Beach Weekend

Ever since I was in Toronto and found out that most Canadians spend their weekends on a lake because they either have a lake cottage or know someone with one and I have neither, my life has felt empty and meaningless. That is, until this weekend when I found out that I have a friend whose dad owns a beach condo.


That’s the view from the couch. My quality of life has just increased.

Saturday evening, hubs and I drove to New Smyrna beach with our friend Jamie to spend the rest of the weekend at the condo. We started with a trip to the grocery store for the essentials.


That was surprisingly not enough champagne. I believe the words, “I told you we needed 9  bottles” was spoken on Sunday.

Since we got there later Saturday evening and it was raining and gross out, we stopped at a local restaurant for dinner. I can’t remember the name of the place but the food was awesome and they had an America deer.


Jamie’s creeper face.

We went to the condo afterwards, watched the sun set, and then watched What We Do in the Shadows, which is a vampire mockumentary. I’d recommend it. It’s funny. Particularly when one of the vampires is talking about how he likes virgins the best.


Jamie went to bed early because she’s lame, so hubs and I took a nighttime walk on the beach and watched the stars. The night was really clear so we could see the Milky Way. It’s usually too cloudy to see stars well here, so that was a treat.

Sunday morning, Jamie made up for her lameness the night before by making us breakfast.


Now I think I need feta cheese and spinach in my eggs for always. I ate a cupcake and a brownie just before that to even out the nutritional value. Breakfast was followed by mass quantities of mimosas for proper hydration, and then a long, unintentional nap on the couch. I had my bathing suit on and everything but somehow didn’t make it out to the beach.

After my nap, I did hang out on the patio and watch hubs boogie board.


The patio was closer to the beach than being on the couch so I’ll consider that a win. Baby steps. I don’t wanna get too crazy.

Sometime during the day, hubs discovered that his swimming suit has a built-in bottle opener. (?? and !!)


And of course Alan enjoyed his first beach trip.


Overall, it was a nice, fun, relaxing weekend. I got to lay around and do nothing (my favorite), sleep to the sound of waves, and watch hubs kill a waterbug with just one tissue. A waterbug is basically a giant cockroach that lifts weights. And now I know they can fly. I could have done without that information. But other than the waterbug part, it was a great weekend.





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Three Thing Thursday

It’s been a long time since Three Thing Thursday has made an appearance here so let’s all welcome him (her?) back.

1.  Apparently there has been a dress of mine on my bedroom floor for quite awhile. I either didn’t notice it (unlikely with my mild to moderate OCD) or thought it was a shirt of hubs (more likely because I would leave it there). After many days on the floor, hubs decided he’d pick it up and put it on the bed so I’d see it and put it away. Only, according to him, yesterday I made the bed around the dress and left the dress on the bed (sounds about right). Last night, he decided to try other methods to direct my attention to the dress.

That was a little jarring to see when you’re casually walking into the bedroom, but also funny. Points to hubs for original use of Pig Newton (he’s officially named).

2.  There are new Lay’s flavors coming out. So you don’t have to click on the link, they are:

  • Southern Biscuits and Gravy
  • Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro
  • New York Reuben
  • Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries

Suspiciously missing from the list is my new beloved Ketchup flavor. Is America not good enough for ketchup flavored chips? Why do you hate us, Lays?

3. I’ve been meaning to talk about this for awhile now but [insert excuse here]. Better late than never, right? Anyway, many months ago, hubs told me that my package arrived. Only, I didn’t order anything. When I opened said package, this is what I found.


Clif Bar sent me a sample of all their new organic trail mix bars. I did a Cliff Bar giveaway over a year ago, but haven’t talked to them since so this was a surprise. Hubs and I ate them all, thought they were delicious, and I promised myself I would mention them on the blog to say thanks. But I forgot. Fast forward two months and Clif sent me another box of the bars. That made me feel like a real jackass because I hadn’t said thank you for the first box yet. So here it is:

Dear Clif Bar,

I’m sorry I keep giving you the cold shoulder when you show up at my door. I’ve been busy and meant to give you the attention you deserve. It’s not you, it’s me. I promise not to ignore you again and to give you the respect you deserve. The two boxes of organic trail mix bars were delicious and very appreciated, especially the wild blueberry and dark cherry flavors.

Please forgive me. I still love you.


* This post is NOT brought to you by Clif Bar or Lays. They didn’t ask me to post anything. I just love food.*


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A running update and a 10k

I haven’t been running much and by not much, I mean all the running I have been doing is about three miles tops on a nice air conditioned treadmill. So imagine my delight when Michelle signed me up for Suck it up Buttercup, a hilly 10k in the middle of summer, for my birthday. There aren’t many hills in Florida, but this race managed to find the ones we do have. So that’s what we did Sunday morning.

This was my first race in eight months. It was weird to be out there again. I’ve kinda lost that running magic and I was hoping this race might get some of it back.

We got there pretty early because we needed to pick up our race packets and because Michelle wanted to be in a group picture with some girls she’s been running cheating on me with. We parked with no problem and picked up our packets easily. Then we decided to hit the port-o-potty.

Disclaimer: Poop story ahead.

There was a big spot light on the port-o-potties, so I figured I didn’t need my cell phone flashlight when I went in. Only, the guy that was in there before me had put the lid down. I don’t know about you, but that is concerning to me. Who puts a port-o-potty lid down? And why? Are you hiding something? So I got out my cell for the flashlight because I was not in the mood for surprises. When I turned it on, the first thing I saw was a roach scurrying at my feet. I. hate. roaches. But, it hid in some crevice so I figured as long as it stayed there, I was cool. I did my potty thing including a delightful pre-race poop (I never get those). But, you know when your done going to the bathroom and you stand up and you think, “hmm, am I realllly done?” I had that thought, and as I decided to go for round two, my flashlight caught another roach walking on the toilet paper roll that I just used.

I was out of there.

I don’t even want to know if that roach was already on or in the TP roll when I used it. That effectively gave me the heebie-jeebies for the rest of the race. And incidentally, I didn’t have to go to the bathroom anymore, so there was that.

Anyway, the race itself was decent. It started 15 minutes late because the race director wasn’t there on time. By the time she arrived, she made an announcement that anyone could have made. So I’m not sure what the point was in the delay. The start was super annoying because there were a lot of walkers including women with strollers, small children, and dogs but it cleared up after about a half mile. The whole race was through hilly, residential neighborhoods that were less than scenic, but the after party was pretty cool (with Dunkin Donuts iced coffee and donut holes!) and the race seemed pretty well put together despite the late start. Plus, you get a cute little medal.

I finished in 1:04:48, seven minutes off my PR. My only goal was to run the whole thing without stopping, and I did that. I haven’t been running outside at all and it was humid and hilly as all get out, so the fact that I finished makes me happy. Free race pictures also make me happy.

Not the most flattering but it is what it is.

I am in need of some new running shoes. Big shocker. After my hip injury, I ditched all three pairs of my Mizuno Wave Rider 17s. Now I’m wearing an old pair of Brooks Cloddhopper 10’s. They are so freakin’ heavy but I have no hip pain when I wear them, so I’ve been sucking it up (buttercup). I’m looking for a neutral shoe, no more than 8.6 oz, with an 11-13mm drop. That is apparently the rare unicorn of running shoes.

My next race is the Lighthouse Loop half in October and I need to start training for that next month, so hopefully the running shoe fairy will visit me by then.





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That Stuffed Parrot Thing

You might be wondering what the deal is with the stuffed parrot by now. Or maybe you’re not and traveling with a stuffed parrot in your 30’s is normal for you. In that case, you are in the right place. But for everyone else, I’ll explain.

Just before hubs and I left for Canada, we were at a pub having dinner with a friend. I spotted a stuffed pig in a crane game that I So, our friend Jamie decided she was going to win it for me. Only, she didn’t win the pig. She won a parrot instead. Cool, I guess. But a parrot is no pig.


That’s Alan, the parrot, and his savior Jamie.

I decided that even though the parrot wasn’t what I wanted (I know, my life is hard), he was still cute and there’s no reason he shouldn’t enjoy life and get all the love he deserves. After all, it’s not his fault he’s not a stuffed pig. So that night, he started living the life he was never meant to have. It started with one or two pictures, but then it got out of hand.








There’s a lot more. But you get the idea.

Of course, I had to take him to Canada after all that. And he will be on many more adventures because I can’t just love him and leave him. So I thought it was only fair to explain why you will be seeing a dumb, stuffed parrot in future pictures.

Oh, and I did finally get the pig. Hubs found it online and gave it to me for my birthday. :-)

pig newton



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Paula does Toronto

All good things must come to an end, which means I had to bid farewell to the cabin. I mentioned that at the end of my third day, we went to a comedy club. We met up with a bunch of Lindsey’s friends at Yuk Yuk’s for Emily’s birthday. Let me just say, it’s kind of weird seeing some of Lindsey’s friends in person after reading about and seeing pictures of them for years. I basically wanted to stare at Emily and Dawn all night.


Anyway, there were several comedians. One of them was so terrible that I felt sorry for him. But, there was one comedian that was amazing. He made me laugh hard. He mentioned during his routine that he wanted to be picked up and carted off in to the street with people chanting his name. So at the end of the show (after chanting his name of course), we had to go say hi to him. And pick him up. At first he was like, “no, no, that would make me so uncomfortable.” But Lindsey was all, “you asked for it!” So this is him saying “no” but our arms are already out saying “yes.”


And then we just went for it without his permission.


Guys, if two lovely ladies want to pick you up after they’ve been drinking, you let them do it.

So that was a good time. Oh, and a weird thing about Canada: when you pay for food or drinks at a restaurant, you get asked “do you need the machine?” It took me two days to figure out what the hell that meant. Servers bring a machine to you if you want to pay with credit. In America, the server takes your card to their computer and brings it back after it’s charged. I gotta say, I like the way it’s done in Canada better. Your card is never out of your sight.

On our fourth and last day (sniff), it was my birthday so Evan made me a birthday pancake.


Then their roommate spilled orange juice on it but I’m sure he did it out excitement for my birthday.

After breakfast, we took the subway downtown for a little sightseeing.


We walked around China town and shopped for some “tang” tops.



We stopped for a $6 mimosa (because that’s a bargain in Toronto) at a roof top bar.


We went to an underground store that sold the best t-shirt ever created.


And eventually, we made our way on the ferry to Toronto Island.


Toronto Island is this weird mixture of half tourism/ half locals enjoying their day and it’s really easy to tell which is which. We were pretty hungry once we got there, so we enjoyed some of Lindsey’s least favorite pizza in the city.


That was pretty much the only food on the island because the main restaurant was closed. To be fair, she told us it was her least favorite after we had eaten it. (Thanks?) I thought it was pretty good and made better by the best view from our picnic table, even though the weather overcast and chilly.





After pizza, we walked around and checked out all the sights. Lindsey was super excited about a scrambler ride on the island that was featured in the movie Take this Waltz. So the boys hung out while Lindsey and I got our ride on.


Lindsey also made sure they played Video Killed the Radio Star just like in the movie and then proceeded to serenade me the whole ride. So that was a treat.

A random American/Canadian difference I noticed: In Canada, public bathrooms are called washrooms. In America, they are restrooms. I’m sure one of you can use that information at some point, so you’re welcome.

After the ride, we found a petting zoo. With GIANT FLEMISH RABBITS. And BUNNIES. And GUINEA PIGS. And BABY PIGS. And LLAMAS. And GIANT CHAIRS. Basically my dream petting zoo.







After the island, we hit up a German restaurant for dinner and drinks. The food was great and I was really happy to be off my feet because the puppies were barkin’. We did a little more exploring after that and ended up at El Catrin, a super fun and trendy Mexican restaurant, for MOAR drinks.


Where’s Alan?



Hubs and I both looooved this place and thought it was one of the highlights of our trip. I had a great time and it was fun exploring a new city on my birthday. At the end of the day, I had 23k steps on my Fitbit, so we were all dead tired and ready for bed.

One more picture or it didn’t happen.


Toronto is literally the most diverse city I have ever seen. I was really surprised. I feel like there’s no way to see it all in just a few days but we covered a lot of ground in the short time we were there. Also, a BIG thanks to Lindsey and Evan for letting hubs and I invade their home and for being awesome tour guides for four days, even though it wasn’t their idea and they probably couldn’t have gotten out of it if they wanted to.

**Here is Lindsey’s post on the day if you’re so inclined.**




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Warsaw Caves

Yeah, I’m still talking about Canada. I was only there for four days, but man, we packed in a lot of good stuff. I have one more post after this and you’ll be free of my Canada talk until the next trip. Because I will totally go back.

On the third day, we drove from the cottage to the Warsaw Caves to do a little spelunking. I remember Lindsey posting about the caves awhile ago and thought it sounded interesting in a poop-your-pants-as-an-adult kind of way. When I told hubs about it, he was seriously down and it was the only thing he asked specifically to do the whole vacation. So creepy, dark, spidery, confined caves it was.

On the way there, we stopped at a store for headlamps which just happened to be near a very small sidewalk market. While Evan was on headlamp duty, Lindsey, hubs, and I walked over to the market to hunt down the infamous butter tart. All I have to say is holy crap, because butter tarts are legit and probably the best thing from the list that I got to try.


So buttery. So tarty. My teeth hurt while eating it but it was totally worth it. My first baby shall be named Butter Tart.

We arrived at the caves, which are located at a conservation area about 45 minutes from the cottage. We checked in quickly had a short walk to the first cave where hubs had no problem being the first one in.


I went last since I didn’t have a headlamp and also because CAVES. I got in there and was crouching to try to get into a larger open area. There were a lot of people in the cave and I could hear a lot of voices in the distance but it was really tight and confined so I immediately chickened out. I never knew I had claustrophobia but apparently I do. Also, I’ve seen the movies and I know what happens so I GTFO and waited outside the cave while the three crazies were inside smiling and taking pictures like you couldn’t die at any minute in there.


While I was waiting, I read the brochure and found out that the fifth cave was a cave for wussies and that sounded good to me. So we skipped caves 2-4 for a more Paula friendly cave that wouldn’t freak me out except that it kinda did because you had to sit on a ledge and then drop down into it.


Of course, I slipped and it hurt but once I got in there, it wasn’t so bad. I felt like I had to keep moving though because there were some really tight areas that I did not want to loiter in. At one point, hubs was waiting for a family to get out of the cave in front of him and I was sandwiched between two giant rocks behind him and I just needed to get into a more open area. He was able to move forward a bit for me but I don’t think it would have been pretty if he couldn’t. Eventually, I put on my big girl pants and was even able to smile for some pictures in the tiny little death cave.




By the way, it’s all fun and games until you have to get out of the cave. Dropping into a cave means climbing back out. Or belly crawling 10 meters to another opening and NOPE. I’ll climb, thank you.


I think this is me trying to get out. It doesn’t look that hard from above but let me tell you, that was not the case. Lindsey went first and got out of that cave like she was Canada’s Ninja of Parkour. Then, hubs is behind me saying, “Once you start, you have to commit” and Lindsey is outside the cave yelling, “Come on! you do Crossfit!” So yeah. Helpful. But I got out and we lived to explore another scary cave.


Well, scary just for me because hubs was LOVING it. No fear with that one.



After we were done with the caves, we went for a hike in the conservation area to find the giant kettle. Kettles are like big potholes that were formed when granite stones trapped in the river current spun around in place, grinding their way into the limestone. We saw a few smaller ones on the way to the big one. I had never heard of a kettle before so I thought it was pretty interesting to learn about.



After the caves, we went back to the cottage to soak up some sun because the day was PERFECT. It was seriously like Florida winter. Sunny, cool breeze, 70°F.


Or 21°C for you Canadians. Seriously, I never knew what the weather was there because everyone be all, “Fahrenheit what?”

I also got to enjoy the Evan’s famous cooking and it was a delight for sure.


We had pork skewers and full disclosure, I do not like pork, but I liked those skewers enough to have two.

You would think this was the end of our day, but it was not. We ended up going to a comedy club that night that had one of the better and the worst comedians I’ve ever seen. So Canada representing both sides of the spectrum there. I’ll save that one for next time.

And of course, Lindsey already posted about the day so you can read her post here.


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Cottage in the Woods

The last we left off on my great Canadian adventure, we were in Niagara Falls. We left Niagara in the morning for Evan’s family’s cottage. If you read Lindsey’s blog, you know she’s all “Cottage! Cottage! Cottage! I love cottage!” so she was very excited to take us there. But first, we made a pit stop at Tim Horton’s. Tim Horton’s is the Dunkin Donuts of Canada and Timbits (their donut holes) were on my list of Canadian delicacies to try. In the great American/Canadian donut hole challenge, Tim Horton’s wins. By a lot. I also ordered an iced coffee and apparently that comes with a “sugar base.” In the U.S., you only get sugar in your coffee if you ask for it. I just took this as Canada’s first of many attempts to fatten me up.

We also stopped to pick up some booze along the way because cottages are for drinking. I thought I might actually die when I saw a bottle of Absolute is $27. That is madness! The same size bottle in Orlando is $14. Now I see how Canada can offer free health care, cuz you guys are paying out the ass for everything else.

We dropped off our things at the cottage and made a B-line for lunch at the Golden Beach Resort.


The Golden Beach Resort is a cottage resort and it is kind of in the middle of nowhere so it is very quaint and…woodsy? I liked it. The restaurant there is small and homey and has a patio, and patios are important.

The shrimp flatbread sounded good so I ordered that for the table. And man, it was delicious. I could have eaten that for my meal. It was also served on a fish plate which is adorable.


We also got (authentic!) poutine for the table. Lindsey was not going to let me leave Canada with our last poutine experience in my memory. It looks like a giant cow patty but it was delicious, and I’m not even a fan of gravy. Now I know what she has been talking about all these years. Poutine. It’s what dreams are made of.


Those cheese curds melt and get all stringy and delightful.

I also got the fish and chips because Lindsey said it was the, “best fish and chips of her life” the week before on her blog. So, that had to happen.


Very good. The best of my life? Probably not. But close.

After lunch, we went back to the cabin. The weather was a bit chilly and it started to rain, so we all took a nap on the couch. Not one couch. There were three, lest you think we just piled up. That’s when I knew Lindsey and Evan were our soul mates because I love a good rainy day nap. When the rain stopped, we hung out on the dock and drank while watching Evan try to unsuccessfully fix a boat motor. There’s nothing like drinking and watching someone else do manual labor.





Once the sun went down, it got pretty chilly so Lindsey made us all look like lumberjacks.


The most exciting part of the night was getting to see lightning bugs again! I haven’t seen those since I lived in Illinois. Also exciting: ketchup chips.


These were on the list and Lindsey bought them before we knew the list existed, so she gets some extra Canadian points for that. I don’t really eat chips much and I took that bag out. I thought they sounded gross at first, but they have a little kick to them and are amazing. Why don’t we have them in America?

I’m not even sure what we did after that. I think there were games but we ended up just chatting all night and hanging on the dock for awhile to check out the stars. It was a really fun second day in Canada even though the weather wasn’t that (says Lindsey because I’ll take 55 degree weather any day).

You can also check out Lindsey’s post about the day and see what pictures I stole from her.


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Niagara Falls Fun

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to go on vacation to Toronto and decided that since Lindsey lived there, she should entertain me on that vacation for four days straight. When I told her about my plans, she said yes which was very exciting since I had only met her once before. Back in the blonde and black and white days.


I’d like to think we took a shine to each other and knew it was a matter of time before me met again.

One thing hubs and I really wanted to do on our Toronto adventures was see Niagara Falls since I knew it was pretty close. I told Lindsey that we were thinking of renting a car and driving over one day when she was like, “hell no, we’ll take you!” So instead of flying into Toronto, we flew into Buffalo, NY so we could hit up Niagara first thing. We got a pretty good deal on a Southwest flight. We were in boarding group C but still managed to score a sweet window seat.

Enjoying that view.

Lindsey and her lover, Evan, picked us up at the airport. Hubs spotted them first, which was lucky, since they were enamored with an American snack machine instead of finding us. Once we got to the car, Evan leveled up our friendship by instantly offering us delicious maple cookies. I should have taken a picture of them, because they were part of my (very important) Canadian culinary adventure. But alas, I did not. Just know that they were delicious and maple and when you are in Canada, you eat maple dammit.

We drove maybe an hour to Niagara, where Lindsey had booked a sweet hotel room for us. This was our view from the room.

I really have to stop using my  phone to take pictures because that is some blurry crap. Also, this trip make me realize that I am just awful at photography so I have stolen many of Lindsey’s pictures because she is better than me and needs to teach me her ways.

Anyway, none of us had eaten lunch, so we dropped off our bags in the room and walked to place called The Secret Garden. This isn’t it, but this was along the way.

You’ll notice a stuffed parrot in the picture above. His name is Alan Barkin (because he’s a boy and we couldn’t name him Ellen, duh). He was rescued from a crane game and now he’s out living life. You’ll be seeing a lot of him from now on and probably a post dedicated to his exciting new life.

Ok back to lunch. We chose the Secret Garden because it had a patio and we all agreed we likey patios. My first order of business was to try a Canadian beer so I ordered a Steam Whistle, which was good.

I didn’t get a picture of my food, but I had a burger. When I ordered it cooked medium, the girl was like, “we only cook those one way.” And then Lindsey was all, “you get to choose how your burger is cooked in America?” Yes. Yes we do. I’m sorry to all you Canadians who only get to experience well done burgers. It makes me sad for you. Please come to America and have a burger that is cooked medium and thank me later. The burger was good but in a overly cooked kind of way. I also tried some of Lindsey’s poutine (also on my list of Canadian things to put in my mouth) and it was just ok.

Poutine is fries with gravy and cheese curds. This one had shredded cheese instead, and what tasted like canned gravy. No bueno. Lindsey assured me that it was a bad example of poutine and that I had to try it again. Fine, fine. If I must. While were on the food subject, I am completely convinced that Heinz ketchup tastes different in Canada. I feel like their version is more vinegary and America’s is more sweet. Hubs thinks I’m crazy but if I like the taste in America but not in Canada, there’s gotta be something different, right? Who’s with me?

After lunch, we walked over to the Hornblower, a boat that takes you up close to the American and Canadian falls.

Let me tell you, it is windy and wet down there but also beautiful and amazing to experience. Definitely a must do if you’re visiting the area. I think it’s only $20 which is like $1.50 in Canadian money or something.

After the boat, we walked around and checked out the falls for awhile. It was especially cool to see the water flowing over the edge of the falls. We tried to find a barrel so we could ride over, but no luck.


Since Niagara is a tourist area, there are a bunch of gift stores everywhere. Hubs was especially excited to find Kinder eggs. They are illegal in the U.S. (you read that right) because the small toys inside are a choking hazard. Canada all be like, “let our children choke!” Hubs used to love these when he lived in Germany and he always talks about how he misses them, so once he saw them he was like a kid in a candy store. Except he was an adult in a candy store because we were actually in a candy store.

“Nutrition facts. Please contact us by mail.” I’m tempted.

After walking around all day, we needed to freshen up a bit at the hotel before we went out for dinner. And by freshen up, I mean we put on some perfume and called it good. We went out for drinks first and then to a place called Coco’s (also with a patio) and had some really good pizza and more drinks until we shut the place down. I’m absolutely certain I took more pictures at this point but I can’t find them so I guess it didn’t happen. #bloggerlogic

More walking happened after dinner and we checked out the falls at night, which are lit up with different, changing colors. Very pretty. I wanted to go on the nighttime illumination boat tour to see the lights up close but they didn’t run that tour on Thursday, which was a bummer but also a blessing. It was super chilly outside and being on the wet, cold boat probably would have sucked. At the end of the night, we checked out the casino where I proceeded to lose money that Lindsey handed me because I am gambling poison.

It was a really fun and busy first day in Canada.

You can also check out Lindsey’s post about our first day. She remembers things better than I do and takes more pictures. Smile


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All the Books

I just got back from vacation with this minx and will be talking about that and other excitement soon, but in the meantime I shall talk about books. I’ve read quite a few since my last book post. I keep meaning to write about what I’ve read and then I don’t and then my list gets longer and then writing sounds hard and then I’m like, “hey, what’s for dinner!?” My reading has really slowed down since school started back up, so I figured this is the time to share what I’ve read before the list gets any longer:

(Title links go to the Goodreads description.)

Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas


Like the first Veronica Mars book, if you like the show, you’ll like this book. I thought this was even better than the first. It’s just like reading an episode and makes me sad the show is gone. *sniff* Lots of Mac and Logan sprinkled with a bit of Leo makes me a happy girl. Incidentally, the book name is appropriate for the mystery unlike the first book that could have had a million better names than it did.

Touch by Claire North


I didn’t want this book to end. I was apprehensive about giving it five stars on Goodreads because I don’t throw five stars around lightly, but it in the end I feel that’s what it deserves. It was so unique just like Claire North’s other book, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. Like Harry August, Touch jumped back and forth in time a bit. While I didn’t feel all the extra stories were necessary, it was so interesting that I didn’t mind. This one is worth the read for the concept alone. I said the same thing about Harry August, but it’s true. It’s unique and interesting and I can’t wait to see what Claire North writes next.

Unsouled (Unwind #3) by Neal Shusterman


In this book, we have a lot of back story/character development and not a lot of action. I didn’t find the character development all that interesting. I read whole pages and thought, “why was this necessary?” But, overall, I thought it was OK. Like the second book in the series, UnWholley, it doesn’t even come close to the engrossing awesomeness that was the first book. I can see where the story is going and can probably predict how it will end,  so it’s unlikely I’ll read the final book.

Unstrung (Unwind #1.5) by Neal Shusterman


This is a novella about one of the characters from the Unwind series and I bought it because it was $1.99 and I’m a sucker. (See feelings on Unsouled above.)

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel

I read this one because I have two friends that love the series. I liked it well enough to keep reading but I wasn’t completely engrossed. I know the book is YA, but something about the writing was too elementary. It might be the lack of contractions and the 19th century lingo, but it annoyed me only intermittently so I’m not sure that’s it. Also, the Tessa and Will characters are too immature for me. Mama doesn’t need that angst in her life. I did like it enough to give the second book a shot but I’ll probably get around to that in 2018.

Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown


Like Red Rising, this one was a little hard to get into at first. There are so many characters that it can be overwhelming to keep track/remember who was who from the first book. With that said, I really liked it. The writing is so smart. I rarely read a book and find myself appreciating the writing, but I definitely did with this one.

Also I find with a lot of YA books, authors pander to readers who can’t remember anything about the previous book by over-explaining something that already happened. Pierce Brown does a really good job of reminding you who characters are without hand-holding you through the story. Golden Son isn’t as amazing as the first book but it’s a really decent follow up and I’m looking forward to the third.

In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks

In a world just right

I really wanted to like this book. The story had a lot of potential. It got better toward the (very) end, but there were too many things going against it that I didn’t dig. It had overly simple writing and over-explanation like, “we were sweating from running” and then “sweat dripped from her cheek to her chest” and then “we kissed and it was sweet and salty” and “the kiss was salty because we were sweating!”  I get it. You’re sweating, dude. There was also detailed explanation of boring and irrelevant things like track meets (I had to skip a page of it) and the end had some out-of-place religious overtones that were weird. With all that said, somehow I did not see the ending coming. I liked the idea of the story, I liked how the book wrapped up, but unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the journey getting there.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


I read this one on Lindsey’s recommendation and man, I loved it. It was just a really fun and fast read. It was also very 80s-inspired so there were all sorts of references, including one in the first chapter about the movie Heathers which instantly won my love. This is also the next movie Steven Spielberg is directing if you need a celebrity endorsement.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

coldest girl in coldtown

This was on a 2014 Buzzfeed list of top YA books. It’s a vampire book. I’m kind of over vampire books, but this one had a bit of a different spin on it. Basically, vampires are known to the world and they live in quarantined “coldtowns.” I won’t go into detail about the story because the linked description is better, so I’ll just say that I really liked it and thought the ending was great. I’m not sure if there’s going to be a sequel or not but I would be satisfied with the ending either way.

That’s all the books for now. I’ve read a few more but I’ll save those for later and get to the vacation shenanigans next.



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A little running update

I’m back to running! It’s only a few times a week and a few miles at a time. Since I’m not training for anything, I don’t usually see the point in running over three miles. That is, until Thursday. I was listening to a new running playlist and three songs into it, I decided it would be fun to see if I could run the whole playlist without stopping and without skipping any songs.


Nothing like finding out you put an eight minute song on your playlist after you made the decision to run it. Also, I found that not all of those songs are great for running and I was not ready to have We R Who We R back in my life yet. So the run wasn’t easy but races aren’t always easy either, so we’ll call that training. For nothing. #trainingfornothing

The run was just over six miles which is twice the distance I’m used to and I didn’t have *any* hip pain afterwards. Usually I have at least a little stiffness. So I’m hoping my hip pain will be completely gone (and not just hover at 90%) in the next month or two and I’ll be back to using them as they are intended.

Veronica Mars

While we’re on the running subject, I registered for Best Damn Race Orlando again. My running bud has a $5 off code (Code: CRAZYRUN) if you want to run it too. I had to skip it this year because of my old lady hip, so hopefully next year I’ll actually run it. It’s not until March so my body has plenty of time to discover new injuries. I also want to run a half in October (maybe Lake Nona?), so that gives me a couple months until I have to start for-real running. I should probably start shopping for those non-hip-hating shoes now. Sigh.


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