Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Dance

Woo HOO!!! Hit 100 Followers today! :)

Sneak Preview

In addition to hosting private sales (like the one going on right now until FRIDAY), if you sign up to Be a BookWormz Boutique Fan on Facebook , you'll also be the first to see many of the new designs being introduced, BEFORE they hit the market! So.... if you fall in love with a certain design, you can just let me know, and I'll put it up as a special listing, just for you. :) Like this one:
Which hasn't been posted yet, but may have already found a new home!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Help by Katheryn Stockett - An Audiobook Review


For those of you who don't know - I absolutely ADORE ww.audible.com. Audible is a website where you can pay a monthly fee to have access to a huge selection of audio books. the places/times I use mine most often (always on my ipod, although you can use any mp3 player, or you can even download them and burn them onto cds!) include:

1. In the car - I drive a lot for my day job.

2. When working out - especially if it is a REALLY good story.

3. When cleaning the house - it makes the time fly by.

4. When cooking - if I don't have to pay too much attn to the recipe.


Ok, anyway, enough of the commercial. :) The book I most recently finished on audible was "The Help" by Katheryn Stockett. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Seriously, it was on par with "The Time Traveller's Wife" and "Water for Elephants". I feel that reviewing an audiobook will be a little different than a conventional book, because I can't refer back to specific passages. This is my first attempt, so hopefully it isn't a useless review. :) Alright, kids, buckle up.


"The Help" is about America's deep South - specifically, Mississippi - and the relationship between African American and white women in the early 1960's. It is a story that shows the courage, humor, ignorance and frustration prevalent on both sides of the racial divide of that time. It made me laugh aloud, and it made me cry. How often can we find a story that does both, and that keeps you hanging on, wishing the book would never end? The narrators in the audio version of "The Help" were breathtaking. Truly actors, they allowed you to FEEL the story, in the tradition of the great storytellers. You know that experience of sitting around a campfire when you were a little kid, and hanging on to every word of some fantastic tale? That's how this story unfolded.


Aside from the artistry of the story and the narration, "The Help" is an excellent reminder that all people are created equal. It manages to highlight the perspective of the underdog exceedingly well, which is a perspective that those of us who are lucky in life often forget. I'm very blessed to have parents who tried their best to teach me the importance of having and upholding your own convictions, and "The Help" is an excellent way to remind yourself of how ESSENTIAL it is to stand up for what you believe in, even if the consequences are sometimes unfavorable, to say the least. In this day of political correct-ness (is that a word?), where we often live in shades of gray, it is a reminder that often a black and white answer does exist to a right and wrong question.


I absolutely loved this book, and I'd highly encourage you to read it, or if you're anything like me, and strapped for time, why don't you try this as your first audio book? :) Have you read it? What did you think?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

BookWormz Going Retail!

Can't tell you where yet - but I'll spill the beans next week! Here is my first shipment - all prettied up for you! :)

YUMMMMMMM!


I must admit I do love my Cooking Light magazine. I have found some AMAZING dishes, and last night, I just found another keeper. For those of you who get the magazine, the recipe is on page 138 of the March,2009 magazine. For those of you who don't - well - here ya go. Oh yeah, and this photo is theirs, not mine. Unfortunately I'm not that talented of a shutterbug.


Ingredients:

1.5 lbs plum tomatoes, peeled and halved lengthwise

3 tblspns EVOO, divided

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

6 quarts water

12 oz uncooked spaghetti

1/4 cup minced fresh basil

6 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


1. Squeeze juice and seeds from tomato halves into a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl, reserving juices; discard seets. Finely chop tomatoes.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large non-stickk skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to pan: cook 30 seconds or just intil garlic begins to brown, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, reserved juices, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 15 minutes, or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring occasionally.

3. Bring 6 quarts water and remaining 2 tablespoons salt to a boil in an 8-quart pot. Add pasta to pot; stir. Cover; return water to a boil. Uncover and cook 8 minutes or until pasta is almost al dente. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.

4. Add hot pasta and reserved cooking water to tomato mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until sauce is thick and pasta is al dente, tossing to combine. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with basil; toss. Place 1 cup pasta mixture on each of 6 plates. Drizzle each serving with 1/2 teaspoon of remaining oil; sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon cheese. Yield: 6 servings.


Calories 313
We actually changed it up a little - instead of the parm, we added little mozzerella balls, which we chopped into 4 pieces each, and about 1 minute before the dish was done. It added a lot of chewy deliciousness to the dish. Also, we didn't really follow the pasta cooking instructions. We just boiled water, threw in the pasta, and then strained it.
It was seriously one of the best pasta dishes I've ever had - my husband said if he had ordered this in a restaurant, he would have been thrilled.
Also, it took about 40 minutes from start to finish. Try it tonight! Do you have a favorite recipe? Link me up - I'm always looking for new ones! :)
UPDATE: EVOO = Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Friday, March 27, 2009

Is this heaven???

I was just sitting there, reading through some comments on my blog, when I came across http://chachingqueen.blogspot.com/ . As I'm reading through her fabulous ways to SAVE MONEY (yep, you read it right - all in one easy spot) - I see this: BooksFree
Like Netflix but for books. 20% off your first month at Booksfree.com. Use coupon code: CJ86

What?! Netflix, but for BOOKS? Excuse me - I may be hyperventilating a bit. Can't wait to bury myself in their virtual bookshelves. Have fun, fellow readers!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Will you be my fan?

*bats eyelashes at you* Hi lovely blog readers! I just started a fan page on Facebook - Will you be my fan? Just click HERE! Loves ya, and THANK YOU!

pst.... my fans will have EXCLUSIVE access to sales! yessssssssss!!!!

Contributing Photographic Editor

When asked how the pictures of my latest creation looked, my husband added this prop. What a nut. :) By the way, you can find the "Tropical Sensation BookWorm" in my 1000 Markets Shop!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I Wish...

I was a better writer. I used to be decent (at least in my own little head), but I fell out of practice, and these days I find myself sounding like I just graduated 8th grade when I write. :) (Note excessive use of emoticons. Sorry - I really can't help it. It's an illness) I only mention this because I stumbled across this great blog,The Dangerous Pages Review , and I instantly fell in love with her writing style. Bonus - she likes the same books I do! Sigh... I totally have a (platonic) blogger crush.

Steal This Idea - of the day

Not sure where I got this idea - I think it was in a cookbook? Anyway - loved it, and thought I'd share it with you!




You know when you buy fresh herbs (or grow them in your garden for those of you who don't live in a shoebox like me), and you just know you're not going to use them all in time? Well, what I've started doing is chopping them into ready-to-use sizes, and then freezing about 1 tsp of the chopped herb into an ice cube! Then, when I need fresh herbs, all I do is throw an ice cube into whatever I'm cooking! This will make me feel a lot less guilty about spending $3 at the grocery store for sage that I'll only use a little of. :)


Mine happen to be heart shaped, b/c that we have an automatic ice maker, and those are the only ice trays I own! :) I bought them for a party once, and they've turned out to be very useful!



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

*Jumps on Couch Like Tom Cruise*

I got a wholesale request today for between 500 and 1000 BookWormz!!!! Not sure if what they want is something I'm capable of, but working hard on finding out! Holy Cow!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dear Husband

I have to say, that husband of mine is SO FUNNY! I'm such a lucky girl. He makes me laugh all the time. Example:

Husband: Why do I find out more about you by reading your blog than by living with you?
Me: giggles and sheepishly grins with a shoulder shrug thrown in for good measure

He's also getting handier as time goes on. Not only did he forage for a new grill in the foreign land of Home Depot this weekend, but he also actually PUT THE GRILL TOGETHER! I don't know about you, but I find this very impressive.

Also he is strong and handsome. But he won't let me put his picture up (I think he is afraid of the legions of screaming tweens that are sure to stalk him if his picture goes public). So instead, here is our new grill which we have used every night since we got it. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New spotlight - a Tribute to my new last name!

Baby Shower Today!

I currently have two very good friends who are due in May with their first children. Both of these girls were in my wedding in October, and both were preggo during it! :) I just can't wait to meet their little dudes (yep, both boys!)! Today, I'm going to Cortney's shower. Her auntie is a professional chef, so I had a veeeery light breakfast in preparation for the feast! ;)

In honor of my two wonderful friends, I'd like to share one of my favorite videos. You've probably see it already, but I soooo love it. I love any funny videos, so please feel free to share yours! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Just applied at my first two "Brick and Mortar" shops!


It's an exciting day for BookWormz - I just approached two "Brick and Mortar" shops in hopes that they will carry my BookWormz! I'll keep you posted. In the mean time, any of you other handmade artisans out there, check out Renegade Handmade ! You can apply to be a featured artisan right online. They have an adorable little shop in a busy shopping district in Chicago, so you'd have that added bonus as well! :) Good luck!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sorry. I couldn't resist.

Mexico vs Korea

Yes, my husband forced me to watch the "Mexico vs Korea" baseball game. I can handle Cubs vs. whoever, but MEXICO vs KOREA??!!! Come on!!! Thats comparable to me forcing him to watch a subtitled version of Gossip Girl! S'ok, though - I did get a chance to read a little more of "Handle With Care". Grumble, Grumble.

On a positive note - I have a Corned Beef in the slow cooker! It's gonna smell goooooood tonight! Happy St Patty's, everyone!

Monday, March 16, 2009

I met the cutest Doctor this weekend!

I mean, couldn't you just melt? Meet Dr. Michael, baby Marlo's brother. He's a doll. I absolutely adore him. :) I definitely feel that he will be a Doctor, a CEO or the President of the US. You just wait and see. :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Best. Day. Ever.


I actually got to meet one of my very favorite authors. I'm a sucker for Jodi Picoult books. All of 'em. Jodi is currently on tour promoting her new book, "Handle With Care", which is about a little girl who is born with osteogenesis imperfecta (a defect that causes brittle bones). I, yes, I, humble reader from Chicago, had the opportunity to meet her today!

Jodi is really inspiring! She's one of those women that is so self-assured, so brave, so strong, and so likeable that you can't help but think: "I wanna be just like her when I grow up"! She also seems to have a great sense of humor! She opened the 20 minute reading by saying "I'm sorry for those of you who can't see me. But if you can't see me, I'm six feet tall, very skinny and blonde." She was prompted by what appeared to be a super-fan to tell a very funny story about one of her earlier nights on tour that involved a rat in her hotel room. :) Nice to know stuff like that even happens to famous authors, isn't it?

She seems like she is so down to earth! She has a very pleasant voice, not really high, but not low and throaty. Although her voice may be diffent from normal, because she had a terrible cold. Her 20 minute reading was punctuated by bursts of coughing, which she quelled by sipping a hot tea. I caught a glimpse of a note that was paper-clipped to one of the first pages in her copy of "Handle With Care", presumably written by her husband, that said "Jodi, I love you". :) How sweet that she takes a bit of home with her while she's on tour! She was also very cute! She was wearing a great outfit of jeans, a black floral top with a black jacket over it, and friendship bracelets on her left arm. I never knew this about her, but in her former life she was an 8th grade English teacher! I really admire her ability to bring the issues that we are facing to light in a non-partisan way that grabs your attention. She presents all sides of an arguement or issue, and enables you to empathize with characters you would never identify with in other circumstances. She said today that when she wrote "Keeping Faith" one of her goals was to offend all religions equally. :) I know she was kidding, but I actually really admire that. You'll never know, from reading one of her books, who's side she's on.

During the Q & A session, a couple of interesting topics came up. One of her earlier novels (and one of my favorites), "My Sister's Keeper" is going to be coming out on the BIG screen soon, and one of the audience members asked her about the rumor that an alternate ending was given to the screenplay. Jodi confirmed this: "I wrote the book with a certain message in mind, and when you change the ending, you change the message a little." Later she ended the topic by confirming that she had made peace with the ending, and that we should all go see the movie, but: "The movie is never as good as the book!" :) You go, Jodi!

A few of my favorite quotes from the Q & A:

When asked how she chooses the topics of her books: "They are the issues that keep me up at night. There is no shortage of controversial issues to write about."

When asked for advice for aspiring writers: "Carve out some time every day. Even if it's only 20 minutes. Also, take a writing workshop." She also suggested that even if you start a story and think it's no good, to finish it out to the end.

I walked out of the signing today soooo excited to have had the opportunity to meet such an outstanding and thoughtful writer. I had the added bonus of spending ALL day with two of my girlfriends, Jenn and Courtney, who got there with me at 9:30 am to get in line. :) Here we are with our books, and here's the picture I got to take with Jodi (NOTE THE BOOKWORM ON THE TABLE!!! She said she loved it and that she always has a book, so it will come in handy!)!
Oh yeah, and the last picture is of BookWormz making their (faux) debut at Borders (yeah, that's my goofy self). Stay tuned - they were a huge hit! One girl bought one from me on the spot - and I didn't even go there to sell them! :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Your Dad's Tie" BookWorm winner!

Sorry it took me so long to post it! Congratulations........... (drum roll) NINJA JENN!!!


Check out her blog! She's got a great tutorial on RSS feeds, which, dummy me, I just learned about. :) Congrats, Jenn!

Book Review! Still Alice by Lisa Genova


"Still Alice" by Lisa Genova - 4

Rating Scale: 1 – Didn’t Finish. 2 – Meh. 3 – Kept my interest, but probably wouldn’t read again. 4 – Would Recommend. 5 – LOVED IT! Added it to my list of favorites!

I'm a big Stephen King fan. I love being scared to death while sipping a cup of tea. :) Usually, though, when I read a horror novel, it is for the pleasure of escape from reality through fantastic situations. "Still Alice" is a horror novel that could truly become a reality. The only reason I didn't give this book a 5 is because I didn't couldn't actually enjoy reading about a horrific situation that could easily happen to anyone I know, including myself.
This book had me crying from the beginning. "Still Alice" is about a woman in her 50's who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. It is so incredibly moving to read about her experiences from the perspective of the sufferer. I've read books or watched shows about Alzheimer's before, but they've all focused on what it is like for the families of those stricken with the disease. This is the first time I've ever really considered or empathized (through Genova's writing) with the victim. I suppose I've always thought about how awful it must be to have to care for someone who didn't recognize you, but "Still Alice" brings you along on Alice's downward spiral. It's incredibly sad, disorienting and disturbing, and if nothing else, makes you so grateful to be of sound mind and body.
One of the major plot lines in the book involves Alice's family's decision to undergo genetic testing to see if they have inherited the gene for Alice's disease. I always find myself pulled into stories like this. How would I react? Would I make the same decisions as the characters? This is a very Picoult-esque dilemma to me. If given the opportunity to find out if you're a carrier of a gene that would, in all likelihood, rob you of the very memories that comprise your life, would you do it? Would you take the test?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My poor cook books!

They just can't get no respect... (yes, that was an intentional grammatical error) ;) They're crammed into a little cabinet above my stove along with all of my back issues of Cooking Light. Poor cook books. My favorite is the Bon Apetit series. I can ALWAYS come up with something delicious.


Couple questions for you: What is your favorite cook book (and the yellow pages don't count!)? Where do you keep you cook books? Do you subscribe to any cooking magazines, and what is your favorite?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." - Mark Twain

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Coming attractions


My Mom is super crafty - I owe all of my craftiness to her. So naturally she's very interested in my little BookWorm business, and we did a lot of brainstorming over the weekend. I've decided to change my strategy a little. I love the BookWormz, and they'll still be my primary focus, but I'm going to start including other book-related items in my shop. I'm changing the tag line to read: BookWormz - the Reader's Boutique, and adding a few more items. First up - glasses holders. I'm calling them Pearls of Wisdom, and the picture above shows the first one. We also discussed personalized photo buttons for the BookWormz, and possibly gift baskets for your favorite reader. What are your thoughts about this strategy? Do you think I should stick with just the BookWormz, or do you think I should start expanding? Do you have any other ideas about products I could offer in my little Boutique?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Just a Taste

Hi all! I know it's been a while since I've posted, but I'm back from my mini-vacation in Florida, and I have lots of fun posts to work on! I have to work this afternoon, but here's a little teaser to keep you interested in reading my lil blog... :)

Check out this website http://www.joshhosler.biz/NumberOneInHistory/SelectMonth.htm - it will tell you what song was #1 on the charts on the day you were born! So fun - mine was "Hot Child In the City" by Nick Gilder. Very appropriate since I live in the city, and since I'm a big kid at heart!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On my way to FLORIDA tomorrow!

So excited. I get to see so many people I love in one vacation! I'm staying at my Parents' house in Cape Coral Florida, and on Thursday night we're making fajitas and margaritas and having people over on my parents' lanai! My b.f. Stephanie is coming in from Tampa, another of my best friends, Alaina, is bringing her son and daughter over, and my friend Liz from Naples might join us as well! It's a party!!! :) We'll probably put on some Buffett or maybe a little Jack Johnson, enjoy those fajitas and guacamole, and I hear rumors of an amazing grilled banana/hazelnut desert... danger... I bought a cute dress on SUPER sale from Off 5th Avenue - it was less than 1/4 of the original price and it's ADORABLE! Wanna see?

Are you ready for spring? What are you most excited to wear? Post on your blog and link me up! Spring is one of my FAVORITE seasons! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Quote of the Day

Americans like fat books and thin women. ~Russell Baker

(bummer. looks like I might have to move to that place Oprah showcased last year...)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Quote of the day


"There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love." Christopher Morely

Monday, March 2, 2009

Quote of the day

Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. ~Mark Twain

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Meet my beautiful niece!!


Word on the street is that she can't wait till she can read so she can get her own BookWorm. ;)

Book Review! In The Woods by Tana French

In The Woods by Tana French - 5



Rating Scale: 1 – Didn’t Finish. 2 – Meh. 3 – Kept my interest, but probably wouln’t read again. 4 – Would Recommend. 5 – LOVED IT! Added it to my list of favorites!

In The Woods kept me captivated from page one. Tana French has a true gift of language. She makes the scene come alive so that you swear you were actually there – tasting the salty air by the sea or hoisting yourself up over a stone wall at the edge of the woods. But let’s face it. Just because an author has a way with words doesn’t mean they can tell an entrancing tale of suspense and domestic horror. French gift wraps her story for us in a quirky wrapping paper and ties it with a bow of surprise.


The story is about a young, confused detective with a dark and stormy past. It’s the stuff of mystery legend. As a child, he was involved in a horrific crime that robbed him of his memory and much of his innocence. The crime remains unsolved, and the trail cold, until a particularly haunting murder occurs in the very same woods of his childhood attack. The rest of the story involves several dead ends, a few twists and turns, and some truly fantastic characters.


One of the things I liked most about French’s writing style was her ability to ensnare the reader into a sense of empathy for her (sometimes not very likeable) characters. Even though Detective Ryan turns out to be a somewhat confused and self-involved character, I was rooting for him the whole way. I always had the sense that at heart, he was a genuinely good person. Cassie, his partner, was a whip-smart, quirky and funny counterpart. Overall, French’s talent for setting a scene, combined with her excellent character development, kept me feeling personally vested in the outcome of this truly mesmerizing story.

Quote of the Day


TV. If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six. Open your child's imagination. Open a book. ~Author Unknown