Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

7937843Sometimes I go into the library knowing exactly what book I’m going to pick up.  Other times I just browse the shelves and select the books that have the most interesting book bindings cover art- I know pretty vain, huh? I usually pick up 4 or 5 books knowing that I’ll probably only read one or two all the way through, but I’m good with that.  This was the book that I chose from my stack of four.

This book was heartbreaking and gripping.  I got about 20 pages in and put it down for awhile thinking I needed to stop because the content was just really difficult to think about.  I had to come back to it though to find out what was going to happen to the 5-year-old boy and his mother that were being held captive in a kidnapper’s shed. It is told from the perspective of the little boy so at times it is a little difficult to read, yet I think the storytelling is done so much more effectively by having it told from his point of view. As I mentioned, this story is heartbreaking at times but I also found many of the moments to be uplifting and empowering.  It definitely made me feel incredibly blessed to live my life as a free person.  Totally a recommended book.

Currently on my nightstand:

Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments

Before Happiness

Aleph

DIY Wedding: Wooden Cake Topper Couple

ImageThese wooden cake toppers were so much fun to make . . . and much easier than I thought.  In fact, they took only a couple of hours to complete! These toppers were the perfect fit for our delicious 3 tiered (yet modest) cake ;-)  Plus, it was a great way to save some money on a personalized topper, because these toppers can be a little pricey if you commission out the job!
 

I looked at just about every craft store for the little wooden people, but was not able to find any (at least, not in the right size).  The only reasonably priced ones I could find were on Etsy.  I also picked up a cheap set of acrylic paints and THIN paint brushes at Hobby Lobby. 

ImageThe key to making these toppers is to lightly stencil in your drawing on the wood before putting down the paint (unless you really want to just wing it!).  I took it an extra step and made a quick 2-D sketch beforehand because I’m lousy at drawing and I didn’t want to do much erasing on the wood.  Then, I used very thin brushes and layer on the paint.  If you make small mistakes you can just take a little piece of sandpaper to “erase” the errors, but if it’s a BIG error, you might have to start again, so my advice would be to add the paint little by little.  Oh, and if you’re impatient like me then you’ll be happy to know that the paint dries pretty quick :-)

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Currently . . .

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Time: 4:01 pm

Weather: Rainy and cold (for the first time in a long time . . .)

Feeling- More than okay with the fact that things don’t always work out the way that we are envision . . . there is a plan . . . we just need to keep our heads up and move forward.

Needing: To brace the cold and go out to pick up a birthday present for my hubby :-)

Loving: Rainy afternoons that I can sit with O on the couch and just chat away while drinking coffee and listening to the rain- those moments are truly perfect.

Loathing: The pains of migraines . . . they suck away so many could-be-wonderful hours in my days.

Anticipating: A mountain of snow tomorrow for a great day of snowboarding.

Happy Saturday!

February Favorites

ImageI had a lot of fun pulling this month’s photos together.  It turns out that I documented a lot of randomness, but I’m just really happy I documented at all! I’m getting back in the habit of taking more photos, yay! February was a great month, but I’m really looking forward to what March will bring.

Here’s my random recap of February in photos: (From left to right, top to bottom) waiting to eat brunch at Mimi’s Cafe; new library books!; daily calendar photo from Valentine’s Day- sent to my hubby :-) ; bubblegum flavored raspado from La Puente; beautiful scenery from the country club where my Uncle had his wedding reception; delicious cappuccinos from Mimi’s Cafe; cycling class; enjoying some wine with O at my Uncle’s wedding; gorgeous clear skies on a February morning; nail design to celebrate Valentine’s Day!; Band-aid doodle for my finger cut; cream soda from Galco’s Soda Pop shop; meet up with Lynette and Matt at the Jelly Belly factory; home grown oranges in O’s mom’s backyard; cheesy photo with some an interesting play-on-words background; homemade tacos.

And now for the favorites!

Favorite . . .

Recipe: Thanks to this recipe, I ate a whole lot of chocolate chip cookies this month . . . breakfast, pre-dinner snack, dessert . . . second dessert.

Home project: I dominated my craft room organization (pictures coming soon ;-)

Makeup product: Rimmell Scandeyes mascara . . . I seriously love this stuff.

Crafting product: Fiskars heart punch– I originally bought this for a bunch of wedding projects, but I find myself constantly pulling it out of my toolbox for projects like this.

Movie: Lego Movie!  To be honest, this was one of, if not the only movie I saw this month, but I promise you it’s good if you’re someone who tends to like cheesy feel good movies (like me!)

Favorite Read: I loved this (http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2014/02/on-changing-dreams.html) very honest blog post by Emma of A Beautiful Mess.   It gives me hope that I can really make my dreams become reality but also not feel bad when modifying my goals.

Workout Routine:  Found this workout on Pinterest and guess what? It’s awesome!  My legs were sore for an entire weekend.  I did this 3 times through with a short rest between sets and it took about 30 minutes.

Song: On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons

Saying/Quote: “Struggle isn’t fun, but it is an opportunity to be brave.” -Rae Smith

DIY Wedding: Woodsy Flower Centerpiece

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To be quite honest, I had some trouble coming up with an idea for our wedding centerpieces in the beginning.  I knew I wanted to incorporate flowers and candles and I knew I wanted something different that would tie in the country chic theme. I also knew that I didn’t want to spend a fortune . . . but I didn’t want something that looked cheap, ha!  Yes, I know, a tall order . . . but it was for our wedding after all ;-)

 After finding these gems of planter boxes which felt perfect for the theme of our wedding, we tested out different ways of arranging objects and flowers within them.  This was actually a really fun DIY project for me and my bridesmaids to work on the morning of our wedding day.  And the best part (as with any DIY) is that you can totally customize a centerpiece like this to your taste.  Switch up the flowers, the vase, the planter box, and you could end up with something completely different that ties into your wedding!
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Flowers
Supplies (all can be found at your local craft store):
Wood Planter Boxes: We bought ours from Moskatels in Los Angeles, but similar boxes can be found at Michaels or Joanne’s
Tall Cylindrical Vases
Floating Candles
Floral Foam (make sure you get the kind that is made for floral arrangements which absorbs water)- they usually come in small blocks.
Sharp knife for cutting the foam
Spray bottle for moistening the foam before inserting the flowers
Here’s how to DIY: Take your foam and cut it so that you have just enough room to insert your cylindrical vase into the center.  You may have to get creative with your foam if the sizing is off with your planter box.  We found it easiest to cut out chunks of foam to go around the vase.  It doesn’t have to be perfect since the flowers will cover it anyways.  We did the preparatory work for the planters the night before the wedding so they would be ready for the flowers in the morning. On the morning of the wedding moisten your foam with water by using a spray bottle. Then, take your variety of flowers and leaves and poke the stems into the foam- they should go in without you having to force them. After you are satisfied with your arrangement give the flowers one last spray and voila! they will be ready to go.  Once you have the centerpieces at your venue, fill the center vases with water and pop in your floating candle.  For added interest to the table, scatter some small candles around the centerpiece :-)
It takes some patience to cut all of the foam, but truly the flower arranging is so much fun!  I estimate the cost of each centerpiece to be less than $20 including the cost of the flowers.  It was a great way to cut down on the cost of our wedding without sacrificing nice centerpieces.
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A Valentine’s Day Wish list?

Valentine's Day Favorites

Happy Valentine’s Day! . . . okay, not quite yet, but I typically get into the festive spirit about a week (or sometimes 2!) before a special occasion hits!  Omar and I like to keep our Valentine’s Days pretty low key . . . this year we’re going to hit up an In-and-Out and then go see the new Lego movie.

I’m not usually the type of girl to put together a gift guide, but since I’ve been on a bit of a shopping hiatus since before our wedding in December, I recently had the urge to put together a wish list.  I like to think of it as a little e-window shopping, ha! And if this just happens to give my hubby some ideas for Valentine’s day, then all the better, right? ;-)

This pleated polkadot apron from Anthropologie is the perfect kitchen fashion accessory.

I’ve been on the hunt for a nice iPad case, and this one fits the bill!

I’ve gotten so much use out of my Naked 1 Urban Decay eyeshadow palette, that I know this would be a great “investment.”  I almost splurged on this for my wedding makeup, but they were sold out everywhere in December!

These black booties are awesome!  My brown ones are currently my most worn item in my closet.

I love how fun these cameras are.  I’m all for some instant photo print gratification.

Stripes meet maxi dress in this perfect combination . . . yes, please!

I just think this “You Complete Me” donut mug is SO CUTE!

Would love this fashionable tote to protect my camera!