Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Top Ten Favorite Things

1. Cannon Rebel T1i
You probably know how long I've waited for this camera. It is my Christmas present this year, but yes, I've already opened it and used it. It's a beauty. Here are the geeky specs: 50D's sensor (a 15.1 megapixel CMOS with sensitivities up to ISO 12,800) and 5D-Mark-II-like 1080p video capture. Costco has a deal going until January 15 for this camera body, plus two lenses and a 4gb SDHC card for $799. Incredible.

2. Grandeur Luxury Towel
Again, from Costco. Hygro Cotton, which means it's small in the washer and fluffy coming out of the dryer. Every guest that uses these towels asks where I bought them. Under $8.

3. L'Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara
Finally. After 19 years of searching, we've found each other—water-proof, smudge-proof, and goes on without clumping. Even if you don't want the undercoating that really does make your eyelashes longer, use the mascara part alone. This mascara is as close to perfect as it gets.

4. Biolage Cooling Mint Conditioner
Cooling Mint Conditioner cleanses and awakens the scalp and hair with an energizing scent for an uplifting experience. Works great with my new short hair.

If you are looking for a great online fabric source, try here. I ordered fabric and paid extra for shipping and it came the NEXT day, before 10am, wrapped up in tissue paper, tied with a bow, with a hand written personal note. Their prices are the lowest you will find on designer fabrics like Amy Butler and Joel Dewberry. A perfect apron-making source.

6. Eureka Lemon Tree
Purchased at Home Depot in Lindon, UT for $14.95 (weird, I can usually only find these in Arizona. I've never seen one there before or since). Lives in a pot outside when the weather is nice, and then comes inside for the winter where it blooms and fills my home with a heavenly scent.

7. Green Smoothie
I got this recipe from the cleanse I started in October, but this has become an almost daily habit for me. I love seeing that bright green color in a glass every morning. The original fast food.

Green Smoothie

blend until smooth:
1 1/2 cups almond milk*
2-3 leaves black kale (or any other greens)

Then add:
3/4 cups frozen mango chunks (or any other frozen fruit)
1/4 avocado

Blend again until smooth. Serves 1.
*you can use whatever kind of milk you want, but I think almond milk is one of the things that makes this smoothie so delicious

According to their website, this non-profit organization's mission is "to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and to care for the earth. Heifer does this by providing appropriate livestock, training and related services to small-scale farmers and communities worldwide."

You donate, Heifer gives the flock of geese, the water buffalo, or whatever is most needed and teaches the recipient how to care for their gift animals. The recipient agree to share the offspring of gift animals and the cycle continues.

9. Voss. Artesian water bottled at the source in Norway. Comes in a glass bottle, and makes me feel like I am really in Norwegian fjord country.

10. Owl City: Ocean Eyes album
Effervescent electronica with a geeky sounding male vocalist. If I could dream up my favorite musical sounds, this would be the result. Favorite songs on the album: Fireflies and Vanilla Twilight.

11.Women's Perfect Khakis from Old Navy
Yes, these pants are so awesome that they compelled me to add another item to my top ten list. Boot-cut, smooth, brushed twill, and works some magic with my rear end that even Mr. Coleman noticed. My favorite colors: jalepeƱo and whistler blue (shown).

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Top 10 Reads of 2009

Keeping my New Year's Resolution for 2009 to read less, I cut my reading down to 107 books. (Although I think I might read at least 5 more before the end of the year). These are my favorite reads of this year, but obviously not all these books were published this year.

10. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. My only non-fiction on the list. This book is awesome because it made me think in a whole new way, laugh a lot and cry once. And a caveat: if you live in Arizona (as some of my readers do), it might depress you. The author begins the book by explaining why she is leaving her home of Tucson for greener pastures. And those reasons are compelling.

9. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr. Jenna has transformed herself from chubby outcast to popular teen when her long lost childhood friend returns and throws her for a loop. Not a book for everyone, but this one really struck a nerve with me. I love stories about people returning from our past, and found this one hitting just the right spot with me—not too melodramatic or predictable; incredibly sweet and very emotional.

8. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. Brutal, startling, poetic novel about forgiving and accepting oneself. The best example of the technique and artistry of the writing craft I read all year.

7. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Lyrical, dark, paranormal romance. This book was a great escape from the real world, and I loved the ending. I am anxiously awaiting the next in this planned trilogy: Linger. Oh, and printed in blue ink. What's not to love?

6. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Apparently, there are people who have not read this yet. This was every bit as good as its prequel: The Hunger Games, except for a few melodramatic moments for the main character. But overall an adrenaline rush with plot twists, building political tension and a killer love triangle. I cannot wait for the third installment.

5. Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. The most fun and refreshing read of 2009. A novel that left me feeling lighter and happier than when I started. So delightful that I didn't mind one bit that there wasn't much of a plot at all.

4. The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale. Hilarious clash of two different cultures, an exploration of friendship, but mostly a beautifully romantic husband-wife love story, and an emotionally charged tribute to motherhood. I found a little bit of everything in this book with a hopeful, richly satisfying ending. Highly, highly recommended. I absolutely loved this one.

3. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. This is NOT a book for everyone, but for me it was practically perfect. Really interesting, mysterious characters (and some are quite funny); a deep and intricate plot that takes the entire novel to unravel and totally surprised me the whole way through; witty references to other works of fiction; the sweetest touch of romance—just enough detail to make it lovely, but not any explicit details; funny; and heartbreaking over and over again. It was a totally unexpected treat. Every detail is crucial to the story, but I didn't realize how genius the plot was until I finished the book.

However, it is really confusing in the first chapters—there is no background given for any of the characters, so as a reader you really have to work hard to stay with the story. I think the book had to be written this way though, since it was in first person present tense, and that is exactly what the main character is experiencing: confusion. It just takes a lot of work from the reader. Possibly that's why I loved it so much. I did edit my version with a sharpie, this author uses a lot of profanity, but I forgave her because I loved everything else so much.

Well-deserved winner of the Michael Printz Award and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

2. Fire by Kristin Cashore. In a perfect world everyone would love this book with the fiery and passionate fervor that I do. A slowly enfolding romance, poetic writing, political intrigue, fantastically imaginative, a lovable best friend, and a leaning horse. I loved this book so much, I immediately had to reread it after finishing it.

Cashore shows her skill at story telling again in this one like she did in her first novel, Graceling, but the writing quality felt more lyrical and honest to me. It hit me right in the heart. I think that's why I love it so much. This is categorized as Young Adult, but on this issue I have to whole-heartedly disagree. The main character is an adult, and all the situations she is in are adult issues.

I knew I would love it when I first read the poem A Dellian Lament that comes before the Prologue. Absolutely lovely. I would love to discuss this book with anyone who reads it.

1. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marrillier. (And also, every other book written by her. Juliet is an auto-buy for me now. I love all her books and own them all.) And I know I already reviewed this book here. So just to recap: as close to perfect as a novel can get. A lovely heroine who grows, learns and changes over time; beautiful, poetic writing; epic plot; emotional depth; themes of sacrifice, family love, and romance—one of the greatest stories ever written. I found it utterly enchanting and haunting as well. Beautiful and an absolute favorite.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Headed to Arizona after we open gifts tomorrow.

Any questions?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

hairs cut

Ask and ye shall receive. Here are some pics of my haircut taken via Photo Booth. It looks different every day. Today it is looking very Maria Von Trapp (as in: ~*doe: a deer, a female deer, ray: a drop of golden sun*~).

See? I told you.

Monday, December 21, 2009

boy howdy: more gift ideas

My sister asks (speaking of the phrase "boy howdy"): When did that enter your vocabulary?

The answer: when I saw this amazing ad in my mailbox. I can't get my scanner to work, but BOY HOWDY, they have the same ads online here. Enjoy.

If you missed the chance to get these for Christmas this year, you could order now and then have them for next year. And tell me if you don't feel like saying "boy howdy" when you see these.

Item 1: Leather Hat. Notice the use of exclamation marks in the ad copy: Genuine Leather! Handsome! Crushproof! One size fits all! (So exciting!)

Item 2: Dog or Cat Wall Clock. Sure to become a household favorite! With wagging tails!

Item 3: Senior Discount Hat. Of course, I save the best for last. The cap that saves you money! Colorful embroidery! Cool!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

last minute gift idea

things at the coleman household (and inside of my head) are a bit crazed at the moment.

new and noteable:

new ipod touch, which led to:

new imac, which led to:

new airport extreme router. finally the internet is *mostly* working after 3 weeks.

and now my computer is being filled up with 80's metal band music, courtesy of mr. coleman.

i got my hair cut. really short. boy short. i cried and now i like it.

i am sewing, teaching piano, designing, writing, watching my nephew, buying gifts, all on the same days.

(someone please teach me the art of telling yourself no. i can't seem to let go of any of these things, but i know deep down no sane person has time to do all these things well AND mother 4 children.)

my lemon tree is covered in blossoms and filling my house with the most delicious scent.

and, I ORDERED A NEW CAMERA. best news of 2009. period.

now on to the actual point of this post. a great last minute gift a idea: a book.

here are my top picks:

for the youngest readers: Good Egg by Barney Saltzberg

for your reluctant boy middle reader: Guinness World Records 2010

for your tween girl who loves to read: The Wrinkle in Time Quintet by Madeleine L'Engle

for your adult brother: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

for your sister-in-law: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

for your best friend or sister: Fire by Kristin Cashore or Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

for your mother: Abigail Adams by Woody Holton

for everyone else: The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

say your prayers that i can figure out how to work my scanner with our new internet/network set up because boy howdy do i have a treat in store for you if i do.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Whew. Got the neighbor/teacher gifts all done yesterday. Now we need to finish handing them out. This year, we burned a cd of our favorite christmas songs, made a lovely little envelope, and tied it with silver curling ribbon. Much less messy than the baking done in the years of Christmases past, and everyone got to help.

And to all of you, dear readers, I wish to extend the same Christmas gift, only you can download the mp3 version, kindly split into two downloads here and here.

Peace to you and yours,
The Colemans