Happy Birthday to the Book Chat

Today is Thursday and that means it's book.chat time! 
Today is the 1 year birthday of the book.chat.  Jessica asked that for today's link up we choose a topic from over the last year.  Since I have only been doing this link up for a short while, I had a plethora of topics to choose from.  I decided to to with....


The book I chose is historical fiction (well, it's sort of fiction).  It's probably one of my all time favorite books.  It is called Jubilee, by Margaret Walker.

Here is the classic - and true - story of Vyry: the child of a white plantation owner and his black mistress, a southern Civil War herioine to rival Scarlett O'Hara.  Vyry bears witness to the South's antebellum opulence and to its brutality, its wartime ruin, and the promises of Reconstruction.  Jubilee is a story that Margaret Walker heard as a child from her grandmother, the real Vyry's daughter.  Weaving her family's oral history with thirty years of research, Walker has brought the true and everyday experiences of slaves to millions of readers around the world, black and white, young and old.  Jubilee churns with hunger, the hymns, the struggles, and the very breath of American History.

I was first introduced to this book in high school.  It wasn't a book that we were required to read.  It was sitting on my English teacher's classroom shelf and it looked interesting.  I read about half of it at the time.  It was always a book that stayed with me.  In 2006 I randomly went to Barnes & Noble and purchased it.  I remember I was working background on Grey's Anatomy.  I was playing a hospital visitor and I did a lot of sitting around.  I read the book, pretty much, in 1 day.  It is a beautifully told story that drew me in 100%.  It is a fantastic book and I recommend it to everyone!


I am linking up with Jessica over at Sweet Green Tangerine.  Go check her out!

Washington Wednesday ~ The Washington Monument

I have been trying to come up with a weekly post that is unique.  Tummy Tuck Tuesday didn't seem too popular.  I don't blame you.  Who wants to listen to me rant about my weight loss?  My mom came up with a great idea to highlight something each week about the city I live in; Washington D.C.  I have gotten comments from people loving that I live in DC and that it's one of the coolest cities.  It's true, it is a pretty cool city.  There is so much history in Washington D.C.  

For my first Washington Wednesday I am going to feature the fabulous Washington Monument.


George Washington commanded the Continental Army to victory over Great Britain in the American War for Independence, which ended in 1783.  Elected unanimously as the first president of the United States of America in 1789 he has been called the "Father of the Country."  The Washington Monument was created as a show of gratitude to George Washington in helping to create a new form of government espousing equal treatment under the law.

~ Tidbits ~
Year Construction Started: July 4th, 1848
Year Construction Completed: December 6th, 1884
Opened to the Public: February 21st, 1885
Cost to Build: $1,187,710
Designer/Style: Robert Mills / Neo-Egyptian

~ Here are some pretty amazing pictures of the fabulous Washington Monument ~
Against the Reflecting Pool

The flags surrounding the Monument

Fourth of July Fireworks

Is there anything you would like me to post about?  Let me know in the comment section below. 


Happy Hump Day!



Movie Life

Have you ever thought about who would play YOU in a movie if your life ever became one?  I think about it from time to time.  I was at dinner Saturday night with some friends and this subject came up.  I was telling my mom about it today and cast our family.

Here is my movie family...

Amy Adams would play me.

My mom thinks Ashton Kutcher would play my brother...

...but I think my brother looks more like Leonardo DiCaprio, so that's who I would cast. 

Tim Allen would play my dad.

My mom would cast Debra Messing to play herself.

Andy Griffith would play my grandpa.

Then you have to consider who would play my love interest...
I love me some Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Who would you cast to play you in a movie?






the.book.chat.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous week thus far.  We are half way to our weekend!  
Today I am linking up with Jessica over at Sweet Green Tangerine for the.book.chat.
Photobucket

The subject today is Books You'd Like to See as Movies.  There are SO MANY books that I've ready that would make fantastic movies; in my humble opinion.  I could be here all day listing the books that I think should hit the silver screen, but I'm only going to talk about three of them.

1.  Straight on 'til Morning, by Christopher Golden.
Do you remember the tale of Peter Pan and his lost boys?  Well, this is a modernized sci-fi version of Peter Pan. Here's the description from the book jacket:
It is the summer of 1981, the last three months of freedom for Kevin Murphy and his friends before they begin high school.  It's also Kevin's last chance to confess his unrequited love for Nikki French.  But Nikki has a new boyfriend- Pete Starling.  He's trouble.  And he's taken Nikki away.  To rescue her, Kevin and his friends must follow them into a neverland they weren't meant to know about.  A life they cannot imagine.  A place from which they may never return...
I'm not a big sci-fi reader, but this book is fantastic.  It will draw you in until you can't put it down until you finish it.  The detail my imagination went into while reading was unreal!  This would be amazing on the big screen.  


2.  Namedropper, by Emma Forrest.
If this book got made into a movie, it would be an indi flick type of film.  I can see this at Sundance.  It's gritty and it's real.
Meet Viva Cohen: her bedroom walls are plastered with posters of silverscreen legends, and underneath her school uniform she wears vintage thigh-high stockings.  Her best friends are a drugged-out beauty queen and an aging rock star.  She lives in London with her gay uncle Manny.  Namedropper takes you on a rowdy romp from London to Los Angeles, where Viva and her two best friends search for love, experience, and Jack Nicholson.  It's a wild ride as she uncovers the icon in every person she meets.
If I were casting this movie, Colin Farrell would play the "aging rock star," I, of course, would play Viva, and Jemima Kirke would play the best friend.


3.  Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah
This has got to be one of my all time favorite books!  It's 479 pages and I read it in 4 days.  My friend Marcy read it in a weekend.
In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain.  Then, to her amazement, the "coolest girl in the world" moves in across the street and wants to be her friend.  Tully Hart seems to have it all - beauty, brains, ambition.  On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn.  Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her.  They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer's end they've become TullyandKate.  Inseparable.
For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship - jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment.  They think they've survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

I think this book would make an amazing Lifetime mini-series.  If you've never read Kristin Hannah's books before, start with this one.  It is really amazing.  Oh, and read it with a box of tissues, because I definitely shed my fair share of tears.  I was hooked very quickly and so will you be!




Time to Organize!!!

If you didn't know this, I like to be organized. :)
When I moved into my studio apartment the only furniture I had was my bed, dresser, night stand, and short bookcase.  I purchased a tall one for all of my books.  I also purchased a small bench for my "entry way."  I have my computer and I was constantly sitting on the floor or on the bed slouching while working.  It got really annoying and uncomfortable.  So, I went in search of a desk.

I went everywhere; Target, Ikea....  Okay, just Target and Ikea, but I did search a bunch of stores online.  Target didn't really have anything.  My two bookcases and the bench are all from Target.  I took a day to venture to the world of Ikea.  That place really is it's own world.  It's huge!  I walked through the kitchen section, the bathroom section, the kid room section, the chairs.....Finally I came to the office section.  I found a great deal.  A cute little desk that also came with a book shelf (yes, a third book shelf).  The pair was only $79!!!

Now the question was, "where do I put it?"

The plan was to put it in front of the window so I would have this great view to look at while I work.  Ya know, sort of like Carrie's desk in Sex and the City.
  
It looked really stupid in front of the window :(  

My next thought was... in the closet...?

Closet Before...

Good, Lord, how is this going to work?

...Closet After!!!!

I love it!!!!!

My lovely chair that I got from Good Will for $10.  On the shelves I have my scripts and music books from over the years.  I have my Scene It games and gift wrapping supplies.  I have a wonderful Mother/Daughter picture frame.  I have my "bills" board up so I can keep track of when all of my bills are due.


The wall to the left of my desk has my Events Calendar, Imagine picture and my recipe file.

This is actually something I put together over the weekend.  I have a subscription to Real Simple Magazine and they always have such great recipes.  Weight Watcher's website does too.  So, I put this file on the wall to hold all the recipes that I want to make.  I smell some February cooking!

The wall to the right of my desk has some shelving.  The top shelf holds my box of random electronics, but it's a pretty box.  Also is picture from Christmas 2010 with my MMT Gang!  The second shelf I have my bill folder and my office accessories :)  The last shelf now holds my scrapbooks.  Yes, you counted right, I have 8.  And that's only on that shelf!

I love feeling organized!  How do you stay organized?





Tummy Tuck Tuesday ~ January's Recipes

Okay, so, remember when I made "Trying 2 New Recipes a Month" one of my New Year's Resolutions?  Well, here are my 2 New Recipes from January...

Buttery Pasta with Salmon and Leeks
 What you'll need:
3/4 pound spaghettie
1 pound skinless salmon filet
kosher salt and black pepper
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 leeks, sliced
chives, chopped

What you'll do:
Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, season the salmon with 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.  Cook in 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until opaque through out; 4 - 6 minutes per side; remove and flake. Add the leeks to the skillet and cook until tender, 4 - 6 minutes.
Toss the spaghetti with the salmon, leeks, remaining butter, and chives.

The picture above is the one I got from Real Simple magazine, also where I got the recipe.  I was so excited to eat this that I didn't get to take a picture!  It was delicious!!!!!!!


Splattered Chocolate Pretzels
What you'll need:
1 bag of dark chocolate chips
1 bag of pretzel nuggets

What you'll do:
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave.

Using a baking sheet, cover with tin foil and spread out the pretzel nuggets.

Drizzle the chocolate over the pretzels.
Put baking sheet in refrigerator a let the pretzels cool.

I got this recipe from the Weight Watchers website.  These turned out pretty yummy!  The salty and sweet is a great combination.

What will I be cooking in February?  Any suggestions?  I have 10 days left!




Currently I'm...

Happy Monday everyone!
If you're lucky, like me, you are not working today.  I didn't even realize that I got today off until Wednesday!  I'm still not used to having "special holidays" off.  It's the operations side of me.  When I worked Front Desk I was there every holiday!

I have seen a lot of bloggers doing a Currently I'm... post and I'm really digging it.  So, I thought I would start the week of with a little insight to what I'm doing right now (Sunday night).

Currently I'm...

Reading... Homer's Odyssey.  Yes, it's the same book I've been reading for a month now.  I am detirmined to finish it today.  I don't have television, so I have no excuse.  I really want to start Kristin Hannah's Night Road.

Listening To... The fabulous Kevin Spacey in Netflix's original series House of Cards.  I've never seen it before, but have heard wonderful things about it. I will keep you posted!


Recovering from... Brunch with Jacq.  We stuffed our tummy's big time, but it was sooo good.  I had a Belgian Waffle, 2 scrambled eggs, and some fruit.  Yummy!

Hitting my head for... Canceling my gym membership.  I can't really afford it right now, but my apartment gym sucks!  Half the machines don't work properly and the other half aren't very good.  It's time to pull out Jillian Michael's DVD!  I mean, her abs are ahhhhmazing!


Avoiding... Nothing really!  That's a first!

Eating... Nothing at the moment, but I'm contemplating what to have for dinner.  Spaghetti or a grilled turkey sandwich?  I think I'll go with spaghetti.

Planning... My week's blogs.  I think I know what every day will be.  That's a first this far in advance.

Debating...  What restaurant to take my friend to tomorrow night.  My work gave me homework.  I'm supposed to go to a restaurant and listen to the server describe the specials.  Hmmm...where to go?

Laughing at... A picture of me and Clark Duke from my last night out in Los Angeles.  I found this picture among some of my things while I was cleaning and hung it up on the wall by my desk.  Love it!  I was a little tipsy that night, yet had absolutely no nerve to ask him for a picture.  So, my friend Will asked him for me!  Ahhh, the memories of L.A.
Hot Tub Time Machine, Kick-Ass, Superbad

Reminding myself... That I have Monday off.  I keep forgetting and I'm like, "wait, I still have all of tomorrow!"

Crushing on... Josh Duhamel!  After seeing Safe Haven... he's just so hot! There are not enough words except, well, YUM-O!

Currently saying... I love my apartment (I say this a lot)!  Especially after cleaning it and making warm and cozy.  Being on the 14th floor, I get a great view!  I have the blinds up and with the night sky, Washington DC is lit up!

What are you currently up to?

Linking up with Lipgloss & Crayons and still being Molly for today's #YOLOMondays!

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday!!!!!  I am so excited for my weekend.  I feel like this week was a little longer than most.  It was good though, very productive!

~ Here are some highlights from my week ~

1. Have you seen the new TV show The Following?
This show is so good and so freaky!  There are nights where I have nightmares.  One of my colleagues suggested that I just stop watching the show, but I CAN'T!!!!  The writing is amazing and Kevin Bacon does such a great job! If you can handle it, I highly recommend it!


2.  This past Wednesday marks the begining of Lent.  I went to church on Wednesday with some of my coworkers for Ash Wednesday.  In his homily, the Priest spoke about how this is a really good time to reevaluate your life.  I am definitely doing that!


 3. Tonight I am seeing Romeo & Juliet on stage for the first time in years!  I'm soo excited!


4.  To celebrate Valentine's Day, I had a single girls' night with my dear friend Marcy.  We went to see the new movie Safe Haven.  It's based upon Nicholas Sparks' book.  It was really good.  I have read the book (most of his books) and they did a really good job turning it into a movie.  Plus, Josh Duhamel is pretty nice to look at!


5.  In addition to my book  Homer's Odyssey I have also started reading Kristin Hannah's Night Road.  My best friend, Linds, let me borrow it.  I'm only a few pages into it, but with the 3 day weekend coming up I plan on reading all weekend long!

How was your week?


Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!!!


I love kitties!  They are so sweet :)


What are you doing for Valentine's day?  I'm having a single girls night with my friend Marcy.  We are seeing Safe Haven. I don't mind looking at Josh Dumal for a couple hours :)

Have a lovely love day!

xoxoxo

Welcome Back Tummy Tuck Tuesday!

I looked back at my 2012 posts and realized that I haven't done a Tummy Tuck Tuesday since October!  Since I'm going to be "keeping it real" from now on, I thought I would delve into the world of Weight Watchers.  I know that some of you have done it before or are doing it right now.  For those of you that are not familiar with it, here's how it works ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I am on the Weight Watchers 360 Points Plus plan (currently being advertised by Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson).  The idea is that we are a person of 360 degrees -  mind and body! Based on your height, current weight, age and sex you get a certain amount of points you are supposed to consume a day.  I have 26 points a day to hit.  Everyone also gets an additional 49 points a week.  They know that sometimes you are going to eat out or sometimes you'll go over your daily points plus.  That's what the extra 49 points are for.  You can split them up throughout the week or save them up.  You can use them however you want.  When you work out you gain activity points.  Same as the extra points, you can save up your activity points for another day.  If you know you're going to a party on the weekend, save your activity and extra points for then!  Any questions thus far?

The idea is to track what you eat.  There is a phone application you can easily download on your android or iPhone or you can use the website.  There are also Tracker Books.  I do better when I physically write down what I'm doing, so I bought the Tracker Book -
I decorated it with lady bug stickers and put a motivational phrase one it :)

The book allows you to plan your meals for the week; keep track of how many activity points you have earned and then used; track what you eat; etc.  There is ample space to write down your work outs.  You can also make small goals for the week too (mine usually involve No Diet Coke).  It's a 12 week tracker.  At the end of each week there is a "Wrap It Up" page.  You can write down how many days you tracked your food, worked out, what days that you stuck to your goals.  You can also write down what worked and didn't work.

For me, going to the meetings really helps.  Our WW Leader, Tanya (follow your leader...it's not a cult...I swear), is fantastic.  She has such great energy and is so supportive.  Listening to other people going through the same thing is really motivational too.  Plus, my meetings are on Saturday mornings at 9am.  It gets me up and ready for the weekend.  If I feel like I've had a bad week, then I get to start over fresh on Saturday morning.  

Lent starts tomorrow and I have decided to give up pizza and alcohol.  I love pizza so much that I might even turn into one some day!  Same with wine...I might turn into a grape :)  These are definitely two of my biggest vices when it comes to food.  I've never tried giving up pizza.  Alcohol I have tried (and failed) before.

To close today's post I want to wish Abraham Lincoln a happy birthday and to remind everyone to check out Pursuit of Pink for the Bestie Giveaway that I am participating in (winner announced on Friday on Lindsay's blog).


Follow Through

I was laying in bed last night and I started to think about my last week living in Los Angeles.  I was actually thinking about the day that Salvation Army came to pick up my refrigerator. I'm not really sure why.  And then, my mind started to wander.  I started thinking about my blog, work, and my personal life.  I think I am starting to develop a pattern.  Not a good pattern, either.  Lack of follow through.

When it comes to my blog, I have been slacking.  A lot!  I didn't post anything Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Sunday.  I know that some people write occasionally  but that's not what my intentions were when I started this.  I wanted to blog 5 days a week.   There are also the link ups that I do (4 a week) instead of writing in my own voice.  I feel like it's sort of a cop-out, for me anyways.  Now, I'm not a great writer by any means, but isn't blogging about sharing your own voice?  Your own opinions?  I am not going to stop doing all of the link ups, but I am going to only do 2 a week instead of 4.  So, the format of my blog might change a bit.  I hope you still stick around!

In regards to work, I have also been slacking.  Not by any means am I in jeopardy of losing my job or something, but I'm not giving 100%.  I can't use the "I'm new" excuse anymore.  I know what I need to do and I just need to start freakin' doing it!

My personal life...
Good Lord, where do I begin?  This is actually a pretty good time to be re-evaluating things.  Lent starts on Wednesday.  I am going to church after work with a coworker of mine.  As you know, I signed up for Weight Watchers in December.  Did I ever tell you why?  Well, let me tell you now.  When I joined WW in December I was at my highest weight ever - 155.4 pounds.  Back in August of 2011 I was weighing in at 130.  I started taking Lexapro for my depression and I put on 25 pounds in 16 months (I'm also on birth control which doesn't help either).  It has been 50 days since I've joined WW and I am currently at 155.2 pounds.  0.2 pounds...that's it!  Again, I know what I need to do...I need to use the program.  I need to work out.  I need to eat right.  

My mom thinks I'm stuck in a rut.  I think she's right.  I have friends, great friends, but I'm not really out there.  I go to work and I come home.  On the weekends I will see my friends when we can get together.  If we can't I'm usually just home watching a marathon of Netflix or Hulu (just like I did today).  I can keep using money as an excuse, but then I will always be a "shut in."  I have been given a couple websites that list volunteering opportunities, so I will be looking into that this week.  I am also going to start going back to church on a regular basis.  There's one in Clarendon that I really like.  There's also one in Falls Church that friends of my parents used to go to, so I'm going to check that one out.  Over Christmas my mom suggested that I get involved in a church choir, so maybe I will.

I just wanted to share what was on my mind.  I hope it wasn't too mushy :)  I am going to try and keep up my blogging and I hope that you guys stick around.  It's going to start getting pretty real! Haha!

Oh, and stop by my best friend's blog, Pursuit of Pink, for an awesome giveaway that I'm participating in.  I'm giving away an awesome necklace from Charming Charlie.

NoVa Blog Meet Up

Happy Tuesday everyone!
You know what's great about blogging?  Meeting so many awesome bloggers.  You know what is even better than meeting awesome bloggers?  Finding out they live near you and then meeting up for lunch!

Mia, from Chronicles of Chaos, and I had been emailing back and forth about getting together for coffee.  Mia had the wonderful idea of inviting more bloggers that also live in the Northern Virginia area!  So, we all decided to meet up.  I picked a half way point that worked well for all of us.  We met at the fabulous PF Changs and had lunch this past Saturday.  There were 9 of us enjoying each other's company.  I found out that 4 of the other girls also graduated from George Mason.  We are all around the same ages.  Here are some snap shots from lunch ~

(From Left, Back Row ~ Krystal, April, Me, Lindsay, Mia, Abbey - Front Row From Left ~ Sarah, Melanie, Caitlin)

This is some of us eating...the Chicken Lettuce Wraps were sooo good!

Candid shot...I have no idea what I'm doing :)

It was a great time and we will definitely be doing it again!  If you live in the Northern Virginia area and would like to participate in our next meet up, leave me a comment and let me know!  Below are the links to all of the ladies' fabulous blogs ~

Melanie @ Now a Queen
April @ Ape Seats
Lindsay @ Pursuit of Pink




It's a Monday 5 for 5 ~ 3 for 5

Monday has arrived, once again.  I was really hoping for a blizzard last night.  Oh, well! I am teaming up with Jessica and Jen for today's post. I had a follower ask yesterday what 5 for 5 is, so here is the basic concept ~

FantasticallyAverage

1. You set 5 goals that you want to accomplish over the next 5 days of the work-week.
2.  Share your goals with all of blogland.
3.  Power through that list during the week.
4.  Come back the next week to share how you did.
5.  Set some more goals for yourself and repeat.

This past week for me was busy at work.  There were a couple days where I was the last one to leave the office!
1. Rid my apartment of icky bugs.  I definitely got this one done.  I love the foggers that you can buy at Lowes, becuase I am able to do it myself with out having to wait on the building to take care of it.
2. I will moisturize my hands and feet every night before I go to bed.  I didn't do this.  Sometimes, by the time I'm in bed, I just want to sleep!
3. Organize my February budget. I got this one and I feel super organized.  My bill board is up and tomorrow is pay day, so I will be taking care of some bills! (boo...I'm really not as excited about bills as I seem to be).
4.  Buy stamps.  I didn't get to this and I just found out that the price of stamps went up on January 27th!  Good grief!
5. Try 2 new recipes.  Check and Check!  I will blog about these later this week, but both are super yummy!

Okay, so 3 for 5 is not bad :)

What's up for this week, you ask?  Let's see ~

1. Finish Homer's Odyssey.  I really want to finish this book so I can start on Night Road by Kristin Hannah.
2. No hulu Monday-Thursday after work.  I am really going to try hard on this one.  I think I need to quiet my brain when I get home.  Just make dinner, get ready for the next day and...
3. Write in my journal every night this week.  I haven't written in it since January 7th.
4. Do not leave the house with dirty dishes.  It is so nice to come home to an empty sink!
5.  No silly spending.  If I don't need it I won't buy it!

What are some of your goals for the week?  Let me know in a comment below.

And make sure to come back tomorrow to find out all about the NoVa Blogger Meet up from over the weekend!

Sunday Social 2's

Not only is it Sunday, but it's

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY

Go 49ers!!!!!!!!!!!!


It's also Social Sunday :-)  As per every Sunday, I am linking up with Ashley & Neely for today's post which is all about 2's.  Here are this week's questions ~
Sunday Social
1.  If you were stuck on an island what are the two material items you would want to have?
I would love an everlasting iPod with my best playlist.
I would also like a trampoline.  It sounds silly, but it will elevate me from the sand (sand can get itchy and there are sand bugs and icky things!) and it gives me some entertainment/exercise.

2.  What are two TV shows you'd watch over and over?
My So Called Life (I can so relate to Angela Chase)
Friends (how can you not watch that over and over!)


3.  If your house was on fire what two things, aside from family/pets, would you grab?
My cell phone so that I could call my family.
My keys so that I could leave.

4.  What are your two most favorite articles of clothing?
My stretchy pants (Ann Taylor leggings)
My slippers that I got for Christmas

5.  What two movies that you saw in the past year would you recommend to us?
Friends with Kids & Brave

6.  What are your two guilty pleasures?
PIZZA
RED WINE

That's it for me today!  Make sure that you come back for tomorrow's "5 for 5."