Friday, September 16, 2011

World Travel Wish (Part 1)

Everyone has a bucket list. Everyone has dreams, wishes, goals, New Years resolutions, etc. Even if you haven't written yours down, there are countless things you have dreamt to do before your life on Earth ends. I've written down bucket lists before and have one in particular framed in my room. Today, however, I've decided to get a little more specific and focus on my travel dreams. I've discovered some unique, interesting, scary, exciting locations around the world that I refuse to believe are real until I see them with my own eyes. One day, I plan on doing just that.

Enjoy the first part of my list... (otherwise this post will go on forever!)

Fly Geyser- Nevada

Radisson Blu Hotel- Berlin

"Sky Park" at Marina Sands- Singapore

Conrad Hotel- Maldives, Rangali Island


Atlantis- Bahamas and Dubai


New Zealand


and although I've already been there twice, there's so much more I wish to see...


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The "Reader"

I have always been a "reader". I started reading when I was really young and never seemed to stop. My dad would read me a story every night before bed and I think that's what made me love books so much. I can't tell you how many books I've finished and how many I own that still need finishing! However, buying books is one of my favorite things, so even though I have probably close to a hundred that I need to read still, I continue buying more. Recently, though, I haven't been able to finish a single book in probably six months or more. The last book I read and (of course) LOVED was Water for Elephants. I didn't see the movie because I thought the main characters were poorly cast, but the book forever lives on in a positive light in my heart. Unfortunately, it feels like it's been FOREVER since I read that! I've started several books since then only to put them down and never pick them back up. I think the internet and my Netflix account hold a lot of blame, though it all comes down to me, huh?

Anyway, I couldn't stand the idea of me NOT being a "reader" anymore so I purchased some books from that I'd heard of and had coupons for (yay!). They arrived today and I couldn't be more excited.

I want to list them here and then possibly write reviews for all of them. That might motivate me to finish them sooner than later and then share with the world how amazing or not so amazing they are!

So, first things first...


From Ransom Riggs website

"A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows."


Also, Ransom Riggs. Description from

"“My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don’t know.”

This reader’s companion to the casework of Sherlock Holmes explores the methodology of the world’s most famous consulting detective. From analyzing fingerprints and decoding ciphers to creating disguises and faking one’s own death, readers will learn how Holmes solved his most celebrated cases—plus an arsenal of modern techniques available to today’s armchair sleuths. Along the way, readers will discover a host of trivia about the master detective and his universe: Why did Holmes never marry? How was the real Scotland Yard organized? Was cocaine really legal back then? And why were the British so terrified of Australia? Full of fascinating how-to skills and evocative illustrations, The Sherlock Holmes Handbook will appeal to Baker Street Irregulars of all ages."


by Melanie Benjamin. Description from

"Part love story, part literary mystery, Melanie Benjamin’s spellbinding historical novel leads readers on an unforgettable journey down the rabbit hole, to tell the story of a woman whose own life became the stuff of legend. Her name is Alice Liddell Hargreaves, but to the world she’ll always be known simply as “Alice,” the girl who followed the White Rabbit into a wonderland of Mad Hatters, Queens of Hearts, and Cheshire Cats. Now, nearing her eighty-first birthday, she looks back on a life of intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. First as a young woman, then as a wife, mother, and widow, she’ll experience adventures the likes of which not even her fictional counterpart could have imagined. Yet from glittering balls and royal romances to a world plunged into war, she’ll always be the same determined, undaunted Alice who, at ten years old, urged a shy, stuttering Oxford professor to write down one of his fanciful stories, thus changing her life forever."


Also, Melanie Benjamin.

"She was only two-foot eight-inches tall, but her legend reaches out to us more than a century later. As a child, Mercy Lavinia "Vinnie" Bump was encouraged to live a life hidden away from the public. Instead, she reached out to the immortal impresario P. T. Barnum, married the tiny superstar General Tom Thumb in the wedding of the century, and transformed into the world's most unexpected celebrity.

Here, in Vinnie's singular and spirited voice, is her amazing adventure—from a showboat "freak" revue where she endured jeering mobs to her fateful meeting with the two men who would change her life: P. T. Barnum and Charles Stratton, AKA Tom Thumb. Their wedding would captivate the nation, preempt coverage of the Civil War, and usher them into the White House and the company of presidents and queens. But Vinnie's fame would also endanger the person she prized most: her similarly-sized sister, Minnie, a gentle soul unable to escape the glare of Vinnie's spotlight.

A barnstorming novel of the Gilded Age, and of a woman's public triumphs and personal tragedies, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb is the irresistible epic of a heroine who conquered the country with a heart as big as her dreams—and whose story will surely win over yours."

(I don't actually recieve The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb until it comes out at the end of the month but I'm equally as excited for that one as the ones I've already received.)

I hope to have all these finished by the end of the summer/early fall. I will try to write reviews for each one of them if you are at all interested. I might do it even if you're not interested ;)

So, keep a weather eye out!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Exodus 15:2

The LORD is my strength and song...

A year ago this March, I had written a post about "Indie Christian Music" or contemporary Christian music that actually sounded like popular secular music in the indie scene. I felt, at that time, that there was a great lacking in this area and went on to compare Skillet to Nickelback. I apologize now for comparing ANY band to Nickelback, who now has less Facebook fans than a pickle... but I digress.

Lately, I have found that Air1, the Christian "positive alternative" station, has actually exposed me to CCM that I genuinely enjoy. My absolute favorite discoveries so far are Switchfoot's "Your Love is a Song", Jars of Clay's "Dead Man/Carry Me" and TobyMac's "City on Our Knees".

Switchfoot was a band I actually enjoyed when I was going through my Linkin Park/Creed/3 Doors Down phase back in my early teens but I fell out of love with them a few years ago and didn't think I would be going back anytime soon. However, when I heard "Your Love is a Song" on Air1, I was soooo enamored with the music, the vocals (which was a bit of a departure from his normal style), and the lyrics. This song spoke to me and it has been on heavy rotation on my iPod for awhile now.

Jars of Clay's first album is one of my all-time favorite albums period. Christian or not, every note of that album makes me shiver. It also happens to house my all-time favorite CCM song, "Love Song for a Savior". That song makes me feel like God is holding me in His arms, letting me know that everything is going to be OK. After their first two album releases back in the early 90s, I never really followed their progress. Just the other day I was, again, listening to Air1 when I heard a song that sounded eerily like The Killers. I thought to myself, "OK, this definitely isn't The Killers because they might be self-proclaimed Mormons but their music is NOT spiritual in the least. I need to know who is trying to be Christian version of The Killers RIGHT NOW!" So, I got out my trusty smart phone, opened SoundHound and discovered, to my astonishment, that it was Jars of Clay! WHAAA???!!! I couldn't believe it, seriously. I investigated more of their recent stuff and found that I loved it all. I can't believe I've been missing out for several years now!

Finally, good ol' TobyMac. I absolutely LOVED "Momentum" when it came out in 2001. I was scared that TobyMac, without his dcTalk buddies, would be a little one-dimensional and... a little cliche, maybe? However, his debut solo album rocked my socks off. It absolutely blew me away! Then came "DiverseCity" and "Portable Sounds" and... well, I was less than impressed. They each garnered a lot of positive attention but they just weren't my style. I was really surprised that "DiverseCity" didn't cling to my ears at that time because I was a total Bob Marley fan back then! Just didn't work for me, I suppose. Then comes "Tonight" and I love all three of the tracks that have made it to Air1 so far. My favorite, "City on Our Knees", I first heard at the TobyMac concert I was able to attend last year with my family. He ROCKED THE HOUSE with that tune. Absolutely brought us to our knees! I was hooked again on my Toby and I can't get enough.

Needless to say, I have fallen in love with Christian music all over again and I feel it is the perfect time of my life for it to be so. Every time I become depressed, I either put on David Crowder Band on my iPod or switch on Air1. It always brings a smile to my face. God has always spoken to me through music, so I couldn't be happier that His words are now coming from Godly people with God-given talents.

Alright, enough of my ranting retrospective :)

On a related note, check out just about EVERYTHING Jon Foreman, the lead singer of Switchfoot, has done solo. THIS SONG IS SOOOO CUTE AND RIGHT UP MY ALLEY! AHHH!