Summer Vacation Planned!

Yes! I am so excited! My husband and I just booked a short little vacation for this summer. We’ll be spending 4 nights up in Grand Marais, MN on the shores of Lake Superior. We got booked a room at The Shoreline Inn which is right on the shore! And for only $79 a night!!! What a bargain! We plan to head up after work on Friday, May 31st and stay for 4 nights. On Tuesday, June 4th we will check out in the morning and stop in Duluth on the way home. I haven’t been to Grand Marais in YEARS! Here is a photo of my family the last time I was up there. I look so young! (I’m on the left)
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I am so excited to go back! I’ve already started planning what kinds of things we want to do. I am especially excited to just hang out on the shore, combing the rocks for any “sea” glass and agates. (For more info on Lake Superior agates, visit this site here! http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snapshots/rocks_minerals/lakesuperioragate.html )

I can’t wait to eat at Sven and Ole’s Pizza, do some shopping at the Lake Superior Trading Post, do a bit of hiking, and just relaxing by the lake.  I’m sure that I will take lots and lots of photos!

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Cats

For most of my life, I was afraid of cats.  I would have nightmares about being trapped in a room with hundreds of cats and they would all slowly move in towards me and then attack me.  I had a few friends with cats and whenever I would sleepover at their house, I could never actually sleep if I knew the cats would be around.  I was always afraid that they would scratch or bite me.

That started to change though, thanks to one of my best friend’s cats.  I used to be scared of her but after being around her for a few years, I started to get used to her.  Then gradually that turned into liking her, and now I love her.  She’s such a sweet cat.  Her name is Sheba.

Sheba

Sheba

Then, a few years ago when I was still living with my parents, my neighbors asked if I could take care of their cat while they went on vacation.  I would just have to go to their house, feed him and then hang out with him for awhile since he loves to be around people.  I was a little nervous to do it because he had all of his claws, whereas most of the cats I’d been around previously were front declawed.  But I agreed to do it for the money, and he was a cute cat.  Since then, I have cat-sitted for them at least 4 times and came to love that cat as well.

Bisquit

Bisquit

Bisquit

Bisquit

Then my husband grew up with cats and he really wanted to get a cat.  When we lived in our apartment it wasn’t possible but once we bought our house we decided to get a cat a month after we moved in.  The nearest shelter is the next town south of our town.  We spent quite a bit of time looking on their website, trying to find a kitty around the age we wanted.  Finally we found one we both liked and went down straight after work to see her.  She was a grey and white tabby cat, 6 months old.  She was a stray someone had brought in, no brothers or sisters.  Her name at the shelter was Edda.  We didn’t really like that name so once we officially decided we wanted to get her, we decided to name her Nika.  The people at the shelter told us that she would be a very petite cat, getting to be no more than 7 lbs.  Here are a couple of pictures of her the day we got her.

Nika

Nika

Nika

Nika

She was such a cute little kitten.  Now she is about a year and a half old.  We love her to death.  And she has hit her maximum weight haha.  She is as big as she is going to get.

Then we decided that she needed a playmate since we’re gone all day at work.  So 3 months later we decided to check the shelter again to find a suitable playmate around her age.  Our best option we found was a cute little gray kitten who was almost 4 months old.  His name was Enzo.  We went to the shelter and got to play with him for a little in a room.  He was so cute and playful!  He had razor sharp claws though haha.  He was also a stray without any brothers or sisters.

Enzo

Enzo

Enzo

Enzo

Enzo the day we brought him home

Enzo the day we brought him home

So we decided to get him.  We brought him home and left him in the cat carrier to be introduced to Nika.  That was some of the funniest stuff ever.  They did not get along too well for a couple of months.  So we kept Enzo in his own room.  We tried putting a baby gate up so that they could still get used to each other but it took no effort for Enzo to leap over the top.  So we got another one and put it on top but he still managed to jump all the way up. Here is a picture of the two of them playing between the baby gate.

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Now they are snuggle buddies.  They still love playing and play fighting but when it’s time for a nap, they’ll cuddle up together.

Snuggled up in the same bed

Snuggled up in the same bed

Enzo just turned a year old at the beginning of the month.

I love my kitties and couldn’t imagine my life without them now.  Even when they drive me nuts and test my patience.  Enzo is notorious for getting into food if you leave it out and jumping on counters.

Enzo's handy work

Enzo’s handy work

We had just purchased that loaf of bread and were in the process of putting groceries away.  That is how fast he works haha.  But there is nothing like them coming up to you and snuggling up to take a nap.  Nika is snuggled up next to me sleeping away as I type this post.  I may sound like a crazy cat lady but I can’t help it.  They’re just so damn cute!

Here are some of my favorite photos of them.

He loves jumping behind books on shelves

He loves jumping behind books on shelves

Her favorite spot

Her favorite spot

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Interesting sleeping position

Interesting sleeping position

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Books vs. Movies

I’ve been thinking a lot about books and movies based on the books lately.  Whenever there is a book turned into a movie, I always try to read the book first.  My main reason for this is, the book is always better.  I don’t think I have ever read a book, then seen the movie and preferred the movie over the book.  I think one of the main reasons for that is when I read a book I sort of see a movie of it in my head.  As I read, I visualize what the places and people look like and play it all out.  Many people complain about the differences between the books and the movies, and I’ll admit that I do too sometimes, BUT we all have to remember that the movies are BASED on the books.  Right there that tells us that there are going to be differences.  Never have I seen a movie that followed the book 100%.  When I see these movies, I like to point out the differences to myself and wonder… Why did they add that?  Why did they take that part out?  Why did they change this?  Sometimes the answer is as easy as time.  Some parts that are not important to the plotline would just take extra time to add in to the movie.  One example of this is from Gone with the Wind.  In the book, Scarlett has two children before she marries Rhett (a son with Charles Hamilton and a daughter with Frank Kennedy).  In the movie, these children do not exist.  The relationships between Scarlett and her first two husbands (Charles and Frank) are barely touched upon in the movie because of the time it would add to the film, which is already around 4 hours long.

 

Charles Hamilton and Scarlett O'Hara

Charles Hamilton and Scarlett O’Hara

Frank Kennedy and Scarlett O'Hara

Frank Kennedy and Scarlett O’Hara

Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara

Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara

My next movie-based-on-the-book will be released in theaters on March 29, The Host!  I have been waiting for this movie for years, ever since I read the book.  I loved the book, which was written by Stephanie Meyer, and have read it a few times.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

After I read it the first time I started visualizing the actors and actresses I could see in the roles.  When they started making the movie, I’ll admit that I was very disappointed with the people chosen to play the roles, especially for the main character.  I am very interested to see how the movie pans out.  I’ve watched the trailer a few times and noticed differences already.  They are small differences but enough to make me a little crazy haha.

 

The Host

The Host

One of the major book vs. movie upsets for people is for the fairy tales.  I grew up with Hans Christian Andersen and Grimm’s fairy tales.

Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen

Brothers Grimm

Brothers Grimm

Disney has their own versions of many of those tales.  Some people berate Disney for changing the fairy tales and the way that they changed them.  Not me though.  I love Disney movies, always have and always will.  I don’t care that they are different because like I said before… these movies are BASED on the original stories.  I love both the original tales and the Disney versions of the tales.

Disney

Disney

I’m always interested to see how people change the fairy tales to make them their own.  Recently I’ve started watching the ABC show Once Upon A Time.  I’m about halfway through season one and I love it!  I love how the show connects all of the classic fairy tale characters together AND how it transfers them into modern times, not knowing who they used to be.  If you’ve never heard of the show, haven’t watched it but have an interest in fairy tales, check out this link to read more about what the show is.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_Upon_a_Time_%28TV_series%29

The series takes place in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, in which the residents are actually characters from various fairy tales that were transported to the “real world” town and robbed of their real memories by the Evil Queen, Regina (Lana Parrilla), using a powerful curse obtained from Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle). The residents of Storybrooke have lived an unchanging existence for 28 years, unaware of their own lack of aging. The town’s only hope lies with a bail bondswoman, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), the daughter of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), who was transported from the fairy tale world before she could be cursed. As such, she is the only person who can break the curse and restore the characters’ lost memories, aided by her son, Henry (Jared S. Gilmore), with whom she has recently reunited (after giving him up for adoption upon his birth), and his book of fairy tales that holds the key to ending the curse. Henry is also the adopted son of Regina (who is the mayor of Storybrooke), providing a source of conflict between the two women.

Each episode focuses on a character backstory. One segment details the character’s past life that, when serialized, adds a piece to the puzzle about the primary and/or secondary characters and their connection to the events that preceded the curse and its consequences. The other, set in the present day, follows a similar pattern with a different outcome but also offers similar insights. In addition, another storyline follows the results of what had happened after the curse took place and after it was broken by Emma.

That section is the show’s summary taken from Wikipedia.  I really enjoy the show’s take on the fairy tales.  I like seeing the characters from different stories interact with each other, creating new fairy tales.  Once-Upon-a-Time-once-upon-a-time-26428326-800-600

In conclusion… Books definitely over movies but I still enjoy the movies (and tv shows)!

Motivation

I have been severely lacking motivation to get fit and healthy again.  I was doing pretty well working out and eating healthier before our cruise but after taking a week off, then getting sick after… I’ve spent too much time away from the gym.  It is now the first full week of March and I haven’t worked out since the middle of January.  Not good.  Today after work I will be going to the gym, no doubt about it.

My overall goal is to get as close to my high school/early college weight as I possibly can.  So to help motivate myself I am going to post a few photos of what I used to look like and a few more of what I look like now.  I would rather not put my actual weight out there, too embarrassing for me.

My Old Self:

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Age 16 – Summer before junior year of high school

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Age 18 – Freshman year of college

And here are photos of me now:

Our Wedding

Age 25 – Our Wedding

Our Honeymoon

Age 25 – Our Honeymoon

Age 26 - First anniversary

Age 26 – First anniversary

I am re-starting my calorie, exercise and weight tracking on MyPlate by Livestrong.  Since I last entered my weight on the website I’ve lost 3 pounds.  Right now I just need to remember that my struggle now will be well worth it in the end. Hopefully spring comes soon so I can be active outside again too.

 

 

Nailed It!

So this is kind of an update on a post from a few days ago.  It’s about my winter season reading goal.  For those who didn’t read that post, here’s a recap.

Starting last summer, I decided to set reading goals for myself each season.  Summer = June, July, August

Fall = September, October, November and Winter = December, January, February (I think you can figure out Spring haha)

Anyways, my goal for this winter was to read 12 books.  A few days ago I was only at 9 books.  I was almost sure that I wouldn’t make it to my goal.  But I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to try!  Luckily I was able to knock off one that I was partially through.  It turned out I only had about 15 pages left in that book so it didn’t take long at all!  Then I happened to pick out a few books that I could not put down.  I read on the way to work – And before you say anything about reading while driving…. My husband and our friend work at the same place with a 45 minute commute and we trade off driving every other month with the friend.  February was his driving month.  Anyways, back to the point… I read at lunch (hour long break), on the way home from work, and at home after dinner.

Not only was I able to reach my goal, but I exceeded it!  During the winter season, I read 15 books!

My new spring goal I will keep at 12 books because I have been getting very antsy stuck inside all winter.  Once spring weather is here, I plan to take full advantage of that and spend a lot of time outside!

So as promised here are the books I read over the winter season.  Some of them I have read before and felt like reading again.

Hunger_games

Catching_fire_c-330MockingjayThese three I have read before but really felt like reading them again.  I am getting really exciting for the next film to be released.

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This series was very interesting.  The writing wasn’t always the greatest (misspelled words, grammar issues, etc.) but the storyline was very gripping, to me anyways.

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I had read A Farewell to Arms a few years ago and really enjoyed it.  I did not have the same experience with this one.  I was definitely on the bored side.  And the way he wrote conversations between people annoyed me.  It was almost impossible to tell who was saying what.

Book_Cover_-_Heart_of_Mine_(2)

This one I had started reading, not realizing that it was more of a short story than a novel.  At only 93 pages, it was not hard to get through at all.  But hey, it was free for my Kindle so what do I care haha.

world-of-downton-abbey

This book I very much enjoyed reading.  Downton Abbey has become a new obsession of mine.  This book was really informative on not only the show but also on the time period that the show is based on.  If you like Downton Abbey and/or the history of the early 20th century, I think you would like this book.

lg-suzannesDiaryForNicholas

This book was really good.  It was romantic but sad as well.  I actually cried while reading the end of the book.  I won’t tell you why though in case you’ve never read it and want to in the future.

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I enjoy Nicholas Sparks but I had never read these books.  I read another one that I will touch on in a minute.  My friend Nicky borrowed a bunch of them to me.  I read them all but one and I’ll tell you why I didn’t read the other one.  I was reading The Guardian last night until I finished it at 11:30 pm.  Normally I go to bed at 10pm since I have to get up early but I had to find out what happened!  That one was a romance and a mystery/thriller all rolled into one.

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I read this one and after I was done, went to look at the others to decide which one to read next.  I had to choose between The Lucky One, The Guardian and True Believer.  Well what I didn’t realize (and I was blind not to since it says it right on the back of At First Sight) was that At First Sight is the SEQUEL to True Believer.  Oops!  I decided not to back track and read True Believer though because the storyline of At First Sight was a little too boring.

So those are the 15 books I read during the winter season!  I’m looking forward to the books I will read during the spring season but am currently not sure what I want to start off with.  Please comment if you have any suggestions!