My Whirlwind September

My September was crazy!  I was so busy and took so many trips it was ridiculous.  As much fun as it was, I am glad it is over and everything is settling back down.  Its a good thing I was super far ahead in my GoodReads reading challenge because I barely had any time to read last month.   I had a super fun, whirlwind September, and here is the proof:

September 1st – 3rd

Nebraska Cornhuskers Home Opener

We started our month by driving to Nebraska (about a 7 hour drive) on the morning of the 1st.  My Boyfriend and Best-friend are both HUGE Cornhusker’s fans.  Nebraska beat Arkansas State 43-36.  We partied a lot before and after the game. (There were quite a few Jello Shots consumed)

 

September 7th – 11th

Oregon Ducks vs Nebraska Cornhuskers

I will root for Nebraska as long as they are not playing Oregon.  I am a HUGE Ducks fan! We are a house divided, but its not so bad since Oregon and Nebraska are not rivals.  In fact they don’t usually play each other at all.  This was a 2 year deal, and since we went to the Oregon/Nebraska game last year in Lincoln, we had to go this year in Eugene.  My Grandma lives just outside of Portland so we stayed with her a couple nights, and spent the rest of our time in Eugene.  (Where we had even more Jello Shots) Oregon won 42-35!!! (Nebraska won last year 35-32)

September 16th

My Birthday

In the morning I went to do a trial run for getting my hair done for a wedding.  Then after that I went over to my Grandmas house to celebrate birthdays.  With my family we try to get together once a month to celebrate anyone who has a birthday that month, but we were slacking this year so we ended up celebrating birthdays from June through September.  There were 12 of us and we were celebrating 5 birthdays.

September 17th – 20th

Vegas Wedding

My Boyfriend’s Sister got married in Vegas.  It was a small ceremony with just her family.  My Boyfriend was the Best Man and I was the Maid of Honor (there were no other Bride’s Maids or Groom’s Men).  She got married at the Flamingo and it was really pretty!  We also did normal Vegas things, like Fremont Street and the giant Ferris Wheel.

 

September 23rd

Wedding Reception

While the wedding ceremony was in Vegas, the reception was here at home, so all the couple’s friends and family could come celebrate.

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September 24th – October 6th

Germany Trip

To finish off our whirlwind September we had a whirlwind trip through Europe.  We are calling it our Germany Trip but we also went to Belgium and Luxembourg.  We didn’t stay more than a couple nights in any one place so we moved around a lot.  Our main point of the trip was Oktoberfest, so, of course, lots of beer was consumed!  There were 8 of us who went.  We had such a great time and got to see so many cool things.  Unfortunately the last couple days of our trip I had the flu, which sucked.  It was nice to come home after that, being sick in a different country is not fun.

Germany

  • 24th – Really Long Flight
  • 25th – Brussels
  • 26th – Luxembourg
  • 27th – Lichtenstein Castle (Outside of Stuttgart)
  • 28th & 29th – Munich (Oktoberfest!)
  • 30th & 1st – Nuremberg
  • 2nd – Rothenburg
  • 3rd, 4th, & 5th – Frankfurt
  • 6th – Really Long Flight Home

 

Other than getting sick I wouldn’t change a thing about our September.  It was awesome, and I will always have so many great memories.  There was a lot of “Once in a Lifetime” events and I’m glad we could be there for all of them!

Now that I am back and everything is returning to normal, hopefully I will have more time to read!  I have so many books I want to read and just haven’t had the time.  It will be nice to relax a bit!

The Mystery Blogger Award

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I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Natalina at Never Too Late!  I am super excited to be nominated! Thank you so much!

For those of you who don’t know what the Mystery Blogger Award is, it was started by Okoto Enigma.  She started it as a way to discover new blogs.  Here are the rules:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

So three things about myself:

  1. I have two kitties that I love! Their names are Logan (after wolverine) and Kaylee (from firefly)
  2. I went to Colorado School of Mines and got a degree in Applied Mathematics
  3. I collected elephants as a child and I still like to buy one every now and then again

Here are the 5 questions from Natalina with my answers:

  1. What made you start a blog?
    • I love reading books and it just seemed like it would be cool to start a book blog.
  2. Where would you travel to if money was not an issue? Why?
    • Ireland.  It just seems so beautiful and majestic and I think it would be really cool to visit.
  3. What is your biggest fear?
    • Saunas.  I have no idea why but they creep me out and I can’t do them.  Might have to do with a Rugrats episode where the parents got locked in a sauna?
  4. If someone was writing your biography what would be its title?
    • Perfectly Tolerable (haha is that a cop out?)
  5. What is one thing you’ve never done but would love to to do?
    • I would like to travel more.  I have traveled a bit and I love it.  I definitely want to travel more!  I am going to Germany later this month.

In my opinion, my best posts are:

Here are my nominees:

I tried to pick people who have not been nominated before.  So I apologize if you have already done this!

Here are my five questions:

  1. What is your favorite book?
  2. What was the last thing you created?
  3. What is your favorite childhood memory? (Or at least a very good memory?)
  4. If you were granted 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
  5. What is the best joke you have ever heard / told? (This is my funny question, hahah get it? Cuz jokes are funny)

Good luck everyone and thanks Natalina!!!

 

Book Subscription Boxes

Deciding what book box to subscribe to is a surprisingly daunting task.  I seriously thought it would be easy. I didn’t realize how many different subscriptions existed.  Originally I was going to pick one and then just write an “unveiling” post every month when it arrived.  However, once I realized how hard this is going to be, I decided to write a post detailing how I picked one.  So here it goes:

Note: None of the links are affiliate links and the prices are for one box, without any discounts.

Step 1: Finding as many subscriptions as possible

First things first, I googled book subscription boxes and opened every single one I could find. (I ended up getting a lot of duplicates)

I opened so many tabs they turned into triangles.  I didn’t even know they did that!

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Step 2: Quick Rejects

Next I did a super quick sweep through, removing duplicates and closing any that I knew I wouldn’t like.

Here are the ones I closed with a brief explanation as to why:

Quarterly – I am too inpatient!  I  want a monthly subscription not a quarterly subscription.

Not my cup of tea – Literally they send you tea or coffee related items and I don’t like tea or coffee.

Children’s Books – I was surprised to find I had opened so many kids books boxes.  I just opened everything and really wasn’t paying attention.

No longer exists or not accepting new subscribers – A lot of the lists I was pulling from were old so some don’t exist anymore.

  • Blind Box Comics
  • LitKit
  • Storyed
  • Paper Street Books and Comics
  • Bethany Beach Books
  • Wonder Girl Box
  • BookUBox
  • The Bookworm Box
  • Bibliophile Crate
  • The Book Drop
  • Fairy Loot

Other

Step 3: Eliminating Genres

You would think that after eliminating 41 boxes I would be getting close.  Nope! I still have 21 left.  My browser is looking a lot better though:

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I still need to do some mass eliminations, and genre seems as good a way as any.

Romance – Romance is the first genre to go.  I love romance novels but they are a dime a dozen.  I own so many I haven’t read, and I can get them super cheap everywhere.

Indie – According to Wikipedia: The National Literary Awards defines independent or “indie” literature as “books published outside mainstream publishing.” The logical part of me knows that these books can be every bit as great as mainstream books, but the illogical part of me thinks there will be a lot of weird books in these boxes:

Boring – Yes, I know “Boring” isn’t a genre, but after looking more closely at these boxes I don’t think I will like the books

  • Hello Book Lover – “curated for the modern woman” – $28
  • Boxwalla – “potential Nobel Laureates as well as classics” – $30

Step 4: Cost

I’m not made out of money.  The box can’t be that expensive.  $37 a month is about as high as I can go.  It doesn’t matter how great the box if I can’t afford it.

Step 5: In Depth Eliminations

Down to the top 9!  I actually have to start making decisions here.

  • Fresh Fiction Box – $26
    • Contains 3-5 new release print books and 2-4 eBooks
    • That is a LOT of books.  It would take me the entire month to read them all and that wouldn’t leave me any time to read books of my choosing.  I just don’t need that many books.
  • Read Dog – $32
    • They select over a hundred books that fit their theme and then send you the one they think you will like best along with some other trinkets
    • I really like the idea of them customizing a book for me, but I don’t know how well that will work (reviews aren’t promising)
    • Looking at the past boxes the trinkets are not that great.  Puzzle Pieces, Bubbles, Tea, Seashells, etc.
  • Book of the Month – $16
    • They give you 5 books to choose from in your given genre. You pick one book then can add up to two more for $9.99 each
    • I want a surprise book, if I have to pick my own book I might as well do it from scratch instead of being limited to their five.
  • Parnassus Next – $?
    • They only charge you the cost of the book plus $6 shipping every month.
    • Also all the books are YA first edition signed hardcover books.
    • I like that they charge you only the cost of the book, but then you aren’t really getting a discount, and other than it being signed there is really nothing special about it.
  • BookCase.Club – $10
    • I really like the price of this one.  You get two books for $10 (plus $5 shipping)
    • They have a good selection of genres too. (I would pick the sci-fi/fantasy one)
    • This would be my #1 pick except I want “goodies” with my box, not just books.
  • Paige Habit – $30
    • This one has a YA box that looks pretty cool. It comes with a variety of goodies.
    • Books contain annotations from the author.  It pretty much has sticky notes throughout the book with notes from the author.
    • I really like the author annotations idea, but the rest of the box just doesn’t seem up to par with my top 3, though it was a close call.

Step 6: Top 3!!!

Yay! We are almost there!!! Here are my top 3:

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Urg!! I am so bad at making decisions.  This is soooo hard.  OwlCrate is the most well known.  OwlCrate and Lit Cube come with more stuff and tend towards fantasy.  Uppercase has a sweet interactive guide thing that sounds cool, but their book choices are iffy.   Lit Cube’s Sept theme sounds awful and OwlCrate’s sounds awesome. Uppercase doesn’t even have a theme.  No box is perfect but they are all so cool!

Which one would you choose? (don’t limit yourself to my top 3)  Are you already subscribed to a book Box? Do you love it? Did anyone even get this far in my post before losing interest? Let me know in the comments!

Now for my selection.  Drum Roll Please:



































!!!!!Lit Cube!!!!!

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I don’t really have any solid reasons why I picked Lit Cube over the others.  Its mostly just a gut feeling. If I don’t like it I can always change to another! Keep an eye out next month for the box reveal and review! I’m so excited!

 

Tattoo Update

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I love my tattoo so far! Its about half done. There are still some parts of the ship that need to be done and then the background.

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Apparently I am a big wuss when it comes to pain (I already knew that but this just reinforces that fact) I had a friend that sat for a 4 hour tattoo, but after 2 hours my leg was twitching so bad. Even if I wanted to continue, the artist wouldn’t let me because he didn’t want a twitch to mess it up.  It hurt so bad.  And your calf is supposed to be one of those places that doesn’t hurt as much.  I have an appointment on 8/23 to get the second half done.

If you have any cool book related tattoos, or just cool tattoos in general, I would love to see them!

National Book Lover’s Day

Today is National Book Lover’s Day!

The only reason I know that is because I got an email from Barnes and Noble.  (BTW they are having a sale through 9/4 where a bunch of classics are only $5)

Completely coincidental to what day it is, I am getting a tattoo today!!! And my tattoo just happens to be book related.

I absolutely love this poem by Emily Dickinson:
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –

In general I don’t like poetry.  Mostly because I don’t understand it.  But I LOVE this poem.  I memorized it in High School and still know it by heart.

For my tattoo idea I took the first two lines:

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away

I thought it would be super cool to have a ship with books for sails.  So after years of playing with the idea I finally pulled the plug and went and met with a tattoo artist.  This is what we came up with:

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So I have my first session today and I am super excited but also super nervous.  It is actually helping my nerves that it is National Book Lover’s day.  I don’t care how silly it is, I have decided to take this as a positive sign!

If all goes well I will post pictures tonight or tomorrow of the beginnings of my tattoo.  The artist thinks it will take 2 sessions, so it won’t be complete, but hopefully it will still be awesome!

Used Book Stores!

Sad news! The used book store by my house is closing today.

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Good news! They had a going out of business sale

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So apparently I cannot be trusted in a going out of business book sale. I probably would have bought the whole store, but I only had $40 and, luckily, they only accepted cash. As it was, I picked out a ton of books and had to put a couple back, because I went “over budget.”

They had pretty good sale prices:

  • $1 Small/Mass Paperback and Kid’s Paperback
  • $2 Large/Trade Size Paperback
  • $3 Hardcover/Leather-bound and Kid’s Hardcover
  • $5 Audio-books

In case you are curious, here is what $40 of books looks like:

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And yes, I bought 4 copies of Pride and Prejudice and, yes, I bought all 3 versions of the Pride and Prejudice Spark Notes.  I collect Pride and Prejudice books with different covers, “So don’t judge me, Lizzie. Don’t you dare judge me.”

I am not the only one that went a little crazy.  My friends, Vince and Emily, bought a bunch of books too:

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When considering where to by a real book (not a kindle book), every type of book store has its good points and bad.  I have 4 main criteria when judging a book store:

  1. Cheap Books – Can I get them for cheaper than cover price?
  2. Huge Selection – Do they have the book I want? And if they don’t can they get it for me?
  3. Physical Books – Can I hold the book while deciding if I want it? (This is for decision making purposes … this is not a kindle vs real book debate, I will save that for another day)
  4. Quickness – Can I get my book today?
Barnes and Noble Amazon and Ebay Used Book Stores
Cheap Books
Large Selection
Physical Books
Quickness

So each type of store has its pros and cons.  If I know exactly what I want and don’t mind waiting then Amazon/Ebay is the way to go.  If I know exactly what I want and want it today then Barnes & Noble it is.  But if I don’t know what book I am looking for, then a used book store is the best.  And since most of the time I don’t know what I want to read, used book stores are my personal favorite.

The best used book ever store is Powell’s Books in Portland Oregon.  They are mind blowing!

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The store takes up an ENTIRE CITY BLOCK and is 3 stories high.  They are huge! According to their website they have an estimated one million books (read that in Dr. Evil’s voice from the second gif and it makes it so much better!) I have gotten lost in Powell’s more than once.  They have so many books that they separated the store into 9 different rooms, which are color coded for your convenience.

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Powell’s sells both new and used books, so they have everything you could ever want.  They are the best of both worlds.  For a lot of titles Powell’s has both new and used copies.  You can get a brand new copy for full price, you can get a super beat up copy for dirt cheap, or you could take the middle ground and get a gently used copy for a decent price.

Seriously, if you are ever in Portland you absolutely have to go see Powell’s.  Its freaking amazeballs.

 

Grandpa Mike

Yesterday 7/24/2017 around 6 PM mountain time, my Grandpa on my Dad’s side passed away.  He was 80 years old.

About 2.5 years ago he was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD).  In layman’s terms, LBD is pretty much both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s smashed together.  Both your body and your mind deteriorate.  All three are very hard diseases.  It was tough for my family to watch as he slipped farther and farther away.  Right at the end was particularly hard, especially for my Grandma.  He opted out of anything that could prolong his life.  That meant no antibiotics, no IVs, not even cold medicine.  I understand why he did it.  He didn’t want to prolong that state of existence when it wasn’t really him anymore.  I respect his decision and recognize how brave he was to make that choice and accept his disease.  A few days before he passed, he had a stroke. Because he opted out of everything that could save his life, he became unresponsive.  He wasn’t even eating or drinking.  After his stroke we just had to wait.  He was able to receive morphine and other things to make him comfortable, but I can’t even begin to imagine how hard these last few days have been on my Grandma.  I know they have been very hard on my dad and it has been very hard on me too, but it must have been infinitely worse for my Grandma.  We will be able to go out next week to be with her.

But as hard as these last few days have been, even these last few years, I don’t want to remember him by his disease.  My Grandpa was very smart.  He was always working on computers.  I know he learned Linux, which I had tried to figure out and was completely lost.  And he didn’t learn Linux until later in life.  Most older people have trouble with computers.  They don’t just go out and learn Linux!  He also knew tons of random facts. We would be on the road and he could tell you the history all sorts of things.  He could tell you who built it, what year it was built, he could probably even tell you how many people were injured in the process.  He watched the news and the weather channel all the time, so he always knew what was going on in the world and what the weather was like there.

My Grandpa loved movies.  He had a TON of them.  Almost any movie you could ever want to watch, that was older than me, he probably had it.  He also loved to read.  We had different tastes in books, so I can’t say we ever read the same things, but it was cool to share the passion.  I remember when he got a Kindle and didn’t quite know how to use it.  I showed him what to do, and he picked up on it really fast.  I don’t know what happened to that kindle tho, cuz he definitely went back to reading physical books.  I never asked him why he stopped using his kindle.  I remember one morning, when my grandparents were visiting, that I woke up earlier than normal, and My Grandpa was the only other person awake (he always got up early) and we just hung out at the kitchen table reading our own books.  It was very peaceful.  We didn’t feel the need to talk, we just hung out and enjoyed our books.

My Grandpa was a huge Oregon Ducks fan.  I don’t know if he was the first in our family to like the Ducks or if it started before him, but he passed that love to my dad and uncles, who passed it down to me.  Oregon is really the only college football team that I truly cared about for a long time. (Until my boyfriend came along and now I kinda like his team too, tho not as much)  I remember multiple occasions sitting in my grandparents living room watching the game.  It was a family event.  We all watched it together and cheered for the Ducks.  And my Grandpa was there drinking his O’Doul’s.

Even when we weren’t watching a game, my Grandpa was always drinking O’Doul’s.  It was just part of who he was, and I will always think of him when I see a can of O’Doul’s.  He used to drink regular beer, but because of his really bad gout the doctor told him he couldn’t drink alcohol anymore.  The way the story is told, he switched to O’Doul’s cold turkey, and never looked back.  That’s dedication if you ask me.  Most people I know wouldn’t be able to make the switch as completely as he did, even if its for medical reasons.  But that happened either before my time or when I was too little to remember/care.  But now I will forever associate O’Doul’s with my Grandpa.

After my Grandpa was diagnosed, but before he got really bad, we took a family trip to California.  We went and saw a Padres game.  It was really cool.  I remember realizing I didn’t have very many pictures with my Grandpa so I decided to take a picture with him.  I said something along the lines of “Lets Take a Picture” and held up my phone with the camera facing us.  I started to explain where to look, and he interrupted me and said “Its a selfie”  I had no idea he knew what a selfie was and remember thinking how awesome it was that he did.

I am going to miss him.  It still feels weird knowing I won’t ever see him.  I have cried a lot and I am sure I will cry more.  I’m trying, and failing, not to cry right now, while I am writing this.  I am able to take some comfort in the fact that he is no longer in pain, and that he had a good life.  But it is still really hard.   I love my family so much, and they are all so amazing people, and we will help each other get through this.  I just wanted to say:

I Love You Grandpa.  I miss you, and I hope that wherever you are you are happy. Go Ducks! And thanks for the selfie. I Love you. Goodbye Grandpa.

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