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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nicholas Dane - book review

I'd like to think of this as a modern day tale from Dickens, but told in the street wise tone that nobody knows quite as well as Melvin Burgess from the streets of Manchester.

It starts out with a typical 14 year old bloke who is your typical "about a boy" nature. Living with his single Mom, who is doing her best to get him up to go to school. Nicholas needs his "Z"'s though. And that is how the story starts.

But once Nic gets out the door, everything starts to unravel. The story takes place in 1987. And I'm certain Burgess must have known an awful lot about the streets then. His narrative feeds into all the characters of the book as it progresses.

Unfortunately, Nic's life changes dramatically when his mother dies, and he is taken off to the boys home which is rather instutionalized. The place where criminals breed. Many of the characters are having a hard time in their own life. Like, Jenny, best friend to Nic's Mom, is hoping to be a drug counselor..only she has a bit of a drug problem herself. People at the institution have their troubles too. Like Mr. James and his depressed wife. Then there is the terrible Tony Creal. But Nic has found his fate. It isn't a nice one. Fighting among the boys, beatings from the prefects.

Then there is Oliver, truly, its like seeing a flashback of a Mark Lester pro-type. He's blond, pretty and well..one of Tony Creal's favorites. Unfortunately, the line "more please"..doesn't ring out..but instead a line that you will think on long after you've read the book.."I don't like it..I don't like.."  Creal is the nice deputy. Or is he?

The thing about Nic, being raised by a single mother, is that he is loyal. He needs his friends, and when you don't have any..what's a boy to do?

So its bad on the inside. Is it any better on the outside for a boy they've marked as a hoodlum? From the social worker to the police. He's not to be trusted. Never.  It doesn't help any to even have a rich relative he's never met, either. This story has so many selfish endeavors on so many levels.

This is a book that looks at abused lives and what becomes of them. Its very emotional and so real. Burgess has a way of taking a reader there and then sorting it out, as well. I found myself wanting more about Nicholas. As all good books I have read, I have a hard time finishing them...because I don't want them to end. I had already consumed Burgess' MY LIFE AS A BITCH and I know how that ended. Not very happily..yet rather real.

Burgess' has shown us.. he knows what a dark world the streets can be in such novels as JUNK and SMACK. He's also did the novelization of BILLY ELLIOT, as well. Of course, my favorite book of his is DOING IT.

Truly, this is a novel that hits you with such an emotional impact. It leaves you, perhaps with a heavy sigh. It lets you walk a little while in the victim's shoes.. to show the reader how they tick and what a little hope might give them.

What can I say, I love Nicholas Dane, but I'm not sure I'd be ready to take a walk on the wild side with him. But who doesn't like a misunderstood bad boy? He's best to be read.

NO CHILD BORN TO DIE . Melvin Burgess held a blogger's writing conference about it back in February.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless{ish} Wednesday: DIY wedding tips...

{Just wanted to share a few DIY wedding tips with you all. This weeks Vloggin' Vednesday was a 'How To' video... but, I took it in a different direction. DIY and money saving tips... some in my video and some below...}

{My sister and I doing the Arrested Development chicken dance.}

❤ {Skip the bridal shop: skip the marked up bridal shops. Buy your dress online from Ebay or from a thrift shop... or... try somewhere that doesn't specifically sell bridal dresses. I believe the word "bride" or "wedding" attached to anything really kicks up the price! For my wedding: I bought mine on Ebay for $160 (shipping included): April Bridal.}

❤ {Buy handmade: What can you buy for the wedding that's handmade? From Etsy? I purchased my vintage earrings for $10 on Etsy. I still wear them ALL the time.}

❤ {Borrow: What can you borrow? For my wedding: I couldn't get myself to buy an expensive veil... so, my friend that had been married two months earlier said I could borrow hers! I just LOVED it!}

❤ {Forget the favors: Lets be very honest.... who really needs a candle shaped like a bride or wedding cake? I certainly don't... and, I'm sure many other people don't need them either. These items end up in the garbage or shipped off to Goodwill.}

{Favors can be VERY spendy. I found the average price, when I was planning my wedding, was about $3/favor. If I ordered 150 favors for 150 people... wow: $450 for something most people wont take or will throw away. For my wedding: I ended up taking $200 dollars and adopting 4 different animals under "Chelsey and Mike's wedding guests" from the World Wildlife Fund. I printed up little certificates to hand out thanking my guests for adopting these animals.}

❤ {Get crafty: There are so many tutorials and inspirations online that you can find to help you create something awesome! Instead of buying! For my wedding: We made the hair clips the bridemaids wore... and little flags to wave instead of throwing rice.}

❤ {Save your bridemaids some money: Of course... I completely understand wanting all of your bridemaids to match... but, if you really don't care... just let your friends choose their own dresses! For my wedding: I let all my friends choose their own dresses. I gave them each a brown fabric sample to sort of go by to find a brown cocktail dress and said find gold shoes. All of them bought a dress they loved and at a price they wanted! One person borrowed her dress... and another only spent $10 on her's! They all looked beautiful.}

❤ {Buy wholesale: I had paper umbrella's and a TON of string lights. I bought them wholesale online... saving a ton of money! For my wedding: I got my wedding craft supplies from here.}

❤ {Skip the site that requires you to choose from a list of caterers: You are pretty much guaranteed to spend more that way. So many times I was given a list of caterers to choose from... and it would have been (the lowest) at least $35 a person. No way am I spending that. For my wedding: Mike and I actually had the pizza company that was in the same building cater our wedding! We spent about $900 for food. We also skipped cake and went with cupcakes.}

❤ {Reconsider some of the things you "think" you need to rent: So, I personally didn't want a sit down dinner... so, I saved a ton and just skipped all the tables! Well... I still had a few tiny cocktail tables. I still got about 50 chairs. And really... They weren't all used.}

❤ {Get your flowers locally: Why not see if there's a u-pick flower spot somewhere near you? For my wedding: My sister and I went to a tiny little you-pick Dahlia farm (the day before the wedding) we've passed for years! It was $4 for a dozen flowers. I spent $40 on ALL of my flowers... My sister put together a sweet little red bouquet. It was perfect. All of my bridesdmaids we're already carrying $3 paper umbrellas... so, they didn't need flowers. :) }

❤ {Ask your friends and family for help: My cousin was so kind to sort of take over the wedding extras and sort of run things for me. I gave her a $50 gift certificate for her help. And, most of my family set up and took down the wedding decor. Only problem: Now I know I'll have to do it for their kids... ha! Just kidding! ;D}

❤ {What is most important for your wedding: So... yeah.. the most important thing about your wedding is celebrating your love and sharing it with your friends and family... blah blah blah... but really... think about what's REALLY important for you to have at your wedding. For me: it was the photography. I went and got my favorite local photographer and didn't care what the price was. And, I'm so happy I did. My photographer: Craig Mitchelldyer.}

❤ {Check out the non-typical wedding locations: I got married on top of a building in the city of Portland. I NEVER pictured that would be where I would get married. I had been looking at millions of vineyards... but, I just didn't fall in love... What's really surprising is there are a TON of spaces that would love to throw a large "party" for you. We have this really cool space in an industrial area in Portland that I found out rents out for small weddings: Produce Row. How cool?}


{Really... I encourage you to think outside of the box for your wedding. It's one day... and if you worry too much about it... spend to much money on it... you might regret it later. That money could go towards a home... or a car... or whatever.}

{If you have a Wordless{ish} Wednesday, please feel free to link it up below. BY the way: Shawntae from A Little King and I now share our Wednesday Linky's. :D. And, feel free to link up to these blogs too... 5 Minutes For Mom, Parenting by Dummies, A Beautiful Mess, Supermom, and Live and Love Outloud.}

{If you thought all my tips were awesome... 
can I get a vote for my blog? :D}
Vote For Us @ TopBaby Blogs! The Best Baby Blog Directory



BlogHer 2011!

MAD LOVE - TV review

The show is sandwiched between How I met your Mother and 2 1/2 Men repeats on CBS. Its cast favors more of How I met your mother gang.

You've got the sweet Jason Biggs (who I must admit I grew up wanting to find my very own Jason Biggs. Yes, anything that was slightly Jason Biggs in a smile and those curls ..well, he was a hottie to me). Also Sarah Chalke. The creator from Scrubbs is bring it New York style. And you've got the cute Kate and Ben. They are so cute, Jason and Sarah. But that's about it.

Then you have wonderful Judy Greer who I think should be the star of anything since watching her in ABC's short live Miss Guided. She is Kate's roommate, Connie. She's someone who would rather be alone type. She's stuck most of the show with Ben's law partner Larry (Tyler Labine) who I don't think I've liked in anything since REAPER and maybe INVASION.

So its a bit of a standard fare when it comes to sitcom.

More Martin Starr please!

The only sure winner here that you want more of is the neighbor next door, Martin Starr as Clyde. However, he's only been in two episodes. Honestly, I'd rather watch his quirky, indifferent, slight stalkerish character grow as well as Connie giving him..a chance from time to time..or maybe they talk through walls to each other, already.

Hopefully, they'll tighten the laugh track and cuteness in this one. It might be a winner if they just give us something we can really want to savor.

STORYLINE: Revolves around a quartet of single friends in New York City-- two who are falling in love and two who despise each other, at least initially.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My sister and her music...

That's all. I just wanted to let you all know. :)



BlogHer 2011!

P.s. I love these...

I pretty much love the Spin Pins from Goody! I bought them last week and they are super very awesome tubular. I have very slick and straight hair. So... to put my hair up it requires a TON of hair spray and a TON of bobby pins. Now I just put in like 3 spin pins and only need about 5 bobby pins to finish... as opposed to 30 pins.


{Goody Spin Pins}

So, that's it. I just had to share this with you all! They're about $6 for 3. SOOOOooo worth it! Love them I got mine at Target.

May I please get a vote for my blog? 
It's just one click... plus one more. :D
Vote For Us @ TopBaby Blogs! The Best Baby Blog Directory



BlogHer 2011!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Well... I think it's time.

I think it's officially time for me to get serious about starting my trail/journey towards surrogacy and/or adoption. What made me decide that it's time? Well... quite a few things. I didn't even realize it myself... but, Mike told one of our friends, "Well... if Chelsey could be pregnant right now: she would be." You know: I didn't even know that myself. But, after he said that: I knew it was true. I am ready for another baby. Even though I don't know how I juggle everything with the one baby right now... I know I would be ready if I could get pregnant again.

Then... last night I had a VERY real dream. I was pregnant and felt the baby moving in my belly. I woke up very sad. Realizing that I would never feel that again. I'm ready to start the process...

I watch my friends kids with their siblings.. they're close in age and are great friends. It breaks my heart that Ruari might not be that close with her siblings if their ages are too spread out. My sister, brother an I are all close in age (30, 28, and almost 27)... I really think that we are closer because we are all about the same age.

So, I'm ready to start the process. And, the process starts with seriously researching. I don't know if we'll be starting surrogacy of adoption first. Doesn't matter. I'm going to try and start the process for both. I need to figure out costs... details... how it works... enough putting it off because I'm intimidated. I will seriously try. I will read all the material that Sara from Unofficial Mom sent me. Enough avoiding.

I've heard a few things thrown around that it might be possible to get some sort of insurance coverage or discount for surrogacy because it is extremely dangerous for me to get pregnant again... as in: they don't know if I would die if I got pregnant again. So... I think I'll start with that. I'll let you all know what I find out.

Do any of you know any surrogacy blogs out there? Or, have any advice? Ok.. time for bed. Goodnight!

Ruari asked me if any of you would vote for our blog. Just one click on the button below... and one more click after that! :D

Vote For Us @ TopBaby Blogs! The Best Baby Blog Directory



BlogHer 2011!

Sucker Punch - Ellie's movie review

don't forget the fashion in the movie.

OK, Ivy has had me pumped for this movie since it was filming. Granted, I'm a huge fan of Emily Browning. And she definitely worked out for this movie. She was the tiniest girl of the group. And I'm sure she must be a waif of a girl to begin with.

First off, this movie starts like a very epic music video. And surprise, Emily is actually singing "Sweet Dreams". I didn't learn this until later. Its also a very sad story, about a helpless girl sent to the insane asylum. So it is a world where a vivid imagination can grow. Its a place one doesn't want to be. So why would your mind want to be there too? With the help with a few other girls, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung, Babydoll (Browning) makes a plan to escape.

This is a movie brought to you by Zach Snyder. If you've loved his other movies, 300, Watchmen and Dawn of the Dead, I'm sure this is on your list to watch. Although, some might say, what's the story here? Is there enough character development? Does there need to be?

This movie has many levels. As I heard one movie goer say to his son as they were leaving, "Some of it is real. Some of it just happened in her mind." He was discussing Babydoll.

So is it too complicated to enjoy? Well, that depends on the movie goer. Critics have not been a fan of this movie. Granted, Snyder is not going to spell everything out for you. The film is pumped, not only with glorious special effect, right out of a live video game, but it paints a picture with music as well, with songs like Sweet Dreams, and White Rabbit. Of course, I love the song in the trailer and wish it was included in movie, as well. But Bjork puts her signature spin on the movie too with Army of Me.

I wished the ending could be different. Its true. Its a very tragic story. Yet, it leaves us a hero, Babydoll. Only, I would have loved to seen their freedom in the real world. So many roads it could have taken, but didn't.

Anyway, the movie is quite a ride. Don't miss it.

STORYLINE: An action fantasy set in the vivid imagination of a young girl whose dream world provides the ultimate escape from her darker reality. Unrestrained by the boundaries of time and place, she is free to go where her mind takes her, and her incredible adventures blur the lines between what's real and what is imaginary. She has been locked away against her will, but Babydoll (Emily Browning) has not lost her will to survive. Determined to fight for her freedom, she urges four other young girls -- the outspoken Rocket (Jena Malone), the street-smart Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), the fiercely loyal Amber (Jamie Chung) and the reluctant Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) -- to band together and try to escape their terrible fate at the hands of their captors, Blue (Oscar Isaac), Madam Gorski (Carla Gugino) and the High Roller (Jon Hamm). Led by Babydoll, the girls engage in fantastical warfare against everything from samurais to serpents, with a virtual arsenal at their disposal. Together, they must decide what they are willing to sacrifice in order to stay alive. But with the help of a Wise Man (Scott Glenn), their unbelievable journey -- if they succeed -- will set them free.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Heart Faces: Slice of Life

I Heart Faces - Photography Challenges and Photo Tutorials

How about a vote for our blog? Just click the button below... then one more click after that! That's it! Thanks!
Vote For Us @ TopBaby Blogs! The Best Baby Blog Directory



BlogHer 2011!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Photo Challenges


Our very old windows are totally decaying.

Groups of Three

Groups of kids "3" and under...


Things that make you go "hmmm"

Hmmmm.... do I really have the patience for cleaning poop off of cloth diapers?

"Me" Time

Steppin Out

Ok... who else thinks Ruari's little collage below looks like a Lindsay Lohan mugshot?

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

A vote for our blog this lovely day? Just a couple more votes and I move up a bit! Yay! Only takes a couple of clicks if you'd like to vote.
Vote For Us @ TopBaby Blogs! The Best Baby Blog Directory

ONE more thing: Enter the giveaway to benefit Japan at Jill @ Chronicles for Corbin.



BlogHer 2011!