The Tomboy All Grown Up

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Yup, I was a tomboy when I was a girl. In the land of princesses and Barbie dream houses, I was the one playing tether ball and running around the playground. Looking at me now you wouldn’t know it, but I loved playing sports and playing outside…at least until Junior High happened…

I was raised by my father and some may attribute my tomboyishness to that one fact. But the truth is, I never liked girly stuff. I hated wearing dresses and skirts because I couldn’t run around. If I’m going to wear shorts under my dress in order to play on the jungle gym, why can’t I wear just the shorts? I got dirty and messy. Scrapes, bumps, and bruises were just a part of the day. Bike riding, roller skating, and kickball were what made the world go round, and I loved it.

Things that were pink or purple were not allowed in my room. Anything with ribbons, forget it. Someone bought me a Barbie when I was in elementary school; I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with her. So I cut off her hair. I received a Barbie Corvette one year for my birthday and I spent that first week rolling the car down the hallway in our house & watching gleefully as it kept crashing into the wall.

As I grew out of childhood, some of my tomboy tendencies began to fade. Apparently around 13 or so, you are no longer allowed to play sports with boys. You are now supposed to giggle and blush at even the most mundane things that they say. Tetherball gave way to talking on the phone for hours on end. And roller skating was no longer to be done outside but at the local roller rink where you met up with your friends to…yes, that’s right. Giggle and blush at the boys.

Now that I am a mom to a young daughter, I wonder what kinds of things will she be interested in. Dinosaurs or Barbies? Maybe both? Will I be throwing princess-themed birthday parties? I know she’s not even 2 yet but already I see glimpses of a young me. She doesn’t like dolls or stuffed animals. She loves books, building blocks, and puzzles. She hates when you try to put a barrette in her hair and the few times I have tried to put her in a dress, it was a losing battle.

I believe my not-so-girly childhood has served me well in my adult life. I didn’t like the mall then and I don’t like it now. Sure I like nice clothes and what girl doesn’t like the M.A.C. counter, but the thought of setting foot in an actual mall gives me anxiety. Playing outdoor activities has fueled my love of sports and to this day I still watch football and hockey, rooting on my favorite teams. My Hubby often jokes about the fact that when the game is on, we never have to fight over the remote. And playing sports also taught me that sometimes you have to play with people you don’t like. As an adult, this translates into “being a team player”, the cornerstone of many a corporate jargon.

Yes, the tomboy has transitioned to an adult woman. But if you want to play a round of kickball, you just let me know.

**** Sidenote: I wrote this post originally on my old blog 5 years ago. My daughter is now 7 years old and still loves books, building blocks, and puzzles. However, dolls have made their way into the house  😉 Elsa and Anna from the movie Frozen and of course Wonder Woman, because helloooooo, it’s Wonder Woman!!! She likes playing dress-up but if given the option, she would rather play outside instead  🙂

As The Page Turns: July Edition

Haven’t read as many books as I would like to as most of the books I want to read, my library doesn’t carry and neither does any library in my county. Ah, #bookwormproblems  😀 But I did get in 4 books this month which is still good, right?

What I read in July:

Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis by Ed Sikov

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Bette Davis is one of my favorite “Old Hollywood” actresses, and her movie All About Eve from 1950, is on my top ten list of favorite movies EVER, so I was intrigued to read this biography of her life.

I liked reading about Bette’s early life before she moved out to Hollywood and I loved the behind-the-scene shenanigans that went on, on her film sets. I even loved reading about how pissed of she was that Vivien Leigh was picked to star in Gone With The Wind, and not her.

But it is a very long read and the alcoholic tantrums that became part of her persona as she got older, became tiresome after a while. All in all, a great read but will take you more than an afternoon at the beach to finish.

Goodnight From London by Jennifer Robson

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I looooooooved this book!! I couldn’t put it down  🙂

The book starts off in 1940 and an American journalist named Ruby Sutton is sent over to England to report on the Second World War for both her American editors and her new job at an English magazine in London. The story follows Ruby all the way through the war including London being blitzed, to the end of the war in 1945. She endures loss and heartache, but also gains a sense of stability and perseverance while working and reporting/writing stories for her job.

Great book, seriously!

Tug of War by Beverly Cleverly

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This book started off a bit slow but once I got into it, I really enjoyed it!

Here is a great synopsis from Publisher’s Weekly:

“Set in 1926 France, Cleverly’s impressive Joe Sandilands novel finds the Scotland Yard detective, still scarred by WWI, taking a relaxing jaunt around Provence until Sir Douglas Redmayne of the British War Office gives him a sensitive assignment: to ascertain the identity of an amnesiac war veteran who’s surfaced in a French hospital speaking English. As the French government would provide a lucrative pension to the soldier’s family, there’s no shortage of people who claim him as their relation. Accompanied by his precocious ward and honorary niece, Dorcas Joliffe, Sandilands probes the four most likely candidates, each of whom has ample motive to lie. Before long, an old murder is uncovered, further complicating the quest to identify the soldier”.

You will never guess the ending and that is what made this novel so enthralling and such a great read!

A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King

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Any book involving Sherlock Holmes has my name written all over it!!!  🙂

The year is 1923. The book’s main characters Sherlock Holmes and his wife Mary Russell are at their home in Sussex when an old friend, archeologist Dorothy Ruskin pays them a visit with a papyrus that she believes was written by Mary Magdalene. She asks the Holmes’ to investigate and later that evening, Ms. Ruskin is murdered. Sherlock and Mary uncover clues not only to whether the papyrus is truly real, they also solve Ms. Ruskin’s murder, inadvertently placing themselves in jeopardy while doing it.

Loved this book! Definitely a must-read.

What have you guys read lately?  🙂

 

Applesauce Muffins

Pregnancy cravings are real, yo…

I had a taste for homemade muffins which in my opinion, are better than store-bought primarily because they don’t have a list of unpronounceable ingredients. Seriously, it is just a freakin’ muffin, not a science experiment!  🙂

Anyways, I’ve had this muffin recipe for years and let me tell you, it totally satisfied my cravings and my husband and daughter ate ’em right up as well. Pregnant or not, these muffins will not last long, because they are that delicious!

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Applesauce Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • I cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup nuts chopped (I did not add this, as I hate nuts in muffins, cookies, etc…)
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. all spice
  • ½ tsp. salt

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • Cream butter.
  • Blend in white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs.
  • Add nuts, cinnamon, baking soda, all spice, and salt. Mix well.
  • Add flour and applesauce. Make sure everything is mixed together well.
  • Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Enjoy!!  🙂

So, I Have Some News To Share…

Yesterday, I shared on Instagram my big news…

I’m pregnant!!!  🙂

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Yup, we have a new addition to our family coming later on this year! Can I tell you, my daughter is simply OVER THE MOON that she is going to be a big sister! She is super excited. She is also wise. I asked her if she will help with the baby’s poopie diapers and her response was, “No. I am not doing the poopie diapers. Daddy can do those. I will handle the clean ones”.  😀  Lol…

In terms of how I am feeling, I am feeling better than a couple of months ago when morning sickness slammed me and wouldn’t let up. I don’t think I ever thrown up so much in my life. (Sorry if that is too much info, but it is the truth!) The morning sickness was definitely worse this time around than with my daughter. Maybe because of my age or who knows, but I am oh so thankful that me and the porcelain throne are no longer on intimate terms 😉

I am currently in my 5th month and plugging along  I have already been through the “ice cream craving” phase. Cookies ‘n cream if you are interested 🙂  What I have a complete aversion to is garlic. I can’t eat it. I can’t smell it. I can’t even be around it. No garlic, absolutely zilch. Which sucks because I do like it, just the baby can’t seem to stand it. So that means no hummus, no pizza, no Italian food of any kind, etc… (Waaaaaaaahhhhh…..)

But Mexican food has been my jam! Thankful for living in Southern California where it is indeed plentiful and my cravings can be satisfied 🙂

So excited to share my news with you all!

Justifications Concerning Money

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My lovely friend Tanya is celebrating a birthday this week and had a post about reflections on life and what she has learned now that she is a year older. One of the reflections she noted, I absolutely loved and want to talk about in more detail.

This is what she said:

“I like shoes. I like purses. I like clothes. I like spas. This does not make me a bad person or a frivolous spender. It means I know where I like to spend my discretionary money, which does not need your approval”.

Boom.

This particular reflection of Tanya’s really stood out to me because I feel as women, we constantly feel the need to justify our lives and what we do with them. We are constantly having to defend our decisions and why we made them.

For example, decisions that always need explanations even though they are nobody’s business:

  • Having children. “Why don’t you have kids? Don’t you want them?”
  • Marriage. “Why aren’t you married? Don’t you want to settle down with someone?”
  • Childrearing: “If I were you, I would stay home with my children. I wouldn’t be working”.
  • Money: “Why do you spend your money on things like that?”

Women get asked these questions and so much more and we end up on the defensive, trying to articulate why we made our particular decision.

The money angle though, is what I want to focus on because I feel like in the blogosphere, this is a hot topic.

Personal finance blogs talk constantly about saving your money, being frugal, and don’t frivolously spend. “Stay home and cook dinner! Don’t eat out…ever!” “Don’t turn on the heater in the winter! Wear four sweaters at a time and cuddle under a blanket! If your fingers go numb, just sit on them! They’ll warm up in a minute!”

I jest, but you get the picture. Finances are important. Paying down debt is important. Having a savings account is important.

But so is having a life.

We are actually meant to live our lives and not sacrifice small moments of happiness in the name of frugality. I don’t mean go and spend all the money, but if fresh flowers on your kitchen table make you happy, that is OKAY. You don’t need to justify that $3.99 bouquet of flowers you picked up at Trader Joe’s.

When it comes to the topic of Minimalism, people operate under the assumption that stark white walls are the way to go. No couch, just a cushion to sit on. No art on the walls. No pets, because that is not very minimalist of you!

That is all nonsense.

You can call yourself a minimalist and still enjoy paintings by local artists on your walls. It is okay that you own a pet and gasp! they require dishes and food and other accoutrements. It is okay if you like colors and your wardrobe isn’t all monochrome.

My point is, we are wired as human beings to enjoy life and you don’t have to justify how you spend your money. You like shoes, fine. You like taking a ballroom dance class twice a week, fine. You like channeling your inner Julia Child and like to bake up tasty treats on the weekend, fine.

It is all okay.

Don’t let anyone ever make you feel guilty for the choices you make in life. No more justifying.

No more defending.

As The Page Turns: June Edition

A booknerd’s dream: book reviews!!! Am I right?  🙂

What I read in June:

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

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Awful. Absolutely bloody awful.

Cavallaro’s first book, A Study in Charlotte was awesome. A unique twist on the teaming of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, now featuring their great-great-great-great grandchildren, Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson, who are 17 year-olds at a prestigious boarding school, solving mysteries and getting into trouble. The first book had me hooked and I was so looking forward to the second book in the series.

But alas… The Last of August was a hot mess from beginning to end, and I probably gave it an extra star more than it deserved on Goodreads. The writing was all over the place in this book, and nothing made sense and the author conveniently leaves important information out at crucial times and then tries to tie it all up with a convoluted bow at the end. At which point the book ends, and you are saying to yourself, “huh?”

Do not pass go. Do not read this book.

Mary Astor’s Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936 by Edward Sorel

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This book was in the “New Releases” section and I decided what the heck, I know who Mary Astor is, let’s give it a read. And I am so glad I did. It was so interesting!

For those unfamiliar with her name, Mary Astor was an actress who got her start in silent films in the 1920’s and transitioned to the “talkies” and became a really great actress of the 1930’s and 1940’s. One of her best known films is The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart from 1941.

Well in 1936, the very married Mary Astor had an affair with a playwright names George Kaufman and kept a diary of all their exploits, in, ahem, graphic detail. When she decided to divorce her husband and sue for custody of their daughter, said husband stole Mary’s diary and blackmailed her with it unless she gave up custody. Mary took him to court and the press had a field day about Mary’s diary, some pages her husband leaked to the press.

This book is fascinating in that, not only does the author go into detail about the trial which was a HUGE scandal at that time, but he goes into detail about Mary’s life, from her abusive childhood, to her acting career, and her problems which led her to abuse alcohol.

Mary Astor’s Purple Diary was so engaging, and I guarantee you will find it beyond interesting!  🙂

Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days by Jared Cade

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In December of 1926, author Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days from her home in England. True story, folks. When she was finally found, she was at a hotel where she had been almost the entire time, under an assumed name…. the last name of her husband’s mistress!

Dun, dun, dun…

I literally devoured this book because I wanted to know why Agatha disappeared and if she really was behind it as many had claimed or was she suffering from amnesia like she herself claimed? And why didn’t Agatha mention this episode of her life in her autobiography?

This book answers all those questions and then some. Absolutely fascinating and a must-read for those who like a real-life mystery but also want to sleep at night.

And if you want to know what happened to Agatha during those 11 missing days, you’ll have to read the book and find out!  🙂

The Red Door by Charles Todd

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Charles Todd is one of my favorite authors and this book does not disappoint. The Red Door is the 12th book in the “Ian Rutledge” series. Rutledge is a police officer with Scotland Yard in 1920. A former WWI soldier who is still haunted by the war, he has to simultaneously solve the murder of a woman who was left by her open front door and solve the disappearance of a man and finding out the connection between the two.

A great read, especially for those of who like mystery novels that are not modern. No CSI or forensics here!

What have you guys read lately?  🙂

Currently: The “I’m Back” Edition

Hey everyone! Long time, no talk to  🙂

I hadn’t planned this several week absence from the blog, but with moving and end of the school year stuff for my daughter, time just got away from me. You know how it is…

But I am back!

So yes, I have moved. And I love my new apartment! The bigger bathroom has been a lifesaver. Lol, it’s the little things. And I still have 4 boxes that have yet to be unpacked. And that is important because in my last post, I mentioned that I was having my own version of The Minimalists packing party, where you pack up everything you own, and only unpack what you need. You can read about that here.

I gave myself 21 days and lo and behold, we still have 4 boxes that are sitting here. So the next thing to do, is to open those bad boys up, see what is inside them, and then decide what to do with the items, whether to donate or sell them. Another project, but one I am looking forward to  🙂

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Last week, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary! 9 years and counting   He brought home these beautiful red roses for me! They are actually a very dark, dark red, but no matter how I took the picture, they came out lighter, lol. But I love them!  🙂

I am glad school is out and I we don’t have to get up so early in the mornings for awhile. Mama need a break  😉 So far we have been swimming at the pool, going to the library, eating ice cream, and watching old episodes of Bewitched. I forgot how much I liked that show!

Saw this outside of a furniture shop:

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How is Summer going so far for you guys?  🙂

 

My Own Packing Party

So y’all know (or most of you I should say), know I am a huge fan of The Minimalists. Their podcasts continue to inspire me to make room for the things that matter by getting rid of what doesn’t.

That being said, when Joshua and Ryan (The Minimalists) were downsizing their respective homes and getting rid of what no longer served them, they both did it in radically different ways. Joshua chose the decluttering method and it took him about 8 months to pare down his belongings to what was essential to him. Ryan on the other hand? He had a packing party.

What is a packing party, you ask? Basically you pack up everything you own, absolutely everything, into boxes. This includes your toothbrush, deodorant, coffee mug, your bath towel, etc… Everything goes into boxes. And then, you only unpack what you need. Only. What. You. Need.

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So yeah, that first day you’ll probably need that toothbrush, deodorant, towel, and clothes to wear to work. Maybe after you get home, you unpack a skillet and some cooking utensils and a plate and a fork. Whatever you NEED, you unpack. That’s it.

When Ryan did his packing party, he did it for 21 days. He only unpacked what he needed. And you know what? At the end of 21 days, 80% of his stuff was still in boxes. He said that he couldn’t even remember what was in those unopened boxes.

And you know what he did? He donated and/or sold what was in all those boxes that contained 80% of his stuff. Donated it. Sold it. Gone. Buh-bye.

I bring up this story of the packing party not just because I find value in it, but because it inspired me to do my own version of a packing party.

I am moving quite soon into a bigger apartment. I am currently living in 530 square feet with my husband, daughter, and cat and our accompanying accoutrements. We are a close family and living in a small space has been fine. Or rather, had been fine. We are moving into a slightly bigger apartment, just an extra 150 square feet or so, but this new apartment will have a bigger living room and a bigger bathroom which is really what we are looking for.

As I stated above, we are an extremely close family and enjoy spending time together. Some extra square feet in the living room actually gives us a bit of breathing room and gives my daughter more space to play. And a bigger bathroom, well, I don’t think I need to explain why that is a plus  🙂

But back to the packing party…

We are boxing up our belongings dutifully, but when we arrive at our new apartment, I will only be unpacking what is needed. Now although Ryan in his example boxed up absolutely everything, I am not boxing up my purse, or my child’s school lunch box, or anything like that. But the items that are being housed in cardboard boxes, are not just going to be immediately unloaded and dumped on the carpet to then scramble to find a home for. I want to be deliberate with what we have and what we actually use, and not just hold onto something because we always have.

I too, am going to give the experiment 21 days, as did Ryan, and whatever has not been unloaded by the 21st day, will be banished to either be donated or sold. I figure since we are moving, now is as good time as any to do this.

Are you guys interested in doing your own packing party as well? What do you think of it all? Let me know in the comments!  🙂

 

Find The Words To Help You Find Your Way

As most of you know, I am a huge bookworm. I am also a fan of quotes and the accompanying verbiage that motivates. Let’s face it: life is hard. We are all swimming in the same ocean trying to avoid the eventual tidal wave that comes our way and knocks us off our feet for awhile. Once that proverbial tidal wave recedes, we remember that we can swim, and we paddle out into the ocean once again.

If you happen to be in the midst of a tidal wave and you are looking for some help, here are some books that I think are awesome and may help you get the earth back under your feet  🙂

Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by The Minimalists

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If your life is spinning out of control and you feel overwhelmed by the clutter in not just your life, but your mind, this book is for you. And don’t worry, it is not a book that tells you to get rid of everything you own and sleep on the floor! But it will help you sort out the values that you feel are important and make adjustments accordingly.

Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen

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If you are looking to get healthier, look no further than this book. For the record, I cannot do a handstand to save my life, nor does Rachel make you try to do one. This story gives voice to Rachel’s story about how yoga saved her from a life that was on a complete downward spiral. She shares simple yoga poses, meditation practices, and some super healthy recipes to get you going on your way!

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

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This book. I loooooved this book! For a complete review of my love of this tome, and why I think EVERYONE needs to read it, click here.

10% Happier by Dan Harris

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Amazing book. If anxiety is getting the best of you and you’ve heard about meditation and aren’t sure what exactly it’s all about, check out Dan’s book. He is a broadcaster for ABC who had a panic attack on national television and this is his story about how meditation helped him.

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

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This book, just wow. Lysa writes about how broken we can feel and get as women and how we can overcome that. Although Lysa does have bible verses sprinkled throughout, please don’t let it deter you if that’s not your thing. This book will break open your heart and put it right back together again. In a good way 🙂

Everything That Remains by The Minimalists

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I know I have two books listed here by The Minimalists but this one is my absolute favorite! It basically chronicles how Joshua hit rock bottom in his life (his mom died and his marriage ended in the same month), and with the help of the concept of minimalism, he shed which didn’t matter in his life and began to focus on his relationships and what was actually important. In turn, his best friend Ryan saw how changed Joshua’s life was and embraced lifestyle changes of his own. Want to know how The Minimalists became The Minimalists? Read this book. Some life-changing stuff here that you can totally apply to your own life.

Are there any books that you have read that you feel have helped you overcame obstacles in your life? Let me know in the comments!  🙂

Currently: The Birthday Edition

Hey guys, Happy May! 🙂 High temperature weather has arrived with a gusto this week, as it has been super warm here in SoCal. I am sitting here in shorts as I type this, lol  🙂

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I finished “Better Than New” by Nicole Curtis, who has that show Rehab Addict where she restores old houses on HGTV and the DIY network. I have watched Nicole’s show for years and am a huge fan, so I couldn’t wait to read this book about all the behind-the-scene stuff regarding her show, and also just learning more about Nicole. If you are a fan of the show, definitely check out her book!

I have been watching a lot of playoff hockey. My team is the Anaheim Ducks and I am a huuuuuuge fan, and we are currently in the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. My cat sometimes doesn’t understand how important it is to watch these games as evidenced by his indifference at blocking the television set  🙂

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It is also my birthday on Friday! In case you are wondering how old I will be turning, I will give you a hint: Star Wars and Saturday Night Fever came out in movie theaters the year I was born  😉 I am totally fine with turning this particular age (if you aren’t living, you’re dying, as they say…), I am just not ready to write or type the number quite yet. I am still wrapping my head around the dichotomy of feeling one particular age in your head, but your chronological age is totally something different. You know what I mean?  🙂

Hope everyone has a great week!

And GO DUCKS!!!!