Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

My Three Favorite Christmas Stories

If you're looking for a bit of quick reading to get you in the Christmas spirit (if you aren't already!), look no further than these short stories by a few of my favorite authors.

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

"Oh my, it's fruitcake weather!" So begins the enchanting story of a little boy named Buddy and his elderly friend. Blending Capote's signature narrative and descriptive style, it is a beautiful sentimental reflection without being sappy.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This classic story is a perfect read all year round, but is especially fitting at Christmastime. I love going on the journey with Scrooge as he receives visits from the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future. In my humble opinion, this is Dickens at his best. 

(On a side note, if you're looking for the best movie adaptation of this classic, look no further than The Muppet Christmas Carol. Seriously.)

SantaLand Diaries by David Sedaris

In true tongue-in-cheek style, Sedaris tells the tale of his time spent as a Macy's Christmas elf. This is a fantastic account of Christmas in the retail trenches. Often hilarious and rarely sentimental, I found myself alternating between laughing aloud and cringing awkwardly. 

What are your favorite Christmas stories?

Monday, December 17, 2012

2012 Redux: A Year in Books

Despite hitting a bit of a lull at the end of the summer, I actually read quite a bit this year. I've found that as a general rule, I prefer to read non-fiction over fiction--particularly true crime and memoirs. I reread some old favorites, discovered some new ones, and admitted that I wasn't a huge fan of The Hunger Games. 

All images courtesy of Goodreads.

My Top 5 Favorites this year?

Columbine, Dave Cullen
The DescendantsKaui Hart Hemmings 
The Secret Life of BeesSue Monk Kidd
The Reading Promise, Alice Ozma

What are the best books you read this year? What should I be reading in 2013? Already on my short list are Gone Girl, Wild, and The Fault in Our Stars.

To the library!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Three Things I Left Off My Christmas List

With less than 2 weeks to go until Christmas, I am by no means expecting these things to magically appear under my Christmas tree. But I just might have to scoop them up to add some happiness to the inevitable midwinter blues. For real. 

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail


The story of a 26-year-old woman who drops everything to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I definitely need a little adventure in my life. 

A Chia Pet


For whatever reason, I've wanted a Chia pet for years and have just never gotten around to purchasing one. (Probably because they're kinda weird.) When I was in high school, I remember making a short list of silly goals I wanted to accomplish before I turned 30 (which suddenly isn't so far in the future). One of those goals was owning a Chia Pet. So as you can plainly see, I need one of these little guys, lest I disappoint my 18-year-old self. 

National Parks Map Print

National Parks Checklist Map Print - 11x17 print

I LOVE national parks, especially after watching all 12 hours of the Ken Burns documentary on Netflix a few summers ago. It's one of my greatest dreams to visit to every national park. Hey, a girl can dream. 

Did anyone else forget to put a few items on their list?

Thursday, December 13, 2012


The view outside my office window.

Sometimes, all it takes is a little December sunshine to cheer up my day and help get me through the rest of the week. I know that I'm one of the very few Michiganders who feels this way, but I'm so grateful for the current lack of snow. What can I say? I'm dreaming of a green Christmas...

Happy Thursday, friends. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Life Lately

Christmas in Grand Rapids.

After my marathon blogging last month thanks to 30 Days Hath November, I was feeling really inspired and looking forward to writing up a storm in December. Then December arrived and I've been drawing a big fat blank. I open up a blank post and sit and stare at the blinking cursor for five minutes, type a few sentences, delete them, then decide to try again the next day. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Does this ever happen to you?

Life is always busy this time of year. Dinners with friends, girls nights, and Christmas preparations are filling my evenings and weekends. I'm happy to report that I'm enjoying the holiday season more this year than usual. No Grinch here! Kyle and I chopped down (sad face) and decorated our Christmas tree. I must admit, it looks gorgeous glowing in our window. I'm really making an effort relax and not stress about presents and shopping and baking. Little by little, everything is getting done. And I know that come Christmas Day, everything will work out. 

Shannon is coming up to GR tomorrow for the night to go shopping and eat sushi. The annual F***ing Classy Christmas Party is this weekend, and I'm so looking forward to my absolute favorite party of the year. Our friends have been throwing this little shindig since our college days. I love any excuse to put on a fancy dress and drink wine with my favorite people. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that life is good. I'm ready to finish out 2012 with a bang. Here's to a joyous season!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Day30: Three Wonderful Things that Happened this Month

November was really quite lovely.

1) While I typically like to keep my political opinions away from my blog (I save that for Twitter if you're interested), I just have to say I was really quite excited on election night. My friends had an Election Party so we could all watch the results come in together. There may or may not have been fireworks.

2) Kyle and I saw some seriously awesome movies. (Argo was my favorite.)

All images via IMDb

3) Our good friends, Joel and Victoria got married. It was a gorgeous wedding and awesome reception. (And aren't they a cute couple?) Congrats Joeltoria! May your lives be full of love and your whiskey never run dry. 


Thank you everyone for following along with me for 30 Days Hath November. I really, really enjoyed blogging every day. Perhaps it should become a habit! Thanks, Désirée for hosting this fantastic link-up and for making November a little more exciting. I'm already looking forward to next year!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day29: Something I Could Never Tire Of

The (former) fiction section.
Grand Rapids Public Library

As a lifelong reader, there are few places in this world as wonderful and enjoyable as the library. I will always, always prefer library books.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day28: A Skill I'd Like to Learn

I've been saying for years that I want to learn yoga. I love the idea of strengthening myself through balance and meditation. I've tried out some beginner yoga videos at home via Netflix, but I would really love to take an actual class and learn first-hand. I just need to get over my fear of looking like an awkward fatty in a room full of graceful yogis. Maybe this should be my New Year's Resolution...

Any tips for a yoga novice?


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day27: A Silly Self-Portrait

Morgan snapped this photo of Kyle on Halloween. Little did he know, this Grady twin wanted in on the action. Oy, that was a night. 


Monday, November 26, 2012

Day26: Something I'm Looking Forward To

Our first Christmas in our apartment.

It's embarrassing to admit, but I'm generally a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. I'm all "grumble, grumble, bah humbug," in the weeks leading up to Christmas and then Christmas Eve hits and I'm all "God bless us, every one!" It's exhausting.

This year, I am bound and determined to enjoy Christmas. I'm not going to stress about gifts, wrapping, and baking. I'm just going to relax, watch It's a Wonderful Life, and drink hot chocolate while basking in the glow of our tree. Yes, I'm actually looking forward to Christmastime this year. (Just not the snow. Or the music.)