Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More Than Words Can Say

No, this isn't some schmoopy post about how my life is horrible and I've made friends with the side of a bridge. Nope. This is actually a book review for a really great book you only wish were available in December... but you'll have to hold firm on your panties because it isn't released until January.

More Than Words Can Say - Robert Barclay
Chelsea Enright never expected to inherit her grandmother’s lakeside cottage deep in the Adirondacks—a serene getaway that had been mysteriously closed up decades ago. This is no simple bequest, however, because when Chelsea finds her grandmother’s WWII diaries, she’s stunned to discover that they hold secrets she never suspected . . . and they have the power to turn her own life upside down.

Even more surprising is the compelling presence of local doctor Brandon Yale, and Chelsea soon finds her “short stay” has stretched into the entire summer. She cannot put this cottage and her family’s past behind her easily—and the more she learns about the woman her grandmother truly was, the more Chelsea’s own life begins to change . . . and nothing will ever be the same again.

I will tell you right away I liked this book. I really love a book that will suck you into it within the first ten pages. The hook in this book is that right from the beginning- you are intrigued by the letter Chelsea's grandmother leaves her and you just have to know what is going to happen. I don't want to give anything away so I'm going to be annoyingly vague about it.

Some great things about this book are that it's about a woman's self discovery in a not cheesy way, there aren't sweeping romances or things that realistically probably wouldn't happen. I also really love books about multi generational connections and learning about your family history and secrets- which this book definitely has. The only thing that I find annoying, and this is just a life annoyance I have, is that people are too easy to say that a revealed secret can change everything in their world or who they are. No it can't, don't be stupid. I'm starting to think I really am one of a kind in that I don't let history or weird family things or whatever to hinder what I do now. Basically- I don't let any of that stuff be an excuse for how I am today. Does that make sense? So when I felt like this is where that book was going, I'll be honest- I felt stabby. But in the end it didn't matter because I loved it just the same.

It is a very fast read because you want to dig up the secrets with Chelsea and you almost feel like you're her summer camp buddy on a mystery hunt. I am the first stop on this tour, but check back here to see what other people are saying!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The First Annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party.

I have always wanted to do an ugly sweater party but every year something else has come up and it just didn't happen. This year when Amy told me she wanted to do one too, I decided that dammit- we are doing this. It started out as a moderately sized group was all invited and pretty much all at the last minute, some people had to work, some were sick (which totally OK- I do not want nor need your sick germs, folks), some had last minute things that came up, etc. We ended up having a total group size of six for dinner that dwindled to five for the bar stop.

The original plan was to go to dinner, go over to an ice bar that was just built in Canal Park, head over to Bentleyville which is this huge tour of lights that used to be in this guy's yard but has now moved to Bayfront Festival Park, and then head out to a few bars.

Dinner was at Old Chicago, which I love but don't get to go to very often. Hands down the best was when we realized that Chad and Matt were wearing the same ugly ass Christmas shirt. Unintentionally. I wish I would have had enough sense to take a picture of it, because it was kind of awesome.

After dinner, we headed over to Bentleyville because it was kind of cold and we had a feeling we'd be in line for a LONG time for Santa. Oh, you heard me right- we were going to visit Santa.
 After almost two hours of standing in really fucking cold weather, we saw Santa. We got some dirty looks at the restaurant, but Santa laughed at us. Flat out laughed at us. Whatevs. But we got a great picture. Some special things you should note- is that my sister in law has a festive green for her hair color but the best part of her outfit? The fact that she shrunk her sweater so it was cropped. Matt and Chad with their matching shirts, me with my fugly sweater with giant white balls dangling from the zipper, Amy with her festive vest and snappy denim shirt and her amazing knee high socks, and Tammy's gigantic jingle bell earrings kept falling off. Which was kind of hilarious.
 So after leaving Santa we basically hustled our asses through the rest of Bentleyville because Amy's legs were numb and Tammy couldn't feel her feet. My thighs were pretty much numb as well but seeing how Matt and I had done Bentleyville with our kids the weekend prior, I was OK. It wasn't as cold during party night as it was with the kids.
 After Bentleyville we headed to the standby dive bar in my town. Usually? That place is hopping with weirdos and terrible karaoke singers- but that night it was DEAD. The guy who runs the karaoke sang two completely depressing songs- something about growing up in the ghetto (mind you, this is coming from a middle aged, overweight and balding white man) and something about being sad in Texas. I have no idea. If we didn't have the guys with us and it was just a regular girls weekend- I would have completely suggested we go to the gay bar down the road because that is truly a place to see. Maybe next time!
All in all, it was fun... but it could have been more fun. I had a lot on my mind and as excited as I am for Christmas, I'm not quite loving it yet. I'm just a little stressed out so I wasn't feeling like partying so much. But next year? I'm excited. I think next year we'll do it again because honestly? Half the fun was just trying to find such ugly shit to wear.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


OH man. Oh man, oh man, oh man. If you need a book that is perfect to give to your girlfriend (Christmas, Birthday, Kwanzaa, National Popsicle Day, etc) then this is it. If you unfortunately do not have a vagina but instead have a penis and are confused by women lingo? You need this book.

CHICK-tionary by Anna Lefler
The Chicktionary: From A-line to Z-snap, the words every woman should know
Your bestie, biffle, and GMF rolled into one! You’re all over the definitions of “low lights,” “ruching,” and a “tankini.” But can you spot a “Mrs. Potato Head” when you see one? That’s where The CHICKtionary comes in. The CHICKtionary is a humorous dictionary of the words and phrases women use—and what they really mean when they use them. The book corrals more than 450 terms, including some you know (uterus) and some you might not (flexting), and defines each from the perspective of a typical contemporary woman—a woman who avoids accidental pageant hair, is frenemies with her robotic vacuum and only occasionally relies on her high-waisted jeans to hold up her strapless bra.

I will tell you I normally don't love books meant to be funny. I also don't really like jokes or when people are intentionally trying to make me laugh. It's never funny and I think it's dumb.

But I LOVED this book. I loved it because I can relate to it, because I say all of these things, and it's like I'm chatting with my biffle about these things. Yeah, that's right- I use the word "biffle" and if you don't know what that is you are A) a loser without a biffle and B) probably not a woman. In case you don't know what a biffle is, let's educate you:

Biffle, noun: Variation of BFFL, or best friend for life. Your biffle is your homegirl, your wingwoman, the top of the female friendship hierarchy- and you are the same for her. Your biffle knows where you hide your spare key, the home address of the guy who landed you in the women's clinic with those nasty red bumps, and the real story behind that thing that happened that time at the cabin. Not even your kryptonite guy (see also: kryptonite guy) can destabilize the bond you share with your biffle.


I love how it's put together just like a dictionary, it's all alphabetical. I learned some new words that made me spit out my Pepsi and strain my already busted up shoulder, but I'm OK with that.
Another definition that made me literally worry that I maybe leaked some pee in bed? (Because I've had two kids- this could happen.)

Childbirth, noun: Part miracle of nature, part slasher film, childbirth is one of those things that has to be experienced to be believed, particularly the first time around. Like skydiving, you can listen to the instructor talk all day long, but until someone pushes your ass out of an airplane, it's all academic. Luckily, every woman's body is slightly different, so no matter how experienced your doctor/midwife/cabdriver is, there will be a moment when he or she looks truly perplexed by something happening between your legs. It's comforting at that time to remember that women have been giving birth for centuries and the body knows what to do. After all, it's as simple as slipping a cannonball through a keyhole.

The only definition I would add for a part two that I feel should never be left out is when someone says "Have a nice day". That right there? That's code for "Eat shit and die" when it's from someone who you know doesn't like you such as a frenemy. So Anna- please add that to a sequel, because it's important.

So overall? I loved this book. LOVED IT. I cannot emphasize how much I loved this book because it's beyond words. Beyond, people. Buy it for all of your friends. It's that good. (See what other tour stops are saying about it HERE)

But one of you lucky lambwhores are going to win a copy, so follow the rules and we'll draw a winner on Monday!

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Good luck babes!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Conversations and Cosmopolitans- GIVEAWAY

Easily one of my favorite books this year.

Conversations and Cosmopolitans by Robert Rave and Jane Rave
Conversations and Cosmopolitans: Awkward Moments, Mixed Drinks, and How a Mother and Son Finally Shared Who They Really Are
After moving from the Midwest to New York City at the age of twenty-one, Robert Rave finally found the resolve to mail a letter to his parents informing them that he was gay. Once Robert was “out,” both he and his mother Jane felt a new found freedom to be more honest with each other. From the discrimination Jane experienced as a pregnant teenager in a small town, to Robert’s “manscaping,” almost no topic. was off-limits in their conversations. Soon, Robert was creating a “gay glossary” so that Jane could understand the lexicon and Jane was giving Robert the same dating advice that she used to give Robert’s older sister (“men are jerks”). Conversations and Cosmopolitans is a frank, funny, and heartfelt look at coming out from both a mother’s and son’s perspective, and an inspiring memoir about building family relationships based on honesty, openness, and acceptance.

First off, anyone who knows that I am a huge supporter of LGBT rights and advocacy. It's a damn shame that even in 2011 a person has to live in fear because of who they love yet we as a society praise young men and women to be absolute whores (hello, Jersey Shore) and that's totally fine. It's kind of ass backwards if you ask me.

What also is a shame is that there are thousands of people out there who face shame and disapproval from their families because of who they are. As a parent myself my hopes for my children is that they lead the life they want and are happy. I think there are two ways to really tell how great a parent you are: 1. Does your child still worry about your approval well into their adulthood and 2. Are they able to talk to you?

Both of these are answered by the mother and son duo of Robert and Jane Rave. Robert starts this memoir by talking about the letter he wrote to his parents explaining that he is a gay man, he's OK with it, and he hopes they are OK with it. Not going to lie, it breaks my heart as a mom to think that a child would ever feel like they would be less loved by their parents but it's a reality.

This book was absolutely fantastic because Jane sounds like a really supportive and loving mom. I also really appreciated Robert's openness of his life and how he was feeling at such a turning point in his life. And to be honest, I don't think I would ever feel comfortable having the experiences and conversations he has with his mom with my own. But maybe that's why I loved the book- you can read the chapter and feel just as awkward as Robert did. I also loved how Robert would tell a story and the following chapter is Jane's point of view or add commentary that just makes the whole thing even better.

Bottom line? You need to read this book. If you are a parent then you will love this and end up hoping you end up as cool of a mom as Jane.

But one of you will get to win your own copy (US/Canada only)! 

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I will close this giveaway on Monday, loves!