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Giveaway: Smart Mudflap Girl Necklace

October 29th, 2013 — 10:34pm

November 13, 2013 – ETA – In usual form, I’m late picking the winners. But here’s the random sequence for comments 1 through 34: 

necklace winners

 

Heather S. and nomadreader were the winners! Congratulations! An email has been sent to each of you. 

____________

A little over two years ago, I found an Etsy seller, MarKhed Design, who made silhouette necklaces out of sterling silver (check out her designs here since she’s on maternity leave). I loved them and wanted all of her designs, but I couldn’t afford all of her designs, unfortunately. Then I had the awesome idea of seeing if she could make a necklace of the smart mudflap girl — you know, the one you see on the back of cars?

Mudflap_image

And she nailed it. The necklace looks fantastic! In a moment of pure insanity genius, I ordered three — one for me and two to give away. And then I promptly procrastinated on hosting the giveaway, and here they are, two years later, waiting to be worn around someone’s neck.

So here we go.

I’ve got two necklaces to give away. They both look like this:

IMAG0420

It’s the smart mudflap girl on an 18″ silver chain. The girl is approximately .75″ tall and 1.25″ wide. The silhouette originally had a loop in the head (as you can see in the picture) and on the extended foot, but it seemed to hang weird that way, so I changed them so the chain only hangs from the head. That’s why there’s a hole in her foot.

I’ll ship these to two different folks, anywhere in the world. Just leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway, and I’ll close the giveaway at 11:59pm on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

If you don’t win, MarKhed Designs said they’d make this same design for anyone who wants it. Of course, that was two years ago, but I’m sure she’ll still do it, though her prices may have gone up some. Just make sure you have Etsy email you when she returns to business so you can get in touch with her.

38 comments » |Posted under

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

September 25th, 2013 — 2:06pm

Title shamelessly stolen from this blogger, though why I didn’t think of it myself makes me sad, considering how much I love The Princess Bride. Side note: I love and adore that blogger I just linked to, and I highly recommend following her blog.

So, apparently I’m not so good at keeping up with a blog when I have lots of things going on. Unlike Raych, who can not only take cute pictures, caption them, and post reviews, but she can do it multiple times in one week. I really want to blog more, but it’s the first thing to fall off my To Do list when I get stressed, which is more often than not. It’s really awesome to work from home, but trying to work from home with a toddler around is just INSANE. So I stay up late to get work done, don’t get enough sleep, and just end up tired, stressed, and cranky. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s just way harder than I ever thought it would be.

Lots of stuff has been happening, and I’ll try to sum up here:

***I’m pregnant! Right now I’m 21 weeks, which considering my history (I ended up having three miscarriages in a year’s time, the third taking place in February 2013), makes me so so so happy. I ended up bleeding in the early stages of this pregnancy, and I remember telling my a acupuncturist that I was feeling really defeated about being able to carry a baby again. We’re having a boy! I’m due on February 2nd, but Ethan was two weeks early so I’m anticipating this one will come two weeks early. A recently study found that women gestate babies for different lengths of time, and due dates are only an average. I think that my babies gestate for a shorter amount of time, so I need to be ready early!

***We moved to a house! We were living in a condo before, now we’re in a house. I will upload a short video with a tour of the house soon.

I won’t be posting many pictures (they’re just too time consuming for me), but I’ve been writing to the baby and I thought I’d share those letters with you. They’re short but give a quick look at what’s going on in our lives. Since I’ve been writing to this baby weekly, I’ll start with the first one and try to catch up to present day, posting a few letters each week. I will probably close comments on those posts that just have the letter to the munchkin. Without further ado, here’s the first letter to the bébé!

May 28, 2013

Dear Poppyseed,

Kiddo, have you given me some anxiety and you’ve only just gotten fertilized! It’s been a long road to get here. We’ve had three miscarriages in the past year and when it came time to see if I was pregnant this cycle, I tested incredibly early at 7 days past ovulation and was rewarded with a positive pregnancy test! I immediately went to the doctor to have some blood tests done – with my history, we weren’t sure what to expect. I had my hCG levels tested, and they were 16 (8dpo), 60 (10dpo), 102 (12dpo), and 744 (16dpo). At 8dpo, I started spotting. Many times I was sure the spotting would increase and I would lose you, but you held on. I immediately got on progesterone suppositories. It’s hard to know if that was the problem with the other pregnancies, but it’s possible. I’m still nursing your brother Ethan and that could be messing with my hormones.

Today was the day we got the hCG test results for 16dpo, and we also found out that the sellers of the house we’re trying to buy are putting an offer in on a house and we should be moving to Rohnert Park in July or August!

You are loved fiercely already and I’m so excited to meet you. You’re going to come into the most awesome family I know.

Love you forever and ever,

Mama

21 comments » |Posted under

Thoughts on The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

June 23rd, 2013 — 9:49pm

The Golem and the Jinni audiobook

Title: The Golem and the Jinni [Audiobook] [Hardcover]
Author: Helene Wecker
Narrator: George Guidall
Genre: Fantasy, Literary Fiction
Running Time: 19 hours and 43 minutes
Date Published: April 23, 2013

Disclosures: I worked on the blog tour for The Golem and the Jinni’s hardcover release. However, I purchased the audio book myself as the author was coming to my area and I wanted to see her and I hoped to have at least started the book by the time I went to her event. Also, Audible.com asked me to share my experience using their website. I agreed to do this because I’m already using their services and am happy so far. I did receive two credits towards audio books for doing this (though I didn’t know I would receive those when I agreed to write about them), as well as a link to a free trial for my readers.

Synopsis: 

Helene Wecker’s dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

Struggling to make their way in this strange new place, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their neighbors while masking their true natures. Surrounding them is a community of immigrants: the coffeehouse owner Maryam Faddoul, a pillar of wisdom and support for her Syrian neighbors; the solitary ice cream maker Saleh, a damaged man cursed by tragedy; the kind and caring Rabbi Meyer and his beleaguered nephew, Michael, whose Sheltering House receives newly arrived Jewish men; the adventurous young socialite Sophia Winston; and the enigmatic Joseph Schall, a dangerous man driven by ferocious ambition and esoteric wisdom.

Meeting by chance, the two creatures become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures, until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful menace will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

Marvelous and compulsively readable, The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of folk mythology, historical fiction, and magical fable into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

My thoughts:

Let me start off by saying that I loved loved loved this book! It has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf (yes, I bought the hardcover (I needed something for the author to sign!)), and I’m recommending it to everyone I know. I think it’s one of those books that’s universally appealing. You don’t have to be a fantasy buff to enjoy this book. The fantasy in this book is pretty light, with most of the story really being centered in our world.

I started this audio book because Helene Wecker was coming to my local independent bookstore, and I was already intrigued by her book and didn’t want to miss seeing her. I was pleased to see that George Guidall was the narrator for this book. The first time I listened to a book performed by George Guidall, I was completely distracted by his cadence. He has an odd way of breaking up sentences that took my attention away from the story the first time I listened to him. However, by the second book I didn’t even notice it, and he’s quickly become someone that I’m seeking out in audio books. I think most people won’t even notice his cadance; I just tend to be hyper aware of some things, and cadence is one of them.

I don’t normally have any questions for authors when I see them in person, especially if I’ve only just started the book. But I wasn’t even 30 pages into the book when I noticed a definite parallel with Frankenstein, and a similar commentary about the responsibility a creator has to their creation, and the importance of not being cavalier with our creations. Wecker admitted that the story of Frankenstein was in the back of her mind as she wrote about the Golem, and discussed creators and creations and how that fits in with society today.

The story isn’t particularly fast moving, but it still goes along at a nice clip. I noticed early on the side stories that Wecker included, many of which could be fleshed out to be short stories on their own. None of the stories distract, though, and while the information given in those stories seems superfluous at the time (though still really enjoyable), it all comes together and you realize how important each detail is to the character development and progression of the overall story.

One of my pet peeves as a reader is when an author beats me over the head with their message and themes and beliefs. My favorite books are those that, if you aren’t paying really close attention, you would miss the message because the story is really that good. Sometimes I don’t want to be thinking about themes and messages and lessons in books, I just want to enjoy a good story. Other times I’m hungry to make the parallels with my own life, but I want that to be my choice, not something an author forces on me. Wecker does a magnificent job of this. The themes in the book are handled with a fine touch. Sometimes I lost myself in the story, and other times I would look for the lessons to be learned through the Golem and the Jinni’s journey and how that relates to myself and the world in general.

Wecker does a great job with the characters — the Golem and the Jinni are complete opposites, though more complimentary than at odds with each other. They balance each other out in a way that makes you root for them to find the peace and contentment all of us search for. They’re never so extreme that they don’t seem human. They’re always struggling with their nature, which is something all of us do. We’re all struggling against something, whatever that is.

I loved every minute of this story and look forward to following Wecker’s career as an author.

Thoughts on Audible.com

I’d been using Audible.com for 3-4 months when I downloaded The Golem and the Jinni. Initially signing up at Audible.com was easy and straightforward. I seem to go through an audio book a month, maybe slightly more than that, so the most basic membership was what I chose. I’m hyper aware of having memberships that automatically renew, but so far I’ve used every credit I’ve received and have even purchased an audio book or two because I didn’t have a credit available.

What I love the most is how fast I can download an audio book. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m not the best at planning ahead. About an hour before I leave for a trip, I decide I need to load up my iPod and I don’t have time to either go to the bookstore to pick out an audio book or wait for hours and hours for an audio book to download. Audible.com breaks long audio books up into 5 or 6 hour segments for faster downloading. This has been a lifesaver as I hurriedly add a book to my iPod before I go somewhere!

The website is easy to navigate and not cluttered up, which is something I wish more companies would get on board with. I particularly like the wishlist feature — I realize that’s not that impressive of a feature, but I really do love it and am looking forward to working my way through my wishlist.

At this point in time, I’m really enjoying audio books and Audible.com in particular. I’ve made no secret that I really hate Amazon and when I was looking for where I was going to start purchasing audio books, I couldn’t find a better website than Audible. I make a point of purchasing most or all of my books at my local independent bookstore, so I guess that’s how I assuage my guilt. Without Audible, though, audio books would be out of my price range because they’re just so dang expensive. With the pricing plan that Audible has, I’m able to get my audio book fix and still support my local bookstores.

Here’s a free trial from Audible if you’d like to try it out!

10 comments » |Posted under

Hiding

February 28th, 2013 — 10:33pm

This is how Ethan would hide when he first started hiding:

IMAG0764

DSC_0450

 

Today, for the first time, he actually did hide, as opposed to leaning against a wall and telling you he’s hiding:

IMAG0911

22 comments » |Posted under

Thoughts on The Last Man (audiobook) by Vince Flynn

January 27th, 2013 — 10:20pm

The Last Man

 

Title: The Last Man [Audiobook] [Hardcover]
Author: Vince Flynn
Narrator: George Guidall
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Running Time: 11 hours
Date Published: November 13, 2012

I accepted The Last Man by Vince Flynn for review with quite a bit of trepidation. While I love mystery/suspense/thriller novels, the synopsis for The Last Man didn’t make my skirt fly up. But within minutes of listening to the book, I knew I would love it, though I didn’t realize that this author would become that kind of author that would make me want to drop all my other reading commitments and just read his whole backlist. Seriously. I don’t kid.

So here’s the setup: Mitch Rapp, assassin for the CIA, is sent to Afghanistan to investigate the kidnapping of Joe Rickman, a guy who basically knows all the CIA’s secrets, particularly the identity of many of their spies. The fact that the US doesn’t want Rickman spilling all their secrets is an understatement. But when Rapp arrives in Afghanistan to find out what happened to Rickman, it becomes obvious that things are a lot more complicated than they seem. In fact, a series of events makes it appear as if someone is out to kill Rapp as well.

Backstory: When I discovered the show 24, it had already ended. I watched season one in a few days, and then proceeded to blow through the next seven seasons over the next few months. I loved Jack Bauer’s no-nonsense style and his bad ass ways. Mitch Rapp reminds me of Jack Bauer. He’s a no-nonsense, doesn’t-take-garbage-from-anyone, smart-ass, isn’t-a-cold-blooded-killer kind of guy. This is the best thriller I’ve read. Period. It had nonstop action, snappy characters, fantastic bad guys, even better good guys, and the violence was at a minimum. The narrator, George Guidall, has recorded a ton of novels (over 900!!!) and has won awards for his narration. I have to admit, though, that I found his cadence to be distracting. I felt like he read the way an author would read as opposed to the easy flowing style that many narrators have. I got used to it after a while, and it certainly wouldn’t stop me from listening to other novels he’s narrated but I won’t be seeking him out.

Bottom line: Best thriller I’ve ever read.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for giving me this audiobook to review!

10 comments » |Posted under

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