1. Listening to recently…
Ben Rector and Tyrone Wells
I’m going Stubb’s on Thursday to see Ben Rector (headliner) and Tyrone Wells (opener) in concert. It will be my 2nd time seeing them both. It’s guaranteed to be a good show, just hoping the weather outside is nice.
2. Reading currently…
Allegiant is the 3rd book in the Divergent trilogy. I loved the first two books in the trilogy.
I made the mistake of reading the reviews on Amazon before I started the book. They are not kind. So, it hasn’t motivated me to binge read through this book. And coupled with the fact that I read the first two books over a year ago, I’ve forgotten so much and made it confusing at first. But I’m still hopeful and will finish the book.
3. Watching on HBO Go…
I finally finished watching The West Wing. I had to move on to a new-to-me series. I’d always heard great things about The Wire and wanted something different than The West Wing.
It’s a good show. It’s not my normal cup of tea, which is why I never watched it when it was on. But the story lines and writing are great. (If Bubbles ends up dying, I’m going to be so upset!!!)
One fun thing about watching an older show, I keep seeing the cast members on current shows! Bunk is on The Michael J Fox show. Kima was on The Good Wife two weeks ago. Prez was just on Hostages this week. And 2 guys from the show are currently on The Walking Dead.
Annnnnnd I’m fully aware that I watch too much TV!!!!
What are you currently listening to, reading, and/or watching???
Do you have a book recommendation for me to read next?
What should I watch after The Wire? I’m thinking Six Feet Under.
Today at work, I started writing out that today was Friday. Wow, I’m really getting ahead of myself. What a bummer to think that a Monday is a Friday!
I didn’t do much this past weekend. I had to finally take advantage of the quiet in my apartment building.
So I’ll recap last weekend instead!
2. I went to Linda’s 30th birthday party. (Linda’s in the middle.) Linda is always so happy and her spirit is infectious. Her party theme was BALLS. Kind of like….oh balls, I’m turning 30. It was so fun. All the food was ball themed. I went the easy route & just brought cherries & grapes…and also peanut M&M’s and lemon drops.
My fellow Julie, me, and Amy
3. On Sunday night, I went over to Mary Helen’s for burger party. Her nephew is in town, so she invited everyone over. This picture was an afterthought. I was too busy chowing down…nom nom nom.
4. I binged watched Orange is the New Black last weekend on Netflix. After 4 people on my Twitter feed were raving about it, I knew that I had to watch. I immediately started reading the book once I finished season 1. I’d actually bought the book a few years ago and hadn’t read it. I’m almost done already!
5. A few weeks ago, I bought these notebooks (Target impulse buy). I wanted to start a personal journal. I remember after my grandma passed away finding some notebooks of hers. It wasn’t deep thoughts…it was more like, went for a walk today. But I was still fascinated. Although mundane details, it was compelling to me. So, I’ve started my own journaling. Maybe I’ll stick with it for years (hopefully) and maybe not. But in the hopes that I will…I returned to Target to buy out the remaining notebooks. My journals have to match!
Okay, I’m off to
watch the season finale of RHOC….er I mean to write in my journal.
Since I hadn’t blogged 2 months, I figured that I’d do a recap/what’s Julie been up to lately post.
Let’s take a walk down recent memory lane.
1. I tried ramen for the first time!! I went to Daruma Ramen with some lovely ladies. It was very good, although I have no comparison! I doubt that I’ll try it again anytime soon due to the Austin heat.
2. I met Fabio of Top Chef fame! He came to Book People on his cookbook tour and met with local food bloggers early for a meet & greet. Very personable guy!
3. I’ve been back a few times to my favorite bar, Easy Tiger.
4. I tried fried fish bones at Kenichi. Crispy suckers.
5. I’ve been to Trailer Tuesdays at the Long Center for the past 3 months. Last week, my favorite truck, Llama’s, was there. Love their pork belly sandwich!
Lobster sliders from Dock and Roll
Yeti Frozen Custard
6. I went to the Bon Jovi concert with some friends. How does he still have the energy?!
7. My pupster, Haley, has arthritis. She’s on some pain meds now and seems to be feeling better.
8. I recently finished reading Honeymoon by James Patterson. I’d been in a book slump and hadn’t liked the last 3 books that I started to read. My Dad recommended Honeymoon. Really enjoyed it…a fast read.
9. Did you watch Behind the Candelabra on HBO about Liberace?? Crazy train wreck! I couldn’t stop watching!
11. I went to Kansas City for my friend, Alison’s wedding. The chapel was so beautiful! I loved the design and how the light at sunset came through.
12. I went on the Up & Down Tour at Casa Brasil & South Austin Brewery. An afternoon learning about coffee and beer….what more can you ask for?!
13. I attended the media tasting for Umami Mia Pizzeria in Austin. I wasn’t a fan of the pizza, but I was a big fan of their cocktails. My favorites were the Tuscan Sipper & the Blackberry Caipirinha.
14. I did try some awesome pizza though….at Via 313. Yummmmmmm!
15. I attended my first 2 crawfish boils recently. Such a fun time! I’m more into the corn & potatoes though. But crawfish boils make for good pictures.
16. Brunch at the Clay Pit! It was so good!! Glad that I finally tried it.
17. I binge watched Season 4 of Arrested Development in only 3 days. Has anyone else watched it?? Are they going to make more episodes? Because that last episode…what??
Annnnd I’m done!
How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue
My parents got me this book for Christmas. They know my style. A chick-lit book about childhood friends that open up a bakery? Sold!
How to Eat a Cupcake is the story of Annie Quintana and Julia St. Clair. Julia comes from a life of privilege and wealth. Annie grows up on the outside, yet inside of that life as Annie’s mother is the St. Clair’s housekeeper.
The girls grew up very close until a falling out in high school. The story begins ten years later as the two find themselves back into each others lives. In an attempt to make amends, Julia offers to help Annie open a bakery. Although prideful and suspicious, Annie needs the financial help and agrees.
I found myself comparing this book to Something Borrowed, which isn’t a fair comparison except it’s both about childhood friends. This book is not nearly as good as Something Borrowed. I wasn’t especially drawn to either Annie or Julia. I found Annie a bit whiny and Julia was definitely not my cup of tea.
My favorite character was a farmer, Ogden, that supplied food to the bakery. The book is a quick read though….and it did make me hungry. Mocha cupcakes, Chocolate persimmon spice cupcakes, lemon cupcakes, etc.
3 out of 5 stars
In 2012, I upped my reading game by purchasing an iPad. After going to book club once and being the only one without an e-Reader, the peer pressure got to me. Oh yeah, I wanted to read the shameful 50 Shades of Grey books without having to buy the books in-person.
The 50 Shades books were horrid….although I still read all three of them. But my iPad reading and I are two peas in a pod.
In 2011, I read 21 books. Let’s see how 2012 panned out.
Books Read in 2012
1. The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
2. The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
I love this book so much!!! 2012 was definitely the year that I got more into reading memoirs.
4. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
Really enjoyed this book too!
5-7. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
8. How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely
9. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
10-11. Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth
12. MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
After moving to Austin, this book really helped me in my quest to make friends!
13. How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway
14. The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern
15. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Haven’t you read this book yet?!?!?! It’s only been on everyone’s top books of 2012 lists, including mine!
16. How To Be a Woman by Caitline Moran
Other people really enjoyed this book. Sadly, I was not a fan.
17-19. 50 Shades of Grey trilogy by E L James
Sorry, lapse of judgement there…
20. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
21. White Jacket Required by Jenna Weber
22. Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich
23. The Affair by Lee Child
Lee Child writes the Jack Reacher books, which is currently a movie out with Tom Cruise. They are solid “guy books”. An easy read, but not my normal choice of book.
24. The Confession by John Grisham
25. The Soldier’s Wife by Margaret Leroy
26. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
This book is being made into a movie too. I enjoyed the book…even without knowing a lick about mythology. If you studied mythology in school, you may enjoy it even more than I did.
27. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
I just finished this book today!! I really enjoyed it and am anxious to see what my book club thinks about it when we meet in January.
What was your favorite book that you read this year??
I haven’t done any book reviews in 2 months.
I picked several so-so books recently that I chose not to review.
The 50 Shades of Grey triology by E L James
–Yes, I read all 3 of them! I only enjoyed the 1st one though. The 2nd two were a constant roller coaster of girl is whiny/man is brooding, they argue, they make up & have great sex. Rinse & repeat for hundreds of pages.
Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich
–Evanovich has a new series about a pastry chef that has mystical powers. It was super hokey, which is true Evanovich. If you are a Stephanie Plum series fan, you may enjoy them. I did finish the book in one day, but the hokey-ness turned into groaners for me.
The Affair by Lee Child
–My Dad gave me this book when I visited in July. It’s similar to all of those mystery/government conspirary type books that men read. Or at least, that’s what I associate as a “guy’s book”. It started off strong and kept my interest, but I felt dissatisfied with the ending.
Everything Is Going to Be Great by Rachel Shukert
–I usually love snarky female memoirs, but I could only get through about 1/4 of this book before giving up. There’s too many books out there to force yourself to read one that you’re not into!
The Confession by John Grisham
–I’ve read almost all of Grisham’s books. I’m not sure if my tastes have changed or if this book just wasn’t at the same level. I remember being younger and riping through The Firm and The Pelican Brief and loving them so much! With The Confession, there was more despair than hope. Next!
I’ve been on a bit of an upward slope with my most recent two read thoughs!
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
–We read this book for book club and met last week. About 70% of us liked the book, but even if you didn’t like the book…it led to a great discussion! I chose not to review the book, because it’s a modern classic and I don’t feel equip to review “real” books. I do recommend it for a book club though. The themes really stand the test of time and we could still correlate to today. Great book!
White Jacket Required by Jenna Weber
–If you read Jenna’s blog: Eat, Live, Run, then you’ll enjoy this book! I read it one evening and couldn’t stop. It’s odd when you feel like you know someone so well, when they are still a stranger!
Next up for my book clubs, I’ll be reading:
How To Be a Woman by Caitline Moran
Nerves of Steel by CJ Lyons
Have you read any of the books mentioned?
What should I read next???
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
I know! Where have I been? You’ve already read The Hunger Games books. I bought the 1st book quite awhile ago. I was forewarned by a friend not to start it until I had the other 2 books, because you will FLY through them. She was so right! I read the 1st book in 2 days, the 2nd book in 2 days, and it took me about 4 days to get through the last book.
The Hunger Games books take place in Panem, formerly known as North America. The Capitol oversees the 12 districts of Panem. Years prior, the districts tried to overthrow the Capitol and failed. To remind the districts to keep their place, the Capitol hosts the Hunger Games annually. Once a year, each district draws the name of one boy and one girl to fight to the death. Only one will come out alive. The Hunger Games follows Katniss Everdeen from District 12 as she volunteers for the Games to save her sister.
It’s a really unique and interesting concept! There’s violence, romance, and suspence while still touching on social issues such as poverty and abuse of power. Many people seem to like the 1st book the best and the last book the least. I actually liked the 2nd book the best! The 1st book was a very close 2nd though. The last book was a disappointment unfortunately. The final book just didn’t hold up. It was as if the author thought….oh wait, I have to figure out how to end this real quick. The ending left me wanting more explanation.
Don’t let my lackluster feelings on the last book deter you though. The 1st two books are SO great that it’s still well worth your time to knock out reading these three books.
Get cracking now and you’ll have them read before the 1st movie comes out in March!!
4.75 out of 5 stars
Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
If you had told me 12 months ago that I would be so into autobiographies, I would have said um, no thanks I don’t think that’s my cup of tea. But I am loving them! Now, I need funny/juicy autobiographies though (not the political/historical variety). I’m talking David Sedaris, Kathy Griffin (Just saw her comedy show live last night, by the way! Love her!), Tina Fey, Bethenny Frankel, Mindy Kaling, and now Rob Lowe!
I bought this book on a whim. I went to Watermark Books to pick up my tickets to see The Pioneer Woman (yay!) in April. I felt bad just going to the bookstore to get free tickets though. It’s only polite to buy a book too, right? (Read: I will use any excuse to buy books!) So, in support of my locally owned book store, I went with Lowe’s autobiography. I’d heard killer things about it!
Lowe’s autobiography is a very good read. Pure entertainment. I knew that he’d started acting young and was a playboy. So, I was anxious for tales of growing up in the limelight and his escapades. I was a little disappointed that there was only a mere 2 page mention of his big sex scandal back when he was campaigning for Dukakis. But then I thought back to the title: Stories I Only Tell My Friends. Would I rehash this scandal to friends? Or would I tell them about how I punched Tom Cruise in the face instead? Tom Cruise, please!!!
At first, I thought the stories were a bit name dropper like. But no, he really was just telling you how he became famous and who he met along the way. Back in the day before homeschooling and TMZ was everywhere, I think young actors could more normal lives. Lowe pretty much grew up in high school with Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Sean & Chris Penn, Tom Cruise, and Robert Downey Jr. He dated Melissa Gilbert and later on Princess Stephanie of Monaco…..whaaaaaat?!
A lot of the stories are pretty light and short and in passing. Such as Lowe talks about his first starring role in a TV commercial and he’s cast next to a newscaster at the time by the name of Regis Philbin. Or when Lowe was on a sitcom for awhile and one of his co-stars said she wanted to try singing instead of acting like her brothers….oh yeah, it was Janet Jackson, no bigs.
I found the book so entertaining and really enjoyed it! I have to admit I really only associate Lowe with Brothers & Sisters, Parks & Recreation, and Tommy Boy. I’ve never even see St. Elmo’s Fire, About Last Night, or The West Wing. But Netflixing past seasons of The West Wing is definitely on my radar now!
4.75 out of 5 stars
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Did you read Bossypants last year? Me too! Loved it!
BUT OMGeeeeee, I love.love.love.love.LOVED Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?.
Mindy Kaling is one of the writers and stars of The Office. She plays Kelly Kapoor, one of my favorite characters. Kaling’s autobiography kept cracking me over & over again. Since we’re the same age, I related to it much more than I did to Fey’s book. Kaling’s book is a super fast read as well. I knocked it out in one day.
I bookmarked so many pages in the book of parts that I loved. Here are few of my favorite random parts:
“I didn’t want to be Regis or Kathie Lee, because their chairs were too high. I’m sorry, I’m supposed to sit like that for an hour? Too much blood rushing to my ankles. No, thanks.”
“…So, with my zit throbbing like a nightclub, I went to the interview.”
“When I was a kid, I was obsessed with listing my favorite things. I kept an index card with all my favorite foods folded in my wallet, just in case anyone asked me what they were. Then when people walked away, I imagined they’d say ‘Whoa, Mindy Kaling is so cool and self-actualized. McDonald’s pancakes are her favorite food, and she was able to tell me right away.’ “
“I remember when the news reports came out about Michael Phelp’s ten-thousand-calorie-a-day diet, and everyone was so shocked. But I just thought, yep, I could do that, no problem.”
If you need a good laugh, read this book! Pronto!
5 out of 5 stars
The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
I just read Sarah Jio’s Violets of March last month and LOVED it! So, I was super amped to read her new book, The Bungalow. With both of Jio’s books, there is a war/historial fiction/romance/mystery element. With Violets of March, it’s focused on the girl still in the States during the war. And in The Bungalow, it’s focused on the girl going to Bora-Bora to help with the war efforts.
The Bungalow follows the story of Anne Calloway. She has went to nursing school to learn a trade never thinking she’ll use it as she’s engaged to a wealthy man. Something inside is gnawing at her telling her that she needs to help with the war effort and she also needs an adventure before settling down.
Cut to Anne and her best friend, Kitty, traveling to Bora-Bora to join the Army Nurse Corps. Anne stumbles upon an abandoned bungalow where she meets a soldier, Westry. They become friends and decided to fix up the bungalow and keep it their secret. From there, the friendship turns to love and Anne is torn between passion and her commitment to her fiance back home.
The Bungalow is a very quick read. I’m becoming a fast fan of historical romance. Parts of the book are highly predictable though. Maybe it’s because I’ve read the Violets of March and knew Jio’s style. But I would have liked more surprise elements. All in all, still a good read!!
4 out of 5 stars