Thursday, May 21, 2015

What I Read Wednesday: Fat Girl Walking

 This might be a meandering journey to a book review, but bear with me. 

Rachel is my brain twin. I have many great and wonderful friends, but when it comes to being twins in a way other than biologically, in some sort of Patty Duke identical cousins "think alike" sort of way, no one compares to Rachel and I. 

When I first came across the blog,, I first read each and every post I could, blowing off household responsibilities to read late into the night. Then I shared it with Rachel. She immediately confirmed what I already knew: Brittany was obviously our best friend, but she just didn't know it yet. 

For the past two years I've followed Brittany's blog, instagram, and facebook, devouring every post. I related to her in so many ways. I've referenced her in this blog (namely here: ) when she saw into my soul with her post on fear of flying. Her posts on accepting and loving yourself fed me at times when I needed it, which is all the time since most of us women beat ourselves up about our looks constantly. Her candor and honestly about the true lives of moms and wives and women were a revelation in the midst of articles, magazines and pinterest posts of perfectionism and the unrealistic aspirations we have of immaculate homes, trophy-wife bodies, and Food Network-worthy baked goods for classroom parties. 

Then, she wrote a book. "Fat Girl Walking." And I bought it the day after it was released and read it in entirety in one day. 

I laughed, I cried, and I nodded silently in agreement. 

I loved it. And in full-disclosure, I must tell you I was a skeptic. I know that bloggers write books now somewhat regularly after some blog success, and I secretly thought it might be a let-down. Yes, the blog was great, but could she write an enitre book of stories that were not already blogged? Could she add newness to the experiences she'd already shared and that I'd witnessed in real time as they happened on social media? 

The answer is YES. 

At first I thought that maybe I was biased since I know that Brittany is actually a brain-triplet with Rachel and I. But on further review, I don't think so. As I have looked over at the finished hardback on my desk over the day, I thought each time of a different friend I needed to recommend it to, as the chapter on this or that would be so useful to whichever friend I was thinking of. 

I don't want to give away too much, so I won't review the book in typical fashion. I won't say much about what specific stories are told or why they were so powerful. I want the experience to be genuine for each woman who reads it. But I will say, read the blog first. Look through some posts and get to know Brittany.  I think it will enhance your enjoyment of the book, because like me, you'll realize she's your best friend and you'll read the book as if it's a conversation over drinks where your close friend bares her soul and her childhood, and her struggles and her successes. And you'll feel empowered to be more and do more. 

A while back, I sent Brittany a facebook message sharing my love of the book I read that helped me with my fear of flying. And I expected to never get a response but hoped she  would glance at it, and pick up the book. I don't know if she did, but for ten minutes or so, she and I messaged back and forth over facebook and I had a real conversation with my new virtual BFF. :) 

I want to reiterate: I'm objective. I can realize when my fandom impairs my judgement. But in this case, despite my fandom, and in spite of my skepticism, the book did not dispappoint. Instead, it was more than I'd hoped for. Please buy it, read it, or borrow it from me, but make sure you return it because I'll read it again. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Lately I've notice a disturing trend... I'm becoming easily obsessed with small things. For example, I decided I needed a new rug for the hall bath. I develped very specific parameters: patterned, gray, but has to match the odd blue-gray of the walls, just the right size to not block the door but be bigger than the current rug, can't look cheap. I've looked at every store I've been to for weeks, gone to Home Goods twice, and searched Amazon for far too long. I've found nothing to match my standards. 

As the search continued, the stakes got higher. 

Now, I have to find the PERFECT rug. After all this time invested, if I purchase a sub-par rug, each time I use that bathroom I'll feel the effects of many wasted hours seeking perfection and will be grossly aware of the inadequacy of the rug. 

Then, I remembered that I needed a new carry-on bag for work. I travel frequently, and my current system is not ideal. Checking a bag for a couple days trip is costly and inconvenient. And I have to bring my laptop, which I usually carry in my bulky and inefficient laptop bag, leaving me to bring my second carry-on item as either my purse or one of our old, junky small pieces of luggage. So if I don't bring my purse, I end up carrying my wallet, phone, and sunglasses out to dinner awkwardly. Or, if I bring a purse and put my laptop in my luggage, I awkwardly carry my laptop and charger in my arms to the office. It's dumb. 

Which lead me to the approximately 12 hours spent researching carry on luggage on the internet, and visits to several stores. 

My back hurts from hunching over the computer, my nights were wasted reading reviews and doing endless google searches. And now, again, stakes are high. After so much time invested, it has to be perfect. 

I see this as another way I seek to find control in my life at a time things don't feel in control. 

When I finally reach perfection, should that exist, I'll write a review. Until then, I guess I'll search for meaning in random purchases and ignore the glaring realities of a crazy travel schedule, an upcoming graduation party (and high school graduation) of my oldest child, signaling my advancing age and the end of an era. 

Am I alone in this kind of obsession?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Before and After: Front Door

It's spring and I'm in house project mode! 

Recently I decided to upgrade the curb appeal! Matt and I did some landscaping work, and with the bright, cheery flowers out front, our dark red door was looking drab. 

Our house has red brick and gray/beige siding, so I searched Pinterest for good front door colors but just didn't love anything. Then, while organizing the garage, I came across some extra paint from our blue bedroom walls. I decided to use it on the front door too. 

I started by taping the handle and lock with painters tape because I did not feell like taking the hardware off. #lazy

I put two coats of the blue on the door, and then pulled the old brass kickplate out of the garage. 

I used Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint to paint the kick plate, and then popped the screws into a box so I could paint the tops of them to match. 

Then, I screwed the kick plate back on, hung a yarn wreath I made last year, and voila: basically zero dollars and a little bit of work for a fresh front door! 

Here's the before and after, using low-quality iPhone pics and bad angles: 

So much cheerier! Have you done any home projects lately? 

What I Read Wednesday: Sparks and Speeches

I'm a frequent "reader" of audiobooks, but last month I mixed it up with a real paperback! 

I got "The Best of Me" by Nicholas Sparks for Christmas and finally read it, mostly while on a trip out of town. 

I have read several of his books already, and seen a few of the movies.  I know they always have a formula: romance plagued by hardship, death, tear-jerking scenes. I expected that with this book too, but it was just too predictable. Not long in, I had an idea of how it would go. I held out hope, though, expecting that this time, good ol' Nick would surprise me. Nope. 

If you love this kind of formulaic predictability, read away. If you have knowing 2/3 through EXACTLY how it's going to go- skip it. 

I've been listening to "Stand and Deliver," a Dale Carnegie (of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" fame).  I hoped to get some help on my anxiety about public speaking. Turns out, I need a book about anxiety, not public speaking. The tips haven't helped me with that. However, if you have a speech or talk to give soon, this is a good one to make sure you are engaging and interesting. But, I'm not sure that the tips in the book are anything you couldn't get from a good google search on public speaking. 

Currently I'm listening to "Call the Midwife," which has been made into a series on PBS. I haven't seen the show, but am enjoying the book so far. It's interesting to learn about how different delivering babies was back in the 1950's, and the specific stories and struggles of the poor in London. 

What are you reading?