Book Review: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

This book might have been one of the worst books I have ever read. I had to force myself to finish it, never a good thing. To give a quick synopsis it is about a teenage girl, Lee Fiora, who attends a wealthy boarding school in New England but she is from a middle class family in the midwest and feels out of place. It was her decision to go, she even had to convince her parents to let her, but she constantly wonders why she wanted all of this so badly. She is the protagonist however she is extremely self-absorbed and pities herself constantly making it difficult to be "for" her. In my opinion I would like for the protagonist(s) and antagonist(s) to be clearly defined. I want to love to hate the enemy and love to love the good guy. I found myself thinking Lee was stupid and I did not care what she got herself into. I thought all of the negative things that happened to her were well-deserved, which sounds terrible, but seriously this character is annoying!
On top of disliking the main character to the upmost the book was vulgar at times; inappropriate and gross. The author obviously has very different moral and political views than I do which also made me constantly roll my eyes.
I could go on forever about the things I hated but I will make one final point. Lee's family is completely horrid. Yes, she has a stable nuclear family where her parents are still together and her dad has a decent job however her parents have no concept of how to have a functional relationship with their daughter. Ok, let's be real, teenage girls are difficult, I know, I was one but in the same breath her dad is disgusting and does not even begin to try to listen to her. Her mother is totally awkward and is not bold and upfront with Lee. She lets Lee walk all over her emotionally. Lee also has two younger brothers who think she is cool in a distant way because she is not there. Even when she does come home she practically ignores them. They are an awful, disgusting, weak family that does not truly care about each other.
I would recommend to never read this book as it is too long and too obnoxious to waste your time on.
The End.



Budget Bride: v.1.2

Tip #2 --
Complete your registry ASAP!
WHY: Gifts! Gifts! Gifts! We got engaged in November of 2008 and we registered about 3 weeks later. Not only was it super fun but for Christmas all of our gifts came off of our registry! Also, my birthday was 2 months before the wedding & my birthday gifts came from our registry. We then had all of our showers & teas where we received more gifts. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family who overwhelmed us with not only their time but also gifts to help us start our family and make a home for ourselves. Since the major holidays have passed there are still minor ones between now & wedding season! Valentine's Day would be a fun one to start with! You & your honey can exchange gifts that are off your registry only. This is what AW & I did for Christmas. There is also Easter & the Easter bunny can always fill your basket up with hangers, door hooks, measuring spoons or a blender!
(*Sidenote: NEWLYWEDS NEED HANGERS! -- Everyone kept asking "What is something you really need?" & I replied, "Hangers!" but alas only one person got us hangers ((Thanks, Steph!)). This is not to say we were not appreciative of every single thing we got but really, newlyweds need things like trashcans and hangers! Practical gifts are the BEST wedding gifts!*)
 Another wonderful aspect about registries is that most places will keep your registry in their system for a while. We registered at BB&B only and they keep your registry in for 2 years! This is great because this Christmas Santa brought me some more of my fabulous Calphalon cookware off my registry; I now have more pots & pans than I do stove eyes, WOOHOO!!!
As I stated we only registered at one store which I personally loved because BB&B has a ton of stuff in all different price ranges plus your registry is online so anyone can view it by going to their website & searching for your name. We had relatives in TN that just went online and our gifts were sent to our home! Super cool! We also did this for some friends of ours who were out of state. Some people would argue that there are not BB&B's in every location but I believe that the online store is the remedy to that. It worked for us also because I didn't have to keep up with matching items for one room from two different stores. My personal opinion is to register at one large, well-known location but I know that this is not the majority's opinion. Just some food for thought...
CAUTION: Do NOT register at stores that are going out of business for the obvious reasons. Also, most places will tell you this, but do not register for items that are on sale or are clearance as they will probably sell quickly and will not be re-stocked by the company. That would be a bummer!
At the end of the day, registering is so much fun! We had an absolutely wonderful experience at BB&B & they have a few hubby gadgets to keep the men happy too. We got most of the items on our registry and we got all of the things we really needed which was such a blessing. So, GO REGISTER!!!



Budget Bride: v.1.1

First of all let me say that of course I think I had the most beautiful wedding ever. It was everything I wanted it to be but it certainly was not without the help of my amazing family! I am truly blessed to have so many aunts, cousins and friends who helped make it a dream come true. Not even to mention my parents and sister who sacrificed so much to make it the absolute BEST day of my life thus far...
I want to share things that I did and that I think most people would find helpful in planning their weddings. Wedding season is right around the corner. I personally believe the year is actually broken down into 3 seasons:
*Football Season (Can I get a BIG ROLL TIDE!!! 13!!!)
*Holiday Season (Christmas is my favorite!!!)
*Wedding Season
So as we approach wedding season let's celebrate! I'm not sure how many of these posts I will do but I hope that you find them helpful & that you gain at least a little peace of mind as the big day approaches!

Wedding Season...Two very exciting words! What emotions do these words evoke in you? Well, if someone you love is getting married you are probably thinking/feeling:
& perhaps even JEALOUSY

However, if you are a bride or parent of a bride you might be thinking/feeling:

Tip #1 --
Take advantage of today's down economy!
HOW: As unfortunate as it is that businesses are closing and people are losing jobs, there is a benefit for consumers. When you and your boyfriend/fiance are seriously ring shopping go to stores that are closing/going out of business. They are simply looking to get rid of their inventory and will reduce prices significantly. Also, don't be afraid to "haggle". Ultimately the ball is in your court in these situations. They are looking to unload inventory and make a profit of any kind. Keep in mind however, that if you do purchase rings, be it engagement or wedding, that if the store is closing you will more than likely have to get them sized at another retailer. We did this with my engagement ring and we even found a retailer that sized it for FREE! Another idea to keep in mind is to purchase wedding rings with engagement rings. This is something I wish we would have thought of. When you are in the store look for wedding bands, as they too will be reduced in price.
CAUTION: Do not order a FUTURE good/service from a company that is going out of business. Last year there were several news reports of brides that had ordered cakes from a company that later went out of business. However, they had already paid them a non-refundable deposit and ended up with no cake(!!!), leaving them scrambling to find another baker! What a nightmare!



Evidence Not Seen - A Book Review of Sorts

This book was by Darlene Deibler Rose. She was a survivor of a Japanese internment camp in World War II. This book was wonderful and so relevant. I could connect with her because she was my age and a newlywed. Also, she was funny and nervous and loved the Lord but she was completely imperfect. She was definitely a modern day Moses. A regular person with an extraordinary purpose. 
  The book begins with Darlene and her new husband, Russell, venturing off to the mission field to be one of the first missionaries in Papa New Guinea. It was on their first wedding anniversary that they set out on this journey and Darlene was 21! 21! Can you imagine having been married for a year and setting out to an uncharted land where everything is unknown? I could not imagine, although I pray that if I was ever called to do that the Lord would give me boldness. Believe me, I would need His courage and it could ONLY come from Him, but back to Darlene... They set out and when they arrive Russell has to hike over mountains to find exactly where the people live and where he will begin to build a home for his new wife. During these excursions they would be separated for months at a time. Graciously the Lord provided a wonderful team of missionaries to encourage young Darlene during their times apart. 
  Not long after their arrival to this very strange and new world WWII begins and their lives are forever changed. I do not want to spoil all that happens to Darlene, I want you to read it for yourself, but I was not able to put this book down! It was inspiring, captivating and totally relevant! The difference between this book and The Hiding Place is that Darlene was a young woman during the war whereas Corrie Ten Boom was in her 50's. Also, Darlene was an American and Corrie was Dutch and Darlene was married, Corrie never married. Do not misunderstand me, The Hiding Place is an absolutely wonderful and inspiring book as well and a classic at that, I personally, was just able to relate better to Darlene. My favorite quote from this book is a rather long one which I have posted on my FB profile http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=58901574#/profile.php?v=info&ref=profile&id=58901574 but I do want to talk about a little snippet of that quote and what it currently means to me and to today's world.
  "Were not these also the characteristics of the godly men and women in the homeland who knew a God whose supply is not modified by the world's economic situation?"
This quote is referring to a missionary campaign that was launched in the Netherlands East Indies in 1929 right in the middle of the Great Depression. "A God whose supply is not modified by the world's economic situation"...How comforting is that? What a brilliantly beautiful reminder for everyone who is currently being affected by today's economy. God will provide. He is not limited as we are. 
  Yesterday at church the Pastor spoke on Hebrews 12:26-29 
26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens."[a] 27The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
 28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,29for our "God is a consuming fire."
These words too offer comfort. We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. The world around us may completely fall apart but God and His kingdom remain therefore if we are part of His kingdom we too will remain IN HIM - that is the best part, In Him. Just as Darlene recognized that in 1929 during the Great Depression the Lord still provides and shows His glory we too need to remember during this "Great Recession" that the Lord STILL provides and shows His glory to receive more glory! He is the same. The same as the day Hebrews was written, the same as in 1929, the same as in WWII & the same today.
  I highly, highly encourage everyone to read this book! I initially received it 2 years ago at New Years Conference with Campus Outreach and it was not until last month that I read it. Don't wait 2 years like I did! Read it this month! It is an easier read with great human emotion. I literally laughed and cried throughout this book. Please let me know what you think when you read it! I know you cannot read this book and not be touched.