Thursday, February 19, 2015

Are you doing a 40 in 40?

So yeah, Lent started yesterday but it's never too late.

I'm not Catholic and I don't feel the need to "give up" anything for Lent, but there are a couple other ideas out there that I've shared before (see last year's post). One is the 40/40 Challenge. It's 40 minutes of exercise every day during Lent. The 40 days doesn't include Sundays; you can rest on Sundays, or not.

The other is 40 Bags in 40 Days, brought to you by White House Black Shutters blog. This is about de-cluttering. I'm pretty sure I could get rid of 40 bags in my closet alone. If you click on the link back there, you'll get some great tips and ideas if you think you might not have 40 bags worth of "stuff."

Having said that I don't give up stuff for Lent, this year Aaron made a suggestion that initially made me laugh my head off, but actually I'm kind of digging it. We are giving up dining out -- in Columbus (an important distinction which will become clear very soon). We shall see how this goes...

Since this is my first post of the week, I also wanted to share that last weekend was our annual neighborhood chili cook-off. Here are the winners (categories include Best Vegetarian, Best Traditional, Hottest, Most Unique, and Best in Show).

This year's Most Unique went to a chili called "Sexual Chocolate." They even made their own sign for it:

If you can't read it, some of the ingredients included chocolate stout and cayenne cocoa,
and the garnishments were chocolate-dipped bacon, cilantro and sour cream.
OMG, it was delicious.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Frivolity

New year, new planner that I won't use. I have eternal optimism that I'll get my act together and actually use a planner for more than a week.

This year I went with the blogger-endorsed Erin Condren planner.

Look how cute it is!

Do y'all have the ION Television channel? It's my late-at-night-can't-sleep-due-to-snoring-husband-and/or-crowding-cats channel. They show reruns of some of my favorite crime dramas and they just started Cold Case from the beginning. I loved Lilly Rush and her band of homicide detectives solving open cases - some as old as 1919, some more recent. I miss that show.

I didn't share this next bit of news in my year-end post because I wasn't sure if it was public yet, but now it is and I can announce that our niece Jackie got engaged on Christmas! For those who aren't on my personal Facebook page, here's the family photo, including her fiancĂ© Dameon (far left).

I haven't posted a karaoke playlist in a while, but rest assured, I'm still singing! Here's what I sang Tuesday night.

Karaoke 20150210 by Gwen Carmack on Grooveshark

Finally, Happy Birthday to my friend Amy. Aaron has three best friends from high school and fortunately all the wives are friends as well. I'm so happy that Amy and Mike now live here in Columbus (a mere 10-minute walk away)!

Have a great weekend and stay warm!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Show Us Your Books!

I've been in an reading slump. I used to read two or three books a week. That hasn't happened in a while, but I'm getting back into books and today I'm talking about what I've read recently in the last six months.

Life According to Steph

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult - I've read most of Jodi's books (I feel I can call her Jodi because we're both curly redheads) and there's only one that I really didn't like ("The Tenth Circle") but The Storyteller did not disappoint. I was pretty sure I knew the twist, then I thought I was wrong, then it turned out I was right but it still didn't end as neatly as I thought it would, and I like that about a book.

Dark Places and Sharp Objects, both by Gillian Flynn - Like a lot of people, I suspect, I read "Gone Girl" when it was hot and then went back and read Flynn's two earlier books. What all three of these books have in common is that the main characters are seriously flawed. By that I mean I'm not sure I should even be rooting for them, yet the stories are so intriguing I can't stop reading.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer - I wanted so much to like this book. It was all over the "best books of 2013" lists. But man, I struggled mightily with it. I kept waiting for something to happen. Basically, this book just wasn't interesting to me at all.

Tempting Fate by Jane Green - Green is one of my go-to authors for chick lit and I hadn't read anything by her for a while. This one I liked; it served its "I need an easy read" purpose. It was pretty clear what was going to happen, but then there was still half the book left and I liked that the resolution wasn't easy.

When in Doubt Add Butter by Beth Harbison - Another chick lit (don't judge, or go ahead and judge, I don't care). I enjoyed it.

Right now I'm reading "The Girl on the Train." It's the latest "it" book and so far I'm loving it. If you haven't read it yet, Steph is giving away a copy! Visit her blog, Life According to Steph, to enter, and also to check out what some other people are reading.

Let me know what you're reading, too! My To Be Read list is long but I'm always looking for new books.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Major Announcement!

We interrupt your regular blog reading for this important update.

Aaron has started his own business!

How cute is he?

Aaron has worked in the audio/video industry for 25 years and at long last we are proud to announce the beginning of Aaron Carmack Electronic Services (ACES). Of course, these days it's more than just stereos, speakers and TVs. Now it's about home automation: being able to control lighting, HVAC and security from your phone or iPad; opening and closing shades with a remote; even just taking five remote controls down to one. Aaron can help with all of that kick-ass stuff.

Personally, this means the end of the one-car family experiment. He needs a vehicle large enough to haul ladders and equipment. So this week we bought a used car (at Carmax, no less).

Lovin' the orange color!

Yesterday he launched his website and I'd love it if y'all would check it out: (note that it's .net, NOT .com). And obviously, if you're in need of his expertise, let him know. Because as I like to say "you gotta have a guy."