com/attachments/seattle_michael2/NamiMun.jpg

Miles from Nowhere
by Nami Mun
304 pages
Riverhead Books
Challenges: Orbis Terarrum, South Korea

Joon sees herself as a regular Korean girl until her father leaves her mother, then her mom ignores her- to the extent of not talking to her, acknowledging her and pretending to be dead. Obviously a cry for help that a very young girl can only handle for so long. Joon goes to find her dad and try to get him to return, he turns her down as greener pastures seem to be calling his name. Soon after that, out of desperation Joon runs away. Her life on the streets goes from dark to darker and then when you think it couldn't get any worse it goes to darkest.

There is plenty of sexual stuff, drugs, well really substance abuse of every type is discussed and abused in this book. Drug activity is high, very high, talk of shooting this, smoking that, cutting, being high, and all this as a young teen. Each time the reader can see the surface and almost feels allowed to come to breathe air, Joon dives down deeper to the despair of the reader.

Well, I don't know what that description does for you, but if you don't like reading the description, don't read Miles from Nowhere. However to its defense, it is different than any book that I have been able to finish to this day. Several times I just couldn't handle the intensity of its graphic nature and had to skip a page, but I kept coming back because Nami Mun is an amazing writer, really she is great, almost humorous at times.

I would love to read a lighter book by her, and really hope she chooses to go that route next time, more cultural and less mental illness-teen pregnancy-suicideish. Yes, so I did think her writing was very good, however not good enough for me to feel that I can recommend this with a clean conscience. I can't. I just say sit this one out and wait on what she brings to the table next time. That is my opinion anyway.

How do you do with books that carry too much gore for their own good? Have you had some that you think really excellent writing, but you just can't bring yourself to recommend them for their content?

Miles from Nowhere

Make sure you enter my current giveaway!!