Friday, April 29, 2016

An Unexpected Spree

It barely ever fails.  When Fermin needs to buy something, and I tag along, I'm the one that ends up finding stuff, and he doesn't.  Or, if I'm the one needing to buy something, and he tags along, he's the one that ends up finding all sorts of stuff to buy and I end up with nothing. 

We LOVE Whole Earth Provisions!
So last night, when Fermin needed to swing by Whole Earth Provisions to look for shoes, he jokingly said, "Ok, we're here for you, Kerri."- thinking he could trick the universe, and he would actually be the one to find something great to buy, since he was, after all, the one looking.

But the universe cannot be fooled, apparently.  I wasn't really even looking for anything.  In fact, I considered just sitting in the car and killing time because I was feeling so lazy, I didn't even want to have to walk into the store.

I went in though, and I saw sale signs in all my favorite places in the store.  And then found out there was an additional 25% off a lot of the things I was looking at.

Reluctantly, I tried on a few pair of shoes.  And a few t-shirts.  Although I am not in need of any shoes, when I find a pair both cute and comfortable and marked way, way down in price, who am I to walk away from that?!  And honestly, although I don't need any t-shirts either, I have been noticing lately, how few short sleeved t-shirts I have.  I love the "Life is Good" brand, and they just so happened to be on sale.

Fermin did find a pair of shoes that he might buy, but he wasn't sure.  He wanted to look around a little more before buying them.  I, however, ended up with 3 pairs of shoes (Omg, I know!)...

three pair of shoes, to walk 2 best friends!

an up-close photo of my favs!

and 4 new shirts...

Life Is Good, and Kuhl!

my fav t-shirt, up-close!
It feels a little extravagant, buying all of these things during this unexpected splurge.  BUT, if my calculations are correct, I actually saved more money than I spent.

Don't worry, Fermin- next time we'll go shopping for you!  Really!  ;)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hidden Bodies

I just finished reading Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes last night.
Hidden Bodies by Carline Kepnes
Like most fiction I read, I checked this one out from the library.  I knew I had read Caroline Kepnes' last book, YOU when it first came out.  I know I really liked it, but I didn't remember the plot or anything else about it when I first chose this book.  But once I started reading Hidden Bodies, it was very familiar.  I slowly began to realize that not only was it similar in style to the previous book (...which makes sense, right?  Both books were written by the same author after all!) but I figured out, the narrator was the same person.  It was a continuation of the YOU, which I had to really reach to remember at this point.

YOU was just so cleverly done and different than the other books I have read in that genre.  The narrator, Joe, is a sociopathic murderer... but somehow funny, and even occasionally sympathetic and someone you can kind of identify with.

There was a point about mid-way through Hidden Bodies when I grew a little tired of it and started skimming.  I was having this feeling of, "This is so similar to the previous book, and I already read that one!" BUT fortunately, I got sucked back in soon enough and it was a fast page turner up until the very end.  And guess what?  There's going to be a third book of Joe. I heard the author interviewed on a podcast and she confirmed that to be true.

Honestly, just one book of Joe would have been enough for me.  And although Hidden Bodies is a continuation of Joe's story, you could read either book without reading the other and it would still feel like a complete and satisfying thriller.  If you just can't get enough of Joe's story, you can read the next one.  And eventually the next.  But don't wait as long as I did in between or you'll forget the previous book anyway... ;)

I'm even more interested to read what comes after this three part book series for Caroline Kepnes. 

For now, it's on to the next book- by an author I have never read before.
The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner
(Dammit!  I just made the mistake of reading some reviews of it on Goodreads that weren't that good.  Well, it's less than 200 pages, so I'll find out for myself soon enough!)

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Space Between Stories

Last week I over heard something about "the space between stories." I sort of fell in love with the phrase, and so of course, I Googled it.  I found several articles, blogs, and even a class dedicated to this idea of "the space between stories."  But without reading many or much of any one of them, I just started thinking about what that phrase means to me.

I think of it like the time between reading two great novels.  It's that feeling you have when you've just finished one amazing book. While you were were reading it, you were so immersed in it, that once it ended, you just weren't ready to dive right into the next one.  If you start in on a new book too soon, it's hard, because you haven't quite let go of the last one.  You might read a few shorter, less meaningful and impactful books while you're waiting for the next really good one. Once you finally find it, all feels right in the world again.  But until then, you're floundering over not having something amazing to read and worried you may never find it again.

For the past few years, I've spent my days wondering and wandering around trying to find my path, my next story, so to speak. Every now and then, I start to feel like I'm finding it, but I keep losing my way.  And I end up feeling frustrated in my lack of clarity, and I also feel guilty that I'm not living a more productive life currently.

I like this idea that I'm just in "the space between stories" My next story is coming. This space is just a breather before something new and great begins. I ran across the following quote from Lissa Rankin that I found very helpful.

When one story has collapsed and one has yet to be born, rest and wait.  You can't rush gestation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

I read a lot of books.  But I lose track of what I've read!  Sometimes, someone will tell me to read a certain title, I'll get all excited, start reading it and then at some point realize, "Hey!! I've read this before!"  I don't tend to remember a lot of the details, but I have a faint memory of the genereal idea of books I've read.  I decided I'm going to keep a book log with brief reviews here on my blog.

I just finished reading The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert.
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
This is a good book if you're just looking for something that's light-hearted and sweet. It might be a good one to read after you've finished something heavy. I guess The Coincidence of Coconut Cake falls into what is often referred to as the "chick-lit" category.  Does the "lit" part of that hyphenated word actually stand for literature?!  Or is it instead just a lazy spelling of the word light?  (That second idea makes more sense to me.)

To me, this book was a cross between "You've Got Mail", and one of those books about a girl that loves to cook.  It's a simple love story with an element of mistaken identity.  And there's a lot of talk about food- specifically, the food in Milwaukee- which prior to reading this book, I was totally unfamiliar with.  Now that I've learned some things about it, I've got to get my mouth on some cheese curds!

The main character of the book, Lou Johnson, is a chef, who's recently opened her own small restaurant.  She has a no good, horrible, very bad day--- She finds her fiance with another woman, and then, later that same day at work, everything goes horribly wrong.  And it just happens to be the day an anonymous restaurant reviewer pops in for a meal.  After his scathing review, her business suffers to the point of near destruction.

All the while, she meets Al- who happens to be the restaurant reviewer- But as they get to know each other and fall in love, she doesn't know his anonymous identity.  And since she refuses to talk about work, he doesn't realize she is the restaurant chef and owner that he wrote about.  Of course, eventually the truth comes out, and the big question is--- will love prevail?!  

Based on the sweet book title, and the cover of the book, you can probably guess how it turns out.  But even if you know, it's still a fun book to read.  I liked it- I did!  But I probably won't remember much about it within a couple of weeks.

I read different books, for different reasons.  If you are just looking for some cute little book to breeze through about love and food, this one is a smart choice!

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
Now, it's onto the next book... and something tells me it's not going to be nearly as sweet as the Coconut Cake book!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Repurposed Vintage Jewelry- Before and After

Almost two weeks ago, my friend Valerie came to visit me in Dallas.  We packed a whole lot of fun into just a few short days-- I wrote about it in a post just a little over a week ago here.

As I mentioned in that post, one of the things we did was play around with some ideas on repurposing some of her grandmother's jewelry into more wearable pieces for Valerie.  After she left, I put everything together and I think it all turned out really pretty.  So, today, is the big reveal!  Yay!

Her grandmother had these pretty Trifari clip earrings.  They're very sweet, and in good condition.  But, they were clip ons.  And that is an unnecessary discomfort! So I snipped off the clips, filed everything down so it was smooth and then wire wrapped a few beads to the main part of the earring.
Pearl and Rhinestone Trifari Clip Earrings (before)
Repurposed Trifari Earrings (after)
Valerie's grandmother also had a silver beaded necklace that we decided to change up with a vintage flower brooch I had in my stash, along with a some 1970s chain.  I also made little earrings to match the necklace because there were plenty of leftover beads, and a small amount of of chain.  I love the way this necklace turned out! (Oh and I almost forgot~ and the silver bead on the Trifari earrings came from the necklace too.) 

Silver Beaded Necklace (BEFORE)
Vintage Assemblage Necklace and Earrings (AFTER)
I'm so happy Valerie has these things of her grandmother's.  It was so fun to make them into something "new", but that still have the sentimental value for her.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Truth by Neil Strauss

I just finished reading The Truth by Neil Strauss. Although I wasn't familiar with him, apparently he wrote a hugely successful book called The Game, a memoir about him going from a "AFC- Average Frustrated Chump" to a "PUG- Pick Up Guru".  From what I've read about and heard about the book, it was a little controversial, as you can imagine.  ANYWAY...

I picked up this book because I've heard Neil interviewed on several podcasts recently and The Truth sounded interesting.  It's another memoir. The general premise of this one is that after getting caught cheating on his fiancee, Ingrid, they broke up and he then explored all sorts of non-monogamous relationships.  The full title is The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships. I would suspect partly why it's an "uncomfortable" book is because he reveals all his 3-way, swinging, polyamorous explorations he went through as he found his way back to his monogamous life with his fiancee...who, as it turns out, is now his wife, and the mother of his child. 

The book begins with this warning label for Ingrid:

Umm, yeah. I'd be a little uncomfortable with this too, Neil.

On the outside, the book is cleverly disguised to look something like a bible. The cover is bendable, faux white leather, with gold font, page edges are etched in gold, and there's a satin ribbon inside the book for marking your place.  I like that.  I like the irony of reading about orgies, while someone might wrongly think I'm actually reading The Book of John if they were to judge my book by it's cover.
the truth is, this is totally NOT a bible
The whole time I was reading it, it was becoming more and more clear, that whether we're talking monogamous or not, any real relationship is something that takes a lot of nurturing.  Jealousy issues certainly don't just go away when you're living a free, swinger life style.  In fact, it's Neil's case, it just became more complicated.

Since this book is, after all, called The Truth, I'm going to be honest and say, that at 421 pages, by the end of it, I was just sort of skimming it and wanting to be done with it already!  I'm now craving some good fiction, that doesn't involve too much self examination.

I much preferred the podcast interviews I heard with Neil Strauss to his book.  Listening to a one hour podcast is much more digestible than this super lengthy memoir.  Having said that, it was pretty funny the way he told his story. Just too long.

Monday, April 4, 2016

I Finally Met My Friend I've Never Met Before

This past weekend I finally met my friend Valerie, who's been my friend for about 9 years, but that I had never met in real life.

We met through reading each other's blogs (not quite sure how that happened, but luckily... it did). She was able to do some detective work and found the first comment I ever left on her blog, and then her first comment she left on my blog soon after that. I had written about going to the Arboretum, here in Dallas, during "Dallas Blooms". 

For years, we read each others blogs, and left comments back and forth.  Eventually, we began to email.  Then FB.  And eventually we began texting.  But we never spoke on the phone or skyped or anything like that.  And we never met because we are many miles apart... I'm in Texas, and she's up in Maryland.

Valerie has been my modern day "pen pal" for a long time, so when she finally booked a flight to come visit me, I was thrilled!  We had written to each other for enough years that by the time we finally met face to face, I just felt like I was giving my long lost friend a hug.  Hanging out with her all weekend was never weird or awkward... It was just comfortable and was so much fun!

The day Valerie got in, we went to the Arboretum. And guess what?  It's that same time of year... "Dallas Blooms"!  If only we could have imagined, 9 years ago when she commented on my blog that first time, that we'd be going there together eventually it would have seemed pretty unlikely. But we did it!

We met up with my brother and Fermin for dinner-  Of course, we had to take Valerie out for Mexican food.  Valerie claims they have Mexican food up in Maryland, but I can't believe that's really true.  Regardless, if anyone comes to visit Texas, they're going to be subjected to Mexican food.  It's the law around here.  And it's the best law we have.

in case there was any confusion, THIS IS THE GRASSY KNOLL
The following day, we tried going to the 6th Floor Museum, aka the Dallas JFK Museum.  For some reason, it was way more crowded than I ever would have imagined.  The wait for the tour was too long, so we blew that off, and instead just looked at the infamous (and cheesy touristy) Grassy Knoll.  Like lots of other people, on a daily basis, I had to run out into the marked part of the street where Kennedy was shot back in 1963.  I started to panic as I saw the cars coming my way so I think I was screaming while the photo was being snapped...
i'm sort of in a hurry, as you can see

We ended up at the Dallas Museum of Arts- which by the way, as a bonus, is free! Free art for the people!  Yay!

Another day, we had a short visit to White Rock Lake, which is one of my favorite spots in Dallas- and I swear that sometimes, it's the reason I still live here.  I wish we had had time for a much longer walk while we were there... But at least Valerie got to see it, because I refer to it often. Plus we got this great picture of us while we were there...
Me and Valerie-- at White Rock Lake!
On the last night Valerie was here, we went and ate at our favorite Thai place with some of our best friends... We ended up at our neighborhood dive bar, Cocktails and Dancing.  I'm not saying that's what we were doing-- No, that's actually the name of this spot.  I love the vibe there but they have the cheapest (as in, shittiest) alcohol, which I mistakenly had too much of, because I had already mistakenly had too much wine.  I was no longer making responsible drinking decisions.  But it sure was fun!

During her visit to Dallas, we also had time for a quick trip to Northpark Mall, crepes at a new restaurant I'm in love with called Whisk, we came up with a jewelry project for some of her grandma's jewelry (a "before and after" blog on that will be coming soon!), she met one of my favorite neighbors and her two dogs, she met a few of my friends, and most importantly, she got to meet my little family of Fermin, Ricky and Lucy.
the fam

As I knew it would, Valerie's time in Dallas went too fast and I didn't feel ready when Sunday arrived, and it was time for her to fly back home. She stopped over to say goodbye on her way to the airport. But what kept me from feeling too sad was a. my hangover (I'm not kidding) and b. knowing that I'm going to get to visit her next. I can not wait!