The Cuckoo’s Calling: JKR’s New Book

29 Dec

So I finished reading The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K. Rowling Robert Galbraith a few weeks back.

If you remember the scandal that was when the news broke that Robert Galbraith = J.K. Rowling, then you’ll know that I just had to read this book. (Short story – her law firm tipped someone off that it was her, and then SCIENCE saved the day with linguistic analysis. Confronted, JKR confessed it was her.)

Science is awesome.

But back to JKR. I can understand why she used a pseudonym. If everyone knows it’s her – will they discount the book right away, because the author of Harry Potter can’t possibly write a serious crime novel? Or, will it become smashingly successful, just because she is the author of Harry Potter, and will thousands of fans buy the book only to be disappointed that it doesn’t contain magic?

I get it, JKR. I understand wanting to be judged based on your work, not who you are. To be able to start over, be anonymous, be someone else, be exactly who you want to be with no past and no baggage and no reputation and no nothing. It’s nice to think about. But not all of us real people have that luxury.

So the book. Overall, I liked it a lot. It had a bit of a slow start, but once I was a few chapters in, I couldn’t put it down. And no, I was not right about the ending (and I didn’t peek ahead!).

The Cuckoo’s Calling follows a private detective and his temp assistant, as they investigate the suicide (or is it murder…?) of a famous fashion model in London. The story is really quite captivating, to learn all the twists and turns and family dynamics and intrigue. The ending I predicted most certainly was not how the book ended, which made me enjoy it even more. Plus, JKR’s descriptions of all the characters is so on-point that they come to life on the pages. I hear she’s quite good at doing that in her other books too…

I would definitely recommend this to someone looking for a good, quick, interesting read.

Oh, I also recently read two James Patterson novels, and they were fabulously interesting and great beach reads. But Alex Cross didn’t solve the crime at the end. Fail, JP, fail.

Next on my list? I’m reading Hyperbole and a Half (for my non-serious book), and Wild (for those oh-so-serious moments in my life).

DIY: Purple Haze Stationary

27 Dec

So the other day I was feeling inspired.

Yes, it might have been by the three beers I had just drank, but hey, inspiration comes from anywhere, right?

So I busted out the trusty paper cutter, inkadinkado, and some envelope liners, and made these notecards.

Purple DIY Notecards

Perfectly purple, to go with the beer…or at least that’s how I justified it.

I don’t know if I will ever get good enough at stamping to do fancy things like embossing or debossing (can you ever just be “bossing” something..?) but I’m pretty happy with my stamping for dummies inkadinkado set. 

Stamped Purple DIY Notecards

It lets you do nice accents easily, and its always an adventure in seeing how the patterns come out.

Just don’t use drink and use the paper cutter at the same time…

Friday Find: The Honest Company

29 Nov

So – I finally decided to check out some products from The Honest Company. (For those of you who don’t know, THC is a bunch of natural/eco-friendly/organic baby & home products that Jessica Alba is currently hawking.)

I had tried the combo shampoo/body wash when I was at my aunt’s house earlier this month – and it seemed to be pretty legit. Plus, shampoo/body wash combo? Fabulous idea.

But at the end of the day, the 35% off email I received was what really swayed me. Love a good sale.

For just under $30, I received dish soap, laundry detergent, dish towels, sunscreen, and counter cleaner. (The organic veggie wash? I can go without.)

Honest Company is a subscription service, but they have a-la-carte options as well. Did I mention they make diaper cakes? And housewarming gifts? Fabulous.

So far, the products are pretty awesome. And it didn’t hurt that I ordered the bundle right when I was running low on dish soap, counter cleaner, and needed sunscreen for Key West.

It’s the little things in life, right?

Fall isn’t Fall without Homemade Donuts.

26 Nov

Nothing says fall like apple cider (warm and mixed with vodka?) and donuts.

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts


(Seriously. Love donuts.)

So I made a batch of these for my fall cocktail party.

Homemade donuts

Looks yum, right?

These are more of a cake-style donut, more similar to a fry cake, than the super-sweet krispy kreme donut that most people are used to.

The recipe is from Applehood & Motherpie, which is a famous cookbook from the Junior League of Rochester. (Did I mention that the cookbook is on sale now?)

These are very easy to make – especially when you have a donut pan. I only wish that I had two of these.

I would share the recipe, but as a JLR member – I’ll say pick up one of our cookbooks and make it for yourself! There’s also a sweet cider cocktail recipe too!

Easy Homemade Donuts

Perfect for holiday entertaining or brunch!

November Book Review Roundup

24 Nov

Nothing like nine days on the road to accomplish some reading, right?

Here’s what I read through on my latest work trip.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwon. It’s like the Kardashians meets Kimora Lee Simmons, crossed with a healthy (or unhealthy?) dose of private jets, real estate, and high-fashion – on the streets of Singapore. I was throughly fascinated while reading this book, and entertained all at the same time. Is there really a group of uber-rich Chinese living in Singapore, in real life? Needless to say, check this book out the next time you need a good beach read.

Hanns and Rudolf by Thomas Harding. This one was a bit tougher to get through, but still a quick read. It’s the story of the British war crimes investigator who tracked down the head of Auschwitz after WWII ended. An interesting story, but I must say that I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more drama when the chase was coming to the end. A bit anti-climatic, if I do say so myself.

The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls. No big surprises here for a J.Walls novel – two sisters with a deadbeat/crazy mother make a go of it on their own. The story becomes more interesting when they travel across the country to live with the slightly kooky uncle in a recently integrated small town in the south. Oh, and there are emus in this book, which makes the ending much better.

I’m currently in the middle of The Cuckoo’s Calling, which is J.K. Rowling’s latest fiction work, under her pseudonym. Well-written, but I suspect I have figured out the ending already and I’m only a few chapters in. If this is the case, I’ll be a bit disappointed that the mystery wasn’t more mysterious.

Happy reading!

Friday Find: BOND

1 Nov

A while back I posted about this cool handwritten note project, Snail Mail my Email. (Did I mention that I even received one? #awesome.)

While that was a limited-time project, now there’s BOND.

BOND sends handwritten notes (and gifts!) to people, straight from your phone. Their tagline? “You type it, we write it.”

While they do charge $5 per note – it’s totally worth it. Its just about the same cost as a nice card – and you don’t have to write it or address it. Or find the stamp, which is generally my failing.

Plus, you can sync the app with your calendar, email, FB, the like – so you don’t miss an event. The cards they send are simple and classic, clean white stationary with gold embossing.

And yes, there are days when I am so busy I need a service that sends stationary for me. 

Their gift selection is fairly diverse, and it’s best described as the love child of restoration hardware and anthropologie. Prices range from $20 and up.

There is a code for sending a free note – so it’s worth checking out.

And of course, I love apps like this, because #ilovepaper.


Fall TV: Now that we’re a few weeks in…

28 Oct

Now that all my shows are back on, I’m doing the standard culling – this girl only has time for so much TV, in between Junior League and Gilda’s Club and work and family and trying to have a social life.

So, here’s what has made the cut for me this year.

  1. Scandal – I can’t say how disappointed I was when I met the “real” Olivia earlier this year, but I’m still addicted to this show. It’s seriously West Wing meets Grey’s Anatomy. But better. And did I mention that one of my managing partners watches this? And he’s a dude. It’s that good.
  2. Law & Order: SVU – I have a cat named Benson. Need I say more? Oh, and the fact that there are countless old episodes are hulu doesn’t hurt either.
  3. Grey’s Anatomy – Watching Grey’s is like wearing leggings. It’s just comfortable. But I can’t say how much longer I can hang in there after the key characters leave. Sandra Oh is out after this season. Sad.

I’ve also picked up House of Cards and Orange is the New Black on Netflix. I know these aren’t anything new, but they are new to me. Plus, Netflix just makes it easy. Kevin Spacey so far in HOC is amaze-balls.

What’s not making the cut this year? Anything on CBS. The network makes it way too difficult to watch shows. I can’t watch on my iPad, and it doesn’t interface with my appleTV. So by default, these ones are OUT. Unless I get desperate, and run out of new episodes of my other favorite shows. Not having cable or a DVR really adjusts the TV plan…but is cost-efficient.

What are you all watching this year?