The Sunday Salon: On Turning Thirty

TSSbadge2Tomorrow I turn 30. It feels sort of liberating to dust off the dirt, sweat, tears, and self-consciousness of my twenties. So I’m thoroughly excited about joining Club 30 and advancing in years. Maybe I’m not so excited about the tripling of my gray hair count. Or the fact that apparently you shrink an inch in height during your thirties. What? Is this a thing?

To celebrate this momentous occasion (how’s that for melodrama?), I went to a fabulous dinner with friends last night. We ate at Ink & Elm, a restaurant near Emory. Our table ordered most of the menu – a meat and cheese plate, lamb sweetbreads (the thymus gland of lambs…!!!!!!), charred octopus, pork loin, lamb steaks, grilled GA shrimp, and grouper. Lots of grouper. Libations were also consumed. I had two lovely bourbon cocktails. One smooth and delightful, the other warm and bitter.  For dessert we trucked over to Leon’s in downtown Decatur for more drinks and lots of cake. It was a life-affirming kind of night where you’re surrounded by your favorite people, great food, and all your worries float away.

We talked at length over dinner about the things we’ve learned during our twenties – the heartbreaks and struggles, the joyous moments of self-discovery. We discussed in what ways our 30th birthdays are different from our 20th birthdays a decade ago. Namely, we’re eating better food and drinking liquor rather than beer (not that we don’t still drink beer).

We talked and talked and talked and talked. And by 1 am, I was tucked sweetly into my own bed. Because these days, I’d much rather be hearing myself snore than listening to last calls for alcohol. Sweet, sweet bliss.

I want to end this post with a few books that were extremely influential to me over the past decade. I’m not going to give reasons why, just a simple list. Because trying to put how I feel about them into words will more than likely bring me to tears, and there’s no crying on your (almost) birthday.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Marge Piercy’s poetry

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath & Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Harry Potter forever and always

Have a great week! Let me know what books meant a lot to you during a certain period in your life.

TSS: LSWho?

TSSbadge2Not much to say today other than GLORY, GLORY!! Winning a game like Saturday’s terrific bout against a stellar LSU team was just So. Much. Fun. It made me so nostalgic for all the times I stood in Sanford Stadium screaming until I had no voice left and grinning like a madwoman alongside my best friends. Ah…memories.

Like I said, my life isn’t filled with a ton of happenings lately. Just keeping really mellow and enjoying the cooler weather. Haven’t read a ton, but that’s okay. Every mind needs a bit of a break once in a while. Today I have book club and we’re discussing Maus and Persepolis. I think the discussion will be really thoughtful.

October has arrived (soon, anyway) must faster than I expected it to. I love October far more than most months so I’m excited to get into the mood of Halloween. I ordered a collection of Alfred Hitchcock films to enjoy this month and also the 35th Anniversary editing of the film, Halloween.

The hubs is looking to buy a car soon. I can’t begrudge him a new car because he hasn’t owned a car of his own choosing (he’s had hand-me-downs from his parents) in almost 10 years. The lack of car payment has been nice, but he’s a huge car guy so I know he wants something a little more personal – something with a manual transmission at least. He test drove a Cadillac CTS today, but ultimately decided it wasn’t the car for him. Tomorrow he’s test driving a BMW 5-series. We shall see. Obviously, he’s not shopping new cars as we’re huge fans of buying used (and don’t have the biggest of budgets, ha!). He’s looking at cars of the 2007/2008 era with around 30K to 50K miles. I hope he finds something he can enjoy – cars are his hobby like books are mine. As for my car, Ernesto is 6 years old and going strong! I’ll be driving the Japanese Spaniard (don’t ask) until the wheels fall off.

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So how are things in your neck of the woods? Any exciting plans in October? Did your football team have a good weekend or did you do a lot of couch coaching and fist shaking?

TSS: Books, Football, and Festivals

Future!Brooke is currently celebrating a Georgia win over Clemson. Or – she might be weeping after a devastating loss. Either way, college football season is back and my life has an extra level of stress. (Update: I’m weeping in my cheerios, dammit.)

TSSbadge2Happy September! This month I’m participating in two readalongs. The first, SeptembEYre, is a collective reading of Jane Eyre (aren’t readers clever?). It’s hosted over at Entomology of a Bookworm and you should go check it out. The second is in conjunction with RIP VIII and it’s for The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. The always lovely Estella Society is hosting, and I am ridiculously excited.

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While you’re reading this post, I’ve hopefully made my way over to the Decatur Book Festival which might be the most awesome book festival EVER. Anyway, I’m hoping to attend some author events. This might also mean new books are in my future. I know I’m on a book buying challenge to read 20 books before buying anything new, but I might have to make this particular event exempt. Because I make the rules. BE QUIET with your judgments.

As far as reviews to look forward to this week, I should find time to get my thoughts on Mansfield Park  by Jane Austen and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell put together. I’m currently reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and hope to start Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte along with Dark Places by Gillian Flynn this week.

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Looking forward to a quiet work week. Last week saw long hours in the office and long hours of social events once I got home. We hosted an awesome hot pot dinner on Wednesday night which was a glorious success. Thursday night my sister, brother-in-law, and gorgeous baby niece came to visit. Saturday we hosted even more people for pizza, beer, and the UGA game. So thankful to have a four day weekend to sleep and recover from all the festivities.

What’s new with you?

TSS: Really Old Books, Libraries, and Giveaways

TSSbadge2Hello my bookish internet friends! Hope everyone is relaxing and enjoying this peaceful Sunday. I have quite an intense work week ahead of me and some work travel on the horizon.  The weekend has been lovely. We took a huge (over 5 ft. huge) Chinese fan to a custom framing shop to finally get that on the wall. Can’t wait to see the finished product in a couple of weeks, but damn that was one expensive home project.

Thursday was our 4th wedding anniversary so we went out to a steak dinner at Parker’s on Ponce down in Decatur. Had a lovely evening. Then Jimmy surprised me with a first edition Edith Wharton! What a spectacular gift. He did so good, y’all. Now, it’s an unsigned, 6th printing without a dust jacket so it wasn’t terrible expensive. I’ve resigned myself to never owning the $35K signed first edition, first printing…haha.

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I also visited the library to return a book and pick up my first book on hold. Totally nerded out over these little things. Plus, I did self-check out like at the grocery store. Libraries have gotten all fancy and 21st Century on me. I’m impressed. Check out my haul below:

Finally, my giveaway for a copy of Allison Lynn’s The Exiles is still taking entries! Go to the sign up post to win! This week I’m hoping to read Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James and The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hanson. Look for reviews of Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, Tooth & Claw by T.C. Boyle, and The Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake.

TSS: Libraries and Surprises

TSSbadge2So much to talk about! Such a busy week filled with the good and the bad. Most of the bad took place in the political and judicial realms. I won’t go into these things, but they made me very sad. Also, Cory Monteith’s death is tragic. I am so sorry for the pain his parents and loved ones are going through and the hole in their hearts that will never be full again.

Personally, my week was filled with the good. Work went smoothly, jury duty was over quickly, and much fun was had. Friday some friends and I went to dinner at The One Sushi + which is a great little Asian Fusion restaurant near our house. They serve Taiwanese fried rice like Jimmy makes with Taiwanese sausage that makes all the difference. Then we went to see Pacific Rim which was cheesy, geeky awesomesauce. Saturday was relaxed and filled with books. Because as the title suggests I finally got a library card!!! Just another way to feed my obsession. At least this one is easy on the wallet.

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This week the booktube community is participating in a BookTube-A-Thon. See below my kickoff video and all the lovelies I plan to read this week. I’m sort of cheating since I’ve been reading Lolita and Casino Royale all weekend. I’ve also added T.C. Boyle’s Tooth & Claw short story collection to my reading list since I picked it up at the library. As for this week’s reviews, you can look forward to my thoughts on Where’d You Go Bernadette and American Born Chinese.

And one more thing:

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I love that J.K. Rowling was able to publish something secretly. And yes, I ordered it immediately. Because I am a sucker for all the things Rowling. Except for A Casual Vacancy which I haven’t read, nor do I own.

How was your week? Are you excited for the new Rowling novel? Checked out anything amazing from your library recently?

The Sunday Salon: Summer Holiday Edition

TSSbadge2I’m blogging live this Sunday from my brand new laptop – ain’t she a beauty? Friday afternoon my old HP gave me the blue screen of death. I had been hoping to make it until the end of year before buying a new computer, but life doesn’t care what I want. My HP gave me six good years of absolute hell. My new ASUS is shiny, fast, and weighs in at a sleek 2.1 lbs. It’s an ultrabook and there’s so much new to learn! I’m navigating my way through Windows 8 like a complete Microsoft newbie. But enjoying the heck out of every second. The full HD screen makes everything so teeny, tiny though. Looking into buying a second ginormous monitor to meet all of my needs. I blame life as an accountant. I’m so damn used to multiple screens at this point that it feels necessary. Oh, and did I mention it’s touchscreen? Fancy.

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Our holiday weekend has been wonderful. Four full days off of work. Thursday we had a bunch of friends over, grilled out, and went to see Despicable Me 2. A delightful way to spend a dreary 4th. Seriously, it hasn’t stopped raining since Wednesday and that’s the honest truth. Right now it’s thundering and raining some more. Because obviously. Chamblee rescheduled fireworks for Sunday night, but I’m thinking that’s not going to happen.

In bookish news, I finished Where’d You Go Bernadette and started The Exiles by Allison Lynn. I’m hoping to finish The Exiles by Monday and move on to American Born Chinese and Rules of Civility! Reviews this week will include some gushing over the new Van Booy and my recent audiobooks. And it wouldn’t have been a week in my life without some new acquisitions!

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What bookish things did you acquire this week? Reading anything amazing right now?

 

The Sunday Salon: Finally!

TSSbadge2I haven’t posted a Salon in quite sometime – at least not on a Sunday. I’m glad to be back among you Saloners this week! And it was a great week!

Jimmy’s birthday took main priority. So there was lots of movie watching. I’m going to post a June movie madness recap post this Friday to fill you in on all the goodies we’ve seen. We also did a lot of eating (way too much, honestly). Plus, there was the annual poker party on Friday night which was another success if a little low key compared to past parties.

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What has suffered this week is my reading. I was rarely home and super tired when I was. I’ve only managed to finish my audiobook this week and nothing in print.  I’m halfway through The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer and enjoying. Hopefully, I can get it wrapped up shortly and get one more book in before the end of June. Luckily, I have a back log of reviews to write and post. So at least the blog isn’t suffering.

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Can you believe the end of June is upon us? This year is just speeding by. Work is going really well. I finally feel happy at work again. I get my first paycheck Friday! In not so lovely news, I got a jury duty summons in the mail this week for July 9. That’s twice in less than two years. I’m worried because there’s a huge trial happening in July in Dekalb County. I hope I’m not going to be thrown into that bucket.

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I hope everyone’s enjoying their summer (or winter, depending on your hemisphere!). The weather here is alternately amazing and violent. A couple of storms have destroyed houses in my area tossing down hundreds (literally) of huge trees. But the rain has worked wonders for our new plants and the grass is so green!

Sunday’s discussion question:

When hearing the prompt ‘summer read’ which book automatically comes to mind?

The Sunday Salon: Snow! What a Tease…

TSSbadge2Soft, whimsical flakes are swiftly falling outside my window and have been doing so mercilessly the whole weekend. Unfortunately, due to my geographical location they melt instantly upon impact. A lovely sight, nevertheless.

The weekend has been quiet and soothing. Friday we had dinner at Blue Grotto – a little Asian Fusion place down the street. They have this little lounge seating area which was interesting, but makes you glad they only serve tapas!

Saturday was a mixed bag. Woke up early and spent most of the morning reading. Jimmy and I then ran some errands and stopped by local Gastropub, There, for a quick lunch. We also partook in a cocktail – The Vesper – since we are currently on our James Bond kick! We later browsed the miles and miles of antiques over in Chamblee. I found some amazingly expensive editions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin which I drooled over. Finally, the big moment of the day came when I got to Pottery Barn and purchased a rug for our living room makeover! In the three years we’ve lived here, we’ve been rugless! We got a jute rug that’s gorgeous and was fairly inexpensive as far as rugs go. That’s why I made the decision to go with a natural fiber rug. I didn’t want to spend $1K+ on a rug – just not my thing. Excited for its arrival in a couple of weeks! Dinner was at Kaleidoscope, a neighborhood pub. What this paragraph has taught me is that we eat out way too much and are overdue for a grocery shopping trip.

Sunday is reserved for all things bookish! Such as this little blog post and a couple of others I’d like to get posted. Below I’ll post my last youtube video which is a wrap up of my February reads and a TBR list for March. I’m currently still reading Vanity Fair and have started Swoon by Betsy Prioleau for a TLC tour. The #estellagram challenge has also been tons of fun to participate in! I’ll post some of my pics below.

How was your week?

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TSS: What I’ve Been Up To…

TSSbadge2This week was a good one! Spent most of my time at work preparing for our big office move. We’re leaving Kennesaw behind for the greener pastures of Marietta. I’m super excited about this because that’s 10 minutes less commuting each way. It also means I’ll have my own work space instead of being cramped into an office with two other people.

Jimmy spent all week in Tampa, but is home now until sometime in March! I don’t mind when he travels a week here, a week there – but three weeks in a row is too much, especially when I’m sick.  Thursday was a fun Valentine’s Day! Jimmy surprised me by having flowers and chocolate delivered to my work (see pictorial evidence below) and then I went to see Silver Linings Playbook with a friend. Just as good the second time around!

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The rest of this post will just be a quick round-up of some of my recent entertainments!

What I’ve Been Watching:

Downton Abbey via network television – Broke my heart into a tiny million pieces and I still don’t feel put back together again.

Young Adult on Netflix – A strange little movie and one that was painful to watch. Felt such third party embarrassment for Charlize Theron’s character. The ending was also weird. Not sure I’d recommend this to anyone.

The Bourne Legacy via RedBox – Enjoyed far more than I expected to! Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne was always so cold and stoic that I never fully felt connected to those films. Jeremy Renner brings a sort of humanity and emotion to the role that I really enjoyed.

Paranormal Activity 4 via RedBox – Creepy as all get-out. More of the same, but still scares the daylights out of me. I’m not sure what I was thinking watching this home alone at night.

Homeland via purchase – I’ve only watched the first 5 episodes of Season One. I’m not sure I’m as enamored as everyone else. Not sure why. The only character that really intrigues me so far is Claire Danes’s.

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Dr. Who via Netflix- What is wrong with me? Why can’t I get into this show? It should be right up my alley but I just find it so tediously silly. I managed to sneak in the second episode of season 2 and it’s still not working for me.

New Girl via network television – Yay Jess and Nick with the most epic TV kiss I’ve seen in ages!

Skyfall via purchase – Bought it, re-watched it, and thought it was better the second time around. A GREAT movie. WATCH IT.

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What I’ve Been Eating:

Minato – Great Japanese restaurant in Smyrna near Cumberland Mall. The owners are friendly. Jimmy even brought his parents to this place so they could meet the owners (wife is from Taiwan). If you’re in the area, check it out!

One Midtown Kitchen – A classic Atlanta restaurant with New American Cuisine. Loved everything I ate from appetizer to dessert. Portion size was perfect and price wasn’t half bad. Will definitely return.

East Pearl Seafood – In Duluth (at least I think that’s Duluth). We ate here for our traditional Chinese New Year meal. We had the prix fixe dinner and everyone was utterly melt-in-your-mouth delicious. If you’ve never been to a proper Chinese restaurant, I beseech you to go immediately. Don’t worry if you can’t read the menu. It will all be good.

JCT Kitchen – Book club just had a lunch here and it was phenomenal. I had some fall-off-the-bone chicken that could not have been cooked any better. Also, the space is gorgeous and I want the designer to decorate my house.

Bocado – Had dinner and drinks here a few weeks ago. Cocktails were lovely and food was delicious. We sat at the bar and had a great time. Order the devil eggs for a tasteful surprise!

The One Sushi+ – A new sushi restaurant near us that serves several traditional Taiwanese dishes in a trendy space. Jimmy and I were skeptical about the dishes so decided to test them out. Not bad. Beef noodle and Taiwanese sausage were very authentic with a slight chef’s twist.

Chef Liu’s – Soup Pork Dumplings. Smack. Yo. Mama. Good.

Serpas – Last night’s dining choice/late V-Day dinner. The food was AMAZING. Service a little slow, but the food more than made up for that. On the pricey side, but if you ditch an entree and dessert – a decent sized and priced meal can be had with appetizers!

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Have a wonderful week ladies and gents! Squeeze in as many Oscar films as you can this week because they are all SO GOOD. And read, of course! I’ll be joining in the Vanity Fair Readalong and starting The Late Bloomer’s Revolution by Amy Cohen.

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What a terribly long post! See y’all next week!

TSS: So Long, January

TSSbadge2Yes, January has quickly come and gone! What a fantastic reading month I had. Ten books total either red or listened to. A great way to start off the year and a wonderful way to get ahead on my Goodreads challenge of 52 books this year. I have noticed a slowing in my reading the past week or so – not sure why. I’ve just been busy, I suppose.

Jimmy is traveling for the forseeable future, so I’ve been filling my nights with some personal me-time activities. I’ve done such things as cook, read, clean, watch random tv/movies, and start a youtube vlog. Yes, you read that a correctly – a youtube vlog! I’m now vlogging and blogging about books. You can check out my January wrap-up video below. I’ve also posted a couple of other videos as well on my channel if you find yourself interested! Please forgive my appearance, bad lighting, and a tendency to ramble on ridiculously. Hopefully, I will one day feel comfortable in front of the camera, until then my videos will have an awkward feel to them. It’s been fun, nevertheless!

This weekend was fun. Yesterday, the Litwits had a little luncheon at a fabulous Atlanta restaurant, JCT Kitchen. Great conversation and yummy southern food. Last night I did some more furniture shopping, dinner at Fig Jam Bar (another yummy eatery), and we went to see Warm Bodies! I’ll have more to discuss in regards to this fun zombie romance later in the week when I review both the book and movie. Today is filled with chores, blogging, and hopefully some reading. I’m not really into the Super Bowl so that leaves me plenty of time for relaxing and lounging around the house.

This week I’m attending a book signing for John and Sherry’s book, Young House Love (also their blog). Home decor on a budget is one of my biggest hobbies and I love the YHL blog so very much. Y’all should definitely check it out if you haven’t. Now that I’m working again and can justify spending even the tiniest amount of money on decor, I’m looking forward to the continuation of turning my house into a home. My last find (from Home Goods!) was these awesome purple chevron pillows which I’ve thrown on my bed:

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I hope y’all have a great Sunday!