This past week and the little things I’ve been getting into…err mostly reading.

Books:

-I am currently reading Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (it’s pretty funny) and Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I started the Beautiful Creatures series about 3 weeks ago and feel like I have to finish the series. There are only 4 books and I’m on the last one now. It is my understanding that everything is wrapped up nicely in Beautiful Redemption, no wondering what about…what happened to…. type of thing. I hate that.

-I am so excited that Anne Perry’s new book Blood on the Water is finally available in the US. I am buying that this weekend. I also just discovered that Anne Perry has a YAL series called Timepiece, currently 4 books in the series (1. Tudor Rose 2. Rose of No Man’s Land 3. Blood Red Rose 4. Rose Between Two Thorns) . I have added these 4 books to me Christmas list.

Clothing:

-Still searching for the perfect pair of booties. I’m very picky about my shoes, but I think I have finally narrowed it down to one of these two: these from J. Crew or these from C. Wonder.

-I love these Reem Acra,  Elie Saab, just a gorgeous black dress couture dresses so much. I just wish I had somewhere to wear them…and 10k to buy them.

-Heard through the grapevine J. Crew will be having two new collections in October!

Weekend Plans:

-I received an order for 15 of these cards I sell on etsy. After I make those cards my weekend plans include reading and a whole lot of thing.

-Picked up these salmon fillets from Omaha this week and can’t wait to try them.

Anyone have fun weekend plans? How about some book suggestions? Have a safe and great weekend!

Orphaned Kitten + The Goathouse Refuge

The Goathouse Refuge is an amazing non-profit organization that helps cats and kittens in need and regularly pulls them from death row in shelters. I absolutely love them.64806_531863823523942_1568424774_n

About three weeks ago I was contacted by someone at Goathouse asking if I could pick up a kitten that was alone outside and thought to have an upper repertory infection (URI). The kitten was just about 15 minutes from my office, so of course I didn’t mind. The Goathouse closes at 6:30 and where I work is about an hour away from the refuge. I told Goathouse I’d just pick the kitten up and bring her very early in the morning before I had to be to work at 8:30am. I went and picked up this sweet little kitten shortly after I got off work and was not prepared for what I saw….this beautiful itty bitty white kitten with a touch of gray here and there. Now for some unknown reason, I was thinking this kitten would be older, around 5 or 6 months, not about 8 weeks old. I got her home and decided I was going to call her Lottie; the name just seemed to fit. Poor Lottie was underweight, dirty, and covered in fleas. After Lottie drank a ton of water I gave her a bath, hoping to give her some relief by getting rid of some of the fleas, cleaned her ears and watched her devour a can of food. Because of her URI I couldn’t let her near my cats, but Otis did wander in and say hi. He loved her and Lottie loved him. Much to my sadness, I left her in the spare room for a few hours while John and I had dinner, walked Otis and hung out for a bit. When I opened the door to go see her, she was just sitting there, patiently waiting, but very sad she had been alone. I caved and ended up letting her sleep in the bed with us and she is a true snuggle bug, just the perfect little kitten.Image090820141815421

The next morning I sadly loaded Lottie into the car at 5:45am and took her to the refuge. I knew she’d be well cared for and loved, but I really wanted her. It amazes me that I can fall in love and become so attached to a sweet kitten in just 12 hours. I reluctantly turned over Lottie to the Goathouse and then cried the whole way to work. That night I told John if Lottie was not adopted in 6 months I was going to go get her. John said he wasn’t going to say no, but he isn’t saying yes yet either. I think a lot will depend on where we are and John’s job

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I know this story seems kind of sad, but it isn’t. I was able to help a kitten that was sick and an orphan get to a no kill refuge that gave her the medical treatment she needed for her URI, get rid of all of those damn fleas, and is now fed and loved daily. Lottie even has a little friend, another orphan kitten named Opal. Animal rescue can be heartbreaking, and for me there are usually tears, I prefer happy tears of finding homes, animals being rescued, and all the good stuff. Even though I balled when I left Lottie, I also was happy she was where she needed to be until she could find a forever home, even if that doesn’t turn out to be with me. 10665700_792644904112498_5123643998539312740_n

The Goathouse does so many wonderful things for animals and they are always looking for help with transportation, volunteering at the shelter, fostering, doing home checks for potential adopters, and of course donations. Most cats at the Goathouse come from high kill shelters, but during kitten season especially, they taken in many abandon/orphaned kittens-ones whose mothers were killed, born on the streets with no home, dumped as if they were garbage and not living beings, left in boxes, etc. It really is heartbreaking and Goathouse tries to help as many cats and kittens as they can.

Now, I know I sound like one of those SPCA commercials and Sarah McLachlan should be playing in the background of this post, but Goathouse really does need donations to keep their refuge going, particularly to help the orphaned kittens. Random fact, it takes almost $200 to get a kitten to an adoptable state, this means spayed/neutered, all shots, combo tested, and any medical treatment from being anemic because of fleas, dehydrated, injuries, etc. It’s a lot of money and many rescues do lose money when taking in kittens. The average adoption fee for a kitten or cat is $80-100. How do rescues afford to do this and how can you help? A really easy way to help is to become a sustainer. Sustainers are the ones who let the Goathouse know that have a “known” monthly income so Goathouse can continue to help based on a known budget. Sustainers sign up to give a monetary monthly donation and it’s so easy because when you sign up it comes out of your account every month.  Right now the Goathouse needs 100 sustainers to have a successful fall and continue to work towards their goal of ensuring a stable future for the cats. To just feed the current population of cats is $5,000 a month. Think about it. And just to break it down for those of you thinking about joining:

$5 per month allows for vaccines to cats and kittens

$15 per month allows for the purchase of high quality food

$25 per month allows us to pay for necessary blood work needed for accurate diagnosis of sick cats

$50 per month allows for the purchase of flea/tick prevention for 5 cats

$100 per month pays for vet visits for a special needs cat or kitten

$250 per month will allow the Goathouse feed 10 cats a high quality diet for a whole year!

If you want to become a sustainer, you know you do, you can sign up here: http://www.goathouserefuge.org/become-a-sustainer/

Also, click The Goathouse Refuge to be taken to their main site for other ways to help.

ECU vs UNC

10628298_10203867493720788_4563036977221776329_nThis past Saturday John and I had tickets to the ECU vs. UNC game in Greenville, NC. I’m not a football fan by any means. In fact, I usually spend a majority of the game in line at the concession stand or checking out what other people are wearing. But this game, this game actually held my attention. ECU set a school record for most yards gained, over 800 (John told me this), UNC gave up the most points in their program’s history (another game fact from John), and the game ended with the Pirates beating the Tar Heels 71-41! Oh, the game was also sold out, which I believed because we were all crammed in the stadium and I didn’t see one empty seat; 51,000 people came to the game. I’m hoping to find a clip of my favorite play that happened…if I do I’ll post it on here.

jTsut.AuSt.156picture from here

John and I have been to a few ECU games before and done a little tailgating, but the tailgating was never that fun. This time, however, John and I met up with his cousin Brandon, his wife, Sabrina, and daughter, Joey. Brandon and Sabrina have the tailgating thing down. Basically, Brandon, Sabrina, and a bunch of their friends got an old school bus, gutted it, and turned it into a tailgating bus. There are really nice couches inside, a “bar” and a tv. About 6 hours before any ECU game, they head to Greenville and start tailgating with friends and tons of delicious food and beer. After this weekend I think I realized why I didn’t like tailgating before, we were always in a small group with a bunch of broke people. There was never any food and drinks were limited, obviously this can put people in a grouchy mood. I’m glad to have had a new, positive experience with tailgating in addition to a great day. I’m also really happy I got to see Brandon, Sabrina, and Joey and eat some amazing food.

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Book Review of Beautiful Creatures

BeautifulCreaturesI liked Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl well enough. My friend introduced Beautiful Creatures to me as a Southern Gothic type of book. While Southern Gothic has never been my go to genre, I figured I’d give the book a try. I also thought that there are 4 books in the series so if I love it, there are a guaranteed 3 other books for me to read.

A few interesting points, for me, are the paranormal aspects that are fairly unique (the idea of Casters and Incubuses instead of witches and vampires) and the family history that in found throughout. However, the long family history dating back to the Civil War, I argue, is pretty essential for a book that takes place in Gatlin, SC.

This book is a fairly quick read despite being over 300 pages, but at the same time it seemed to drag on and on in places. I felt like the book should have been more suspenseful, yet I found myself reading comfortably and not on the edge of my seat, even when the characters were in danger. I guess knowing there are 4 books kept me from thinking anyone was dying in the first book, but someone does. Now, there are some pretty intense moments that had me glued to the pages, but typically there was dues ex machina moment that cooled everything down, a bit disappointing at times.

The characters also seemed a bit flat at times, particularly Ethan. Ethan is the voice of the book, yet he feels so feminine and unreal. The authors constantly interject these paragraphs of Ethan just wanting to hold Lena and the constantly write that he “leans down to find her mouth” and blah, blah, blah. It’s over done and so fake, unrealistic. Ethan seems to have been created to be the average female teenager’s ideal boyfriend (not how teen boys really are at all) which makes him very uninteresting. Ethan’s character is more unbelievable than the idea of a Caster world, and that’s saying something.

The setting of the book is in Gatlin, SC, the stereo typical Southern town where everyone goes to church on Sundays, takes casseroles to people who have lost a loved one, can trace their ancestors back to the Civil War, DAR members reign supreme, God knows you better participate in the Southern Peach Pageant at the county fair if you’re a girl, and if you are different the town will gossip about you, not that they won’t gossip no matter what anyway. Now, I would argue this part can be pretty realistic, but I’ve had some hardcore small town Southerners try to tell me just how wrong I am…..

Beautiful Creatures is a good story and for the most part a good read. I understand how important the love story between Lena and Ethan is to the plot, however, it just felt too fake and idealistic to be believable, which for me is a pretty important part of the plot. It was almost as if the authors were trying to copy Twilight in the romantic area, but I hated Twilight, so that’s probably another reason I disliked how the relationship with Lena and Ethan was set up. I’m not opposed to their relationship in the books; I think it’s necessary, just not the sappy way these authors wrote it. I also wish the authors had developed more history in the Caster world, the little information they did give was interesting and unique, but they just left certain details hanging or did not develop enough. Luckily, there are 3 more books for readers to learn more about the Caster world, I hope.

In summary, this book isn’t bad, it’s an easy read and I think it can be picked up or put down. My friend loved it and couldn’t put it down; I enjoyed it and read the book over a few days on my lunch break. As I’ve stated a few times, there are 4 books in the series, Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos, and Beautiful Redemption. I was at a used bookstore last weekend and they happened to have all 4. I bought the last 3 for $10 (about $3.33 a book) and plan on reading them all just because I feel like I have to finish the series. And I did enjoy the first one well enough. I feel like the character of Ridley (a dark caster) may have something more to her than is shown and I’d like to find out what. I guess that’s why she’s named Ridley, because she’s a riddle…

I’ve started the second book, Beautiful Darkness and am about ¾ of the way done, so hopefully if I can get my act together I’ll have a review of that book in a more timely manner.

Has anyone else read Beautiful Creatures or the series? If so, what did you think? I’m always looking for book suggestions; I’d love to hear what everyone recommends.

Side note, below is a list of the characters and a description about them taken from the Beautiful Creatures website

Ethan Wate – Ethan thinks he’s just a regular guy, going to Jackson High with only graduation and escaping Gatlin to look forward to —until he starts having recurring dreams about a girl he’s never met and can’t stop thinking about.

Lena Duchannes – Lena has never lived in one place long enough to call anywhere home. She’s different—and not the kind of different that makes you the coolest girl in school. Even worse, she has a secret she can’t share with anyone—a secret that can destroy her and everyone she loves.

Amma Treadeau – Amma is as smart as she is evasive. She knows everything and tells nothing—or so it seems. She’s usually the smartest person in the room, and the most intimidating, too. But she loves Ethan more than anything in this world or the Other, and she’ll do whatever she has to do to protect him.

Macon Ravenwood – Macon is Gatlin’s boogeyman. He’s also an old-fashioned Southern gentleman with a penchant for cigars and controversy, not necessarily in that order. He’s a man with secrets—and talents. …

Wesley Jefferson “Link” Lincoln – Link is the best friend we all wish we had—quick to take a hit or write a song for a friend. Because first and foremost, Link is a drummer and a dreamer, a guy who’s going places, even if those places are only in his mind.

Ridley Duchannes – Ridley is the ultimate bad girl, with a supernatural twist. She’s all blond and pink streaked hair, lollipops and chaos. You love to hate her and hate to love her.

Marian Ashcroft – Marian is a one-stop source for information, serving as both Gatlin County’s Mortal librarian and the Caster Library’s Keeper. She always has the perfect book or quotation for any dilemma, Mortal or Supernatural.

Olivia “Liv” Durand – Liv arrives in Gatlin as Marian’s summer intern and Keeper-in-Training. Originally from England, she’s new to town, and she brings a breath of fresh air along with her accent and love of french fries and Ovaltine.

John Breed – John may ride a Harley, but he’s a bit more dangerous than your average bad boy. More mysterious, too. Who is John Breed, really?

P.S. I’m loving this dress (see details here) Thoughts?

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Dressing Up a Graphic Tee

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I saw this graphic tee at J. crew and oddly, had to have it. I’ve never been a graphic tee person, but for some reason, I saw potential in this top. My office employs a casual work environment, and I wanted to find a way to wear this graphic tee to work, and still be a little girlie and elevate the tee to not be so casual. Personally, I think everything looks cozy and can’t wait to wear this, especially the booties.

1. Tights (here) 2. Booties (here) 3. Graphic Tee (here) 4. Skirt (here) 5. Purse (here)

Feeling at Home + New Car Pics

John and I have been traveling a lot lately. For the past several weekends, one or both of us have been out of town. This past weekend, I headed up to Richmond to pick up my new car! Sadly, John had prior commitments and couldn’t come with me, so he and the fur babies stayed home. Now, this “home” thing is really what I want to hit on. John and I have been in Greensboro for about a year and half now, but it hasn’t ever really felt like home to me. I think it is because the first town home we lived in was too small (barely a 1,000 sq feet and very narrow), there was no storage space (not even a linen closet!), the kitchen was tiny, we had too much furniture… it was just bad. But we needed a place to live, and this place was in a nice area and available and we could move in right away. We lived there for about a year, then our jerk of a landlord kicked us out because he said his rude/lying daughter and her family could live there when they sold their home, would have been nice if he let us know that before hand, but whatever. Then, magically, John found our current place. I hate moving and I wanted to make this move as painless as possible, so I began selling off a lot of our furniture (sold about 6 large pieces), cleaning out our closets, and sending John to Goodwill at least 3 times. I was determined this move wouldn’t be as chaotic as the move from Charlotte to Greensboro.

Outside of lugging a heavy treadmill up the stairs, the move wasn’t that bad. Our new townhome is much larger than our old, it has a large kitchen with an island, a small laundry room, outside storage, coat closet, storage closet, linen closet, two walk in closets… clearly I love all the storage. I also love all the space we have, a massive 1,400 sq ft, which to us is a lot, and we have a cute little fenced in backyard, so basically we love the new place. But I digress, I got home on Sunday and later that night after unpacking thought, “I’m so glad to be home” and that’s when it hit me, this is the first time since moving to Greensboro that this has felt like home. I’m sure there are many things I can contribute these feelings of home to, but I think a big thing for me, is that we are finally really happy where we live. There aren’t boxes still to be unpacked precariously piled in corners because we have no where to put the stuff in them (that’s how it was at the old place), we don’t have to maneuver around furniture to get from one end of the townhome to another, the kitchen is large enough that John can hang out with me while I cook and it doesn’t drive me crazy because he’s in the way due to lack of space, we can actually walk around in the spare bedroom (in the last place it felt like a junk room), just little things. I think I felt like as long as there were boxes to unpack and things to put away, we weren’t really home, now that everything has a place and we’ve settled into a routine, things feel a lot better and more like a home. I have also noticed that when I’m on my way home from work, traveling or out running errands, when I talk to John he always asks, “When are you coming home” whereas in the old town home he would say “when are you getting back?” I’m sure this was subconscious, but I think it says a great deal about how we both felt in the old place. It was just somewhere we were living for a little while, not really our home.

Currently, John and I are looking to hopefully relocate to Richmond or the D.C area, as soon as John can get a full time job. I really want to be back in Virginia, I really do miss home, but I think when the time for us to move finally does come, I’ll be pretty sad to leave this townhouse. Until that day comes, I’m going to enjoy every minute in this home with my hubby and fur children.

I hope everyone had a great 3 day weekend! Below is a picture of my new 2010 Ford Focus, sorry I just had to share.

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