Confessions of the week

It’s Wednesday and usually I try to think of some kind of theme for my confessions. But my brain doesn’t seem to be working this week month so you’re just going to get a mishmash of thoughts.

I’m not exaggerating about my brain. Just last night, I was scrolling through Facebook and decided to write a status update of my own. I proceeded to do one of those countdowns “Only a little over a week until Chicago and two weeks until Tampa!!” as if people cared. Once I realized what I’d done, I promptly deleted the post. I’m not going to pretend it hasn’t happened before but I’ve tried to keep my Facebook ridiculousness at a minimum. After all, I have this blog to share a bunch of things people don’t care about.

I also took two of those quizzes. One said I am a 30-year-old male with silky brown hair. The other said I belong in the West.

To be clear, I am a 31-year-old female with sometimes silky blonde hair (if I am using my Redken soft shampoo). I live in the East but belong on an island where winters don’t exist.

Next thing you know I’ll be posting about how upset I am about something I’m not able to talk about. And we all know it’s downhill from there…

The irony of all this is that I had Smartfood last night for dinner before I acted not so smart at all.

And now I am making bad jokes.

But the Smartfood for dinner part is true. While I’ve been trying not to bring junk food into the house, someone else keeps stocking the cabinets and freezer. I do the grocery shopping on Sundays (or Monday nights if I slacked) and my cart stays healthy for the most part. Then throughout the week I find items like Ben and Jerry’s Americano Dream appearing.

By the way, that ice cream is both delicious and incredibly hard to put down. Caramel and chocolate covered waffle cone in vanilla ice cream. You’re welcome.

So, on that note I should probably end this before I start posting pictures really only suitable for Snapchat. But really, are snaps of my doublechin really even necessary at all?

Vodka and Soda

My first Paint Nite experience

I’ve been wanting to go to a Paint Nite session for a while. Boston has a couple of different options and I have bought more than one Groupon. However, while my enthusiasm to attempt to go has been great, my execution has been lacking.

I’ve said I was going to go with people and then plans fell through. I have said I was going to go alone and then things would fall through again. I eventually kind of gave up.

But then, my good friend from back in the day (we’re talking since preschool) took the initiative and picked a date and place.

So, last week I drove down to Plymouth and met her for an evening of wining and painting- minimal wining since I had to drive back to Boston and she had a hungry baby at home.

I admit I was a little a lot intimidated by the blank canvas. But our instructor was great and ensured it was a judgement free zone.

If you haven’t been to one of these classes, it is basically a step by step instruction of how to paint a certain piece of work. Everyone in the class paints the same thing as the instructor walks through the steps. Some people’s paintings come out amazing and some end up like mine. But I didn’t see one ‘artist’ that seemed to be having a bad time.

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Have you gone to one of these classes? I am tempted to make it a weekly event although that might make my lack of wall space an issue. Just don’t be surprised if I become a habitual painter.

Favorite recent reads

It’s been quite the rainy week. Perfect reading weather.

Although, let’s be honest, every weather is perfect reading weather to me.

Sunny, hot day? Bring a book to the beach.

Snowy, cold day? Curl up with a book on the couch.

Rainy, muggy day? Read a book inside during lunch.

You get the point.

I shared before how to win books on goodreads. I am still winning some here and there but hoping the reason I’m not winning them as often as before is because you all are entering too.

However, there is another great site for free books- and you don’t even have to play the odds to get these beauties.

Netgalley is a site where you can sign up and request to read certain books. You aren’t obligated to review them but it does increase your chances of being chosen for future reads. I have a whole slew of books on my Kindle just waiting to be read thanks to Netgalley.

Here are a few of my recent favorites…

The House We Grew Up In

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell is one of the better books I’ve read in a while. It tells the story of a hoarder and the ways her sickness effects the people around her. But first, it makes us like her. A lot. I’d definitely recommend this as a must read.

From Goodreads: Meet the Bird family. They live in a honey-colored house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, with rambling, unkempt gardens stretching beyond. Pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and tow-headed twins Rory and Rhys all attend the village school and eat home-cooked meals together every night. Their father is a sweet gangly man named Colin, who still looks like a teenager with floppy hair and owlish, round-framed glasses. Their mother is a beautiful hippy named Lorelei, who exists entirely in the moment. And she makes every moment sparkle in her children’s lives.

Then one Easter weekend, tragedy comes to call. The event is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass as the children become adults, find new relationships, and develop their own separate lives. Soon it seems as though they’ve never been a family at all. But then something happens that calls them back to the house they grew up in — and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago.

Told in gorgeous, insightful prose that delves deeply into the hearts and minds of its characters, The House We Grew Up In is the captivating story of one family’s desire to restore long-forgotten peace and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home.

Dear Daughter

Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little was another recent read that had me hooked right away. A woman is released from prison after serving 10 years for her mother’s murder. She doesn’t believe she did it but she can’t remember the incident either so sets out to solve the mystery herself. If you are like me and sometimes get creeped out reading thrillers at night, don’t worry. This one is good without causing bad dreams.

From Goodreads: LA IT girl Janie Jenkins has it all. The looks, the brains, the connections. The criminal record.

Ten years ago, in a trial that transfixed America, Janie was convicted of murdering her mother. Now she’s been released on a technicality she’s determined to unravel the mystery of her mother’s last words, words that send her to a tiny town in the very back of beyond. But with the whole of America’s media on her tail, convinced she’s literally got away with murder, she has to do everything she can to throw her pursuers off the scent.

She knows she really didn’t like her mother. Could she have killed her?

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman was a pleasant surprise. Based on the cover and title, I expected a fluffy, mindless read. This was not the case at all. It was entertaining and funny, but it also had a strong story about growing up as an immigrant and lots of insight into different parts of America’s history.

From Goodreads: In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. Yet no sooner do they land on the squalid Lower East Side of Manhattan, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street.

Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to shape her own destiny. She falls in love with a gorgeous, illiterate radical named Albert, and they set off across America in an ice cream truck. Slowly, she transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, “The Ice Cream Queen” — doyenne of an empire of ice cream franchises and a celebrated television personality.

Lillian’s rise to fame and fortune spans seventy years and is inextricably linked to the course of American history itself, from Prohibition to the disco days of Studio 54. Yet Lillian Dunkle is nothing like the whimsical motherly persona she crafts for herself in the media. Conniving, profane, and irreverent, she is a supremely complex woman who prefers a good stiff drink to an ice cream cone. And when her past begins to catch up with her, everything she has spent her life building is at stake.

So, there you go- three books you should add to your summer reading lists.

What have you read lately? Have you used Netgalley?