Hunger Games

Recently, I asked all of my Facebook friends for book suggestions. I got a wide range of responses, but overwhelmingly the vote was for Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I'm not a big Sci-Fi fan so I wasn't going to read it, but since so many people recommended it to me, I thought "why not." Turns out, it was fantastic. I mean, it's definitely a youth literature book aimed and middle and high schoolers, but the story is completely original and interesting. The book takes place in a post-apocalyptic world with 12 districts called Panem, formerly the United States, and revolves around 16 year old Katniss. Every year two "tributes," aged 12 to 18, from each district are forced to fight to the death in the televised Hunger Games. Sounds morbid, and it is a bit, but it's really good! 

I even picked up the second and third books of the series. I can't wait to finally have time to read them. I heard that they're actually just as good as the first, which rarely happens. The movie also comes out in March: 


Christmas playlist

It's that time of the year when it is officially acceptable to listen to Christmas music again. {I've actually been doing this since about October, but now I don't have to in private.} Lately, I've picked up a few new Christmas albums, but to be honest, recent creations don't really compare to the classics. I already made my Christmas playlist on iTunes... and listened to it several times through already. {There are many more than just 14.}

But of course, the greatest Christmas song ever recorded...

German Christmas cookies

You know what's been on my mind lately? Cookies. But not just any cookies. I've been thinking, daydreaming, drooling over these German cinnamon star cookies that my brother-in-law used to make every year. They are quite possibly the best cookie I've ever had. They light and flavorful, but not too sweet. Christmas cookies always tend to be a bit too sweet, don't they? Now that Patrick is out in California, I guess it's up to me to make the cookies. 

I found a recipe for the cookies here. I doubt they'll ever be as good at Patrick's grandmother, but I'm going to try. The recipe seems a bit complicated though so I'll have to wait until Christmas break.

Thanksgiving with the Green Bay Packers

This Thanksgiving, instead of sitting around a table with family, eating delicious food, I cheered on my Green Bay Packers as they played the Lions in Detroit. I was sad at first that I would have to skip out on our family tradition... but, boy was it worth it. We drove out to Detroit on Wednesday night to make sure that we'd have plenty of time to tailgate before the game on Thursday. BUT it turned out to be a bit too cold to tailgate too long. {We could have stuck it out, but Detroit doesn't really seem like much of a tailgating town.} When we were tailgating, however, we did see the best thing ever: a man dressed as Clay Matthews, complete with a belt and Lombardi trophy. He was AWESOME. Since the Packers were playing to continue their undefeated streak, and not making any spectacular plays, I was a bit more nervous than usual. However, I should know better than betting against Aaron Rodgers, James Jones, Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews or any of the rest of them because they WON. We were cheering so hard my throat hurt. Most of the Lions fans had left by mid-way through the fourth quarter so it was easy to her the GO PACK GO chant echo through Ford Field.

After the game, we headed down to the field where FOX was filming their post-game show. My friend's Dad started chanting, "Go Pack Go! 11 and 0!" and it caught on. As we were heading back to our car, we happened to see the Packers boarding their buses for the airport, too. It was an amazing day! I can't wait for my next Packers game.


a little thankful list.

happy thanksgiving! today is the day we're supposed to take a minute and think of all the things we're thankful for {most of which we take for granted every other day of the year}. i am thankful for so much and am sad that i don't acknowledge it more throughout the year. i'm so wrapped up in what needs to be done, what i need, what i want, that i don't take enough time to simply be thankful for what i already have. 

so here's my little random list of things i'm thankful for...

cat naps {or in this case, puppy}
good coffee {the only way to wake up in the morning} 
my friends & family {who are always so supportive and encouraging}
a warm home to come home to every day
ice cream
mini vacations with friends
sunshiney days
books you can't put down
christmas lights
pumpkin pie
news podcasts
cuddly cats {even if i am allergic}
phone calls with friends
a job i love going to every day {well, most days}
my warm bed


Creative advent calendars

Typically, every year for Christmas I buy one of those cheap advent calendars that has a small bite of waxy chocolate behind every day. This year, I want to try something different. I'm not sure if making it myself and eating each goody myself is a bit of a waste, but it still looks like such a treat. Eventually, I'd like to come up with a creative way of doing this for my children {when I have them}. I found this blog that had a few fun, creative ideas I'm considering now. I especially love the coffee travel cup one! 

Jazz, wine and pottery

Last week, my friend Nikki and I went to a little art shop downtown {Alpaca Art}. Every few weeks the shop hosts a wine and pottery night. We brought a bottle of wine and a few glasses, they provided the hors d'oeuvres, pottery and a jazz band. It was a very nice, very grown-up night. You could pick whatever piece of pottery you wanted to paint and so I, the coffee addict I am, chose to first paint a coffee mug. It had an interesting shape so I was fairly excited about it. Problem was, I had no idea what to paint! And I had never painted pottery before so I doubted that I could do anything intricate. {I was right about that.} Instead, I picked two colors that I've been obsessed with lately, mustard yellow and gray, and painted a random design of squares and rectangles. It took me a while to finish painting my mug, but when I finished, my friend was still working on hers so I painted a few tiles and a circle pendant that I'm going to turn into a necklace for my big sister. 

Overall, for my first time out, I'm happy with how they all turned out. I'm excited to do this again, on wine night, of course. It was so much fun!


Marcel is back

This is the cutest shell I've ever seen. "Guess why I smile? Because it's worth it." You have to watch this.

A look back at the blogging beginning

When I first heard the term "blog," I thought it must be some trendy, nerdy thing. I swore that I would never do it. But, a few years later, blogging has expanded so much and become so focused that many even consider bloggers as citizen journalists {depending on their focus}. It's especially interesting to watch the evolution of technology today. It is almost impossible to immediately detect the impact and influence, especially that of social media. 

I recently read an interesting article in New Yorker article 'You've Got Blog' from 2000 near the beginning of the blogging phenomenon. 

{image via}


Future projects

I admit it, I'm somewhat of a Christmas fool. I love the music, the cards, the decorations, the present-wrapping, the food- all of it. I usually get pretty excited sometime around September {or earlier} for Christmas and start shopping. But this year I'm going to try something a bit different: for every person that I give a gift to, I'm going to try to also make him or her something. I consider myself a somewhat creative person, but as I can't sew, knit or crochet, this is going to be a bit of a challenge. Thanks to several blogs and Pinterest, I do have plenty of ideas. I really like the idea of personalized gifts. Sometimes buying off of a list or registry is just too boring and impersonal. I was at a baby shower last weekend where the host and baby received quite a few homemade itens: knit hats, sewn crib sheets and homemade toys. I loved it. {Actually, I was a bit jealous too. I hope when I have a baby, I have friends that will make cute personalized gifts like that too.} 

Here are a few of the crafts that I think I will actually try to make for friends and family members. 

Now I have to figure out how to make them each even more personalized. If this all works out well, maybe I'll even decide to make my own Christmas cards! {But I highly doubt I'll have that kind of time for this Christmas. I'd have to start earlier. 

{via 1, 2, 3, 4}


this weekend i took time for myself... no work, no studying, no cleaning, just enjoying the days. i ended up grabbing a latte and lunch with a grad school friend, starting and finishing a new book, watching a few episodes of missed tv, shopping on michigan ave and just generally enjoying myself.

i wish i could do this more often, but, unfortunately, avoiding the stressful reality is not always an option. especially considering how tough monday was when i had to make up for all of my lost time. anyway, i'm glad that i spent time on me. 


Water for Elephants

Typically, my kind of a book is one that involves factual, upsetting accounts of history. They're serious, dense and hard to read. Not you're average page-turners. So when I read and completely fell in love with Sara Gruen's Water For Elephants, I was pleasantly surprised. I think more than the painful love story, what got me was the incredible details of circus life in prohibition-era America. {I guess I don't stray too far from the typical reads.} I stayed away from this movie for quite a while because, honestly, I didn't want it to ruin my impression or opinion of the book {as if they are actually one in the same}. This week I broke down and watched it. Well, started to watch the movie, I didn't actually make it half way through. The visuals were incredible, but in a way, that is what ruined it for me. The thing I loved most about the book was her descriptive writing that stimulated my imagination. I realized that I didn't like the love story nearly as much as her writing. 

Also, Robert Pattinson {while better than Edward Cullen} is no Jacob. And Reese Witherspoon as Marlena? Not so much. I severely disagree with the casting choices. I do think I should give it another try though- one day- when I get over the shock. Or maybe I should just stay away from all book to movies. I don't think I'm ever completely satisfied, except for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

Also, I know I'm basically alone in this opinion. 
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