The Busy Giffs: August 2012

August 31, 2012

Book Club Friday

I know, it's been forever but I'm finally back with a book club update!
And I've been busy!
here's my most recent books!

Book #37
If You Were Here

From Amazon:
Told in the uproariously entertaining voice readers have come to expect from Jen Lancaster, If You Were Here follows Amish-zombie-teen- romance author Mia and her husband Mac (and their pets) through the alternately frustrating, exciting, terrifying-but always funny-process of buying and renovating their first home in the Chicago suburbs that John hughes's movies made famous. Along their harrowing renovation journey, Mia and Mac get caught up in various wars with the homeowners' association, meet some less-than-friendly neighbors, and are joined by a hilarious cast of supporting characters, including a celebutard ex- landlady. As they struggle to adapt to their new surroundings- with Mac taking on the renovations himself- Mia and Mac will discover if their marriage is strong enough to survive months of DIY renovations.

I really like Jen Lancaster and the way she writes; it's very conversational but I think I might be sick of her. Reading most of her books and seeing the quality take a nose dive with Jeneration X, I wasn't sure how her fiction would be. Needless to say, I liked it. Liked, not loved. It reads like her memoirs but she subbed in names for the main characters, otherwise, I could have been another memoir...
Not her worst, not her best.

Book #38
The Guardian

From Amazon:
Julie Barenson's young husband left her two unexpected gifts before he died - a Great Dane puppy named Singer and the promise that he would always be watching over her. Now four years have passed. Still living in the small town of Swansboro, North Carolina, twenty-nine-year-old Julie is emotionally ready to make a commitment to someone again. But who? Should it be Richard Franklin, the handsome, sophisticated engineer who treats her like a queen? Or Mike Harris, the down-to-earth nice guy who was her husband's best friend? Choosing one of them should bring her more happiness than she's had in years. Instead, Julie is soon fighting for her life in a nightmare spawned by a chilling deception and jealousy so poisonous that it has become a murderous desire...

After denying myself of Nicholas Sparks for so long, I feel like I've really saturated my brain with his writing. He is also very cookie cutter in my mind (but hey, with that kind of success, I would be too) so I was extremely surprised by this one! Definitely darker and creepier than his others and different than what I expected. Probably my favorite of all of his that I've read.

Book #39
The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud


From Amazon:
In a snug New England fishing village, Charlie St. Cloud tends the lawns and monuments of an ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. After surviving the car accident that claimed his brother's life, Charlie is graced with an extraordinary gift: He can see, talk to, and even play catch with Sam's spirit. Into this magical world comes Tess Carroll, a captivating woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that propels her into Charlie's life. Their beautiful and uncommon connection leads to a race against time and a choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go — and the discovery that miracles can happen if we simply open our hearts.

I never saw the movie but figured I would try the book. I was pleasantly surprised. Disappointed that I figured out the twist before I was "supposed" to but the last couple chapters were completely captivating for me. Emotional but worth every second of reading.

Book #40
Baby Proof

From Amazon:
A novel that explores the question: Is there ever a deal-breaker when it comes to true love?
Claudia Parr has everything going for her. A successful editor at a publishing house in Manhattan, she's also a devoted sister, aunt, and friend. Yet she's never wanted to become a mother--which she discovers is a major hurdle to marriage, something she desperately wants. Then she meets her soul mate Ben who, miraculously, feels the same way about parenthood. The two fall in love and marry, committed to one another and their life of adventure and discovery. All's well until one of them has a change of heart. Someone wants a baby after all.
This is the witty, heartfelt story about what happens to the perfect couple when they suddenly want different things and there is no compromise. It's about deciding what is most important in life and wagering everything to get it. And most of all, it's about the things we will--and won't--do for love.

I still don't know how I feel about this book. It questions what part of you that you would be willing to give up in order to be with someone. Was tough to read at points and a bit long winded, but not completely horrific. Not sure how I feel about her as an author either so that may have played into it.


Book #41
Queen of Babble In The Big City

From Amazon:

Lizzie Nichols is back, pounding the New York City pavement and looking for a job, a place to live, and her proper place in the universe (not necessarily in that order).
"Summer Fling" Luke's use of the "L" (Living Together) word has her happily abandoning plans to share a one-room walk-up with best friend Shari in exchange for cohabitation with the love of her life in his mom's ritzy Fifth Avenuepied-à-terre. Lizzie's landed a non-paying gig in her chosen field—vintage wedding gown rehab—and a paying one as a receptionist at Shari's boyfriend's father's posh law firm. So life is good . . . for the moment.
But almost immediately her notoriously big mouth is getting her into trouble. At work she's becoming too chummy with society bride-to-be Jill Higgins, inflaming the ire of Jill's troublesome future mother-in-law. At home she's made the grievous error of bringing up the "M" (Marriage) word to commitment-shy Luke. Once again joblessness and homelessness are looming large for hapless blabbermouth Liz—unless she can figure out some way to babble her way to a happily ever. 

Definitely picked up the second book and skipped over the first entirely. Oops.
I liked this book, very cute, and even without the first book's references, I was able to enjoy it. There is a HUGE cliffhanger  at the end of this book so I will ABSOLUTELY be putting the next book on reserve!


Have you read any of these?
What did you think?
Ps. I'm getting dangerously close to 50 books!
Keeping Up With The Giffords

August 29, 2012

Pinteresting


It's been a bit since but I'm linking up with The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting!














Caramel Apple cupcakes. Yum.


Yep.


Source: target.com via Heather on Pinterest

I'll be buying this for our new room once we move! Can't wait to show it all off!

Source: google.com via Renn on Pinterest

May be bringing this picture to the hairdresser this week. ;)

Go link up!

Keeping Up With The Giffords

August 28, 2012

Recap


I've been a bad blogger and I can't even blame it on not having anything to share!
August has been CRAZY around here!
Let's see... where to start...

1. I gave my notice at the restaurant as a supervisor. I would like to stay and serve a bit until I get my first paycheck and see how things are going. I put in for a transfer to a store closer to where our new home will be as well!

2. The new house is coming along amazingly. Right now, we're just waiting for the new carpets to be put in and then we can start moving! The beautiful thing is that it's pretty much on the way to the school so I'll probably just bring a couple boxes to school each day and then stop and unload on my way home each afternoon! That way when we do the big move of furniture, etc, there's less to have to do that way! 
Ps. Any local friends: We're moving the 29th of September. If you're around, I'd love you forever.

3. Speaking of the new job, I had my first day there today. Got to meet most of the administrators, see my classroom, look at rosters, etc. It's still so crazy to me that in a week I'll be in front of a class full-time. It won't technically be my class but it's a step in the right direction. I did make my binders when I got home...



Because it's a vocational school, I'll have students for a 2 week rotation.
The first 2 weeks are 9th and 11th grade while 10th and 12th are in shop, and then it rotates for 2 weeks.
I played with some Lilly prints and came up with this as my final results for my binders!
Each binder has my schedules, my rosters and each classes syllabus!
A little OCD but hey, have we met?

4. My small child is no longer a small child. After trying on 4 pairs of shorts the other day, we realized we have to bump her up to size 18 month clothes! And yes, she's already 14 months but she's a bit of a peanut so was still fitting into her 12 month stuff! A lot of her 12 month dresses still fit her and most of the 18 month is still a bit big but I guess it's time to accept her getting bigger! Also, since she is walking full time now, we knew we had to get her some sneakers for the Fall.  We went to Payless and got her feet measured, she's a whopping 4.5!! Yikes!! I feel like she just exploded and is suddenly not my little baby anymore; she's growing up into a very independent toddler!

At the beach.


Showing me her dirty hands.



Being a big girl, sitting in a big girl chair and using a big girl spoon. Waaaaaaah.

5. I got to go to Countryfest with Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney last weekend with my mom, aunt and sister while David watched Emmalee. I just love those men.




Honestly, how pretty is my little sister?! LOVE her!


Totally looks like my husband...hilarious. He didn't think so.

So I guess you're pretty updated with our lives now! I promise I just scheduled 2 more posts for this week and hopefully I can get some more drafted so I don't drop off the face of the blog again!

Keeping Up With The Giffords

August 20, 2012

Beauty Box Swap


I signed up with MeganTiffany, and Andrea, for their Beauty Box Swap, and Evani from Simply Evani sent me a pretty great package!


I am especially excited about those pedicure strips, so fabulous!

Thanks Evani!

Keeping Up With The Giffords

August 17, 2012

Essie & Klout


sadly, one of the most exciting things about getting a job at the school is that I will be allowed to paint my nails again!
The restaurant doesn't allow it so I'm pretty excited!

Recently Klout offered up a Perk for Essie nail polish and I was pretty excited!
Klout is pretty exciting because you get rewards just for being the online presence that you already are!

Anyways, I don't buy Essie polish because it's $8 a bottle! I'm absolutely sure it's worth it but it's just a luxury I don't really need right now, so you can imagine how excited I was when I found out I'd be getting some for free!

What do you think?
It's a sparkly blue top coat called Stroke of Brilliance
It's currently not available online but says you can look in your local stores!


I still can't paint my nails for a couple more weeks, but I'm linking up with the Nail Files anyways!


I was given a free product or sample because I'm a Klout influencer. I was under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.

Keeping Up With The Giffords

August 15, 2012

14 Months


Would you believe my peanut is 14 months old!?
I stopped making monthly stickers at 12 months, but I may make one for 18 months... not really sure. So instead, I'm just going to put up some recent pictures of her for her update!


I feel like she is getting so big but whenever she's around other babies her age, she seems so tiny.  She definitely taller than most but is just a string bean in comparison. It doesn't make sense because she eats all day!! She's wearing size 3 shoes and 12 months clothes although shes starting to fit into some 18 month stuff, although most of it is still too big.

She uses a fork to eat... or tries to.. usually does a few bites and then just uses her fingers, but she knows what they are and always wants one to hold while she's eating.
Her diet is awesome, always eating fruit and veggies, turkey, cheese, meatloaf, loves mashed potatoes and chicken, and just about anything else you give her.
She got to try a brownie the other day and she could barely chew it because she just kept saying "MMMMMM" the whole time!
Also, she's a big fan of freeze pops. :)


Last weekend, we went to Newport, in honor of our wedding anniversary and she got to run around on the Cliff Walk, right behind Salve Regina. She's such a good walker now; she does the drunk stumble sometimes and still turns her feet in a bit, but the doctor says we have nothing to worry about since she's still technically learning.


Other than walking, she loves CLIMBING! She has a wicker chair that she is constantly climbing into but last night, she decided to start climbing on the laundry basket! I think she looks like a very cute lion in the circus, don't you!?


She loves puzzles and coloring lately. If she sees a pen, she wants to hold it, she even scribbled in her uncles birthday card, all on her own!!


We did have to send one of our dogs to my mom's house, it was just getting to be a bit too scary having her around Emmalee. Too many nips and growls for our comfort. However, she she left, Emmalee and our other dog Bailey have been getting along amazingly. Emma has started petting nicely and Bailey is such a good girl when Em does get a little rough.  They are think as thieves, sitting in the kitchen eating Emmalee's Cheerios as she feeds them to Bailey....


I know in a blink of an eye, she'll be getting bigger, but I'm so happy to have all these pictures of her!

Ps. This totally would have been up on Monday, except for the fact that I was anxious as hell to undergo IV sedation and have teeth pulled on Tuesday... Blogging was the last thing on my mind... but how cute is she sitting the waiting room with my husband... just watching Bubble Guppies... :)



Keeping Up With The Giffords

August 12, 2012

Paper Mama's Photo Challenge


The Paper Mama Photo Challenge

This week's challenge is:
Green

This is one of my favorite pictures of Emmalee.




Go check out the other great submissions!

Keeping Up With The Giffords

August 10, 2012

Back to School?


The other night, David got his letter from Umass Dartmouth offering him a great MassGrant so that he can go to school this year!

While he's never been completely excited to go to school, he knows that having a Bachelors is pretty much a necessity so he'd like to finish what he started.

So of course, I logged onto UMD's site to see what he already satisfied and would he'd have to take, which of course led me to looking at my own unfinished transcript...
And after some poking a round I realized that 2 courses and a practicum are all I need to finish a post-bacc program and get my Initial license, which means...

I could graduate in May if I get my butt moving, pay the $200 re-admit fee and put in my re-admit papers, secure the $2500 I would need for this semester (Sallie Mae is a bitch) and just take my courses!

The practicum has always been the scariest thing for me. 14 weeks of unpaid practicum is not exactly possible when you're already struggling with money but with my employment at the school, as long as the teacher I'm working with agrees to let me take over for 2 weeks, there's no reason UMD won't accept it as my practicum, since the school I'll be working at is already an approved practicum school!

I'm beyond excited.

The two courses I need are offered on Tuesday and Wednesday night of the Fall semester so if I can figure out a way to pay for them; David has already talked to the scheduling manager at his job, who says she can give him those two nights off!

We've been toying with the idea of sending Emmalee to the YMCA daycare for 1 or 2 days to start socialization and Dave could take courses during the day!

Will it be a crazy Fall semester? 
Yep. 
But it will pay off in the end.

Cross your fingers (mostly for financing, I'm sure I can figure out the rest!) because I would really, really like for this to work out!!

Did I mention we're going to UMass today? ;)

Keeping Up With The Giffords

August 9, 2012

Passive Aggressive


I've found that as of late, I have less tolerance for people than normal.
I'm pretty easy-going when it comes to other people and their lives, but lately I feel like I just want to slap some of my friends...

I'm sure I'll start some fight over this but I need to get it off my chest before I explode.

9 times out of 10, when my friends complain about money I want to smack them.
And not just, oh no, I have no money, sad face.
That, I can deal with. 
It's hard times, everyone is dealing with it.

It's stupid, stupid crap, that people feel they can complain about when they've done nothing to remedy the situation.

A. My friend who complains about not having enough money when she has 3 baby daddies that she collects child support from, which in actuality is more than I make a month is enough for her to not only be able to stay home all day, but afford a manicure every month, 3 large vacations in the past year and the luxury of going out most weekends with her friends.
And then has the audacity to complain to me that "It's so hard".
Really?
Let me try it out for a bit; I'm sure it would be marvelous.

B. Another friend who complains that he has no money and is constantly asking to go out for lunch, meaning I pay, because he has no money from not working. His unemployment check apparently only covers the subs and car parts he buys every week, and not enough to get basic living necessities, like food. Thankfully Daddy pays for his rent or who knows how terrible his life would be.

I mean, I get it, things are bad and times are tough but accept some responsibility for what you have and what you seem to "need".

Maybe I'm jaded because these people who claim to be "scraping the bottom" make more on unemployment and child support than I do working 40 hours a week, with the luxury of seeing their families and having free time.

What it comes down to is how you live is a choice. 
Yes, life throws you curve balls and sometimes you do end up at the bottom of the barrel. 
But that's when you change.
You stop getting your nails done, you stop spending $30 every weekend on drinks, you stop buying things you don't need.
Otherwise, stop complaining.

Someone, somewhere has less.


Source: piccsy.com via Heather on Pinterest


Keeping Up With The Giffords

August 6, 2012

Mascara & Lip Gloss



I signed up for the Mascara and Lip Gloss swap hosted by Meg, Tara and Holly because... well it's the only make up I wear and most swaps are so much more!

Madeline at Sunshine [and] Peanuts sent me such an amazing package!


Two great mascaras and 3 awesome lip glosses!

Thanks Madeline!



Keeping Up With The Giffords

August 3, 2012

Book Club




I know it's been a long time since I updated my 50 Book Challenge list but I've been posting other things on Friday, or haven't been posting at all so it's a bit of a book dump today!

Book #32 
Shoe Addicts Anonymous


From Amazon:
Four different women. One common shoe size. And a shared lust for fabulous footwear.
Helene Zaharis’s politician husband keeps her on a tight leash and cancels her credit cards as a way of controlling her. Lorna Rafferty is up to her eyeballs in debt and can’t stop her addiction to eBay. Sandra Vanderslice, battling agoraphobia, pays her shoe bills by working as a phone-sex operator. And Jocelyn Bowen is a nanny for the family from hell (who barely knows a sole from a heel but who will do anything to get out of the house.)
On Tuesday nights, these women meet to trade shoes and, in the process, form friendships that will help them each triumph over their problems---from secret pasts to blackmail, bankruptcy, and dating. Funny, emotional, and powerful, Shoe Addicts Anonymous is a perfect read for any woman who has ever struggled to find the perfect fit.

I actually really liked this book! Maybe I'm a bit of a shoe addict and would LOVE to find a group like this! I don't want the craziness of the rest of the women's lives but the group, absolutely!
This was a perfect easy, summer read.


Book #33
A Total Waste of Make Up


From Amazon:

Charlize "Charlie" Edwards certainly knows, in theory, what it takes to lead a successful and happy life. She owns a nice house in Silverlake, LA's trendiest neighborhood. She has glamorous and loyal friends who accompany her to the hottest clubs in town. And she works as the personal assistant to Drew Stanton, Hollywood's sexiest movie star. But she's also turning 30, chronically single, and faced with serving as maid of honor at her younger sister's wedding. Charlie finds herself struggling to juggle the chaos of wedding planning (while wondering if she'll ever wear the white dress herself), her all-consuming job for lunatic boss Stanton, and a serious crush on Jordan, a photographer on the set of Drew's latest feature--a man who might actually return her feelings. A page-turner from start to finish, A Total Waste of Makeup puts a fresh face on women's fiction.


This one was also a good book, I found myself rooting for one "team" over the other, you'll understand more if you read! It was another quick summer read that you could curl up with on the beach.
I really enjoy how conversational the writing is. You can almost picture Charlie sitting on the other side of the table saying it all.
I would absolutely recommend it!

Book #34
Bright Lights, Big Ass




From Amazon:
Jen Lancaster hates to burst your happy little bubble, but life in the big city isn't all it's cracked up to be. Contrary to what you see on TV and in the movies, most urbanites aren't party-hopping in slinky dresses and strappy stilettos. But lucky for us, Lancaster knows how to make the life of the lower crust mercilessly funny and infinitely entertaining.

Whether she's reporting rude neighbors to Homeland Security, harboring a crush on her grocery store clerk, or fighting-and losing-the Battle of the Stairmaster- Lancaster explores how silly, strange, and not-so-fabulous real city living can be. And if anyone doesn't like it, they can kiss her big, fat, pink, puffy down parka.



I don't think it's any secret that I adore Jennifer Lancaster.
I swear, if I was 15 10 years older and lived in Chicago, I would have written this book.
Her sense of humor and sarcasm directly mirror how I speak, so honestly, if you like my writing, check out hers, because hers is better, and published, and better.


Book #35
Such a Pretty Fat



From Amazon:
"To whom the fat rolls…I'm tired of books where a self-loathing heroine is teased to the point where she starves herself skinny in hopes of a fabulous new life. And I hate the message that women can't possibly be happy until we all fit into our skinny jeans. I don't find these stories uplifting; they make me want to hug these women and take them out for fizzy champagne drinks and cheesecake and explain to them that until they figure out their insides, their outsides don't matter. Unfortunately, being overweight isn't simply a societal issue that can be fixed with a dose healthy of positive self-esteem. It’s a health matter, and here on the eve of my fortieth year, I've learned I have to make changes so I don't, you know, die. Because what good is finally being able to afford a pedicure if I lose a foot to adult onset diabetes?"

I've said it before, actually above but whatever, I love this woman but this book was not my favorite. Yes, I found it funny that she struggles with weight loss like women but I guess I found it disappointing because even though almost all women struggle with weight, I couldn't relate to her in this book. And when you imagine that she's actually sitting there, talking to you while drinking a margarita, it doesn't bode well if it no longer feels that way.
I guess I'm just sad that the only way she found to really lose weight was a personal trainer, proving that if you do actually have a job and a family, it is downright impossible to also take the time necessary to focus on just you.


Book #36
The Fame Game


From Amazon:

In Hollywood, fame can be found on every corner and behind any door. You just have to know where to look for it. Nineteen-year-old Madison Parker made a name for herself as best frenemy of nice-girl-next-door Jane Roberts on the hot reality show L.A. Candy. Now Madison's ready for her turn in the spotlight and she'll stop at nothing to get it. Sure, she's the star of a new show, but with backstabbing friends and suspicious family members trying to bring her down, Madison has her work cut out for her. Plus, there's a new nice girl in "reality" town—aspiring actress Carmen Price, the daughter of Hollywood royalty—and she's a lot more experienced at playing the fame game... When the camera's start rolling, whose star will shine brighter?
Filled with characters both familiar and new, Lauren Conrad's series about the highs and lows of being famous delivers Hollywood gossip and drama at every turn.

I have a huge sweet tooth for anything Lauren Conrad, even though I never saw the Hills until oh, a year ago?
I love her clothes, her style and unashamedly, her books.
The Fame Game is the most recent installment of them and I'm in love.


14 books to go!

Keeping Up With The Giffords

Easy Halloween Brownies

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