Nov 18, 2015

Book Review - What Color is Your Parachute?

What Color is Your Parachute? 

A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers - Revised and Updated 2016

This book is a thorough instruction manual for those who are looking for a new job, whether they are doing so because they're out of work, or because they simply want to find their dream job.

The first half details ways to conduct a traditional interview, where to look for job openings, how to impress the right people, and other helpful strategies for landing job.

The second half takes a different approach, and helps you determine what your dream job would be and then find that position in the real world.

To be honest, the first portion of this book bored me a bit -- but probably only because I'm not really looking for a job at the moment.  If I were, I'm certain I would have found it to be immensely helpful, as it gives detailed and clear instructions for how to effectively search for a job.

However, the second part of the book grabbed my attention in a way I was not expecting.  The concept of combining your talents, interests, and passions into the optimal job is both intriguing and compelling.

While I'm sure that most people who pick up this book will be those who want the advice given in the first half, it's the second half that I loved.  I'd recommend this to anyone who is tired of working at a job they don't love, but who doesn't know what their dream job really is or how to find it.

Sep 22, 2015

{Book Review} The Trim Healthy Mama Plan

Trim Healthy Mama Plan
by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison

I read the original Trim Healthy Mama book back when it first came out, and I was very interested in seeing how this second book had been adapted.

My first observation is that the choice to split the book into two sections was a wise one.  It makes it much easier to read and find things, and I'm sure the cookbook section is easier to use as well.  However, the two books really do need to be purchase together for someone to use the plan easily.

Serene and Pearl have a light-hearted, chatty style which makes the book an easy read.  While the specifics of their eating plan may seem confusing from a distance, it's easy to implement their recommendations once you delve into the plan and actually get started.

My Single Complaint: While I enjoy the chatty, fun way that this book is written, I do feel that some of the opinions shared can be off-putting.  I'm not talking about the opinions which make up the meat of the book, but rather, the extra randomness thrown into the book.  A paragraph about eating semi-kosher here, another paragraph about microwaves there... even though they are quick to stick in a disclaimer about how it isn't necessary to follow their advice about these extra matters, it makes the book feel less streamlined and I fear that some who strongly disagree would find themselves abandoning the entire book just because of these things.

I know a ton of people who have benefited greatly from their plan, and although I don't follow it myself at this moment I definitely use much of the knowledge I learned from them (as well as some of their tasty recipes!) on a regular basis.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Sep 15, 2015

Freehand Figure Drawing for Illustrators {Book Review}

Freehand Figure Drawing for Illustrators

Mastering the Art of Drawing from Memory by David H. Ross

My thoughts:

Although I didn't know what exactly to expect when I first picked up this book, I was quickly surprised and pleased to realize that this was an incredibly detailed book on how to draw people without having a reference to copy.

While the style focused on is comic-book-figures, the lessons on perspective, size, and body composition are definitely useful for any artist who wishes to draw people.

David Ross, the author, has drawn for multiple major comic book companies, including DC Comics and Marvel.  His talent is evident throughout the pages of the book in his detailed example sketches, and his instructions are full of incredibly useful advice.

While this book does go over some of the basic principles of drawing, it does seem to be more geared toward artists who already know most of the basics and have moved on to more intermediate or advanced levels.  I tend to think that those who are just entering the world of art could find themselves intimidated by this book.

While I've read through the entire book, I've only just started following the instructions to work on my own drawings.  I'm definitely looking forward to working my way through the book to create better and more accurate sketches.  If you're interested in drawing people or comics, this book is definitely worth your money.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

May 7, 2015

Cookie Love {Book Review}

Cookie Love

by Mindy Segal and Kate Leahy

I always enjoy new and unique cookie recipes, so I was very happy to have a chance to review this cookie cookbook.

The unique-ness of the recipes is definitely a plus, and it was refreshing to see flavor combinations which I'd not previously encountered elsewhere.  And while reading through a cookbook can be less than thrilling, the author's notes and stories throughout the book made it enjoyable rather than boring.

The recipes within this book are definitely not too difficult for a beginning baker, especially given the detailed instructions, but they're complex enough that intermediate or advanced bakers will likely enjoy them more. 

Because of the fact that this book has unique recipes, it also uses ingredients which the average person might now have on hand.  I found this to be true for myself, as my limited pantry/cabinet space doesn't really allow me to have too many exotic or unusual ingredients at a time.  

If you're generally busy and prefer old standby-type of recipes such as the traditional chocolate chip cookie, then you'll likely find that the recipes are too time-consuming and different.  

If, however, you enjoy taking your time in the kitchen and you're looking for fresh new recipes to spice things up, then you're sure to find this cookbook to be a great addition to your library.

My Rating:
I was hoping to bake several recipes from this book before reviewing it, but caring for a newborn has prevented me from doing so.  I only made one recipe, Milano cookies, and even with that I fudged quite a bit when it came to following the instructions.  

That being said, however, the cookies were delicious.  :)

For me, at this time, the recipes are a bit too involved and have too many uncommon ingredients - but that's not because the book is faulty, but simply because it's geared more towards an different audience.  

Therefore, I'm giving Cookie Love 8 out of 10 stars.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of this review.

Apr 2, 2015

The Full-Term Waiting Game {Pregnancy Update}

Bags are packed.

Everything but the cooler (which will hold food) and my and Dylan's clothing bags (which will need toiletries added last-minute) is already stored in the back of the car.

All of the crucial baby supplies needed for the first few weeks have been acquired.

The car seat has been installed.

The house is in a general state of orderliness.

Freezer meals have been cooked.

And now... we wait.

I'm not sure whether I feel impatient about it, or whether I'm hoping for a few more weeks of pregnancy so that I can get a few more non-baby projects done.  Part of me wishes for a few more weeks worth of (mostly) sleeping through the night, while another part of me is oh-so-ready to not be pregnant anymore and actually see the sweet baby I've been imagining for so long.

Dylan's work schedule dictates that the closer Nutella is born to her due date, the better.  For that reason I'm definitely in favor of her staying put for a bit yet, but I think I'll be upset if she's at all late.  I'm the oldest of seven, and my mom had all of her babies early or on their due date.  Which doesn't mean much of anything other than that I'm not used to having babies arrive late, and that I'll be thrown off guard if this little girl isn't here by the 20th.

At 37-and-a-half-weeks I'm more agile than I expected I'd be, but I definitely still feel very ungainly and cumbersome.  Tying my shoes is a challenge, as leaning forward means that baby gets wedged into my diaphragm and cuts off most of my air supply.  For this reason alone I think I'll be very glad when she "drops" and doesn't hang out underneath my ribs anymore.

In other, related news, I'm looking forward to actually seeing how the cloth diapers I've got will work in practice.  Since I'm planning to use 'sposies for the first couple weeks I thought at first that I might be able to get away with diving into using one-size covers right away, but hearing from other moms convinced me otherwise... I've now got a couple newborn/small covers in my stash, and hopefully I'll get another one sewn up today.

Mar 31, 2015

Weekly Goals - March 31st

Two days late and I'm still not as organized as I'd like, but it's something, right?
  • Finish packing all birth supplies
  • Paint whiteboard frame, hang up
  • Finish baby gym
  • Earn $35+
  • Clean windows & mirrors
  • Sketch
  • Make budget for April
  • Start compiling items for photo journal
  • Make and freeze a batch of rolls

Mar 29, 2015

Bump Photo - Week 37

It's been a while since I updated with a bump photo, and I realized last night that not many more opportunities may exist.  So, while I still have a bump... I might as well post it.

I'm glad to have come this far, and I'm hoping the next couple weeks go by fairly quickly.  While I'm sure having a newborn around is going to be tiring in an entirely different way, I'm starting to feel tired of being pregnant.

You may have noticed that I've slacked off on posting weekly goals - I may get a new post up today, but I'm not sure.  Dylan's work schedule may finally start getting back to normal soon, but even so my own sporadic spurts of energy/exhaustion make it difficult to follow the schedules I've tried to set for myself.  The fact that we've been dealing with poison ivy/poison oak rashes for the last couple weeks isn't helping anything, either.  On that note, I have to admit that I'm hoping Nutella doesn't arrive until that's cleared up completely -- even if it isn't contagious, it's not something I want to be dealing with while caring for a newborn.  Or while giving birth.  Ha.