September’s Movies & Life update

Sadly, I did not complete my 30 books in 30 days challenge this year.  I’ll be posting a few of the reasons why on the challenge blog shortly, but the big two are house related.  The place by the lake we’ve been staying for over two months kicked us out a month early due to them finding someone to rent the place for six months 😦  So, yesterday we moved our stuff back into my parent’s condo.  The upside is that I am now 5 minutes from home, not 30.  As for the house itself, one day last week I had an outside crew, a gutter grew and mold crew all here at the same time and 2 guys came to interview for the drywall job.  And I fed them, lol.  Anyhoo, just trying to keep my head above water.  I read 25 books and I’m considering that a win!

the outsideIMG_4541

the inside IMG_4534

Amazed I watched anything at all in September!

Add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment and earn $1 for charity.  Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity.  Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to.  Anyone is welcome to join in at any time.

We’re at $95 right now.

A Simple Favor.png A Simple Favor, 2018 (Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Jean Smart)      Grade B

Sparkly and stylish dark mystery.

Lady Bird poster.jpegLady Bird, 2017 (Saorse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothee Chalamet)                     Grade B

Real coming of age angst.

 New twist on old story.  (Kathy)

Upbeat coming-of-age story, great acting.  (Heather)

Sierra Burgess Is a Loser.png Sierra Burgess is a Loser, 2018 (Shannon Purser, Kristine Proseth, BJ Cyler, Noah Centineo)                      Grade B

Worth watching teen catfish story.

R – Mom R&R with Chris Rock (and friends)

Blogging from A-Z

Some presents you give to your spouse may seem a little self serving.  For example, Jason’s birthday was this month and I gifted him tickets to the Chris Rock Total Blackout Tour at Playhouse Square and a room at Metropolitan on The 9.  I’m not a huge stand-up fan, but Jason is and he’s always liked Chris Rock so it was a solid gift.  But it also ended up being a sweet night for me as well.

My parents picked up Gage around noon and I took the train to downtown Cleveland.  The Chocolate Bar was on the way to the hotel and it had been too long since I’d had one of their divine chocolate martinis.  So, this happened.

chocolatebarI ordered my favorite, the salted caramel chocolate martini and I’m still thinking about it…

I got to the hotel feeling pretty happy and had time for a 45 minute nap before Jason got off work.  He works a block from the hotel and the hotel is only a few blocks from Playhouse Square, so great location and a very fun place.  It’s sexy.  I know that sounds silly, but it’s true.  It’s housed in the old Ameritrust Bank complex and it’s basement was perfectly described in this NPR interview with author DM Pulley.   I was anxious to check it out so we headed to the basement.  In 2001 Pulley visited the building after it had sat abandoned for years and found bank vaults and safe deposit boxes hanging open or still locked up.  And 15 years later they turned it into a really cool bar, with safes intact.

Such a cool place.  As we were waiting for the elevator to take us back up, we were taken aback when it arrived.  A SWAT team in all their glory got off and went through one of the back hallways of the hotel.  No idea, but they could have been headed to the Chris Rock Show via tunnels because I’ve never had to go through that much security to get into a show of any kind.  We even had to lock up our cell phones when we got there, kind of an annoyance, but gave more opportunity for people watching.  And with 3,000+ people in attendance that was fun.

The show opened with Arnie Fuqua (one of the comedians in the crash with Tracy Morgan a few years ago) and then gave us our first surprise.  Native Clevelander Arsenio Hall was going to act as our host for the evening.  The crowd went crazy.  After about 15 minutes he decided to bring out another surprise. Dave Chappelle came onstage and brought the house down.  Arsenio came back out and a little bit later Chris Rock took the stage.  What a fantastic night of stand-up and I don’t even like stand-up!!

We were feeling happy as we walked back to the hotel at 11:30 and noticed that there were vintage 70’s cars parked on the street.  We decided to try out the bar above the lobby before turning in and were surprised to watch as they prepared to shoot a movie scene.  Matthew McConaughey has been in town filming a movie so I’m assuming that’s what it was.  We watched them bring out bags of fake snow and put it all along E. 9th.  Cracks me up since it snows like 5 months of the year here and they wait to use fake snow!  Anyway we watched until they had shut down the street and only 70’s cars were going by.  It only took an hour from start to finish so I’m assuming Matthew wasn’t there, but who knows.  Here was our view from the bar…


It’s hard to see with the glare but it was fun to watch in person.  So, it was after midnight when we headed back up to our room and Jason had to be at work 6 and half hours later.  Luckily, it was only a 5 minute commute.

So, it was a great gift all the way around 🙂

Sundays (or a week) with Gage at Kiawah Island, South Carolina

We travelled by car with my parents down to Kiawah Island Golf & Tennis Resort so that Jason could spend 2+ hours playing tennis with the club pros everyday, as part of his 40th birthday gift.  Kiawah is an interesting place.  I didn’t realize before we went that it was a popular alligator hang out spot.  These signs were everywhere on the island…

k1  IMG_1344  We saw three in our time there, one in the water on the golf course!  Needless to say I was cautious when walking by myself or with just me and Gage.

On the drive down we spent a few hours in Charleston.  I would’ve liked more so maybe we’ll have to plan a second trip.

IMG_7668  IMG_7660Gage wanted his picture taken with EVERY cannon in Battery Park, but I fell in love with the trees.


We had some lunch at the Southend Brewery & Smokehouse and headed for the pier where Gage found this fountain…IMG_7717. Our time in Charleston was fun, but too short.

Kiawah Island was lovely (sans the alligators) and we had a relaxing week staying in one of the villas. Gage built sandcastles on the beach, swam with Daddy, and just chilled out.

IMG_1358  k3   IMG_7747

The restaurants on the island were all great and able to handle Gage’s allergy restrictions.  Jason and I went out for a date on our last night there and this was out pre-dinner spot.  Not bad, right?


If we are friends on Facebook you probably saw that Gage had some carsickness both coming and going but this was the backseat when we were almost home from the long drive…IMG_1462so the trip was a success 🙂

Now on to trying to catch up with seven days of responsibility neglect!



A look back, March 2010

In January I began a Kay inspired Bookish Nostalgia feature that I call A look back. I’m revisiting my 2010 blogging life and see what was going on. So far, this has been a lot of fun!  If you care to revisit your own blog in March 2010 and want to share your favorite post, I’ll add it here.

In March 2010, I posted 23 times, reviewed 6 books, watched 6 movies, gave away 4 books and 1 puzzle, posted 4 quizzes, participated in 3 movie memes, wrote 4 War & Peace updates, and received 5 awards (I must say that I’m glad that those awards are not as prevalent these days).  I even called for book donations for a worthy cause.

My favorite pictures come from my favorite post, Walking San Francisco.  It was so fun to read about the trip since I had forgotten about our plane woes both to and from San Francisco.  Jason was there for a work conference so I spent much of the time exploring on my own. Love that city!






I sat at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park sipping my jasmine tea and contemplating motherhood, since I had only known I was pregnant for a few days.






We made it just in time to catch some of the Chinese New Year parade!







Gage is with us, barely  😉 Me, a bazillion pounds ago, and Jason, who never gains an ounce!

Favorite movie Walle-E

Grade A.  Endearing Robot Saves 2805 Earth.

Favorite Book(s) – the Deadly series by Brenda Joyce.  I did a re-read of this romantic suspense series that I liked so much set in 1902 New York. I reviewed books 6-8 of the 9 book series this month, Deadly Kisses, Deadly Illusions, Deadly Promise.

So, please share!  What was happening on your blog or what were you reading in March 2010?

Amish Trip and First Quiz of the new round

Last week Jason and I were able to sneak away to send the night in Amish country.  Holmes County, an hour and a half from here, has the third largest Amish population in America.  We stopped at a winery for a tastingIMG_6163  before arriving at our very own treehouse! IMG_6167 IMG_6175It was very cool. We called to get the lock code and never saw another soul while we were there, even though there were two other treehouses on the property. As I looked at the book that everyone signs when they stay there I found out that there was money hidden in all the nooks and crannies. Some people found over $14, we only found $1.89, lol.

IMG_6197This was a relatively common sight as was lots of bicyclists on the country highway.  We also made a 10 minute side trip to see the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock IMG_6208which was sort of a bust since it wasn’t working due to the cold or rain BUT we happened upon this gem, IMG_6213a train hotel!  I can’t wait to take Gage back to stay 🙂  IMG_6173We did some furniture shopping and good eatin’ and came home to a sick boy 😦  He’s still battling an ear infection.

I still haven’t gotten the prizes mailed out for he last quiz round but they are sitting here on my desk, waiting for a trip to the post office. I was working on a quiz on the Amish in literature and movies, but think it will work best if we do an open ended quiz for this one.

List up to 5 novels or movies about the Amish.

Sounds easy, right?  I’ll be giving extra points if you guess the same as someone else.  The more people that answer the same thing, the more points you earn.  I’ve got my list of 5 right here, so let’s get started.  Leave your answers as a comment 🙂  I’ll periodically hide them so there’s no temptation to cheat 🙂



A look back, February 2010 & movie question

Last month I started a Kay inspired Bookish Nostalgia feature that I’ll call A look back for now. I decided to revisit by 2010 blogging life and see what was going on. I had fun and a couple of you added your favorite posts from January 2010 and I invite you all to do the same this month.  I should note here that I knew SO many of you way back then and that’s why I felt like sharing my personal struggles in my last post. I was touched and teary by the friendship all of  you shared.

Six years ago in February I posted 24 times, reviewed eight books, participated in the now defunct Monday Movie Meme, watched six movies (you can still add your five word review here) and featured my Fave Film #23 – The Silence of the Lambs.  I gave away six books and a puzzle, interviewed the lovely Susan McBride, and started reading War and Peace with my blogger friend Molly.  War & Peace was an undertaking, one I never would have finished without Molly’s help, so that’s why you’ll see it as my favorite post. One more post I’ll mention is this one from February 20

Jason & I will be heading out to San Francisco for a mini vacation next week and we’ll be there six days.  Well, okay, Jason will be working a lot of the time, but I’ll be busy exploring.  We’ve both been there once.  I was there for a few days in  1994 mainly to visit friends and Jason was there for a few days of work a few years ago, but didn’t get to see much. 

So, I’m planning our trip and I’m wondering if any of you have a favorite place or activity that you think we should see.  Or maybe a bookstore I shouldn’t miss?  I’d love some recommendations!

Hahaha. The day before we left (and I was looking to a Napa Valley excursion) I took a pregnancy test as a drunken wine precaution and HELLO, it was positive.  Shocked and nervous, but very pleased could have described both of us.  I tell Gage he’s been to San Francisco, but he didn’t get to see much 😉

My favorite Pictures from February 2010

I miss my girl, Scout, and having Max in the house (it’s still nice to see him at my parent’s house though).

Favorite New Movie(500) Days of Summer, 2009

My five word review, Quirky Charming Original Un-Love Story. 

Favorite BookThe Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

…I was much more drawn to the insecure Lu Ann whose motivations I could at least understand.  Hers is the story that kept me interested until about halfway through.  And then a great thing happened.  I couldn’t read fast enough.  As much as Taylor had a few too many sharp edges for me at the beginning it was exciting to watch her grow as a character and I was surprised to find that she had grown on me.  The friends that surrounded her were just as important to the story as she was. 

This was beautifully written story that will stay with me.  I was totally captivated by its honesty and sense of friendship and family.  What makes a family?  This delightful novel will help you decide…

Favorite PostWar.What’s it good for?

…Could I make it through such a big (1215 pages), difficult (I’ve never read Tolstoy), and boring (There.  I said it.  I think it could be boring. Please don’t judge me) classic?  And then I received the best email from Molly at The Bumbles suggesting that we read this one together.  I was relieved and excited and touched that I’d have such a great blogging friend to get me through 🙂

As I was going through this month’s posts I realize that I miss the Monday Movie Meme that Molly used to do.  I would totally be willing to take it on (with my own spin) if I had at least and handful of interested participants.  You can browse through some that I joined in when it was up and going. Let me know if you’d be interested in participating at least every month.

So, now it’s your turn. If you’ve been blogging since 2010, I’d love for you to link to your favorite February post. Trips down memory lots can be lots of fun 🙂

A year of firsts and a look at BG (Before Gage)

I joined Instagram.  Why would I join yet another time-sucking social media site (I mean really, when does it stop?)?? Well, I was thinking of taking one photo to capture the day for a whole year and then I joined and wanted a bit more focus.  So, it’s my goal to capture a year of firsts. Everyday.  It’ll be a challenge for sure.  You can follow me if you click on my link on the sidebar.

Now onto my other project for the year, one inspired by Kay’s Bookish Nostalgia.  I love her glimpses into her reading past and have been thinking of a way I could steal the idea but make it my own 😉  I think I have it.  I am 5+ year mother.  Due to many things (stay-at-home mom to a kid with medical mysteries and special dietary needs being the biggest one) I remember carefree reading and blogging days from afar.  So, I decided to choose the year Gage was born and revisit it every month.  If January is any indication, I think this will inspire me.

I loved looking back at January 2010, I was such an active blogger! I posted 30 days. That’s right, 30 out of 31 days. I went back and read them all and, if you don’t mind me saying, they were all pretty good.  I had just finished 2009 by reading 130 books and thought this might continue, lol.  I was giving away books monthly, posting quizzes, joining challenges.  I was also getting pregnant, but I didn’t know that yet.  I attended two author events (Beth Hoffman, Tracy Chevalier) and posted two author interviews (Beth Hoffman, Shirley Tallman). I would love to do more author interviews, but probably not this year, unfortunately, they took a lot of time.  I read Garden Spells and fell in love with all thinks Sarah Addison Allen.

My favorite picture from January 2010

b hoffman 009Bonnie (Redlady’s Reading Room), bestselling author Beth Hoffman and me.

Tonight  I met Bonnie from Redlady’s Reading Room for the first time.  We only live about 20 minutes from each other and we decided to get together and meet Beth Hoffman, author of Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt.  Bonnie is a fellow Ohio State grad and we had a lot of fun chatting before we headed to the library for the book discussion and signing.  I have exchanged a few emails with Beth and knew that she was sweet.  However, I think she was even sweeter in person!  She was full of charm and warmth and if you have the chance to meet her on her book tour, take the opportunity!  (tour locales here)  She was truly inspirational. 

I should note that before her discussion she talked to Bonnie and when Bonnie introduced me, Beth said, “Oh, Stacy,  Max’s Mom!”  Well, let’s be honest, I was floored that she remembered to mention him.  How cool is that?! 

Favorite PostMy Reread Project.  I’m not sure why I stopped doing this, but am ready to try again.

…What does this have to do with rereading books?  Well,  what I get out of a book is based on many things, not the least of which is what was going on in my life when I read it.  So, maybe if I read it five years later and I’m happier, sadder, more stressed out, whatever, I might have a completely different opinion of the book.  So, last year I decided to commit to rereading at least one book from my Favorite Books list every year.  Yes, if I only read one a year it will take me 100 years, so it is obviously not a perfect plan, but quite a few of the books on the list I have read more than once already….

Favorite BookSaving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman.  I continue to love and recommend this book!

…Okay, first book of the year and the one I’ll be judging others by since I’m giving it 5 stars.  This book made me cry and laugh and left me with a smile on my face, not something that happens very often.  CeeCee was a charming girl who had led a hard life to date and my heart broke for her.  I loved her and her mistakes were both funny and important, reminding me that she was still just a girl no matter how grown up she sometimes seemed…

Favorite new movie  Avatar 3D.  But I did also post about one of my all-time faves – Pride and Prejudice, the mini-series with Colin Firth.

Why I love it Um, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.  I know there are lots of other great reasons to love this movie, but if you take Colin Firth out of the picture, this is no favorite!  I thought Jennifer Ehle was a great Lizzie.  She had warmth, sparkle, and a quick wit.  The rest of her family was suitably annoying and ridiculous, but in a good way.

Now that I’ve read the book I can truly appreciate how closely this follows Austen classic.  The sets were perfectly lovely and not Hollywood in any way.  There were added scenes to let us see a bit more of Mr. Darcy and that made it easier for me to see him apart from only the times Elizabeth saw him, as was the case in the novel.

Well, the reason I’m reviewing this now is because Jason really, really loves me.  We watched an hour a night for a week.  It was so much fun introducing Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth to him.  He really didn’t get Mr. Darcy’s appeal, especially for the first half of the movie.  I kept telling him it was Colin Firth and that’s all he needed to know, but he still wasn’t convinced.  And I’m still waiting for him to come home with a 5 hour miniseries about the history of the stock market or 100 years of Michigan State basketball.

If you were blogging in January 2010, why not leave a link to your favorite post? I’d be happy to post it here and then we’d all be taking a trip down memory lane?

Nise from Under the Boardwalk chose this post as her favorite.  I looked over my posts of January 2010 and was tickled to see one about book shelves. Only one of the shelves has remained – I stack my library books on the steps in the order of their due date!  

 JoAnn from Lakeside Musing chose this post as her favorite.  After three attempts spaced over 25 years, I’ve finally managed to finish a Virginia Woolf novel. And not only did I finish it, I liked it. I really liked it…




K is for Koonz Kid Kills Keaton Knight

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Looks like my kid is ready for summer!

gage in sunglasses

Blogging from A to Z

bookA Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

I remember reading this soon after it was first  published in 1989 and falling in love with the historical time travel romance.  The time travel aspect seems so passe these days, but 20+ years ago I was hooked.  I went on to read and enjoy more of Deveraux’s historicals but this probably still my favorite.  A 16th century knight meets a modern day young woman and sparks fly.  I’ve read it a few times over the years and have loved it every time.

authorDean Koontz

I have always preferred Koontz to Stephen King, although King has impressed me over the last several years.  Koontz, to his credit, never needs an editor 🙂  He wrote one of my favorite trilogy-ish books ever, the Moonlight Bay books.  He hasn’t had the splashy career of King, maybe because of King’s great success with the movies of his books, but I think he is a more skilled and solid writer.

movieKill Bill, Volumes 1&2 (2003,2004)

By far my favorite Quentin Tarantino movie(s).  Maybe it’s because all the women kick butt: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Darryl Hannah, Vivica Fox.  This was out of my comfort zone a bit but I really liked it.  Do you have  favorite Tarantino movie?  I’ve seen a few but haven’t really loved any of them.

actorDiane Keaton

As I looked over Diane’s list of movies, I realize that I like her more than I do the movies she’s in.  I like watching her nervous energy onscreen.  She’s been in some classics (Godfather, Annie Hall) but I prefer some of her other, more standard fare.  I loved Baby Boom, Father of the Bride, Something’s Gotta Give. As I look at that list I see that they are roles of her as a mother in different phases of her life.  I’ve seen them all more than once and loved them every time.  What about you? Do you have a favorite Diane movie?



Saturday Snapshot – Trees

Last month I posted a picture of some of my heart postcards and asked which your favorite was (the heart-shaped tree beat the coffee beans by 1) so this month I thought I’d show you some of my tree postcards and see if you can choose a favorite.  Interestingly enough, when I put these together and told a little about each sender I discovered that 7 of these 8 came from Germany.  Germany must be a heaven for tree lovers!


So which one catches your eye?

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Saturday Snapshot – Good for a Giggle

For years, every summer we would spend the better part of a week on Kelley’s Island with my parents.  One house that we walked past a few years ago seemed to have one of those summer long yard sales so my mom and I took pity and stopped in.  I actually did buy some beautiful Japanese tea cups, but it was this that gave me a giggle.  And inspired me to take a picture.


I just love that this man was trying to sell his old relatives for $2 🙂  I’d ask a few dollars more for my own, what about you?

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.