An Update on My Reading Goal: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The most recent book I have read off NPR’s list of the 10 best books of 2016 is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

This story spans centuries telling the stories of decendants of an African family. It is beautifully written and fast-paced. Some of the family members are sold into slavery while others become slave traffickers themselves.

There are hardships and triumphs throughout the book. Gyasi creates interesting characters and keeps the reader hooked with the way their stories are intertwined. Read this one.

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(Image from amazon.com)

Here is the updated list:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Eleanor Roosevelt: The War Years and After, 1939-1962 by Blanche Wiesen Cook

Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs by Robert Kanigel

 

 

Bashful and Blush

My fellow fans of Steel Magnolias will remember how Shelby selected Bashful and Blush as her wedding colors. Pink and Pink? No, Bashful and Blush! I was horrified by those colors. I generally gravitate far, far away from anything pink, but I’m kind of loving some of the blush clothing items out there right now.

Here are a few things I would definitely wear, especially if paired with neutral black or tan.

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1. I would pair these pink pants with black or gray, not more pink like the model is wearing here. (Banana Republic) 2. I’m loving these sandals and feel they would really set off my recent pink pedi. (ModCloth) 3. I have no weddings to attend this summer, but if I did, I would be buying and wearing this skirt. (Eliza J at Herberger’s) 4. This bag is a great size and this shade of pink would be versatile. (Anthropologie) 5. I love cardigans in every color. (J. Crew) 6. This dress looks so comfortable and feminine for summer. (Loft)

An Update on My Reading Goal: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The most recent book I have read off NPR’s list of the 10 best books of 2016 is The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

This book was fantastically written. The imagery was haunting and gruesome. A book about this rough period of time should not be pleasant to read, and this wasn’t, but it was gripping. I found myself thinking about certain scenes in the book at random times throughout the day. To me, that’s the sign of a perfectly told story. I won’t be forgetting it any time soon.

The main character, Cora, is a slave escaping from horrible living conditions via the Underground Railroad. It is a story that has been told before, but Cora is a unique and relatable character. Her strength and ability to persevere kept me intrigued throughout the book.

I was starting to lose a bit of faith in NPR’s list as the last two books didn’t thrill me, but this book restored my interest in completing the list.

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(Image from amazon.com)

Here is the updated list:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Eleanor Roosevelt: The War Years and After, 1939-1962 by Blanche Wiesen Cook

Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs by Robert Kanigel

 

 

10 Recent Pregnancy Thoughts: 36 Weeks

This is one last pregnancy update before the little gal arrives. Hopefully in a few short weeks I’ll be posting some pictures here of a healthy, happy girl and her proud big sis.

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10. The hip pain has subsided a bit thanks to a prenatal massage and fabulous pedicure last weekend. Now to power through three more weeks!

9: I am relieved we got good news at our follow-up ultrasound this past week. And the girl has the chubbiest of cheeks. Thank you, ice cream from Silver Lining Creamery, of which I cannot get enough.

8. Is it too early to box up and donate these maternity clothes? I’m so. tired. of. them.

7. Often when getting up from the couch or out of bed I feel like a turtle that got flipped onto its back and can’t move.

6. I continue to want cereal constantly.

5. When something falls on the floor I have a lengthy internal debate over if it is worth retrieving.

4. People keep saying “it’ll start going really fast now.” I’m still waiting for it to “start going really fast.”

3. Nesting update: I will overzealously organize any stack of papers, magazines, etc. I encounter. If I come over to your house and go through your mail or clean out a closet, don’t be offended.

2. I’m way past the joking stage of pregnancy (is there one?) so don’t expect any April Fool’s Day labor jokes out of me. If I call and say I’m in labor, I’m in labor.

1: As annoying as it is to have everyone looking at my gigantic belly all the time, at least I’m not like April the Giraffe being monitored by a 24/7 live video feed where people can watch to see if I’m in labor yet. So there’s that.

My Summer 2017 Concert Wish-List

As fate would have it, the summer I happen to be off work for 12 weeks to stay home and nurture my new daughter also happens to hold a North American concert line-up of which dreams are made.

I have begun to realize that seeing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Red Rocks Amphitheatre a few weeks post-C-section is probably not realistic, but a girl can still fantasize.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted to be welcoming our new baby to our family, but I can’t help but look at my calendar and wonder if squeezing in at least one of these shows would be possible during my approved FMLA leave. I did include Stevie Nicks with Pretenders in my list below because I saw them in February with my bestie and it was fantastic!

Here’s my summer concert wish-list and if it is permissible to wear a newborn in a sling to a Radiohead concert, please let me know. I’ll be that mom.

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1. Metallica

2. Radiohead

3. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

4. Stevie Nicks with Pretenders

5. Soundgarden

6. Green Day

(Images from pollstar.com)

An Update on My Reading Goal: Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

The most recent book I have read off NPR’s list of the 10 best books of 2016 is Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer.

This book was all over the place. It began with relatable conflicts between a Jewish-American husband and wife, but then it drifted into political chaos, issues with a troubled teenager, and a hodgepodge of other various topics. It was as if the author was trying to tackle far too many story ideas all within one novel.

I have been a bit of a naysayer on three out of the four books I have read off this NPR list, but fortunately the fifth book, which I started a couple of days ago, is really impressing me so stay tuned for a review on that one. I’ll keep it a surprise for now!

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(Image from amazon.com)

Here is the updated list:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Eleanor Roosevelt: The War Years and After, 1939-1962 by Blanche Wiesen Cook

Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs by Robert Kanigel

My Favorite Baby Items

Our new baby will be arriving soon, and I am grateful to have invested in and registered for some great basic items during my first pregnancy that will serve us well with my second baby. We have had very little to stock up on this time: Some diapers, some new bottles, and a few cute outfits so she doesn’t have to completely rely on her big sister’s hand-me-downs. We’ll also need to pick up a new umbrella stroller at some point because our first daughter’s has been run into the ground.

Here are some of my favorite baby basics that I used constantly with my first daughter and will once again turn to with our new girl. What are your favorite baby items? What were some of the over-rated items you wouldn’t spend money on again?

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1. Aden + Anais swaddle blankets were one of my favorite gifts received when our first baby was born. They wash up beautifully every time and feature gorgeous patterns. They serve as a blanket, burp rag, and wiper of all things gross, but look brand new after each trip through the washing machine. (Adenandanais.com) 2. Because our older daughter was small for her age, she continued to nap in this Graco Simple Sway Swing even when the motor completely died because we used it 22 hours a day. We were happy to invest in a new one for our second baby and hope it is the lifesaver it was the first time around. (Target) 3. The Cuisinart mini chopper doesn’t seem like a baby item, but I loved it for making homemade baby food for my little one. (Bed Bath & Beyond) 4. We used Dr. Brown’s bottles from the very beginning with our first daughter and she never had tummy troubles at all. My best friend and I swear by them. (Available at Target or online) 5. The thought of carrying around a bag featuring images of Winnie the Pooh or teddy bears was too much for this handbag fan to handle. My husband gave me this classic diaper bag for Christmas right after we found out we were expecting our first baby and I still love it. I’ll use it this time around, too, and might even use it as a work tote after I no longer need a diaper bag. (Kate Spade) 6. I loved this Fisher-Price high chair that straps on any kitchen chair. It was great for use at home or trips to Grandma’s and turns into a simple booster seat as the child grows. (Kohl’s)