February 29, 2012

critic of novels

I finally finished these three.  In about 3 weeks time too.  It had to be done this way because of library rental times, but I think I would have read them as quickly anyway.  

Here's the part where I pretend that I'm a book critic and people actually care what I think about books.  

A Millon Suns by Beth Revis.

This was a sequel to Across the Universe and you must read that one first.  It picks up a few months after AtU left off.  I really enjoyed the story line of these two.  It's unique in the YA genre in the fact that it doesn't have werewolves or vampires or a human falling in love with either one.  (seriously....there are way too many books with the whole supernatural premise right now.) It's about space travel and time and clones.  Right up my sci fi alley, you could say.  The story is entertaining and this second book really put into play some of the things that had been rolling around loosely in the first book.  I liked it.  I'll read #3 when it comes out next year.
That being said, these books have a terrible pacing.  The story lags in too many places.  It's almost as if all three should have been crammed together in one big book.  Too many times I was wanting to skip ahead to find out what happens because the story was just taking forever to "get there."  I love the author's ideas. I love her tone.  I just wish her editors would help her pace her ideas a little better.
All in all....I read it really fast and enjoyed it.

Tempest by Julie Cross

Ok, now this was really fun.  Time travel.  Mystery.  A dash of something like Chuck (which I miss....sniff, sniff).  It was a cool idea.  A quick read.  It kept me wanting to turn the pages.
My only gripe is that it took a while to get going.  But once I hit about 1/3 of the way in, I was hooked.  I loved the main character.  I loved the ending.  And I'm excited that there will be a sequel.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Okay.  Okay.  Now.  Luckily, this was the last one I read.  Lucky because it was the best.  It has been getting rave reviews everywhere, and I'm happy to report that they were all accurate.  It is beautifully written.  Truly.  I took my time reading this one because I wanted to soak in the words.  Reminded me of Gilead in the way that the author has such an amazing talent of just writing beautiful, thought provoking sentences.  (ps...if you have never read Gilead, do so immediately.)
It's a story of two kids with cancer.  But the best part is that it's hilarious and sweet as well as being heartbreaking. I finished it last night with a handkerchief in my hand for the last 100 pages.  I was bawling so hard at one point that I had to put the book down.  And for me, that's the sign of a truly good story.  I love it when a story makes me cry.  That's a tough emotion to pull out, you know?
So The Fault in Our Stars gets 10+ stars in my review.  I was writing down quotes and re-reading parts over and over.  It was almost physically painful to shut the book for the last time and say goodbye to Augustus and Hazel Grace.  Oh....it was just so good.

Here's where I'm placing my book mark next....

Maybe one day I'll be a grown up and read real books, but for now I'm quite content in my world of YA novel bliss.

February 28, 2012

salty air

It's nice to know that our family's love of the ocean/beach/sand will be carried on with these two.

We only had about 45 minutes here in December.

In the background, way in the distance, you can see the now retired space shuttle assembly building.

My grandma used to be able to see the shuttle go up from her backyard.

Gotta admit it makes me sad that that whole program is gone.

Anyway, we scooted over to the beach near her house the day we went to visit her.

These two munchkins didn't want to leave even though it was in the 50's and super windy.

Then again, neither did any of the rest of us.

That's right, dear ones...love that ocean.

And promise me that you'll take your dear old auntie when she has a hankering for the salty air.

February 26, 2012

Augustus to Hazel Grace

I have completely fallen under the spell of The Fault in Our Stars.  

**photo from my trip to Utah/Arches National Park with The Bro in November.  Edited in PS.  

***I'm rooting for everything "The Artist" related and Michelle Williams for Oscars tonight.  What about you?

February 24, 2012

bail out

We had some nutz-o weather today on the river.
The Cottage is hunkered down in a wind storm that's happening outside at this very moment.

And that sailboat in the top right photo?
I noticed right after snapping that photo that it was sitting low
and bobbing up and down way too slowly.
Spent and hour with the guys trying to bail it out and save it from its water grave.
Secretly though, I want it to sink.
Darn thing is more of a pain than a blessing.
We are constantly having problems with it.
I know, I know.
I'm an awful person.
Sailboats are a beautiful thing.
Yes, they are, but not when you are constantly having to scoop out half the river from their innards.

Well, the pictures were pretty anyway.
And the misty clouds made for some perfectly lovely/moody colors and tones.
And on that note, I head into the weekend.

Good night, Neverland.

Cottage Girl

*photos taken with iphone 4s; edited in Instagram; collage from Dyptic Frames.  Uploaded to Flickr with Flickit.

February 23, 2012

to and from

The walk to work after my lunch break.

The walk home at the end of the day.  

I really do have the best commute in the history of the world some days.  
Today was one of those "some days".

February 22, 2012

first, second and third

First of all, this house.  Oh, my dear goodness.  It kinda makes me geek out over minimalist, modern design.  Be sure to click on the link and see all the amazing photos.  Seriously.  Incredible.

Second of all, this postcard.  My friend sent this to me and another friend because I guess we may have talked about adopting a little one from China a time or two...or 47 times.  Isn't it perfect?

And finally, I'm in the mood to watch Marie for the 129th time.  I never get tired of it. Anyone else want to come over for tea, cake, fancy dresses and a little Sophia Coppala?

February 21, 2012

My treasure Thou art

(by Mesa Arch in Canyonlands)

"Be Thou My Vision
Oh Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me 
Save that Thou Art

Thou my best thought
by day or by night
Waking or sleeping 
Thy presence my Light

Riches I head not 
Nor man's empty praise
Thou mine inheritance
Now and always

Thou and though only
First in my heart
High King of Heaven
My treasure Thou art."  

-Be Thou My Vision
a favorite hymn of mine

Track 01 by Ginny Owens on Grooveshark

*** there is also a post below.  The internet wouldn't connect yesterday, so it posted today.  Happy President's Day a day late.

February 20, 2012

How I spent President's Day....

Humming "Abraham, Abraham" from Holiday Inn.  The President's Day song of course. (wink, wink, Tara)

Thinking about Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Can not wait for the movie, although I just know it will ruin the book. I fear what they will do to Henry's character, which I loved in the book.  Such a fun book, guys.  For reasls.

Swimming.  One whole hour.  In the super crowded pool.  The one near my parents house because it is now my favorite place to swim in the whole state.  The water is about 10 degrees warmer than the pool by my house.  I will drive 45 minutes to swim in water that doesn't give me hypothermia.  Yes, I will.

Spending a few hours with my Momma.  Lunch while watching Oklahoma.  Chatting.  I'm thankful that I get to the be their child that still lives close.  Very thankful. (Miss seeing you, Poppa)

Trying to get rid of a headache that I've had for 24 straight hours now.  I think it's finally gone.  Thank goodness.

Reading Tempest for a long, long time.  It finally hit that "I can't put it down" stage about half way through and I now...can't put it down.  A fun idea.  Reminds me of Chuck with time travel.

Writing.  Writing.  Writing and thinking about writing.

Using a favorite vintage scarf to cover up my pool hair because I was too lazy to wash it today.

Bible study.  We have stepped into the high tech world and are following a plan on YouVersion.  It's crazy to see everyone with their phones and ipads instead of a real book.

I hope George and Abraham would approve of my lazy/easy day celebrating them.
Happy Birthday to you both.

Cottage Girl

February 19, 2012

Be my shepherd

"Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!  
Be their shepherd and carry them forever."
-Psalm 28:9.  

I love the thought of being carried forever by my all-powerful Father.
Anyone else?!

February 17, 2012

Spring is coming.

I feel it.

I can see it in the tiny violets that are popping up.

And I'm doing my darnedest to ignore the snow forecast we have for Sunday.


At least there will be one more new Downton Abbey to drown my winter woes while the snow falls.

Ps...I just watched Contagion and I never want to go out in public again. Or eat in a restaurant. Or travel. I do not recommend this movie, if you are a hypochondriac (like I am). You'll be feeling sick before the credits roll.


Hermit Girl in the making

February 16, 2012

The glue one

He can't say the blend "Bl-uh" or "Pl-uh."
That is one of my favorite things about him.
That means that he would tell me,
"No, my coat is glue (blue)"
"Will you clay (play)Wii with me?"
"I want the gluuuuberry (blueberry) lollypop"

He's smart as a whip, this one.
Spells like a first grader and he's only in 4 yr old pre-school.
He has an addiction to Wii.
Bowling especially.
He love hugs.
He's intensely inquisitive.
Watches everything around him.
He has the cutest giggle when he sees something funny.

Oh, my goodness I love this kid and his 3 siblings and parents.
And I miss them so much I think I can feel it in my bones sometimes.

Found this gem while I was going through the photos from these past few months.  I realized I haven't really posted about so much of my life during that time. Mostly because I had extremely limited computer time.  Also, I got so far behind that it felt overwhelmingly daunting to try and catch up.
But you know what, I don't care if it's out of the time line.  There are stories in these photos and I'm just going to share then anyway.  OCD timeline, be cursed.

So, this is Gavin.
In all his glory.
And I'm still so over the moon thankful that I got to spend 3 weeks with his family.

February 15, 2012

pretty day

Now I know this may be overstating things, but I am obsessed and in love with Instagram.  
I love that it's making me want to take photos every day.  

I love that it forces me to look for light.  Pretty light. Unusual light.
And I would be remiss to state that my 4S is pretty fantastic for a cell phone camera.  

I love that I can look back a year from now and see little snapshots of my day like these.  
Pieces of my normal, every day life. 
Some days I capture something that I love (like today).
And sometimes I just capture a piece of the ordinary.  

iphone nerd talk:
  I use PhotoCal to organize my photos at the moment.  
Mostly because it's free.  
It does drive me nuts that I can't choose the photo that appears on the calendar for a particular day.
I'm sure there are better ones, but this one is working just fine for me at the moment.  

Has anyone used Photo 365?  
That was on my list to buy before I found PhotoCal for free.  
Any features you love on it?  

Also, any photo apps that you love?
What has been worth the $$?
What do you use every day?

Oh and come find me on Instagram (cottage_girl).  
We can be photo friends. 

February 14, 2012

Happy day of love

My roommate and I chose to celebrate by going to see Denzel and Ryan Reynolds shoot things and get beat-up.

Wise decision, I think.

Have a cookie....

February 13, 2012

some fun tunes for your Monday

No rhyme or reason other than I just like them. 
And some of them popped up in my Pandora station today.  

Side notes:  
How in the world do I not own one single Ingrid Michaelson album?  I listen to her constantly online and have even seen her in concert (she's even better live).  Must rectify this situation.  "Turned to Stone" is one of top faves of hers. 

 I've listened to "Breath Me" about 45 times in the last few days.  And oldie but a goodie.  Still.

Never get tired of a little Billie Holliday ("I love him" - Cher Horowitz).  

February 11, 2012


After Brinner left-overs this morning (is it still considered "breakfast for dinner" if you are actually eating it for breakfast?), I was off.  With funds on the low side this month, I had to choose wisely.  I needed somewhere with no possibility of being lured into buying anything.  


Of course.  Now, our library is lame-o when it comes to libraries.  Nothing like the wonder of the libraries I went to in Washington State.  Those were amazing.  Ours is tiny and has really awful reading/study areas.  1980's wooden furniture awful.  But you take what you can get, right?!

While there, I picked up the next book in my "hold" list and found this article in Time magazine on introverts.  It was like someone was writing about me personally.  I was nodding my head and "mmm-hmmming" the entire time.  

There was no denying my introvertedness after taking this quiz.  I think I answered "yes" to every question but two of them.  

Then I promptly put in my headphones, content in my introverted ways and began to write.  It was a great morning for ideas and I didn't put my pen down for almost an hour and a half.  Even then I just went home to eat lunch and then write some more.

You'd be so proud of me, Poppa.  I've been writing for the last month, just like you've been begging me to.  A real story.

And since I answered "yes" to #11 on the quiz, you are all going to have to wait a little bit longer to read it.
This story is still in the very early stages.
The characters don't even have names yet.
So, want to give me some suggestions?
I like crazy, non-normal names.

February 10, 2012

The forth coming week-end

I'm on the hunt for a new Mason jar for my sun tea. The lid on this one finally gave up the ghost.

Also plan on finishing up season 1 of Sherlock (there are only 3 episodes, so no, I have not been watching TV non-stop).

Plus, I have a bit of a "waiting list" craze going on here at the moment.  All three of the books that I'd had on hold at the library came in within a week.  Oops.  Now I have to read all three super quick since they will have to go back and there won't be a chance for renewal. Feels almost like college, but I actually want to read these books. I finished A Million Suns tonight.  Review to come soon.

Got to make something this weekend.  Create.  Most of my creativity has been going towards writing (yes, I know...not here so much, huh?), but I'm ready to do something else with random supplies I have laying around the house.  Paint, photos, fabric, who knows.

Lovely weekend to you all.

February 09, 2012

(at the Magic Kingdom, sitting on the street, after the Electric Parade, waiting for the fireworks to start)

Happy Birthday to my own very amazing Daddy-o. 
Yes, I still call my father Daddy at the age of 34. 

Love you, Poppa.
I'm so blessed to have you as a wonderful example of my Heavenly Father.
Kind, funny, compassionate, caring, gentle, knows how to fix everything.
Hope you have a lovely birthday.


Your oldest

February 07, 2012


Have you seen it yet?
Only one episode in and I'm already hooked....

In other news:
I'm off to my alma mater for a few days.
Super excited!

February 05, 2012


I chose to skip the second half of the Superbowl and watch Downton Abbey instead.

Wise choice?

100% y-e-s.

Mr. Bates beats football any second of any day in my book.

February 04, 2012

What is says about me

My Pinterest Homey-home board has apparently un-earthed my love of modern homes.  I was looking through it tonight and noticing how my style seems to have narrowed itself down.

I like clean lines.  LARGE, open windows.  The more windows.....the better.

Include also very minimalist style decor.  Whites, earth tones and lots of light.

Add some vintage in there to soften everything up and voila.  That's my style to a T.

What is your Pinterest board (or inspiration file) saying about you?
Have you noticed your style narrowing down?
That's one of my favorite things about Pinterst.
Filtering through the 1,000's of photos and being able to identify what "clicks" for me.
I'm finally getting to the point that I can put into words what I like.

February 03, 2012

Because he turned 5 yesterday.
How is that possible?
I know I should hate that he's getting older so quickly, but honestly I love it.
We can have real conversations on the phone now.
We can have adventures in the backyard.
He can tell me what he's feeling and thinking.
And he can roll around Disney World all day like this....

Brand new spyglass purchased at the Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop in hand.

Happy Birthday, Lukey.
Oh my, how I love you!


February 02, 2012

February 01, 2012

hold please

If you have been around Cottage Girl for any length of time, you know about my love of YA fiction.  It's tried and true. It borders on obsession. 

Here are the books that are currently on my "must read" list.  (which is also the "hold" list at the library because I can't afford to actually pay for the amount of books that I read on a regular basis.  Nor do I have the space to store them.)

1.  The Tempest by Julie Cross.  Found while walking by B&N's window display.  Read the first two chapters while sitting in a chair in the store.  Can't wait to read the rest.  There are no vampires or werewolves.  And this is the author's first book.  Always want to support the newbies. 

2.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  This book has been all over the place this month.  EW Must List, Pop Candy and a few other places.  He's a big time YA writer, but I actually haven't read any of his other works.

3.  A Million Suns by Beth Revis.  I happened upon this one on a different trip to B&N last week. It stopped me dead in my tracks because I didn't think it was coming out for a few more years.  I read Across the Universe last year and while it wasn't may favorite book of the year, it was entertaining.  And I definitely want to know what else will happen in the world she created.  The premise of that book was one of the most creative I had read in quite a while. 

All these books came out last month. 

Good month for YA fiction, I'd say. 

I'm currently reading The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.  It's alright.  It's going to get thrown to the side when I get home with #3 tonight. ("your hold item is now ready")  I may pick it up again.  I may not.   That's the beauty of the library.  No guilt in not finishing a book just because I paid good money for it. 

I'm also reading If I Stay again because I love it so...and because it's an ebook library rental on my iphone.  It's just as good the second time, in case you were wondering. 

And now, I must know....what are you reading?