Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Scale With Style

Disclosure: I received this scale in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received. 

I love fun little gadgets, so when I was contacted about review the Ozeri Rev Digital Bathroom Scale I was all over it. While I hate actually knowing how much I weigh, I love having a stylish scale in the bathroom. When it arrived i was surprised by how lightweight it was. It's super thin and light, which makes it easy to move around. I tend to keep the scale next to the bathroom counter, but slide it out with my foot when I want to weigh myself. With my old scale I had to really shove at it to get it where I want it. This bad boy glides right out. 

The thing I like most about this scale is how cool it looks. It's like the dashboard of a fancy car with a dial that lights up and displays your weight both with the needle and as a digital display. It's just more fun to use then you would think a scale would be (yes, I realize that makes me super weird, I'm cool with that). Another cool feature (that I haven't really used) is that you can set an alarm on it that reminds you to weigh yourself at the same time every day. It can also weigh up to 400 pounds... but I plan on never weighing enough to test that feature out. The scale runs on AAA batteries which are easy to replace and automatically shuts off to preserve battery life when not in use. 

If only this scale could make me weigh 10 pounds less... then it would be perfect. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Pros and Cons of an (almost) 2 year old

Fynn's at an... interesting age. An age full of ups and downs. Of moments where she's driving me nuts quickly followed by a moment in which she melts my heart.

Pro: She can talk
A lot of the time Fynn can tell us what she wants or needs. She can't always say the words exactly, but she had enough words to communicate and help us understand. This reduces the guessing game followed by a flip out when we don't guess correctly.

Con: She can TALK
Alas, it also means that she goes on and on and I have to decipher the combination of English and baby talk. Since we can often figure it out, she expects us to figure it out. She also talk, and talks, and talks. I shouldn't be surprised, clearly she takes after me... but her incessant talking gets in the way of my incessant talking!

Pro: She's mobile
She no longer relies on me to get to point B. If she wants something she can go get it herself instead of yelling and pointing for it. It also means that she can do fun things like ride a bike or play in the yard. 

Con: She's mobile 
This also means that I can't put her on a blanket in the middle of the living room and assume she'll be there when I'm done getting a glass of water. The girl can move, and that means I'm often running around like a madwoman trying to keep an eye on her and get other things done at the same time. 

Pro: She can play by herself
It's a beautiful thing when she discovers that she can build a tower of blocks or color a picture by herself. While I love doing things with her, it's sometimes nice to have her entertain herself so I can do something productive or (more likely) be lazy.

Con: She usually doesn't

Pro: Toddler sleep
Some people may disagree with this one, but for us toddler sleep is a vast improvement over infant sleep. Fynn was up 1-7 times a night up until almost a year and took unpredictable and often short naps. These days she sleeps from 7-5:30/6 and will take a 3 hour nap at home. While getting up at 5:30 on the weekend sucks (for Drew, he's usually nice enough to let me sleep in), it's much better than being up all night

Con: Those nights she's up several times are even more painful now that I'm not used to them. 

Pro: She has a sense of humor
This kid has personality and know how to make jokes. She constantly has us cracking up with her antics and she LOVES being the center of attention.

Con: She can also flip her lid for no apparent reason
She can ask for milk and when I give it to her she busts out sobbing like I just handed her poison. She'll be fine and laughing and all of a sudden cross her arms and tell me "no Mama".

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 2014 Ipsy

*This post contains referral links. Use them, I'll be eternally grateful

Blog fail. My Ipsy bag came last week (Friday I think, might have been Saturday) and I've just been a mess of busy and haven't gotten around to sharing what I got. I blame it on 12 hours spent on the way to, at, and home from my BIL's graduation, painting 5 million miles of trim around the house, craziness at work, and yesterday's 10 hour field trip. I'm just plain wiped and haven't even had a chance to look at my Ipsy bag until today, let alone blog about it.

This month's theme was Beauty's Fresh Picks and was all about natural beauty products. This month I actually felt like the theme carried throughout and made sense with all the products. The bag is cute, but I don't love the material it's made out of. It's a rough, almost like burlap material. I noticed the other day that I have been using all my Ipsy bags, even the ones I didn't particularly like. Some organize hair accessories, some make up, and a couple even organize Fynn's stuff. They're really the perfect size for so many different uses. 

Hang Ten Classic Sport SPF 50 (~$2 for a 1 oz sample size)
I love these little sample sizes of sunscreen. Perfect for keeping my my work bag, diaper backpack or even my pocket. As a fair skinned blonde that burns from looking out the window on a cloudy day, sunblock is a must. I love that this is paraben free, and doesn't have any synthetic fragrances in it. I wasn't sure what un-chemically scented sunscreen would smell like, but it smells REALLY good. Fresh and clean and not like normal sunscreen, but it a good way. It doesn't hurt that the bottle is really cute too.

Olive Natural Beauty Lip Balm in Refreshing Rosemary ($5.95)
I love the scent of this. It's classic and subtle. I don't know if I love how it feels. It's not bad, not sticky or tacky, but it just feels a little oily to me. That said, I've actually used it several times since opening it, so clearly I don't hate it. 

Pacifica Mineral Eyeshadow Duo in Duo 2- Moonbeam and Unicorn ($3.95)

I like the colors on this, they're subtle natural colors that I would actually wear. You've got to love the names of them too; moonbeam and unicorn? Kills me. It's also really smooth feeling eyeshadow. I'm not psyched about this only because I've gotten so many nice eyeshadows through Ipsy that I never end up wearing. I need to make a point of wearing eyeshadow more often just so I can make use of all these great shadows. 

Derma e Microdermabrasion Scrub (~$15 for this 1 oz sample)

I've never tried a microdermabrasion scrub, so I was excited to see this in my bag, I can't wait to try it out. When I think of microdermabrasion, I always think of harsh chemicals and unpronounceable ingredients, but this uses Dead Sea salt, volcanic sand, and grapeseed oil to clear skin, remove oils, and removed dead skin cells. These are the kinds of products that make me love Ipsy because I get to try things like this that I would never have bought on my own.

Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask ($12)
My hair has been a hot mess lately (what's new?) so I'm looking forward to trying this since it claims to "condition, repair, and strengthen dry, damaged hair". Yes, please! It also says it will increase hair's strength and elasticity. Sounds like a winner if it works. It smells really, REALLY good, so even if it's a halfway decent conditioner I'll still like it because it will make my hair smell good.

This month's Ipsy bag was worth about $38.90, a steal for a bag I spend only $10 a month on, including shipping and handling. That $38.90 doesn't include the bag itself. I honestly have no idea how Ipsy even makes money... I'm assuming many of the product samples are given to them to promote different companies/products because if they paid even half price for these products they would still be losing money. Anyway, if you're considering Ipsy, do it! So worth it, lots of fun to try new products and of course you can always use my referral link :) 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Social

1. What is your best summer memory as a kid?
My sister and I used to have lemonade stands with our next door neighbors all summer long. I think we made about $5 a summer, but we had a ton of fun and even created our own "business" to promote our stand.

2. What is your favorite summer drink?

My DD iced tea... yeah, I drink it year round, but I LOVE to have it in the summer. 

3. What is your favorite summer TV show?

4. What is the best outdoor summer activity?

The pool or the beach. Sun and water, the perfect combination. 

5. What are your summer vacation essentials?

A bathing suit, towel and a good book to read... oh yeah, and someone to watch the baby for me so I can enjoy it :) 

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Tomorrow my baby bro turns 18.

This makes feel both old, and nostalgic at the same time. With a 10 year age gap, this kid has always felt more like my child; my baby, than my younger brother. I took care of him as a kid, and have seen him grow into a smart, witty, and rather good-looking young man. 

Boogs, I know you don't read my blog, but Happy Birthday kid. I can't believe how fast you've grown (or how old that makes me feel). I love our awkward conversations, way-too-similar sense of humor, and the way we can make fun of Abby together.

You've become a great student, a hilarious brother and an adorably sweet uncle. I'm so proud of you kid- don't screw it up.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The overnight issue

Hi, my name's Amanda. I have an almost 2 year old, who's never spent the night away from me. 

I've had offers, oh have I had offers. My mom and Drew's mom have offered a bajillion and a half times each. Drew's friend from work who we run with has offered. Other random friends have offered.

But for some reason we I haven't pulled the trigger.

It started off innocently enough. I didn't feel comfortable having her spend the night somewhere while we were still nursing. It meant that she would have that comfort if she needed/wanted it, and I would end up pumping- which totally cancels out the relaxation of a night away from the baby. So we waited.

Once she weaned, I still didn't feel right about it, but of course I had a different reason. The kid doesn't sleep. I felt too guilty about depriving someone else of their sleep just so I could get some of my own. So we waited.

Then the offers stopped for awhile. I think people were just so tired of me coming up with excuses that they gave up. Well, that's about when I started to feel like I needed a night without her. 

Now she's 22 months old. Mommy need a good night's sleep. A night that doesn't include hearing her kick the side of her crib as she rolls over, yells for snuggles at 2 am or wakes up rearing to go for the day at 5:30. After 22 (+9) months of crappy sleep, I'm ready.

I just need to make a plan. And not over think it. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Being able to run 4 miles does not mean you're in shape

I got cocky last weekend. Overly comfortable with my physical abilities and I overestimated myself. The conversation went something like this (obvs my inner dialogue is in pink):

Oh, Amanda, you're awesome. You can run 4 miles (at once!) and feel great afterwards. Clearly you're ready for a challenge. Why don't you pop in Jillian's Michael's Yoga Meltdown DVD? Even better, kick it up to level 2... you're in too good of shape to wuss around at level 1.

Awesome idea Amanda, let's do that!

Cue 40 minutes of sweating and grunting followed by about 20 minutes of feeling like a rockstar.

And then the 'ish hit the fan. 

Holy mother of all that is sore and painful. My entire body ached. Every muscle felt like it had been put through the ringer because, well, it had. If you know my homegirl JM, you know her workouts are no joke, and I tumbled through a level 2 workout because my crazy, running-obsessed brain thought that being able to run meant that I was somehow a decent athlete. 

Fail, Amanda, fail.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5 more Weird Facts

Because I'm so odd that one post of weird facts about me just wasn't enough.

  1.  I love drinking stale water. What's stale water? So glad you asked. It's when you leave a glass of water out for a couple of hours (or even better overnight). When you finally get around to drinking it, it is perfectly room temperature and has a unique taste to it. Perfect for chugging the whole glass in one big gulp- that's my favorite
  2. I hate eating edge pieces. Cake, brownies, lasagna, you name it. I like middle pieces and will destroy a pan of brownies in an attempt to get a piping hot middle piece. The only exception is my mom's Texas sheet cake. It has melted frosting that pools around the edges of the cakes.
  3. I would rather spend $100 on something for Fynn then $25 on something for myself. Even if it's something I really need, and just something fun for Fynn. I just can't help myself, shopping for her is just so much more satisfying.
  4. I can't stand the feeling of velvet. Even just thinking about it makes my skin crawl. Those velvet holiday dresses that were all the rage in the 90's? Made me feel like I was dying a slow and painful death. 
  5. I would much rather sit on the couch and watch tv/read a book then go just about any where. I'd lie and say it's because life is so hectic and busy these days... but I've had this preference for as long as I can remember, so I think it's just the lazy part of my personality. 

What are some weird things about you? Trust me, they're fun to share.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Some times, the best days, are the ones in which you do nothing.

My (way more adorable) mini-me with her
iced tea and donut. Her daddy was even nice
enough to get her an iced tea of her own,
so that Mommy wouldn't have to share.
Yesterday I got to eat donuts and drink iced tea with my family after sleeping in for a bit while they went to go get them. I got to climb into Fynn's crib with her at nap time and snuggle for a bit(don't tell Drew, he'll just yell that I'm going to break it). I got to spend nap time lounging on the couch working on blog stuff and watching the last three episodes of Grey's that I haven't had a chance to see yet, without feeling guilty that Drew was outside mowing the lawn, weed-whacking and doing whatever else it is that men feel they need to do outside. I also got to have dinner with my in-laws, which is always a treat.

Yesterday was a great day.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday Social

1. What was your favorite TGIF show?
This is tough, I think it's a tie between Boy Meets World and Sabrina the Teenage Witch... why can't they make shows like this anymore? Why do teenage shows have to be full of sex, drugs and booze? These shows were amazing and didn't need all that crap to be entertaining. 

2. What was your favorite Saturday morning TV show?
Power Rangers (loved the pink ranger), Tiny Toons, or whatever was on Nickelodeon or the Disney channel. 

3. Mickey Mouse Club or Kids Incorporated.?
I actually never really watched either of these.

4. Zack Morris or AC Slater?

5. Which show would you love to see remade? (For example, Boy Meets World is back as Girl Meets World)
I'd love to see Saved by the Bell remade, that would be awesome if they followed Zack's kids as they did the things he used to do. 

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Friday, May 9, 2014

You CAN use a crayon as a candle

A couple of weeks ago one of my friends posted on Facebook one of those memes about being able to use a crayon as a candle in an emergency. So of course, I had to try it, because I honestly didn't think it would work. I know crayons are made out of wax, but I didn't know how it would burn without a wick in it. 

Drew and I grabbed a crayon from Fynn's stash and stuck it on a dish. We melted the bottom a little bit to make it stand better on the dish, and tried to light it. It took awhile, and we tried holding the lighter flame closer and further, and at different angles. Finally, after about 5 minutes of trying, it worked.

It looked pretty cool, and burned pretty well. One word of advice; once you have it lit, don't try to move the dish. That was all Drew. He tried to move it to the counter, and of course the crayon fell over, causing hot (purplish) wax to drip all over the kitchen floor. Awesome. That took some scraping and magic eraser to get cleaned up. Pretty sure there's still a little purple-ish stain in the grout in one spot. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The terrible two's are upon us

Serious question; how on earth do people handle more than one child? Especially when one of the is around 2?

All smiles
This baffles me, because this kid is a terror. Yeah, she's adorable, but don't let that cute face deceive you. Beneath the charming grin and infectious laugh lies a Jekyll and Hyde demon that will surely be the death of me.

We've embarked upon the temper-tantrum throwing, defiant, opinionated stage often known as the Terrible Two's. Now, I don't know if I should be appreciating the fact that by starting now, she's getting it out of her system, or worried that it's going to last for the foreseeable future. 

I've never been a patient person, so this really grinds on my nerves, but even Drew, who has put up with my crap for more then a decade is struggling to deal with this kindly. There are days where she just yells, throws fits, or gets upset all day, and it seems nothing we do can appease her. We put her in time out, and that usually calms her for a bit, but it doesn't fix the problem. Not going to lie, sometimes we yell at her. We feel awful after, but sometimes our frustration just gets the better of us. 

Then the pout
The worst is in public. Those times when she becomes "that kid" in stores or while out on a walk. It's mortifying to have people staring at us; some with annoyance, others with pity. I know I shouldn't care, but I just can't help it. Since having Fynn, I never judge a parent for what they do in public. Whether they're wrestling a screamer or bribing with candy; I know they're doing exactly what I do; whatever it takes to survive. 

Here's to hoping this phase is short-lived. Right now it's looking like Fynn is going to be an only child, because that thought of raising another kid like her is more than I can fathom. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

So What Wednesday

I can never decide if I like Wednesdays or not. Yeah, it means the week is halfway over... but it also means that the week is only halfway over. I guess it's the old question, is the glass half empty or half full? I'll try to be positive  and think of it as the week is already half over!

Anyway, this week I'm saying "So What?" if:

  • Some days the thought of packing up and moving somewhere completely different is really appealing. I don't know if we'll ever actually leave Maine, but it can be fun sometimes to look at opportunities. 
  • I'm kind of annoyed that my new classroom last year in our new school building is going to be across the hall from the bathroom... just bugs me to have to deal with that noise
  • My class had an ice cream party last Friday... and I brought home 6 leftover cartons of ice cream... and we may or may not be working our way through all of that
  • after eating that ice cream I still complain about not being able to lose weight. 
ice cream and Frozen... meant to be
  • Drew and I rented Frozen last Saturday night... and watched it without Fynn. Don't worry, I watched it with her again the next morning, but I really wanted to watch it all the way through in one sitting. 
  • I've been listening to the songs from Frozen all week... and not just when I'm with Fynn.
  • I spent $8 on Coconut Oil to rub on my baby's face when I hate to spend even $2 on lotion for myself. 
  • I just pulled the "because you love me" line in an attempt to get Drew to take a picture of the coconut oil for this post... and it worked :) 

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Dairy Pure Giveaway!

Disclosure: I was contacted by Dairy Pure to help share the news about their new Worry-Free Flip Cap and was compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Like many households with a toddler, we go through milk like crazy around here. Fynn loves milk and we use it a lot for cooking. One thing that has always bugged me about milk jugs is the way the cap comes off. Whenever you twist if off, you get those little milk crusties. No lie, if those end up in my glass of milk, I just can't drink it. Freaks me out. Another hard part with a gallon jug of milk, is trying to pour it with one hand. Twisting the cap off, pouring it, remembering where you put the cap, then getting it back on the bottle; all with one hand. Moms out there, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Dairy Pure's new Worry-Free Flip Cap can help with both of these. The cap is all one piece, so you can flip it open, pour, flip it closed, and move on. Not having to unscrew the cap also fixes the crusties issues; a win win fix in my book.
Even without the new Worry-Free Flip Cap, Dairy Pure has a lot going for it. They have a 5-point purity checklist that ensures that their milk is high-quality, nutritious, and delicious. 

To help spread the news, Dairy Pure and I are giving away 10 insulated tote bags to 10 My Show readers. These are great for bringing home cold/frozen goods from the grocery store or for bringing milk and snacks for your kid when you're out on the go. 

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Into the Mud Challenge 2014

About a month ago I mentioned that Drew had signed me up for a mud run. Well, last Sunday was the day. Not going to lie, I've been freaking out about this for weeks. The actual run part didn't phase me, it's only 2.5 miles* BUT, it has obstacles, and those were what freaked me out. There were a total of 25 obstacles. The race's website mentioned mud pits, 10 foot walls and other "fun" challenges that made me incredibly nervous. 

Add to that nervousness the weather for the weekend. Saturday was in the 40's and rainy... Sunday was forecast to be just as cold, but luckily not rainy. Mud sounded gross enough, freezing cold mud? I was starting to have second thoughts. The three ladies on my team were messaging back and forth on Facebook with me Saturday dreading the cold and planning our outfits. There was no way I could back out, so I just decided I'd have to make the best of it and then spend the rest of the day in a scalding hot shower to make up for it. 

Of course, my team was in the 3rd wave of the run, so we had lots of time to watch others. This was both a good and a bad thing. It was good because we saw places were other people ate it or struggled and knew how to approach it... bad because, well, it gave us more time to freak out about what we were getting ourselves into. Our team got all dolled up for the race, so we looked ridiculous before we were covered in mud.

The actual race ended up being so hard, and so much fun, that I couldn't even think about what we were doing. There were muddy hills to climb, cargo nets, an ice bath, mud pits up to my waist and much, much more. Not going to lie, it was amazing. We were a great team, and went into it with the motto of "no man gets left behind". I loved that feeling of helping each other through obstacles and being there for each other. At the very end we all just held hands and dove into the foam finish line.

Running this race has fueled my running goals. Now I'm in a mode where I just want to do more 5k races, train for a 10k and find more fun runs like this to do, because it was just amazing! 

*holy crap, I never thought I'd be that person that could say only 2.5 miles. The thought of running a mile used to freak me out. In face in college I had to do 1.5 miles for a fitness class and thought I was going to die. Now I consider that a light, easy run. Finally all my hard work is paying off!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Books and Sneakers

If you follow me on Twitter (@MyShowAmanda), then you've already seen a bit of this.

1) What is it with toddlers and hiding things in shoes? I went to go for a run one day and found this little puppy up in the toes. In my head I imagined her maniacal laughter as she put it in, picturing my scream when I quickly shoved me feet in as I always do.

2) I love, love, love buying books for my classroom, but I hate spending a ton of money on it. My students love how I always have great, relevent books, but man can the cost add up. Over vacation I hit up the bookstore with gift cards in hand. Since my students know I love buying them books, I often get gift cards to book stores for Christmas/ End of the year gifts. Between my educator's discount and gift cards; I walked out with $50 of books for free. Can't beat free. Or the excitement in the classroom when I introduce the new books and they're quickly snatched up by kids looking for something new to read.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Making (rather, keeping) friends

I have this problem... I'm a crappy friend.

I don't mean that I'm not a nice person (though, sometimes I'm not) or that I'm not there for my friends (I 100% am). I mean that I get so caught up in work/Fynn/life... that I let friendships slide.

I'm working on that.

I'm making more and more of an effort to reconnect with friends I haven't spoken to in weeks months. Last week was a perfect example. I had play dates with two awesome friends and their little ones. It was awesome. The kids played and had a blast, and I got to reconnect with friends that I love, just never get to see.

Here's the problem; I'm busy and I'm lazy. Between work, grad school, Fynn, running, and all the other crap that fills my daily schedule; I don't often think to call or text friends. First, I hate talking on the phone, even to people I love to death, I just don't enjoy it. Second, I just don't think about it. All of sudden I'll be sitting there and realize it's been six months since I even talked to one of my best friends! On the rare occasion that I'm not busy, I'm often too lazy to plan things with friends. I know, it's horrible, but sometimes the thought of getting dressed or cleaning up the health hazard that my kitchen has become is just too daunting... so I give up and find something else to do. 

Then I think about it; they're my friends. They shouldn't judge me because my sink is overflowing with dishes that are 4 days old, or care that there are goldfish crumbs scattered on my floor. I don't care about these things when I'm at their houses. I just need to get over myself and worry about the important things, like staying in touch with the people I love.

So here goes, I'm making an effort. I'm scheduling play dates with my Mommy friends and get-togethers with my non-Mommy friends. I'm sending that random text to check in or (gulp) actually dialing the phone to chat while I'm driving home from work. I don't want to lose awesome friends just because I'm too self-absorbed to make the effort.

Do other people have this same problem? Do you find it hard to keep up friendships when life gets busy?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April Reads

My list of books that I read in April is surprisingly long, I don't know what happened this month, but I was on a roll when it came to reading books. April vacation definitely helped, but somehow I managed to read more than usual the rest of the month to. My original goal was to read 30 books this school year (since that's what I ask my students to do). I'm only one book away from that goal, so it will be interesting to see how many books I end up reading by the end of the school year. 

19.The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
I always love Nicholas Spark' books. Like a good chick-flick they just manage to melt my heart and make me fall in love. I always end up crying at some point, and it's such a cathartic cry that it feels good. I know, I'm weird. I love The Choice because you think you know what's coming, and then Sparks' does something completely unexpected. Basically there are a couple of choice that the main characters have to make, and each one of them you think it "the" choice, but then something else happens. The ending was the real kicker for me because I was 99% sure I knew how it was going to end... and then it didn't. I loved the combination of a typical love story with this twist of unexpectedness. 

20. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
Again, Sparks. I love this book, and I've read it a couple of times. I also like the movie version, which I didn't expect to. It's on Netflix, so I watched it after reading it again. I love that Sparks really got into the heads of both a battered wife and her abusive husband to write this story. It was intense and heart wrenching at the same time. I found myself cursing out both of them at different times and really feeling concerned about what happened to them in the end. That to me is the best sign of a well-written book. 

21. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
This book has been on my list of books to read for awhile. I was hooked in the beginning as I met Lily and felt bad for her. She had an angry, abusive father and a mother she had accidentally killed when she was little. My heart wrenched for this little girl who had no one to love her. About a third of the way in I started to lose interest, and debated about bailing on the book, but I hate doing that, so I pushed on. I'm glad I did, because I ended up really enjoying the end of the book. I noticed when finding the book cover picture that there is a movie based on this book, so I want to watch that now and see how it compares.

22. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
I went into this book a little bummed because I had a student ruin the ending for me. As I began the book, all I could think about was what I knew was coming, so I had a hard time enjoying the beginning. Once I got past that, I ended up enjoying it. I liked how this book showed the perspectives of both Tris and Tobias, it was nice seeing his side when I had only gotten Tris' side in the last two books. I enjoyed the direction this book took, but I did find that parts of it were just too much information and explaining at a time. I think Roth was trying to bring together a lot of little pieces that she had laid out in the first two books, but some of it ended up being too much for me. 

23. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Another reread, but I guess I had forgotten a lot of it since I last read it (4 years ago) because there was a lot that happened that I hadn't remembered. I love this whole series, and didn't really like this book the first time around. This time, though, I enjoyed it a lot more and ended up loving the way it ended. It brought such a sense of closure to the whole series which was a nice change of pace compared to a lot of series that seem to leave it open for future books, and thus don't give you that closure with the characters you have followed through multiple books. I hope the movie version of this is just as satisfying. I liked the movies for both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, thought of course I didn't always agree with the parts of the book they left out to make it fit into a movie. 

24. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I know I just read this book in the fall, but I loved it and felt like reading it again. I love the way Gillian Flynn writes. The way she weaves her tales in a way to build the suspense and mystery and then seamlessly pulls all the pieces together. It really is beautiful the way she does it. The only thing I don't like about her writing is that it's rather dark and gory. Gone Girl isn't bad, there's only one scene that really got to me, but her other books are too much and end up giving me nightmares. In Gone Girl, Amy and Nick Dunne are having a difficult marriage when Amy suddenly goes missing on their 5th wedding anniversary. Evidence suggests that Nick may have had a hand in his wife's disappearance. When I read Amy's diary entries, I got one picture of Nick and Amy and when I read Nick's perspective I got a completely different picture. Trying to pick out the truth within all the lies and games is what kept me glued to this book; even the second time around. 

25. Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
I have NO idea what I chose this book. I'm not even a Mindy Kaling fan (I don't not like her, I just don't even really know who she is). However, the first chapter made me laugh, so I just started reading. Honestly though, it was a waste of a read for me. It was mostly autobiographical with some randomness put in (hmm... sounds like my blog). I found myself cracking up at some of the things she wrote, but for a lot of it I just kind of read and didn't think about it. I could probably tell you very little about her life, which is sad considering I read the entire book. Not a bad book, if you're a fan, but not something I'd read again. 

26. L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
I remember when this book first came out I was all The Hills-obsessed (guilty) and wanted to read it, but then the library had a huge waiting list and I was so not spending my money on it. When I noticed it on my Overdrive app, I just had to read. I loved LC on The Hills and thought she was a sweetheart. This book was interesting because it felt like it could have been LC's autobiography. In it, roommates and BFFs Jane and Scarlett are "discovered" by a reality TV producer to star in their own show; L.A. Candy. While there are many perks to being on the show, the girls quickly discover what reality TV life is really like. There are some parts of the book (actually many) that felt like I was reading the script from The Hills just with different names. That said, I still really liked it a lot.

27. Sweet Little Lies by Lauren Conrad
So of course I had to read her second book. Same main characters, same basis idea, more drama and shenanigans. Thoroughly enjoyable, though not exactly thought-provoking. 

28. Sugar and Spice by Lauren Conrad
Same as the first two. Fun to read, nothing to think about. I do like the way she wrapped up the series. Apparently there are a couple of other books Lauren has written, so I might check some of those out next month.

29. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
I'll admit it, I'm a super Twilight nerd. I loved all four books and semi-liked the movies (And yes, I bought all of them). I originally read The Host when the Twilight books were big because I liked Meyer's style of writing. I decided to reread it this month because I recently watched the movie on Netflix, but I couldn't remember if I actually liked the book. I liked it, but I didn't love it. It gets a little convoluted at points and is longer than it really needs to be. I like the premise of it; an alien species takes over human bodies and uses them as hosts. Their intent is to create a more peaceful world and continue their spread across multiple planets. The story focuses on one of the aliens; Wanderer or Wanda who has been placed in the body of Melanie; a tough, determined rebel who is one of the few non-hosted humans left on the planet. Usually when an alien takes over a body, the human disappears and the alien takes over. However, Melanie refuses to leave and Wanda has to figure out how to exist with this human still inside her. It's a very interesting dynamic and leads to a lot of questions and uncertainties. 

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