Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beautiful Disaster

Last night the booktini gals had the pleasure of meeting Laura Spinella and discussing her fabulous debut novel Beautiful Disaster.  We had loads of fun drinking our martinis and asking Laura all about the characters (Flynn makes us swoon!), the different settings (love Georgia!), the storyline (art imitating life?) and the many conflicts throughout the novel. 

Laura also discussed the writing process and the research she did for the book, which included talking to a Special Ops Marine and an ICU Nurse Manager at Mass General Hospital.  So fascinating!  Laura's beautiful writing and seamless transitions take the reader on an emotional journey through love's possibilities and the power of faith.  Laura makes it so easy to fall in love with Mia and Flynn and root for them when the odds are stacked against them. 

In addition to romance, the book takes a close look at friendship and its boundaries.  It examines what motivates people and that things aren't always what they seem.  I always enjoy a love story that stops and makes you think. Kudos Laura!!

If you haven't read Beautiful Disaster, you are missing out! 


Next month we'll be reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, as we all embark on our own happiness journeys - so stay tuned!

-Christine

Monday, March 7, 2011

Booktini in Boston!

The new Art of the Americas wing at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is quickly becoming one of the city's most buzzed about places! Located on, Huntington Avenue, near The Fenway, a visit to this neo-classical building is one both the art enthusiast and the novice is sure to appreciate.  As a "Bzz Agent," I received complimentary passes to the museum. (The MFA also offers free admission several days throughout the year, as does Bank of America, which is great, because the tickets are a bit pricey).
Fellow Booktini gal, Heather, & I visited the MFA with our families last week. We were truly impressed with the size and scope of the Art of the Americas wing! Some of our familes' favorite pieces included Copley's famous portrait of Paul Revere and Sully's masterpiece, "The Passage of the Delaware." Other favorites were the Cassatt and Sargent galleries of this wing. "The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit," an iconic seven-foot tall portrait by Sargent, returned back from a loan to a Spanish museum in time for the opening of the 500 million dollar expansion. The massive blue and white vases featured in the portrait are also on display beside it. 
 
The multimedia guide was a big hit with my children. Joey & Tommy enjoyed using the iPods to watch cartoon characters give explanations about the artwork throughout the tour. Another fantastic option, offered in the Scharf Visitors Center, is the family tote bag, filled with laminated games, puzzles and note cards that really enhance a family visit. They are free to use for the day. My sons loved picking out a contemporary work from the third floor of the new wing to sketch, using the paper and colored pencils included in the tote. It was a fabulous day trip to Boston and one we'll certainly be buzzing about for a long time! Mobac
 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Time to Organize!

So, I've been cleaning, purging and organizing the bedrooms in my house.  I don't do this nearly as often as I should.  Having said that, I thought I'd post some before and after pictures of my closet.  Yes, I know this is very brave, but I'm doing it in the name of inspiration.  I am hoping these pictures will inspire you to clean out some closets before the good weather comes.  Because the last place you'll want to be is inside cleaning, right?


Here's before:



Can you believe it?  I can hear you gasping!  Relax.  Here's the after:




So much better!  I am very pleased with the end result.  I even organized my shirts by color in rainbow order of course!  I learned a few things about myself along the way.  One is that I don't own any clothes that are yellow.  I thought that was odd.  No yellow.  Not a single thing.  Is that odd?  Are your clothes missing a particular color? 


The other thing I learned is that my chest is the landing site for anything that is going to stain my shirt.  I can't tell you how many shirts I ditched because they had a stain on my chest.  Like in the same spot.  Every single one.  Now, I'm no Dolly Parton but I'm not lacking in that area either.  Does that happen to you?

Well, that's just one small part of the many cleaning projects I've completed in the past few weekends.  The best part is that I have about 8 giant trash bags of clothes to donate from all the bedrooms and closets that have been cleaned out and that's a great feeling! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Talking Taunton Sports

Here's a great interview about Taunton Brewins Youth Hockey with Booktini gal, Christina's daughter Catie!  This interview was on the Taunton local cable channel this week.  Go Catie!


video

Friday, March 4, 2011

Tales from the Scale – Month # 2 Results

I'm not gonna lie.  February was not an easy month.  I did great with the exercise and kept up with my routine of kick boxing 4 times/week and I even added in pilates one night/week.  So that was all good.

But the eating?  Not so good.  I could've really used a roll of duct tape for my mouth this month.  Let's see, there were a couple of nights out where martinis and appetizers were consumed.  Then there was the Valentine's Day red velvet cake.  Holy Moly!  You don't really want me to go on, right?  But you get the picture.

So what were the results for the month?  I lost 4.5 pounds, which is good considering all the yummy poor food choices I made.  I am super happy about the inches that melted off (thank you to the super cute kick boxing instructor!)
Inches lost in Month # 2
Waist: 1"
Bust: 1.5"
Hips: 1.5"
Thighs: 0.75"
Arms: 0.5"

I am hoping to make better food choices this month and stay consistent with my current exercise routine.  My goal for March is to lose 7 pounds.  I'll have to be pretty diligent about my eating and exercising to achieve it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

March is here!

The month of March always makes me feel hopeful.  Hopeful that winter is almost over and spring is around the corner.  It is the light at the end of the snow blizzard, freezing rain, dark days, mind numbing cold tunnel!  I am not a lover of winter and shouldn't live in New England, but there are many reasons I am still here - family, work, etc. 

So, do you want to know what has gotten me through this winter?  I know it seems small and rather silly, but I have my own little mini-beach on my desk at work.


And I really love my little beach. 

Now, I'm not a fan of the beach.  I am more of a pool girl.  Maybe someday I will find a mini pool. 

With a mini bar. 

With mini margaritas. 

And a cute pool boy. 

But for now, the mini beach will have to serve as my daily reminder that winter is not forever!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

So many books, so little time...


There are so many books on my nightstand just waiting to be read.  Here's a few of them:


The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels--A Love StoryMy Life from Scratch: A Sweet Journey of Starting Over, One Cake at a Time   My Life in France by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme  Nefertiti: A Novel   

A Year on Ladybug Farm  Spoken from the Heart  Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home  Planting Dandelions: Field Notes From a Semi-Domesticated Life

Have you read any of these? 
Did you like them? 
Which one should I read first? 
What's on your nightstand?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Top 5 Favorites

Medora Snacks Popcorners Popped Corn Chips, White Cheddar, 5-Ounce Packages (Pack of 12)
Oh my goodness!  Have you had these yet?  They taste just like popcorn and you don't have to deal with popcorn kernels getting stuck in your teeth!  Plus they are crispy.  I've had the sea salt, white cheddar, and kettle.  They are my new favorite snack!  You totally need to try them!







Michael O'Rourke Get A Lift Volumizing Spray 10ozThis is my new favorite volumizing spray.  It is simply amazing and so easy to use.  Just spray it in your hair when you get out of the shower and blow dry and it gives your hair such a lift.  I also love the smell!  Oh, and the bottle is just adorable! 
 





Reebok Women's Zigfuel Running Shoe,White/Glacier Blue/Silver,8.5 M USI just got a pair of these and I am in love!  They give me so much support and lots of bounce, which is what I need for my kick boxing classes.  Plus they are so cool looking!







Philosophy Amazing Grace Eau De Parfum Spray, 2-Fluid OunceHave you used any Philosophy products yet?  If you have, then I'm sure you love them as much as me.  My favorite sent is Amazing Grace.  I love it!  The perfume, shower gel, body butter and body emulsion are among my favorites.  You can order it online at http://www.philosophy.com/ or check out QVC!






COACH GALLERY EMBOSSED PATENT E/W LEATHER TOTE F16564 BlackThis is my new favorite purse.  I have it in red and I love it.  There is something about patent leather that I just love! It has plenty of room for everything and yet it's not too big.  I also have the matching wallet, which might be the best wallet I've ever owned.  I absolutely love it!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Hussy

The Hussy

The Booktini gals got together last night with Elaine Watkins to talk about her book, The Hussy.  Everyone really enjoyed Elaine's debut novel about a girl named Julia and the life changing effects of her out of the ordinary actions one day.  Julia throws a little caution to the wind with some help from her best friend, Corene and handsome stranger, which really gives her small southern town something to talk about!  Julia's granddaddy is the well known Reverend at the local church and Julia sure stirs things up for him.  Things get pretty crazy in this small town and Julia has a lot of decisions to make.

It was great to meet and talk to Elaine.  She wrote this book as part of a national writing project to write a book in 30 days.  She is currently working on another book and we can't wait to see what she comes out with next.

Anyone who's ever had a little bit of "hussy" in them will enjoy this fun and flirty book!  Be sure to check this book out - you won't be disappointed!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Super Heroes!

Well, who knew that we had our own super heroes here at Bookitni?  Maureen's boys, Joey and Tommy, were featured in Boston Parents Paper recently for their amazing super hero powers!  They can't leap tall buildings in a single bound, but they sure can eat a plate vegetables!!  Maureen came up with a game called "Food Adventurers" to get the boys to try different foods.  Great idea Maureen!  Do you think it'll work on my 10 year old?


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Okay, some friends you just can't say good-bye to...

Well, I brought back my carb friends, but mostly in whole grain form or in a 100 calorie portion.  My body feels much better for it.  I also really missed my fruits.  That being said, when I added these foods back, the scale kept going up and up and it was really driving me insane.  I am addicted to the scale.  I know I shouldn't be, but I just can't help myself.  When I added back those foods I also began going to kick boxing classes about 4 times a week.  I kept thinking "well, I'm building muscle" but if you've ever tried to lose weight you know you hate that phrase. 

Fortunately I had the foresight in the beginning of January to take my measurements (yes, it was painful), but I am proud to say that I lost 1.5" off my waist, 1" off my hips, and 0.5" off my arms (bust and thighs remain the same).  So, as long as I continue with the kick boxing, I will try to turn a blind eye to the scale.  As it is, I ended up losing a total of 8.5lbs for the first month.

All in all, it was a good first month aside from being in a permanent state of pain from the exercising.  I figure it will eventually stop hurting, right?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Coffee-Mate and A Disobedient Girl

Hey there!  The booktini gals had a great time Friday night with all our Coffee-Mate freebies, courtesy of Maureen!  So many great flavors to choose from and I have a new favorite - Italian Cream!  Yum!  They even gave us extra goodies too!  We {heart} Coffee-Mate!



We were going to be discussing A Disobedient Girl: A Novel, but not everyone had finished reading it.  Overall I thought it was a terrific story, albeit very sad and downright gloomy at times.  I felt it could have been much shorter and still tell the story without losing the details.  The story is about two different women told by each of them in alternating chapters.  If you read Sarah's Key, the story is told in the same format.  Anyway, both women experience many disappointments and hardships and you really feel for them. It gets very interesting when their separate lives become intertwined.  I would recommend this book, but it's not a "must read."

We'll be getting together on February 18th to discuss The Hussy with its author, Elaine Watkins, which I am sure will prove to be a fantastic time!