Sunday, June 28, 2009

More Book Reviews: Bright Lights, Big Ass AND Bitter Is The New Black

Summer Reading Blitz '09 continues with more Jen Lancaster. I swear to God- I have to meet this woman, her and I would be besties immediately. Her sarcastic humor is identical to mine and the things she says are exactly what I would say in the situations. It's really creeping me out to be honest.
Bright Lights, Big Ass

I will start by saying this was not as hilarious as "Such A Pretty Fat" was for me, but I did like it and I did laugh out loud. Matt is truly sick of my reading at this point. This is basically about life in the big city and even though I live in little po'dunk Superior, Wisconsin- I can certainly understands her plights. My neighbors are also of varying degrees of crazy and I often think that you need to apply for some kind of license to own a home because I tell you- the people buying homes around me are idiots. Who paints their house bright ass blue with black trim? Who decorates their yard with numerous handmade lawn ornaments? And really- who told you it was a good idea to mount gigantic, unrealistic, creepy as shit butterflies to the side of your house?? It makes it look like the neighborhood is being swarmed by some freak bugs or something. Anyways- this is a fun summer read. :)

Bitter Is The New Black

OK- now this is her first book (I read them out of sequence and it didn't seem to matter) and it was hilarious. I laughed my ass off on this one. Now you know how much I love Jen, but in this book- she seemed more bitchy to me. Like maybe not as fun. I don't know. But I still love her and know that we could be a hilarious duo. Anywho- this is about how she went from living the high life to living in the ghetto with the Russian Construction crew "working" next door. It's her quest for a new job and learning the hard lessons of frivoulous spending, which I have yet to learn. This is a must read especially in these economic times because if you happen to be unemployed- it's uplifting to know that everyone is having a hard time finding a job. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Book Review: The Friday Night Knitting Club

Before giving you this review I feel compelled to tell you that I don't knit. I know nothing about knitting, sewing or any craft of the like. I can't differentiate between a knitted or a crocheted (sp??) blanket. I did want to read this book not only because it has a snazzy cover (yes, I'm shallow like that) but because the basic story line sounded kind of fun. Oh, I also have never seen Steel Magnolias (stop your booing- that's rude) which set me back because the cover touts this as Steel Magnolias set in Manhattan. I had a lot going against me here. Now on with the review!

You absolutely must read this book. It's basically the story of a group of women all from different backgrounds and at different points in their lives that somehow form the Friday Night Knitting Club. At the center is Georgia Walker and her daughter Dakota that run the store and Georgia is a reluctant member of the club. Her mentor, Anita, kind of guides Georgia into the club and basically is winds from there. I must tell you two things: A). I had a hard time getting into it, but I'm glad I stuck with it. and B.) I cried like a mother fucking baby at the end. I am so serious- I cried, had to locate a box of Klennex and blow my nose like I had a sinus infection. I scared my cat, I blubbered to Matt like these were real people and of course he didn't give a damn. You really need to read this because it's such a great story about women and how important it is to just have a group of ladies to have there, even if you aren't great friends or close in any way. It also is a great story about forgiveness and how to put things into perspective. And guess what??? I see there is the sequel coming out in November. WOOT!!! You know I'm all about sequels. :) HAHA!!

Stayed tuned for my review of "Bright Lights, Big Ass" and "Bitter Is The New Black" by Jen Lancaster as well as the True Blood DVD series one set which Target has finally gotten in. Thank you rain check for allowing me to purchase it at 51% off now that their sale is over.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beautiful Lies- by Lisa Unger

If you are looking for a really great read, then you MUST check out Lisa Unger's Beautiful Lies. I'm a really fast reader anyways, but I literally could not put this book down. Lisa does a superb job at keeping the suspense realistic and the story line is amazing. It is the story of Ridley Jones and how little choices that you make can set your life in a whole new path. Ridley inadvertently becomes a hero after saving a little boy from getting hit by a vehicle and because of that one action- the course of her life and the existence that she knew is forever changed. It delves into the Safe Haven Law, (its creation) and how maybe some children weren't given up willingly. It's such a great story and it has a huge twist at the end (which I love) and you really can't predict how it's going to turn out. I definitely recommend it and I can officially cross off another book from my summer list. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kayak Trip Summary

Have you ever seen the Dr. Phil show where he works with couples on the brink of divorce and he has them do these activities to improve their communication? Like blindfolding the wife and trying to talk her into changing a tire? Well this trip, to me, resembled a show like that.

It was supposed to be a fun, relaxing trip for Matt and I. We don't spend much time together and I really hoped this would help us connect again, celebrate 5 years of marriage, and remember why we fell in love. None of that happened. Instead, we screamed at each other in a kayak with strangers laughing their asses off at us. There's a reason these are nicknamed the "divorce boats". Seriously. It started innocently enough. We woke up so fucking early after going to bed way to damn late. We met Tammy & Chad at Perkins for breakfast. Here's us leaving our house:
Don't I look swell? No makup, just woke up, wearing more layers than a homeless person, feeling bloated and crampy. So we drive ourselves to Bayfield to meet our guide and whoever else has booked a sea caves trip at 8:45. It was so gorgeous out there. It was like 43 degrees- not bad, no wind, promising to be a beautiful day on the lake.

the view from the Trek & Trail place
We discover that thankfully, we aren't the only three on the trip. Tammy isn't a fan of the open water, so she opted out of the trip. That was a smart move and I think she was relieved that she didn't miss a fantastic life changing trip because it wasn't that. She probably would have cried the entire time because I know I was close to doing it. Our tripmates were as follows: Chad (Tammy's hubby), Clint (a junior guide- looked like he was stoned and recovering from a hangover), Jim and daughter Laura (a father/daughter duo from Alabama on a vacation known as "Alabama" from here), Pavlo and Beth (a barely English speaking guy from Chile and a former dork turned college cool girl wannabe from Sheboygan, known as "Chile" from here). Oh, and Elisa, our guide who is clearly at home in the water although not a Wisconsin native. She seems cool and likeable, not scary and doesn't seem to be all Nazi about the kayaking experience. All good.

So we are told because of weather conditions and it being so early in the year, we have to wear wetsuits. Holy mother of Jesus. For those who don't know me, you should know that I do NOT have a flattering body type. My body is not meant to be put into any kind of restrictive clothing such as corets, panty hose, leggins, any nylon and/or lycra material, Spanx, and certainly not a wetsuit. Humiliation ensues. A large does not fit. I have to ask for something bigger to which Elisa says, "Are you sure?" I follow with "If the object is for it to cover my body and not just my calves, then yes, I need something bigger." Guess what fits? XXL. No joke. I'm debating coming out in my wetsuit that was obviously made from a skinned whale. We then pack up our junk into the van and drive about 20 minutes to the beach where we are to get our paddle class and basic instruction. I'm scared.
OH!!! I totally forgot about our awesome backpack. So I was concerned about dehydration despite the fact we'd be kayaking on a freshwater lake, so I bought a backpack that holds 2 liters of water. Oh yes, we were the cool kids. Not only did our backpack hold water, but it had a STRAW HOSE to use. Fucking genius. Matt got to wear it- he looked kind of dorky, but nobody was making fun of us for being prepared. I also brought wipes in case I had to go to the bathroom in the woods. I don't do the whole nature thing so well, so you know- leaves aren't an option.

So we get to the beach and get in a circle to do the paddle lessons. It's pretty straight forward and we're told that we will get a rudder because it's easier for beginners than trying to learn all the strokes on how to turn your kayak. I'm all about easy. So we decide who's in front (Matt) and who's in back (me). I get to steer since I'm in back with these foot peddles (again, easy) but Matt sets the rowing pace since he's in front. I thought this was smart since he has more upper body strength than I do. My arms are pure decoration- they have no muscle mass. This turned out to be a VERY dumb decision on my part.
Me, looking like a grinning idiot in my kayak. And guess what? Kayaks aren't condusive to people with bubble butts. I got stuck.

We were the second kayak to get pushed into the water. I'm watching how other people did it, and it seems easy. Nobody else struggled. Within minutes, Matt almost capsizes us four times and can't row. Seriously. He's a fucking idiot. I figure out very quickly several things:
1. Steering is hard. It requires a lot of leg strength (which I have).
2. You can't steer when you have 2-4 foot swells coming at you (more on that later)
3. You have to be coordinated in your paddling with the person in the front
4. Your hands go numb almost instantly so the fucking freezing water is no biggie
5. I am glad I wore a wetsuit because I'm almost positive I would have gone hypothermic within seconds.
6. We suck as a team.
7. Our communication sucks.
8. We don't necessarily like each other.

At this point, we are very far away from the rest of the group, going further out into the open lake and Matt is paddling like a fucking retard. No rhythm, no real technique here. At this point, I loose it. I'm screaming at him the following things:

1. What the fuck are you doing?
2. How fucking hard is it to paddle like a normal person?
3. I swear to god if you can't get your shit together I'm leaving your ass on the beach at break
4. Seriously, what the fuck?
5. Matt, shut the fuck up and just row the god damn kayak forward.
6. Are you waiting for a sudden burst of wind to push us?
7. Are you trying to get hid with a paddle? Because you are dangerously close to being knocked unconsious.
8. Is there a reason you are sending us to the middle of the lake? Because I'm pretty sure we need to stay with the group seeing how I forgot to bring flares.
I think these were the only things I can repeat without God striking me down. The entire time, everyone else is laughing. Seriously. I felt like jumping out of the fucking kayak and swimming back because my likelihood of surviving looked better. Rather quickly the water went from calm and nice to choppy. Like white caps. If this were warmer water, people could have done some light surfing- it was that bad. I was soaked, and Matt couldn't understand that when a huge wave comes- STOP PADDLING. (Unless you want to get drenched and almost capsize). Thank god that I'm heavier than him because when he'd flail I'd have to try to compensate my weight so we wouldn't flip over. I told him if we capsize a divorce is basically a done deal. I wasn't even kidding.
So we FINALLY get to the sea caves. I have some great pictures from that- they were breathtaking, just beautiful. Pictures really do not do it justice. You'll notice I have no inside pictures- Matt couldn't get his shit together for us to paddle forward into them. I was so mad.

I have more, but for the sake of time I won't post them all. The caves are spectacular. I really do recommend doing this trip if you are in the Northern Wisconsin area because it's amazing. I just don't recommend going with your spouse.

So anywho- we had to turn around early because the waves were getting really bad, consistently three feet high. Luckily, the paddle back to the beach went quicker because we had the wind at our back. I'm really abbreviating at this point because there was more screaming going back and forth. I tried having Matt say "left" when he was going to paddle on that side and "right" when he went to the other side- he is incapable of this. He had like road rage in a kayak. Lisa- you are my witness to it in a vehicle, I am not making this rage up. Seriously. We get the beach to have lunch which was mediocre considering it sat in a kayak the entire time. I just wanted to get out of the fucking kayak. I debated walking the beach instead of getting back in, I'm told this isn't an option. I try finding a new kayak partner- nobody wants to be with Matt as they all witnessed his absolute retardness and inability to follow instructions. It's a miracle we hadn't flipped over. The beach lunch was more relaxed, Chad and I chatted a bit. We had to get back into the kayaks after about 30 minutes. I almost cried. At this point my legs hurt so bad, arms not so much. I literally felt like I not only ran 100 miles but did squats for 3 hours. I thought my thighs were going to explode. I make an executive decision to not ever be in the back of a kayak again. I tell Matt since he sucks, I'm going to paddle us back to the beach and I just need him to steer.
Pretending to be a happy couple on a wedded bliss vacation

On the way back Matt quickly discovers that I did awesome at steering and he sucks. I should have known that he wouldn't be good at this either since he can barely drive without hitting other people or weaving into other lanes. He kept ramming us into other kayaks. I had to stop paddling, hold up my hands and say, "Fucking a, do you know which way is left and which way is right?" And at one point I say, "God dammit- I hate you right now. All I am asking of you is to not run us into other people. Please. I am begging you- please stop trying to be a fucking idiot." Had I know he'd be so challenged in kayaking I would have upped my anxiety meds for the day. When we got to the beach I literally bolted out of the fucking kayak. Seriously. I would love to do it again, with someone else, but not with him in my kayak. No way.
We didn't talk much. The hopes for this reminding us of our love- yah, those were gone approximately 3 minutes after getting into the water. I actually realized that can't do a lot of things together. Which dampens my 30 before 30 list because I need a buddy or partner for a lot of stuff. Yikes. More on that later.
So that's it folks. If you have any questions about the trip (other than our fighting) or want details, just email me: or post a comment and I'll respond to you. I do recommend it- it was spectacular and just so pretty. It really makes you appreciate the area and it's amazing to see how regular ole' water can do by forming these caves. I am definitely planning on hiking up there in the winter to see them when they are frozen- several locals told us that is even better.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

...And We're Off

It's 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning and no, I'm not just getting in from a really randy and late night. I'm getting ready for our kayak/5 year anniversary trip since we are meeting friends at 5:30 for breakfast. I'm really tired. I didn't get to bed until LATE last night and I am already regretting that. So much for my plan of going to be bed before the sun and being all ready to go and refreshed. Shit. Instead, I look like a homeless person except my clothes are new. I'm layered and mismatched, no makeup and my hair looks funky. It could be worse. I could be cold. Oh wait- I am. I'm going to FREEZE MY ASS OFF on the lake. I heard a weather person say high 40's/low 50's. Minus more since we're on the lake. I will probably die on this trip which was my idea, so the only recourse I have is to blame others for agreeing to the trip as well. If they hadn't agreed, I wouldn't be going since I don't do stuff alone like this. Great. OK- I'm so hungry I feel like I'm going to puke. Wish me luck, and if you don't ever hear from me again, I'm a permanent resident of Lake Superior or washed up on a weird island.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

1st Annual 2Sketches4You Ultimate Card Showdown

Hey there folks! So I have been busy coming up with an idea to enter into this contest based on a sketch and this is what I came up with:

and here's a picture from the side so you can the dimension in the butterfly and paper:

All of my paper is from the BasicGrey Urban Prairie collection except the little strip of notebook paper- I don't remember what that it since it was just a little scrap left in my box. I used Stampin Up inks (Positively Pink and Certainly Celery). The butterfly antennae is a heart paper clip from Making Memories and the brads are MM, too. Obviously, I am out of wire (or couldn't find it) so this was me improvising. I used pop dots on the pink cardstock, under the sentiment and under the butterfly.

Cross your fingers that I either win (which would be AWESOME) or I at least get to be a finalist (equally cool!!!). Thanks for looking!!