Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Gifts for the Book Lover

As I keep saying (and will continue to say) in my posts, Christmas is my favorite time of the year. Shopping for the lovely people in your life can be fun but also intimidating if you don't know where to start. Do you have a book lover in your life that you're trying to Christmas shop for? You'll definitely find something in this post. If you're a book lover that wants to give someone a hint about what you'd like, send them over here! 

A Kindle Case

This adorable felt owl case is great for the someone you know who loves their Kindle. Find it on Etsy.

Kindle Touch or Nook Simple Touch


-I'm partial to the Kindle just because I have one, but I hear the quality of either is great. It may just come down to whether you have a Barnes & Noble membership or Amazon Prime. If you're shopping for someone and you're not sure if they'll want an eReader, JUST GET IT. Chances are they'll fall in love with it just like countless others who had eReaders forced on them during last year's Christmas but now can't part with it. If not, you can always return it. Don't forget the gift receipt!

A box set of their favorite series

-I wouldn't buy a nice Harry Potter box set for myself, but I certainly would not object if someone gave it to me as a gift. If the HP Set is too steep for you, there's also The Hunger Games Trilogy, Lord of the Rings, A Game of Thrones, among many others.

Three Months of Audible.com

I would love to give audio books a try, and your loved-one might, too! Now you can try out Audible.com for $7.99 for 3 months.

A Penguin Hardcover edition of their favorite classics
These beautifully bound books are a great gift for any classics lover. You can get them as a set or individually. Buy them here.

A Cute Tote

This awesome tote definitely speaks for itself. Find this and other cute totes here.

Invisible Floating Bookshelf
This cool bookshelf is perfect for the books we keep stacked on the bedside table. Keep your table clear of clutter and let your loved-one store their books in the air. Buy it here.

Bookish Stocking Stuffers

Gift cards for bookstores or ebooks
A book light
A cute (or custom!) bookmark
A "This Book Belongs To:" stamp
Your favorite quotes from a book

I hope you found something that will brighten you loved-one's Christmas season. What bookish presents have you found in your hunt for the perfect gift that are not on this list? Let me know in the comments!

Love and (a book) light,


Monday, November 21, 2011

2011 Reading Challenge Update

2011 Reading Challenge

2011 Reading Challenge

Dorothy has read 49 books toward her goal of 50 books.


I'm almost there, you guys! At the beginning of the year, my original goal was to read 24 books. It went to 30, and eventually I decided to go for a real challenge and make it 50. So far so good! Granted, one is a Kindle Single and two are graphic novels that went by really fast, but if Goodreads counts them as books then so be it! I also read my share of lengthier books and non-fiction, so I think it evens out in the end. 

Did you have a Goodreads goal this year? If not, you should make one for 2012. It's a great way to motivate yourself, not that I needed any motivation to read. Don't forget to add me on Goodreads!

I'll update you again when I reach 50, at which point I'll also set my goals for the coming year.

Love and (a book) light,


Friday, November 18, 2011

Stay Tuned for Christmas

Hey, everyone!
Happy Friday.
As promised, I'm going to regularly post some of my favorite music here, so look out for the posts entitled "Stay Tuned."

Is there anything more magical than Vince Guaraldi Trio during the holiday season? Perhaps, but I can't think of it right now. One of my favorites is the playful and enchanting "Skating." This album will definitely get its share of play time on my iPod.
I hope you love it as much as I do.

Love and (a book) light,


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Thanks, Caitlin for sharing this! Christmas is my favorite. With everything signaling towards my favorite time of year, from the changing decor in stores to the fluke snowfalls we've had in Northern Virginia, I can't help but be excited for the coming holiday season. I had a blast answering these questions. Leave me a link in the comments if you decide to answer them, too.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? I love them both! Do I really have to choose? If I can have salted caramel in the hot chocolate, I choose that.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? I believe for my husband's family he would just set it up around the tree. I grew up in a very religious home, so Santa was not a part of Christmas for us. 

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I love the clean, classy look of white lights around the house. But who doesn't love colored lights as well? We have those on the tree.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? We didn't last year, but we will this year! I know the perfect spot (or spots) for it.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Right after Thanksgiving.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? I don't know that I have a favorite dish, but I do love many desserts associated with the holidays. I love gingerbread, different fruit pies, apple cider... I really miss lechon, which is a Filipino dish that's served during special occasions and Christmas (or pasko in Tagalog). It's basically a roasted pig, which looks a bit intimidating but tastes so good!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? When I was about 10 years old, my sister and I decided we were going to sneak out of our bedrooms at night, open the presents, find out what they were, and wrap them up again thinking no one would be the wiser. That plan was obviously a bust, because we woke up our grandma and when she asked "who's there?" we ran straight to our room.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Santa was never encouraged in our family, so I always knew he wasn't real. Don't worry, I didn't ruin it for the other kids. 

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Absolutely not.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I like to have a solid theme when it comes to the ornament balls. In addition to that, we have a bunch of Hallmark ornaments from my mother-in-law who is a Hallmark fanatic!

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I love it when I am in a cozy chair with hot tea and a good book. I hate it when I have to drive in it. 

12. Can you ice skate? Of course! My husband can't, though, so I am determined to teach him this year.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? When we were dating my husband got me a personalized book about the two of us. It was the sweetest thing ever! 

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Being with the people you love and enjoying life. And the food. Always the food.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Will someone make me pumpkin whoopie pies, please?

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I don't get to do this anymore since I don't live in the Philippines, but my mom's family had the best tradition. During the family Christmas party, all the kids lined up single file behind each other. Then the adults would take turns giving out 10 pesos to each of the kids. At the end of the day, we would have almost 200 pesos! That's about $4, but it goes a long way in the Philippines, especially for a kid.

17. What tops your tree? A golden star.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Not to sound cliche, but I really do enjoy giving more. I love shopping for someone and trying to think of what the perfect gift would be for them. That's the fun part for me. 

19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum? Yum. But I can never manage to finish them.

20. Favorite Christmas show? A Charlie Brown Christmas. Is that a show? My favorite Christmas movies are It's A Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Home Alone.

21. Saddest Christmas Song? I'll be Home for Christmas performed by Bing Crosby. This song was popular during World War II, when countless soldiers were away from their loved ones. Just thinking about it makes me tear up.

22. What is your favorite Christmas song? The Christmas Song performed by Nat King Cole. My dad always loved him, so it brings back fond memories.

Merry Christmas! 

Love and (a book) light,


Monday, November 14, 2011

Say Yes

Say yes. Say yes to good things in life. Grab them. Don't hesitate. Maybe there will be pain in the end, but there usually is anyway. Say yes.

~Joseph Monninger, Eternal on the Water

Saturday, November 12, 2011

...these are a few of my favorite things

Latest Faves

One of the posts I really enjoy reading on blogs is a list of favorites, especially Sarah's Loving Lately posts. I'm the type of person that goes on an on about something they love, so I've been itching to do a post like this. Now that the soundtrack of The Sound of Music is stuck in your head from reading the title, let's proceed, shall we?

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Starbucks
A good number of my mornings begin with this heavenly beverage. I'm not a big coffee drinker, but I love hot chocolate. This salted caramel version helps me deal with the shorter days that come with fall.
Benefit Watt's Up! face highlighter
Nowadays I hardly wear foundation. At most, I'll wear a light tinted moisturizer, but I've recently been skipping that altogether. What makes me fell polished throughout the day with minimal makeup is this wonderful highlighter. I use it on the top of my cheekbones to make my bone structure stand out and to give me a subtle glow.
Clarisonic Mia
I ordered this from Sephora during their Friends & Family sale, and I've used it every night since I got it. My face feels so clean afterwards, and it makes my moisturizer so much more effective. My Mia is the main reason I don't feel like I have to hide behind a layer of foundation anymore. I got it in an adorable yellow, but there are plenty of colors to choose from. I think it's a really good investment! 
I started crocheting! My knew some basic stuff in high school, but one weekend I picked up a beginners book and started crocheting again. I finished my first dishcloth this week, and I'm excited to start a very simple pattern for a scarf.
The Big Bang Theory
I love this show! Why did I not start watching it sooner? It makes me laugh out loud a lot. I love Sheldon, and I find myself quoting him more and more. Any other fans out there?

Slatkin & Co Candles
I bought these candles online when Bath and Body Works was having a sale, and I was hooked. They fill up the whole room and make our home feel so cozy. My favorite scents are Autumn and Creamy Nutmeg.
Golden Mojito Tea from Teavana
I've been a Teavana drinker for a while, but I recently discovered this flavor. It is absolutely divine. Every lady should drink loose leaf tea, I think. 

That's all for now. What are some of your favorites? 

Love and (a book) light,


Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day

To the men and women who have served and to those who serve today,
and to their families who have sacrificed more than we'll ever know,
from the bottom of our hearts.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stepping Out of My Reading Comfort Zone

A man grows most tired when standing still.
~Chinese Proverb

For me, reading is all about experiencing and learning new things and perspectives. That's a little hard to do when I stay completely in my comfort zone, which not too long ago consisted only of legal thrillers. I have since grown, but here's a list of books that were completely outside my radius of comfort when I read them.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

In terms of content, this was right up my alley. What I wasn't comfortable with was the length. Its 600+ pages is almost double the length that I am used to. However, this was assigned for book club, and I took a chance. Boy am I glad that I did. This is now one of my all-time favorites.

I, Mona Lisa by Jeanne Kalogridis

Again another long one, but what was really outside my comfort zone was the genre. I don't read much historical fiction, so this was a bit intimidating. I'm glad I read it, though, because I really liked the storyline. I've been meaning to get back into historical fiction, but never got around to it. What should I read next from this genre?

Something Borrowed and Something Blue by Emily Giffin

I don't typically have a good overall impression of chick lit. I usually discount it as shallow, lacking substance, and below my reading level. (I know, I can be such a snob.) Often times I would be right (did I mention I was a snob?), but this time I was very pleased. Yes, the writing is far from lyrical, but it wasn't horrible either. We all deserve a break now and then, and while this was a very pleasant and quick read, the content and plot was far from shallow. Giffin took on the daunting task of making us see infidelity as anything but unacceptable, and she succeeded.

Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides

I currently read non-fiction regularly. I usually have at least one non-fiction book going alongside my fiction read. When I read this book a while back, I was utterly intimidated by non-fiction. This was a huge step, but I'm so glad I stepped out of my normal routine. This account of the POWs of WWII was very moving and eye-opening. It also paved the way for my current interest in a wide array of non-fiction genres.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I've gotten over my fear of non-fiction, but I am still intimidated by the classics. This, Jane Eyre, and Little Women (though the last one not in its entirety) are the only ones I've read. My goal next year is to read more of the classics that are so well-loved.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

I suppose this is the first sci-fi book I've ever read, and I absolutely loved it. End of story.

Fables by Bill Willingham

Like sci-fi, I always thought graphic novels were for an entirely different crowd. I haven't actually read it yet, but the concept of Fables really appealed to me. I also got some great recommendations for other graphic novels, and I can't wait to start!

How about you? When's the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone when it comes to your reading list? Also, do leave me some recommendations for other books in the genres mentioned above.

Love and (a book) light,


Monday, November 7, 2011

Reading Recap

Here's a quick recap of the reading I've done in the past few weeks. 

I recently finished:

I'm Currently Reading:

Up Next:

I can't wait to review Ender's Game. I really, really enjoyed it.
A friend recently recommended the graphic series Fables to me based on my interest in the Grimm TV series. It will be my first experience with a graphic novel/series!
What other graphic novels do you all recommend?
Or any books, for that matter?
Head over to Book Journey to see what others are reading.

Love and (a book) light,


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Be Brilliant

Humanity does not ask us to be happy. 
It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf.

-Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stay Tuned...

Another one of my passions is music.
I want to start sharing more of that with you through a series titled "Stay Tuned".
I listen to a very eclectic selection of artists, genres, and eras.
Here's a favorite of mine that's perfect for this season.
It reminds me of sitting in a comfy chair with a warm blanket and a hot cup of tea.

What's your favorite music to listen to during this season?
Until next time, stay tuned.

Love and (a book) light,


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Beginnings

Notice anything different? Or perhaps you think you clicked on the wrong link? Well don't worry; you're in the right place. My blog just got an AWESOME makeover, thanks to Elisabeth from Thimbles + Things. Didn't she do a fantastic job? It's exactly what I wanted and more.

My blog isn't the only thing that's going through some changes. I love Virginia, especially in the fall. I've never seen such rich and vibrant colors on one tree. One of these days I'll brave the cold and snap more photos to share with you, but in the meantime, here's one I took last week.


To go along with the awesome design change, I also have some fun, new posts planned, so stay tuned!
Also, while you're here, why not enter my giveaway?
Look for the "Current Giveaway" button on the right.

Love and (a book) light,