The Flower Workshop by Ariella Chezar Book Review

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This book is beautiful. The images are crisp and colorful and inspire you to at least *try* to create an arrangement that is comparable. To be honest, I did try. Many times. And although they never quite turned out as robust or intricately positioned as the stunning images that served as my muse, I had fun trying. Also, my house smelled amazing! I had sprigs of this, stems of that, and random petals on the ground. It was a romantic looking mess.

I appreciated the tips on buying flowers on a budget. I would love to have fresh arrangements in my home on a constant, but stems can be expensive when bought from a supplier. Luckily, I’m not too far from a Trader Joe’s! There are also tips on foraging and a recipe guide on how to make a specific arrangement stating which “ingredients” are needed. That was fun for me since I LOVE cookbooks! The author also likens her approach to painting which I thought was an interesting and unique perspective.

Honestly, I loved this book. Even more, I love being able to have this book doll up my coffee table. It is a beautiful book that anyone can pick up, learn a trick or two, and enjoy. I am excited to have this book in my home as a reference for dinner parties, weddings, birthdays, etc. and believe I will get much use out of it throughout my life.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

 

It’s not called FAT – it’s called TRADITIONALLY BUILT!

  Sometimes there are books that come into your life that change you. In my case, it has been a series of books. They make you laugh, think, change. I am in love with The No. 1 Ladies  Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. My goodness they are so wonderful 🙂 It’s funny, actually, how they came into my life. When my husband and I were on our very first date, we decided to go to Barnes and Noble since we both love books. Since he is from Zambia, he was showing me some books about Africa to introduce me more to the culture. He told me I should read the first book from The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. To his surprise (and one of the ways I was able to snag him 😉 ) I bought the book that day. I am now on book 11 of the series and couldn’t love the stories or characters more. They remind you of a more simple life. A good life where enjoying a cup of tea with a friend is the highlight of your day. And they are FUNNY. Anyway, I’m going to start putting quotes on here from the books I am reading. The things that stick out to me so I can read and re-read them when I want to. 

Here are some from book 11 – Tea Time for the Traditionally Built:

“If we worried away at troublesome issues, we often only ended up making things worse. It was far better to let things sort themselves out.”

“There was much that could be said without speaking, especially amongst women. A glance, a movement of the head, a slight shift in pose – all of these could convey a message as eloquently, as volubly, as words might do.”

“You will learn one day, maybe soon, that what others do is never an excuse. Have you not heard of turning the other cheek?”

“You must never make a man feel that he is being told what to do. He will run away. I have seen that happen so many times.”

“Mma Ramotswe was always the first to arise in the morning, and she enjoyed the brief private time before the others would get up and start making demands of her.”

“There is plenty of work for love to do. Yes, there was breakfast to be made, letters to be answered…”

“…cars and vans were usually the preoccupation of men, while women thought of keeping families going, of the home, of making the world a bit more beautiful and comfortable, of the stemming of humanity’s tears.”

“Men will be boys….especially when it comes to sporting matters.”

“When we dismiss or deny the hopes of others, we forget that they, like us, have only one chance in this life.”

“He was not one for displays of emotion; he never had been, but it made his heart swell to be thanked by this woman who stood for so much in his eyes; who stood for kindness and generosity and understanding.”

“Visitors spent so much time peering through the viewfinders of their cameras that they never looked at the country they were photographing.”

So folks, I’m sad I didn’t start doing this with the very first book. This series truly has made me a better person. Or at least made me want to be a better person. Check them out and devour all of them. They will make you happy 🙂 Seriously. 

Hey there! I’m just here. Sparking joy. This is my Spark Joy book review.

When I saw this book was available for me to review, I was excited. ECSTATIC. Okay? I had read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and loved it with all my heart. While I have already been in the process of getting rid of things I don’t use, that book made me even more motivated. But this review is about Spark Joy, so let us begin…

I was expecting to be in love with this companion book. But I wasn’t. I don’t actually feel it was very necessary. One of the things I didn’t think was SUPER relevant in the first book was the way she insists on folding all of your clothes a certain way. To show them you care about them. Or something. Now, I DO care about my clothes. Honest, I do. Maybe I don’t tell them that enough, but we have talked about it, and they prefer being hung on a hanger. So…..yeah. I don’t feel like that makes my space any less “spark joy” worthy. In fact, I like being able to see them in all their glory, hung up at eye level.

A big chunk of this book is how to fold every different type of thing. So again, I don’t feel this book was as inspiring as the first. There were a few things in here that made an impact, especially the last chapter about making memories, but I truly feel it just doesn’t measure up to the first. Sorry, Marie Kondo. I still love your first book. Reading it is a good day, everyday.

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I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

 

 

Book Review – Liar, a memoir…by Rob Roberge

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I think I liked this book? I’m still not quite sure. I do know it was hard to put down. Yet, I’m not sure how I feel about the content. After finishing it, I had the hardest time starting my review. I’ve never had a book that I was so into that left me so…..speechless. Raw, really.

This is a very dark, depressing, blunt book. With that said, you end up caring so much about the author that you’re almost mad at him for living a life like this when you know he is capable of so much more.

The almost diary like memory blurbs are a very clever way to structure the story. The way the author jumps from 1984 to 2013 and then back to 1976 gives you a small glimpse of how his mind must work – rapid firing and quite jumbled. Writing in second person also makes the story seem intensely intimate. Relatable. Even though you know you’ve never had a life that resembles ANY of this. Or have you? Has he? Or is all of this something he has told himself for so long in his (not always so frequent) moments of clarity that it has now become his truth? The past, after all, is just a story we tell ourselves. Is that why this book is titled “Liar”?

In any event, it makes for an interesting read. It gives the reader a better understanding of addiction and mental illness. In Roberge’s case, I’m wondering: which came first? The addictions or the mental illness? They both started at such a young age.

If these stories are in fact true and this is his attempt to write down the things he remembers for fear he may one day have no memory at all, I am heart broken that 90% of his life was so devastatingly dark. This is what he remembers. With that said, he is inspiring and I am truly amazed he is still alive to tell this story.

Links for more information about this book and the author:

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Author Bio

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

Book Review – So, Anyway… by John Cleese

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Let me start off by saying I LOVE John Cleese. Love him so much. My husband had gotten a sample of this book on his Kindle and seemed to like the sample. So, naturally, I was very excited to see this as an option for me to review! With that now off my chest, I didn’t LOVE this book 😦

As I’m sure is the case for most of us that were born AFTER 1980, I know John Cleese best from the Monty Python shows. I was disappointed that his days as a “Python” are not talked about much at all in this autobiography. Looking at it now, I was silly to assume that most of the book would be about such a short period of his life – 15 years max. But my goodness was I hoping. There are, however, plenty of hilarious little one liners in this book to keep it going that had me laughing out loud.

While the rest of his life was definitely interesting, I feel there were a lot of stories, tangents, rabbit-trails that could have been omitted to make the book a tad smaller. This is quite a long book. I hate to say that towards the end, I wasn’t dying to pick it up and finish it. The more pages I read, the more I realized that this book would not chronicle Monty Python in nearly as much detail as I hoped for.

I know that John Cleese is talented and recognized outside of Monty Python, and I am grateful to this book for helping me realize just how many other projects he had been involved in. Even though I didn’t recognize the names of a lot of the people he talked about (who were quite famous back then) it DID get me excited to look up some of the sketches that were mentioned. It also gave me a much greater understanding of one of my favorite comedy writers of all time which helps me to enjoy Monty Python all the more.

I just cannot give this book 3 stars. I can’t seem to do that to someone I’ve loved since childhood. I now feel like I know him more intimately and can appreciate his work more greatly. So, I must give my favorite Python 4 stars. It was nice meeting you, John Cheese.

 

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

More about this book and about John Cleese:

Because I’m ornery.

It started like any other day. I woke up on the right side of the bed. So, that can’t be it. I drank my coffee, ate my hardboiled egg, and exactly one cutie. And some other things.

Work has been steady-busy. So it isn’t lack of mental stimulation that has me wanting to crawl into bed and sleep for the next three weeks.

Sometimes I get this way. I decide I need to get a large Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks. And start a fight with the barista over the plain red cup. Even though I don’t care at all. Because ornery.

Anyway. Riveting. I know.

 

 

Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today. Blogging 101 Day 11

I was getting a pedicure and thoroughly enjoying myself and my cup of coffee. I was completely oblivious to the sound of my phone vibrating in my purse. I was getting married today! Nothing could bring me down.

After getting pampered, I checked my phone to see who dared to try and bother me in my moment of bliss. It was the woman at my venue, coldly informing me that I needed to “call her right away”.

I knew immediately that they had double booked the venue. My wonderful secluded park with the beautiful aspen trees that were shedding their brilliant yellow leaves. Park City. One of my favorite cities and where I would say “I do” to the love of my life.

I was right! They had double booked my wedding venue and I was informed I would have to now share the park with 80 strangers who were having a work luncheon. 80 more people?!? Work luncheon?!? We had intentionally kept our wedding invite list short. No more than 30 people were attending. But now there would be 80 people I didn’t even know. I was fuming. We had been dreaming of having a very small and intimate ceremony with family and VERY close friends. My husband’s family would not be able to make it from England and Zambia, so we thought it best to have a small gathering and then have a big celebration with them when we make it to Zambia. How would they feel knowing there were people there we didn’t even know? I was heartbroken.

I called Miss Venue Lady back and gave her a large piece of my mind. She was very apologetic and said she’d “see what she could do”.

With only 4 hours until showtime, and after begging the luncheon havers to move their festivities to another park, Miss Venue Lady came through and saved the day! However, she was also the one who had ruined it, so I don’t want to give TOO much credit where too much credit is most certainly NOT due.

The rest of our wedding day went off without a hitch. Thank the heavens! It was beautiful weather (we were anticipating rain!) and beautiful company. The only thing we both would have changed is if we had been able to have his entire family there with us. We missed them terribly.

All of this to say, I would love to relive that day again and again. I can only pray that everyone else in the world will get to have a day like that. This post is my response to this prompt.

 

Wrestling with Hope+Contentment. Thoughts?

Lately, I have been so consumed with the idea of contentment. I have read many great articles and blogs on the subject. One of the best you can find here. I often feel that contentment is something that most people WANT to achieve, however, they go about it all the wrong ways. It is a constant…

“Yes, as soon as I get (fill in the blank) everything will be OK and I will finally be content”

I read a great post by eclecticaffect about hope. I loved the post and it got me thinking.

Can you be content but also have hope? Hope that things will be different someday? It boggled me a bit. I have been chasing after contentment (which is already going about contentment the wrong way. But how can you achieve contentment unless you’re discontented with being discontent? Hmmm…you see? Mind boggling)

I believe that you can. I am starting to realize that contentment is great for the individual but maybe quite dangerous for the world. I want to be content with the material things I already possess. Be content with who I am. But I am not content with all the shootings in the US, the wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq…the Boko Haram Insurgency, etc.

I hope that being content with all that I have will help me to more readily see the needs of others. If I’m not content, I am too focused on what I want. What I feel I “need”. I don’t NEED the new iPhone. Others need clean drinking water.

I pray that my search for contentment and also my eventual contentment with myself and my surroundings will never make me blind to the plight of others.

Obviously, I am still working this out in my own mind. I would love to hear everyone’s opinions on this! What do you think?

9000 sheep. And I think Coca Cola Freestyle should hire me. 

One week down with Blogging 101! Has been fun so far, but I am still testing the Internet waters to see how warm they are. If I can trust it. I tend to still write in my handy dandy notebook (my moleskine). It’s safe and comfortable. And the sound of my pen moving across the paper inspires me somehow. I’m trying to convince myself that the tapping of my thumbs on my small iPhone keyboard have the same magical ability. I’m getting there 🙂

C (I’m calling my husband that. It may seem so 2005 to not name your spouse in your blog, but again, I’m testing the waters)

Anyway…

C decided a 10:30 showing of the new James Bond movie would be a good idea last night.

I’ve been (purposely) sound asleep by 10:00 every night for a month. I have enjoyed my blissful 9 hours of sleep each night and the feeling of restfulness that greets me with a metaphoric smile and a cup of coffee the next morning. However, he LOVES James Bond. He has even been listening to all the past James Bond theme songs for the last week to ready himself for this opening night. I didn’t want to disappoint him, so I decided to prepare myself. I would just take a 3 hour nap BEFORE the movie. Easy peasy!

It was all planned and set. C even made dinner and brought it in to me at 6:30 sharp. I needed to be asleep by 7:00, so being served dinner in bed was necessary…… Duh! (He is the best) ten minutes to 7:00, C kindly left the room so I could begin my sleep marathon. I fell asleep at approximately 7:03. And slept and slept until…..

Drumroll!

7:28.

Now, anyone who knows me knows I.CAN.SLEEP. I didn’t think this 3 hour nap would be my Everest. So, a little embarrassed by my pathetic power nap, I shut my eyes again and tried to force myself back to dreamland.

I counted the crap out of those sheep.

All 9000 of them.

I had failed miserably. So, I got up, gulped down some strong black coffee, created a new Coca-Cola Freestyle mix (cleverly named musey-goosey), put my big girl pants on, and left to face my destiny. I just knew I would be doing the fall asleep head bobbing for the next 2 1/2 hours.

BUT, I managed! I stayed awake the entire time. I don’t think C has ever been more proud of me. I was the super cool wife who goes with her husband to see James Bond at 10:30 on imax! Wa wa woo wa.

Now, I am enjoying my lazy Saturday with my lazy Mia. The air outside is crisp and smells of wet leaves and all things pumpkin spice. It’s begging me to make some coffee and take a drive up one of the beautiful canyons. Nowhere does Fall the way Utah does. I dare you to argue that.


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A Mia bum. She is trying to soak up as much sun as possible before winter comes.

For real. HOW ARE YOU? Counting this as Blogging 101 Day 4. It’s allowed I think.

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about why I decided to start a blog. I mentioned that I wanted to have an answer if someone were to ask “What’s new?”

For whatever reason, that has been in my head since I posted it. I want my answer to that question to be interesting. I want to be interesting. But I feel quite selfish because the question that has been haunting me the last few days is:

WHY DO I NEVER ASK THAT QUESTION TO OTHER PEOPLE?

Honestly ask them. Sure, I will ask the obligatory “how have you been?” But do I really sit and listen to what they have to say? Really listen? It actually broke my heart to realize that no, I don’t ask that question and ready myself for a long answer. I expect the quick “I’m great!” and am taken aback if I get anything longer than a 2-3 word answer. It’s as though we are all conditioned to have small niceties with each other and to NEVER invest too much of ourselves or our time in other people. Heaven forbid! I am too busy and can’t be bothered to listen for too long.

I don’t want to be that way anymore. From now on, I hope I make people feel important whenever I interact with them. Not absent-minded while they’re telling me about how sick their dog is, or even while they’re listing every single ingredient from their dinner last night.

Let’s just be nice from now on. And care about people again, shall we?

On another note, I didn’t post anything for Blogging 101 Day 4 yesterday. So I’m counting this as my post. I still have no idea who my target audience is. But it’s you! Whoever is reading this! Welcome and I love you. By the way, HOW ARE YOU?!

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