Nice Weather, Books, and an Easy Recipe

Hello people! I haven’t blogged in a week. Mostly because it’s been busy with track meets, band concerts, and house showings. Speaking if which, is this place ever going to sell? I’m getting tired of showing after showing and no offer. I know these things are supposed to build character, but my character is starting to get pissy.  I guess it’s making me work on my housekeeping skills. I like a neat and clean house so now I have an excuse to keep it this way.

Is anyone else glad the weather has straightened out? Yesterday we went to Sam’s and did a few things in Sioux Falls. The temp said 86! We skipped spring and went straight from blizzards to summer. Actually, here in northwest Iowa, we really don’t get a spring. We get a craptastic wet season where everything is muddy. When I lived in Des Moines, we got more of an actual spring season. After the snowstorms in April,  86 degrees is pretty damn nice! I’ve taken the dog for nice walks every night so he’s enjoyed it too. If I leave him outside, I look out and he’s just laying in the sun trying to soak it all in. When I try to get him to come in, he ignores me. I’d like to trade places with him some days. He’s the only dog I know who has a garage that is both heated and air conditioned. Is he spoiled?  I prefer to say “well loved”. The nice weather also means I can go outside for one of my favorite activities- reading. I love to read. And I’ve always been a fast reader. When I was in grade school, we would go to Sioux Falls on a Sunday (about an hour away) and I would beg my parents to take me to Cover To Cover bookstore to get a Babysitter’s Club or Sweet Valley Twins book. I’d start it as soon as we got in the car and by the time we got home, I’d have it finished. I’m still a fast reader and can read a book in a day if I have time. This probably explains why the snowstorms didn’t bother me- I laid on the couch and read. But in the summer, I like to sit out on the patio with a drink (sometimes the adult kind!) and read. I also love giving books as gifts. I love picking out the right book for someone for that particular time in their life. Thank God for Amazon, right? I will ONLY give books as gifts if I’ve read it myself. Otherwise, what’s the point? Here’s some of my favorite stuff:

  1. Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster
    The full title of this book is Bitter is the New Black Confessions of an Egomaniacal, Self Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office. I will read anything by this author but this is her first and probably her best. It’s all true and that’s what makes it fantastic. Jen Lancaster was a high powered executive in Chicago with pretty sweet life- penthouse apartment, loads of designer bags and shoes, and the perfect man. After 9/11, she got fired from her cushy job and had to give up her lifestyle. (She married the guy though!) This is a great book to give anyone who is struggling with their career or making decisions regarding their career. It is equal parts snarky and sweet. I have to say, I’m thankful this woman went through this and started to write. I’ve also started listening to her podcast and she seems like someone I’d be friends with in real life. Start with this book and then read any of her other memoirs. Trust me.
  2. The Gatekeepers by Jen Lancaster
    Yes, I know. Another book by the same author. But, hold up. This is fiction. I just read this for the second time. It’s about high school seniors in a fictional Chicago high school and it’s told from several character’s point of view. Everything in North Shore seems perfect. Except that high school students commit suicide at an alarming rate. The pressure to be perfect is too much. It’s inspired by actual events in Lake Forest in 2012. I personally think a copy should be given to every high school and college student these days. It’s well written and could open up some great discussions. I’d go as far to say that it would be this generation’s Breakfast Club. (The book references this movie quite a bit. And who doesn’t love John Hughes?!) It really opened up my eyes to how different high school is compared to when I was in high school. Again, just go read this. Then talk to a teenager. They may need it more than you know.
  3. Nobody’s Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle
    I’ll read just about anything by this author. She’s also on my list of “People Who Could Be my Best Buddy if I Ever Met Them In Real Life”. (Other people on this list are Jennifer Aniston, Jen Kirkman, and Kate Middleton. I want to know her hair secrets!)  I read The Antelope in the Living Room about 2 years ago, but this book is my favorite. It’s essays about the beauty of friendship and how we need our friends. I read it, then bought 3 copies to mail to my college best friends as a Christmas present. This is an easy read since it’s all just essays so you could read it in small pockets of time. Go read it. Then get go buy copies for your best buds.
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    I just read this book two weeks ago and I’m still ashamed I never read it before. I’ll be reading it again soon. I can’t can’t say enough good things about it. There’s a reason it’s an American classic. I want to watch the movie for several reasons 1) I need to see if it’s as good as the book and 2) Robert Duvall as Boo Radley.
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  5. A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans by Bruce Cameron
    If you’re a dog lover, you owe it to all dogs to read this.  It’s told from the dog’s point of view. The story  is about several dogs who are connected and how each dog has a purpose in life. You’ll love your dog even more after you read it. I haven’t seen the movie yet. I’m almost afraid to because I loved the book so much! I’ve also read the sequel called A Dog’s Journey.  You should read that too.
  6. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
    Even if you’ve seen the movie, go read the book. I couldn’t put this book down. My husband isn’t a huge reader and he couldn’t put it down either.  If you really want to mess with your husband, go write in a journal and glare at him every once in awhile. That should make him nervous…. I can’t say much because I don’t want to give the plot away, but it’s THAT good.  The movie was very well done and probably because Reese Witherspoon was the producer of that movie. She’s another person on my list of potential besties. I love smart, ambitions, independent women and she’s the #1. All girls should watch her speech at the Glamour Magazine Woman of the Year. (In case you can’t tell, I’m all about women empowering women. I believe that women have sat back for far too long. But that’s another blog post!)

These are just a few of my favorites. I could probably write 10 blog posts on books I’ve loved. I’m not even kidding. I love reading because it has the potential to make you think about things in a different way. I think people who are well read tend to question more things and be more open minded. Also, with all the shit going on in the world today, getting lost in a book is pretty good way to spend your time. Much better than the shouty news shows.  Those are the worst. It’s just people yelling their opinions over and over and getting louder and louder. Right now a 3 of them are yelling about the 2020 elections. Here’s a thought. Stop worrying about getting elected and start worrying about the problems we have RIGHT FREAKING NOW! I don’t get it. We tell our kids to wait their turn to speak  then watch professionals yell over one another and cackle like hyenas. Insert eye roll here. I’ve been thinking of doing a blog post on things I can’t stand and shouty news shows would be #1. They make me feel stabby. My husband hates it when I say I’m feeling stabby but I hate his news shows, so I figure it’s fair.

Oh wait, before I go. I have to give you a quick recipe. I did this last night and it was awesome!

Tomato Salad

A bunch of cherry or grape tomatoes
Olive Oil- I used Extra Light Tasting
Lime Juice
Salt and pepper

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them in a bowl. Drizzle them in a little bit of olive oil and a few drops of lime juice. Tear up some cilantro and throw that in there. Then season with salt and pepper. Mix it all up and eat it. Don’t ask me about measurements because I clearly don’t believe in those. There’s no picture of this because I ate it too quickly. I’ll work on that.

Have a fantastic Sunday and get outside and enjoy the weather. Or read a book!

The images above are not designed by me and are not copyright. The featured image is obviously not taken by me as I’m a terrible photographer. I am not compensated for any of this blog. Unless you want to pay me for my opinions. In that case, call me. 


  1. My Mom just gave me Bitter is the New Black to read and I wasn’t too sure about it. This is a sign I should read it for sure. I’m also super happy that the weather is suddenly super nice. I hope you get an offer soon! 🙂


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