Book Review: Dreaming in English

Dreaming in English by Laura Fitzgerald
  • Cost- $16.00
  • Category- Fiction
  • Page Count- 432
  • Star Rating- 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommend to a friend- YES!

Synopsis: This book is a sequel to Veil of Roses you can read my review here.  Author Laura Fitzgerald states that she didn’t intend Veil of Roses to have a sequel but due to an outpouring request from fans of the book wanting to know more about Tami’s journey. Fitzgerald even dedicates this book to her readers- very thoughtful. Here’s the thing- sequels are tricky. I was so excited to read this book that when it flashed back to the original book, I skimmed those parts- but they are necessary. I was ready for the meat of the story! The first book ends with Tami succeeding in getting married before her three-month tourist visa expires. This book follows her journey to receive full citizenship with her new husband so she doesn’t end up back in Iran.

Things I liked: The twist and turns in this book are wonderful. They are realistic and keep you reading on the edge of your seat. As a reader you want so badly for Tami to have an easy life, but it’s anything but. Her struggles are real and she deals with them with such class, optimism and passion. She is a great female role model!

Things I didn’t like: Like I mentioned before, I was a little bored during the recaps, but that was probably because I read both books back-to-back. If the time gap was larger, they would be mindful refresher. That’s honestly my only minor dislike.

After reading these two books, they have become my all time favorite books. And Fitzgerald is now one of my favorite authors!


Tutorial: A book lovers wreath.

I love books. I love crafts. This project is a wonderful marriage of the two.


Two other things that I enjoy that helped with this project were my love for thrifting and my love for simple & easy.

I have several stacks of thrifted books scattered around my house. I’ve been adoring this book wreath made by Jones Design Company for a while and finally made time to create one. By “making time” I mean it was a rainy Saturday and I gave my kids play-doh time. I sat at the SAME table with them and created this. It’s wonderful for your kids to see you creating. 

This took me about 30 minutes and cost me nearly nothing. Skimming Pinterest you’ll see plenty tutorials for making wreaths- the big thing that bugs me about them is that people spend $5-10 on the wreath form! No. That’s not for me. I think it’s too pricey. I always save cardboard so I grabbed a piece to start this off.


Step 1. I traced two bowls on a piece of cardboard to create the wreath form. You’ll need a big and small one.


Here’s a look at the dimensions.


Step 2. Grab thrifted books. I ended up using The Balloon Man which had rippled edges, an added bonus.


Step 3. Dissect your book. Tearing up this sweet little book, made me feel like I was committing a crime. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Th imperfections make it look even more special.


Step 4. I took the full pages and folded them in half. This helped make them fuller on the wreath. I placed a pencil in the middle of the folded page and wrapped the paper around the pencil. Using the pencil gave me something to apply pressure without burning my hand. I applied the glue right below my thumb in the picture. Tip: hold it tight on the form for a few seconds.


Step 5. I worked from the outside in. Keep ruffling, glueing and apply pressure to the perimeter.


Step 6. What the wreath looks like once the outside is fully applied.


Step 7. I kept applying over and over and every once in a while would take a step back and check out its progress from afar. This helped to spot any gaps that need to be filled.


Step 8. I noticed smaller gaps on the very inside of the wreath. I tore some sheet in half and used them as smaller fillers. This is a must do! It looked so much better with them.


Step 9. Here’s a shot of the inside ring that wasn’t quite big enough for full sheets.


Step 10. I grabbed a piece of twine and glued this to the back. While I was back there I notice there was a little space on the outside of the form that could use a ruffle. Inside of applying the glue to the BOTTOM of the ruffle, I added the glue to the SIDE and tucked it to the very outside of the cardboard. This is where I got burned a lot. I couldn’t apply the pencil on the side. Ouch.




Book Review: This is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Trooper


  • Cost- $16.00
  • Category- Fiction
  • Page Count- 339
  • Star Rating- 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommend to a friend- Maybe

Synopsis: The father of four adult children passes away and his last wish is for his family to sit shiva together, which is basically the Jewish version of a week long viewing. This means the whole family stays under the same roof for seven whole days, which is when the entire book takes place. You travel with each quirky character as they deal with their own personal issues, family dilemmas all while also grieving for the lose of their father.

Things I liked: If you were a fan of the show Arrested Development, you will love this book. You can’t read this book with a serious mind frame. It’s dry and sarcastic. My girlfriend read with a serious tone and did not find it as humorous as I did. I really enjoyed all the characters especially, the mother with her boob job, short skirts and the openness she has with her children about sex. If you think you have a crazy family, meet the Foxman clan and you’ll realize things could be worse.

Things I didn’t like: Clearly this book was written by a man. The tone is different throughout the entire book during sex scenes and how the characters describe women, love and lust. It is abundantly clear when the author dedicates an entire page to describing how it feels to be kicked in the testicles. Basically ladies, it hurts.

Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of books that become movies, I read this as part of my monthly book club and I probably won’t see the movie. Although, it would be date night movie, because the man in your life would enjoy it.

If you liked Gone Girl then you’ll love this book.

Sure Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is a big deal right now. As in sold 8.5 millions copies. That’s millions folks. And now it’s a major motion picture getting rave reviews starring Ben Affleck. Like I said, BIG deal.

I’m a huge fan of Flynn’s work. I’ve read all three of her books and will be standing in line for her next release.

Having read all her books, I’m surprised Gone Girl ended up as the talented author’s first film. To me, the movie should have been Dark Places.

If you love Flynn’s twisted mind that creates these scenarios that leave you wondering, what is wrong with this women? How can a sweet mother of two and overall normal person think of things like this, you will love Dark Places!

The book focuses on the main character, Libby Day. Day’s mother and two sisters were murdered as part of sick satan sacrifice and Day has to live with the burden of being the one who escaped and survived. Not only was she the survivor she was also the leading witness who testified against her teenage brother pinning him as the prime suspect.

You spend your time with the adult Day as she finds herself questioning what she actually witnessed that night and if her brother really did kill her family as she successfully testified in court landing him in prison. Add in the most pathetic father figure you could imagine, you’ve got a main character you feel bad for and that leaves you shaking your head. I found myself questioning, “Are there really people like this in the world?” In Flynn’s world, there is.

If you enjoyed the distrubing and evil plots in Gone Girl, Dark Places definitely kicks it up a notch. Flynn introduces the Kill Club, which is a hobby group made up of fans of notorious crimes. These fans glorify the criminals and their wrong doings. They are the folks that encourage Day to reconsider what she thinks she witnessed at her young age. They force Day to go the “dark place” in her mind, she has spent most of her life forgetting.

If you think nothing can top Gone Girl, read Dark Places and you’ll become a forever fan of Flynn’s.

Book Review: Veil of Roses

Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald



  • Cost- $13.00
  • Category- Fiction
  • Page Count- 307
  • Star Rating- 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommend to a friend- Yes

Synposis: Main character, Tamila Soroush lives in Iran and is a dreamer, in a country that doesn’t encourage dreaming. Her parents want a better life for her so they purchase her a one way ticket to America where her sister lives. Once she steps foot on American soil she has exactly three months unit her Visa expires and has one goal to focus on. Finding an Iranian-American to marry so she can stay in the country and receive a green card. The book takes place over her three-month stay. Think Sex and the City, rated PG13 meets Iranian arranged marriages. Enticing, right?

Things I liked: I adored the main character, Tami and her fearless journey into the unknown. I love the education you gain about what it’s like being a woman in Iran versus America. How we can buy lacy bras in Victorias Secret with no shame, hold hands with our significant other in public, fall in love with anyone male or female and even go for a walk alone. This book isn’t just a love story, it’s a story about being a woman and going after what you want.

Things I didn’t like: Not to be cliche, but honestly the thing I didn’t like about the book was that it leaves you wanting more. The book ends at a pivotal point for Tami and I finished with my jaw dropped that it was the end. This is the type of book you will want to gift to every female that you know.

Nerd Alert: I loved this book so much, I wrote to the author and expressed my thoughts. She replied that she was thrilled I discovered her work via a used book sale at my local library. The best news is that there is a sequel to Tami’s story called Dreaming in English, which I am now currently reading.

My go-to sweet snack.

We all need a few go-to recipes in our kitchen tool belt.

I’ve been working on spending more time in the kitchen and slowly creating a list of go-to apps, entrees and of course, sweets. Today I’m sharing on of my favorites.



Yum! Chocolate covered pretzels with sprinkles! For whatever reason I always seem to have chocolate chips, pretzels and sprinkles in my pantry which is how this go-to treat was born.

I never melt my chocolate in the microwave. I think it’s less work to melt it via double-boiler on the stove. I add a little of veggie or canola oil to the chocolate, because I learned the hard way milk is not good in melted chocolate! I line a big baking tray with parchment paper and dip the pretzels in the chocolate and then the sprinkles. I let them chill in the on the baking sheet in the fridge for as long as possible.

If you’re in a rush, 30 minutes would be fine. This recipe is great to take to your kids daycare, a girls night (hello it’s salty & sweet!), and for game day!


  • Stock your pantry with white chocolate and dark chocolate.
  • Pick up some sprinkles of your favorite colors. Ie: Holiday colors, sport team colors or your favorites!
  • Master your double-boiler skills. How? Practice, practice, practice!

I store these in the fridge and use them as treats throughout the week for my kids.



Friday thoughts



This quote may seem a little unseasonal given we’ve just entered the month of October, but here at the beach the weather has been amazing. The crisp air calls for jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops.

This week has been a busy one in the mainstream news media. Each week I try to bring you stories that haven’t made it to the mainstream but I believe are important to working women.

The Tragedy of Beverly Carter. In my day job, I work with realtors and they have been following this story closely. This Arkansas realtor was doing what hundreds of agents do every. single. day. It can sometimes be dangerous working with the public. It reminds me of my days as a newspaper reporter- also a dangerous profession where you find yourself dealing with strangers on a daily basis. We can all learn from Carter and how she covered her bases. She told her husband where and when she was showing the property.

Capture the moment or live in it? As a full-time marketing professional this is a heavy topic for me. I indeed see the value of social marketing from a business stand point, but I do see the dilemma the our personal lives are getting too caught up in capturing the moment, sharing it on Facebook rather than being in the moment and seeing it for what it is. I’ve been trying to make more of an effort with my family to be there smiling at then rather than behind my iPhone. This a must-read for anyone with a smart phone.

Cheers to the weekend!!

Book Review: Eleanor and Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell



  • Cost- $18.99
  • Category- Fiction
  • Page Count- 325
  • Star Rating- 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommend to a friend- Yes- An adult.

Synopsis: Eleanor has a troubled home life, is the new girl at school and stands out with her vibrant red curly hair and unusual way of dressing. She meets Park and in the classic high school style- they fall for each other. The book follows their journey to be together amongst criticism at school and hiding it from Eleanor’s family over the duration of their junior year.

Things I liked: The characters were wonderful and relatable! I was in high school during the 90s which is when this story takes place and the author looks about my age, which makes sense. Park’s father was one of my favorite characters. He has this style of being hard on Park but the amount of love he has for his family is so heart warming. Eleanor is also a wonderful character. She’s different and doesn’t hide it or try to conform even during some harsh high school moments. The ending was really, really great. I often get nervous about endings in love stories but this one left me satisfied.

Things I didn’t like: I started reading this on a whim because my 12 year old step-daughter wanted to read it and we read the same books as a way to bond- it’s lovely. This book I believe was too mature for her age. Sure, she probably watched things worse on television but reading it and being invested in this book is different in my eyes. The language is vulgar. The bullying is mean and there isn’t really a lesson within the bullying theme. But it’s not a book about bullying- it’s a love story. I also think the relationship is too mature for her to read. As I mentioned, Eleanor has a troubled home live and I found it a pretty serious issue in the book. The ending did elude to a happy conclusion for the family- but again was only eluded.

I think this book is more appropriate for high school readers not middle school, but that is just my opinion. I would recommend this book to an adult friend around my age because it’s like reliving our high school days in the 90s for the good or the bad.

Find out more of what I’m reading by connecting with me on GoodReads!

Toys to keep a preschooler girl busy.

My three-year-old daughter is a busy, busy preschooler. But I’ve noticed something about her. Typical toys loose her interest quickly. She needs something that is engaging and keeps her fingers and mind stimulated.

My five-year-old son is totally different. He will play with any toy, now that his imagination is kicked into high gear. But my daughter just isn’t there yet.

This past August when we celebrated her third birthday, I put a lot of thought into the gifts. Since she doesn’t really play with toys, we aimed for things that were more interactive. Here’s a few items that have been perfect!

*Note* These links are not affiliated. I do not have a degree in raising children, this is my own personal experience. Please pick and choose how to apply this advice to your own household.

Reusable Sticker Pads. 


Oh my word. This toy is just great! Tons of releasable stickers and rooms in a house for preschoolers to decorate. We bought this at our local toy store and couldn’t be happier with this. The stickers are really good quality and are relatively difficult to tear. My son really likes it too, so we will probably pick him up one for Christmas. And seriously, this item is around $5!


Magnetic Dress Up Dolls



I’m surprised how big of a hit this has been. While it has a stand for the mermaid to stand upright, my daughter usually plays with it how it’s shown in the picture. It works out since it keeps the pieces all together and I think it’s easier for her to see. They also have a ballerina one, but since we live at the beach, we are big mermaid fans. Again, we bought this at our local, family owned toy store and it was a deal at $12!

Barbie Grocery Store 



My girl is a Barbie girl, which couldn’t make me happier because I was a big Barbie girl. This toys keeps her engaged because she loves shopping carts and now her Barbies have a shopping cart! The conveyer belt actually works and slides the items into the grocery bag. Things I don’t like about this toy, they over packaged it and once we opened it, I realized the price of $35 was a little expensive for what you get. They also don’t have produce in the store but offer a big bottle of orange soda. Really? And while the doll is cute with her dress and hair style- she’s on the cheap side. Her legs are hollow, which was new to me. But my daughter has spent hours setting up the store, having her Barbie shop and checking out the items so at least we got our money’s worth.

Little Inu



This was a gift to the kids from one of my girlfriends, at the time we had no clue who Inu was. Now that we do I tell all my mom friends about him. He’s interactive and eats, sleeps, sings, laughs and is just darling! While it was a gift to my son, my daughter has taken it over claiming, “Inu is my baby.” This is a pricey toy, but my girlfriend bought it at an outlet. This would be a great Christmas present for the family! All the kids claim he is our pet and my daughter literally babies it all day long. She also gets very sad when her mama forgets to charge his battery at night. Whoops.

Bouncy Ball

bouncyballBoth of my kids received one of these for their birthdays and they have literally had a ball bouncing around the house with these. I love them because the noise and chaos caused by them doesn’t drive me crazy and it’s a workout for them. The balls aren’t too big either, which is nice for storage.

Hope these items make shopping for the little preschooler girl in your life a little easier!