Book Review: Divergent

Peeps. Do I have a book for you!

Did you like Hunger Games? Oh, you did? Well, you need to check out the book Divergent by Veronica Roth:

It is reeeeeally good. I don't know if it was because I was reading it on my Kindle, but I read this book SO fast (I started it on Tuesday and finished it early this morning). 

It's a similar genre as Hunger Games, but it's different. The book is about an America that is now divided into "factions" (groups), and at the age of 16 kids choose which group they are going to belong to (having been raised by one of these factions). The main character has a choice...which faction to choose? And once chosen, where do her allegiances really lie. 

It's about discovering who you are in the midst of what people expect you to be.

Like always, I don't want to give too much away, but this story has it all: overcoming fears, discovering self, and a bit of romantical-ness :)

Oh, and another fun fact that I learned, the author was only 22. I am impressed (and I also feel like I am completely unaccomplished haha)

If you have some free time over the weekend, I TOTALLY recommend this book. My friend Trish recommended it to me, and I'm SO glad that she did! (I am waiting with anticipation for the sequel to come out in APRIL....gaaaaaahhh!)

A+ from me!

NYE party dessert: HELP!

Ok peeps, it's almost NYE and MG and i are attending a party at a friend's house. We said we'd bring some adult beverages and a dessert.

But, now I need help figuring out what we're I'm going to make for the party. So, I have three ideas, courtesy of lovely Pinterest.

Option 1: EggNog Pound Cake:  
Looks simple enough and it has 5 stars...

This looks like a bit more work, but also looks yummy.

Option 3: "S'more Than You Can Handle" S'more Bars
I think I'm leaning towards this. It looks easy, and suuuuper yummy. I think this is one that would impress!

What do you guys think I should do? OR do you have any super easy (and easy to transport) dessert ideas for me? Let me know!

Wishing you a VERY happy New Year, and good things to come in the year 2012! :)

WILW and Oh How Pinteresting!

It's Wednesday, hump day, and the halfway point to my vacation! How did the time fly so quickly? As my coworker texted me the other day, I could definitely take an early retirement (too bad my savings would only last me a little bit of time, and not into old age. Rats!)

But, anyway, it's the middle of the week which means it's time for two of my fave link ups! First up I'm linking up with Jamie at this kind of love for WILW:

I'm loving that I got to spend Xmas with my parents and spend some extra time with my dad

I'm loving that I got a Kindle Touch for Christmas, and have already started reading a book on it. And that being on break has given me a chance to read so much already!

I'm loving my bloggie-turned-real-life friends. Especially you, P!nky! Your advice and our almost daily g-chats have been awesome!

I'm loving quality time with MG.

I'm loving that New Years is right around the corner and that Ill be celebrating with MG and some friends at a friend's place. No crowded messiness for me! An intimate gathering with fun people is just what I like!

I'm loving that I finally had time to get the recalls on my car fixed, and that they realized that the XM receiver on my car is messed up. AND that it's still under warranty! Woohoo!

I'm loving that my mom and I were able to find a super comfy recliner for my dad to relax and be comfortable in. Especially now that he's doing cardiac rehab three times a week which poops him out!

And, as always I'm loving Pinterest, and Michelle's link up at The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting!


This week I've been pinning....

I love this idea for a family....will totally do this whenever I have one of my own!

This dress is GORG. So simple but so pretty! Can make it super fancy with shoes and some bling bling!

Bubble Up Enchilada Bake  Courtesy of Shari at The Daily Dish

So funny! (Pinky, I saw that it said Mama B, and thought of you! haha)

Doggy internet love...I could picture Cooper doing this when I go to work lol

Twine-covered bottles...perhaps I could make use of the 8
that my roommate has sitting around here...
Follow Me on Pinterest

What have you been pinning?? Go link up over at Michelle's so I can see!!!

Book Review: Kafka on the Shore

Ok, I'm back for a second post of the day, this time with a book review.

On the last day of work, at our "holiday party" we had a book exchange so that everyone who wanted to, could have a new book to read over break. The book I originally picked up was Water for Elephants which I already have, and have read, so I swapped with someone who had a book I hadn't heard of:

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

It sounded like it could be cool and one of my other coworkers said that she had read another book by this author that was pretty good. It's kind of a longer book at 467 pages, and it wasn't a super easy read. The book is very abstract in parts, and I spent a good portion of my time trying to figure out what the heck was happening...or wondering when everything was going to make sense. Overall, some of it made sense, but now that I'm finished I still don't understand everything that happened.

The writing is very vivid, and I could picture everything that was going on, even if I didn't necessarily understand what was going on. Does that make sense?

As for what the book is about....I can't even really begin to describe it. A 15 year old boy runs away from home--his mother left with his sister when he was 4 and apparently he is unhappy living with his father, who has given the prophecy that "Kafka" (the main character) will eventually kill him (the father), and Kafka will sleep with his mother and his sister (Oedipus much?). The whole book centers around the time that he has run away, but is more about existential type things. All kinds of crazy things encountered. Beyond that, I can't even really describe the book because I'm not entirely sure of what happened or how to convey it.

Would I recommend the book? Meh. If you didn't have a book to read, and were really looking to read something that is totally out there, then yes. Otherwise, it's a long book that is kind of confusing.

Have any of you read this book? What did you think if you did? Am I totally off base?

The positive note? Now I can read my next book, Divergent, on my Kindle! Woohooo!

A Very Kindle Christmas! and a Dad update

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I know some of you are headed back to work (not you teachers, tho!!), and that stinks! I personally think that everyone should have off during this time, so that we can all enjoy the holidays together, and frolic! Yeah, I said frolic :)

Anyway, I thought I'd do a quick recap of my main gift that I got for Xmas: my new Kindle Touch! I had been going back and forth debating about a Kindle Fire or a Touch. I had finally decided on a Fire until one of my friends who has had a regular Kindle and a Fire wrote and told me that she didn't like the Fire for reading. This was going to be my primary purpose in using it (I just got my Macbook Pro this summer, and dont really have an urgent need for a MG just got a different tablet and has kindly volunteered to let me use it whenever I want...wooohoo for generous boyfriends!) So, once I heard that it was hard to read after a bit (basically like looking at a computer screen), I quickly informed my parents Santa that I wanted the Touch 3G instead.

And, Santa delivered. Except, sadly, I got a bum Kindle. The one I got registered, but then when I went to buy a book (with some of the generous gift cert that I got from my good buddy Trish), it kept telling me that I had to register my device. Bummer.

So, some nice person working for Kindle on Christmas Day tried to help me, but to no avail, so yesterday I went to the store my mom got the Kindle and exchanged, and now I am in Kindle Touch bliss! I love it! I still have a book that I'm trying to finish (another 40 pages), and after that I have a book already waiting for me on my Kindle (along with a couple of games, too hehe).

It also has a nice pretty purple case (my favorite color!)

I was glad to get anything for Xmas this year--my parents have obviously been very busy with doctor's appointments, etc for my dad who is still recovering from his heart attack from a couple of months ago. I hadn't seen my dad in a couple of weeks, and I could immediately tell that my dad's lost weight. Being around for the past few days, I see how much my dad struggles with certain tasks. His heart is still functioning at only 15%, the same amount that it was functioning at the afternoon after his heart attack. My dad was pretty discouraged when hearing this. Luckily he has started cardiac rehab and the doctors are hoping that this helps to restore his hearts function to 40-50%. There are some drugs that they could give my dad to increase his heart's function, but these lower blood pressure and right now my dad's blood pressure is too low for them to give him those meds. A tricky, vicious circle it feels like.

Yesterday my mom and I went to a furniture store to try and get my dad a more comfortable chair since he spends a good amount of his day sitting and the chair he has now isn't as comfortable on the tushy. Luckily we found a nice recliner for him, and brought him to the store to try out the ones that we thought he would like. Reality once again smacked me in the face when I pushed my dad through the store in a wheel chair (walking through the store would have been too much all at once). After we got done, my dad commented that the wheel chair was a good idea since he didn't think he would have been able to make it through the store by walking. But, it definitely makes me see, again, just how fragile things still are with my dad.

I must say, I was glad I got to spend time at home with my parents this holiday. Did I get 800 presents? No. Do I care? Not at all. I got the best present of all, which is spending time with them. I'm SO thankful that my dad is here, when things could have easily gone the other way. So, thanks to all of you who sent up special prayers for my dad during that hard time. And, if you have a few extra spots in your prayers, throw him and his heart in there again :) Every little bit helps!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/holiday with friends and family!

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you, your families, and loved ones a very Merry Christmas!

Here's to hoping that you get to spend a love-filled day with those you care about!

The Lucky One ( a totally non-Xmas related post)

I might be behind the times on this, but I haven't read many Nicholas Sparks books, although the ones I've read I've enjoyed for the most part. I hadn't even heard of the book The Lucky One but I saw a movie poster for it on Pinterest (of course) and it intrigued me. I mean, look at it:
hello, hot and steamy!

I dunno about you, but that alone said to me "Jenn, this is your kind of movie!" (one that MG will probably groan at when I ask him to go with me haha)

 So I searched for the movie trailer and this is what I came up with:

The Lucky One movie trailer

It looks really good. I love things that are about fate and things happening for a reason. It's cute. I think I'll totally be in the movie theater.

And, can I just say, I was never a big Zak Efron fan. I mean, he was cute and all, but all the hype around him kinda left a sour taste in my mouth. I dunno what it is, but him in this movie looks mighty nice to me! Maybe it's the fact that he's older now and I don't feel like such a pedophile drooling over him haha.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share this one with you, in case you were just as unaware as I was. And if not, at least you're provided with some nice man-candy to look at! :)

The best Christmas yet...

Hey lovies! It's Friday, and it's the eve of Christmas Eve (that's what they said on the news this morning--and it was corny enough that I decided to use it myself!)

I'm here today still running off of the high from last night's Christmas Dinner Date with MG. I got myself ready and then took all of the gifts over to MG's place where we opened a bottle of wine and exchanged our presents. Now, this was the first gift exchange that we have done (you'll remember that it was MG's birthday earlier this month, so I got the uber pressure of being the first one to have to give a gift), so there was some pressure....moreso for MG haha.

I had been telling him things about his presents like "wow, when I got the one today in the mail, it was a LOT heavier than I expected"....and he was all confused and said "I thought you already got the main part of my present....Oh man, I hope I got enough!" It was kinda fun to mess with him. Ok, it was a lot of fun :)

So, with all of the build up, MG said "You open yours first" I opened the card first (of course) and it had THE sweetest message inside. I would take a picture and share with you all, but this is one of those times that I want to keep it to myself. But, what it said inside was so sincere and sweet, it almost made me cry. I've read it like 15 times this morning already haha. Also, inside of the card was a gift card to Massage Envy which I am ALL about! I bother MG for massages all the time, and he knows how tense I get at my job, so this was a perfect gift!   Then, there was a rather large box sitting in front of me to be opened, so I tore into it and inside were these beauties that I had mentioned once...more than a month ago (Alana, if you're reading this....close your eyes):

I was SOOOOOOO happy. I put my feet into these guys and I was in heaven! They are SO soft inside! I like that these can be rolled down, or pulled up, or scrunched down. I can see getting a lot of use out of these over the next Winter months (assuming we don't keep getting 60 degree days).

Apparently MG had even been checking my shoes when I went to shower to make sure he got the right size, and then checked with one of my friends to make sure that I would like the grey (he said he remembered me saying grey but wanted to make sure). He did quite well!

MG opened his gifts which included:

it's an ID badge holder with MG's beloved Eagles on it. It kind of killed me a little, as a Skins fan, to order Eagles stuff
MG acknowledged that this shows how much I love him haha

An Eagles t-shirt to add into his Sunday rotation of Eagles shirts (He loved this and immediately threw it into his suitcase that he's taking home this weekend)

4 of these frosty beer mugs--he had mentioned this one weekend that he really needed to get some. So I took care of that!

And then I got him this since he said the navigation on his phone was starting to bother him and he wanted something more reliable:

Garmin nĂ¼vi 1450LMT 5-Inch Portable GPS Navigator with Lifetime Map & Traffic Updates

I was nervous that he wasn't going to love this part (which is kind of why I got a bunch of little stuff too), but he was thrilled with it! The screen is huge and it has free traffic and map updates, which he was really excited about. He also said that he is going to test it out today when he drive up to Philly for the weekend, especially the traffic part!

So, all in all, we did quite well for each other in terms of gifts!  After we got done opening our presents, we headed into DC for dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill:

We had oysters, crab and artichoke dip, wine,  and some delish entrees! We were stuffed!  We made a quick stop to take a picture in front of one of the trees in the restaurant:

And it's a good thing we got a pic in front of a Christmas tree, since, when we went to leave, it was POURING outside. So, our plans to go see the National Xmas tree and baby trees was squashed. We decided we'll go once MG gets back from Philly, though.

I couldn't have asked for a more perfect night with a more perfect guy. I look back at the past year, and all that's happened and I am SO happy. I didn't think, back in May, or even this time last year, that I would ever find someone so amazing who I absolutely adore, and who loves me just as much as I love him. MG is the best thing that's happened to me and I'm SO thankful that we found each other.

Maybe I should write a letter to lol

Anyway, Ill stop being sappy and mushy, and wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and good times with family and friends. Make sure you tell everyone you love that you love them, and give them some extra hugs and kisses. It's the important things that make life living, not the material ones. I'll be at home today giving my mom and dad some extra hugs and kisses myself. I have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas!

Sending you, my bloggie friends, hugs and love!

It's Ok!

Happy Thursday, and three-days-til-Christmas, bloggie friends! I'm getting excited for Christmas--I kind of already know my "big" present from my parents (a Kindle Touch) and I'm getting anxious to get it, so that I can add some books on there and get reading. However, I don't know what MG's getting me, but I'll be finding out tonight.

In the meantime, I'm linking up with Amber from Brunch with Amber for It's Ok Thursday!

Its Ok Thursdays

Today, it's ok....

.....that I am reeeeeeally curious what MG is getting me for Christmas this year. He's told two of his female friends, both of whom told him that what he got was good...I just wanna know! look forward to the weekend so that I can see my parents and spend some time with them, but also to be a little sad that I wont be seeing MG for 4-5 days. How I did long distance for 2 years, I have NO idea... STILL be annoyed at what a messy, inconsiderate person my roommate is. I came home this morning to yet ANOTHER half empty wine bottle on the counter (we're up to 7 that have been collecting on the counter since AUGUST!) Don't get me wrong--I love my wine as much as the next girl. But, I FINISH my wine, one...and two, I clean up after myself.

Oh, and the two glasses of wine that were on the end table from her over the weekend are STILL on the end table. It's Thursday. Ridiculous! love having time off of work to sprawl out on the couch in the mornings with a cup of coffee, to read blogs (and write some), all while watching The Today Show. It's my adult guilty pleasure, and I'm totally loving it! be really excited for MG and my Christmas dinner date out tonight! We are exchanging presents before dinner (yay!) and then heading out to Old Ebbitt Grill for dinner (mega yum!) and if the weather is nice (which is iffy at this point) we're heading to look at the National Christmas tree and all of the baby state trees. We'll probably head back to his place and have a bottle of wine and make googly eyes at each other for the rest of the night haha. like warm weather, but be a little bummed that it's 60 today, in DC, which makes it really hard to feel like it's Xmas.... be SUPER excited that I finally found a replacement for the earrings that I lost one stupid night out (I remember it because it was the night of a HORRID fight with MP....the joker I dated this summer). I've been searching for exactly what I wanted and I finally found it on Anthropologie (through Pinterest). And I bought them! Wooohooo! (Merry Xmas to meeeee!) be glad that I got all of my Xmas shopping done yesterday. Everything is wrapped and ready to go! Wooohoooo!

WILW and Oh How Pinteresting!

It's Wednesday, and it's kinda dreary here, but I just got up from sleeping in, which is a rarity for me, (especially when MG's alarm goes off 3 times before he actually gets up....I can never go back to sleep after my alarm goes off)--so I'm guessing this girl was a little tired! haha

Anyway, I love Wednesday for two of my favorite link ups, so I'm just gonna hop right to it! First up, I'm linking up with Jamie at this kind of love for WILW:

I'm loving that I am on my third day of vacation and have gotten to watch the Today Show every morning this week--a guilty pleasure of mine on my days off (does this mean I'm an adult?? If it does, I don't care! hehe)

I'm loving that MG's final parts of his gift got here on Monday and I only have one more thing to wrap for him!

I'm loving that MG suggested that we go out to a nice dinner, the two of us, for our Christmas Dinner (since we wont be together for Xmas) and to exchange our gifts. We are going to dinner in DC and then going to walk around and see the National Christmas tree along with all of the little ones they decorate for each state. I'm really looking forward to it! (and am really glad that he suggested it himself!)

I'm loving all of the time I've had to do whatever I want. I've done some reading, caught up on my DVR, have spent NUMEROUS hours on Pinterest (nothing new there) and have been able to get some last minute Xmas shopping in during the day. I'm quite a happy camper!

As always, Im loving Pinterest and I love linking up for Oh How Pinteresting with Michelle at The Vintage Apple


Here's what I've been pinning this week:

I LOVE how unique this dress is--how fun would it be for a NYE dress?
16-minute shrimp scampi via the Pioneer Woman

"Storm Pooper" lol funny!
Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pesto Penne

Because how could this NOT get you into the holiday spirit?? :)

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What have you been finding "pinteresting"? Link up!!

A Very Cooper Christmas!

I was having a liiiiiiiittle bit too much fun with my computer and picnik today. And, all of a sudden, I had a Christmas card from Cooper:

Goodness, he's cute. And I'm not biased. Not at all! :)

Cooper is ready for Christmas!

Ok, I hope that helped increase your cuteness intake for the day, and put a smile on your face. I'm off to continue a cuddle session with that little lovebug! :)