Jul 12, 2014

Book Review; "The Lincoln Myth" by Steve Berry

The Lincoln Myth by Steve Berry (May 2014)

Goodreads says...

All it takes is a phone call from his former boss in Washington, and suddenly the ex-agent is racing to rescue an informant carrying critical intelligence. It’s just the kind of perilous business that Malone has been trying to leave behind, ever since he retired from the Justice Department. But once he draws enemy blood, Malone is plunged into a deadly conflict—a constitutional war secretly set in motion more than two hundred years ago by America’s Founding Fathers.

From the streets of Copenhagen to the catacombs of Salzburg to the rugged mountains of Utah, the grim specter of the Civil War looms as a dangerous conspiracy gathers power. Malone risks life, liberty, and his greatest love in a race for the truth about Abraham Lincoln—while the fate of the United States of America hangs in the balance.

My thoughts...

J and I both really enjoy Steve Berry's Cotton Malone series. (We both read The Charlemagne Pursuit when we were stuck in Newfoundland during Hurricane Igor.) He's actually one of the authors that got J into reading. Growing up he was never a big reader, but since I really enjoy relaxing with a good book he decided to give it another try.

Unfortunately, we were both a little bit disappointed by The Lincoln Myth. I found it hard to get into, and a little confusing in parts. The books in the Cotton Malone series all revolve around some sort of conspiracy, and I found this one a little bit too far-fetched for me. That being said, the book was suspenseful and I enjoy the characters of Cotton, President Daniels, and Stephanie Nelle. Even though I found this one a bit of a let-down, I'll still be picking up Cotton Malone's next adventure, The Patriot Threat when it comes out in March.

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Jul 11, 2014

July Goals

I just realized I never got around to posting my July goals! I've had this post half-done sitting as a draft for almost two weeks. Ooops!

July Goals 2014

1. Take my lunch to work at least three times a week. I managed to handle twice a week last month, so we're going to try for three this month. This is something I really need to do for my waistline and my wallet.

2. Try out four new recipes. I love barbecue season because J does all the barbecuing which means I don't have to do as much of the cooking. It makes me a bit lazy though, and it's not really fair to him, so hopefully if I'm thinking about trying new recipes I'll be more inclined to cook more dinners myself.

3. Try out a new (non-chain) restaurant/or eat from a food truck. This is probably going to be one of my goals every month. I really want to experience more of what Halifax has to offer in this area.

4. Take Daisy to the park. It's been so hot and humid that we haven't wanted to take Daisy too far or for any really long walks but we should be taking advantage of the fact that it's cooler in the evenings and staying light well after 8pm.

Daisy loves going to the park!
5. Set a house hold budget. J and I have talked about doing this a number of times, but we never seem to sit down and actually do it. I really think we need to though. We make enough money to easily cover our bills but most months we're struggling to pay everything because we've spent so much money on random things.

6. Save some money. Self-explanatory. And one that will show up every month.

7. Blog at least four times a week. This is another one that I think you'll find on my list every month. I want to  make blogging a habit and I think this is the best way to do that. I think if I made my goal to blog every day I'd either get discouraged or post a lot of crap. (Not that I post a lot of deep stuff as it is, but quality is somewhat important to me.)

Since July is the 7th month I'm going to go with 7 goals for this month. :-)

Do you set monthly goals? Do you find it helpful or do you get discouraged when you don't complete all your goals?

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Jul 10, 2014

Summer Lovin' Tag

The lovely Brittany tagged me in a Summer Lovin' tag yesterday so here I am! :-)

1. Summer lipstick you're loving? I don't actually wear lipstick. I'm more of a gloss person and I haven't even been wearing a lot of that lately. Now I want to go buy something new in a fun, summer shade though!

2. Summer nail polish you're loving? I've got two, neither are super expensive brands or anything, I just really like how they look. The first is Blazed by Wet 'n Wild and the second is Mintilicious by Rimmel. (I love the colour of the Rimmel one, but I don't like the brush so I've only worn it a couple times.)

3. Bathing suit you're loving this summer? I didn't get a new suit this summer because I got a new one close to the end of the season last year. (I don't wear one all that often.) It's pretty cute I guess - 2 piece with a black "skirt" and white and black patterned top.

4. Favourite summer Frappuccino from Starbucks? I can't remember the last time I was in Starbucks, I'm more of a Second Cup/Tim Horton's kind of girl. I love Second Cup's Frozen Hot Chocolate and I love Tim Horton's Frozen Raspberry Lemonade.

5. Favourite fake tan? Don't use them. I've got a pretty fabulous farmer's tan going on right now...

6. Favourite summer song? I'm loving "Don't Kill the Magic" by Magic.

7. Favourite summer accessory? I love sunglasses. Especially big, fun sunglasses.

8. Favourite summer fragrance/perfume? I don't wear a lot of scented products, but I picked up Bath & Body Works' Oahu Coconut Sunset fragrance mist a couple months ago and I love it. It's light and summery.

9. Summer book you're loving? I just finished City of Heavenly Fire (Book 6 of the Mortal Instruments Series) by Cassandra Clare and I really enjoyed it. I'm reading Prodigy by Marie Lu right now. It's been out for a while but I had never heard of it. It's the third book in a series - I just started the first book on Sunday - and I'm devouring it.

10. What are you most excited to do this summer? Just spend some time relaxing by the pool and taking Daisy on some hikes.

I'm not going to tag anyone in particular, but I'd love to know what you're all loving this summer!

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Jul 9, 2014

Sara vs. Spraypaint

As soon as I saw Kimberly and Aubrey's "What Would You Do?" link-up prompt for today I knew that it was finally time to share my experience with spraypaint...


Shortly after we got married J's grandparents downsized to a smaller apartment. They had a large, metal filing cabinet that they gave to us. It was not the prettiest looking filing cabinet, but we stuck it in the storage room of our apartment and used it to store all of our important paper work in it. When we moved in to our house we put it in the office and basically forgot about it.

Earlier this year my parents gave us some leftover laminate flooring they had. It was just enough to do the office. So we decided to give the office a bit of a make-over. We don't use the office very often (we rarely use our desktop, pretty much everything we do is on the laptop or the tablet) but it was a small room so we figured it was a good place to start our home make-over. I decided the ugly filing cabinet wouldn't fit in with the new look in the office so I decided to spray paint it.

Since it was March (and super cold!), and the room we were working in had no flooring and was being repainted I decided it was safe to do the spray painting inside.

Not my brightest moment.

We were about half-way through when I realized that my nose felt kind of funny so I went to the bathroom to check it out. It was then that I discovered a) I should have been wearing a mask because the inside of my nose was red like my filing cabinet and b) spray paint travels REALLY well and I now had pink carpet outside the office as well as pink tiles/sink/toilet in the bathroom. (Apparently opening the window and leaving the office door open was a good idea for air quality but not a good idea for keeping the paint contained.)

Yup, that really happened.

Three months later the carpet on the landing is still pink (less pink, but still very very noticable) but I have a beautiful red filing cabinet.

Lesson learned.

Have you ever had a DIY project go horribly wrong?
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Jul 8, 2014

Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo

A couple of weeks ago my boss mentioned that he had some tickets for the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo to give away and asked if I was interested. J and I have been to the Tattoo a couple times and have always really enjoyed ourselves. I was able to get four tickets for the show on Saturday afternoon so J and I decided to take my parents.
We had a delicious lunch at new restaurant downtown (try the lobster mac and cheese if you're ever at The Foggy Goggle) and then headed to the Metro Centre for the show.
The Tattoo is... Well, hard to explain for starters! It features all kinds of military bands and different display teams. (According to Wikipedia it's inspired by "military tattoos" but I don't really know what they are so that's not particularly helpful.) It happens every summer in Halifax and features performers from around the world. The majority of the performances are military based (there's also a strong RCMP prescence) but some are civillian performers. There are dancers, acrobats, bands, historic re-enactments... All kinds of different performances.
If you're ever in Halifax during the first week of July it's definitely something I recommend checking out!
The opening.

A tribute to three RCMP officers recently killed in the line of duty. (I bawled.)
This little guys came from Denmark. They were fantastic!

This was the best performance of the night. So much precision!

These two pictures are from a tribute to soldiers killed in Afghanistan. (I cried again...)

I love highland dancing. I hope some day I have a daughter who's interested in trying.
The muscles on this boys... Whoa.

Everybody marches back in for the finale. It's awesome to watch.

Sorry for all the pictures, I just couldn't narrow it down anymore!

Have a fantastic Tuesday. :-)

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Jul 7, 2014

Grateful for Mom & Dad

One of the reasons we bought our house was that it's less than a ten minute drive from my parents. (Some people would consider it walking distance, but I am not one of those people.) The older I've gotten the closer I've gotten to both of my parents. Growing up I always considered myself a "daddy's girl," and I definitely still am to some extent, but the older I get the more I rely on my mom.  
Aren't my folks super cute? This was taken on their most recent trip to Cuba.
I got to spend a fair bit of time with my parents this past week (we actually just got home from having supper with them!) and it got me thinking about how fortunate I am to not only still have both of my parents, but to live close to them and have a great relationship with them. That's what I am really feeling grateful for today - what about you? 

Ember Grey

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Jul 6, 2014

Accidentally on Purpose

I didn't plan on taking a week long blogging vacation. I actually had big plans on Wednesday to do up a whole bunch of posts in advance in case life got a little hectic. I grabbed Daisy and headed over to my parents' place around 11am so that we could spend the day lounging by the pool. I packed up my laptop and everything. But, for some reason I couldn't get my laptop to connect to the wi-fi so I ended up spending my day like this:

And it was fabulous.

Then after Wednesday work was crazy busy, and life was crazy busy, and I just didn't have a chance to sit down and do the blogging I had planned. I'm going to try and get a couple things written tonight, but until things get back to normal at work (we're short staffed currently) my blogging may be more sporadic than I would like.

Hope everyone had a great Canada Day and a great July 4th!

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