Thursday, July 30, 2009

You Still Have Time!

I ask a lot of my blog readers, but if you don't do a single thing I suggest (because I do know everything, right...I'm not nicknamed I.K.E by my husband for nothing), then at least read The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger before August 14th! It is a phenomenal book and is one of my all-time favorites! Niffenegger is a brilliantly gifted writer and the book's twists, turns, and multiple threads within the plot create a beautiful tapestry of characters and true, blue romance! Such a magical, yet heart-breaking novel! Check out the movie trailer below, but PLEASE read the book first...you will be so happy that you did!!

Rumors by Anna Godbersen


Okay, I know that I'm totally immersed in teen literature, but let me tell ya, there is some good stuff out there, if you only give it a chance! How many of you have read The Hunger Games and loved it? See! Teen literature has loads of value, and thank goodness I get paid to teach it! Anyway, back to my post about the second installment in the Luxe Series, Rumors by Anna Godbersen. If you are wanting to read the first book, Luxe, then I can't even begin to tell you about Rumors without giving away the ending to the first. All I can say is that the second book blew away the first! I love how Godbersen is able to make us identify with each character and empathize with their plight through her third person narration. I can't imagine having to be a female in the late 1800s and dealing with the expectations (let alone the corsets) suffocating women of that era. The whole waiting-on-a-man to take care of you thing would be brutal!

The romance is heightened in this second installment, and without giving away the ending of the first book, I will only say that I love Will, the Hollands coachman who leaves at the end of the first book to find oil out West. The secret love affair he had with society maven, eighteen year old Elizabeth Holland in the first book is further explained and deepened within the second book. Details of that relationship are so sweet, but their love ended with such a dramatic and shocking twist, I found my self rereading the last ten pages of the book, then scrambling to make sure I had brought home the third book, Envy, from my school shelves! I can't wait to find out what happens to Elizabeth, Diana, and even Carolina. I hope Penelope Hays gets what is coming to her for her conniving to break up Henry and Diana! (See what I mean about being immersed in teen literature...it's so easy to revert back to my teen mentality! Ha!) Luckily, I have the book and I will most definitely be starting that book this weekend. Who knew I would love these books so much?! Go get this series if you are a hopeless romantic, love teen gossip, and want to escape to 1899 for a few hours! Adorable series!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

George's Funeral

The Grey's Anatomy cast was photographed burying George today. I guess this means Izzy lives and it also makes me wonder how in the heck they are going to hide Ellen Pompeo's huge (and super cute) belly!

The Role of Victoria ReCast for Eclipse!

Dallas Bryce Howard (best known for her roles in Lady in the Water and Terminator, and as director Ron Howard's daughter!)
Rachelle Lefevre (known to Twilight fans as Victoria, the red-headed GF to the tracker vampire, James.)

US Weekly Reports:


Rachelle Lefevre says she's "stunned" that Bryce Dallas Howard has been recast in her role in the third Twilight movie, Eclipse.
Summit Entertainment, which produces the popular saga, announced Tuesday that Lefevre, who plays evil vampire Victoria, would drop out due to scheduling conflicts.
See photos of Twilight stars on the red carpet.
A surprised Lefevre released a statement Wednesday that read: "I was stunned. I was fully committed to the Twilight saga, and to the portrayal of Victoria. I turned down several other film opportunities and, in accordance with my contractual rights, accepted only roles that would involve very short shooting schedules.
"My commitment to [indie flick] Barney's Version is only 10 days. Summit picked up my option for Eclipse. Although the production schedule for Eclipse is over three months long, Summit said they had a conflict during those ten days and would not accommodate me. Given the length of filming for Eclipse, never did I fathom I would lose the role over a 10-day overlap.
Check out more than 15 pics from Twilight.
"I was happy with my contract with Summit and was fully prepared to continue to honor it. Summit chose simply to recast the part," she continued. "I am greatly saddened that I will not get to complete my portrayal of Victoria for the Twilight audience. This is a story, a theatrical journey and a character that I truly love and about which I am very passionate.
"I will be forever grateful to the fan support and loyalty I've received since being cast for this role, and I am hurt deeply by Summit's surprising decision to move on without me. I wish the cast and crew of Eclipse only the very best."
See more celeb scandals.
Summit did not immediately comment to the Associated Press.
I never thought Lefevre sucked or deserved to be recast, but I'm interested to see what Howard will bring to the role. She has a sharper, more angular face that can probably convey evil quite well. I've seen her in The Lady in the Water, and she's quite creepy. That stinks for Lefevre, because she would have much larger role in Eclipse, creating the newborn vampire herd! She's just been given a big slap in the face!

Bare Minerals Manicure




I'm a makeup junkie and experimented a bit today with my plethora of Bare Minerals eyeshadow! If you want a dazzling manicure the next time you sit down to fandangle your filanges, try this:

Step One - paint your nails with two coats of your favorite polish

Step Two - while the paint is still sticky, dip your eye brush into your BareMinerals eyeshadow or any other loose shadow that his shimmer and compliments your nail color. For example, I painted my nails with a goldy beige color from Ulta called "Goddess" and used a glittery gold eyeshadow from BareMinerals called "Captivate". Brush the powder over your nails.

Step Three - coat with your clear top coat, and you now have a sparkling manicure that has a bit more pizzaz than your usual!

Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

I saw the preview for the soon-to-be movie of this book a few weeks ago and had to read it! Julie Powell is 29 and feels like she's yet to do anything with her life, when everyone within her circle that is within her age bracket has seemed to accomplish something. She is a temp for a New York office that is helping to build the 9/11 memorial, so on a daily basis, she is dealing with heartache. That makes for a depressing job, and a negative work day, everyday! Julie leaves the city for a weekend to visit her parents in Austin and has an idea as she is guzzling coffee and lamenting to her mother about the current state of her affairs. She begins thumbing through her mother's old Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook by Julia Child and decides that she will attempt to cook every recipe in Julia's famous cookbook, all the while writing a blog about her adventures in the kitchen. Along the way, Powell juxtaposes Julie's adventures and struggles with Julia Child's life in Paris.

Julie Powell could easily have been my older sister's forgotten twin. I say this because they both have a dry humor and wit that is gut-busting hysterical without being insulting. Julie's struggles with the bone marrow sauce have to be my favorite escapade in the entire book! "It feels like bone-rape" she says as she's trying to pry the tiny scrap of marrow from the bone. Sounds barbaric (and it is) but it is hilarious! Powell is an amazing writer and easily conveys her sarcastic personality within this novel. I would have loved to have more Julia tidbits, and found her rise to cooking fame very intriguing and inspiring. I can't wait to see the movie, but I would highly recommend you read the book before venturing into the theater! Here's the trailer for the film:

Clean Program Starts in TWO DAYS!


I haven't blogged about the Clean plan in a while, but let me tell you that I am NOT quitting, but i had a few days this past week that were sooooo not on the Elimination Diet plan! First of all, my hubby and I went to a wine tasting party. I thought I could carry my glass around and look like I was drinking but not ACTUALLY drink. Oh, no, no, no! We were instructed to sit down and given a tutorial and description of each wine, asked to taste it,and then share with the group! Can't fake that, now can we?! I'm going to ask for forgiveness and regroup before my August 1st start date. I need to refocus and analyze why I am doing this again, and my grandmother's recent turn for the worse has completely helped me understand my objective. I do not want cancer someday. I want to be healthy for my girls and husband. I want to be the healthiest 29 year old you will ever meet! Clean is a small step to a much larger goal, but I'm sure I can do it! August 1st is just around the corner! You have enough time to start with me...here is what you will need for Day One:

Breakfast: Blue Berry Shake
1 cup of Almond Milk
1 cup of frozen blue berries
1 tsp of vanilla flavoring
2 tbs of aguave nectar (you can find it in the baking aisle at United...Walmart doesn't have it!)
Blend all ingredients into blender until smooth. Add ice if you like your smoothies a bit more icy.

Lunch: Seared Ahi-Tuna steaks (or a white fish fillet of your choosing)
2 tbs of Italian seasoning
1 tbs of Garlic Powder
1 tbs of Olive Oil
pinch of Sea Salt, or Kosher Salt

Drizzle fish will olive oil, coat both sides with mixture of Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Lay on foil lined pan that is also drizzled with olive oil. Sprinkle sea salt on the tops of your fillets. Cook at 350 for 20 minutes or less if you like it less done. I also like to squeeze fresh lemon juice on each fillet before serving. Serve on a bed of lettuce and dice up an avocado and throw in a few baby carrots. I drizzle with organic balsamic Italian dressing and toss. VERY YUMMY!

The dinner shakes are in the book, and I can post breakfast and lunch because I came up with those recipes. Dinner shakes involve more veggies and avocados, but you can google a "Clean Program Dinner Shake". Some of the recipes I've tried for dinner are gross. The book says you can repeat your breakfast shake and garner the same effects, so that's what I've been doing. You can also snack on fruits and veggies throughout the day if you feel famished, but NO DIP! I drizzle my bag of mixed veggies with a bit of the balsamic dressing I have, and that helps them taste a little more appealing to me! So now that you have a days worth of recipes, what is stopping you from joining me August 1st???

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

So FUNNY!

I'm hoping some of my single friends will see this and replicate it! I want to be in this wedding! I want to hang out and be friends with these people! So HILARIOUS!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Colon Chronicals: Day One of Elimination Diet


Day one of anything new is difficult, especially when it requires me to forgo my coffee. So to distract myself from my coffee pot, I woke up and ran thirty minutes, did my chest flys and squats, and decided to attempt one of my yoga DVDs. I figured if I spent the morning doing excercise, I could make it to lunch time coffee-free. Yoga and I don't mesh well because my self-diagnosed ADD doesn't allow me to sit and stretch for long periods of time, and I've yet to finish any of the three yoga DVDs in the trilogy I paid almost eighty bucks for a few months ago. What can I say? I bore easily, but anyway, I attempted it and finished nearly twenty minutes of it before calling it a day. How do some of those chicks do it for hours on end? I get so light-headed (probably because I forget to breath) and BORED OUT OF MY GOURD, but yoga is supposed to help the "cleansing" process, so I decided to give it another try.
Any-who, back to the diet; the elimination diet portion of "Clean" wasn't entirely bad, because I didn't "entirely" stick to the elimination list. Donnie took me to lunch at McCallister's and I had every intention of ordering JUST A SALAD, but the potato soup was calling my name and who am I to ignore a bowl of soup? I figure that it is liquid and has a vegetable in it, so I won't beat myself up too badly for having a small cup with my garden salad, sans the ranch dressing and croutons. I won't cheat tomorrow...there...I've justified my screw up and I am moving on! Well, wait, I also had sushi tonight, which I JUST NOW read that raw fish isn't allowed, so I guess I'm two for two on screwing up the meals. Breakfast wasn't screwed up because I skipped it. Let's just forfeit Monday and start anew tomorrow. So basically, the only thing I did correctly was not drink coffee. Yea, me!

I did make a trip to the grocery store and bought the stuff to have "Seared Tuna on Hearts of Romaine" for lunch tomorrow, and "Very Berry Smoothie" stuff for breakfast. Hopefully, with a fridge full of produce and pantry full of brown rice and....well, I really can't eat much out of the pantry... I can dominate Tuesday. Another part of this process I forgot to mention is the downing of olive oil each night before you go to bed. Two tablespoons! Lord knows I can't handle a shot of anything after attempting that feat tonight. Have you ever gagged on oil? It's disgusting. The olive oil is supposed to aide in digestion, but I'm not sure what good it will do if I puke the mess up each night. I'm not looking forward to attempting that again in the near future. I also bought the recommended supplements: probiotic pills (with 15 billion organisms per dose), Garlic tablets, Oregano Oil Tablets, and my usual vitamin supplement. I think I need to get into the supplement business because the combined total for each little bottle could have bought me a nice top or a few books. I'm hoping it will be worth the dough, but if they are not effective, I have a well-seasoned stomach! Stay tuned for the results for the rest of the week...apparently I need to give myself a little pep talk before tomorrow's foray into the world of cleansing!

Catching Fire...ARC Copies are OUT!


Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is the most anticipated book of 2009....well, according to me it is! Advanced Readers Copies (I wish I knew how I could join this organization) are out there and the reviews are pouring in! I just found this review of the book on Barnes & Noble.com, so read the review if you want more insight on Catching Fire. I am dying to find out what happens to Peeta, Katniss, and hot stud Gale!


Reviewed by K. Osborn Sullivan for TeensReadToo.comby TeensReadToo

When I picked up THE HUNGER GAMES, it immediately became "The Book" that I recommended to everyone who would listen. I stayed up until the wee hours every night to see what happened next. I blogged about it. I named a stray kitten "Rue." Not surprisingly, when I got my greedy hands on a copy of its sequel, CATCHING FIRE, I practically tore off the cover in my eagerness to dive in. Happily, the second installment of this compelling series did not disappoint. Now the only problem is waiting for the third book in this exciting trilogy.
CATCHING FIRE picks up six months after Kat and Peeta won the Hunger Games. Despite being a national hero and having the ability to provide a nice house and plenty of food for her family, Kat is still worried. She managed to win the Hunger Games, despite the Panem government's plans. Her behavior is viewed by the evil President Snow as defiance, which is never tolerated. She is a well-known, popular figure, so the president will not kill her outright, but Kat lives in fear that at any moment, she and those she loves could be punished for her actions.
Soon Kat learns that her performance in the Hunger Games arena had far-reaching consequences. In beating the government at its own game the previous year, Kat unintentionally demonstrated that the all-powerful President Snow is not quite so all-powerful. Now President Snow expects Kat to prove that she is a loyal citizen who doesn't support the anti-government rumblings that are spreading throughout the country. Her support is vital since it was her act of defiance that ignited the rumblings to begin with. And if she doesn't succeed to President Snow's satisfaction, her family and friends will pay the price.
CATCHING FIRE is a gripping follow-up to THE HUNGER GAMES. All the same characters are back - with the exception of those who were killed in Book #1, of course. Even more than in THE HUNGER GAMES, Kat is largely clueless about the strategies and plots that are going on around her. At times, this can be trying for the reader because by now she should know that everyone has an agenda, and if you're not directing the game, then you're a pawn. Still, her strength is an extraordinary instinct for survival. It's ironic that the Capitol government which created the Hunger Games and tries so hard to keep its people feeling helpless is also responsible for creating a person like Kat. She gained her skills and toughness by surviving unspeakably brutal conditions.
One key difference between the two books is that in THE HUNGER GAMES, reality TV was painted as a villain. A voyeuristic public's desire to be entertained by the suffering of others forced Hunger Games competitors to behave in inhuman ways. The oppressive government that created the competition was largely an ever-present background threat. In CATCHING FIRE, however, the government's cruelty is front and center as its boot heel presses ever harder on the throats of its people. The role of television and at-home audiences shifts in this book, and they become more of a weapon against the government than against the people......
Read the full review at TeensReadToo.com

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

I have a new obsession and it is the Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen. I've had these books on my classroom shelves for part of this year and took them home to read this summer so I could recommend them to my students. It's funny that I read the Luxe before starting "The Jane Austen Challenge" because this book reminds me of Jane's novels, but with a bit more bite. Think Gossip Girl meets Pride and Prejudice, and you have the Luxe novels! Forbidden love, scandal, and back-stabbing friends abound in the first book in the series, and I'm eager to begin the second today! Godbersen may be writing about an era in American history where proper social decorum was the focus of society, but apparently 18 year old girls in the 1900's are just as dramatic and love-sick as they are today. I love to travel back into the world of corsets, back- handed compliments, balls and hot gossip. These novels are a delightful treat and are by far and away my favorite indulgence this summer! Check out the Luxe, Rumors, then Envy for scintillating reads!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How Would You Like to Be This Chick?


No matter what side you are taking in the Jon & Kate marriage debacle, one thing is for sure, the media switches sides daily. Us Weekly is a prime example of how one week Kate is a monster and then the next week Jon is a loser. Now Jon's new girlfriend is the target of their "positive" press! Check out the upper left hand corner..."Jon and his Bimbo"...hilarious, that is, if you're not the bimbo! Click on the picture to read the accompanying article that describes his new gal pal as "bisexual" and she has a criminal record. Sounds like a winner, Jon! I'm sure your kids will learn a lot from your new friend! Control freak Kate must be crapping herself!

Barnes & Noble IPhone App - Free Joe!

I'm not sure how long this offer lasts, but if you download the Barnes & Noble application to your iphone or itouch, you will be given a code for free coffee in the B&N Coffee Shop, and everyone knows they serve Starbucks, right?! Download it and get your code, plus cool search and book review tools for your phone.

Left at the Alter, Minus 2 Million

It sounds like this chick is LUCKY this jerk dumped her the night before their 2 million dollar nuptials! What a pig!

From the New York Daily News:

It was supposed to be the best day of their lives.
Former New Jersey Nets star Richard Jefferson and onetime Nets dancer Kesha Ni'Cole Nichols were set to tie the knot at the Mandarin Oriental last Saturday, NYPost.com reports.
But in an unexpected turn of events, Jefferson bailed the night before their wedding.
The cold-footed fiancé ditched his stunning bride-to-be at such late notice that some guests had already shown up to the extravagant $2 million event that never took place.
Jefferson — who was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in June — dumped Nichols just before the weekend, according to sources.
Although Nichols, 29, immediately called her family and friends to alert them of the ill-timed news, the basketball pro waited much longer.
"He called about two hours before the wedding. It was nuts," said one Jefferson pal.
Although Jefferson never showed up to the hotel, he made sure to give his best friend his Black Amex credit card, with which the guests made good use of during the night.
A jilted Nichols, who was "not entirely caught off-guard," checked into the hotel and was upgraded to a suite on the 45th floor overlooking Central Park on what would have been her wedding night, according to a source at the hotel.
"She just wants to keep this as quiet as possible and move on," a Nichols family insider told FoxSports. "She's doing just fine."
Neither Jefferson nor Nichols have responded to requests for comment. Read more:
http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2009/07/15/2009-07-15_nba_star_richard_jefferson_dumps_bridetobe_kesha_nicole_nichols_night_before_2_m.html#ixzz0LRTSufMc

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

So if MSN News Tells You to Read It, Will You?


I've been telling all of my loyal blog readers (I even have a few in Denmark and the UK...hello, friends!) to READ THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins. Even though it is considered a "teen book", trust me when I say that it is a great read for adults, too! Like Twilight, this article on MSN, an article by Martha Brockenbrough (http://entertainment.msn.com/news/article.aspx?news=413559) is predicting that The Hunger Games, and its yet-to-be released sequel, Catching Fire are the next BIG THING! Read on to learn more about what I've already been saying about this fantastic book!


By the time the "Harry Potter" movie came out, he was pretty well established as a pop culture icon. It's no surprise, then, that the movies have been hugely popular.
The "
Twilight" movie phenomenon took some people by surprise, and by "some people" I mean those poor saps who haven't figured out that teen books are often the best ones on the bookstore shelves.
(I also mean my former editor, but he's forgiven. Most 30-something men don't spend a lot of time on breathless vampire romance, not when there's "
MythBusters" and a plate of hot wings just sitting there waiting to be consumed.)
So that you do not miss out on the Next Big Thing in teen pop culture, and, indeed, so that your life has some meaning beyond your soul-crushing daily routine, I'm going to whisper two words in your ear: "Hunger Games."
Easily one of the most popular fantasy titles of 2008, it's set to hit movie theaters in 2011. More of interest today, though, is the sequel, "Catching Fire," which doesn't hit bookstores until September, but was the prize advance reader's copy to score at the recent BookExpo America, the largest book publishing event in North America.
Even editors at other houses and literary agents who represent other writers tweeted and blogged about how much they wanted to read this one particular book early.
"Catching Fire" was due to come out Sept. 8, but Scholastic, the publisher, pushed that date up to Sept. 1 so fans could devote their Labor Day weekend to the book. If you want it, reserve your copy now. Though 250,000 is a good-sized initial print run, I won't be at all surprised to see them sell out.
So why are people so excited?
For starters, it's an intensely thrilling book. Even Stephen King said, "I couldn't stop reading."
Written by Suzanne Collins, it's set in a version of North America gone horribly wrong. Citizens live in 12 districts, some rich, some poor (a 13th was annihilated by the powers that be in the capitol). Every year, each sends two teens to fight to the death in a televised spectacle called "The Hunger Games." Pretty much anything goes, and fan favorites are sent food and necessary supplies to make the competition more interesting. The winner is guaranteed a life of luxury, a sweet prize for people forced to live on bread crusts and stolen game.
The main character, a girl named Katniss Everdeen, winds up in the competition. I won't reveal any other details because it would be cruel to spoil your surprise in reading. Suffice it to say the book itself is a compelling blend of political intrigue, romance and gripping chase scenes. It's impossible to put down. The first time I read it, my in-laws were in town, and I kept sneaking out of the room to read a few pages. I'm sure I looked like someone with a bad drug habit, and, when it comes to this book, that wouldn't be an unfair accusation.
Some people have criticized the story for its resemblance to the Japanese movie "
Battle Royale." Unless you're a Japanese-cinema buff, though, this shouldn't stop you from picking up the book. It's insanely good.
So far, the people who've read "Catching Fire" have done a good job keeping the sequel's plot secret. They have leaked, though, that there are some astonishing twists. Knowing this just makes the anticipation worse.
Do yourself a favor, though. Read "The Hunger Games" this summer so you can get in on the excitement before the sequel hits. Even if your kids are too young to read about death matches, they'll be old enough someday. Don't they deserve a first edition? Come to think of it, don't you?

Google Yourself!


I'm really not wanting to clean house. Case in point, I've been vainly googling myself, and found Donnie and I's engagement announcement! HAAAAA! We look like babies! Oh, to know then what I know now! Click on the pic to read the engrossing announcement in the Lubbock AJ! Hilarious! BTW, never google "Lenzi Hart" or "Lenzi Diggs" because it is a total waste of time. "Donnie Hart", on the other hand, has too many hits to count!

Week Five of Five Factor Fitness...Seeing Results!

As I've blogged in previous posts, I am a Five Factor Fitness follower, the workout plan designed by celeb trainer, Harley Pasternak. His biggest claim to fame is shaping the luscious Jessica Simpson down to her fighting weight a few years ago. If you read the tabloids at all, you will notice that she doesn't use Harley any longer! I'm on week five of Harley's program, a routine that I had previously endured two summers ago and had taken a year long hiatus from, but I'm asking myself, "Why did I ever quit?". I'm starting to see results this week. My arms are tone and firm, my butt is finally going back to where is should be, and I'm slowly seeing my stomach go back to its pre-Makenzi glory. Not to be dissuaded, I decided that if I would start noting my results, I might not quit doing the program after I have to go back to work in August. It's not like this program is too time-consuming for me....I just get lazy and would rather sleep in that extra hour than wake up at 5am to work out. Weights are the only thing (besides sprints) that change my body, and this program incorporates weights in a way that is not too hard on my already squeaky joints. (Thanks, for the squeaky joints at the ripe old age of 29, Coach Thornburg! I blame your horrendous track workouts for my cracking knees and ankles! :) So, note to self, having tone arms (that do not wave hello and goodbye simultaneously), firm legs and booty, and taut stomach are GREAT FOR MY WARDROBE. Keep it up, Lenzi (yes, I talk to myself in the third person all the time...hence, "Lenzi Likes It")! Check out Jessica's Harley transformation below if you need inspiration to begin your own Five Factor Fitness program:

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

As a young girl, I had a copy of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett that I probably read a hundred times. I would love to ask Kate Morton if that fantastic and magical novel was her inspiration for this book I'm reviewing today, The Forgotten Garden. All though this tale is a grown up version of my childhood favorite, the novel possesses the same mystifying qualities as its predecessor.
A four year old girl is found on an Australian dock in 1913, with only a small suitcase filled with clothing and a beautiful volume of illustrated fairy tales. The dock master and his wife raise the fair, beautiful, flame haired daughter as their own, but on the girl's 21st birthday, the dock master decided it is his responsibility to tell his daughter the truth of her origins. "Nell", as she is called by her Australian family, begins a journey filled with mystery and intrigue to discover her roots and how she came to be on that dock alone in 1913. Through shifts in point of view between Nell, her granddaughter Cassandra, and the mysterious Eliza Makepeace, author of the volume of fairy tales found in Nell's suitcase, Morton weaves a tale that is complex, perplexing, and leaves the reader eager to turn the page to discover more of Nell's family secrets. Nell and Cassandra must explore their past, present and future to find the happiness and true identity they are both searching for at different points in time. Cassandra is present-day (2005), reading the notations of Nell's search for her identity in 1975. The varying points of view are what make this novel compelling and rich with character.
Romance, evil, tension, and the love between a grandmother and granddaughter combine to create a wonderfully written novel that I would love to reread in the future! I'm going to purchase Kate Morton's first novel, a bestseller, The House at Riverton, after reading this crafty novel!

Elimination Diet Starts on Monday!

As I'm reading Clean by Alejandro Junger, M.D., I've just found out that you need to complete an "Elimination Diet" at least one week prior to starting the full 21 day detox program. I'm an over-achiever and a certified coffee and wheat grain addict, so I'm going to attempt the elimination diet for two weeks before the August 1st start date, just because I'm afraid that the detox will be too hard if I give up everything at once. In order to participate in the Elimination Diet, I will have to exclude the following from my diet:


Fruits:


  • Oranges

  • Orange Juice

  • Grapefruit

  • Strawberries

  • Grapes

  • Banana

Dairy Substitutes:

  • Dairy and Eggs

  • Milk

  • Cheese

  • Cottage Cheese

  • Cream

  • Yogurt

  • Butter

  • Ice Cream

  • Nondairy Creamers

Non-gluten Grains and Starch:

  • Wheat

  • Corn

  • Barley

  • Spelt

  • Kamut

  • Rye

  • Couscous

  • Oats

Animal Protein:

  • Raw fish (goodbye, sushi rolls! Boo!)

  • pork

  • beef

  • veal

  • sausage

  • cold cuts

  • canned meats

  • hot dogs

  • shellfish

Vegetables:

  • Corn

  • Creamed Vegetables

  • tomatoes

  • potatoes

  • eggplants

  • peppers

Drinks:

  • Alcohol

  • Coffee

  • caffeinated beverages

  • soda pop

  • soft drinks, diet & regular

The list is longer than what I'm including here, and you can see the full "Elimination Diet" list in the book, but basically, I'm limited to green veggies, fruits that do not include my favorite (bananas) and of course, no coffee. There are also tons of recipes in the book, that I hope to learn and master before the real-deal on August 1st. I rarely drink and haven't smoked in years (Ashlee's Bachelorette Party doesn't count), so at least I don't have those bad habits to break. Coffee and cereal will be a major pain not to partake in, but if I can do this for two weeks, then maybe I can succeed in the full three weeks. I'm ready to cleanse my body, but will desperately miss my coffee each morning. I'm going to spend this week saying "good bye" to my morning friend!

Ulta Sample Rocks!


Ulta, in addition to Barnes and Noble, is one of my favorite stores. I'm a product junkie and love to go in and sample everything. I'm a huge fan of the Bare Minerals makeup and I wear everything Bare Minerals, except my eye liner and mascara. The one time I had tried their mascara in the past, it ended up running and clumping and making a mess of my face by the end of the day. So I wasn't expecting much when I received a free sample of their new mascara "flawless" in my Ulta bag last week. If you purchase a Bare Mineral product at Ulta, you will receive this deluxe sample. Much to my surprise, it rocks! The brush is plastic and spiney, and works it's way through my lashes without clumps and mess. It doesn't run and stays put, even after wearing the product all day in the Lubbock heat. If you are looking for a new mascara, head over to Ulta and give this sample a whirl.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Clean by Alejandro Junger, M.D....What I'm Learning So Far!

In preparation for beginning my August 1st cleanse, I'm reading Junger's book and learning some exciting stuff. It's no wonder my parent and grandparent's generation is suffering the highest rate of cancer and heart disease of any other group. They've been exposed to pesticides, milk from cows injected with steroids and hormones, meat laden with drugs, and a plethora of chemicals in clothing and detergents that their parents did not encounter until later in life. This rings true for my family history. My great grandmother is 92 and trucking along nicely, while both of my maternal grandparents have suffered and passed away from rare forms of cancer. My paternal grandmother is currently battling cancer, and this isn't rare for other families, either. What scares me is how all of the chemicals will effect MY generation. We've had chemical laden food and drugs our entire lives. We did not grow our own vegetables (like my great grandparents did) or drink milk from cows that roamed freely on a farm somewhere. We've always had over-processed and engineered produce to fill our bellies.

Author of Clean, Alejandro Junger, a cardiologist and now a director of integrative medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City is a true-blue doctor with the degrees to prove it. Living in Texas, I've discovered that people "in these here parts" do not recognize holistic healing as a real branch of medicine and many see Eastern medicine as a "bunch a' bologna". Maybe the fact that he was a doctor in Western medicine before he discovered whole-health healing will help to validate his credentials for my less than trusting readers! Junger grew up in Hungary and had a life-long dream of becoming a doctor to help heal people. When he came to America to study and intern, is when his own health began to decline and suffer. Living on vending machine products and microwave entrees had caused a swift change in his overall physique and his mental clarity was also suffering. He was depressed and resisted his psychiatrist's advice that he begin taking an antidepressant. Being a doctor, he naturally wanted to discover the root of his depression, irritable bowel syndrome, tiredness and overall bad health. After a friend introduced him to a detox program at a holistic center and the rest is history. Simply detoxifying his body and permanently changing his diet "rewired" his body. His IBS disappeared, and he lost 15 pounds and had not "felt better since my teens". Encouraged by his new-found health, he began studying holistic medicine and is now the director of his own practice, Eleven Eleven Wellness Center. Junger explains the concept behind his book in the video below:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Video Clears Up Obama Photo Controversy

Before I get a ton of emails telling me what a man-whore Obama is, please watch the video that will clear up the recent string of controversy surrounding this supposed image of our President checking out a young girl's bum! It doesn't matter who the president is, people will always be able manipulate images to breed controversy, so please be aware of what you are insinuating before you hit "send" and plaster your inaccuracy all of the web to your friends and family! I'm a huge fan of http://www.snopes.com, which is a site dedicated to debunking Internet rumors and urban myths, and a huge part of their site proves wrong many rumors about our President that have been blazing across the Internet since Obama announced his intentions to run for President. Check it out sometime...the truth is enlightening!


The Hangover...Best Movie of the Summer!

While I'm critiquing movies this week, I might as well throw in my two cents about the breakout movie of the summer, The Hangover. This movie is gut-busting hilarious! Even though it doesn't take much to make me laugh, this movie doesn't go for the cheap laughs based on crude humor alone(but do not be mistaken, there is plenty of it).Weaved into the obvious laughs is witty dialogue and amazing comedic writing. The script should win awards, even if the movie's actors do not. Check out the trailer below, and pay money to see it in the theater...it is definitely worth it!


Friday, July 10, 2009

KNOWING...With Nicolas Cage

Donnie and I watched this last night, and it wasn't bad! Not awesome, but okay. If you want something to rent and watch in the a/c, this is an entertaining choice. I found myself saying "yeah, right" or "why are you leaving your kid alone again?!", but all in all, it was a pretty satisfying thriller. Cheesy at the end, but not horrible.

Does Levi Look Like He's a Chromosome Off to You?


Say what you want about Sarah Palin, but why do people keep asking her daughter's loser ex-boyfriend about her? I mean, the kid looks like he's high all the time, and seems like a first-class douche bag. Recent reports say he's theorized why Palin is leaving her post as mayor of Alaska, and according to the Geico spokesman, it's because she wants to capitalize on lucrative deals being thrown her way. Whatever the reason, could we please start finding out our info from sources that have more than two brain cells?

Breaking Dawn...Keeping the Sex! Breaking Some Head Boards! Why Am I Covered in Feathers? Yea!

Um, might not be able to go see Breaking Dawn with my 8th graders after this report....

Let's Cleanse Our Colon! Join Me in "The Colon Challenge"

Clean by Alejandro Junger, M.D. will be our guide:


I'm going to detoxify my body!! (My mother and sisters are probably rolling their eyes as the read this...I'm the "hippy" of the family! Ha!) Donnie says I can't do this, but by golly, when someone says I can't do something, well, I do it! Celebrities are constantly talking about "detoxification" or "cleansing", and I've always wanted to try it. I like punishing myself, what can I say? (Hence, the half-marathon training to begin hardcore in September/October for my race in November!)

Gwyneth Paltrow recently blogged on her site "GOOP" (http://www.goop.com) about the wondrous effects of a recent cleanse she finished, designed by doctor Alejandro Junger. He has a book and site, and I will post his site info within the picture of the book, so click on it if you want more info. The difference in this cleanse from others that I've read about, is that you are allowed a small meal. Sounds like fun, right? Starving yourself for the purity of your bowels? Actually, participating in this "cleanse" is supposed to rid your body of toxins and impurities that build up within your intestines and "gut" over years of digesting processed and chemical-laden food.

My family has a horrible history of weird, rare cancers, and one of my 29th birthday goals is to do everything that I can to be healthy. This cleanse is supposed to kick-start that goal.
It is a 21 day program, so I'm wondering if I can do ANYTHING for 21 days, so why not try it? When it comes to food, I have little will-power. I usually don't even think about food, unless, of course, I'm on a diet. Then I think about EVERYTHING edible around me. I start wanting stuff I never even acknowledged when I wasn't on a diet, so this might be very hard for me. But maybe since my goal isn't weight loss, I might have a different mindset about the plan. Coupled by the fact that I'm giving myself a few weeks to mentally prepare for "The Colon Challenge" (as I've decided to call it), maybe this time my success rate might improve.

You do not have to buy into the system he has for sale on-line, apparently the book seems to be the only cost I would have to suffer. (Donnie was adamant that I not spend any big bucks doing this, since again, he's pretty sure I will give up after a few days of "cleansing", but I'll prove him wrong...I hope!) I plan on starting this cleanse on August 1st, along with "The Jane Austen Project". Nothing like cleaning your colon with Jane Austen! Poo and Austen...a perfect pair. Anyone else like to join me in ridding your body of toxins and losing weight while doing it? Are you up for another lenzilikesit challenge?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Today Throws a Wedding Winners


Leigh Daniels is a former two-time National Champion track star for Texas Tech University Track & Field, and is part of the winning couple for the Today Show Throws a Wedding. Their love story is very cute, and it seems like the two deserve this happy ending! Check out what the Today Show has to say about their winning pair:


Ohio-born Nick and Texas-raised Leigh first met in the same Olympic Development Program, where training was so intense that dating among athletes was strictly prohibited. They soon fell in love, and when their relationship became too apparent to deny, Nick and Leigh were promptly kicked out of the program. The lovebirds packed their bags and headed into the real world — broke, lost and scared — but together.
Five years later, the couple started competing again — but this time, for TODAY’s wedding series. When not on Rockefeller Plaza, Leigh and Nick both work as assistant track coaches at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio.


Nothing like a forbidden romance! How adorable! Keep watching the Today Show this week and next to vote on the wedding details. The bride's gown and wedding party wear has already been decided, but you can vote on their rings today. I'm so excited for them...not that I actually KNOW them, but either way, it's so cool when someone you "know of" has been selected for such an amazing contest prize!



The Hunger Games Movie Trailer...fan made!



On of the best fan-made trailers for The Games that I've found, made by "Inahoop" on You Tube. Check it out!

If Twilight Was Made in the 80's...

I love The Outsiders novel and movie, and of course I love Twilight, so this video montage cracks me up!

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Jane Austen Challenge!

One of my life-long goals is to publish a novel, but I've noticed that since having two kids my brain has pretty much gone to the crapper. I don't know if it's because I'm only reading teen books, (I teach 8th grade Reading) but when I go to write, the words do not come to me as easily as they did before my two daughters arrived. I've decided I need to work out my brain and give myself a reading challenge, and I want you to join me! Just like your butt needs challenging lunges to keep it firm and taut, your brain needs material that requires reflection and contemplation. A recent post by one of my friends on Facebook gave me the idea for "The Jane Austen Challenge", because she was revealing how the Austen novel (can't remember which one she was working on) was teaching her a whole new vocabulary. Who wants to join me in entering the world of Austen? Even if you've never read her novels, or had to read them for a college course long ago, most of us can find some sort of enjoyment from her work. That is why I propose we read her seven novels in seven months. The Challenge will go something like this:



1. Sense and Sensibility - start Saturday, August 1st, 2009


2. Pride and Prejudice - start Tuesday, September 1st, 2009


3. Mansfield Park - start Thursday, October 1st, 2009


4. Emma - start Sunday, November 1st, 2009


5. Northanger Abbey - start Tuesday, December 1st, 2009


6. Persuasion - start Friday, January 1st, 2010...probably with a headache!


7. Lady Susan - start Monday, February 1st, 2010




If you want to make it easy on yourself, you can buy this book (click on the picture above) at Barnes & Noble that contains all seven novels and is BEAUTIFUL on any shelf. I own this, and my oldest daughter has already said the book is "hers" someday. "The Jane Austen Challenge" will begin Saturday, August 1st, 2009. That should give everyone plenty of time to purchase or check out the first book on our list. As any good teacher should, I will post discussion questions and reflections over whatever novel we are reading on this blog. It will be fun, challenging, and educational...and who knows, you might find a favorite novel during this process, and everyone will think you are so cultured and smart when you off-handedly mention that you have read seven of Austen's novels. HA!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

5 Factor Fitness...Simple, Effective, Not Necessarily Easy!


Let's face it, if you want to be in-shape, you have to work for it. Much like having cavity free teeth requires brushing and attention from you each day, your body requires the same amount of notice. Muscles are not tightened by magic pills and fat never magically melts away while you lay on the couch and watch Desperate Housewives. It takes daily dedication, and sometimes that fact simply sucks. I'll be the first to admit that I take MONTHS off of the workout grind, but I always come back because of what happens to my body when I stop paying attention to it. I've never been able to starve myself, and that will never give me the long term results of acquiring the healthy body I desire. Being a mother has taught me that "thin" is never the goal..."healthy" should be, and after two kids stretching out my belly, I'll never be in a two piece without medical intervention as it is!

Harley Pasternak has a simple workout that I've blogged about before called 5 Factor Fitness. It is a weight training program combined with a cardio plan. Many people operate under the notion that lifting before they've lost weight will only "build muscle under fat", there by making them look bigger. I think that is the dumbest myth out there. Lifting builds lean muscle, and unless you are taking illegal steroids, you are not going to bulk up like The Incredible Hulk. Maybe The American Gladiators television show scared women away from weights for that reason, but that fear is irrational and false.

Go buy the paperback copy of Harley's book, a set of 5lb, 10lb, and 15lb dumbbells, a jump rope, and you are ready to reshape your body, no gym membership required. I am on my 4th week, and have already seen much-needed changes in my body. I would love to say that this workout is a breeze, but any good workout is not easy! It is challenging, but doable, and I leave my garage (where I've set up my work out station) sweating like a whore in church. It's a great way to start my day! Muscles are firm, I've lost inches and a bit of weight, and everything fits better, which is one of my major goals. Give it a whirl and let me know if you like the program as well!

CeraVe Cream...Good Stuff!

My family has extremely sensitive skin! So sensitive, that I recently had to take my oldest daughter to the dermatologist for help with her dry skin. Everything I put on it either burned or left her with greasy dry skin (if that's actually possible). He told me to run to my local drugstore (I went to Walgreens) and buy CeraVe cream. Don't get me wrong, it costs more than the cheap lotion I usually buy at Walmart, but it has done wonders for not only my daughter, but for myself, as well. I am a product junkie and will try anything, so naturally I've been giving this product a whirl. After a bath or shower, we put the cream on and it absorbs almost instantly and will create a natural barrier on your skin after repeated use. Never before has my skin been so soft, and my daughter's skin feels like it did when she was a baby. Try it! Especially if you have problem skin and need something that is AWESOME!

Stephen King: 10 Best Books of 2008 - EW.com

Stephen King: 10 Best Books of 2008 - EW.com

Shared via AddThis

The Only Thing Good About Transformers 2....

was the preview of New Moon...

April & Oliver by Tess Callahan


April has issues, and much of her 27 years have been filled with chaos and turmoil. Her only saving grace was her friend, Oliver, who was focused, grounded and came from a model home. Oliver was who April ran to when her explosive home life erupted, and he was her anchor in life. Oliver, on the other hand, harbored a long-standing crush on April that he was too timid to pursue. When Oliver leaves to attend college across the country, a devastated April ends contact with him. Only the death of April's little brother reunites the two, and Oliver's new fiance also a part of this drama-filled triangle.

The phrase "sexual tension" can best be defined and illustrated throughout this novel! How many times did I mentally scream, "Go for it, Oliver!"? Even though April's rough life is heart breaking and shocking, Callahan creates a realistic portrayal of a girl trapped in a cycle of violent relationships. April's situation is authentic and believable, and Callahan never creates the cliched illusion of April being a "battered" woman. A compelling book by Tess Callahan, who will hopefully debut a second novel in the near future!

The Time Traveler's Wife - AWESOME Book Made Into a Movie


This is one of my all-time favorite books (The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger), about a man who can't control his tendency to sporadically travel forward and backward through time. Interwoven in this narrative is a beautiful love story. Lucky for me, the book is being made into a movie and I can't wait to see it. I bawled at the preview, so I'm hoping it will be as good as it is promising to be. Read the book, and we can critique the movie together!!!



Night Readers Need This...

It is no mystery that I love to read, but night time is the only chance I have to actually do it! Before the Light Wedge, I would drive my husband nuts with my habit of reading in bed. The bedside lamp was annoying to him, so he bought me this little baby, and it is awesome! Not only does it illuminate the entire page, but the light isn't so bright that it will keep your spouse up. The lamps along the side illuminate the sheet of glass that you "wedge" onto the page of your book. The battery life of the wedge is also long-lasting, as I've only replace my batteries three times and I've had for two years and read with it every night. Click on the link below to learn more about it, or just look for it the next time you go into Barnes and Noble.