Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Back To School Freebie - Books We Wish Had Been Required Reading in School

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics, click here.

For this week's back to school freebie, we're talking all about required reads. I don't know about you, but I (Jana) read a lot of books I hated in school. A LOT. Required reading made me hate reading, and it took me until I was about 19 to rekindle my love. Some books should not be required at all, in my opinion. But there are many amazing ones that should be, and we're here to tell you about them today.

Lauren's Picks

Just to preface - I am cheating a little on this one, I'm a little older and these books were published after I graduated high school... so... my list encompasses books I hope will one day be required reading/books if they were written earlier, I would have loved to have read when in school. :)

1. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer: I honestly believe if I could've read this book when in HS, it would have gotten me even MORE pumped up for college. I would've been the weird girl at the back of the english literature class with googly eyes waiting for some straight up magic to happen.

2. Night by Elie Wiesel: I can't express how much this book moved me. I think I've cried every single time I've read it, and I recommend everyone to read it. It is heartbreaking, but it is simply truth. The truth of what forms humanity can take. 

3. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross: I love a good historical fiction novel as much as the next person, but add in an empowered female who legit posed as a man and changed and world? Holy smokes... literally. :)

Jana's Picks

I'm kind of with Lauren on this. Some of these books were published after I graduated high school, and are books I would love to see high schoolers reading now.

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This is a beautiful, unique Holocaust story the emphasizes a love of people and books. And the fact that it's narrated by Death, gives us a whole different picture of the kinds of things that happened during this time. There's lots to discuss and contemplate.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: I would have loved to read an actual FUN book in high school, and The Hunger Games has a lot of talking points and discussions surrounding it. 

6. Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristins McMorris: Before I read this book, I had not understood the magnitude of the racism and segregation the Japanese-Americans dealt with. It's an important topic to know about and understand, and the writing in this book is beautiful. Plus, there's a hint of romance that was very sweet.

Lori's Picks

7.  Sex Object by Jessica Valenti:  This would definitely be more for juniors and seniors in high school...but I think it was really useful in showing how pervasive sexism is and how it affects both males and females.  I think high schools need to do a better job of discussing sexism instead of trying to sweep it under the rug.

8.  Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe:  Full disclosure--I have not finished this book yet.  But from what I know about it and the beauty of the prose, I think that this might be a lovely book for high schoolers, who are getting ready to embark on a new journey.

9.  Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi:  LOVED this book!  I think it provides a great look at African and African American history, which is something that I feel gets glossed over a lot in many high school history classes.  Plus it's a great book!

10.  Wild by Cheryl Strayed:  This is a great book for teaching you that it's OK to get lost for a while and that you can find your way back.

Which books do you wish were required reading in school? Or which books do you think are super important for people to be taught about in school?

-

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ten Graphic Novel Recommendations

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics, click here.


Hi everyone! We're back! Thanks so much for hanging in there with us while we took a much needed break. Some of us are dealing with some health issues and we've got a whole puddle of new babies who need their mommies, so life kind of got in the way! We're still figuring out our mojo in light of all these changes, so thanks for your patience as we sort through what the future holds for us. :)

We can't wait to see what direction you took this week's topic in! Link up your posts and we'll do our best to stop by and visit you. :)

Today I, Jana, am tackling this topic on my own and decided to highlight some graphic novels I've read and enjoyed recently. I'm a baby when it comes to this entire world of graphic novels, so recommend some of your favorites if you'd like!

1. The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neil: SO cute, very pretty illustrations, and lots of adorable tea dragons!

2. The Little Red Wolf by Amelie Flechais: A topsy turvy retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Kind of dark, but beautiful.

3. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson: Fantasy with an awesome heroine! And villains!

4. The Arrival by Shaun Tan: A very sweet, wordless immigration story.

5. Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale: A wild, wild west Rapunzel!

6. Spill Zone by Scott Westerfield: A sci-fi graphic novel that Marissa Meyer blurbed!

7. Cast No Shadow by Nick Tapalansky: Guy is in love with a ghost. HELLO.

8. Saved By The Bell #1 by Joelle Sellner: It's SBTB!

9. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer: It's The Lunar Chronicles! I loved seeing my old friends.

10. In Real Life by by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang: It's about gamers!

-

Friday, August 11, 2017

Cocktail and Conversation





It's been a couple of weeks since our last edition of Cocktail and Conversation.  Pour yourself a drink, pull up a chair, and let's chat.

This week's question:  What is your favorite room/spot at home? (Not just for reading, but generally)


Lori says:  I love our back porch.  My boyfriend and I sit outside on the back porch for hours, just chilling and having a couple of beverages.  I also love doing yoga, eating, and reading out there.  I bought a lot of plants and flowers to cover the porch this spring, which makes it just lovely.


Jana says:  My favorite spot in my house is my bedroom. I just re-did the entire thing last summer, so I've got a book nook and tons of bookshelves, a really comfy chair with throw pillows and soft blankets, and a cute little lamp that puts off the coziest warm light. I love spending my time reading there or watching my favorite old movies.



What about you?  What's your favorite spot in your home?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July Faves and August TBR

I can't believe how quickly this summer is flying by!  It's time for another post about our favorite reads and our TBR.


JULY FAVORITES

Jana says--So... I read one book in July and hated it, so I don't have a favorite. lol

Kimberly says--I didn't read a single book in July.... It's been a weird month. (Good! But weird. Haha)

Lauren says--The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti--I have so many books on my TBR that I gave my boyfriend 3 book titles and this is the one he chose. I wasn't disappointed! This was a suspenseful psychological thriller that keep me guessing until about 80% into the book. Which for me is pretty damn good.

Lori says--Moranthology by Caitlin Moran--This book was such a delight to read!  Moran speaks out on a variety of topics that had my laughing out loud.  This is one of those books where I drove my boyfriend crazy by regularly reading him passages.  It made me purchase all of the rest of her books.  Can't wait to dive on it!


AUGUST TBR

Jana says--Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett--It sounds like a really exciting fantasy with lots of snow, which is great because the heat is stifling in my neck of the woods right now! And it's about royal explorers! Sounds great to me!

Kimberly says--I am currently reading The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller. It's Adorakable. I don't care for that word? But it's kinda perfect to describe the book and its characters. 

Lauren says--Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris--I picked this one up because I enjoyed The Vanishing Year. I was just in the mood for another thriller. I've just started and I'm already engrossed in the story!

Lori says--Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults by Laurie Penny--I pre-ordered this one a while ago.  I. Love. Essays.  I love essays especially about feminism.  I don't know why (OK, probably PMS), but I've been angry lately and I am just chomping at the bit to read some kickass essays.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Cocktail and a Conversation



It's time for another cocktail and conversation with the Broke and Bookish ladies!  Grab a drink, pull up a chair, and join in the conversation...

This week's question:  What ritual or act helps you feel pulled together?

Jana says:  That's hard because I never really feel pulled together! Haha. My answer would have to be straightening my hair. I've got super curly hair that feels majorly out of control most of the time if I let it go wild, so if taking the 30 minutes to straighten it each day makes me feel much more in control and confident. And that's not to say I don't love going curly here and there, I just love the feel of silky smooth hair I can run my fingers through!

Lori says:  As superficial as it sounds, I feel put together when I put on mascara and moisturizer and my jewelry.  Bonus points for myself if the bed gets made.  :)  If everything else is going to shit, I feel less bad and more human when I do those two (or three) things.

Kimberly says:  Putting on eyeliner and straightening or curling my hair are pretty much guaranteed to make me feel put together and capable of being a functioning human. It's not much, but sometimes it's all I need.

Lauren says:  I'll be completely honest here... putting on my bra. Yup. I don't go anywhere without it on and usually even wear it around my house  even if we don't have company over. And bare feet! Of course I always have shoes on when I leave the house. (I may be from Kentucky, but we aren't always barefoot. Haha.) But I still have to have socks or flip flops on if we have company. I guess I feel exposed or something. I don't know. So I guess this girl has to have things covered up or the day is ruined! Haha. :)

Julia says:  I guess I feel put together when I leave the house in not a t-shirt and jeans and I actually feel like I could pass for being somewhat fashion relevant. I've been trying to do it more lately in case I have surprise meetings with CIOs of major US Healthcare providers and don't end up wearing my dinosaur hoodie again.


What about you?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Recipe--Breakfast Stuffed Green Peppers

I love cooking.  So much.  I'm at the point where I like to do some meal prep on a Sunday and be pretty well set for breakfast and/or lunch for most of the rest of the week.  It just makes my life easier.  I know I'm getting good food with little repeat effort, so I'm less tempted to eat crappy food.  This week I decided to make stuffed green peppers with a bit of a breakfast hint.  My plan is to get four meals out of this recipe, so adjust accordingly.

Ingredients
2 Bell Peppers
1/2 lb Ground Beef
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Chili Powder, to taste
Garlic Powder, to taste
Onion Powder, to taste
Cumin, to taste
Onion (I used about an 1/8 of an onion, but whatever)
3.5 oz can Green Chiles
Salsa
Hashbrowns  (I used sparingly, like 1/4 cup, because I'm cutting carbs--you do you)
Grated Cheese  (I used cheddar, but whatever would be good)
3 Eggs
1/4 cup Milk
1/4 Tb Flour

Cut the tops off of the bell peppers.  Set the tops aside.  Remove the seeds and whatnot.

Boil the peppers in water for 5 minutes.  Drain.


Meanwhile, dice up the tops of the peppers and the onion.


This might not be a bad time to start the oven.  350 degrees.

Cook up the ground beef.  Add your seasonings.  Add your pepper tops and onion.  Cook until they look good.


If your hashbrowns need any pre-browning (see package for directions), now would be the time to do that.  After cooking, if needed, add to the meat and veggies.


Add your green chiles.  Add your salsa.  (I think you could totally use Rotel, but I had fresh, homemade salsa that I wanted to use OR jalapeƱos would be a nice addition--the key is use what you like and/or what you have on hand)  Add your grated cheese.  I used approximately a shit-ton of cheddar because I like cheese.

Spray a loaf pan with Pam and put the peppers side by side.

Spoon the mixture in.  If you have extra, just put it in the pan around the peppers.  It's a tasty little bonus.  :)



Mix the milk, eggs, and flour in a separate cup or measuring cup or other receptacle.  Pour on top of the stuffed peppers.  If you added any extra stuffing to the pan, pour a little there too.


OK.  Now...the baking time was where I hit some issues.  I baked covered in aluminum at 350* for 30 minutes.  But the eggs were not done, so I wound up uncovering and adding 10 minute increments for another 30 minutes.  So maybe don't cover them?  Using this as a guideline, just cook them until the egg is set.

Then you can add more cheese on top.  Or not.

Eat up!  Add more salsa or hot sauce or avocado or whatever.


I ate half of one for supper.  My plan is to eat a half at a time throughout the week.  They're nice and savory, so you don't feel limited to eating them at breakfast, which I like.  Especially because I'm more of an eat in the late morning kind of person.


I love tweaking recipes, so if you try any variations, I would love to hear how they work!
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