Monday, July 29, 2013

Mondays Made Lazy

Some days are about discovering yourself, about big pivotal moments in your life that defines you or points you in certain directions. And some days are about simply enjoying life, just take the day and making it yours. That is this Monday. I slept in, had lunch with Keenan, went thrifting and got this AWESOME teacup. (Seriously, I cant get over how awesome it is and after some minor researching I guess it comes from Anthropologie. Who would have guessed? ).
Later on dinner with friends and and I will be curling up with a good book. A perfect lazy summer day. 
Tomorrow is D and I's anniversary  Two Years. And almost Six together. Where does the time go? I feel like it as yesterday I was marrying D in front of our friends and family. 

I have been quiet on the blog but that isn't because I havent been around, actually the opposite. I have been working hard on something kinda crazy and hopefully soon I can share it with you! 

So Today is about a simple day with D and hanging out with friends. 

In honor of our anniversary here is the song that was played for our first dance.

Hearts and Sunshine friends! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Inspiration: The Stories We Tell

On Sunday, after a pleasant breakfast with D, we hit up the last day of an estate sale in Pocatello. I try to hit up each estate sale that I can find in Pocatello and usually I will get some things here or there, nothing too crazy. But yesterday as I walked into the basement of this house, D had found this stereo. It was a 1950s era stereo/record player. After plugging it in and testing out I knew I couldn't part with it. Plus it was only $25. I mean really. How I could say no? 

See, I have this thing for old things. It could be because of my history degree, or it could be growing up running around thrift stores and junk yards, it could be a lot of things. But what I think about the most when dealing with these old things, I often wonder what the story is behind something. 

What stories does this record player tell?

Does it paint the picture of a family sitting around and listening the radio as JFK was shot? As the event  unfolded? Did they listen to accounts of what was going on during the Vietnam war? Or by that time was it only a piece of furniture that was put away due to the popularity of the televisions? Was it used to listen to music when the kids went to bed and the parents sat and reminiscence about how difficult it was to be apart during World War II? Did it play The Beatles as they become on of the biggest bands ever? Or did it play the old tunes of different eras before it was even made? 

I look at this piece and wish I could turn on the radio and have it tell me these stories. 

The stories we tell shape who we are. I try to live my life to the fullest and I want my stories to be ones that are told often. I want my stories to make a difference in this world. Maybe one day when this record player lands into someone's else house it will tell the stories of the life I lived. The love and loss and joy and heartbreak  The times when music filled our place and it was complimented with laughter  The times when music played as it consoled us during difficult times. The stories I tell. Take note of your story and think about the story you want the world to know. 

If these walls could talk, right? 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Inspiration: Simply

Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position, or prestige. It is discovered in goodness, humility, service, and character
Humboldt Redwood State Park, Northern CA

When we were camping in the Redwoods, the trees were giants  Hence why they called it the Avenue of Giants. You were only a small tiny person in a forest of huge trees. It felt like you were shrunk in this mystical forest. A tiny person in such a large area.

The last week took a lot out of me. With two jobs, the heat, long days and other responsibilities  it become easy to turn cranky and annoyed with everything. It's that time in summer where I quickly get sick of working all the time. I look forward to the day when I won't have to be at work at 10 at night.
Sometimes you feel like you are only a tiny person in a huge forest and you feel overwhelmed with it all. I often find myself overwhelmed with everything going on but then I remember I have a supportive husband and great friends. That I can ask for help or just someone to listen to me complain and give me booze. 

It's really the simple things. In the craziness of the long hot summer days, I am only thinking of the simple things. 

A song that keeps getting played this last week :) 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Review and Author Interview: Just Breathe by Rachel Brookes

Rachel Brookes just realsed her debut novel Just Breathe and not only did I get to read her debut book but I also got to do a interview with her. 
Blurb from Goodreads: 

For Savannah Rae, living life without her parents was unimaginable. But being blamed for her first love’s suicide? That destroyed every part of who she was. Gone were the days of innocence, happiness, and dreams. Now her days simply meant attempting to survive. In her mind, her only means for that was replacing her grief with men, booze and the fast life. And for five years, it worked. When an opportunity to leave the nightmares of her past in Australia opens up, she takes it. Los Angeles beckons - with hopes of late nights, new beginnings, and the promise of a string of endless men to distract her, she can’t wait to dive in. One thing she didn’t count on was meeting her match. In the eyes of outsiders, Tate Connors has it all; the ultimate LA bachelor who is content with his lifestyle of wild nights, women and one night stands. He's Mr. Unpredictable with looks that could destroy any woman with one glance. The craziness of Los Angeles throws them into the chaotic path of each other. Savannah becomes the perfect game, and Tate becomes the ultimate prey. Lines are crossed, emotions are smashed, and the idea of who they truly are begins to be tangled. However, one thing will become clear. They are more alike than either one could ever have imagined.

Sav is an Australian coming to LA to find a new path and right in the middle of that path is Tate Connors. Oh hey there hot guy. Don't mind if I do. :) Sav has really met her match with Tate and I loved that. This debut book is a great story of new exciting places and trying to find out where you belong.

"Tequila, shoes and guys were my weaknesses"

There were a lot of great things in this book: Tate and Sav both seemed to have figured it out, or at least figured out what will chase the demons away. When they first meet they butt heads but they soon find that they work well together. What I also loved was the side characters in this book. Jack and Tanzi were great, and the dialogue between them a bit snarky with a dash of love mixed in.

'You're the greatest challenge Ill have, Savannah." 

Sometimes I would get frustrated with Sav but I understand that this is all new to her and it could very well be overwhelming. The ending I didn't see coming and I was a little bit offish about Tate and his reaction. I just hope that he figures it out. It seemed that Sav grew a lot in this book, but Tate still has a long road. He might have fallen in love but that doesn't always fix every problem. I am interested to see how it plays out from here.


1.  Where did the idea of Just Breathe come from?

I have had the idea for a while now and I want to write a book that shows that sometimes life isn’t easy and life throws you into circumstances and situations where you either sink or swim but ultimately it’s your decision. Just Breathe is about just that… making the decision whether to sink or swim and knowing that if you give it a chance you can find sunshine after the storm. Your destiny is in your hands.

2. Did you ever envision yourself being a writer?

I have always loved to write whether it was letters, lyrics and poetry and I remember writing countless short stories when I was younger. I have always had a dream to be a writer and I am overwhelmed that I can now call myself one. It’s crazy.

3.  How much of yourself did you put in this book? The characters?

There are certain emotions and situations that Sav found herself in that I can relate to. I tried to make the story as relatable as I could and I hope that came across. Certain characteristics from the supporting characters… I definitely have a Tanzi in my life and I know someone who reminds me of Mr. Davenport.

4.  What is the biggest misconception Americans have of Australians?

It’s pretty funny about the whole kangaroo thing.

5.  If you were Sav and had to tell Tate the five most quintessential things that are Australian, what would they be?

Australian humour
Tim Tams
Aussie sport

6.    Did you have your story plotted out or did you find yourself listening to the characters and having them write this story?

I knew how the story was going to start and I had an idea of how it would finish but I let the characters decide where the story was going. Sav and Tate are both such strong characters that I needed to let them take me to their story.

7.   What music was playing when you were writing Just Breathe?

I created a playlist for Just Breathe that I constantly listened to… it had songs from a whole bunch of different artists… a few aussie artists thrown in. Everything from silverchair to Rihanna, Paramore to Incubus, Missy Higgins to The Pretty Reckless. The playlist can be found here: Just Breathe by Rachel Brookes

Rapid Fire

8. Favorite place in the whole world? My family go camping at a place where there is no electricity, fresh water creeks, no phone reception… that’s my favorite place in the world.
9. Favorite author/ book? My favorite author would be Abbi Glines. I can’t pick one favorite book, I seriously have SO many.
11. The one thing you never leave the house without? lipgloss

12. Favorite guilty pleasure? Chocolate pizza… two of my favorite things combined as one

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Book Review: Left Drowning by Jessica Park

*I received an Advanced Reading Copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Left Drowning comes out July 16, 2013. Preorder it ----> Here

Blurb from Goodreads: 

What does it take to rise from life’s depths, swim against the current, and breathe? Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning. *This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content. Note: due to mature content recommended for Ages 17+


I am so impressed with this book. I liked Flat Out Love. But Left Drowning? Brilliant.

"You are the great love of my life that I'm never going to have." 

When I was reading this book I kept thing about the idea of Happenstance. One of my courses in my MPA program was about policy and my professor would always say Policy is not happens and I find that I can apply this logic in different areas of life. This book was about happenstance. It was about how people are connected in ways that don't have easy explanations. It was about what family means and how it is more than just blood related. There are moments you look back at your life and you see shifts that change things. Park shows that so many times in this book. That split decisiosn will affect you for life, in good and bad times. Families are those who love you and give you strength and really the binds of our life paint a picture that tells an amazing story.

"There is no set patter to grief, despite what every stupid psych text has told me. There is no time frame that dictates when and how you'll feel what you feel. You just get to deal with hell however, and whenever, it hits you."

On that note, Jessica Park you are amazing when writing family connections and relationships. Seriously. I was so impressed with the family in this book. These siblings went through something fierce and they have their own demons to deal with. Add Blythe into this mix of siblings and you have this perfect chaotic family.

"Being with you let me feel, feel everything, and I needed that. I remembered better with you, I healed better with you, and you made everything real."

I loved Blythe and Christopher  There were moments in this book where the emotion these two bring left me in a puddle of tears. I was so broken up in different parts of this book as the mystery behind everything came together, piece by piece. They drew strength from each other to keep their heads above water and together they found love, compassion, and a sense of content.

"You have been my sanctuary this year. You saved me. Do you know that? You save me. and I wish that you would let me save you." 

Overall, this book is one full of emotion and happenstance. A story of finding your way and the people who join you on this trip. It is a story of letting go of the past and moving on with your future, swimming to shore instead of being left drowning.

My song for this book: The Fire by Ben Howard 

(One of his earlier songs) 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Inpsiration: My open letter to Pocatello

Dear Pocatello,

You're kind of weird.
But that's ok. I still like you.

Sincerely, A citizen of the Gateway To The West 

During my internship I was walking around the Old Town part on Hayes St. I came across this street that was hidden away but had a "industrial greenway" attached to it. (see Picture below) and I was like. What? I really wanted to see what this greenway was but I was working and so I continued with my project at work. On Sunday D and I decided to go on a bike ride and I was like, lets see what this who "industrial greenway" is about. We rode our bikes over to this part of the town, finding more of the greenway I didn't even know existed  to finally get to the part I had seen while working. I was excited to see what the city of Pocatello had done. I had hopes that they were mixing Pocatello's industrial past with it's future of a greener city. What I found? A path that was less than 1/4 of mile long before it abruptly stopped.
That was it?
Pocatello has the potential to really be great. It is a university town and, I think at least, a bit more diverse than surrounding towns (Idaho Falls, Rexburg<---Duh). Pocatello is great outdoor areas, amazing trails and is close by to some sweet recreational areas. still seems like a town that is behind. Take for example this greenway. There is was this short 1/4 mile strip, then on the other side of the Portnuef River (which, don't even get me started on our cement box of a river) is a pretty tree lined bikeway. The paved lane one over is boarded by a trailer park.

Different faces of Pocatello board each other and they don't really mesh well. Each town has a "bad" part, that is a given but Pocatello is more like a whole town that needs a facelift. But how does one do that? Pocatello, in many ways, is still an industrial town. While plants have closed (and become Superfund sites, hooray) there is still a thriving railroad population. I say that if you live in Pocatello, you somehow live by the trains. Where we live, the trains are about 300 feet away from our front door, but I wouldn't say that we live in the bad part, but the train is everywhere in this city.

A solution? Or just a general direction? Embrace our industrial past and incorporate it into the future of the city. I guess that was what the city hoped for in the "industrial greenway" was just to do that. But I see a city stilled in development and growth and I hope the future of Pocatello is a little bit brighter. I couldn't honestly go on about the issues of the city and in the six years since I have moved here, there has been some great changes. I hope that in the future Pocatello can move towards being the city it deserves to be.  Below are pictures of our little bike ride.

Industrial Greenway

Industrial Greenway 

The end of said Greenway. 

The other side, a bit more green

The drastic difference on the sides of the river. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

so you want to be a indie rock/folk duet...

There was a boy and there was a girl, 
And together they made music. 
Check out below these dynamic duets. 

Ok so this more of a band BUT there is generally only a guy and girl who sing so I am putting them in this category. Stars is Canadian band who has been putting albums out for over ten years now. My introduction to Stars was at one my most favorite place in the whole world : The Record Exchange in Boise. Back then I was still buying CDs in 2007. I was visiting for the weekend and I picked up this CD on a whim. Best Random CD Purchase EVER. That sunday I had to work at noon so I woke up at 7am in Boise after only a few hours of sleep and drove home with the sun rising and In Our Bedroom After the War playing. Some of their songs have bit of a groovy vibe to them. The songs are catchy and this is a CD I can listen to over and over again. My top three songs: My Favourite Book, The Ghost of Genova Hights, Soft Revolution

The Weepies is a married magical musical talented couple with soft songs and quiet lyrics. Putting music out since 2003, each album is amazing. This couple met, got married, had a baby, and produced great music. Living the dream if I must say. My top three songs: Living in Twilight, Painting by Chagall, World Spins Madly On. 

The real question here is who Doesn't know The Civil Wars. Even m husband the other day said that someone on WOW (world of warcraft) recommended them to him. HA! They are most famous for the song they did with Taylor Swift that was featured on the Hunger Games. I have also heard their music used in numerous books and they are on many authors playlist (including my own). A mix of country/folk/indie these two create music that hits many different groups of people. My top three songs: I've Got This Friend, Poison and Wine, Falling 

I am a HUGE Zooey Deschanel fan. I love her in 500 Days of Summer and New Girl and I love her as part of She and Him, which is Zooey and M.Ward. So when she sings in that rich throaty voice songs that make you think of going to a sock hop or groovy tunes of the past, I am completely happy. This girl has got it going on and M. Ward isn't too shabby either. My top three songs: Thieves, I Thought I Saw Your Face Today, Baby 

Who is your favorite indie duet?? 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Book Tour: Come Alive by Karina Halle

Today I am part of the Come Alive blog tour which is the 7th book in the Experiment in Terror books featuring your favorite Dex and Perry (and that Ginger Douche)
Check out my review below!!

Title: Come Alive
Author: Karina Halle
Release date: June 23, 2013
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Horror
Age Group: General adult 17 +

Blurb from Goodreads:

It’s one thing to bring the woman you love back into your life. It’s another to try and keep her there. For Dex Foray, con­vinc­ing Perry Palomino to open her­self to their bur­geon­ing rela­tion­ship has been more chal­leng­ing than hunt­ing ghosts, bat­tling demons and stalk­ing Sasquatch com­bined. Add in the fact that the only way they can keep their Exper­i­ment in Ter­ror show run­ning is to take on a third part­ner in the form of the mys­te­ri­ous Max­imus Jacobs — all while inves­ti­gat­ing a sin­is­ter voodoo sect in New Orleans — and you’ve got the per­fect South­ern storm and a recipe for dis­as­ter. Luck­ily, Dex has never been one to back down, even when his life –and heart — are on the line. Come Alive is told from Dex’s POV


While you are all sitting on your couch with your ice cream and tissues crying over Noah and Alli (the Notebook) I am chilling with a beer and laughing my ass off with Dex and Perry.

I think I win.

I read this book in one sitting and the newest installment of the EIT books did not disappoint,  I mean how could it, it is told in Dex's POV and we all love getting in Dex's head. There were so many things that are going for this book, so like any good college student I am going to bullet point the awesomeness below.

1. Dex's POV. Not only to do we get to see Dex in all of his glory and dirty mouth we get to see his softer aside as well. The side that loves Perry and doesn't want to let her go.  I melted so times as I got to see how much Dex loves Perry. Noah and Alli have nothing on Dex Foray.

"But like the most beautiful ghosts, soon Perry appeared at the foot of my bed, her spirit shattering my fear, her body shattering my resolve." 

2. New Orleans. Personally, I have been fascinated with this city since I was in high school. I got to go there in 2007 I loved it. The mystery and history behind this city is rich, deep, and complicated so it was a perfect setting for this book. The story Halle writes in here scared the crap out of me. I havent been this scared this D'Arcy island.

"I realized it didn't mean anything without Perry my my side. She was my reason for living. She was the reason I'd come alive in the first place." 

3.The drama. Oh my word. There was a time I had to walk away because I KNEW what was going to happen and I just didn't even think my heart could take it. I had to flip to the back to make sure everything would be ok. While I was bummed to not see Ada in this book and I did get some answers and I dont know if I liked them. JUST when you think that things are going to go well for Dex and Perry, it is again, full of road blocks. I mean its not the bitch Jenn. That slutty bitch of a roadblock is gone, but still.

"Baby, we are both crazy. That's why we're made for each other." 

4. Overall, another great adventure for Dex and Perry and I can't wait for more of their (albeit creepy scary) adventures! and I cant wait for Ada's book. I was even happy to see a certain Ginger get, well not a HEA, but something.

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About the Author

The daughter of a Norwegian Viking and a Finnish Moomin, Karina Halle grew up in Vancouver, Canada with trolls and eternal darkness on the brain. This soon turned into a love of all things that go bump in the night and a rather sadistic appreciation for freaking people out. Like many of the flawed characters she writes, Karina never knew where to find herself and has dabbled in acting, make-up artistry, film production, screenwriting, photography, travel writing and music journalism. She eventually found herself in the pages of the very novels she wrote (if only she had looked there to begin with).

Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she's preparing for the zombie apocalypse. 
Karina is represented by Scott Waxman of the Waxman Leavell Literary Agency

Author social media links: