27 December 2008

Home for the Holidays

I've been in Alabama since last Thursday, visiting for the first time since last Christmas. It has been too long! Everyone's kept me busy...so busy, in fact, that the time has flown by, and sadly, I'm flying back to Phoenix tomorrow afternoon.

Between a hair appointment (blond highlights!), visits with some of my favorite little ones, a wedding, and two or three separate Christmas celebrations (not to mention church services...I had Communion 3 times in about as many days), I'm exhausted!

Note: I spent my last weekend in Alabama with my cousins in Birmingham. Look to your left, and you will see a link to Amanda's new blog -- The Benson Family -- created tonight. I encourage all to take a peak, mostly because there will be photos of Blake. Cuteness. Speaking of, I finally got to meet Abby (more cuteness can be found if you click on her name, also to your left).

Givenchy Phenomen'Eyes Mascara

My newest mascara purchase. Don't worry: I'm not discarding the Dior Iconic. I still love it, but I was so intrigued by this mascara when I saw it, I just had to buy it.


Of course, the second I got back from Sephora, I took off the mascara I was wearing so I could try it out. So far, I love it.

12 October 2008

The Wishbones

by Tom Perrotta

Alright, well, after a raving review of Little Children, I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed in this one. I snagged this book years ago, when a favorite former professor was cleaning out her own library (HCW, you know who you are) and had literally piles upon piles of books up for adoption. At the time, I hadn't heard of Tom Perrotta, but the plot sounded somewhat intriguing, so I took it and stuck in on my bookshelf. I admit that I've been a somewhat neglectful adoptive parent, because that's exactly where it has remained since then. Last week, I was digging around looking for something - ANYTHING - to read and found it. Until I saw it, I hadn't put two and two together. Imagine my excitement...and my subsequent disappointment.

So, long story short, not his best work (in my opinion, of course). But, I'm not giving up hope altogether.

07 October 2008

Dior Iconic Mascara

Dior has outdone themselves. Go and purchase immediately.

Forgive Me

by Amanda Eyre Ward

Easily the best of her novels, and that's really saying something. Plot: a journalist from New England travels to far-off places to cover wars/turmoil/strife/human suffering. One of the places she travels is South Africa during apartheid, and she falls in love both with the country and a man she meets there. The story shifts often in place and time, and of course there are wonderful twists and turns along the way. I love this book. I don't know what else to say about it.

Sleep Toward Heaven

by Amanda Eyre Ward

A while back, I told all of you about How to Be Lost, also by Ms. Eyre Ward. Since then, I've read everything she's written. What I can tell you after having done so, is that she is a master of weaving multiple storylines together, but in ever new ways! She is never predictable, which is good, because there is no more assured death knell for an author - for me - than predictability. The plot of this book involves a woman awaiting execution on Death Row, another woman who is mourning the loss of her murdered husband, and a doctor who leaves a comfy engagement following the death of her father and moves back to her hometown. It's so sweetly written, and she's so fair to all the characters and their backstories. I highly, highly recommend it.

17 August 2008

My Sister, My Love

by Joyce Carol Oates

Along the same lines as Black Water and Blonde. It's a roman à clé (Dr. Voss would be so proud of me for retaining that term of art!), so basically, I believe that this just means that Ms. Oates has something to say about this particular subject matter, and she'd just as soon not get sued for libel or defamation, or whatever.

So anyway, the plot is about the fall-out of the Christmastime murder of a child ice-skating prodigy, and is told from the point of view of her older brother, who, because of the attention his sister attracted, was largely ignored by parents and schoolmates alike, both before and after the murder, and was briefly a suspect in her death. Perhaps this sounds familiar (subtract ice skating and insert childhood beauty pagents and ta-da! JonBenet Ramsey, anyone?).

The book is fairly raw and holds very little back. It's a satisfying read, but you feel a little squirmy and voyeuristic as you're reading it (this is true of every Oates novel I've read, though). And it maybe goes on a little long. But all in all, it's a fantastic book...truthfully, I've never been dissatisfied with anything I've read by Joyce Carol Oates.

16 August 2008

My summer reading list...

...has sort of gone to crap. By that, I don't mean that I've not been reading. I just mean that I haven't been reading what I *meant* to read. Instead of the long list of books I intended to read, I've ended up reading several Alexander McCall Smith novels (one of each series featuring Precious Ramotswe and Isabel Dalhousie).

HUGE news, though: Sandra Gulland has a new book, and I just bought it! In case you haven't heard me rattle on about that genius that is Ms. Gulland, here we go. I love her. During law school, I read her first series about Josephine Bonaparte. It's a three-part historical novel, written as a diary, beginning when Josephine was an adolescent and continuing through her marriage to Napoleon and thereafter. Love, love, love. Love it so much, in fact, that I've read the series six times. I might read it again this week. Highly recommend. The new book is called Mistress of the Sun, and I can't wait to tell you all about it.

I also took a summertime hiatus from thinking and read a little piece of chick-lit trash called Bed & Breakfast. So there. Yes. I admit it. From time to time, I do read chick-lit. I'm mildly ashamed of it, but what are you going to do?

15 June 2008

I'm going through a phase...

...of reading and rereading. In the past month or so, I've reread Little Children, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, Cold Comfort Farm, and three or four other favorites. I'm not sure why. But, now that I'm done, in addition to keeping a promise to myself and beginning to read Atonement (see below), I am also keeping several other promises to myself: Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude. If you don't hear an update soon, assume I've flung myself over a bridge and into whatever body of water is nearest. Clearly, I'm also going to be needing some comic relief, which hopefully will come in the form of a few as-yet-undetermined, but hilarious novels.

Along with keeping these promises, I'm also allowing myself to admit defeat: The Emperor's Children has gotten the better of me. I don't know why. I can't figure out her emdashes, and even if I could, I think she's just smarter than I am. Maybe I'll give it a whirl later on.

And, I seem to have lost The Constant Gardener. I know that I was enjoying it, so I can't imagine what became of it, but it's been gone for quite a while now. So until I either find it or buy another copy, I'm in limbo.

Now, you may be asking yourself how I'm going to get through my summer reading list. Well, it's roughly 11,000 degrees outside here in Phoenix. As such, it's nearly impossible for my office friends and me to have our daily lunch dates without melting and wanting to shower. So, my answer is this: I shall be a good girl and bring my lunch every single day, and during lunch, I shall also read. We'll see how this goes, and how long it lasts.


by Ian McEwan

I bought this book a while back, when I learned that a movie was being made of it. I purposefully didn't see the film, thinking I'd see it soon enough because I'd finish the book fairly quickly. Well, months later, here I am, and here is the book...still unread. I heard that it was sad, so I kept avoiding it. But I'm jumping in! I'll let you know how it goes...

12 June 2008

The Tattoo!

Well, here she is! I know, I know...I promised a photo ages ago. So, I'm sorry. I still can't believe I have her; sometimes I even forget about her. But during the day, when my job gets to be depressing or aggravating, I have only to look down, and she makes me smile. HCW, please ask your hubby for the return of my contingent guardianship of a certain little girl. Surely one little flower tattoo does not render one completely useless as a good influence, right? A brief note about the quality of the photo: it was taken with my phone camera, so it's a little blurry if you enlarge it. I can't find the charger for my digital camera batteries, and for some reason, I keep forgetting to just buy some regular batteries. So, 'til then, this is the best I can do. But I promise, promise to post better photos soon.

Vincent Longo Lip Stain

Yuck. I've never put something so foul near my mouth, and hopefully, if I live right, I'll never have to again. Blech. But hey, since I have to return it, that's a great excuse for a trip to Sephora, yes?


Specifically, Dior Lip Maximizer and Dior Creme de Gloss in Rouge Nectar. Oh, my goodness. The lip maximizer does something really impressively scientific-sounding that the Sephora sales-guy tried really hard to explain to me, whilst I stared at him and smiled...and thought not at all about collagen boosting, but instead daydreamed about how wonderful my lips were beginning to feel within 15 seconds of applying this wonderful stuff.

About the Creme de Gloss: Although I've tried to fight it, I am a lip gloss kind of girl. I buy, and try, tons of lipstick. I love all of it, but the Dior products are my favorites. The color is lovely and opaque, which is nearly impossible to find in a gloss, but it's still silky and not sticky, which is nearly impossible to find in a lipstick. Perfect combo. Highly recommended.

27 April 2008

And Then We Came to the End

by Joshua Ferris

Reads a little like "Office Space: the book," only with perhaps more of a soul. A very good read about workplace friendships and relationships. The voice and perspective are certainly interesting, and the subject matter moves beyond what you'd expect...just traditional complaints about cubicle workspaces and bad office jibber-jabber. Yes, definitely recommend it.

My Life is Boring

OK, so my last post here was about my new job. Tomorrow, I will celebrate its 6-month anniversary, which in addition to being somewhat satisfying in its own right, has the added benefit of meaning that I am officially off probation. Yay! Now, they have to have a reason to fire me...and though that may seem like an inconsequential milestone to some, it is ever-so important to me, given that I am the only one of the office's most recent three hires to make it off probation. Whew.

What's happened in the last 6 months? Not a whole lot, actually, except that the last month has been fairly eventful. I bought a new car (well, new-ish). A Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, steel grey, and quite pretty, and from which I derive great joy in driving, although I will admit that I have to separate myself from the fact that now I am one of those SUV drivers about whom I seem to complain non-stop. Though in my own defense, it's really the van drivers I most detest.

And then, there's the funnest news of all: MY TATTOO! She's quite small and ladylike: a red and yellow orchid just below my right ankle. And she makes me smile whenever I look down and see her peeking out from my most serious work shoes. OK, let's be honest, I don't actually own very many pairs of serious work shoes, but she still makes me smile. Who'd have thought?