Thursday, 28 April 2011

Louisiana Strawberries mean it is time for Strawberry Cupcakes!

        Monday evening, I tried my first recipe out of my new cupcake book called Pink Princess Cupcakes by Barbara Beery.  The cupcake book is actually for little girls, but the recipes are the real thing.  I tried her recipe for fresh strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  It turned out to be an interesting experience for cupcake baking.  They turned out to be more of a muffin consistency.  However, they ended up being a nice combination with the sweet cream cheese frosting.  Here are a few snap shots....

*I should have known something different was going on with that batter consistency!*

*Fresh strawberries folded straight into the batter*

*Baked and unfrosted cupcakes straight out of the oven*

*Ready to go out into the world with their cream cheese frosting*

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Wedding Wednesdays: Some Invitation Love


       Over my long weekend, I finished Wedding Invitations by Jennifer Cegielski.  It was a very quick read that covered all aspects of invitations including ink, paper, envelopes, etc.  There is also some beautiful photography included as well as tidbits about additional stationary needed for a ceremony.  I could just ignore that since I have never been to a wedding with place cards nor do I plan to include them in mine.  The appendix in the back is fantastic since it include different wording methods as well as hints on addressing.  Can Emily Post really teach us how to address the scores of guests who are cohabiting and not married like they would have been thirty years ago?  What about same sex couples?  Luckily, the appendix has a few hints!  

      In the spirit of finishing the book, I have included some of my favorite invitations from Etsy.  

There is something sweet and unique about these invitations created by Hoopity

This classy letter pressed invitation would be great in blue and honors my French roots  

This is so whimsical by Onereverie

Monday, 25 April 2011

Books turned into Movies! I am excited to see!

        I am excited to be coming out of a movie dry period.  Throughout my life I have gone in and out of phases where I go out to the movies.  With all the wonderful books being turned into movies within the next year I will have plenty of movie dates to make.  Often we can be found at the Grand 18 in D'Iberville on five dollar movie nights which is on Tuesdays.  All movies, even new releases, are five dollars!  Now if only they would discount the snacks.  Here is a list of movies I will see this year!

Movie that I need to read the book first:

          The Emily Giffin novel is the top of every chick lit list.  I have avoided reading it because I believe the plot involves a woman in love with her best friends fiance.  However, it has many good reviews and I may bite the bullet and download it sometime soon.  

Longest Awaited

        This one goes without saying.  Only a few months more to wait!

Local Author Favorite

        The Help by Katherine Stockett is an amazing novel about friendship and overcoming prejudice.  It is written by a Jackson, Mississippi native, and was on the best seller list for months last year.  I listened to the audiobook that sucked me in for several days.  I hope the accents are just as good.  

Seeing it this Week

            I read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen last year, and was sucked into the romantic and whimsical nature of the writing.  Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson are good casting choices for the main characters.  

Number one most anticipated book to movie adaptation

            The Hunger Games trilogy is my newest obsession.  It is a post apocalyptic YA novel about a group of children selected to go into an arena for a fight to the death.  I promise you that it is by far way better than Twilight, and I am sure that it is the next big thing.  Casting for the movie set for 2012 release has begun to being announced, and I look forward to that opening night the most.  

What movies are you looking most forward to being released this year?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Wedding Wednesdays: Favorite Wedding Movies

       With all the excitement over the upcoming royal wedding, my own wedding, and the many other weddings coming up I have been in a wedding movie mood.  So here are my top 5 favorite this Wednesdays!

5.) The Princess Bride even though it is so cheesy I love it!  Such a heart warming story with so much silliness.

4.) The Father of the Bride is a favorite from my childhood in the 1990s.

3.) Four Weddings and A Funeral the classic British comedy is so amusing.  A young Hugh Grant cannot be missed.

2.) My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a movie I just re-watched a few times this week on TV, and I still laugh at parts.

1.) The Wedding Date (which happens to be coming on ABC Family right now!) is my favorite RomCom also making it my favorite wedding movie.  I seriously can watch it over and over again.

What is your favorite wedding movie?

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Popcorn Novels... Review of Strange Bedpersons

           This weekend I expected to spend entirely on one of the barrier islands off the coast.  However, we ended up on Deer Island staring at the casino's of Biloxi with sand blowing in our faces.  So yesterday afternoon we packed up early and this morning I spent a good four hours doing laundry.  Instead of getting my fix on TLC or random internet browsing I decided to enjoy a quick read.  Since it has been on my "too read" shelf a good while I picked up Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Cruise.  The book itself was nearly the size of a novella or short story. So I kicked back on the couch with a cup of coffee (then a second) and read it completely through by the time I finished the last load of towels.  

             Strange Bedpersons is my first Cruise romance novel.  I am a sucker for quick romance novels with modern themes.  This one was written in 1993 about a pair of thirty year olds that could not be more opposite.  The main character, Tess, is a liberal that grew up in a commune, and Nick is the up-tight  Republican lawyer with her heart.  The story line gets rolling when the unemployed Tess is propositioned by Nick to attend a weekend with the firm in order to pose as his fiance.  Then the series of events unravel that begins their cat and mouse game in the normal romance novel fashion.  Random sets of events tested the characters, ultimately bringing them together in a neat happily ever after package.  

             That being said, I did not dislike the book.  Cruise gave us just what she intended, a few hours of no thoughts attached smutty romance.  I enjoyed the descriptions of baggy nineties fashions, the environmental justice movement, and no mention of the internet.  Not much more to be said about the quick afternoon read.  How romance writers select the names of their characters is a burning question of mine.  Do they draw them out of a hat?  Is there an app for iPhone?  They seem to be so random, I do not know anyone names Tess nor Park another character in the book.  I swear one time I read on the back of a romance novel where the main rogues name was Devil!  Does anyone else have any theories?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Of All the Little Things... Alternative Boutonnieres

         When we first got engaged, I worried about the where, when, how many people, and my colors first. Now all the little details are hitting me at once.  Should we do personalized napkins?  What shoes am I wearing? (I ordered some!)  This morning my MOH sent me a super cute idea for boutonnieres from Etsy.  This has launched me into a search of the other cute boutonnieres, and this is what I found....

*This blue babe was made by LaPlumeEthere*

*A Little Girly but still cute by Justanns

*I think this would be super cute with a little white puff and blue feather by ForeverDarlingShop*

*May it is the crafter in me but this a great use of felt and buttons by ThinkFastDesigns*

*Simple and sweet by Amanda 1986*

        Now it is time to stop procrastinating and find invitations!  

Monday, 11 April 2011

My Swapping Streak!

         Since July of 2009, I have been swapping books on formerly known as Swap Tree.  It is a lot of fun to do as I mentioned in a former post.  I find the availability of swaps to ebb and flow as the year goes forward.  Sometime I do not swap for over a month and sometimes I can have up to eleven or more swaps.  The past mont has been particularly fruitful.  

Some things that I received this past month goes as follows:
  • How the Scots Invented the Modern World by Arthur Herman
  • Honeymoon with my Brother: A Memoir by Franz Wisner 
  • Gutsy Women by Marybeth Bond
  • The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray
  • Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose 
  • Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
  • The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice (On its way!)

           Another stash of book goodies I got from The Book Bag: Chapter Two off of Hewes Avenue in Gulfport, Mississippi.  In order to push through overstock, the very nice owner bags up random novels by genre.  She then sells about forty books for the deal of eight dollars!  However, this is a gamble both for variety and condition.  However, I will generally find a few I would like to keep to read, a few to give to friends, a set to swap online, and a stash to give to the library to sell in their book room.  If you do the math each book is only twenty cents!  This store is a favorite of mine and I encourage everyone to go for a visit who lives locally.

         Now it is time for me to get to reading!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Master of my Own Ship: Book Review for Michelle Goodman's My So Called Freelance Life

       We have all imagined some scheme to escape the day-to-day bump and grind of our 9 to 5 jobs.  (Or in some cases swing shift employment.)  Some of us may have dreamed of being photographers, business owners, or like me writers.  Seriously, who would not love getting up at nine, and working in their pajamas?  A magical world where the rules of regular employment do not imply, and you are the sole manager.   My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire by Michelle Goodman is written to be a springboard for that alternate career path. 

           Since graduating in 2008 with my Master’s degree, I have struggled consistently with my long-term goals.  For years, I had worked towards becoming a professor, but now that I took this pause to get some “real world” experience, get married, and have the white picked fence my goals have become garbled.  Therefore, in the spirit of every good academic I have been exploring all possibilities.  Law school, doctoral programs in multiple fields, an Etsy shop, bakery/coffee shop ownership, and becoming a full time writer have all come up on the table.  For someone in the same boat as me or ready to tell their boss to shove it can really benefit from Michelle Goodman’s guide. 

          Honestly, Goodman had me with her book dedication “For anyone who’s ever hit the snooze button five times in a row on Monday morning.”  The entire book is a combination of practical advice such as tax advice, stories from a variety of freelancing professionals, and Goodman’s thoughts on the career path.  It actually creates a light and easy to read atmosphere for a non-fiction/how to work.  I find the concept of freelance work liberating and frightening at the same time.  The book quickly broke down my misconceptions about being a professional freelancer.  It is a constant life of selling yourself to clients, balancing different types of projects, and its own monster when it comes to health insurance. 

            In conclusion, be prepared to learn the truth about being self-employed, and be ready to want to pick up her first book The Anti 9 to 5 Guide as soon as you finish this one.  

P.S. This is book four out of twenty in my eBook Challenge!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Wedding Feng Shui from the Rat Point of View

        At the Pass Christian Library, I picked up a copy of Wedding Feng Shui: The Chinese Horoscopes Guide to Planning Your Wedding by Laura Lau and Theodora Lau.  I was surprised to discover it read much like the zodiac books I would buy at the grocery store when I went through my mystical phase in middle school.  However, I found it to be  good thing since I grown tired of wedding "how to" books.  Each chapter is dedicated to a different sign of the Chinese zodiac, which goes by the year you are born instead of the month.

        I was born in the year of the Rat, and the book labels me as an "initiator bride" indicating the self starting nature of the Rat due to its placement as first in the zodiac.  It also matched my personality with my traditional zodiac sign (Leo), my personality with Edward's Chinese sign (Ox), and that of my bridesmaids.  The color for the sign is blue, and I found that fitting.  In honor of that I posted a few lovely blue wedding things from Etsy as well as some tidbits about me from the book.

*Beautiful Hairpieces by Sophineglam*

         "No surprise, your wedding is a welcome challenge for you.  And not only will it be beautiful, but you'll be asked about your creative additions and amazing finds.  You like to be original." Wedding Feng Shui page 51

*This is a favorite necklace by Ambersky*

       "The Leo rat also enjoys the thrill of the hunt.  You love getting a good deal and will do the legwork necessary to make it happen." Wedding Feng Shui page 56.

*DivineJewel created a necklace that is stunning*

         "He loves being fussed over and admired by you, and you take comfort in his calm and stable nature." Wedding Feng Shui on the Rat/Ox union page 58

*These could be really cute by Craftymooncrab*

             My bridesmaids are an interesting combination of zodiac signs and personalities.  The signs represented in my bridal party are another Rat (Tabitha), Ox (Linda), Tiger (Leah), Boar (Ashlei), and the Snake (Holly).  The book gave me a fun look at how our personalities should combine in wedding planning.  Some of it is accurate, and some made me laugh.  I do suggest the book for my other bride friends!  

Monday, 4 April 2011

There be Fairies... Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

       I have to admit that I am always looking for my next young adult obsession.  So when I saw the ninety-nine cent book deal for the first book in Melissa Marr's series for my Nook a few weekends ago I downloaded it right away.  This marks my third book in the eBook Challenge I am participating in this year.  During my weekend at Buccaneer State Park I finished the book, and I have to say that I was not too impressed.  The gist of the book deals with a fairy king looking for his lost queen among mortal women.  The main character, Aislinn, is a mortal that can see the invisible fairies among her, and is terrified when she attracts the attention of the king Keenan.  The rest of the book introduces characters such as an evil Winter Queen, a past love of Keenan's known as the Winter Girl, and a mortal love interest for Aislinn.

        I can summarize why this book is not my favorite:

  1.  Marr began to create a love triangle, and I do love a good love triangle!  However, she ended up falling short in creating an emotion pull towards either of the possible love interests.  It left me wanting a little something more.
  2. Section of the book read like an after school special. Although she made an attempt at acknowledging sex in the plot, she would quickly made comments about STD's as well as other pitfalls of teenage sex.  Randomly, one character even manages to mention going to a health screening for STDs.  I had a hard time believing any teenager would have that conversation or that it had any place in a dark fantasy novel.
  3. Without giving away spoilers, I did find some loose ends in the logic within the plot as well as unanswered questions at the end.
        That being said, I did not find the book completely unpleasant.  I enjoyed it for a quick weekend read, but I will not be rushing to download the sequels.