Where have I been and Some -Links of Interest

Yes, I know, this is crazy.  Where have I been?  Believe me, it’s not because I don’t want to come in here and write about books and all the bookish and non-bookish things I have been doing.  Hmmm so what it is, Ana (me talking to myself)…. hmmm I don’t know… I really don’t now.  I haven’t even read anything in the past 3 weeks.  Not normal…. Even my internet browsing has sadly come to a screeching halt as you will see from this “Around the Net” post.
I can blame it on my new iPad…. Yep. I got an new iPad and I’m actually typing this post on it.  It’s a Pro and it’s beautiful and I’m enjoying every minute I spend with it.  I’ve been able to take my work notes (yes, in my real life I’m a paralegal at a financial firm), I read on it (can’t read books too overwhelming) but I read my magazines, newspapers and yes, the internet when I have the time or the patience.  However, lately I have been enjoying coloring on it.

So, as much as I can blame this beautiful iPad Pro.  Some day I will tell you all about my Apple obsession.  I have to admit that I just have not been inspired to read or write in a little while and have chosen instead to spend time with family and friends.  I have been away for a spa weekend with my best friend, I have had lunches and dinners with my husband and I have spent time talking and hanging out with my dogs.

I have read three books this month but nothing AWESOME, as a matter of fact as I write this I’m not really sure which books I read — not a good thing when you need to review the books so your readers continue coming to the blog.  Hmmmm …. “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” Anne Bronte, “The Grownup” by Gillian Flynn, and “Getting things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity” by David Allen.  All good books but not super memorable.  Reviews will be up shortly…. I hope.

So, now for what you are here for.  I will warn you.  It’s not a lot.  As I said, I have been busy with other non-reading things for most of the month so ….. well….. I’m stalling.

This month was promotion month at work and with that comes a lot of “why didn’t I get promoted?” Questions.  I found this great article on Ivanka Trump’s blog.  Love her!!!!!!!! Talk about empowering women.

In the same vein as promotions.  For those of us in corporate America, being productive is almost synonymous with having a life and getting a promotion.  I for one am always looking for articles on how to be more productive…. as if I don’t have enough on my plate….. This article from Fast Company is another one of those about the most productive people do……But it’s worth sharing.

As a telecommuter I am always on the hunt for articles to prove to may management that I am more productive when I work from home.  I’m not kidding….. I am one of those people who thrives in silence.  I live mostly in my head and being surrounded by a whole lot of a people, although interesting at times, I often need a break so I can concentrate and get work done.  I am actually happier and enjoy my job more when I am able to pick when I get to interact with people.  Let me know if you’re interested in knowing how I manage working from home and how much I get done and I will do a post about it.  This Forbes article is great You’re 87% More Likely to Love Your Job if you Work from Home.

Bullet Journaling?  If you don’t do it you need to start.  I started about a year ago and am currently trying to figure out how I can do it on my new iPad…. I’ll post at some point about how that is going.  But I really enjoy it and it is a life saver when trying to stay organized.

So that is it for this week…. see I wasn’t lying when I said it had been a bad week for reading and writing.  I managed though and I will try to get more for you next week.  Thank you for not finding entertainment somewhere else.

I’m going to read on my iPad now and maybe color and play a few games.  See you on the next blog

XoXo

Around the Net –

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What exactly have I been doing this past week?  I can’t even remember.  These are the times when my days just seem to blur into each other and nothing is particularly memorable….. It just hit me that that is a sad way of existing but I can’t help it.  Between getting Christmas Cards out to family and friends, getting lists for Christmas Gifts, forcing my husband to finally sit down and decide what day we are going to see the Christmas Tree in New York as it has always been our tradition…. I am not kidding.

There were a few links of interest in this week but first I have to pay my respects to a great American…. whether you and I agree or disagree in our political views… Senator John Glenn was a great astronaut and deserves our respect.  John Glenn passed away on December 8, 2016, at the age of 96.

During this time of year I always want to find ways to give back.  Every year we put on a cocktail party with our friends where we choose a charity and ask our friends to bring donations instead of house gifts.  It’s always been a success, however, this year I will not be able to do that seeing as Christmas is approaching so fast and I have family staying with me all the way through the 25th of December.  No time to put on the party or organize the donations….. However, I want to find other ways to give back and in my searching I found this article in Ivankatrump.com.  Seriously, don’t think about how you feel about Ms. Trump and/or her family.  The article is about Bridge2Act, an organization formed to help you (or me) find the charity that fits my criteria the best.  Go, take a look at it and I hope you choose to give a little of yourself this year.

At time when we are all, most likely, thinking about New Year’s Resolutions or Goals, I thought this article very interesting.  Why do you think we, humans, don’t follow through on what we say we’re going to do?  Some of us are better than others on the follow through part, but it’s still difficult.  This article is very good at explaining the way the brain works around long term benefits v. short term gratification.

This hotel is fascinating….. Book Lover…… yes please.

And for food?????? Well, how about these slow cooker recipes???? nothing like having breakfast ready when you get up in the morning.

Aside

Around the Net – Some Links of Interest

 

 

As you can see from the picture above (that’s Adele) I have been playing with the new iPhone 7.  I love the camera on the phone and FYI, most of the pictures on this blog are taken with my whatever iPhone I own at the time.

On with the real reason we are here.  So for things that I have been reading and enjoying on the net the past week.  As you can imagine, there haven’t been heck of a lot.  The reason this time were the elections.  I feel as if everywhere I turn the links I’m seeing are all related to the elections here in the United States.  I am all for a good political discussion (as long as it is an educated discussion) but enough is enough.  Let’s move on with our lives and whatever you believes lets make the best of it.  The truth is that they both couldn’t have won so ……. We have what we have and that’s why we call it democracy.  One person wins and everyone must be ok with the results.

From blog The Everywhereist I found and enjoyed this really interesting article about books and how one paragraph may at times haunt you.

I’m not much of a runner but once in a while I wish I were.  It’s probably the easiest thing to do to get some exercise and according to what I read and what I have been told it’s one of the best exercises for the entire body.  I thought this article from a marathon runner would be inspiring to all of us who would love to be one but ….. well, just aren’t.

Jeans or leggings….. do you ever wonder what you should wear to a particular place.  I don’t find jeans to be very comfortable.  I know they’re casual and you can dress them up or dress them down but they are not the most comfortable pieces of clothing in my closet.  I can’t wear jeans all day around the house.  Most of the time I opt for leggings and then I always find myself questioning whether I can walk out of the house wearing leggings or if I should be putting a different pair of pants on…… by the way, are leggings pants?

Are you a serious blogger?  Well, I like to write and I enjoy putting things down on paper.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my technology but I still really enjoy the paper and pen or in this case the sound of my fingers on the keyboard. …… As usual, I digress.  So, although not a famous or even known blogger I am nonetheless a blogger and I would really like to be considered a serious blogger who is having fun.

What links got your interest this week?  I would love if you could send me some recommendations.  Sometimes we all get so stuck in the mundane it’s best to shake things up at times.

Thanks

 

Book Review – Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Vinegar GirlVinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my second book by Anne Tyler. For those who may not know, this book is the retelling of the Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare which I never read and perhaps that’s the reason I was a bit underwhelmed by this book.

This is the story of Kate Battista and her family, her father and a younger sister. We find out that the mother passed away “died” as Kate Battista, the oldest daughter seems to prefer at some point after Kate’s sister, Bunny was born. Kate’s father is a scientist, Dr. Battista. I got the sense that he was not a good one…. I’m not sure why I thought that. I don’t believe Anne Tyler wanted that to be a fact, but … throughout the book I kept trying to like him and completely failed at that. Dr. Battista’s lab assistant, Pyotr, an immigrant, in the United States on a Work Visa was on the verge of perhaps being deported which would have put Dr. Battista’s research in jeopardy so the only solution was for Kate to marry him and help him get his green card.

The writing is beautiful as we all know Anne Tyler can do. The scene description made me feel like I was completely familiar with my surroundings and gave me the sense of being there, standing next to Kate when she told her co-workers about her impending marriage, or when her and Bunny talked to each other on the morning of the wedding.

As expected from Anne Tyler, each character was very well developed. None of them felt two dimentional at all. There was substance to who they were. Kate, although not very likable, was a good person and wanted to do right by her father and her family…. Dr. Battista, although a jerk, in my opinion, did the best he could and knew how, and even Pyotr, who may be as much a victim as he the aggressor. The only problem I had was the predictability. Once I got to know the characters the only one that surprised me was Bunny. There was very little Anne Tyler could do to make me believe, from the beginning that Pyotr was not going to turn to out to be who he was, or was he?

The story develops normally, as expected and then the end was a let down. It felt as if it was cut short. it didn’t flow and it didn’t fit the personalities of the characters. it felt fake and I felt as if I missed something.

Having said all this. I still thought the writing was very much worth it. I never once felt as if I needed to put the book down that stop reading. As a matter of fact I couldn’t wait to pick it up again. The hardest question is whether or not I would recommend it. I think the answer would be; if you like reading about families and the intricacies within a family unit…. what makes people who they are and how they get that way and if you like reading and feeling taken to the place you’re reading about, I would recommend the book. I would caution you that you will not be reading an award wining book (at least I don’t think you are). You will probably be disappointed at the end, and if you’re not I would love to speak to you about it…..what did I miss?

Ana

View all my reviews

Book Review – The End of Average by Todd Rose

The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values SamenessThe End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness by Todd Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is for all of us who, at times, have felt let down by being compared to an unattainable average. Perhaps I’m not good at something but that certainly doesn’t make me below average. I enjoyed every aspect of this book and the author makes some really good points. I found it interesting that not only did he make an argument for the end of what we call average (which what exactly is that) but he also makes a great argument for individuality.

Why can’t we celebrate our differences without being made feel like if we don’t measure up to some preconceived idea there is something wrong with us? The author makes the point for this with a story about a baby crawling and how we, in the West, think it’s normal for a baby to crawl. We never stop to think that our normal is someone else abnormal.

One of the things I found refreshing about this book is its lack of “tooting his horn.” Most of the books within this genre always make me feel as if the author is trying to show me how much he/she knows and how important he/she is. There is short passage where this author mentions his credentials but it’s appropriate where located and then that’s it. I don’t particularly care about the author (well, I do but not for my enjoyment of the book). However, I’m super interested in what the research in this area has to teach me.

I couldn’t recommend this book more. I’m not swearing but it may wind up in one of my Most favorite of 2016.

XoXo
Ana
The End of Average How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness by Todd Rose

View all my reviews

Everybody Rise – Book Review

Everybody RiseEverybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I will admit that I’m glad I read this book as an audio book instead of reading it. I think reading it would have been a little worse. This is the type of narrative that you can do other things and listen in the background as it’s not the type of writing you really need to pay attention to.

The narrator was really good with her ability to change voices with the various characters. I think that made it more interesting.

I will say that this is a good Summer, mindless read. That is if you are interested in how the other half lives — that’s the half that has money and the half who will stop at nothing to have money 🙂

We all need these types of books once in a while.

View all my reviews

You by Caroline Kepnes

YouYou by Caroline Kepnes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book took me a month to read. I really enjoyed that the book was written from the perspective of the main character and I found it really interesting to see what was going on in his mind while he was coming up with the things he came up with as well as his reasons behind what he was doing…. sometimes he even convinced me that it was the only way to resolve the problem…. until reason took over.

Joe is a self-centered person who will stop at nothing to get the woman he set his eyes on…. Do I think this is a romance as some have filed it? Absolutely not. This book will make you cringe at times both due to some sexual content and also due to the reasons for the actions Joe chooses to take. However, don’t think that it’s only Joe…. there are others who are less then perfect.

I thought the book was very well written and the plot was captivating. However, where the book falls short is that I think it towards the middl of the book it just dragged. The reason for it taking me a whole month to read it. I just didn’t want to pick it up and read the same thing again. They’re on, they’re off…. it became a boring rollercoaster.

Having said all that, I would recommend this book to anyone who does not mind mild sexuality and some violence. I will be picking up her next book but I think I will have to give myself a short break from it so it sinks in a bit more.

Hope this was helpful.

View all my reviews

Around the Net – Interesting Links

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This week’s Around the Net is a little short… yes I know…. and I totally skipped last week… yeah I know that too.  I’m not apologizing because I was living life.  It’s been busy at work and at home and I took a little time to myself.  Didn’t mean I didn’t read…. heck I think I did the most reading but totally forgot to save the links.  I know you’ll forgive me.  I’ve been inspired to make some changes which I think you will like. Remember to check back often.

As always I’m fascinated by articles and information about introverts so when my sister-in-law sent me this link you can bet I was all over it.  I think all this things apply to me. Then there was this one about what is going on in an introvert’s head!!!!! hmmm really?

At work we are now going through goal setting and drafting exercises.  There have been quite a few articles on the subject — or perhaps I’m just noticing them more because this is what I’m focused on right now.  I found this one from Career Girl to be really awesome.  Rewarding and Motivating employees — we all have someone who can’t figure out how to motivate and we certainly often fall short when it comes to rewarding that one employee who goes above and beyond.

What about having an awesome career at the age of 23?  This article from Cosmo was a real eye opener for me.  Find something I really like to do and then just do it…. design a career around it and call it a job.  Is it possible?  It was for Ashley.  What do you think?

As you know this year I am challenging myself to read 50 books and have joined a 12-12-12 book challenge, see this post and this post for more information.  If that challenge does not interest you, I found one on line and may give it a shot next year.

With Spring and Summer fast approaching I’m always looking for things to decorate outside and enjoy a quiet evening with a book and glass of wine.  I thought this was awesome for a nice romantic dinner.

Short and sweet 🙂

XoXo

Ana

February Reading Wrap-Up

February is over and what a crazy end of the month it turned out to be.  Between things at work getting busier and Dakota acting up and my diet…. well, let’s just say…. it hasn’t been pretty.

I managed to read a few books this month towards my goal for 2016 as well as my 12-12-12 Book Challenge.

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I read this book more because of my interest in the person and not so much her life as a designer.  I was interested to see what type of woman Chanel was and what inspired her to be who she was.  See my review here

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A while ago I gave this book a try but at that time, perhaps I was not ready to read it, I couldn’t finish it and it wound up on my “Did not Finish” list.  This year as you know I am doing a reading challenge — see here— So I picked it up again…. turns out this time around I was ready to hear how much of an introvert I really am.  I loved this book this time around.  See my review here.

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Big Magic was one of those books that lived on my “want to read” shelf for so long I almost gave up on it.  I’m glad I didn’t.  See my review here

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Career of Evil brought me back to my once loved thrillers which I used to read all the time.  I will be writing a review of the book so I won’t say too much here but, although my most favorite book this month, I am glad I picked it up.

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Brooklyn is the story of an Irish immigrant in the United States sometime after the war.  This is a story that will take you through all different types of emotions and pulls at your heart.  Being an immigrant myself there were aspects of it that I related with and others that I didn’t and am glad I didn’t.  I will also be writing a review of this book so this is enough for now.  Let’s just say that this is a good contender for one of my favorites of 2016.

It’s time to think about the list of books to read in March….. Stay tuned for that list which should be posted tomorrow.

What will you be reading?

XoXo

Ana

What I’m Reading – Around the Net

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Not only am I late posting this article but I don’t have that much to share this week.  Not that it was a slow week in the news — Nope, I just haven’t had much time to surf this week.  Work has been busy and for some reason I have been trying to finish the books I’ve started…… Ugh!!

I hate not finishing a book once I start it but I’m having a really hard time finishing Swans of Fifth Avenue.  It’s really slow going and I’ve though on more than one occasion of putting it down.  I’ve finished two other books and there has been no progress on the Swans.

This article in the New York Post is very appropriate.  Fashion Week is coming to an end.  It used to be that the front row at fashion week was reserved for editors, influential people, actors and actresses…. These days the front row is full of bloggers and sometimes not even the great bloggers.

According to Mashable, Cable was just put on notice that other companies are also allowed to provide consumer with cable…. Finally.  I’ve always thought that was a huge monopoly (ok, not really there are more than one companies but……).

I found out about Elena Ferrante in a New York Times article about her books.  What captivated me was that we don’t even know if Elena actually exists.  Apparently, no one knows who she is and she’s never done any interviews or appeared on any shows.  Her books about the coming of age in Italy are cult classics at this point.   I have read her first book and plan on reading the other two.  This article from New York Times is making me want to speed up my reading…. I can’t watch a movie unless I’ve read the book first.

I always find discussions about emotional intelligence and success and although I am a sucker for a super intelligent person…. I’m always super amazed at how some people are so intelligent that they can’t even bring themselves down to my left (haha).  I find myself looking for documentaries about them… however, I am pretty sure that most of the time your success at work or in life is dependent upon our ability to get along with other human beings.  So, I think it’s important to be smart and to work on our grades in school but it’s also important to work on our social skills and ensure that we are not society outcasts.

Speaking of smart people!! I thought this article made me laugh.  Now I totally understand why I’m so distracted at work.  I’m actually very intelligent hahahaha.

And still on the intelligent wave… get wave?  This past week (could have been the week before, I’m behind on my reading…. I warned you about that) was a very important week for science.  Scientists were able to verify the wave ripples written about by Einstein….. Ok, I’m not sure I fully understood the important of what happened but when I saw the news everyone seemed so excited.

Who hasn’t heard about the Jenners?  In this case Kylie and Kendall…. the younger sisters.  Did you know they have a new line of clothing?  Yeah, and it’s not that bad.  I may have to go check it out.  Stay tuned.

I think this was all on my reading list for last week.  I hope I have more time to find fun and interesting articles for you.  I would love if you send me new articles too…. take the pressure off me for a little while.  The email address is NaturallySmpl@icloud.com.

Thank you all for taking the time to read the blog.

XoXo

Ana