The Lake House by Kate Morton (NetGalley Review)

After starting this blog, I finally signed up for NetGalley.  I had contemplated it for awhile, since I've been reviewing books regularly on my other blog since 2012.  But, I felt like I wanted a dedicated book blog first.  I went a little nutty requesting titles, not sure if I'd get approved.  And, lo, I got every book I asked for!  Including The Lake House by Kate Morton and I was THRILLED.  I read The Forgotten Garden many moons ago (aka: pre-blogging), but trust me when I say that I loved it and have been meaning to read another one of her novels.  

The Lake House did not disappoint!  At first, I thought I might not be able to keep all the story lines and characters straight.  She throws a lot of information at you in the beginning: there are many important players at various points in time.  As with The Forgotten Garden, the story vacillates between the past and the present.  (I LOVE this method of storytelling and would also suggest Beautiful Ruins, The House Girl, The Girl You Left Behind, or The Last Letter From Your Lover).  After some initial stumbling, I was up to speed in no time, as Morton breathes so much life into every aspect of the worlds she creates.  

Her books are of the Gothic, atmospheric variety and usually lengthy - The Lake House clocks in at 512 pages.  Oh, but it goes FAST.  It's one of those books I was glad was long and one I could really sink my teeth into.  I felt completely immersed in the story and turned the pages furiously.  There are so many layers to the mysteries (yes, there are multiple mysteries to be solved in this book), and once you think you have one figured out, a new one reveals itself.  Calling this novel expertly and 'intricately plotted' is a colossal understatement.  I would love to be a fly on the wall as Morton outlines her stories.  In addition to all the meticulous plot twists, this story is full of so much heart.  I went through every emotion reading this book, and ultimately, was so very happy by the end.  It's just a truly satisfying read.  Two thumbs WAY up.

For plot overview, here is the Amazon description:

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heartstopping suspense and uncovered secrets.

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.

I received an advance reader copy of this book from NetGalley for promotional and review purposes, but all opinions are my own.

This Weeks Eats 11.29.15

Another yummy Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I'm always glad that we make so much food for really only two people.  Especially this year, since my husband and I were on the tail end of a nasty cold and didn't fully enjoy our meal the first time around.  And, my youngest decided to have a headache and vomit on the floor at the tail end of our meal.  Awesome.  Luckily, she was just fine the next day and every year we pretty much eat Thanksgiving dinner again  - usually with soup, and this year my quinoa dish!  I still have enough leftovers for a few turkey cranberry salad sandwiches, and perhaps some stuffing and gravy with a fried egg on top for lunch.  Mmmm, yeah.

We may even have enough for a third dinner, so I'm putting our favorite post turkey day soup on the menu for Monday and pushing pizza back to Tuesday!

  • Monday - Bridesmaids Pumpkin Soup (and leftovers!)
  • Tuesday - Pizza
  • Wednesday - Satay Chicken with Peanut Sauce, Brown Rice and Veggies (a go-to satay marinade from About.com and trying a new peanut sauce recipe I found on Pinterest from Full-Thyme Student)
  • Thursday - Burgers on the Grill with Alexia Potatoes
  • Friday - Chicken Fajitas with Frontera Sauce and Fixins
  • Saturday - Penne in Vodka Sauce (a favorite old Rachael Ray recipe)
  • Sunday - Turkey and Pinto Bean Chili (from Food and Wine)
As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


Holiday Gift Guide (aka my 2015 Wish List)

Last year I rather enjoyed putting together a visual holiday wish list together, so I just had to it again.  I'm thinking this would also be a good gift guide for the mother, sister, best friend, etc., in your life.  And if you're looking for something for the book lover in your life, you should check out my gift list over at Born and Read in Chicago

Brooks Heritage Kicks 

I am a Brooks girl, and I feel as if I need to round out my collection with a casual shoe - especially since they are on SALE.


I have yet to get on the essential oils train, but one of my friends always has hers goin' and it's just so LOVELY smelling.  I really like the idea of it, but spending the cash on one for myself (plus a starter set of oils) seems overwhelming.  I need someone to gift it to me.  Please, and thank you.

Mario Badescu Anti-Aging Kit

My skincare routine is really uncomplicated, even though I did add this fabulous Paula's Choice product last year.  At 41, I'm thinking maybe I should search out a good eye cream, or toner, or...  I don't know, but this kit looked like a good place to start!

Mantra Bands All I Need is Within Me or Enjoy the Journey in gold

I've had Mantra Bands on my wish list items for awhile now, and hope to get one this Christmas!  I'm an Enjoy the Journey kind of gal, but I also love the All I need is Within Me sentiment.

We Belong in Seattle mug

Even though my heart is in Chicago, I believe in this adorable Seattle mug.

Baleen Necklace
I can never resist a chic long necklace.  There are so many cool ones to choose from at Baleen, a very cool local Seattle business.

This is another on of those things to file under: don't want to spend the money on myself, but a subscription would make an EXCELLENT gift!  Or even a Popsugar Must Have box, which is a tad more extravagant. 

Sephora Meet Your Match gift set
Or if a subscription is not your cup of tea, there are SO MANY amazing gift sets at Sephora this time of year.  Lots of opportunities to try a plethora of products at a fraction of the cost.  I will probably gift myself this one, or two...

Harry Potter Book
I know I already did the book lovers gift guide, but I was remiss in not including the Harry Potter illustrated edition of The Sorcerer's Stone.  I'm debating whether to ask for it, or get it for the kids...

Well, that was fun!  Happy Thanksgiving and happy shopping!


Cheesy Butternut Squash Quinoa Bake with Gruyere & Brussels Sprouts (And Thanksgiving Week Eats! 11.22.15)

A couple of weeks ago, I tried this DELICIOUS slow cooker butternut squash sauce from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I was going to try it over quinoa, but it was indeed on the saucy side and went better with pasta.  I still wanted to utilize my quinoa, so I took the leftovers (there were PLENTY, even though I halved the recipe) and put together a quinoa bake that I thought I'd share.  It would be a perfect side dish for the holidays, or a nice vegetarian main course - 'cuz quinoa is a complete protein, don'tcha know.

Making the sauce from scratch in the slow cooker and THEN the bake might be a bit time consuming, but I think that picking up a store bought container of butternut squash soup and melting a little bit of cream cheese into it would work just as well.  OR you could use this fantastic Trader Joe's pasta sauce for a pumpkin version!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Quinoa Bake with Gruyere & Brussels Sprouts
(serves 2, or 4 as a side dish)

  • 1 1/2 cups of butternut squash sauce, recipe below (or 1 1/4 cups of heated squash soup with 1/4 cup of cream cheese whisked in)
  • 1 cup quinoa, cook according to package directions
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere, divided (I used Cheddar Gruyere blend)
Butternut Squash Sauce:

Saute 1/4 cup of diced onion and a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet until soft.  Add one clove of chopped garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each of: dried rosemary, sage, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for one minute. Pour mixture into slow cooker with one pound of cubed butternut squash and 2 cups of chicken stock.  Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.  Blend with an immersion blender until smooth and whisk in 4 ounces of cream cheese.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet lined with foil.  While the quinoa is cooking, toss the cut brussels sprouts with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, tossing half way through.  Once the sprouts and quinoa are cooked, mix them with the sauce and 3/4 cups of the Gruyere in a large bowl and then spread into 9x11 pan, or favorite casserole dish coated with cooking spray.  Top with remaining shredded cheese.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and the edges turn golden brown.

I'm thinking this might be our post Thanksgiving dinner, complete with leftovers!
roast turkey breast (we buy a 5lb breast and have used Alton Brown's brine recipe for about the last six years - DELICIOUS) 
classing New England style stuffing with sausage and chestnuts, I also add granny smith apples to this recipe we've been using from Cooking Light for about ten years 
hash brown potato casserole - this Cooking Light version has also been a staple of ours for many years 
mixed greens salad I use the bones of this recipe, omitting chicken/bacon and add Trader Joe's spicy/sweet pecans and apples
cranberry sauce - bought the cranberry orange relish from Trader Joe's this year
pumpkin pie - I just pick one up from the store as the kids are really the ones who eat it and they're not very particular about their pie
As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


Gift Guide for the Book Lover

Last year, I did a holiday wish list in the guise of a 'Gift Guide' at Born and Raced in Chicago.  I plan to do the same this year, because it was too fun.  But first, even more fun?  Bibliophile specific gifts!  

Okay, let's start with the obvious: BOOKS.  Although, you may want to do some sleuthing to make sure you find something your recipient does not already own.  As for myself, I RARELY buy books.  I am a library girl, through and through.  However, there are certain books I buy every once in a blue moon, or wouldn't mind having a special edition.  For example, Puffins Classics.

I'm partial to this Puffin Classics 'In Bloom' Collection with Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Heidi and A Little Princess.

Or this Barnes and Noble exclusive collector's edition of one of my favorite books: Eleanor and Park.

Jonathan Adler Kindle case from Amazon.
If the book lover in your life doesn't already have a Kindle, please get them one! Even though I read on my iPad, I prefer to train my eyes on the gentler Kindle when I can.  I have the old school one, which I still love, but my husband swears by his Paperwhite.  And Kindle cases are a great gift, especially these ones from Jonathan Adler.

Book Jigs Bookmarks
I'm a fan of shopping local, and Fireworks is a great Seattle based store for gift giving.  There's an outpost in the airport, if you're ever flying through SeaTac, and these bookmarks are awesome.  I love ribbon bookmarks and the fact that it's always attached to the book in the back so that you don't lose it!

Time Turner Necklace

I mean, how awesome is this for a Harry Potter fan?  Aren't we all?

Game of Thrones Quote Poster
This is another local-ish business, OutNerdMe is based in Portland and I've always been drawn to his prints.  Game of Thrones and Lord of The Rings are among his bookish options (but they're all really cool).

Outlander Coloring Book
I have yet to get on the adult coloring bandwagon.  If I have free time with a book, I want to be reading!  Alas, these would make a really fun gift and there are also Harry Potter and Game of Thrones versions.

Literary Scarf

Uncommon Goods is the BEST for fun gifts, and these literary scarves are perfection.  I'm partial to the Wuthering Heights version.

Please Go Away I'm Reading throw blanket

Bookworm boutique is an absolute goldmine of fun reader themed gifts.  I love the idea of a cozy blanket designated for reading.

Library Card Grey Tote
And last, but not least, the ultimate store for fun book gifts is the Book Riot store.  So many things to choose from, but I went with a staple that I think would be a great addition to my multiple trips per week to the library.

Happy shopping!  I think I shall pass this list along to my husband now...


Recommendation From the Archives: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

Those of us in the Seattle area got slammed with a crazy wind storm yesterday, and we were without power for nearly 24 hours.  It could have been worse - just about nine years ago, it was knocked out for five and a half DAYS.  Though, I was particularly annoyed yesterday, since I'd gone grocery shopping the day before and bought some Thanksgiving staples ahead of time - including the turkey.  Thankfully, it was secure in our deep freezer.  Although, I can't say the same for the $14 pork shoulder in the fridge that was for our tacos on Friday.  Ah well, I got a TON of reading in!  I  read almost all of This is What Happy Looks Likefrom my beginning of the month stack, and it got me thinking about other books I've devoured in a day...

One stands out CLEARLY in my mind: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld.  I thought it'd be a good novel to start up a recurring post, recommending favorite books from my archives!

I clearly remember a lazy Sunday afternoon, before we had children of course, and curling up in our oversized chair with our Pug to read Prep.  I ended up taking breaks only to hit the restroom (so much coffee!) and eat.  No blackout was needed, as there were no smartphones, no Facebook, no Twitter or Instagram to distract me.  Yes, I will admit to being distracted by these things nowadays.  

Prep follows a bit of a boarding school formula: the outsider (Lee from Indiana) attending a posh East cost prep school (Ault in Massachusetts).  But from there, her encounters with the other students, teachers and most definitely the boys at Ault and the strange rituals of young adulthood are RIVETING.  Maybe it's because I do enjoy a good boarding school narrative.  See also: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks, Looking For Alaska.  I found Sittenfeld's writing on the experience, and often painful feelings, of being barely a teenager to be heartbreakingly accurate.  Lee is not exactly a likeable character, but I could certainly identify with a great deal of her emotions.  It would be an interesting read, now that I am a parent, thinking toward the future teenage girl in my home.  Or maybe not...


This Weeks Eats 11.15.15 (And a Trip to Uwajimaya)

Uwajimaya, our local Asian grocer, is a place we frequent to pick up our favorite yogurt from Ellenos.  We have a routine when we visit, which is to hit up the yogurt bar, then 'oooh' and 'ahhh' and 'ewwww' over the different live seafood, and pick out a fun treat like Pocky Sticks or Hi Chews.  Recently, however, the store is undergoing construction and we find ourselves traveling different aisles of the store in order to pick up our yogurt prepackaged in the dairy aisle.  This has resulted in the hilarity of our kids gaping maws over a giant pig's head in the butcher case, glistening Peking duck and little plastic deli tubs of baby octopus.  It's highly entertaining and has encouraged good conversation about how different cultures view food differently.  I wonder when Anthony Bourdain programming will be appropriate...

On our most recent trip, we actually discovered a confection our kids do not like!  To be honest, we don't either.  Behold: Fugetsu-Do, a type of rice cake that looked like it would have a literal rainbow of flavor.  Alas, there was none.  But, it's certainly fun to keep trying different things.  Perhaps one day baby octopus?  Hmmm...

This week:

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


Training by Time Instead of Miles

This may be a real 'captain obvious' post here, as I'm sure many runners plan runs by time.  But I HAVE to express my enthusiasm for this practice!  I'm sort of a slave to the mileage...  Unless it's a cross or rest day, I feel like every run should be at least three miles.  I try to hit at least 20 miles a week, and at least 1000 a year.  These goals have served me just fine over the years, but I had been feeling a little blah in the last few months (I realized that I haven't raced since MAY) and I chose a plan from Jenny Hadfield that was solely focused on time. 

I found it via Pinterest, people, so we'll see if it actually gets me some results.  I'm hoping to run between 25 and 26 minutes (which is a range within 30 seconds of my PR) for my next 5K.  I REALLY want to win an age group award which is PIE - whatever my time.  Even if I don't accomplish either of these goals, I am looking forward to my workouts more these days, and that's already kind of a nice result of this plan.  Telling myself I have to run 20 minutes out and back is SO MUCH NICER than telling myself I have to run four miles.  Also, intervals are SO MUCH NICER in minutes.  If I'm running on a track, or on the trail where I've pretty much memorized every half mile marker, I know EXACTLY how far I have to go when I'm running 400s or 800s.  This is mentally rough, gazing at the end in sight.  In the last weeks of this plan, I've been doing five minute intervals and I'm often pleasantly surprised when my watch beeps.  I'm even more pleasantly surprised when I see how many miles I put in.  It takes too much mental power in the morning to ascertain how far I'll get after a ten minute warm up, followed by four x five minute intervals with two minutes of rest and a ten minute cool down.  And, lo, I ended up putting in 27 miles last week!

This way of thinking has also tricked me into a kick ass long run (pictured above).  For whatever reason, to me, looking at a progression run (what Hadfield terms a 'race simulation' workout) in terms of miles feels just so daunting.  But breaking up a run into three 15-20 minute segments?  Not so scary!  I did my longest progression run on Friday and was TRICKED into doing my longest long run in months.  I was a little intimidated by three 25 minute segments, but I figured - eh, a five minute difference per segment shouldn't be too much harder.  After a nice and easy 25 minutes, I managed a slightly slower than half marathon pace for the next 25 and slightly slower than a 10K pace for the last 20, speeding up to about a 5K pace in the final five minutes around the 8:30s.  I looked at my watch a few times along the way and thought, whoa, I'm going to end up doing over eight miles for the first time in many, many months.  AND I FELT GREAT.  If I had set off with the intention of going out for an easy long run of eight miles, even doing close to an 11 minute mile pace, I probably would have become achy and a little bored by the end.  But, damn, if I didn't feel like I could run a few more miles after that progression run.  That was my longest run for the ten week plan and I must say that I am also DIGGING 5K training.  I've never trained specifically for a 5K and I feel like my mileage is still in a good place (and the numbers on my scale), as is my strength and endurance.  

Okay, I'll stop gushing about what a revelation this has been for me.  Even after a good five years of taking this running thing somewhat seriously, and hanging out with a bunch of runners, I can still learn something new.  So, if you're also late to the game on giving this way of training a try - I HIGHLY recommend it!


Great Winter (and Holiday) Reads

For the most part, I don't plan my reading schedule according to the seasons.  However, last year, I picked up My True Love Gave to Me over the holidays and enjoyed it IMMENSELY.  

If you are like me and strategize your library holds ahead of time, here are some great stories I recommend for winter and holiday reading. (Links are to reviews on this site, or Amazon if I haven't reviewed them here.)

  • Landline by Rainbow Rowell (Georgie McCool, a sitcom writer, skips the family holiday trip to her in-laws to work and finds a phone that can call backwards in time to speak to her husband.)
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diana Setterfield (An old favorite Gothic mystery, perfect for curling up with a blanket by the fire.)
  • My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins (Twelve engrossing holiday tales.)
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (A childless couple, living in the outer reaches of Alaska build a girl out of snow, and a child appears running through the woods the next morning...)
  • Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris (Classic Sedaris short story hilarity, but with holiday themes.)
  • Belleweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia (A high school winter music festival at a haunted old hotel goes awry after one of the students goes missing - The Shining meets Agatha Christie.)
  • Light on Snow by Anita Shreve (A widower and his 12 year old daughter discover an abandoned baby in the woods.)
  • This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (Not necessarily a winter book, but the gathering of a family after the loss of their father feels reminiscent of The Big Chill and holiday gatherings.)
  • Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand (This is sort of a cheat, since I haven't read it yet - but it's on my list for this December, since I rather enjoyed The Matchmaker.)
And Goodreads has a trove of winter books, sorted by category.  Happy reading!


This Weeks Eats 11.8.15

Are there seasonal foods you get excited about seeing in the grocery store?  When I start seeing bags of cranberries, I get absolutely giddy.

Time for cranberry bread soon!  And so. much. squash.  
Gotta put some in the menu this week.

Well, and of course, there are all the freaking Trader Joe's goodies that are starting to appear.

Hopefully I'll find some new favorites to share soon.  In the meantime...

This week:
As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


Books I Read in October 2015


We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Another lovely redemption story about a struggling, and at times frustrating, protagonist.  Like The Language of Flowers,  Diffenbaugh's novels are like an embodiment of the sentiment that we should all be kind to one another because we really don't know what struggles others are carrying with them.  Also a really eye opening commentary on the state of immigration in our country. 


The Dream Thieves (Book 2 in the Raven Cycle) by Maggie Stiefvater

These books are just crazy cool.  The ability to take things out of your dreams and make them a reality?  This kind of fantasy story could really just go all kinds of wrong.  Yet Steifvater is MASTERFUL at telling eerie, dark and wholly believable tales.  I enjoyed getting more of Ronan's character arc. The scenes between Blue and Adam (the boy she should love) and Gansey (the boy she shouldn't love but, of course, does) are fraught with such emotion and tension, I felt like I was reading on the edge of my seat.  This surpassed The Raven Boys for sure and I'm excited to read the next installment: Blue Lily, Lily Blue - as well as the final book: The Raven King that will come out in the Spring!


After You by Jojo Moyes

I mean, I really can't find fault with anything Jojo Moyes writes.  This was not the same level of 'holy crap, this book will leave an indelible mark on your brain' as Me Before You.  But, damn, if she doesn't write the most compelling dramas about the human condition, with characters that make me laugh out loud and swoon.  I am glad she revisited Louisa's story, even if the finale of the previous book didn't really necessitate a sequel.  I'm happy to read Moyes' indulgent whims!


The Heir by Kiera Cass

The first books were all about a royal version of The Bachelor, and this is The Bachelorette.  Still the same fun brain candy fare, and serves it's purpose for a light diversion.  I was thinking this was a final installment.  Alas, it looks to be another trilogy and I'm not sure if I'll pick up the next one.  Cass really ought to come up with some synonyms for the word 'giggle' which was overused more than variations of 'dazzle' in Twilight and five times as cringe worthy.


November Goals and October Recap

There's a chill in the air and the holidays are almost upon us!  I just love this time of year.  But first let's see how I fared on what is probably one of my least favorite months...

October Goals

Get the kids (and ourselves) scheduled for flu shots.  
Oof!  This is definitely done, but there seemed to be a shortage of the flu mist for the kiddos and there were a LOT of tears shed this year.

Get cracking on Halloween costumes, decor, carving pumpkins, class parties, trick or treat plans on the same night as a soccer game, blahhhhhh. (I kinda hate Halloween.)
As I noted in the last couple of menu posts, we successfully carved pumpkins and navigated a crazy afternoon of rain, soccer and trick or treating.  Costumes were the EASIEST this year, though.  Big kid is now into the idea of scary costumes and wanted to be the grim reaper.  Little kid wanted to be a cat!  Ten seconds, and very few dollars, on Amazon and I was DONE.

Okay, the working the kindergarten party was pretty cute - exhausting, but cute.

Finish up fundraising/paperwork/volunteering for the kid's jog-a-thon.
Success!  And fun!

Schedule the dogs for boarding and get ready for another trip to the Great Wolf Lodge.  
We had a lovely time, but Vader would probably not say the same of his stay at the vet...
We killed two birds with one stone, or maybe two stones? There's a bad joke in there somewhere.

Start training for a 5K!  (the Redmond Turkey Trot) 
I found this 5K training plan online from Jenny Hadfield.  It really appealed to me because the running is focused on time in lieu of miles, which is something I've never done exclusively before.  I'm kind of digging it!

Finish up Once A Runner and prepare for the wrap up of Oiselle's inaugural Long Distance Reading Club. 
 Success!  You can see our discussion on Twitter via the #LDRclub hashtag.  

November Goals
  • Get some more content going over at zee new blaaagh! Yes, I started up another blog for funsies over at Born and READ in Chicago.  I'm still in the midst of sprucing it up, writing some more posts and updating the reviews by author.  But, if you enjoy my book posts, gimme a follow over there!
  • Thanksgiving prep!  It's just the four of us, but we like to make a big production.
  • Participate in Oiselle's #Chasethebird challenge: commit to 15 minutes of exercise a day from November 1st until Thanksgiving.  This is kind of a gimme, since I'm still doing the run streak - day #528 today!  But I may add on a half mile or some extra plank work on my 1 miler days. 
  • Do what I can to get ahead of the game for Christmas this year.  Make gift lists by Thanksgiving, decide on teacher gifts and perhaps buy a few things before December. 


The Stack - November 2015

Since I started blogging almost four years ago over at Born and Raced in Chicago, I've created so many amazing connections and opportunities in the running world and beyond.  It's been life changing and I am so thankful for my wee corner of the internet.  The desire to shake things up and broaden my horizons has been on my mind for awhile.

And, lo, Born and Read in Chicago seemed like the perfect way to indulge in my favorite pastime.  This is primarily a space for me to engage with fellow book nerds and bibliophile talk.  But I may just phase over all the menu planning, race recaps and random musings to this space one day.  For now, I'll link back and forth between blogs from time to time and leave pages up on both sites for all my recipes and race recaps.  

Books have been a passion of mine long before running, or maybe even walking?  My first job was as a library page in my early teens.  I have loved reading, being around books and talking about them since I can remember.  I am far from a book snob and will read pretty much anything, mostly leaning towards literary fiction, YA of all kinds, and a little bit of fantasy or sci-fi.  This is not a go-to site for all things Pulitzer or National Book Award.  Although I certainly read nominations from time to time, including the 2015 Pulitzer winner among others.  My philosophy is that books are meant to be enjoyed - and how we enjoy our books, and the books we enjoy, is completely subjective. In order to have a little bit of content to click through, I've copied over all of my monthly (and yearly 'Best Of') posts.  And soon, I'll have them organized by author (and maybe even by title if I'm really motivated).  

So thanks for coming over from Born and Raced, or Instagram or Twitter.  I hope you stick around and nerd out with me over books.  To that end...

Before I put my thoughts together for the monthly recap on books I read in October, I thought it would be fun to share my stack of reading for November and solicit any feedback on what I should read first!  Well, since I've already started A Fall of Marigolds, tell me if there's anything I MUST READ next or should TOTALLY AVOID.  I also have Luckiest Girl Alive ready on eBook - any thoughts? 


This Weeks Eats 11.1.15

We made it through another Halloween and now we can start thinking about the REAL holidays!  YAY!  Although, I do like to kick off food traditions with a doughnut and hot chocolate during our favorite local downtown Halloween celebration.  The weather was rather spotty this year, but we went during a break from the deluge and the line for those doughnuts was nice and short. 

Now only 25 more days until my favorite menu holiday.  Until then...

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!