this bird can sing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

2011 Reading Wrap-up

I've decided to make a post detailing the books I've read in 2011. I'm also interested to tally up the page total for the year. I love that I'm able to look back and do this, thanks to You can see my page and read more about these books here.


1. The Reckoning (Sharon Kay Penman) - 608 pgs
2. Persuasion (Jane Austen) - 308 pgs
3. Dragonfly in Amber (Diana Gabaldon) - 752 pgs
4. Voyager (Diana Gabaldon) - 880 pgs

Total: 2548 pgs


5. Drums of Autumn (Diana Gabaldon) - 896 pgs
6. The White Queen (Philippa Gregory) - 408 pgs

Total: 1304 (I blame Diana Gabaldon for the slow February - I got stuck on The Fiery Cross, because I was determined to finish the series. Buckled down, because I was determined to finish that sucker by the end of the year, and managed to knock it out in mid-December).


7. Life is so Good (George Dawson) - 272 pgs
8. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) - 374 pgs
9. Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins) - 391 pgs
10. Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins) - 390 pgs
11. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood) - 311 pgsT
12. The Swan Thieves (Elizabeth Kostova) - 565 pgs

Total: 2303 pgs


13. The Princess Bride (William Goldman) - 398 pgs
14. Eat, Pray Love (Elizabeth Gilbert) - 334 pgs
15. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (J.K. Rowling) - 310 pgs
16. When You Are Engulfed in Flames (David Sedaris) - 323 pgs
17. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling) - 341 pgs

Total: 1706 pgs


18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling) - 435 pgs
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling) - 734 pgs
20. The Golden Compass (Philip Pullman) - 399 pgs
21. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K. Rowling) - 870 pgs
22. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J.K. Rowling) - 652 pgs
23. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling) - 759 pgs
24. Botchan (Natsume Soseki) - 176 pgs
25. The Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan) - 377 pgs
26. The Subtle Knife (Philip Pullman) - 326 pgs

Total: 4728 pgs


27. A Short History of Nearly Everything (Bill Bryson) - 544 pgs
28. The Amber Spyglass (Philip Pullman) - 465 pgs
29. The Sea of Monsters (Rick Riordan) - 279 pgs
30. The Titan's Curse (Rick Riordan) - 304 pgs
31. The Winter King (Bernard Cornwell) - 433 pgs
32. The Battle of the Labyrinth (Rick Riordan) - 361 pgs
33. Naked (David Sedaris) - 291 pgs
34. The Last Olympian (Rick Riordan) - 381 pgs

Total: 3058 pgs


35. Freakonomics (Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner) - 320 pgs
36. The Golden Acorn (Catherine Cooper) - 384 pgs
37. Holidays on Ice (David Sedaris) - 176 pgs
38. A Visit from the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan) - 274 pgs
39. The Greatest Knight (Elizabeth Chadwick) - 552 pgs
40. At Home: A Short History of Private Life (Bill Bryson) - 497 pgs
41. The Breaking of Eggs (Jim Powell) - 352 pgs
42. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (David Sedaris) - 272 pgs
43. To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf) - 209 pgs
44. The Third Chimpanzee (Jared Diamond) - 407 pgs
45. A Walk in the Woods (Bill Bryson) - 400 pgs
46. Barrel Fever (David Sedaris) - 196 pgs
47. Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen) - 251 pgs
48. Mrs. Dalloway (Virginia Woolf) - 216 pgs
49. I Like You (Amy Sedaris) - 304 pgs
50. We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Shirley Jackson) - 146 pgs
51. I Feel Bad About My Neck (Nora Ephron) - 160 pgs

Total: 5116 pgs


52. Me Talk Pretty One Day (David Sedaris) - 272 pgs
53. I'm a Stranger Here Myself (Bill Bryson) - 288 pgs
54. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk (David Sedaris) - 159 pgs
55. Lady Susan (Jane Austen) - 80 pgs
56. Final Gifts (Maggie Callahan & Patricia Kelley) - 256 pgs
57. The Alchemyst (Michael Scott) - 375 pgs
58. The Magician (Michael Scott) - 461 pgs
59. The Sorceress (Michael Scott) - 483 pgs
60. The Necromancer (Michael Scott) - 389 pgs
61. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) - 216 pgs
62. While Mortals Sleep (Kurt Vonnegut) - 256 pgs
63. Founding Brothers (Joseph J. Ellis) - 290 pgs
64. Gregor the Overlander (Suzanne Collins) - 311 pgs

Total: 3836 pgs


65. The Lost Hero (Rick Riordan) - 557 pgs
66. Mansfield Park (Jane Austen) - 507 pgs
67. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane (Suzanne Collins) - 309 pgs
68. The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss) - 662 pgs
69. Four Queens (Nancy Goldstone) - 336 pgs
70. March (Geraldine Brooks) - 280 pgs
71. A Man Without a Country (Kurt Vonnegut) - 160 pgs
72. The Warlock (Michael Scott) - 380 pgs

Total: 3191 pgs


73. Savage Kingdom (Benjamin Woolley) - 496 pgs
74. The Wise Man's Fear (Patrick Rothfuss) - 994 pgs
75. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Washington Irving) - 64 pgs
76. The Son of Neptune (Rick Riordan) - 513 pgs
77. The Haunting of Hill House (Shirley Jackson) - 182 pgs
78. The Whiskey Rebels (David Liss) - 519 pgs
79. The House of Leaves (Mark Z. Danielewski) - 709 pgs
80. A Game of Thrones (George R.R. Martin) - 835 pgs
81. A Conspiracy of Paper (David Liss) - 512 pgs
82. A Clash of Kings (George R.R. Martin) - 761 pgs
83. The Lottery and Other Stories (Shirley Jackson) - 320 pgs
84. The Red Pyramid (Rick Riordan) - 516 pgs
85. The Throne of Fire (Rick Riordan) - 452 pgs

Total: 6873 pgs


86. Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods (Suzanne Collins) - 358 pgs
87. A Storm of Swords (George R.R. Martin) - 1128 pgs
88. Divergent (Veronica Roth) - 489 pgs
89. The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield) - 406 pgs
90. Armageddon in Retrospect (Kurt Vonnegut) - 240 pgs
91. A Feast for Crows (George R.R. Martin) - 1060 pgs
92. A Dance with Dragons (George R.R. Martin) - 1016 pgs

Total: 4697 pgs


93. Murder at the Vicarage (Agatha Christie) - 288 pgs
94. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak) - 550 pgs
95. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Lisa See) - 258 pgs
96. The Maze Runner (James Dashner) - 379 pgs
97. The Glass of Time (Michael Cox) - 544 pgs
98. The Fiery Cross (Diana Gabaldon) - 1443 pgs
99. A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens) - 184 pgs
100. The Demon King (Cinda Williams Chima) - 506 pgs
101. Bill Warrington's Last Chance (James King) - 304 pgs
102. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress (Rhoda Janzen) - 256 pgs
103. The Scarlet Lion (Elizabeth Chadwick) - 592 pgs

Total: 5,304 pgs

2011 TOTAL: 44,664 pages

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Fall!

I love Autumn! It's certainly my favorite time of year. I love sunny, cool, glorious fall days. And I love football. And I love the baseball playoffs. Speaking of which, congrats to my very own hometown boys - the National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals!

Hubs and I had a great, lazy weekend. We headed down to Baltimore on Friday evening for a wind band concert. And then on Saturday, we went to a local orchard to pick our own pumpkins!
Paulus Orchards was a neat place that was hopping on Saturday. You can actually pick your own apples as well. We opted to pick pumpkins and buy some apples in their farm stand. That way, we could get a smaller amount of a couple different varieties.

It was quite a picturesque Autumn afternoon, sunny and just a bit cool. Here was the view of some of their orchards.

We headed down the path toward the pumpkin patch.

There were a lot of pumpkins to choose from, and these cute little red wagons that you could use to tote your haul.

We had fun wandering around the field of pumpkins looking for the ones we wanted.

When we went home, hubs wanted to paint the pumpkins. I have an embarrassingly low level of artistic skill. So he took it upon himself to paint a cat on one and the STL Cards logo on the other (per my request). Our cat Gabs (a.k.a. the most adorable, best cat in the entire world) served as model. While he painted, I read. I read a lot.

Here's our porch. It's looking mighty adorable.

We stole the monogram (is it a monogram if it's one letter?) idea from Megan. Technically my letter is a G since I haven't changed my name. I can't decide what to do about that, so I might as well try on that E via pumpkin.

We're very excited about the Fall Classic getting started on Wednesday. We're showing our St. Louis pride out here in PA - deep in Phillies territory.

Go Cards!

Monday, October 3, 2011


Continuing with our trend of very busy weekends, hubs and I headed down to Winston-Salem, North Carolina this past weekend to hear one of his pieces performed.

We weren't able to leave until after I got off work on Friday, so we ended up splitting on the drive down there in half. We stayed in Staunton, VA on Friday night (after I admittedly slept a decent part of the way there). We picked up a good audio book to listen to on the drive, which always makes long drives easier to stomach. It's pretty long, so we'll take turns finishing it on our commutes. It's called The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss. We're both really enjoying it so far. It's historical fiction with some mystery and humor mixed in as well. Hubs called it a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Little House on the Prairie.

The other thing that helped the drive was pretty scenery like this.

Winston-Salem seems like a neat place to visit. I wish we had more time to explore, but we did get to walk around Old Salem a bit. We were able to stay on the campus of Salem College in the guest house, which was a fantastic old house.

Our four poster bed was very high off the floor. Which was very cool, but I'm guessing that steps to the bed would get annoying long-term.

As an aside, it was also really, really cold. Foolish me thought that going south would mean warmer weather. No, it meant weather in the 40's. We didn't know how to adjust the temperature in the house, and it was 56 degrees overnight.

The actual concert went very well. It was in honor of a local composer named Margaret Vardell Sandresky for her 90th birthday. The mayor of Winston-Salem even came and declared it her day. She seemed like a very neat person, and I'm sure I would have enjoyed talking with her more. I really liked the piano trio she wrote for the occasion, and I am very much a new music snob.

I hadn't heard hubs' piece before either, and I really enjoyed it as well. Yes, I have to say that, but it's true. He'll be the first to tell you that I'm honest when I don't like something. But it went really well, and the mezzo was great. It was also very well-received by the (large) audience.

After a very chilly night, we walked around Old Salem a bit before hitting the road. I loved the old buildings and would love to explore further when everything is open.

I love all of the history surrounding us here on the east coast.

Luckily we were able to return home (to a very cold, 54 degree house) in time to watch the Cards game. I plan to be sleep-deprived as long as they stay alive in the postseason (which will hopefully be for 10 more wins).

We have more busy weekends ahead, as I'm on-call for work next weekend, we're running down to Baltimore for a concert the weekend after, and I'm hoping for a trip to the PA Ren Fest before the end of the month.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Makeup Organization

Let's talk makeup today. But before we get started, I have a disclaimer. I own a lot of makeup. I'm not making this up (har har, I'm punny). I used to have what we'll call a touch of makeup obsession. However, when money was tight in grad school, I had to cut myself off from the makeup world.

In doing so, I stopped following the latest collections being released. I stopped having panicked thoughts of "LIMITED ITEM - MUST BUY!" I definitely still have a healthy collection though. And now that hubs and I are both working grown-up jobs fulltime, I'm sure I'll buy some fun stuff from time to time.

Okay, one more disclaimer. This is not all of my makeup. This is the makeup that I use day to day. I do have more in less accessible areas, and this is after I went through and purged my collection somewhat during the moving process this summer. I threw away old stuff and gave away some to my MIL.

The vast majority of my collection is MAC. I feel that MAC gives you the most bang for your buck. But I do have a few items of comparable brands scattered throughout - most of these I purchased at Sephora (ex: MUFE, Too Faced, Urban Decay, Nars).

So there's your introduction, and now let's get on to my set up!

To begin, this is how I've stored my make up for the past year:

Yes, that's a train case. I had essential items (like 4 and 6 shadow palettes) in there. The rest of my collection lived in moving boxes since I didn't really have a dressing table area in Kansas City.

When we moved, purchasing such a dressing table was high on my list of priorities. I've had my eyes on the Malm Dressing Table from Ikea for years. And lo and behold, we finally moved within reasonable distance to an Ikea! A trip there revealed the Micke desk. It packs more space than the Malm and was about $60 cheaper.

Here's the end result of my new set up:

I'm loving how it looks and I'm loving the convenience! Underneath the desk are my train case and a tub full of nail polish. Maybe I'll do a post on nail polishes if there's any interest (or I just run out of things to post about). Here's a closer look at my setup!

My lipsticks are stored in a custom holder built for me by my hubs and his dad a few years back. Unfortunately, when my lipstick habit spiraled a bit out of control, my collection outgrew this space. But between losing a few (facepalm!) and having a few more scattered in purses/around the house, this mostly holds what I have left.

Yeah, so, my brushes really need to be cleaned. No judgment, please. This holder was inspired by the brush holders are Sephora. To be honest, I put this together a few years ago, and I can't remember exactly how I did it. I think the little beads are from Hobby Lobby's floral section if I remember correctly. Here's a better view.

Moving on, we have my large eyeshadow palettes and a cup with essentials like mascara and shadow primer.

Next are the drawers for storage of various items. It's not perfectly organized, but it's been working pretty well for me. Here's the wide shot view.

On top of the first drawer, there are more essentials that I use daily. My MUFE foundation, Nars Orgasm blush, and Charged Water.

On top of the second drawer are my pigments. I would probably put these into a drawer if I had room.

Want to look inside the drawers? Well, I'll assume that you do.

This drawer has mostly eyeshadow bases. Paint pots, shadesticks, fluidlines, etc. And a couple of liners.

The second drawer has my mineralized eyeshadows and a few single shadow pots that I've never gotten around to de-potting.

The third drawer has my small shadow palettes. I use these A LOT because I'm lazy.

This drawer has my lip glasses and a few other random lip products that won't fit in my lipstick holder.

Now we're getting to the point where I had to start cramming products into the drawers to get them to fit. This drawer is a bit of a hodge podge with lip glosses, concealer, and a couple of MSF's that wouldn't fit in the bottom drawer with their counterparts.

This bottom drawer holds my blushes and MSF's.

And now all that's left is the lighted mirror and a couple of other random products that don't fit anywhere else (makeup remover, brush cleaner).

I'm so happy to be using more than just the few items that fit into my train case. It's really like having a whole new collection, and I'm having fun playing around again. Three cheers for organization!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

a fresh start

I'm starting this blog over again. It has a new purpose, so I feel it should have a new beginning. I'd like to use this as a space for our coming adventures on the east coast, projects we're working on around the house, recipes, and general musings on married life.

Hubs and I are now officially residents of Eastern Standard Time, which is an adventure in and of itself. We're still adjusting to not mentally adjusting TV times back one hour. It actually took me several hours last Monday to figure out why the Monday Night Football game started at 8:30pm.

Speaking for myself, I do miss the Midwest. But I'm also immensely enjoying life out east. Pennsylvania is a very pretty, sometimes quirky state. We're very much looking forward to exploring it further. So far, we've really enjoyed being so close to Baltimore. But there are so many other places to see. We're currently planning a number of trips, which I hope to blog about here.

This past weekend, I was on-call for work, so it was very hectic. But we managed to squeeze in a quick shopping trip to pick up materials for my new jewelry organizational set-up.

I've been spending a lot of time on Pinterest looking for inspiration for our house. I found an amazing idea for the storage of necklaces. My previous set-up worked for a number of years - it was a cork board covered in fabric and necklaces hanging on push pins. But it wasn't quite as tidy as I wanted, plus after several years of use, the board was starting to come apart at the wooden border.

Since moving two months ago, I have been wanting to do this project. The inspiration was a simple photo of a towel bar with necklaces hanging from s-shaped hooks. The towel bar was simple to find, but we were having trouble finding the right kind of hooks. A nice associate at Home Depot gave me the idea to use shower curtain hooks.

I ended up finding hooks at Target with two slots. I picked up a package of 12, along with an 18 inch towel bar, for less than $25.

Here is the result:

I'm really happy with it! It looks much cleaner and more streamlined than the board. It's actually kind of pretty on the wall of our bedroom. I can also easily add more hooks by picking up a second package for $6.99, but one package was enough to store my current collection.

I look forward to sharing some of the other projects we're working on this fall!