Thursday, June 3, 2021

Why Is Cancer Still a Thing?

Seven years ago today, I underwent a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I've been cancer free ever since. These are the days when Facebook Memories are really nice to read. I had SO much love and support. I had adopted animal print as my own personal cancer color because I have an aversion to pink, and the number of people who took selfies while wearing animal print was and is overwhelming. 

This year I have been overwhelmed in a different way because of the number of people I love who are either going through cancer, or who have people they love going through cancer. A friend told me that her mother-in-law had been diagnosed with lymphoma, which prompted me to say "why is cancer still a thing?" 

A college friend had surgery this week due to breast cancer. She confided in me early on and let me know that she had gone back and read my blog posts about my own experience. (Never underestimate the effect you might have on someone just by telling your story.)

My sister-in-law recently had the same surgery that I did. I'm thrilled to say that she is also cancer free and will not need chemo or radiation. Aaron is riding the Pan Ohio Hope Ride in July for the 7th time, but this time it's in honor of his sister. 

Just this week, I found out that the daughter of one of my childhood friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. She's 29. TWENTY-NINE. 

And while not a human case, our cat Clover died a couple months ago after surgery in which it was discovered that she had not one, but two different kinds of cancer. Seriously? 

Clover in her camo "surgical recovery suit"

I guess I don't really have a point to this post, except to celebrate my own survivor status, rant about the fact that cancer IS still a thing, and send out good juju to all those going through their own battles. I see you, and I'm with you.

Friday, February 12, 2021

I did a thing - or two

Back in ye olde days (like, April) when quarantine was a cute little idea and we had no concept of just how long we would go without human contact other than Zoom meetings I, along with millions of others, hopped on the sourdough starter train. I had mixed results and gave up for awhile, but recently got back into it. Again, mixed results.

Disaster. Loaf pan for context - these were literally like bricks

Much better, but still some tweaking to do.

In the meantime, I decided I wanted to make cinnamon rolls. I used this recipe and I used maple extract in the frosting. OMG, these were delicious and I'll definitely make them again.

I used my mom's rolling pin, which I'm sure helped.
I texted the bottom right picture to Aaron (who was all the way upstairs)
and said "who the fuck am I?" I think he wondered the same thing.

On the non-food front, if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that I'm now a consultant (or Beauty Guide) for LimeLife, which is a skincare and makeup company. I'm pretty excited about this, as I've used the products for a few years and I absolutely love them. You may wonder "why the hell would you get started in this during a pandemic?" Well, I'll tell you. A couple weeks ago I was organizing the bathroom drawer (yet another coronavirus cliche) and was forced to come face to face with all the products I have. And I decided that I don't need a reason to put on makeup. Because dammit, it makes me feel good. And if I'm being completely honest, my skincare routine had taken a nosedive and I find that I'm much more diligent about washing my face at night if I have makeup that needs to be removed. Hey, whatever works. So, if you're looking for new skincare or a mascara or a lipstick or all of the above, let me know! You can check it out here and feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

Stay tuned,

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Showin' My Books - February 2021

Hello, friends! It's been a minute (or several months). Linking up today with Steph and Jana to chat about some books I've read recently. I know a lot of people have said that since the pandemic began, they haven't read as much. I actually read more, although it's not always super consistent.

Life According to Steph

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab - I read this in December for book club, but I wanted to mention it because I really loved this book, and gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. I read it not long after reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, and was struck by some similarities (so I was pleased when Life After Life was actually named in this book). 

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig - This was my book club's January read, and while reading it I realized that we have a "type." We read a lot of books that involve living other lives or immortality or going through portals. Books we've read that fall into this category: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Recursion, Dark Matter, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Exit West. Some of them work better than others. We didn't love this one, but if it's adapted into a movie or miniseries, I'd watch it. I gave it 3 stars. Also read for Erin's book challenge as my Freebie.

The Fallout by Rebecca Thornton - I pretty much hate read the second half of this book. I felt like it was trying to be a Liane Moriarty but couldn't get there. And I don't generally mind unlikeable characters, but I just got so annoyed by these women and didn't care what happened to them. 2 stars Read for Erin's challenge for the prompt "read a book with a pink or green cover."

It's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell - I often enjoy books about college friends that go back and forth between college days and adult times, but I didn't love this. My biggest gripe is WHY Jenny and Aubrey were still friends with Kate. I gave it 3 stars but mostly because I didn't dislike it as much as The Fallout. Read for Erin's challenge for the prompt "read a book with a male relationship word in the title."

So, not a stellar month for me but I'm sure I'll find plenty of ideas at the linkup.

Currently reading The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett for book club.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Showin' My Books October 2020

I haven't posted in a few months, so I have quite a few books to list, though not as many as I'd like, because back in September I broke my wrist which required surgery and I haven't been able to focus on books. (Also, if there are typos in this post, sorry - typing isn't super easy either.) 

This month is the sixth anniversary of Show Us Your Books with Steph and Jana! Be sure to check out other bloggers who linked up if you're looking for reading recommendations.

Life According to Steph 

The Guest List by Lucy Foley - Kept me guessing the whole time. Really liked this one! (Erin's challenge - set in a different country; own hard cover from Book of the Month)

The Holdout by Graham Moore - A lot happens at the end in a short amount of pages and it was a little hard to keep up, but overall I liked it. (Erin's challenge - freebie; own hard cover from Book of the Month)

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones - I've never read any of Jones' poetry, but this is his memoir and I saw a lot of buzz about it. Then I found out that he had moved to Columbus. I started following him on Twitter and lo and behold, he lives very close to me! (I haven't stalked him or anything but keep hoping that maybe I'll run into him someday when he's walking his dog.) I listened to this, as it's read by the author, and it was just beautifully written and read. (read just because; purchased audio from

The Last Flight by Julie Clark - Really liked this one. The alternating POV worked well and the ending left me wanting more, but not in a bad way. (read for book club; own hard cover from Book of the Month)

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum - There were times when I felt like I was hate-reading, but that’s because the subject matter was infuriating. It makes me crazy to know that women all over actually have to live like this. But there was hope as well, which ultimately allowed me to like this book. (Erin's challenge - immigrant main character; own hard cover from Book of the Month)

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James - I loved this book. Read it in one day. I felt like it combined two former favorites of mine: the TV show "Cold Case" and ghost story books from when I was growing up (I used to devour John Saul books). (Erin's challenge - starts with "S;" own hard cover from Book of the Month)

Loved this quote: "...folding the corner of a page - even in a thirty-year-old book - is sacrilege."

One quibble - it's mentioned multiple times in the book that the motel sign is blue and yellow, but as you can see, on the cover it's red and yellow.

Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart - The second book in the Kopp sisters series. I liked the end of the book better than the journey to get there (I wanted more of the sisters). I really enjoyed the author's notes detailing which parts of the book actually happened. (Erin's challenge - female police officer or detective; read on Kindle)

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett - This book. Wonderful characters, differing POV, lots to digest. I have to admit that I had tried reading Bennett's first novel, The Mothers, but couldn't quite get into it. Now I think I might try it again. (read for book club; own hard cover from Book of the Month)

Here's hoping I can settle back into a book soon. I have about four started!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Showin' My Books July 2020

It's that time again! Be sure to check out the link up with Steph and Jana for more book recommendations. Happily, I enjoyed all four of my books this month.

Life According to Steph 

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley - I read this for book club and it was a lovely breath of fresh air, especially after the more heavy books we've had this year. It's multiple POV and some characters are certainly more likable than others, and there are a couple surprises. 4 stars

The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz - This is Connie Schultz's first novel, though she has written a couple memoirs. I follow her on social media (her husband is Sherrod Brown, a US Senator from Ohio) and I pre-ordered this book and got it in hardback even (from my local, independently-owned bookstore). I loved this book. It's not quite perfection, but I found myself thinking about the characters after I finished, and to me, that's a good reason to give a book 5 stars.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson - I don't read a lot of fantasy, and I'm not sure this qualifies as fantasy, but it does have some magical realism which was just enough for me. It's a quirky, fun book that also has some serious sections. Read for Erin's book challenge - Read a book with one of these words in the title: thing/things, everything, something, nothing or anything4 stars

Writers & Lovers by Lily King - This is one of those books that doesn't have a lot going on, and sometimes I'm not a fan of that, but this book spoke to me somehow. I might not have read it if not for book club. I made notes of many lines, like this one which I could have used to describe Writers & Lovers:

"I don't know why it's so moving to me and I could never explain.
There's a madness to beauty when you stumble on it like that."

That's all for now. Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Showin' My Books - June 2020

I'm super late posting this and I thought about skipping this month, but I don't want to so here we go.

As always, linking up with Steph and Jana, and I suggest checking out their posts as well as the 40+ other bloggers who have linked up this month.

Life According to Steph

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell - I read this for book club and apparently I didn't write down my thoughts so I'm kind of winging it here. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, which I think I rounded up. This was disturbing and complicated and hard to read at times because of the subject matter.

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore - I really had to sit on this for a while before giving it a rating. I pre-ordered this on Kindle and forgot that I had until it just showed up. I think this is a Very Important Book, and I liked the idea of it and the stories. But I had a hard time reading it for a couple reasons. While the writing was super descriptive and lovely, there were a lot of gaps and vagueness to the plots. And I have come to understand that I cannot handle reading books without quotation marks. Ultimately I'm glad I read it but if I hadn't pre-ordered it I might have given up. 3 stars

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner - I've read most of Jennifer Weiner's books; some I like better than others. This one ranks fairly high. It's the third book I've read this year that dealt with estranged sisters and with how one traumatic childhood event can shape your entire life. It was also very timely in that it dealt with protests and feminism and racial issues and homosexuality and, and, and... 4 stars

This month in Romance

It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - This was a bit problematic for me. It’s over 25 years old and it shows. The “hero” is misogynistic and just wrong on many levels. About halfway through I found myself skimming. But I liked Phoebe and her sister Molly and the growth of their relationship. 2 stars

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie - I know I've read Jennifer Crusie before but I can't remember which title(s). I got this as a bundle with Welcome to Temptation (haven't read yet) and I really enjoyed this book! I loved that it was set in Ohio, I loved Min and her framily - really almost all the secondary characters were fantastic. 4 stars

Currently reading: The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Showin' My Books - May '20

Um, how is it already almost halfway through May?! I have a handful of books this month, mostly because I was trying to finish Erin's book challenge (which I finally did for the first time ever!) and I had a book club book (which I read in a single day). But I've had a hard time choosing books to start. I have a ton of books on my Kindle, and on my nightstand, and on other tables and shelves and ... And I want to read them all, but I can't manage to get started.

Anyway, here we go.

Life According to Steph

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke - I enjoyed this. The main character is flawed but not unreliable or hateful. The ending isn't neat and tidy, but also isn't necessarily a cliffhanger. There's a second book out now. 4 stars

The Dutch House - by Ann Patchett - I pretty much read this in one sitting (which may or may not be because of my book club deadline combined with quarantine). I really liked it. My only quibble is with the vagueness of the time jumping, but that's a minor issue. 4 stars

Two Girls Down (Alice Vega #1) by Louisa Luna - I've had this book for over two years and now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to read it. Such a good mystery, and the characters are written so well. I'm glad to know that there's another Vega and Cap book out! 5 stars

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones - I was late to the party with this one, too. It was definitely worthy of the hype. I loved the way the story was told, even though it was a sad, hard story to tell. 5 stars

Mirror Image by Sandra Brown - This was a re-read - I first read it back when it came out THIRTY YEARS AGO. This was my introduction to Sandra Brown and I used to read all of her books, but at some point strayed away. I think I'll start picking up some new ones (or new-to-me). Surprisingly, I felt like this held up. The most dated part of it was the use of VHS and the lack of condom use. 4 stars (maybe 4.5)

Currently reading My Dark Vanessa for book club. I'm actually ahead on this; book club is still a week away!

Happy Reading!