Sassymonkey Reads: June and July 2015

I felt like I didn't read much in June and July until I looked at my list. Not bad! 

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My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor. I wanted to like this more than I did, but it's absolutely worth reading for her first-hand account about what it's like to have a stroke. If you have a family history of stroke (which I do) or if a friend or loved one has experienced one I'd check this out. (Though perhaps not on audio.) 

The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris by Tilar J. Masseo. Overall it didn't go as deep into details as I wished it had. I spent some time after reading it looking at Robert Capa's photography online, particularly those of the liberation of Paris in 1944. 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I'd been meaning to read this novel for ages but decided to wait and listen to the audiobook. It took awhile for my library hold to come in but it was totally worth the wait. Wil Wheaton is the perfect person to have narrated this one. Even if you are not big sci-fi fan, but spend a lot of time on the internet, I think you'll find something to enjoy about this. It makes you think a lot about society and our relationship to the internet and video games. If you grew up on Atari games like I did I think you'll enjoy it a lot.

The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History by Robin Givhan. I was underwhelmed. It felt like there was too little content for the book so it was stretched out by adding a bunch of aside and tangents and I often got a bored by them. I possibly would not have finished this one before it was due back at the library had there not been a power outage that gave me two extra hours of reading time when I'd normally have been working. 

unSweetined by Jodie Sweetin. With Fuller House on the horizon I decided to dip into some of the books the cast of Full House has written. Remember the rumour that Sweetin was dead? Nope, not dead. She is, however, an addict. I really wish that this memoir had left me feeling hopeful that all her troubles are behind her, but I'm sadly not convinced of that. I think she still has some roads to travel before she gets to that point. 

Balancing it All by Candace Cameron Bure. I remember seeing a lot of press about this when it first came out. There wasn't a whole lot in the book for me. I think I might find her earlier book, Reshaping It All a bit more interesting. 

Royal Wedding (Princess Diaries #11) by Meg Cabot. I've missed Mia. It was nice to visit with her once again. 

Let the Elephants Run: Unlock Your Creativity and Change Everything by David Usher. It's beautiful book and I'm sure I'd enjoy a TED Talk or something by him, but this book was the right creativity book for me. It sure was pretty though. 

It's In His Kiss, He's So Fine, and One in a Million (Lucky Harbor Books 10-12) by Jill Shalvis. I've been reading the Lucky Harbor series since the first books came out and they are a summer reading staple for me. That said, I'm glad this series is over. (At least, I think it's over. It feels like it's over.) The three friends falling for three friends thing got tired. What bothered me more, and one of my pet-peeves of what seems like an increasing number of contemporary romances, is that couples go from cute-meet to HEA in less than a month. You know, once or twice I could believe it but it happens with an alarming number of couples in this series and I'm just over it. Books are still cute and fun and I'll still continue to read Shalvis. 

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldow. Cute gift/novelty book. 

Tiny House Living: Ideas for Building and Living Well in Less than 400 Square Feet by Ryan Mitchell. Tiny houses intrigue me. I've lived in some small apartments, and they were not for me. I've often wondered if I had a small space designed just for me if I could do it. This book wasn't great for me. It was rather repetitive and a little bit preachy. I'll try a few others. 

I'll Have What She's Having: My Adventures in Celebrity Dieting by Rebecca Harrington. Not great. It could have made a great blog. It was a bit to shallow for a book. Yes, I realize that I'm saying a book about celebrity dieting is too shallow. Mostly I felt like Harrington is a much better writer than this book displays. But hey, all hail Queen Gwyneth of Goopiness. Her cookbook really IS good. (No really. I have it. It's good!) 

Sassymonkey's Favourites: July 2015

A few of my favourite things in July

A few of my favourite things in July

I have been trying to focus on the things that make me happy. The things that bring me joy. Sometimes they are small things. Sometimes they are big. Here are a few things I loved in July. 

Get to Work Book

Get to Work Book

1. Get to Work Book. Technically this arrived in May, but the calendar goes from July to June so this was the first month I have really played with it. I am not yet using the product pages to their full potential.  I am still figuring them out. I started them off with our BIG project this year - our bathroom renovation. (The 2015-2016 version is sold out. Sorry!)

Frixion pens

Frixion pens

2. FriXion erasable pens. I've been wanting to try FriXion erasable pens for ages but we have so many pens that I've avoided shopping for office supplies. When we were in Montreal this month we stopped by the McGill bookstore and they had a whole display of them. I LOVE THEM! They are perfect for using in my Get to Work Book, which has narrow columns and needs a pretty fine pen. They actually erase pretty darned well, too. If you like a fine, slightly scratchy pen you need to try these. 

Feeling pretty on a week day

Feeling pretty on a week day

3. Simons utility collarless blouse, feather print. When I left Montreal, one of the things I missed the most was Simons. I shopped there so much. Like all stores, it can be hit or miss and the last few times I've been there it's been more of a miss. We did a one day trip to Monteal in July and it was a total hit. I bought all the things, including this shirt. I love the pattern and it works with everything from skinny jeans to pencil skirts. (I am sure other purchases will make future favourite lists.)

Garden Court at the Frick Collection

Garden Court at the Frick Collection

4. The Frick Collection. Whenever I travel for conferences I try to squeeze in one non-conference thing. (Remember that time I went to Boston and saw absolutely nothing of Boston? Exactly.) For this last trip to New York City I focused on the Frick Collection. (Actually, my original plan was to go to the Guggenheim but it's closed on Thursdays.) I LOVED the Frick Collection. It's wonderfully curated and well displayed. It's also not overly large so it only takes a couple of hours to view. Vermeer.  Degas. Rembrandt. Ingres. Pieta. I think it may have been the first time I've seen Sir Thomas Lawrence's work in person (that I can recall). It made me wish, yet again, I had taken at least one art history course in university. I want to go back to the Frick Collection with Lee someday. Note: If you are travelling with your family be aware children under the age of ten are not admitted.  

Fossil Amanda Satchel

Fossil Amanda Satchel

5. Fossil Amanda Satchel. I am cheap when it comes to handbags. Give me a $30 bag and I'll be happy. I'll use it to death or until I get bored. My current bag is 2-3 years old and it is time to start thinking about a replacement. A few months ago we were at the local Tanger Outlets and I saw this bag at Fossil. I fell in love with the colour (it's actually a teensy bit bluer than it looks in the photo). Michael Kors had bags in a similar colour as well. But I couldn't go from a $30 bag to a $200+ bag. Nope. Not happening. So I went to other stores looking for something similar. And then more stores. And more. No dice. We went back to Tanger and I finally just decided to buy it. I was tired of looking. Luckily for me, it ended up being on sale for about 50% off. Score! Procrastination pays off! The Amanda satchel no longer appears to be for sale on the Fossil website, but the Sydney satchel is similar. 

Thoughts While Doing Yoga

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"Hmm I need a flow-y yoga. But not too flow-y because when I don't know the flow it's annoying. And not too much down dog but enough to test my new gloves. Oh! Found one. Thank you YouTube." 

"Mountain pose! I'm good at mountain pose." 

"Ugh. So many forward bends." 

"Down dog! Ohhhh these gloves help!" 

"Oh look. A dead fly on the flow. How very not zen." 

"Warrior pose! I LOVE WARRIOR POSE!" 

"Hmmm, my neighbours are outside. I wonder if they can see me." *considers waving and then suppresses the urge*

*looks up at ceiling* "I really, really hate that light fixture. We really need to change it." 

"Down dog. Warrior pose. Rinse. Repeat." 

"Ohhh my lower back likes this." 

"I'm really starting to hate warrior pose." 

"Maybe I should name the dead fly since I keep staring at it." 

"I can't face another downward dog. I'll just lie here on the matt for a minute." 

"Dear self, when you are done, clean your yoga mat." 

"FINAL! DOWN! DOG!" 

"DONE!" 

"Is it nap time now?"