TGIF: Website Round-Up

It’s Friday, the weekend is ahead of us, and in honor of Valentine’s Day, here are the websites that I love. From Tumblr, to LJ, these are the websites that I bookmark and visit again and again. Have a Happy Valentine’s day, however you choose to celebrate. Keith and I will be spending the weekend at his house, enjoying home made Penne ala Vodka (his own recipe), and I’m providing the dessert, a heart shaped cake and cupcakes.

Sprinkles Cafe on Tumblr – Delicious recipes and pictures of yummy treats. 5 Minute Brownie in a cup anyone? I get amazing inspiration for my baked goods from this blog.

Bookish on LiveJournal – I love the book reviews and daily posts. If you’re a bookworm like me, this community is a must to join. I love reading about what other people are reading. It’s a great place to find new additions for your bookshelf.

Alternative Housewife – This lady is amazing. I’ve always loved Janine’s blogs about fashion and thrifting, but her website also has amazing green cleaning tips, product reviews, and did I mention that her son is adorable?

Neoncinema.org – Ashley is just awesome. Enough said. I love her blogs and her photos. <3 Doc-U-Menting.com – A blog all about documenting your life through art and journals. I love her writing prompts and am planning on doing some for my paper journal to help keep my NYE Resolution to write more. I’ve been completing this resolution in a so-so fashion, and this website gives me plenty of inspiration.

So, this weekend, check out some of these amazing websites. The owners are talented writers and bloggers who rock their web space.

Book Review: Never Let Me Go

Though I finished reading this book a week ago, the story has been stuck in my mind since then. When a book does that to me, I consider it worthy to be placed in my book Hall of Fame (which is completely nonexistent in real life, only in my mind.) The last book to do this to me was The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and then later, Paint It Black by Janet Fitch. Never Let Me Go was given to me by my Mom because she liked the cover and the summary and thought I would enjoy it too. Boy, was she right.

Kazuo Ishiguro paints a haunting, yet beautiful portrait of three friends who attend an institution called Hailsham. It’s more or less a boarding school for children of all ages, and at around late adolescence the students move out into the real world. Students are encouraged to be creative, healthy, and explore the world around them, but only so much. Ruth, Tommy, and Kathy are the main characters. Kathy is our narrator for the whole story, and recounts all of her experiences and memories from Hailsham, up until all three of them reach adulthood together and are separated due to different careers and causes. In this book, you’ll meet the guardians (similar to teachers) at Hailsham, and the secrets they are keeping from their students.

Without giving any more away, (I recommend this book to EVERYONE, seriously), the book was easily read. I wanted to keep turning the pages to find out more, see what would happen next, and learn more about Ruth, Tommy, and Kathy. Throughout reading the book you start to sympathize with them, remember what it was like to be an early adolescent exploring new feelings and experiences, and you want to cry and laugh with them. To me, Ishiguro created characters that are believable, but also lovable. In my opinion, with the way science is going nowadays, his depiction of science and the morals (or lack thereof) that govern it are not too far fetched.

Christine’s Rating: 4/5
Christine’s desire to see the movie even though I’m sure I’ll get mad: 10/5

Hey Girl, Nice Apps!

As you know, I’ve joined the Smartphone world and purchased at iPhone a little over a month ago. I absolutely love it, and the features are wonderful. I especially love having my e-mail with me all the time since I’m now Freelance Writing for three clients. I’ve been needing to stay on top of assignments, events, and the like. BUT–I’m not going to lie, I absolutely LOVE downloading apps. While some are completely useless, I’ve found that a lot of them will come in handy and I use them on a regular basis. With the exception of mentioning social networking apps (we all know Twitter is awesome, right?), here are some of the apps I’ve downloaded and that I absolutely adore. I put the app names in exactly so you can search for them and get them yourself if you’d like.

Newsy News: USA Today, BBC News, NPR News, News 8 WTNH, The Weather Channel
Why they rock: USA Today was my newspaper in college (we got them delivered to campus for FREE!). I like the coverage, and it’s not snooty. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a snooty sounding writer. BBC is wonderful for International News and the app has videos as well. NPR works well for my liberal half, and also provides “weirder” news that might not have hit home with the big boys. My local news station WTNH has everything I need to know about my area of town, including school closings, which is amazing because I’ll need to stay on top of those with subbing. Finally, I’m a sucker for the Weather Channel. I know the iPhone comes with a weather app, but this one is better. It has currents, 10 day, and 36 hour forecasts. It also provides me with weather advisories.

Nerdy Stuff: Bard Fortune, Weird Facts, 301+ Short Stories, Horror Stories, Poetry, AED, iKnow Cats

Why they rock: Bard Fortune provides me with a new Shakespeare quote every day in the form of a fortune cookie. It also explains the quote, tells you where it’s from, and has a quiz. I love Mr. Shakespeare, so this was in no way getting turned down. Weird Facts is fun to read while waiting in the doctor’s, on break, etc. One day I’m going to be on Cash Cab, so this is my preparation. Both the short stories and horror stories are amazing. It’s a mini library in your computer. I copy paste them into my e-mail and print them out to use as short lessons. If you’re a teacher, or subbing, these apps are great for filler lesson plans, or a short story unit. The AED (American English Dictionary) is a paid app, but well worth it. I originally wanted the OED, but not for 24.99. I’ll buy a hard copy instead. Having a reliable dictionary (dictionary.com doesn’t cut it for me), on hand no matter what has been so convenient. Being that I’ve been trying to find out Socks’s exact breed, iKnow Cats is adorable. A dictionary of breeds and quizzes, too.

Girly Things: P Tracker Deluxe, I<3Boobies, Glamour, Sephora
Why they rock: P Tracker is a period tracker app, and the best one in my opinion. It has fun skins, tells you when you’re fertile, has symptom trackers with cute emoticons, and can predict when your next one is coming. It’s just a fun app to have. I<3Boobies isn't girly per say, it's just a good cause. I like that you can schedule a self breast exam and it push notifications when it's time. Glamour and Sephora are self explanatory, but with Sephora you can order from your phone, too. Dinner and Movie: Mixology, Mario Batali Cooks, All Recipes Dinner Spinner, Moviefone
Why they rock: I’m going to learn how to cook real food. Really, I am. My goal is to expand from my fancy desserts and breakfast foods and learn how to cook a DINNER. I love Mario Batali. His recipes are simple and tasty, and the app has history of different areas of Italy and their cooking traditions. All Recipes has a fun spinner that lets you choose different ingredients, the dish type, and time frame, and spins to find recipe matches. There’s an amazing summer beer I want to try, even though Winter will be here in a month. Mixology is an app for mixed drinks. Good stuff, free app, loads of drinkies. Finally, moviefone is just a mobile app for buying your movie tickets and checking times. I’ve been using this site for ages, so I was glad to see it was now an app.

Everything Else: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LJ, Goodreads, Dailybooth, imo.im (for instant messaging) Pandora Radio, Public Radio Listener, Talking Tom, Flashlight, The Onion, Bubble Snap Wrap, Holy Bible, JesusLife, Lose It! calorie tracker, Chalkboard, IMDB, Barcode scanner, and RMaker Ringtone Maker

I also have a few games that tend to take my life over (Angry Birds and Slice It, anyone? Add me if your on Game Center). There you have it, every app that I’ve gotten for myself in the past month or so. It may sound like a lot, but I honestly use them all! So if you want some new apps, try these on for size!

My Gluttonous Book Collection

By now, you all know that I love to read. I have a very diverse group of books sitting in my three (yes, three!) overflowing bookcases. I have five books coming to me in the mail as well. So, add five to what you’re about to see. How many of these books do you own? How many of them have you read? Do I have a seriously book buying problem?

When Keith and I move in together I want him to build me a library in our house or a book staircase like the one from Brandi’s blog. Screw the Kindle, I kick it old school.

For The Love of Reading: A Meme!

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes. Each one of your messages made me smile. =]

Yesterday I spent $75.00 on books. Before you gasp in shock, I had three gift cards and only had to spend $5.00 of my own money. Not too shabby, right? I remembered that Katy, a favorite blogger of mine and fellow bookworm, posted a book reading meme. Unable to find her post on this to hijack, I found one from Squidoo. If there’s nothing I love more than reading books, it’s writing about the books that I have read.

What have you just read?
I just finished reading “Dry” by Augusten Borroughs. It was a memoir about his road to recovery from alcoholism, borrowed from one of my best friends, Kelly. He reminds me of David Sedaris: dry, funny, and down to earth. This was an absolutely fabulous read. It makes me think of my caffeine and nicotine addiction in a new light.

What are you reading now?
I just started “The Almost Moon” by Alice Sebold. I have read “The Lovely Bones” and her memoir “Lucky” and fell in love with her writing style. So far, she has fulfilled my expectations.

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
Hmm…this is a toughie. Either “You Suck” by Christopher Moore or “The Fourth Procedure” by Stanley Pottinger. Both are borrowed from pals.

What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
Probably anything from the Victorian era. Unlike my father I have not inherited an appreciation for Dickens. “Great Expectations” is a book that continues to annoy me and “Vanity Fair” was a bunch of stupid rich people whining about life.

What’s one book you always recommend to just about anyone?
Wow…that’s a toughie too! Probably “Maus” (part 1 and 2) by Art Speigelman, “Rats Saw God” by Rob Thomas, and any Sarah Dessens.

Admit it, sadly the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they?
I haven’t been to the library since I wrote a critical essay on Frederick Douglass.

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?
Yes, I am trying to get people to appreciate “The Abstinence Teacher” by Tom Perrotta.

Do you read books while you eat?
Yes, but I’m usually drinking coffee while reading.

While you bathe?
No, the books would get wet and that would annoy me.

While you watch movies or TV?
Only if Keith is watching a movie or show that I’m not interested in.

While you listen to music?
Nope, wouldn’t be able to focus.

While you’re on the computer?
Poems and short stories, yes. I can’t read full books online.

When you were little did other children tease you about your reading habits?
Nope, unless you count people laughing at me for reading too much.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
The “Maus” series and “Columbine” by Dave Cullen.

Have any books made you cry?
Wow, yes. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, “Rats Saw God”, “Go Ask Alice”, “White Oleander”, “The Lovely Bones”, and probably many more.

What are some things that you have been reading lately? Do you have any recommendations for me? Also, do you have a goodreads account? If so, add me!