Archive for October, 2011

October 31st, 2011

Christmas Brought to You By Shutterfly Plus a Giveaway!

by Gwen

Last year, I told you all about the hard time I had picking out Christmas cards, this year, I decided to have fun with it. 2011 has been the year of stepping back, taking stock,  and enjoying the simple things in life. My Christmas cards should reflect that, right?

There are so many cards to choose from that it can be daunting though. Luckily, my dog Murphy is pretty photogenic, so I had plenty of good shots to include.


Murphy 3lick

See what I mean? Priceless.

Shutterfly has tons of photo cards to choose from and even with my slow internet, I was able to upload my pics easily. Before I knew it, the UPS guy was at my door with the cards.

{insert drum roll here}

0Christmas 2011

See, there is nothing serious going on here. This is what happens with the best laid plans. You put a red cashmere sweater on your dog, thinking that he will be able to act normal long enough for you to get a great shot. As usual, the dog has other plans…

So here’s the deal….

I am running sort of late on this post and instead of having a giveaway/sweepstakes, I am just going to throw these out here.

I have three codes for 25 cards each from Shutterfly. The first three people to comment and promise to use them, gets them. Deal?

Now I want to go order a photo mug for Murphy’s Daddy…

This post was brought to you by the lovely folks at Shutterfly, they sent me free cards, but that doesn’t mean they bought my opinion.

October 28th, 2011

Classics Circuit-Gothic Lit-Jane Talbot

by Gwen

This is the first time that I have participated in a Classics Circuit Tour after lurking for over a year. There are two reasons that caused me to stop sitting on the sidelines; one, I think that I love gothic literature, and two, on the list was an American author that I had never heard of before. How is it possible that I had never heard of Charles Brockden Brown?

From Wikipedia

Charles Brockden Brown (January 17, 1771 – February 22, 1810), an American novelist, historian, and editor of the Early National period, is generally regarded by scholars as the most ambitious and accomplished US novelist before James Fenimore Cooper.

Was I asleep during that section in all of the lit classes that I have taken over the years? I probably ditched those weeks, that might explain it.  I was *famous* for ditching classes in high school and for never wearing shoes in college. I might have stubbed a toe on my way to the beach while at SDSU…or something.

The book I chose of his was Jane Talbot and I am almost embarrassed to tell you why. It was short, that was it’s major selling point besides being a new-to-me author. What can I say, it was crunch time for reading/reviewing books for work. I had more then 10 books to read in less than 3 weeks before I could get to books for the blog: being a scant 190 pages was a biggie.

Jane Talbot is told in epistolary form, letters back and forth from the characters over a grand period of time, in this case, that together, memorialize the love story of Jane Talbot and Henry Colden.

In a nutshell, Jane loves Henry, Henry loves Jane. The problem is that no one else wants them to be together. Her guardian, mistakenly believing Henry to be nefarious, threatens to cut Jane off financially. Henry loves Jane so much that he doesn’t want to see her suffer through poverty to be with him. Henry’s dad is also not a fan of the match and has already cut him off.

The letters go back and forth, Jane trying to make her guardian understand that Henry isn’t a bad guy… Henry trying to figure out who gave her that impression…Jane trying to please everyone else by giving him up … all of this over a huge length of time because people are traveling and well, letters take forever.

I am not about to give away the ending, however two things came to mind as I finished this. First, we should be really grateful that communicating isn’t as slow as it used to be and second, this story wasn’t very gothic or at least not the dark, bleak gothic that I am used to.

Wait, there was one more thing and it was personal. Their relationship was reminiscent of my own. We are going on year seven of a relationship that EVERYONE in both of our lives was against, said would never work, made vast negative judgments about, etc. Trust me, at the beginning, there was no one in our corner and we weren’t even sure that we could weather the familial storms brewing. So far, so good, and it just goes to show you that while technology and communication marches on, people have been and always will be sticking their nose in your business and 9 times out of 10, they are doing it with the wrong information.

What does “gothic literature” mean to you?

October 16th, 2011

Getting Lost the Wright Way

by Gwen


Hi, name is Gwen and I have an addiction to books and one other thing. It started out simple enough, a needlework pattern of one of his designs caught my eye. Then I started seeing him everywhere and before I knew it, the whole thing turned into some sort of quest that threatens to go out of control.

First it was his house in LA, you may have seen it in commercials. Built in 1924 for Maude and Charles Ennis, it is now known simply as the Ennis House.

Ennis House

Then there was a trip to Chicago, the FLW mecca, where I got to see his studio and climb on the roof of one of his houses.

FLW Studio


Hey, look at me, climbing a 40 foot ladder to stand upon greatness! (little tip here, when about to take some of the most important pictures of your life, choose your camera person wisely. Pick your husband or boyfriend, you just might end up with pictures of your butt going up a ladder)

Anywho, then there was Taliesin West, Arizona, 2010.


It’s his former home, a school, a labor of love, and also really flipping hot because it’s in Arizona.

I thought that the fervor would eventually die down, like the pennies in my bank, thanks to the economy. Then Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, the Vice President and Director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives, came out with a new book this month.


This beast of a book is bringing it all back, with sketches and plans of buildings that I have only been able to imagine in my pea brain for years. This baby is 7 pounds of heaven for me and I can’t put the thing down.

It’s as if my two obsessions are wrapped into one, an architect and the book, and armchair traveling has never been like this. So yeah, I get lost sometimes, but it is in the Wright way.

October 2nd, 2011

Sunday Salon- The Kindle is Winning and The Pumpkins Are Taking Over!

by Gwen


Having done a little quick math, I have to let you know that it is official. I have read more books on my Kindle this year than tree books. I never saw this coming when I got the Kindle a year ago. At last count, I have read 189 books this year and 120 of them have been on the Kindle.

On the review front, I am totally losing. Need to get that mojo back, don’t know where I lost it. I think it may have something to do with the pumpkins and other goodies that are growing in my yard.

You see, gardens take time and when they turn out right, it is very pleasant to sit out next to them, reading with the Kindle, enjoying the fruits and sights of your labor. That, and it is much easier to work on your tan sitting outside where, unfortunately, the laptop is hard to see in the sun. Hence, very few reviews, just lots of reading and tanning and weeding and watering.

One caveat I must mention before I show you a picture…we planted the pumpkins really late. Therefore, we are looking at a very late (or early, depending on how you look at it) harvest. Anyone for fresh pumpkin pie for say, Valentine’s Day? You can munch on pickles, tomatoes, and watermelon until then. (Yes, we planted the melons late too and are still harvesting them)


The apples are starting to be perfect for picking and the walnuts and persimmons are just about there as well.

The crazy thing about all of this is that I am a City Girl. Until a couple of years ago, I had no idea how Walnuts grew and until last night, I thought those persimmons were apples. I kid you not, my error was pointed out to me on a walk last night amid much giggling. Do men giggle? Maybe it was snickering and just sounded like giggling.

Who cares? What I know is this..

  • The books I have read this summer have all been wonderful, even if I haven’t shared them with you.
  • Pumpkins should be started much earlier than July and they like to roam, so give them lots of room.
  • Like my dog, I am easily amused by the wonders of nature and still have a lot to learn.
  • The Kindle isn’t evil or going to be the death of tree books. It just adds to pleasure of something that I already loved doing, reading.
  • Sometimes your cucumbers will be larger than your watermelons and that is okay.
  • Life is good, make it an adventure and it is even better.

And Book Riot Starts tomorrow. Have you joined up?