Everyday Reading

August 1, 2014

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I think you either love or hate Rainbow Rowell.

I happen to really really enjoy her books. But if you've read her other stuff and not been a fan, I think it's unlikely Landline will change your opinion.

Also, Eleanor & Park is by far her most popular book, and it's actually my least favorite of her books, so take that for what it's worth.

And also, I've read several reviews that were disappointed in Landline, and I totally loved every page, so. . . I probably have no idea what I'm talking about.

Anyway. . .the story.

Georgie and her best friend Seth have been working together since college and their dream is a television show of their own - their character, their ideas, their jokes.

And now, just before Christmas, the chance of a career comes along. Except to take that chance, Georgie won't be able to go home for Christmas with her husband, Neal, and their two little girls.

And Georgie knows Neal will be mad about it. Their relationship has been strained for quite some time, and this might be the nail in the coffin. What she doesn't expect is that he packs up the girls and leaves for Christmas without her.

She's not interested in staying home alone, so she spends the weekend with her mom. And her mom still has the same dialup phone Georgie used as a teenager at home. And somehow, when she calls with it, she gets Neal. But not the Neal she's been married to for years - it's the Neal of their college days, when they were dating, before everything got so complicated.

Now Georgie has to figure out if there is any way to make things less complicated.

One thing I love about Rainbow Rowell's characters is that they're so real. They do dumb things, they say mean things, they make mistakes and they struggle to make things right again.

Also, holy cow, I think her dialogue is hilariously funny. I keep going back and reading the best lines over again. There is one party scene in college between Neal and Georgie that is about 6 pages of non-stop great lines. But they don't feel over-written or over-the-top. They're just funny.

A few days after I read it, my mom listened to an audio copy of it on a road trip, so when she came back, we talked about it at length, which was totally delightful. I would like her to live next door to me and we can share books (and I can make her cook me dinner too).

There's some swearing in this book (I didn't notice it as much because I was reading it rather than listening, but it's definitely there), but other than that, it's pretty clean. Ironically, actually, I think her adult books are more tame than her YA ones.

Copy received from publisher

July 30, 2014

Lemon & Spinach Pasta with Tomatoes

Lemon & Spinach Pasta with tomatoes. Seriously the perfect summer dinner!

Ani has many good qualities.

One of them is that she is pretty much the most appreciative eater you can imagine. As soon as the prayer is over, she starts pointing to her plate, indicating "hey, serve me up some of that delicious looking stuff."

And then, after one bite, she'll look up, nod her head vigorously and say, "yummmmmm. ummmm! yummm!"

Also, she can really pack that food away. Most nights she has three servings of whatever is for dinner.

Meanwhile, Ella shudders after every bite, asks us to feed her each forkful, and asks "Could we just have snacks for dinner instead?"

Balance in the universe.

(Also, you know what would make these photos better? Some really nice beautiful fresh lemons. But sadly, I'm a giant hack who uses bottled lemon juice and. . .that plastic bottle isn't necessarily that photogenic).

Lemon & Spinach Pasta with Tomatoes
(Adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

Serves 3-4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups half-and-half
5 Tablespoons lemon juice (divided)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 pound dry spiral pasta
2 cups roughly chopped baby spinach
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add garlic and cook about sixty seconds, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn.

Add the half-and-half, 4 Tablespoons lemon juice, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. The lemon juice will probably make your half-and-half seize up a little. Don't worry about it. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer about 15 minutes, until slightly thickened and reduced. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta, cooking it has just a slight bite. Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Pour the reduced cream sauce over the top and cook over medium heat until the noodles have absorbed most of the sauce. In the last few minutes, add the spinach to the pot so it's slightly wilted.

Remove from heat and toss with Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, last Tablespoon of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Lemon & Spinach Pasta with tomatoes. Seriously the perfect summer dinner!

July 29, 2014

Raiding My Sister's Closet: Outfit Finishers

In a perfect world, I'd finish off every outfit with a jacket and maybe a scarf.

But I'm not living in a perfect world - I'm living in Arizona where it's 100,000 million degrees (in fact, yesterday, I looked at the weather and it said 104 and I said aloud, "That's not so bad." Save me). 

So I have to rely on non-layer type items to make me look put together. 

Here are my three favorite ways to look like I got dressed with the lights on:

1. Shoes. Nothing ruins a good outfit faster than the wrong shoes. (Really, my main outfit finisher is a full-length mirror. I can tell you how many times I've gotten dressed in a scenario where I couldn't see my full body and then later realized, "Wow, this looked much better in my head"). I've really gotten better in the last couple of years of buying realistic shoes for my lifestyle, so I have a fairly good collection of comfortable and cute shoes (these flats are on my to-buy list for London).

2. Lipstick. A couple of years ago, I was totally afraid of lipstick. Now? It's basically a necessity for me.  I especially like red and pink in the summer. I'm a fairly minimal makeup wearer, so I feel like lipstick makes a big difference. 

3. Earrings. I almost never go without earrings, even if it's just a tiny little pair. I'm not a huge jewelry wearer, but I feel a little naked without earrings. 

(Also, sunglasses). 

Hop on over and see Merrick and Landen's tricks for finishing off an outfit:



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