Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Read All About It: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

I just finished reading Stephen King's latest book, Mr. Mercedes. He is my all-time favorite author, so going into it, my expectations were high, of course. But first, here's a little synopsis from Goodreads:

"In the gloomy pre-dawn hours of a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of unemployed hopefuls are lined up for a job fair. Without warning, a merciless driver plows through the crowd in a roaring Mercedes. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes into the early-spring fog, never to be seen or heard from again. Until now...

Detective Bill Hodges is a battle-hardened and streetwise crime fighter originally assigned to the Mercedes killings. Now retired, Hodges has lost his way in boredom and depression craving the thrills of taking down the region's most notorious criminals. When a disturbing letter from the Mercedes Killer arrives at his door, Hodges soon finds himself uncontrollably drawn into a cat-and-mouse pursuit with stakes beyond comprehension. 

Mr. Mercedes is King's first 'hard-boiled detective tale'. It will transport you into a vibrant and dangerous world filled with gritty characters living on the bleeding edge of reason."

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): I loved it. 

I mean, duh, he's my favorite author, there are few books of his that I don't like. 

Here's why I loved it: 

  • There was true detective work involved. Yes, we as the readers know who did the crime. But going through the process with the main character, Ret. Detective Hodges, made it really interesting. I liked seeing his cop instincts in action. 
  • He had some interesting "sidekicks" help him during his unofficial investigation into the identity of Mr. Mercedes. My favorite was Jerome, the teen who occasionally mows his lawn, but is also probably his closest (and only) friend. 
  • There were a few parts of the book that were super uncomfortable - can't tell you what they are without spoiling some of the story. But I mean, come on, it's about a murderer, so that's kind of to be expected. But what I like about Stephen King is that he doesn't pull any punches. He could sugar coat it or skim over it, but he lets us delve into the mind of the psychotic killer. 

What have you read lately? 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School - 3 Ways to (Really) Prepare Yourself

Now that summer is winding down, and the kids will be heading back to school, you may have seen magazine or news articles giving helpful suggestions on how to prepare yourself and your kids for going back to school. Things like making sure your kids go to bed progressively earlier as the school year approaches so that they will be used to getting up early again, etc. 

Yeah, this is not that type of post. 

Dom is starting first grade in a couple of weeks, so I want to share with you 3 ways to really prepare yourself for the back to school phenomenon. (And for those of you who don't have kids yet... just take notes, sisters.)

1. Save up some cold hard cash. 

Let's be real here. Yes, you have probably spent hundreds of dollars already on school supplies and clothes and shoes. But guess what? You're not done! There will be some additional items that your child's teacher specifically wants the students to have that weren't on the school-published supply list. There is lunch/snack/ice cream money to think about. There will be supplies or snacks that need to be purchased (weekly it seems) for upcoming themed activities and parties. There will be PTA fees. There will be school t-shirt costs, yearbooks, field trips. The. list. never. ends. Whoever said that public school is free is crazy. 

2. Channel your inner schoolgirl and practice your signature. 

Holy hand cramps, Batman! Now, the first day of school packet is bad enough, right? The emergency contact form, the medical/allergy form, the "tell me a little bit about your kid" form, the transportation form, blah blah blah. But no, that's not all. There is also the daily folder, the weekly folder, the homework folder, the writing/composition folder, the "behavior" folder. I may as well just get a signature stamp at this rate! Who knows what I'm even signing half the time. 

3. Make Pinterest your b*tch. 

Pardon my French. But it's true. You'll get vague directions from your kid's teacher. Something like "please use a 83% recycled materials brown paper bag and make a vest for our fall celebration." Um. What? Look, I'm the most un-artistic person in the world, I'll be the first person to admit it. But come on. We never did any of this crap when I was in elementary school. Young whippersnappers. 

*4. Bonus tip: Drink. Heavily. 

No explanation needed. ;) 

What "helpful" tips would you add to this list?


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thoughtful Thursdays: Blossom

I want to blossom. 


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Express Yourself

For the past few years, I've felt like my brain was turning to mush. Just a total creative block. I can't even tell you how depressed it made me. It's frustrating to know that you have this passion inside of you to create things and do things, but just not have the physical or mental energy to make it all come together. 

But lately, I find myself swirling with ideas. My mind has been constantly on the move, just racing from one creative point to the next. It's all I can do to try and keep up and jot things down to remember them for later. I haven't had a creative burst like this for so long, and I have to tell you, I am utterly enjoying it!

I find myself wishing, though, that I had somebody to bounce some ideas around with. My journals are bursting with ideas, and I'm pumped, but I also need to calm down just a tad and find a way to focus. Anybody out there want to be brainstorm buddies? Hit me up! 

Anyway, these are some of the projects I'm currently working on:

*  Planning Dom's 6th birthday party and attempting to design my own invitations (EEEEKKK!). More on that next month. 

*  Brainstorming ideas for a complete makeover and branding of the blog. I'm looking for some consistency in my message and I really just need a space that reflects who I am. 

*  Researching part-time freelance writing opportunities. I still have a lot to learn, but this is definitely something I need to pursue. Writing is a big part of who I am. And I would really love to challenge myself and also build a portfolio. 

*  Coming up with activities to do with the boys for the 25 Days of Christmas project that I'm working on. It's just like it sounds - one activity each night from 1-25 December. Clearly, I'm insane. Ha. But I'm hoping to start a new tradition with them and share my love of the holidays. And of course, inspire myself to create new things! More on that.. yep, you guessed it, in December. I'm such a tease. 

So tell me - How do you express yourself? Or what do you do when you find yourself in a creative block? 


Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Life's Motto

"Just do it."

"Winning isn't everything."

"Go big or go home."

"Good things come to those who wait."  

We've all heard these mottos before, right? They become ingrained into our brains growing up. Sure, they are supposed to be inspirational and represent a deeper meaning and I'm sure they do to some people. But they never really resonated with me. Maybe they were just a little too cliche or vanilla for me. I prefer sentiments that are just a little bit more real. 

I've never been officially diagnosed, but I've always felt like I've suffered from some form of depression growing up. Now - don't get the wrong idea. It wasn't some hard knock life for me or anything. I had parents who loved me, a roof over my head, I never wanted for anything material. It wasn't that kind of struggle and I know I was lucky because there are plenty of people who don't have those things. But it was always more of an emptiness of the soul. Somewhere down deep, I was just missing something that would allow me to be happy like other people. 

I still feel that way every once in awhile. And whenever I get too far down deep into my funk, I always remember this line from one of my favorite movies, The Crow:

This is my life's motto. 

And it's true. Life can and does suck sometimes. But it also absolutely breathtakingly amazing. I'm often reminded of that every time I look at my two beautiful boys. 

It can't rain all the time because there's sunshine in my heart and soul. It might be hiding behind a cloud some days, but it's there, just ready to break through. 

What's your motto? 


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Oh the Silly Things We Do

Do you ever stop and think about the some of the things you do every day? Things you have always done that are now second nature and you don't even think about them, but know that if you had to explain yourself to someone else, it perhaps would be a bit silly or weird? Or maybe you do secret things that no one else knows about? Dun dun dun!

OK, so, nothing that dramatic for me, but I indeed do some silly/weird things on a daily or frequent enough basis. 

Like for example, if I'm alone in the car, I talk to myself while I drive. Sometimes I'll just vent about something that's bothering me and just get it all out, since I'm one to hold everything inside. Or sometimes I'll just talk about what I'm feeling, or something that I need to do. But it's not just a sentence here or there, it's like a full blown conversation. It's therapeutic, actually. And in this day and age, with Bluetooth and hands free, it's not that odd to see a lone driver talking in a car. But it does make me feel silly from time to time. Especially when I crack myself up.

I also have to delete text messages at the end of the day (with the exception of hubby's because I puffy heart him). It just overwhelms me and reminds me of a cluttered email inbox. It gives me great pleasure to delete them. Poof, be gone. I may actually even say that as I'm doing it. It's cool, don't judge. 

Yesssssssss. Delete them alllllll. 

I always giggle under my breath when I'm getting my picture taken. I think it's a subconscious reminder to force myself to smile, and not show my bitchy resting face.  

Another thing that I always do, and this isn't silly to me at all, is to immediately double check the car seats right after dropping the boys off at daycare. I walk them inside to their class, kiss and hug them both goodbye, and walk back out to my car. And then immediately turn around and visually inspect the car seats to make sure the boys aren't still sitting there. Even though I know full well that they are safe in their class. Sometimes simply looking at the car seats isn't enough, I have to put my hand on the seat as well to confirm that it's empty. I mean, seriously neurotic, right? But it's my absolute worst fear in the world that I would ever leave them in the car and not realize it. Just my paranoid tendencies, I guess. 

So, now it's your turn! Tell me some silly or weird things that you do every day. I won't judge. Promise. ;) 


Friday, August 1, 2014

Oh Hey There Friday

It's FRIDAYYYYYYYYYYY! Hallelujah! I feel like this has been a super extra long week for some reason. And clearly I've been in a funk. So... time for 5 things that deserve a high five!!

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Numero Uno: Hellllooooo lovely. 

Since beginning my clean eating/paleo journey, I have been longing for a cereal that doesn't have 5 tons of sugar in it. Because some mornings, I just don't have time to make bacon and eggs, or sometimes I get tired of drinking my paleo breakfast smoothie 4 days in a row. Enter this beautiful product here. OMG. Just.. go try it. You can buy it here. And no, they are not sponsoring me in any way. I'm just in lurrrvvvve. 

Numero Dos. This is a superpower we should all have, obvi. 

Numero Tres. This bad boy right here. I shall partake in this awesomeness this weekend, you betcha. 

Numero Cuatro. (I have no idea why I'm counting in Spanish. Just go with it.)  Oh these two angels. Love love love. 

And last, but not least, numero cinco. I am a cheesy movie/tv show aficionado. And this show has been nurturing my cheesy tendencies for the past few weeks. Yes, I know, it's no original Beverly Hills 90210 (helllooooooooooooo Dylan!). But it is still pretty awesome. 

So... what things are on your high five list? 

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