Another “Irish Country Doctor” book

Believe it or not, I just finished reading book number TEN in the Irish Country Doctor series by Patrick Taylor.  It is no secret that I adore these books, and the newest one was no exception.

Irish doctor peace

This time the book was set (as is often the case) in two eras – the 1940’s and the 1960’s.  We vacillated back and forth between Dr O’Reilly’s time spent in the Royal Navy during WWII, and the “present day” – which for the fictional town of Ballybucklebo, is about 1966.  Since I enjoy all sorts of WWII history, I was equally enthralled with both sides of the story.  As always, I feel like I know the folks in that little town, and am always eager to find out what happens next!  I got this book from my local library.  This is the first time I have ever actually read one of these novels.  All the others were “read” by me in the form of audio books.  I have to admit that I really missed the fabulous narration by John Keating – who does the voices of all the townsfolk in total perfection!!!!  At the end of this volume, the author promises that there will indeed be more to come – YAY!  I predict I’ll make an effort to get my paws on the audio version for the next one.  Interesting tidbit: This Irish born author now lives not too far away from here, on Saltspring Island, British Columbia.

A trip through my trash

I always enjoy watching “empties” videos on YouTube – it’s fun to see what people actually use and use up!  So here are some of my empties for the last couple months – plus one product that hit the trash can BEFORE it was empty.  I didn’t include everything, but here are a few of the more interesting items (or so I think!).

Candles!

candles

I get most of my candles at Bath and Body Works, and always on sale.  I’m way too cheap to ever pay full price, nor should you! They go on sale quite often, and I take advantage of those sales, often combining coupons and promo codes to get even more off :)  These three – Warm Caramel Cider, Banana Nutmeg Bread Pudding, and Cranberry Woods were all SO nice.  I’d definitely repurchase any or all of them.

lotionOn the left, Bath and Body Works Lavender & Vanilla “Sleep” lotion. I just love this stuff. I keep it on my bedside table and moisturize my hands at bedtime – plus, the aroma is supposed to be relaxing and help you sleep. Don’t know if I agree with that, but I do love the smell and have repurchased many times.   In the middle, my favorite eye make up remover – Equate Oil Free.  This stuff is a great dupe for the more expensive Neutrogena oil free liquid. I love it and will buy it over and over and over.  On the right, the Neutrogena makeup remover wipes. I get these in bulk at Costco. I’ve heard that the Costco brand are just as good, but haven’t tried them yet.

lotion2More goodies…. Left – The Bath and Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom hand cream.  Great stuff, super moisturizing, and I love the scent.  Back – an empty pack of Dollar Tree cotton rounds.  I have seen YouTube gurus carry on about buying this brand or that brand of cotton rounds (most ridiculously expensive), but I stick with the dollar store stuff. It works just fine!  Right – Soap and Glory’s “The Righteous Butter” body moisturizer.  Soap and Glory is more of a UK brand, I think. I got this from Sephora online and really like it.  One thing to remember about Soap and Glory – many of their products have a distinctive smell.  I think it’s nice, but if you don’t like it, you won’t like their stuff.  It’s strong!  The tub of body butter is totally empty, but I can still smell it if I open it, even now!  Bottom – Too Faced “Better Than Sex” mascara.  As a self-confessed mascara junkie, when all the hype came out about this mascara, I caved and bought some.  It’s nice, but it’s a fairly wet formula, so you have to be careful with it, especially when it is new.  To top that off, the brush is huge and there is definitely a learning curve when using it. I won’t be re-purchasing this. It’s nice, but nothing “earth shattering” in my humble opinion, and NOT cheap, either.

shampooYou may be wondering what the heck the stuff is in the above photo!  Let me explain.  Sometimes I answer surveys online for a little extra $$.  Well, they don’t actually pay me money, but if you answer enough surveys, you can earn a ten or twenty dollar Amazon gift card (or other things as well).  One of the surveys I was involved in was a shampoo/conditioner survey.  The company sent me a bottle of each, and I had to report back to them twice – once after a couple weeks of use, and once after a month.  I still to this day have NO IDEA what type of shampoo or conditioner this is!  I used it all up, and really enjoyed it for the most part.  The shampoo was particularly nice, but since I STILL DON’T KNOW what it is, I can’t buy any!!  Crazy.  Oh well.  This is the 2nd time I reviewed shampoo/conditioner for the online survey people.  It’s kind of fun.  If you are at all interested, you can sign up yourself and give it a try. If you click on my link and sign up, I get a tiny reward ($1 per person, up to a max of a whopping $5 !!)  – Opinion Outpost.

Now, for my MAJOR FAIL product:

almay

This is  Almay Oil Free Gentle Eye Makeup Remover.  Oh. My. Gosh.  This stuff is simply nasty!  You can see that the bottle is still mostly full.  That’s because when I used it, it burnt the heck out of my eyes!  There is truly nothing gentle about this liquid whatsoever!  I bought this some time ago (before my love affair with Equate liquid began) and thought I ought to use it up!  Well, there is simply NO WAY I can use this.  It’s gone head first into the dust bin!! Horrible item which seriously ought to be removed from the market.

Okay, that’s it for this episode of “a trip through my trash”!!  Because I am a cat lover and can’t resist, I’m inserting a pic of my baby, Jinx the cat.  He says, “Merry Christmas”!! :-)

                                                                 Christmascat

 

 

Watermark

watermark

I got this book from my favorite book-swap site, Paperbackswap.com.  Novels set in the Middle Ages normally do not appeal to me, but this one did.  Here’s the first two sentences from the synopsis on the back cover: “Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages — The daughter of a paper maker in a small French village in the year 1320–mute from birth and forced to shun normal society–young Auda finds solace and escape in the wonder of the written word.”  This sort of intrigued me, so I dove in.  I would say I enjoyed about 3/4 of this book, maybe a bit more.  It was interesting to read about life in the 1320’s and also I feel like I learned a lot about the history of paper making.  There was a lot of brutality going on at that time, particularly related to supposed heretics of the church.  The burning at the stake and other unpleasant goings on were disturbing, but since they really did happen back then, I plugged along.  Unfortunately, the ending was quite predictable and weak.  That said, it was still interesting and brought to light a period of time that I personally was very uninformed about.

A few of my favorite things — of late

I thought I’d post a few very random things that I’ve been enjoying this past month.  Why? Well just for the fun of it, I guess :)

FOOD ITEMS:

Have you tried this Chobani Greek Yogurt with oats?  It is SO good!!  I particularly love the apples and cinnamon flavor, which I believe is “limited edition” and won’t be around forever.  Oh well, I’ve tried other flavors too, and they’re all good.

  chobani

 

Then there’s this yummy Pumpkin Spice Chai tea latte mix from Trader Joe’s. We went to Trader Joe’s a couple weeks ago and they were having “Pumpkin Palooza”!  There were so many pumpkin-flavored items that I was overwhelmed, trying to decide on one item to try.  Hubby is NOT a big pumpkin fan (for some reason, the love of all-things-pumpkin in autumn seems to be reserved for native-born Americans, not transplants from England!) so I knew I wouldn’t be indulging in a lot of the pumpkin products.  There were pumpkin waffles, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin cheescake, pumpkin bagels, and on and on and on.  So anyway, I grabbed the chai latte mix.  It’s really yummy!  One caveat: This drink mix really needs some milk or cream mixed into it.  They say “just mix with hot water” but the addition of a creamer makes it SO much better.  I’ve even stirred some of the mix into my morning cup of coffee, and oh my, that’s delicious too!

pumpkinchai

SCENTS FOR THE HOME:

One of the lovely things about autumn is the cooler, definitely crisp weather that encourages a more “cozy” atmosphere inside the home.  I so enjoy burning candles this time of year – they just add to the homey, cozy ambiance inside my little home in the forest.  My favorite candles come from Bath and Body Works.  They actually smell just like whatever the label says – and this one smelled good enough to eat!

candle1

Seriously, this smelled like a warm caramel apple, just waiting for me to take the first bite out of it!!

I also got a room spray from Bath and Body works, which again smells good enough to eat —-

candle3

Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin.  Perfect Fall Scent.

On to another random favorite – Rachel Ray’s natural cat food, “Nutrish”.

nutrish

Our cat, Jinx, loves this stuff.  That is actually saying a LOT because Jinx has been a terribly persnickety eater for a couple years now.  He has turned his nose up at all dry cat food, until our neighbors brought a sample of this over for him to try.  He is now on bag number two and still loving it.  He also likes the Nutrish wet food, which is quite pricey (99 cents per small container) so we have to ration those out a bit.  Of course he still eats his Fancy Feast, but I’m just so happy he’s regained an interest in dry cat food.  Maybe he’ll put a little meat on his skinny frame.

TV SHOW:   I’m not a huge fan of regular TV.  I watch a few shows on the network channels, but not many these days. I watch a few shows on cable too, but again, not many.  Heck, I guess I don’t watch much in the way of TV.  On second thought, that’s not exactly true.  We do watch the news quite regularly and then there’s the sports.  Between my Seattle Seahawks football, Seattle Sounders soccer, and all of John’s favorite sports like English Premier League soccer (“football” over there) and Formula One racing, we do have the TV on quite a lot.  Too much, probably.  One show I really enjoy watching is “Nineteen Kids and Counting“.  Hubby will NOT watch this program, so I have to DVR it and watch it when he’s not around.  That’s fine.  We don’t have to like everything with the same passion.

19 kids

Recently, they have been showing the courtship, engagement, and just last night, the wedding of one of the girls, Jill.  I could write a LOT about the program – the pros and the cons – but I’ll try and keep this short.  I’ve always liked the Christian values portrayed on the program.  I can’t imagine having 7 or 8 kids, let alone 19.  Their “courtship” rules fascinate me {You can’t hold hands till you’re engaged; you can’t kiss until you are married}.  None of the kids have strayed at all from the values instilled in them by their parents [so far].  These are just things that keep me watching and keep me intrigued in their show.  Seriously, I could write a whole blog post on my thoughts on this show.  Mostly, I like it.

RECIPE:

I love to cook (and eat) – I think everybody knows that by now.  I also love to save a buck when I can, and I found a recipe recently that is SO good and so reasonably priced, that I’ve made it twice so far this month.  The recipe is for Balsamic Steak using a very reasonably priced cut of steak called “flat iron”.  I bought a chunk of flat iron steak for $12 and will get two meals out of it.  That works out at about $3 per serving!  For a delicious steak, that’s just unheard of!! Click Here for a link to the recipe.  Note, you do NOT have to make the zucchini along with it!  It’s the steak with the balsamic glaze that is so darn good!!  The recipe calls for “skirt steak” but I used the Flat Iron and we both enjoyed it thoroughly. And simple? Honestly, Jinx the cat could prepare this! :-)

steak

WEBSITE:

logo_7.2009_3

Yes, I shop online.  When my hip was SO bad, I did most of my shopping (other than groceries) online.  My favorite website lately is Ebates. This company pays YOU a percentage back of things you purchase online.  It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not!  I’ve received real, honest, old-fashioned paper checks in the mail from this company – rebates from my purchases.  The percentage of return varies from store to store, and yes, there are some stores that aren’t connected with Ebates…. but truly, most online stores I go to – from Amazon to Ebay to Bath & Body Works, to Old Navy, to Target – all get you a percentage back.  Anyway, if you are interested in signing up, it would be great if you used my referral link:                                                                    http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=U5stD54WdGVjOXp61HcfWg%3D%3D&eeid=26471

LOOKING FORWARD TO:

wine-tasting-party

Next month we are hosting a wine tasting party!!  I’m so excited to get friends and neighbors over for a blind wine tasting, with everyone bringing a bottle.  Of course every bottle will be in one of those brown paper wine bags, so we won’t know what we are trying.  We’ll rate each wine with our “scoring sheet” and the person or persons bringing the best scoring bottle will win the “Grand Prize”!!  Ha!  Oh heck, there will be a prize, but how “grand” it is may be up for debate.  :-)  More about the party – possibly with some pics – on another post.

Hope you’ve enjoyed perusing a few of my favorite things!!

Someone by Alice McDermott

someone

This book recently jumped off the shelves of our local library and into my hands.  What could I do?  I took it home and read it, not having for even one moment, either heard of this book or or read anything at all by this award winning author.  One might say this is a book about “nothing”…. and yet, it’s a well written chronicle of an ordinary woman living an ordinary life, starting in pre-WWII Brooklyn, New York.  I loved how the author recreated what I am quite sure were very realistic scenes of those years in Brooklyn, and possibly (probably) just about any other mid-sized town in the USA.  I love going back in time… to simpler times — however many of the problems that the main character, Marie deals with are still around today.  I won’t go into a plot on this one – I knew absolutely nothing about this novel, refusing to read the inside cover beyond the first two or three sentences.  I was glad to NOT know what was going to happen, and just let the book flow.  At first it was a tiny bit of a struggle getting used to the vacillating between the early years and the years with Marie as an adult woman…. but it all fell into place and I really enjoyed this book….. this book about nothing but ordinary life.

All The Light We Cannot See

allthe light

I recently finished this exquisite library book, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – a Northwest author from Idaho.  Published in May, this novel is getting accolades from all around the literary world, and I can certainly see why. First off, I love the setting(s) in France and Germany – and the time period – before and during WWII. “Unique” is a good way to describe the way this book is written.  It runs parallel between two main characters, a young blind French girl, and a young underweight but brilliant German boy.  This is not, repeat NOT, a romance story in ANY way.  One of the unique things about this book is the way it’s written – in short but to the point chapters.  This does not mean it was a short book – it’s over 500 pages.  Going back and forth between Marie-Laure and Werner, we see how different their lives are, yet how each is affected by the coming of war, and the war itself.  I hesitate to write more about the plot, but suffice it to say that this is one heck of a satisfying read.  To ANYONE who enjoys WWII history, you will thoroughly enjoy reading this amazing book.  For a full synopsis, click here for a great review from the New York Times.

September empties, a fave, and a fail

This month I saved my “empties” to share on the blog.  I enjoy watching “empties” videos on YouTube, but since there is NO way I’m going to start a YouTube channel, I’ll share here :)   So, lets get started with a group photo of all the goods….

suz3

For me, it’s always a great feeling to finish something off!!  Let’s briefly discuss each item.  Starting from the left and working right, the first is a small bottle of Bath and Body Works “Into the Wild” lotion. This smelled so nice and I liked it a lot. Would I repurchase? Well, I have such a big back up right now of body lotions, that I’d be crazy to buy more right now!  Next are two Origins products.  I love Origins, and these two items are both in the “Grapefruit” scent. The top one is “Body Buffing Cleanser” which I used in the shower.  It’s really nice, thick, and has little micro-beads that help scrub. The Origins tub is Grapefruit “body souffle”. I got both of these as a Christmas gift a couple years back.  I loved the body souffle SO MUCH that I hoarded it and didn’t use it, except for “special occasions”. Dumb, dumb, dumb!  When I opened this tub a short time ago, ready to lather myself in it – I was shocked to smell instantly that the product had gone off.  It smelled so icky.  I am ashamed to admit there was still about 1/4 of the lotion left. It really hurt to throw this out, but heck, I’ve learned a lesson!! EVERY DAY is a special occasion! Use the lotions and potions you love EVERYDAY!  Next to the Origins, in the back, is a Bath and Body works cologne in “Moonlit Path”.  I’ve had this for years and finally finished it off.  Loved the scent, so soft and slightly flowery and a bit musky.  Okay, I’m terrible at describing scents, but it was nice!  In front of that is a Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater shower gel.  I got this as a gift last year and decided to USE IT NOW – before it went off too!  Smelled great, but then I do love roses.  Next to the shower gel is Victoria’s Secret small spray perfume in “Amber Romance”. I know I’ve raved over this scent before, so I won’t do it again, except to say, I love it and will definitely repurchase – someday! The last bottle on the right is Arbonne’s “Phyto Prolief” Natural Balancing Cream. I may be wrong, but I think this cream helps to somewhat reduce the symptoms of menopause, particularly hot flashes. I’ve repurchased this stuff numerous times, and will keep on doing it until I get through this “phase” of my life :)  Just for the record, I don’t buy this from Arbonne, but off Ebay for a much more reasonable price.

Next, a fail:  Maybelline Color Tattoo in “Barely Branded”.  I got this a bit over a year ago after watching some of my favorite YouTubers sing it’s praises.  It was a bit too shimmery for me, but I did use it on occasion.  Last week I grabbed it and when I opened it, it didn’t look anything like the photo below.  It was totally dried up!!!  Impossible to use.  So, it went directly into the trash.  What a disappointment.  I do have other shades of Color Tattoo and really like them.  Here’s hoping they don’t dry up as well!

branded

The next item – EOS lip balm in “Melon” also ended up in the trash this past month.  I’d been using this, mostly at bedtime for quite a while. It too started to smell funny, so it joined the Color Tattoo in the trash!  I’ve replaced it with a similar EOS balm, in “Sweet Mint” – love it!

eos1

Now for the Fave!  First off, I love autumn – my favorite time of year!  I’m particularly fond of the Fall colors, in clothing, lips, and nails!  I recently picked up a gorgeous new lipstick by Maybelline in their ColorSensational Matte line, called “Touch of Spice”. Matte lips seem to be all the rage this season, so I went to WalMart and spent the $5.50 on a tube.  This is the creamiest, most wearable matte lipstick I own!! It glides on effortlessly!  Here’s a pic of me, sporting “Touch of Spice”:

suz1

It’s just a really nice color for Autumn!!  I’ll be wearing it a lot!  Funny thing, I realized I have a lot of lipsticks that are similar in color!  Here’s a swatch:

suz2

Yikes!  I guess I REALLY like this color!!  The Plum Rum is the sheerest lipstick, and the Rum Riche is almost exactly the same as the new Touch of Spice, except it’s NOT matte.  Then there’s the Revlon lip butter in “Sugar Plum”.  I love that stuff too – so much that I bought a back up the other day!!

I guess that’s it for this time. Happy Autumn, everyone!!