Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall Reading


My Summer post was much longer which just tells you that I had a lot more time to read this summer. I set a goal to myself to read (even for a minute) everyday. That has kept me going. Usually I stop reading until Christmas or so once school starts. Due to this new goal I have been watching significantly less TV, although going to bed later than I used to, for the most part, but sleeping better due to not looking at a screen for a few hours before bed. Enough rambling though here are the books I've read recently.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin- I heard about this through another blogger and thought it seemed interesting. It's about a woman setting resolutions every month to make her a happier person. It's the reason I set the goal to read everyday. I would not say I am an unhappy person, but reading this book made me think a bit more about things I could do to be happier. I read it in the mornings and on my lunch break, since it was factual and not something I really wanted to think about before bed. I'm hoping to keep this trend going as well, by reading non-fiction in the morning and fiction at night. I think I kept annoying Charlie and my friends by talking about the book too much.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell- This was reviewed by a blogger so I decided to read it. I didn't realize until I asked for it at the library that it was a young adult book. I had been trying to take a break from those, but oh well. The book was about two high school students who fall in love. Seems lame, but it was actually really good because the girl, Eleanor, has a terrible life and the boy, Park, kind of makes it better. In case you were not aware, I love sad books about depressing topics, so I liked this book a lot. It reminded me a little bit of The Glass Castle. As I said it's a YA novel, but had some pretty harsh language and broached other topics I would not necessarily want a youngster to read. Although whenever I talk about about censoring teenagers book choices I remember that my mom let me read She's Come Undone when I was 13. So see, I loved sad novels even back then! Thanks for not taking inappropriate book away from me Mum. You probably knew I would just sneak it anyways.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr- I also heard about this book through another blogger. I really need to make some real friends apparently. Dare I say it's the best book I've read all year. Or at least top 3, but most likely number one. I loved everything about this book, even the ending, although I wanted the book to go on forever because I loved it so much. The authors writing style was so beautiful. I read that it took him ten years to write the book and I believe it. Every word flowed so well and painted wonderful images in my brain. It is told from multiple perspectives over many years, flipping back and forth between the years. It's about a young girl who is blind and lives in France at the beginning of the Nazi occupation and details her story throughout the war. It also follows the life of a boy who is an orphan in Germany and is sent to a Nazi training school where he learns to locate where enemy (to the Germans) radio transmissions are coming from. I cannot say enough good things about this book. It actually makes me want to start a book club so I can have someone to discus it with.

I knew it would be hard to follow All The Light We Cannot See so I am starting Unbroken now. It was recommended to me by a real life friend. I am also hoping to get my hands on Lena Dunham's book Not That Kind Of Girl, but it's brand new so I might have to buy it instead of wait 6 years on the interlibrary loan list. I also want to read Amy Poehler's book Yes Please, but it's also new and probably has a 10 year waiting list. Christmas ideas people! Dad! Dad I'm talking to you.

What have you been reading? I love recommendations.

Lauren

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bravery: Button Holes

I started this skirt in March, and got to the very end then chickened out of sewing 12 (12!) button holes. After wimping out I made this skirt without the button holes since the pattern is so well written and fits nicely.

Over the last 6 months I forgot how much time I spent on the rest of the skirt and my desire to have the skirt finished for my fall wardrobe overcame my fear of screwing it up. I practiced 5 times before starting on the actual skirt, which is good because the first 3 were absolute crap.

I am glad I conquered my fear, but kind of feel like I wasted a bunch of time because I only have to unbutton the first three buttons to get the skirt on and off. The rest could have just been sewn on through the two layers. Oh well, it was good practice. And it look more professional with all the button holes.

This is seriously one of the most detailed pieces of clothing I've even sewn. It's fully lined, has pockets (obviously), I sewed the seam by hand so you can't see it, and it has 12 buttons! I still can't get over the fact that I successfully sewed 12 button holes. That means this year I have sewed 16 button holes so far. That's 16 more than the other 27 years of my life. I feel like I can take on anything. Well, not really, but you get my drift. The best part is I didn't call my mom crying one single time, which I was sure would happen at least 3 times. I can't tell if that's a sign I am growing up (finally) or if that means the pattern was so well written that even a pattern hater like me could follow it. I would definitely buy another Colette pattern in the future.

It's a soft army green corduroy fabric. It's very comfortable and looks nice, IMO. In case you were wondering, this is how almost every photo shoot ends; with Blaze begging for treats and stealing my button hole thunder with his cuteness.

What's your recent success story?

Lauren 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekend and Race Recap

This weekend I did no house work or home improvement projects and it felt so nice. Sometimes you just need a break. On Friday we went to see a co-workers band play at the Greenhouse in Warren. Holy cow, how can a town that is not that far geography take one so long to get to? Once we finally got there I decided we should probably stay until the end of the show to make our travels worth it. That resulted in staying out way too late. 

Charlie wasn't feeling well on Saturday so instead of staying home with his germs I treated myself to a movie. This is the third time I've gone to the movies by myself and I don't know why I don't do it more often. I love going with people so I can talk about the movie afterwards, but not having to share popcorn was kind of like heaven on a rainy Saturday. The popcorn actually lasted for longer than the previews! I saw Gone Girl. Going into it I was a bit sad that I had read the book, which never happens to me, usually I like having read the book first. I just didn't want to know what happened, but I did. Despite knowing what would/was going to happen I was totally entertained and loved it. Well, as much as you can love a movie where you hate all of the characters. There were two men sitting across the aisle from me with their wives who were very surprised, and vocal about their shock, by the turn of events of the movie so that was entertaining to witness. Once I returned home Charlie was feeling better but I needed a nap. All in all we probably spent about 3 hours awake at the same time yesterday. Enough time to eat dinner and let Blaze do this. 

It's a good thing he's so cute. 
Charlie signed up for a 10 mile race, and then last week I realized my training plan was to run 10 miles this weekend so I figured why not do a 10 mile race instead of running on the same (flat) trail I always run on? I only regretted my decision once (during a particularly large hill). Charlie had a great race and finished 5th overall and 2nd in his age group with a time of 1:01:10. OMG he's fast. I wanted to finish in 1:30 or under, which is 9 minute miles. I ended up finishing in 1:26:48. New PR! I kind of worked myself into a tizzy around mile 7 thinking I was not going to make my goal time, so I busted out a few 7:55 miles (downhill thank goodness!) and also blasted some pump up jams on my ipod.  "Pump up Jams" in my book are "Running on Empty" by Jackson Browne, and "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift. I did not win any prizes and was 8th in my age group. Charlie said it was because we were in Concord, if the race were near our house no 20-29 year olds would have run it. I am trying to enjoy my last 1.3 years of my age group before I stop winning prizes until I turn 80.

The race was really nice. It was well organized and had more volunteers and people marking the course than maybe any other race I've done. Everyone was very friendly despite it being really cold and windy. I felt kind of funny sweating in a tank top and capris when people at the water stations were wrapped in blankets. The course was a bit hilly, but not much compared to climbing a mountain. I'd do this race again since Charlie and I talked about how 10 miles is a manageable distance and doesn't beat up your body to the extent that a marathon does. Have I mentioned I am never doing a marathon again? Just like to write it every once in a while to make sure I don't make that mistake ever again.
Is it just me or does the logo on the sign and shirt look kind of like someone flipping the bird?
After the race there was a lot of food, most of which I could not eat because it was full of gluten and I didn't feel like feeling like butt for the next two days (since I'll already be sore for the next two days.) As a side note I feel super annoying for writing that. I still sometimes can't believe I turned into one of those people. Charlie ate two mini burritos and two slices of pizza. I did have a bowl of vegetable soup that was ladled out of a gatorade jug but tasted delicious. Since the fare was less than filling I forced Charlie to take me to Friendly's for ice cream. The waitress was a bit confused when we told her I only wanted ice cream, I think she even looked at the clock to check what time it was. 11:45 is the best ice cream eating time if you ask me.

Excuse me Miss, does this have gluten?
I ate the whole thing and then had a belly ache for about four hours. Totally worth it though. I have said it before and I'll say it again, ice cream is the number one reason I run. Once I was showered I took another nap. It was not as great as Saturday's naps since Blaze kept scratching at my head so I'd wake up and take him for a walk. Still though, two naps in two days? Life is good.

Hope you had a good weekend!

Lauren

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Snaps From The Long Weekend

 Over the weekend Penny helped me decorate the outside of the house for fall.

We made a scarecrow. I rested the pumpkin on top of his shirt for a head, but overnight it rolled off his neck, down the driveway and across the road. I assumed some neighborhood kid had stolen it and smashed it, but alas my pumpkin just rolled away on it's own accord. 

Charlie and I did trail work. Sometimes on the weekends I wait until he gets dressed and then purposefully put on a matching outfit because I think it's funny. We wore the same sweatshirt that we both got for finishing the marathon last year, and our Carhart vests that we got for Christmas two years ago. 


Had pizza and beer at Schillings in Littleton. I was expecting a dumpy town but it was so cute and busy. 
 Dug up a bunch of blubs, and then planted other bulbs. It seemed counter intuitive, but I did it anyways.

Went hiking and picked out a Christmas tree. I swear this was Charlie's idea. You pick on you want and decorate it then go back and cut it down, you know, after HalloweenThanksgiving.

Harvested sweet pea pods. This was one thing I grew this summer that actually did really well. Hopefully I'll be able to use the seeds to grow even better sweet peas next year. 

Enjoyed cider donuts, hot cider and a game of checkers at the new and improved Cardigan Mountain Country Store

Took the dogs for lots of walks and runs. This walk involved a covered bridge which neither minded, and a wire suspension bridge, which both dogs hated. It was pretty funny watching them walk across it. It was the only time all weekend Blaze didn't tug on his leash.

I wish every weekend was a three day weekend.

Lauren

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Purple Skirt, Because Duh, You Can Never Have Too Much Purple

Holy Cow! Can you believe it's October and it's 70+ degrees out? I could get used to this. In an effort to be more "into" fall I have tried to dress more like it's fall. With the holiday weekend I was able to spend my extra time sewing. I was getting kind of sick of sewing quilt squares so I decided to finish two skirts I had been working on. This one was started in August with the intent of being used/worn this fall. I figured I'd better get crackin' if I wanted to actually wear it this fall.
It's from the Cyntha Rowley 2215 pattern that I made this dress out of over the spring. As usual I messed up the zipper, since there is a pocket where the zipper goes. Nothing a little seam ripping wouldn't fix. I also had to actually read the pattern, I so hate doing that.

My plan was to wear it today with my brown boots. I even painted my fingernails my most fall color last night. Except this morning I heard it was going to be 70 degrees so I just had to wear sandals for potentially one last day.

Despite saying I enjoyed the weather today I certainly look very annoyed in these pictures. Taking my own picture is definitely the worst part of blogging. And also having to spell check definitely every single time because I just can't figure out how to spell it. 

Also! Did you know you can plug in your e-mail address in the "follow me by e-mail" box on the left and you'll get an e-mail when I post. Never miss another fascinating post from me again. I can feel your excitement. 

Lauren


Friday, October 10, 2014

Currently


How is it already October? I read last week "the days are long but the years are short", it seems like the days are long but the months go by in the blink of an eye. Currently I have been...

Watching Charlie and his friends run a marathon relay. It was fun to go to a race that Charlie was doing but I wasn't so I could watch him instead of plodding along 3 (+) minute miles behind him. My brother- and sister-in-law ran the full marathon and it was great to be able to pay back the favor of cheering for them during their marathon when they so nicely cheered for me last year when I hobbled 26.2 miles through the woods with bloody stumps for feet. They looked great.

Enjoying our ever increasing view of the mountains. One good thing about fall is that the leave fall off the trees that obstruct your view. I am very excited to see snow on that mountain.

Wondering why and how my tomato plants that were planted from seeds in April are just now ripe. What the what?

Making fall pretty for myself. I have always thought my issue with fall outside of it being the end of summer is that I am not super into the colors of fall. Yellow, orange and red are not my colors. And mostly I just see a lot of brown it seems. Organizing the leaves was a fun way to make me see and appreciate the colors.

Keeping the summer momentum of buying flowers for the house going. I am very proud of myself for sticking with the autumnal feel instead of going to my favorites; pastels! I even feel like I kind of know what I am doing when I pick out flowers now. And I am making friends at the florist.

Staying warm. One other good thing about fall is that we can use the pellet stove again! I love it and so does Blaze, see his tail wagging.

Finding a favorite fall tree. In college Lorelei and I had a tree outside our dorm that was so pretty in the fall, I think I took a picture (or 5) all four of that tree. Since then I try to look for a new favorite wherever we live. Luckily this one is in our yard. I've noticed I am drawn to the red trees more so than orange or yellow. Red leaves against a blue sky, I guess Fall doesn't suck.

Getting crafty everyday. I set a goal to myself to do something crafty everyday (forever). It keeps me from being lazy and watching TV mindlessly at night. Although lately I have been working on my felt ornaments and watching TV, but at least I have been doing something. Charlie and I are also working on a project together, that's been interesting. It's helping me with another goal "be more patient", for sure.

What are you up to?

Lauren

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