Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mailbox Monday & February Birchbox

Mailbox Monday is on tour for the month of February at Metroreader. I had a light week which is perfectly fine for me as many of you know I am being more selective with my reading and reviews. I wanted to share another goodie that I received in my mailbox which is my February Birchbox.  I'll explain in a bit....

This is what I received in my mailbox last week:

I found out about BirchBox from a facebook post that author Sarah Addison Allen posted sharing about her love of Birchbox. Birchbox delivers monthly boxes that you subscribe to that includes 4-5 nice sized samples of skincaPreviewre, makeup and beauty tools. It sounded like a fun treat, and my husband covered the first month of February for a Valentine's Day gift.  I expected a bit more in the first box but I love several of the products and will get another few months to try more samples. They do have you fill out a beauty profile so that they know your age and skincare type and hair color so they seem to personalize the boxes.  I'll share some pictures below of the box and the goodies inside that I received. There is currently a waiting list to join(I waited about a month to get my invitation), if you are interested in joining you can sign up HERE

This is my February 2012 Birchbox:

This is how the box arrived in the mail. A bit smaller than I expected.

This is how it looked when I opened the box with some things wrapped.

This is the box opened with the goodies I received:

I love this product, and I have noticed that my skin is already softer using it. It's very gentle.
I plan to buy this although it is a bit pricey, a little goes a long way and it works well.

This was a small sample so it's hard to tell how well it works. I did like the subtle color of the tint.

This worked very well for a few blemishes that I had. Again, it was another gentle product.

This is not for me, more for teens or young girls in their 20's. I am passing it on to a friends daughter.

I haven't tried this yet.

Are you a Birchbox fan? If so, tell me what are your favorite products?

Sunday Coffee Talk & Review of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Good Afternoon Everyone! I'm a bit late with this post but you can still grab a cup of coffee or tea and have an afternoon cuppa and chat with me. As I posted last Sunday, I am still trudging around in my fashionable stormtrooper boot due to an ankle issue. It was fun this week as my son was home sick with pneumonia, poor guy was miserable. Now, he has to catch up with school work and fortunately his teachers could email me some of the work he was able to complete at home.  It's rough to miss a week of school when you're in middle school (7th grade) and my son's school is fast paced with lots of homework and research projects to keep up with. My husband and I were playing tag team as I had a conference to attend that I had signed up for months ago, no refunds either. It worked out and it was interesting getting around at a conference with the boot. I had an end chair and it was mainly lecture and a friend was there so she was a great help. 

On the book front, I finished reading 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami which was quite a challenge at 925 pages and a bit out of my comfort zone of reading. I ended up mainly reading the book on Kindle borrowed from the library (which is a fabulous feature). It took me awhile to finish the book as I was reading other books and my library loans would run out and I would have to juggle another loan. It's a large book and for me it was easier to read on the kindle and take along with me to various appointments.  I was intrigued by this book and I was unfamiliar with this author until I read  Ti from Book Chatter's  excitement about the book and author, so thanks Ti!

This was my first step into the bold world and writing of Haruki Murakami. After about 6 weeks my journey through the world of 1Q84 has come to an end and I miss the characters already. This is a hard book to review but I must tell you that I liked it a lot. I was reading it while in the waiting room of a new doctor and she walked in and saw me reading on my kindle. She asked if I was reading anything good and I told her with excitement, "Yes, I am reading a new author, the book is over 900 pages and is about two main characters and a parallel world and it's translated from Japanese". She sensed my excitement but I think I scared her with a few of my comments. Even my husband got involved in the excitement of my reading this novel as I was a bit daunted with the length of the novel. He challenged me a bit with an offer of dinner out after I finished it! Of course, I took on that challenge but didn't need it as I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Now, I can take him up on his offer and pick a nice place to go for a dinner date!

The setting of the book is a strange parallel universe in 1984 Japan. Unusual things are occurring and as the book unravels, you along with the characters realize that something odd is going on. It's subtle at first and then I found myself wanting to keep turning the pages as I got connected to the characters and the world they were in. This is the kind of book that is challenging to the mind, the story is not laid out on a platter but you must continue to peel away the layers of the onion and be a bit of a detective to connect the dots. At times, you may be able to figure out where the story is going but then you learn about the little people, the religious cult, the two moons, a mystery of death and wonder how all of this connects. The story reminded me a bit of the show Lost (which I loved) as you try to figure out where the plot is going and the challenge of questioning reality as you know it.  Murakami is an amazingly gifted storyteller that creates an atmosphere that is so realistic that you feel as if you know the characters and are part of their magical world. I had an empty feeling after I finished the book, an emptiness as the characters and the world of 1Q84 ended. I had immersed myself into this world for so many weeks that I didn't want it to end. I felt a bit lost after reading this and needed some time before I started another book.  I found that reading it slowly helped me to appreciate the novel and characters as well as the style of writing. I did not find the size as daunting overall so don't let that sway you from reading this book. I highly recommend this book, especially for those who like this style of novel and for those who want to explore new genres and authors. As a first time reader of Murakami, I found it a good book to start with. I do plan to read more of his novels. 

There is even a soundtrack that Knopf and Doubleday put together on Spotify to accompany the reading of 1Q84. For more information, go HERE.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Snapshot

We've had an unusually warm winter (except we currently have a few inches of snow on the ground) and this picture was taken at the beginning of February on a warm day. My son and I went to Walmart and outside we noticed this Penny Farthing bicycle. Of course, mom had to take a picture and you can see from the expression on my son's face that he had an "oh, you have to?" moment. We've seen a man riding this type of bicycle in the area but it's usually in the spring or summer, not in winter. The owner must be tall as I can't imagine climbing up onto this bicycle without a stepstool! You can read more about the Penny Farthing bicycle on wikipedia, here.  

From Wikipedia:

Penny-farthinghigh wheelhigh wheeler, and ordinary are all terms used to describe a type of bicycle with a large front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel that was popular after the boneshaker, until the development of the safety bicycle, in the 1880s.[1] They were the first machines to be called "bicycles"

penny-farthing photographed in the┼ákoda Auto Museum in the Czech Republic

Old British Penny and Farthing (quarter penny) coins which inspired the name of the Penny-Farthing bicycle

Penny-farthings are still ridden today, if only for the novelty value

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is on tour for the month of February at Metroreader. I have been on a bit of a blogging break (You can read my  Catching Up post from yesterday here ) so I will jump back into Mailbox Monday with what I received last week which all arrived through Paperbackswap:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Catching up on a Sunday

Hey Everybody...the blog has been quiet for awhile due to a lot going on health wise in my life. As you can see from the picture and my posts on Facebook, I am blessed with this lovely fashion boot my husband christened the Stormtrooper boot! One of the multiple things that I have dealt with is an ankle issue, Posterior Tibial Tendonitis and (most likely a tendon tear) that has caused me a great deal of grief and pain and I have tried everything including expensive tennis shoes, inserts and I am  on a medical leave from work. I am doing all that I can to prevent surgery down the road. 

My husband and I have had some fun and laughs with this as the first thing he said when he saw me with the boot is that I looked like a Stormtrooper. He even found a "Prada version of the Stormtrooper  Boot":    

This boot definitely has more class and is much more fashionable. I would rather be wearing it but what can a girl do?!

I have been reading but I have found a few other addictions interests lately....

Downton Abbey has become a favorite show, a superb masterpiece series. I love the show from the acting, the storyline, the beautiful setting and time period and more :

From Wikipedia: "The series is set in the fictional Downton Abbey, the Yorkshire country house of the Earl andCountess of Grantham, and follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants during the reign of King George V

Pinterest is so much fun once you figure out how to set up and add to your virtual pinboards. I have been able to collect a wealth of information on recipes, quotes, how-to tips, crafts, health, books, quotes etc. Your boards are your own creations. It is very addicting but oh so much fun!

I promise to post more about books and hope to get back to regular blogging. I do want to change things up on my blog as I see that blogger has some new changes that I may be able to tap into to upgrade my blog to a new look. I also promise to visit my blogger friends, I miss keeping up with everyone and your comments here. I may have lost some readers but I hope that they come back to visit and I welcome new visitors to my blog!