Book Club Monday

by agirlandhermutt on September 25, 2012

Good morning folks! For the first time in what seems like months, I finished the book for book club BEFORE we actually met.

The September book selection was The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire.

Maguire, the author of Wicked, is best known for his retelling of children’s stories. I have read almost all of these book and have enjoyed them immensely so I was really looking forward to reading this all new story from him.

From Amazon:

With the new millennium approaching, the eccentric town of Thebes grows even stranger. Mrs. Leontina Scales begins speaking in tongues after being clocked by a Catholic statuette. Her daughter, Tabitha, and her sons scheme to save their mother or surrender her to Jesus—whatever comes first. Meanwhile, choir director Jeremy Carr, caught between lust and ambition, fumbles his way toward Y2K. The ancient Sisters of the Sorrowful Mysteries join with a gay singing group. The Radical Radiants battle the Catholics. A Christmas pageant goes horribly awry. And a child is born.

Only a modern master like Gregory Maguire could spin a tale as frantic, funny, and farcical as The Next Queen of Heaven.

My final verdict: 3 out of 5 stars.  It took a bit to get into the story. The kooky characters are not really the most relatable and it is hard to pinpoint any reason to really care about the characters throughout the story. I also had to really concentrate to keep all the names straight in my head. Those that are looking for a typical Maguire story might be a bit disappointed because there are many themes and plot lines that left me thinking “Why?”. Despite that less than stellar review, as the story progressed I was really excited to keep reading to see how the two main storylines would eventually intersect.  I found myself looking for any spare moment to pick the book up to read even a few pages. Plus, it felt good to read something that required my attention and brain to be engaged. I’ve been reading chick lit and Stephanie Plum books for several months now and I think my brain needed a little break. 😉 I wouldn’t say I loved this book, but I was entertained by it. Maguire’s writing style is unique and definitely worth reading.


My book club is pretty informal. We usually chat about the book for 15 minutes or so and then spend the rest of the dinner just catching up. My kind of book club. Last night we met up at The Corner Tavern to discuss and grab a bite to eat.

This place is primarily a bar, but they also have some pretty good food deals. From 4-6:30 you can get 1/2 priced appetizers and a selection of their flatbreads.

The other ladies in my group picked the Prosciutto and Blue Flatbread, the Santa Fe Wrap with pasta salad, and the Chopped Chicken Salad. Everything looked so good!

I decided to get one of the 1/2 priced appetizers which was listed on the menu as “Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Soup for Dipping”. Seriously. This is a full sized grilled cheese that they cut into little pieces and a full bowl of soup. I’m not complaining! The soup was creamy with bits of tomato texture. For a Fall evening, it was perfect. I paired this with a Petite Sirah wine that I completely forgot the name of, which is a shame because I loved loved loved every ounce of it. <—Locals, if you know, please tell me!

Tater Tots for the table!

Fun Erin Fact: Tater tots are on my favorite treat list. Near the very top. Like right below sushi and beans.

Because I am a genius…

Book club was a great way to start the week. It was nice to just enjoy some time with friends and a great book.


Do you belong to a book club? What is the last book you read?


Fave Five Friday: Summer 2012 Edition

by agirlandhermutt on July 13, 2012

Good morning folks! Are you doing your Friday the 13th dance? or are you spooked out? Either way, it is Friday and it is time to talk about a few of my faves for Summer 2012.

FAVE FIVE FRIDAY: Summer Edition (+1 bonus)


Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream (Light/Medium)

I’m a huge buyer/hoarder of make-up. I like the way it smells, the packaging, and the idea that it can change the way someone looks with just a little flick of a brush. What I don’t like is make-up that makes me look all fake and feels icky. This is one of the many reasons that I don’t really wear liquid foundation very often. Products like tinted moisturizer and mineral make-up were made for people just like me! This summer I’ve become a fan of Maybelline 8-in-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector. It claims to do the following 8 things:

• Blurs imperfections
• Brightens
• Evens skin tone
• Smoothes
• Hydrates
• Enhances
• Protects with SPF 30
• 0% oils and heavy ingredients

I’m not so sure this blur imperfections or anything else magical, but it does provide some great light coverage with a really light feel. No heavy or sticky mess here. This BB Cream is perfect for those really hot days when you feel like your face is going to melt off.

Milani Baked Blush (Dolce Pink)

Milani’s baked blushes are a lovely mixture of colors that just gel together beautifully. They provide a really natural look with a subtle shimmery finish. Don’t worry…it doesn’t look like you put glitter on or anything. It just gives you a soft luminous finish. The Dolce Pink is a perfect color to give your cheeks that slightly flushed look and looks great on a face that has a little color.

Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Moisturizer

This stuff is a-maz-ing. I used to use the regular Jergens lotion but after a few orange feet mishaps I kind of gave it up. Then I tried this out. No smells, easy to spread out, and no orange mishaps! Winner!

Oh, and don’t even think about tanning beds. I’ll find you and give you a lecture. It will involve true stories of skin cancer and me showing you my weird scar on my boob. True story.

Sea Mist Sea Spray w/ Lavender

Honestly, I love this for all kinds of reasons that it wasn’t even developed for. I originally was trying it out to get natural looking beachy hair waves (which it works great for), but found that spraying it on my hair right when I get out of the shower not only creates a lot of body in my hair, but also cuts the drying time down by about 15 minutes. This is thick hair must! Plus, it smells wonderful.

White Accessories

(Bracelet from Forever 21, Watch from Zappos, Rebecca Minkoff bag from Zappos)

I’ve been rockin’ the white jewelry and bags for a bit now and I’m loving it. I picked up a few pieces of fun, but super inexpensive jewelry from Forever 21, including this hinged wing bracelet. I also have a great white watch (not exactly the one above) that just screams summer. Finally, no outfit is complete without some type of bag and my favorite this season is a white quilted bag with a chain strap and gold studs. The one above is similar to the one I have but not exactly the same. White just screams fresh and summer to me.

Pops of Neon Color

(Nike Lunarfly from Zappos, Top & Sunglasses from Target, BCBG Sandals from Zappos, Enzo Angiolini from Zappos)

Obviously I can’t go around wearing only white clothes so I like to spice it up with pops of color, especially when those colors are neon. I’ve been cruising around town in my Nike sneaks with BRIGHT neon pink laces and soles. These heels are also the perfect combo of classy and super fun. I love the classic brown with the hot pink. Such a cool combo! I’ve also been wearing this really great neon yellow & grey tank top quite often. Most often seen while Zumbaing. My sunglasses are normally a plain ol’ brown pair that I’ve had FOREVER so I punched it up with these great turquoise glasses. Finally, what kicked off my love of neon for this summer were these sandals. I love they are just your typical sandal but in a great neon color. I’ve managed to make these things go with ALL of my outfits. Possibly not the best idea, but I can’t help it. 😉

Beach Reads (Bonus Item!)

I love a good beach read that doesn’t require a ton of concentration and can easily be read while people watching at the beach. I’ve been working my way through the Stephanie Plum books and they are so much fun. I’m also addicted to the young adult dystopian books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc. They move fast and are completely compelling. Of course, Sophie Kinsella books are perfect beach reads. I could read those silly chick lit books for days and days.


I haven’t done a Fave Five Friday in a hot minute. So that was fun! I hope you guys enjoy your weekend. I’ll be getting into all kinds of trouble, but will see you back here on Monday!

What are you must haves for the summer?


My Week…

by agirlandhermutt on January 13, 2012

Welcome to the end of the week friends! I’ve been trying mightily hard to get back into the swing of things. It has proven to be a little harder than I thought it would be, but I’m getting there.

I didn’t do much blogging this week, but I was busy at life in general. Hopefully next week I can get back to some real cooking. Mmmm food…

It started with the first Book Club of the year. We read The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown . What a fantastic book! The characters are interesting, although sometimes not that loveable, and the story moves along at a great pace. I was pleased with this pick and everyone in the group enjoyed it! Has anyone read this one?

Next up, it was back to the gym. Ugh. The Scientist and I made the horrible choice of going to the gym after work instead of before. It was SO crowded! Unfortunately I also picked the elliptical right next to a broken one so I spent most of my workout saying “I think its broken” as person after person tried it out. Total times that phrase was uttered= 22. I did NOT pick this machine the rest of the week.

After the gym it was Pita Pizza night! The Scientist has been spoiling me with grilled items from my Christmas gift to him. Grilled pizza totally doesn’t get the press it deserves.

Even the Mutt wanted in on the action.<—Seriously. How cute is he? I need more photos of him on here.

Despite having a busy week, I managed to whip up some Red Beans & Rice for lunch. The recipe was straight out of my new WW 5 Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes magazine. LOVE LOVE LOVE! WW peeps, pick this one up soon. It has some great recipes! Eating at my desk has never been so yummy.



Wednesday brought along a celebration for Karen’s birthday. We headed out for a low key dinner at The Local (my fave!).

We chatted, we drank, and we ate. That is the way to celebrate a birthday. Right?!


By the time I got home that night I was exhausted. But not too exhausted that I didn’t notice that I had a giant box on my doorstep. I brought it inside, opened it up and surprise!

My parents sent me an early birthday gift! I’ve been using the same cookware for about 10 years. I had no idea that you could actually cook in the center of the pan. Mine are so warped that I cook eggs along the side of it. I’ve fallen in love with Rachael Ray’s equipment and already have several pieces, including some knives my parents sent me for my birthday last year.

I love the handles and how sturdy everything feels. It is so different from my current cookware. I actually had a handle fall off my big pot so I’ve been using tongs to help pick it up. Ugh. Safety 101 Fail.


I also got this awesome Lazy Spoon and Ladle set. Such a great idea for people who have little to no counter space (me!).

Thanks Mom & Pops! I’m on my way to becoming the Next Food Network Start for sure now. 😉

Last, but certainly not least, I started a new class last night. I’m taking an American Sign Language (ASL) class!

I’m so excited. I’ve talked about wanting to learn sign language for quite some time now, but never could find the right class meeting date and/or time. This just worked out perfectly! I’m already a pretty good finger speller so I’m super excited to learn phrases and sentences that I can actually use! Do you any of you know sign language?!

So that is kind of a quick recap to my week. Not a shabby way to pass 5 days on the calendar, huh? This weekend I’m doing a little organizing in the basement and attending The Scientist’s holiday party. Woot!



Does your company have a holiday party? Is it actually around the holidays or at a random time?