June Literary Junkies

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I’m always happy to participate in Literary Junkies. I missed last month, I cannot for the life of me remember why though.

Let’s jump into the questions:

1. What are you reading? Tell us about it!
Currently I’m reading


Here’s the Goodreads synopsis: 

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss–the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died–is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend. 

If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made–good and bad–that led to her last kiss.

Bethany Neal’s suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart.”

I’m not usually a fan of fiction that talks about afterlife, etc but it’s an interesting story and I’m curious to find out what really happened to her.

2. Library or bookstore?

Oh so torn! I live in Portland where we have the best bookstore ever, Powell’s! This should be on anybody’s list if they come to Portland!

But I also appreciate the amazingness that libraries provide which is why I just restarted my library card.

3. What book(s) have you read and re-read several times?

I’ve mentioned this book several times on the blog already because I can’t seem to get enough of it and always find something new every time I pick it up! For awhile I had two copies, the copy I got in 7th grade and a nice hardbound edition but I finally gave away the hardbound edition to someone who I think will love the book as much as me.


4. What is the first book that made you fall in love with reading?

I vividly remember reading this book at the age of four. Although more like;y is that i just memorized my parents reading it and then read it. I still own the book and plan to keep it to pass on my passion of reading to the next generation!

5. Who’s your favorite author? Tell us so we can binge-read!

Oh several.

Right now I’m into Elin Hildebrand, Jennifer Weiner, Jen Lancaster, Amy Hativany. I could go on!

Go get your reading on!

A Friend, Gone too Soon.

Photo Via Death To Stock Photo

Photo Via Death To Stock Photo

Taken too soon. Sunday morning I received a text message from a friend of mine asking if I had heard about another friend of ours, that she had passed away and did I know anything about it. My heart clenched. I didn’t know specifically but I knew that several years ago she had been sick. I had thought she had gotten better, in fact the last time I had seen her, the first year I lived in New York, she was better and was moving back to the West Coast to be closer to her family. Somehow, with none of us knowing, she must have fallen ill again and passed away Friday morning. I immediately went onto Facebook, our new way of communicating news both good and bad and there it was, written in black and white. She was gone. I knew she hadn’t shared with many people the first time she had been ill and there was no mention on her Facebook page this time either until someone posted about her death.

She was a quiet and beautiful person, an amazing artist whose creations took my breath away on a regular basis. She was a phenomenal educator who combined art and education in ways I can only dream about. I wish I had stayed in better touch with her. I wish I had known that she was ill again. But she made the choice that she wasn’t going on social media about this and I respect that. We utilize social media as a way to keep people connected to what’s going on in our lives and it’s always a surprise to learn when someone chooses not to share information. We’ve become so reliant on Facebook and Twitter that we’ve stopped connecting one on one with people. What does this say about us? What does this say about our society that if it’s not posted for the world to see, it slips through the cracks.

Is there someone in your life who has made a profound, if subtle, impact on your life but yet you haven’t spoken to in awhile? If so, reach out to them today. Let them know that you’re thinking about them. Let them know you care and you want to keep in touch. Don’t let the time pass by, don’t wait to see if they post on social media. Don’t wait to hear information second-hand from others. In the meantime, I will remember and honor my friend, quietly, in my own way-perhaps I will create something in her honor, in the ways that she’s inspired me.

Literary Junkies Link Party

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Yay!  Literary Junkies time!

This month’s questions:

1. What are you reading right now? Tell us about it!

I just finished reading Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Vintage) last night and it was amazing!  I’m still not sure if I think Cheryl Strayed is absolutely insane or incredibly brilliant–probably a combination of both but still a great book that I would whole-heartedly recommend.

Now I’m reading The Best Thing I Never Had by Erin Lawless which promises to be a good lighthearted read.

2. What books are on your bedside table at the moment?

Whew, on my bedside table are a few books that I can’t recall at the moment except for Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest, The Signature of All Things: A Novel.  It’s been sitting there for a bit and will probably wait a bit longer because next on my list is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

3. Amazon recently released the 100 books to read in a lifetime. What did they miss that you would add?

I don’t think there’s anything I would add.  On the one hand, I am excited that I’ve read quite a few of these books, on the other hand, I have some reading to get through!

4. Are there any books being published in 2014 that you are anxiously awaiting? If so, what are they?

That would be a big fat no, I need to get through my current reading list before I start worrying about upcoming books!  I’m sure as the year goes on, I will be more and more excited about books that are coming up.

5. Name the next 3 books in your To Be Read List (the ones you will be reading next on your list.)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr
Together Tea by Marjan Kamali

Yay!  Happy reading!

Books N Bloggers Swap Reveal



It has been a week here!  We’ve just gotten 4 inches of snow-which is not a lot by east coast standards but shuts down our poor city!  We are in between storms right now and are expecting more snow to start in a few hours!

But I lucked out and received my books ‘n’ bloggers books this week and boy did I luck out!  I was paired with Jillian from Addled By Books and she treated me right!

I was so excited to open that I forgot to take a picture of how beautifully everything was wrapped!

Scarf Face Scrub

To start with, she sent me this ADORABLE scarf and face scrub-both made by people in her town.  The scarf is perfect for the chilly weather right now and the face scrub smells AMAZING.

From my book list:

The Runaway Wife

I’ve read other books by this author and have really enjoyed them and I am totally in love with Brit-Lit so I’m looking forward to this one!

Jillian’s Fave:

Peace Like a River

I actually think I tried reading this in college and didn’t ever finish so I’m excited to give it another shot especially since Jillian says she has everyone read this book!

A Book That looks good







This is written by the creator of Downton Abbey–a show I am desperate to start watching so I’m excited to read this one!

And since this is what’s going on outside, I now have lots of time to read my amazing books!



Thanks, Jillian!!!!





Being Happy and Happier . . .

Gretchen Rubin

One of the books that I’ve been meaning to read for a long time is The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun .  I’ve seen it around for a few years and have dabbled around in looking at Gretchen Rubin’s website because I like the daily happy quotes she sends out but I just haven’t gotten the book.

Finally, I heard she was coming to Portland and decided NOW was the time.  But not only would I have to read her first book, she was touring around about her second book, Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life.

So I bought both books and read them.  And was super inspired!  Then I went and heard her speak on Tuesday night with some friends.  Well you know how you go to hear some authors speak and are just bored out of your skull?  Not the case with Gretchen Rubin!  She was a great speaker and really took the time to speak to people’s thoughts and concerns.

She talked about what she felt are her five biggest things to accomplishment:

1.  Get enough sleep!  Even if this means setting an alarm to fall asleep.

2.  Get some exercise–even just a bit every day can help.

3.  Cultivate a sense of smells-smells are a quick pick me up without all the calories!

4.  Cultivate shrines–create little areas in your house that are dedicated to things you are passionate about.

5.  Outer order contributes to inner calm.

Her big saying was from Samuel Johnson (I believe):
“The days are long but the years are short”

This is an expression similar to what we said at camp when I was Associate Director:
“The days go by like weeks and the weeks go by like days”

I’ve started doing some of what she’s talked about in her books: keeping track of my goals, giving myself gold stars (literal ones, I bought old school foil stars!) and trying to discover my passions.


I would love to actually do a happiness project and perhaps meet with a group to accomplish that.

What are some things that make you happy?  Have you ever done a happiness project?



Online Dating and the dating report

Shattered Heart 3D-256x256

So I’ve never really touched on my love life on the blog because well. . . I don’t really have one right now.  I’ve had a few serious relationships over the years but have found it hard to really meet someone.  Part of that is my own fault because I’ve let myself get hung up on someone who isn’t really available and yet I hold on hope.

But I am trying and I am currently on a few different dating websites and trying them out to see how far they get me.  I try to actively reach out to some people and then respond to those that reach out to me but I can never figure out if there is actually a strategy to online dating.  Then after the whole online thing–is the person moving too fast?  Is the person moving too slow?  Wanting to meet too soon?  Totally inappropriate via internet?  You have to decide, what is the next step?

I kind of like the process of chatting via the dating website then moving to email then phone and then an in-person meeting but I always play it by ear and see how I’m feeling about a situation.

Any words of wisdom for the scary world of online dating?

The Blogmopolitan Quiz

I’ve not been a huge reader of Cosmo magazine since high school maybe but I found this blog on Two Thirds Hazel and found it to be sort of fun. . . so to get to know me better:

The Blogmopolitan Quiz (1)


What do you guys think?

Baby it’s Cold Outside!

Snowy DaysIMG_0875


It has been stinking cold here in Portland this weekend!  Sunday morning it was 10’F when I left my house for work.  I am not impressed!  These pictures are actually from New York last year but there hasn’t been much to take pictures of here.

Friday night and Saturday morning I got to attend Shabbat services starring the 1st graders I teach and the high schoolers I advise.  It was very cool and such a broad spectrum!

Sunday was a super busy day but I got to go to America’s Largest Christmas Bazaar where my friend, Melissa, had a booth.  Man this place was ENORMOUS!  I bought a cute crocheted hat that’s white with a black crocheted bow from her.  Check out her Etsy page, super cute and fun stuff!

I also got some awesome Portland centric shirts from a shop called Little Bay Root.  I got a shirt with Portland with an umbrella and a shirt that says Portland with a heart.  The shirts are super soft and comfy and I actually kind of want to get some more.

Finally I bought some lavender dead sea salt products–two containers of bath salts and one container of a hand putty exfoliant. . . love lavender!

Then I finally took my friend Christine out for dinner for her birthday.  Her birthday was a month ago but we had to keep postponing for different reasons.  We went to Nicholas’s, my favorite Lebanese restaurant in Portland.

I came home and lit a fire because it was soooooo cold!  A perfect way to end the day!



Los Angeles Top Ten


So I mentioned I am spending the weekend in Los Angeles with my little sister and my aunt and uncle.  I actually lived in LA twice.  The first time doesn’t really count because I was a babe and moved away when I was 13 months old.  But I did live there as an adult, for graduate school from 2006-2008 and there are still places and things about LA that I love even though traffic is a reason I will NEVER live there again.

So in honor of my weekend in LA, I thought I would give you my LA top ten.  These are in no particular order:

1.  Disneyland! Ok not technically in Los Angeles but close enough that I consider it part of the LA metro area.  I grew up coming to Disneyland and will always have a special place in my heart for it.

2 & 3.  The Original Farmer’s Market & The Grove-I love coming here!  The Farmer’s Market has some produce but for the most part has some cute shops and lots of food stands.  They also have the most fun sticker shop!  I always find fun ones to gather.  Next to it is the Grove where there is the American Girl store which I am slightly obsessed with (I would love to get tea there!) as well as a Cheesecake Factory and movie theater.

4.  Third Street Promenade-tons of fun!  Higher end shopping happens here and it’s right next to the Santa Monica Pier with a mini amusement park.  I don’t usually shop there but I love walking around and I had a very successful first date there once :).

5.  Jinky’s-A good friend of mine recommended this cafe pretty much right when I moved there and the biffle and I went there often.  My favorite was when it was mentioned on the T.V. show Brothers and Sisters with Sally Fields which made my day. . .I was going to the right places!

6.  Crazy Fish Sushi-This was right near where I lived with the bestie and we regularly got super yummy sushi at reasonable prices.

7.  Nick’s Coffee Shop-this was also right across the street from the bestie’s and mine apartment.  We went there often for a super yummy and super easy breakfast.  Crazy story: so bestie is a boy and I once went there for breakfast with my boyfriend at the time.  I went in to pay and the server glared at me and says: “what does your husband think about this?”  I had to keep myself from laughing and explain that my “husband” was actually my roommate.  The three of us thought about staging a brawl the next time we all went together but contained ourselves.

8. Brent’s Deli Only the BEST deli in the world.  My father says that if he had a last meal. . . this is the place.  We’ve been going here since before I was born and I love love love it. . . I honestly think it rivals most New York Delis!

9.  The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf-So much better than Starbucks!  This is where I learned to love iced eggnog lattes . . . because really, who needs it hot in LA!

10.  Paradise Cove Beach Cafe-I think my parents introduced me to this place years ago as somewhere they went on a date once.  It’s right on the beach and the food is super yummy!

So there are my top 10 LA faves!  Have you been to any of these places?  Do you have any LA favorites I should try this weekend?

Happy Thanksgivukkah!!!

Happy Thanksgivukkah!!!

I hope everyone is having a great day and stuffing themselves silly!  It’s a once in a lifetime event where the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide!  I remember in college when Hanukkah and New Years coincided. . . I think this is more fun!

I am happily spending the weekend with my sister in Los Angeles and stuffing myself with my aunt’s amazing food-she always has a fantabulous holiday and I love spending it with them!

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Thanksgivukkah!