Photo Friday

"Keep looking up! I learn from the past, dream about the future and look up.  There's nothing like a beautiful sunset to end a healthy day." - Rachel Boston



November 2014

Fort Myers Beach, Florida, USA 


Book #2, 3 & 4: The Divergent Trilogy

"To read a writer is for me not merely to get an idea of what he say, but to go off with him and travel in his company." - Andre Gide

I wasn't originally interested in the Divergent Triology even though I had heard good things about the story and the movie.  And then one night I was flipping channels and caught the movie on HBO when nothing else was on.  And it was good... the topic, the story and what happened next intrigued me (It also doesn't hurt that I think Shailene Woodley is an amazing actress and adorable).

So of course, then I HAD to read the books. And BONUS! it conveniently fit into my new reading challenge.

Divergent is the debut novel of Veronica Roth which she wrote on her winter break while a senior at Northwestern University and sold the movie rights before graduating (talk about making your classmates feel inadequate).  It introduces Tris in a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago and is followed up by Insurgent and Allegiant books.  As with most books made into films, they didn't match up perfectly and I read the book too soon after seeing the movie so I struggled with the differences in the details. As usual, the book was better - I fail to see why directors go away from the book's storyline and screenwriters think their ideas should replace the authors.  But they do. And it never fails to disappoint. 

As a young adult novels, these were really quick reads and great mindless entertainment while still having series themes lying underneath the angsty love of the two main characters.  In a post-apocalyptic Chicago, survivors were divided into five factions based on their dispositions: Abnegation, for the selfless; Amity, for the peaceful; Candor, for the honest; Dauntless, for the brave; and Erudite, for the intellectual. Each year, all sixteen-year-olds must take an aptitude test that describes the one faction for which they are best suited. After receiving the results, they can decide whether to remain with their family's faction or transfer to a new faction. Those who do not complete initiation into their new faction become "Factionless", and are forced to live in poverty on the streets of the city. 

The division of the factions and the factionless continue through the three books and the subsequent rebellions of the different factions and the life choices made by the main characters. I enjoyed the books and the controversial ending of the third book because it was a real ending versus a 'happily ever after' ending.  I didn't like the back forth narrative Tris and Four... I'll admit that I found it confusing at certain points.  But it made since of why it was needed with the ending so I would just say that it needed but could have been done better. 

Overall, an impressive and entertaining trilogy with great themes of acceptance and personal freedom running through them.  I enjoyed. 


Book Challenge... Revised

"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them" - Lemony Snicket

So... I was struggling with doing a traditional book challenge and then my friend Lori posted a link about a different challenge on Danielle Masterson's page, originally provided by POP SUGAR. And I was struck with inspiration.  I could do this one.  And I was excited to try. 

Reading isn't the challenge for me. I constantly read... the good, the bad and the ugly (50 Shades of Grey anyone?) so having a more specific challenge to work toward is better for me. 


Since I was counting Erin Gate's Elements of Style as my first book, it works with this challenge as well and that crosses off the female author on the list. 

2015 Reading Challenge (50 books listed because there's a trilogy in there which equals 52 books)

  1. A book with more than 500 pages
  2. A classic romance
  3. A book that became a movie
  4. A book published this year (2015)
  5. A book with a number in the title
  6. A book written by someone under 30
  7. A book with non-human characters
  8. A funny book
  9. A book by a female author
  10. A mystery or thriller
  11. A book with a one-word title
  12. A book of short stories
  13. A book set in a different country
  14. A non-fiction book
  15. A popular author’s first book
  16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet
  17. A book a friend recommended
  18. A Pulitzer Prize winning book
  19. A book based on a true story
  20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list
  21. A book your mom loves
  22. A book that scares you
  23. A book more than 100 years old (published before 1915)
  24. A book based entirely on its cover
  25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
  26. A memoir
  27. A book you can finish in a day
  28. A book with antonyms in the title
  29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
  30. A book that came out the year you were born (1979)
  31. A book with bad reviews
  32. A trilogy
  33. A book from your childhood
  34. A book with a love triangle
  35. A book set in the future
  36. A book set in high school
  37. A book with a color in the title
  38. A book that made you cry
  39. A book with magic
  40. A graphic novel
  41. A book by an author you’ve never read before
  42. A book you own but have never read
  43. A book that place in your hometown (Monroe, GA... may have to modify to Athens, GA to find a book)
  44. A book that was originally written in a different language
  45. A book set during Christmas
  46. A book written by an author with your same initials (L.H.)
  47. A play
  48. A banned book
  49. A book based on or turned into a TV show
  50. A book you started but never finished



Photo Friday

"A great man once said, everything is about sex.  Except sex.  Sex is about power" - Francis Underwood, House of Cards


Over the holidays, my man and I traveled to Charlotte, NC because his beloved GA bulldogs were playing in the Belk Bowl.  On the way, we drove through Gaffney, SC which is home to Senator Francis Underwood on the House of Cards tv series.  Which I LOVE.  So of course, I had to take a picture of the peach.  Going and Coming.  While it was an awesome game, seeing the peach was a highlight of the road trip.


Peach Watertower

Gaffney, SC, USA

December 2014


2015 Book Challenge - Book #1

Elements of Style: Designing a Home and a Life by Erin Gates




This was the one book that made it on my Christmas list and of course, Santa delivered this and much more for me to enjoy.  Not normally the type of book considered on a book list but I'm branching out a little this time around and will be posting any of the books I read versus just literature.  Minus the beach reads, of course.


I'm late to the party regarding Erin Gates and her fabulous Elements of Style Blog - I started reading while she was on her book tour.   But since my life right now is all about house hunting and imagining how I will turn that new space into a home for us, I easily fell down the rabbit hole that is her blog.  It's a really pretty hole.

I love her blog, she posts daily and shares her personal challenges as well as great design and style.  We're the same age and I relate to her challenges of being a working women in this day and age.  Her writing is well done, honest and open plus there's a joy in her that comes through to her readers.  You don't have to believe me but her book is a New York Times Best Seller.

Thanks to Erin, I've fallen in love with modern brass fixtures, grey cabinets and remembered my love of animal prints - much to my man's horror. Oh, And black and white stripes! 

But back to the book, Erin takes you through each room in your home and gives ideas with visual examples of why and what works, including for how to decorate an apartment.  She uses her personal experiences, past residences and her customer portfolio to illustrate the different options.  Erin isn't a DIYer and she points out her own budget challenges plus other solutions for those of us who aren't so crafty (which I really appreciate).  She offers a rule of thumb for mixing patterns as well as her favorite paint colors.   She manages to put a personal and timely twist on classic design choices which makes you feel good about investing in quality pieces to use in your home.  My favorite part of the book was the excerpt regarding her sofa mistake purchase and having to 'rehome' the sofas until she got the right one.  

It's definitely a book that I'll continue to reference as we find and create our home.  I highly reccomend it (and her blog) to anyone that's interested in decorating their life... it's timely, well-written and beautifully done.

**Pictures credited to Erin Gates and her blog, Elements of Style**