Saturday, March 23, 2013

I miss *real* books, but I like instant gratification

Reeeeeeeading summary for 2012!  I have to say, I've really become a fan of the handy Nook app on my tablet, mostly because it enables my laziness - I want a book, I tap the screen, it's instantly mine.  Technology is wonderful.  And more expensive than hitting up the bargain shelves at Half-Price Books, yeeps.  But it does save me time and keep me a little more current in my reading selections...I'll take it.

Thirty-five books made it onto the list in 2012, which is quite a victory considering my last three books of the year were the first three books in the Song of Ice and Fire craziness.  It's just epic in every sense of the word.  These books are BEASTS that don't even fit into a category (well, an Erin category, anyway) - so just know that Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords are well worth your time, but only if you want to embark on this whooooole journey.  Word of warning, the series is still in the works, blerg - I hate not knowing how everything is going to go.  I'm also concerned with the gaps between book release dates for Mr. Martin, and The Winds of Winter can't get here soon enough.  Of course, now I'm obsessed with the show on HBO.  March 31 also can't get here soon enough.* 

* "Game of Thrones" premiere AND that much closer to 4/15.  Not as crazy busy as PwC, but still a little busier than I'd like.  Oh, taxes.

On to the rest!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - I think this was my favorite standalone (not in a series/trilogy type thingy) book of the year - disturbing, gripping, couldn't put it down
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - I actually really don't want to see the movie because I just know the book will be infinitely better
Already Gone by John Rector

The Twelve by Justin Cronin - if I talked you into The Passage last year, then you probably already know about this
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - if you can handle a touch of the fantastic, then go for this one

Drinking Closer to Home by Jessica Anya Blau - I remember both laughing and going into sad mode, so there's something here
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - I really freakin' loved Gone Girl, so I thought another Gillian Flynn book would be a  slam dunk...and it was decent, but definitely didn't live up to to Gone Girl.  Which I couldn't put down.  So as I've already mentioned, go read that one instead.
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik - Paris, it's amazing!!  So why couldn't I get into this book?  Yeah, just no.

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
More Jill Mansell books - but they all kinda blended together (Staying at Daisy's, Perfect Timing, An Offer You Can't Refuse), so I don't remember which one I liked the best. Just give them all a British accent in your mind and you're good to go.

Nelson DeMille books - The Gate House, The Lion's Game, The Lion.  Momma Dale got me started on these, and I was expecting a lesser version of James Patterson - but I really enjoyed them!  Action-adventure-spy-movie + sarcastic/dry/witty humor in book form.

Yes, I read the Fifty Shades thing.  Meh.  Not really for me.

I re-read the Hunger Games trilogy in prep for the awesome movie.  I'll probably read them again before #2 comes out.  LOVE.  Will always be a recommended yes.

I love to read.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Let's stay at the beach. Forever.

** Public service announcement...please pretend this post happened EXACTLY EIGHT MONTHS AGO as originally intended.  Thinking about where the gals and I should journey this summer, so I went back to read about last year's trip, and I thought my posts felt very unfinished...and I'd forgotten I had this one almost ready to go before life happened and I just forgot about it.  So let's just pretend, ok?  Thanks so much, and let's go back to Edisto... **

You know what's wonderful?  Easy beach lunches, all courtesy of King's Market, an adorable roadside establishment filled with loads of fresh flowers...

...and beautiful heirloom maters...

...and all kinds of crazy birdhouses...

...and Cheerwine, which has absolutely nothing to do with wine but is very much like Cherry Coke and is just darn tasty on a toasty afternoon...

...and a plethora of salads and dips and delightful homemade casseroles (granted, mayo was a key ingredient in many of these, but we weren't really complaining - that's what vacation is for!), and we made lunches out of fresh melons and crab dip and pimento cheese and chicken salad and it was just so good.  Best eaten on a porch overlooking the ocean.  Really, you can't beat it.

There's a lot to be said for relaxing beach afternoons.  We had quality time on our floats out in the ocean AND explored the reach of the beach in both directions AND enjoyed a delicious cooler full of sangria (and water - we hydrate!) AND just sat. And listened to the waves and were just there.  So wonderful. For two afternoons in a row. For hours. More, please.

We come prepared.
Sweet, blessed provider of shade for pale, pale me.
One night for dinner we headed to Dockside, where the service was a little questionable, the food was darn good, and we had a great view of the sunset over the water.

And where did I spend just a whole lot of time?  Oh, hello, fantastic rocking chair on wonderful screened-in deck. Come home with me. I love you.

Our other post-beach dinner was at The Old Post Office, which was just awesome - I mean, this is about as fancy as you can get down in Edisto.

Dessert Triumvirate #2 - so much deliciousness...and it's even by candlelight, awwww.
Oh, hi, Edisto sunset, you're pretty
We did some exploring and found crazy old churches...

...and dolphins!!!  Ok, so the sleeper in me kinda missed the early morning dolphin activity while Kami and Carolyn actually woke up and did things that are good for you, but on our last morning we made an Erin trip to see the dolphins...and it started to rain.  And we only kinda saw the dolphins.  But I know they're there.

Back to Charleston we go, with one more walk along the water, and then time to fly away home.  Why can't vacations just last forever?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Carpet where you eat = silly

We have the most ginormous dining room ever, and even though we rarely eat in there (come on, two people at the giant table? or really one on most nights these days? that's what the living room is for), it drove me crazy that the floor was covered with CARPET.  Who puts CARPET in a dining room?!?  Every spill and dropped utensil and wayward food moment = carpet disaster.  So...we put in hardwoods.  And by "we" I mean Craig wrapped a flooring sample for me for Christmas, which was both extremely sweet and extremely confusing at the moment of unwrapping, and then we paid trained professionals to come put in beautiful handscraped hardwood floors.  I love it.

There's the floor before it became a floor - apparently the wood needs to acclimate to the temperature and humidity in the home.  This reassured me that these guys knew what they were doing.
Oh, stain decisions!  And trust me, the number of coats definitely makes a difference.  The smell makes a difference, too, in your ability to breathe - Kami and Carolyn can attest to that.
And there you have it!  Or the general idea of it, anyway - these are lazy phone pictures fo you. And yes, curtains in progress, which is really what the giant dining room table is most useful for - spreading out beast amounts of fabric.
Pretty.  Yay.  It's also really funny to watch Zach try to adjust - he's used to careening around the table while digging into the carpet for traction.  His traction is gone, so now he just skids around.  So pretty much he doesn't run circles around the table anymore.  Sorry, puppy.

Friday, March 8, 2013

H-town adventures

A few weekends ago we flipped our normal schedule - and by "normal" I mean a wackadoodle schedule that isn't really "normal" at all since we don't really live in the same city these days - and I went to Houston for the weekend instead of Craig coming home.  I'm sure he missed the puppy, and maybe even the crazy kitty, but it was so great to just have a couple of days of FUN instead of laundry and grocery store and flower beds and, you know, life stuff.  We had mini-vacation!

Craig picked me up from the airport and asked if I wanted to go drop off stuff at the hotel or head straight to dinner, and I think I grunted some primal version of "food, now, MEXICAN" and we headed straight for El Tiempo and proceeded to...wait. And wait.  And spill an entire margarita while waiting (yup, that was me).  But we finally sat down and went straight for the parrillada section of the menu.  Holy freaking grilled meat deliciousness.  I proceeded to take a truly horrendous and underlit phone picture, then we dug in and failed to make much of a dent in the giant pile of food.  I promise we tried.

Dinner was quite a production, so we went back to the hotel, dodged the armies of dance girls (some epic convention/competition/enormous shrieking slumber party was going on - I've never seen so much makeup on such tiny faces), and just crashed.  Saturday we actually woke up and met some of my dearest, dearest friends for a really delicious breakfast at Lankford Grocery...

Lankford Grocery is super cute, extremely down to earth, and also possibly a little on the dive-ish side - an excellent combination
mmmmm, BACON!  Along with quite possibly the most amazing french toast ever - my migas were good, but this french toast was GOOD
 ...and a trip to the zoo!  I was so glad the weather held out - we were threatened by clouds and teased by raindrops, but it never full out rained on us.  The most threatening part of the entire trip was really the parking lot adventure - that thing was FULL.  So we parked a mile away and got in an extra workout.

Feed the birdie!
Sneaking in a peek at the chimps
Craig and I fed the giraffes!!  It was so cool - their tongues are these crazy-long twisty blackish-purple things, and they would just amble up and take the lettuce.  Nature is so cool
An all-around awesome little man, and maybe just a little bit of a ham for the camera
Carousel time!  Mr. Alan insisted on the bench seating
Saturday night we drove out to Katy where Katie lives (Katie in Katy!  I just giggle at that) with her husband and two sweet boys (well, one sweet and one of the verge of that whole "I'm approaching my teen years and think adults are not with it" kind of...sweet...) to join them for burgers and catch-up time.  Well, catch-up time for Craig because he's known Katie his entire life* and "hi, nice to meet you!" time for me.

* it really is a small world, isn't it?

The aforementioned possibility of rain?  Yeah, it kicked in on Sunday, so we just slept in and nixed any outdoor plans.  Oh, what's that you say?  Maybe indoor activities like brunch?  And shopping?  Sign me up!  I think the only way I got Craig to brave the Galleria was a promise to go in the Microsoft store, and things almost took a turn for the truly expensive when I sent him in the Sony store (what was I thinking?!?) while I went to Sephora.  We embraced the moment, though, and even had fancy brunch in Saks at 51fifteen.  Bottomless mimosas making shopping better for anyone.

Technology. It can be a little perplexing.
We ventured out and about into Houston proper and did some exploring, but when we drove past Wabash Antiques and Feed Store, the cuteness got to me and we just had to go in.  I said it smelled like home (animal feed, hay, and leather), and they also had chickens, and crazy yard art, and a store cat.  Also a giant charcoal grill in the shape of a pig, which fortunately Craig didn't actually want to buy.  Phew.

Hi piggie!
Random shopping and driving and thinking about how much the ridiculous houses cost and making some laps of Memorial Park (laps in our car, not actual jogging - don't be ridiculous) = one Sunday afternoon and one too-quick weekend.  It's good to just get out and play every once in a while.

Are the extra large pictures too much?  I feel like they're exploding a little bit, but I also kinda like them.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


For the blog, not for me.  Although I probably could use a haircut...

A little more streamlined, a little more functional, always a work in progress, but I think it's pretty darn cute now.  Still have some tweaks to work on, but I just like looking at it. =)

Happy weekend, y'all!  We're about to embark on an epic weed/clean/landscape fabric/mulch adventure in the flower beds, and if you'll recall past experience, I foresee some physical pain in my future.  Manual labor, ick.  At least we're tackling it in March instead of May...