Our Christmas Wish Lists: Can't I Just Buy All Of The Things?!

There are alot of things that I love. 

But there's some contenders for the top spots and Christmas is one of them. Mostly, it's the presents. I LOVE giving gifts. I also love making "If everyone had thousands of extra dollars laying around to spend on me" wish lists! 

So, I present to you: the wishlists that make my tinseled heart go pitter patter: 

Fossil Watch - A less expensive alternative to the MK one that makes my heart leap for joy but still just as beautiful! 
Urban Decay Naked Palette 2 - Because it's time to graduate from the Walmart end isle clearance make up and on to something more sophisticated! 
Erin Condren Life Planner- My life is about to get way more planner worthy. A new job with a schedule I am way more in control of, plus kids who are getting more involved in activities...someone has got to be on top of things around here and with EC, I can do it colorfully, plus it's got tons of room for doodles, which is pretty much the most important part of a planner. 
Hunter Boots - Because I know Uggs are out of the picture. Living in a small town, I have been able to still get away with wearing them because no one will really know their out of style for a couple more years (ha! jk ko) but then I saw this one radical article about how sheep are treated for their wool and it gave me a stomach ache. I have no idea if it was legitimate enough but I didn't like it. PLUS these shoes are just IT. 
Favorite Lyrics Pillow - This is just what needs to be on my couch now. I love the words, I love throw pillows and I just NEED it. 
Booties - from Target- I just can't help that these would look adorable with tights and a cute shirt dress this winter. Actually I really have no idea what I am doing fashion wise but I would sure love wearing them and pretending I know what's going on. 

And for the kiddos: 
Reese wants pretty much anything she sees on the commercials. And anything that has "ies" on the end of it. Stuffies, Squeakies, Stompies, etc. Why? I have no idea, but I think she just likes the catchy songs.  I'm thinking there's a Disney Princess castle in her future. (Who are we kidding? I can't wait to play with it!) She also wants Santa to bring the Wolla Skate Dowa and Boots. Which Santa read online was going to be a hot item and hard to find this holiday season so she cleverly bought it already and it's hiding in her closet So he already told his Elves to take care of getting it for her. 

R1... I am not sure. I have a dilemma. I always thought I would be against video games until he was much older. But now I am considering an Xbox. First and foremost, he's at the age where I want to start really teaching him about earning privileges and I think he would really like and respect having a video game to play. Plus it would be something I could take away when I needed to because of bad behavior that would actually affect him. It's either that or more Legos. Which I am already eyeballs deep in but we love them! 

I know the two of them are going to get a couple board games together, we have Headbands for Kids and we love it! I was thinking maybe classics like Candyland and Trouble would be fun. I'll also carry on the tradition my mom always did for my sister and I and fill their stockings with underwear, socks, tooth paste and candy.  Now that I type that out, it seems funny but it's a tradition! 

Also I get to shop for a painfully cute niece this year. 

If you had this cuteness in your life, would you not want to buy her all of the things!? I'm thinking rompers from Gap for sure! 

So that's that friends. Today is the first day of my Thanksgiving Vacation, plus I am technically but unofficially unemployed right now. In between jobs is kind of crazy to think about but it's also down right exhilarating! I have the rest of the week to bum around, make pecan pies and spend with family. And I can't say I hate it! 

Have a most enjoyable and lovely Tuesday! 

My Grandma Is A Cartoon Plus 90s TV is back!

Hey there friends! 

In celebration of it being Friday morning, I thought I would round up my favorite things about the week...things that made me laugh, roll my eyes, look twice...so pretty much anything TMZ is talking about or anything I hear on the horrible local radio stations that are in my area. (Do you ever wonder why the people with the most annoying voices possible are on the radio? Shouldn't that be a red flag?) 
First and foremost, my grandmother discovered Bit Strips on her phone. It's not enough that she keeps me laughing every weekend when she posts a status after having four one too many margaritas. Now she gets to make cartoons about herself that make absolutely no sense but because they come from my grandma, the coolest chick I know, I love them even more. Oh don't panic, I am totally going to share them: 

I mean the first one is pretty self explanatory. Who doesn't love Italian food? But the second? Why is she in a basement wearing a school girl uniform? I have no idea. But Grandma does, and that's all that matters. I can only dream and hope that I have the spunk and alcohol tolerance at her age. In summary, my grandma pretty much rocks. 

On to the shitfest that is pop culture. 

This week, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga both shaved their eyebrows. Lady G even grew a mustage. I don't know why people out on the coast are freaking out. Here in the midwest, that happens to aging women everyday, it's pretty common actually. 

Nicolas Cage has some pictures leaked. If I were TMZ, I would pay for them NOT to be shown on my website. Ick. 

If you have 5 minutes, you should watch this amazingly awkward touch-in-cheek interview between the Biebs and Zach Galifianakis, in which Justin calmly explains why he thinks Ann Frank would be a Belieber...

Another thing we need to talk about: Scandal. First of all, I want THAT HOUSE. And secondly, I give the latest episode's "Take THAT" award to Cyrus's husband. Talk about a turn around. I bet Mr. Bean didn't see that one coming! (no pun intended). And also, seeing Phoebe Buffet as a kick ass political sharp shooter was so awesome. It reminded me of the Friends episode where they pretended that everyone took different paths and instead of a hippy masseuse, she a corporate attorney smoker who kept having heart attacks.

Tuesday morning, the "I'm so excited" rerun of Save by the Bell was on. I can't help but thank Elizabeth Berkeley's stint on DWTS for bringing back my favorite show. 

Speaking of the best shows of my life, there are talks of a Full House Reunion, a sequel to Beetlejuice AND  the Dawson's Creek theme song came on the radio today. I have never been more excited to hear from an old friend. 

Plus I love singing on Twitter and having Gin and Bare It sing back to me. Can we talk about how funny that girl is for a minute? The Snap Chats and Twits I get from this chick make me want to be a better person. And by better, I mean messier hair with a hairier manfriend, dogs with fleas and an affinity for Kotex. She's legit and if you don't know why, go find out and thank me later.

What are we doing this weekend you ask? Not much at 'tal tonight, tomorrow night, a birthday party with friends and Sunday? MAJOR cleaning. Like, can't see the floor of the bedroom cleaning. Today, a Lego fell out of my bra at work. How'd it get there? Nobody knows. 

Happy Friday!  

Life Lately: Happy Dances

I thought it was about time for a "Life Lately" update mostly  because there has been some exciting news going on in these parts and I can't wait to share!

First I have to brag and update you on the kidlets.

Lately R2 has been having some....attitude problems. Lots of whining, lots of fit throwing. I have to stop myself from screaming myself most times before I realize that she's a three year old who pretty much breezed through the terrible twos. And who, as I have come to realize, must have been saving all of those tantrums for the threes. Lucky me. I find that as long as I keep a steady supply of Katy Perry, string cheese, Jake and The Neverland Pirates, her baby blanket and cuddles coming, we can both ride out the storm together.

Lately R1 has been growing up before my eyes. Imagine my shear joy when his kindergarten teacher stopped me in the hall last week and said "You're a writer, aren't you? Well you should know that you definitely passed that on to your son. He just shines when he writes." Cue. the. water.works.

Lately I have been...doing happy dances. Where ever there is space I am grooving. Sometimes I act like Michelle Kwan and do a double axle in the kitchen, sometimes I attempt the two step, other times I karate chop the air. I've just been so full of positive energy lately that I can't help but let it out. Thankfully, there are no hidden cameras (at least I hope not) so that way you can have a nice visual of me gracefully gliding through my apartment like a gazelle instead of the hippo from Madagascar, which is closer to the truth.

Lately I have butterflies. Maybe that has been what's fueled my dance routines. The butterflies may have something to do with the fact that I GOT A NEW JOB. With an AMAZING copywriting and PR firm filled with fun and interesting women. And to say I am excited would be the understatement of the CENTURY. I'll be able to have flexible hours to be home for the kids and available for field trips and parties. I'll be able to travel around the area and meet new people. I'll be able to do things I've always wanted to do professionally and it's all too amazing to wrap my head around right now, but I will keep posted!  But to sum it up, I pretty much feel like this every minute of the day:

Lately I have been writing. Thanks to NanoWriMo.org, I have been writing more than ever. Maybe it's the pep talks from authors like Rainbow Rowell or the emails they send that speak to me as if they are the novel that I have trying to write, but whatever it is has me inspired with a capital FINALLY. Sometimes I just sit down in front of Google Docs and get lost in time while words spill out of my imagination onto the keyboard. It's...freeing.

Lately I have been reading We Are Water by Wally Lamb and The Circle by David Eggers. (Which I posted a review about that must have been as boring as the book because no body read it).

Don't worry. I forgive you. Just don't let it happen again. 

Lately I've been watching more movies: For example, I went to see Captain Phillips. After watching Tom Hanks completely NAIL it in this movie, I whispered to my movie watching partner "If I ever get a dog, I am going to name him Tom Hanks." That's how awesome he was. I am not into paranormal, witches, unrealistic, etc when it comes to movies but since this was based on true events, it scared the Mileys out of me. For real. Go see it.

Lately I have been just living and doin' my thang. And having a blast! Between the 50 million Legos R1 got for his birthday and planning Christmas lists and get togethers, I haven't had time to sit down but hey, the more the merrier, right?!

Well now I see that I have rambled on quite enough. 
Have yourself a very merry Hump Day friends! 

What I Meant To Read This Year ...But Didn't

You know that annoying little thing called life that always seems to take up all your time? 
Yes, that!

That's what has gotten in between me and my first true love: Reading. 

I am ashamed to say this year wasn't one for the books. (see what I did just then? :) 

So here is a book round up of the books that should have been. 

2014, please spare me the drama that your friend 2013 served me up, (with sides of huge life changes and second helpings of trials and tribulations) and let me get some reading done, mmkay?? 

First off, I actually started this book and put it down at some point. I really think it has potential. It usually takes me a while to get into historical fiction but once I do, I am always glad I stuck with it! 
I have a feeling I'll love this book because I LOVED "The Doctor and The Diva" 

A gripping novel set in Belle Époque Paris and inspired by the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and a notorious criminal trial of the era. Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is ultimately a tale of two remarkable girls rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of ''civilized society.'' In the end, each will come to realize that her individual salvation, if not survival, lies with the other.

I started this one too and never finished it. I swear I am not a quitter! I just couldn't seem to get anything done this year!  This book is on all the "Best of 2013 Lists" so I know it's gotta be a must read! 

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret - something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too.

And here are a couple on the "best of list" that I should have seen earlier but because I've been living in a cave, I haven't even heard of!  But they are definitely on my to read list now! 

The dramatic and redemptive memoir of a woman whose curiosity led her to the world’s most beautiful and remote places, its most imperiled and perilous countries, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity—an exquisitely written story of courage, resilience, and grace.

Marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering the question "What makes things so popular?" He's studied why New York Times articles make the paper's own Most E-mailed List, why products get word of mouth, and how social influence shapes everything from the cars we buy to the clothes we wear to the names we give our children. In this book, Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumors and YouTube videos.

What books are out there that you didn't get your hands on in 2013?
There's still time! (Barely!)

Silly Little Games Adults Play

Do you remember that game you used to play in first grade where everyone would sit in a circle and the teacher would whisper something in the ear of one child and then that child would pass on the secret to the person next to them, and so on and so forth?

It starts something like “The purple dog jumped over the slow, yellow cat.”

And then by the time every child has interpreted the simple little riddle and it gets back to the teacher,  it ends up something like “The beautiful unicorn bought a mansion to live with the handsome golden lion.”

It’s funny, isn’t it, how things get misconstrued?

It’s funny how those children trust their friends to keep the message the way they passed it on, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

I think adults forget the simple lessons we learn as children.

Here are some of the basics.

1. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.
2. Readily forgive because there will always be a time where you yourself will need forgiveness.
3. Respect others’ personal space.
4. Mind Your Own Business.
6. Idle hands are the devil’s playground.
7. You are no better than anyone else.
8. If you wouldn’t say it someone’s face, don’t say it at all.

Here are some lessons that they should probably teach you sooner but that I’ve learned you really only figured out once you’ve messed them up.

1. Get to know people before you trust them. Access their integrity before entrusting personal information to them.
2. Forgiveness isn’t subjectable. Either you do it or you don’t.
3. Move on. Life is too short to idle in hate, resentment or anger. Just pack up your stuff and move forward.
4. Just because you wouldn’t do it yourself, doesn’t mean you should judge others who do.
5. Everyone is different. It’s okay.
6. Have an open mind.
7. It’s okay to decide not to like someone. Assuming other people care why you don’t like them is your real mistake.

Someone once said this to me and I thought it was snarky but true and funny:

You should always Walk a mile in a person's shoes before you make a judgement about someone. If you still don’t like them, great, because now you are a mile away from them AND you have their shoes.

See? Simple as that.

I think that if you’ve messed up in life and truly made mistakes that you would take back if you could, you have a chance to become a more rounded, compassionate person.

That being said, I want to go forward in life being the kid who tries hard not to confuse the message about that happy little unicorn. In fact, I probably would just ask to color instead of playing that silly little game. Why is it my business what that lion and unicorn are doing anyway?

Steps off her soapbox, drops mic and bows. 

And now in an attempt to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, here's the magic of James Blunt and Whitty to make your Friday the best ever! 

Lessons my 6 Year Old Has Taught Me

Today, this boy is 6 years old. 

Last year on his birthday, I shared his birth story and bawled like a baby as I typed it. 
This year, I thought I would share what this amazing kid sized man has taught me about life, love and the pursuit of awesomeness. 

1.  You can never love something too much. 

2. Everyday is a fresh start. One time I asked him if he was still upset about an argument we had had the night before and he said:

 "Mom, you don't need to talk about it, it left my head last night when I laid my head down on my pillow."

3. Being considerate is the biggest form of a compliment. (Ryder knows my favorite flavor of Starburst is pink and gets SO excited when he gets one so he can give it to me).

4. Using a nice voice can get you much farther than if you yell. 

5. If you are having a bad day, all you need is someone to make you laugh. 

6. Imagination is the quickest form of a vacation. 

7. Comfy pants with elastic are always better than jeans. 

8. Farting is actually kind of funny. Kind of. 

9. Circumstances are what you make of them.

10. Boredom is just a state of mind.

11. Sarcasm is much funnier coming from the mouth of a kid. 

12. A hand written note is a treasure. 

14. Being a mom is actually pretty easy. Just speak softly as much as possible, keep a steady supply of hot chocolate available, never lose the comfort blankie and always have time to cuddle.

15. Hurting someone's feelings is much more painful for you than you think. 

16. Learning that you are wrong is tough. 

17. Forgiven is a given, as long as you ask for it with a hug.

These are all life lessons that you can't learn from "What to Expect When You Have A Toddler."

These are lessons I have learned because I have the pleasure of being a mother to the most precocious,  energetic, big-hearted little boy I have ever met. I couldn't have created a better person to spend the rest of my life loving. 

6 years ago today I found meaning, unconditional love, compassion, adventure, courage and confidence, all in the form of a 7 lb bundle.

Everyday I am lucky. Everyday, every mistake I have made, every time I yelled, every time overreacted, every time I lost my temper, every time I got tired and took it out on him, it's all forgiven. 

You don't get clean slates like that from humans very often. 

Happy Birthday to my best bud. 
You are my world! 

Book Review: The Circle

I read a book! 
*raises hands in the air and jumps around in celebration.

Synopsis: When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Now here's the part that sucks. I finally read a book but I didn't love it. I hate when I don't love books. 

I think the premise of the book and the message it was sending was essential and meaningful. But the actual story line reminded me of that one over zealous nerdy kid who was always trying way too hard to impress people in high school. If he would just chill, he'd be cool but he was always trying to shove his intellect down your throat.

I really liked the main character Mae. She's shy at first, unsure of this brilliant world of "The Circle" that she has suddenly become a part of when she gets a job in costumer service. I thought of the Circle as a glorified Google. If Google and Facebook had a baby and that baby took steroids and was the smartest, richest person in the world, it would be "The Circle." That's how I saw it in my head anyway. 

And then as Mae's job and responsibilities at The Circle grow, she turns into a completely different person, which I usually like in books but this was just too much. 

I felt like the author was just using the characters as glorified or exaggerated examples of a far larger point.  

The book was a huge metaphor for the extremes social media has gone to make the world a less personal and private place. 

You can totally tell this book is written by a man. I am always reminded why I don't like reading about a female protagonist written by a male author. The differences are just so incredibly noticeable! I didn't know Mae's hair color, her style, anything. There were hardly any observations of the other characters either. At least there weren't enough to feed my mental pictures, anyway. (Another obvious male author M.O.? The only sex scene that got any detail happened in a bathroom stall where to two people couldn't see each other's faces or talk out loud. That has male fantasy written all over it, if you ask me). Plus there was a weird sexual tension between Mae and her best friend Annie that went unexplained. Males are so predictable. 

Here's a great excerpt that drives home the point of the book, which was basically to remind the world that social media is overbearing and that a company in charge of it could ultimately drive people to whatever they wanted, based on their growing need to always feel connected and in-the-know.

But the book does pose an interesting question. Would we be able to handle knowing EVERYTHING? Sure, you follow your grandmother and old high school teachers on Facebook. But what would happen if there was a live feed of their living room on your home page? 

The premise of "The Circle" is that the company believes that if everyone is transparent, then there are no secrets. If you are always seen, you are always being held accountable. They think politicians will be more honest, that crime will plummet and bad deeds essentially go away. But what about common privacy? What about the man struggling with a disease who doesn't want his weaknesses to be seen? What about the woman with sad family secrets that are better left buried? 

Mae gets washed up in the glory of The Circle and begins to see things the way the head honchos want her to. Her transition from an outsider to a person who literally becomes surrounded by everything social, technical and digital is a great contrast. Ultimately, I think Mae become a machine and it ruins her relationships. 

I am normally a novel reader. I wouldn't call this a novel by any means. Think Animal Farm and 1984. It's a satire. It's an opinion of someone who thinks that Facebook is a bit ridiculous and wants to show what would happen if we keep being "over sharers." I just felt like it was a bit over done. 


I am moving on to a new book! 
I am a huge Wally Lamb fan (She's Come Undown is a huge favorite) and his new book, We Are Water has me hooked!

And after that: 

It's also an upcoming movie starring Kate Winslet! 

What are you reading? 

We Shenannied`

Why is it 4:45 a.m. on a Monday and why am I still up? 

Who the  heck knows. Whoever's in charge here should die. 

If there's one thing I hate, it's not being able to sleep when I am in fact tired as hell. 

So you wanna know what we did this weekend? Well Friday, I had the pleasure of doing this:

Yes, that's me, writing my NOVEL in STARBUCKS. 

Psh. Who am I? I logged a couple thousand words for National Novel Writing Month and I can't say I hate it. 

I also did a little of this: 

Yes to all of it. If you want to do something great for yourself, get a VS Pink Tunic. Because there's simply nothing more comfortable. You know what else is fun? Getting a manicure for the first time in years and the lady says "mmm no manicure, long time, yes?" and then shows you all the  cuticle she just got done scraping off your fingers. Thanks lady. 

And then we did a little leaf playing and a whole lot of cuddling with Lucy. 

You know what else is fun? Apples to Apples. I just don't know why people don't sit around and play it all day every day. 

The peak of my weekend (which is actually pretty hard to pick!) was having my sister take some pictures of me and the kiddos. Can you say "Christmas Card!" 
I hate to brag, but damn my kids are freakin' cute ! 

If you think I'm not going to frame these babies and put them on every square inch of my apartment walls, you're cray. 

So that's my weekend. So much fun. 

This week my baby boy turns 6. SIX. Is this real life? I can't even. 
Expect a weepy "life goes by so fast" post on Thursday because I can feel the tears already. 

Happy week, friends.

Life is so good. 

Sami's Shenanigans