Deserving of love, not neglect

Let’s talk about neglect.

There’s much I neglected last week — the dust bunnies parading through my living room speak volumes — as I suffered, knocked-down sick with a head cold, dependent upon my darling husband to take care of the day-to-day. Thankfully, he loves me enough to bring me a new box of tissues, or a fresh glass of OJ, and to oblige my request for grilled cheese and soup for dinner. Aren’t I a lucky girl?

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Colds subside. Dust bunnies can be swept away. Neglect remains. What am I still neglecting? Myself. My passions. My words. My books. Excuses are easy, and heaven knows I’ve made a ton over the years: Grad school was usurping all my energy; I had a wedding to plan; I read and write all day long; I need a brain break when I get home. Enough is enough. If I love these word-filled contraptions enough to make them my life’s work, they deserve my extracurricular attention, too.

Let’s have some fun.

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I’ve never met a bookstore I didn’t like. If you’re at all like me, it’s nearly impossible to pass back through Barnes & Noble’s heavy wooden doors without a purchase (or four) in hand, despite having not even come close to finishing those purchased last week. This literary love affair is dedicated to the pretty little neglected books, books relegated to the nightstand, as worthy of my time (and, I think, yours) as they were of my dollars.

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1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver
Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

2. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

3. Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’Easter – Lisa Patton
Leelee Satterfield seemed to have it all: a gorgeous husband, two adorable daughters, and roots in the sunny city of Memphis, Tennessee. So when her husband gets the idea to uproot the family to run a quaint Vermont inn, Leelee is devastated…and her three best friends are outraged. But she’s loved Baker Satterfield since the tenth grade, how can she not indulge his dream? Plus, the glossy photos of bright autumn trees and smiling children in ski suits push her over the edge…after all, how much trouble can it really be?

4. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

5. Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love – Sarah Butler
About to turn thirty, Alice is the youngest of three daughters, and the black sheep of her family.  Drawn to traveling in far-flung and often dangerous countries, she has never enjoyed the closeness with her father that her two older sisters have and has eschewed their more conventional career paths.  She has left behind a failed relationship in London with the man she thought she might marry and is late to hear the news that her father is dying.  She returns to the family home only just in time to say good-bye.

**All book descriptions from Barnes & Noble, where all books are available for sale.

What books have you neglected lately? I’ll read mine if you read yours.

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I’m participating in Literary Love this week — a St. Valentine-inspired celebration of all things bookish. Spread the love; check out what’s going on at write meg!, Estella’s Revenge, Love at First Book and From Isi. And for the Twitter lovers, follow the smooching under #LiteraryLove14.

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Ohh, How Pinteresting: Late Summer

I’m late! I’m late!

I’m bringing up the rear on Wednesday this week, but I am here.

The local college started classes this week, and the public county schools start on Tuesday. The traditional last big hurrah of summer is nearly upon us, but I’m not giving it up quite that easily. My summer extends one week and a half beyond the day on which most everyone will hang up their summer whites for fall chocolates and, this year, animal prints.

No fear, Fall, I won’t hold you at bay for long, but for now…

I’m running with a late summer theme, and linking up.

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ImageThat’s all, folks.

What did you pin this week??

Ohh, How Pinteresting: Kitchen Dreaming

There are things I love about my kitchen. One whole section of counter is taken up by a butcher’s block. I have more than enough cabinet space. The neon-colored hand towels.

But there are as many, or more things about my kitchen that I dislike. The galley style. The fact that we don’t have a full-size refrigerator. The fact that our itty bitty microwave has to sit on a shelf in the dining room. And, though it’s bigger than the last, the kitchen is very, very small.

I’m spending more and more time dreaming about when The Boy and I have a home larger than a 1-bedroom apartment, and a kitchen large enough to dance in if the mood strikes us.

So that’s the motivation for this week’s link up …

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And maybe one day, we’ll be here again.

From my kitchen to yours, here we go!

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Okay, that’s it, folks.

What did you pin this week??

She Returns!

Hello, friends.

I’ve never been happier to say I’m so glad you’re still here with me.

July 24 came and went, and I didn’t return. For that, I am, again, sorry.

But now I’m back, for good!

As mentioned previously, I finished graduate school. This girl has a Master’s degree (with a rocking final GPA, for the record) — and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. That’s something we’ll cover in another post, for another time.

Since then, life has been a little crazy, and they’re showing no signs of slowing.

I finished school on Monday, July 23, and promptly got the worst cold I’d had in YEARS. It was like my body said, “Okay, we’ve held strong for this long. It’s our turn now.” And take its turn, it did. I was couch-ridden for two and a half days, and miserable, but it was something I needed.

Since then, The Boy and I have been living the summer to its fullest. We drove to Pennsylvania, and then to New Jersey for my very first Dave Matthews Band experience (and yes, I’m a convert) with two of our favorite people in the world, his cousin Leah, and her husband, Chris. We saw Batman in IMAX; we went to Wolf Trap for a 90s radio music extravaganza — because, I mean, who can say no to the Gin Blossoms and Sugar Ray? We sure couldn’t. We saw the inimitable Jerry Seinfeld at the Kennedy Center, after a beautiful day in the District. And just this weekend, we saw Aerosmith (me, for the first time), with Cheap Trick, and we’re in the final countdown (3 weeks, and 4 days) for our Puerto Rico trip.

Otherwise, we’re just doing the day-to-day,

hating the suburbs, but loving each other.

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So, now that the reintroductions are out the way, let’s get to the real reason we’re here, shall we?

It’s Wednesday, so I’m linking up with Michelle for…

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No theme this week — let’s just see where this takes us.

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What did you pin this week??

Day Late, and a Dollar Short

I’m slipping. I missed my weekend review post yesterday, and I deserve a smack on the hand. There, I gave myself one. I have one month and twelve days remaining in graduate school. 42 days, and I will have three very important letters behind my name: M. P. S. It can’t come soon enough, and that’s my excuse for missing yesterday.

Just means you’ll get two posts today. 🙂

Directly after work on Friday, I went and finished a project I had been working on since the week prior. Want to see??

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Image(aaand the finished product — What do you think??)

Ohh, believe me, yes. It hurt. Probably the worst pain I’ve felt in a long time, if not ever. But it’s gorgeous and it’s finished (for now — The original quote will eventually make its way back into the piece somehow).

I was out. of. commission. for the rest of the night on Friday, and I felt so, so bad for The Boy because he had gotten stuff for dinner and prepared for a kitchen date, and I just couldn’t do anything.

On Saturday, we took our first trip of the year out into wine country. Man, does God love Loudoun County. I’m sure it’s nothing to compared to, say, Napa or the Italian wine country, but it does a body good to escape from the urbanity that consumes the DC metro area, even if it’s just for a few hours.

You want pictures?? Okay, I can comply with that.


(at Bluemont Vineyards)

It doesn’t get much more beautiful than this…

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What a day!

We spent Sunday doing a little spring cleaning. A tidy house (err, apartment) is a happy house, right?? And we completely re-arranged the bedroom. We finished…and promptly collapsed, but the place looks amazing and it feels great, which makes it all worth it.

I hope your weekend was everything you wanted it to be, and your week has started off strong!

Ohh, How Pinteresting: Play Ball!

Happy Hump Day, blog-land!

Since it’s Wednesday, it’s time to link up with Michelle once again, but first…

This happened yesterday, and I though you should know.

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ImageShew. I feel five pounds (and twelve inches) lighter.

Now, let’s move on to what you’re really here for…

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The Boy and I made a spontaneous decision to go to the Washington Nationals game tonight, so this week’s Pinterest finds share a baseball theme, because it’s one of the best parts of summer in this grand place.

Plaaayyyy BALL.

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All right. There it is.

What did you pin this week??

Rainstorms, Rainforests and a Phantom Army

Well, hello Monday. It’s nice to see you.

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Before we can get to all of that…we must look back.

On Friday, The Boy and I had big plans to continue a new tradition: Dinner and an opening night movie. The rain foiled those plans. Instead, we made dinner and watched the storm, and enjoyed each other’s company, pulling movies from the shelves, and abandoning them again for conversation.

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I could say Saturday was much more upbeat, but that wouldn’t be all that true. :-).

We had to forgo the farmers market trip, because The Boy (it seems) sprained his big toe! The poor guy. He was limping around, and obviously very uncomfortable, so we’re saving that for another Saturday. We did, however, get our trip to Puerto Rico booked. We have plane tickets and a place to sleep. And we have a guided tour through the beauty that is the El Yunque rainforest.

Can it be September now, please?

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And hey, we did finally get to that movie.

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If you’ve seen it, what did you think? I, personally, am discovering that I’m just not a Charlize Theron fan. Check out The Boy’s full review.

Sunday closed the quietest of weekends in the quietest of ways. We did our grocery shopping. Did our weekly prep, and that’s all we did. Yes, sir.

What do you have on tap this week? Whatever you do, do it well.

Before I go, I must wish a very happy anniversary to my friend and classmate, Heather, over at High Heels & Flip Flops. Here’s to many more years of happiness for you and Stephen.

Have a great week, y’all. ‘Til next time!