Hoarding Covering The Walls


I love stuff. Art. Old relics. Things that hold a memory or recall a moment in time suck me in and keep me there. But I have a small house and a lot of… Stuff. It was only a matter of time before it encroached all over the walls. It is still a work in progress. At my last estimate, I need nine more pieces of art just to complete the two gallery walls in the living room.


I purchased this crewel work of a monkey in a sail boat at the Rose Bowl Flea Market back in July. I bought some clips and hung it by the front door. Shockingly, the sellers wanted nothing extra for the mystery stains. “My husband is so thrilled with this piece,” she says as her face spasms from winking so hard.


My sister and my brother-in-law gave my husband and myself these awesome vintage initials from an old sign (we’re guessing J.C. Penney’s) for Christmas. I love the purple color so we hung them backwards. This also kind of represents our thought process at all times.


My daughter just finished painting this piece of art. It is based on Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. It is her favorite thing she has done. We love our new art teacher, Jennifer Bonneteau. She is amazing. My son made a similar painting. I just forgot to take a closeup picture of it.


The kids did their self portraits again this year. They did the paintings all by themselves at home. I think they did a great job.


Here is where I want to put more pieces of art to complete the project.


I bought this old folk arty game wheel at the flea market. I like it a lot. It was a lot larger than I had thought when we brought it home.


I have an idea to put bookcases up here (better pictures of the niche can be found in this post). We are overflowing with books. I previously put bookcases in a niche in our home here. But I would have to wall in the kitchen on the other side. My husband says we need the extra natural light in both rooms. What do you think?


I want to get a new couch in this room. I am thinking of this sofa in mustard or teal. I also considered a pink, but I think it would be too much. I am definitely waiting for a discount! What home projects are you currently working on? Any new furniture plans?

I Read “The Hunger Games,” Now What?


So, you read “The Hunger Games.”

As did we all.

Or say we all.

Or somethin’.

What next? Is there anything else like it? Are there other books that are similar?



Let’s talk.

I loved “The Hunger Games.” Before The Hunger Games, I had previously read the author Suzanne Collin’s earlier work, The Underland Chronicles. Unfortunately, I barely remember it. I know she killed a lot of the characters and I remember not liking the ending. It was about a world of people who are minature. And they live among giant (to them) rats and cockroaches. I love anything miniature. Um, see the title of my blog. But I did not love this series. I want to discuss books like “The Hunger Games” that I really did enjoy.

But first, I am going to tell ya something embarrassing.

I was at Comic Con last year.

That’s not the embarrassing part.

The very best part about Comic Con are the free books. Every year we come home with about fifty free books. It is fabulous.

Ahem. Jenni. Yous gots to get to the point.

So, I went up to a publisher’s booth and it was being run by a sole girl in her early twenties. It was a booth dedicated to teenage novels. Most of the book booths at Comic Con are manned by the editors for the publishers. Which is cool. And intimidating.

I asked her, “Do you have any free books today?” As one does.

She smiled at me like a cat seeing a canary or a cockroach seeing a human, depending upon which book you are in. In my mind she uncurled from the chair she was sitting in and stretched her arms above her head.

“Su-rrrrrrrre,” she purred. “But first I’m going to ask you a few questions to find you the perfect book.”

“Great!” I said with genuine enthusiasm.

“What type of books do you like?”

My mind went blank. I seriously could not think of a single book. Not one. Not even a genre. I stood there rapidly blinking. My eyes finally landed on a poster for “The Hunger Games” behind the girl’s head. Aha!

“I like the Hunger Games,” I triumphantly declared as I drooled.

I could see her visibly trying not to roll her eyes.

“So you like Dystopian?”

“Um, I’ve never read that book?” I ignorantly replied.

She looked at me and started laughing. “No! It’s not a book! It’s a genre. Like “The Hunger Games.” You know, future apocalyptic science fiction.”

I blushed furiously. In the back of my head… the very, very back… I had somehow known this. But it did not make me feel less dumb or make my husband laugh any less at my answer when I told him the story later that day.

She handed me a dystopian book. Quite honestly, I am not even sure which one. I ran faster from that booth than Katniss from a fireball.

And I quite forgot about that moment… until each time my husband brings it up. It is always when I am reading.

“Whatcha reading?” He’ll innocently ask. But then before I can answer he will insert, “Is it ‘Dystopian’? I’ve heard that is a great book!” Then he will cackle with laughter.

But the truth is, the book I am reading at the time of his question probably is a dystopian novel. I have read many of them. Here are some short reviews of some other enjoyable series similar to “The Hunger Games,” in case you, too, like “Dystopian.”:


The Maze Runner by James Dashner. This series is perhaps closest to “The Hunger Games” in the bleakness of the world and grownups trying to use children for their own purposes. This is my fifteen year old daughter’s second favorite series. I liked it. However, I did not enjoy the ending of this series. It was not awful, but I felt the series quickly changed in terms of plot from book one to book four. In fact, the theme changes so much it almost feels like a completely different series throughout all four books. And definitely a different world.

The books begin with a boy waking up in a world similar to “Lord Of The Flies.” The kids have to survive on a small patch of land while terrors outside of the walls where they live keep them from exploring. The first book is pretty much based upon why the kids are in this isolated spot and how they are going to get out of it. The first book is the best book of the series.

My daughter appreciated that there was not a lot of romance in these books. I missed it. These books were interesting. The first book earns an 8/10 from me. I would give the series as a whole a 6.5/10. I do recommend them, but they just were not my favorite. It was not a smooth ride.


The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy. This series is currently on book two. I am anxiously awaiting book three. This series is about an alien invasion and attack on humans. We start with the main character, a sixteen year old girl, being completely isolated and alone and not knowing if she is the last human being alive. We follow her around in this post-apocalyptic world as she remembers how she got to the place she is in. All of the while, though, she is unknowingly being hunted.

This series has a lot of romance. It has a lot of violence. Again, we are looking at a group of teenagers trying to save the world. I thought it was very brilliantly written. I would give it an 8/10. Many times I could guess what was going to happen, so that earned the series a less than perfect score from me. And book two had some parts that I felt dragged on. However, I highly recommend these books. There are occurrences of sex, but it is more vague, such as they went to bed kissing and it starts with them waking up the next morning together. Nothing, in my opinion, too graphic for teenagers or even the more mature preteen. Of course, this is coming from the girl who read all of the V.C. Andrews books by the age of fourteen, so take that for what you will.


The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. This was the latest series I read. This series of three books had so much potential. When I think about it my hands immediately go in front of me and I shake a poor sad invisible soul due to my frustration. It makes me sad to reflect upon some of the plot choices that were made or unused talents that went to waste. The premise of the series is a virus sweeps across America and kills almost all of the children twelve and older. Eighteen year olds are safe, but the younger kids could still get the virus as they age. The children who survive the virus are sent to concentration camps because they develop different powers. The powers are condemned by the adults. There are kids who can start fires. Kids who can affect electronics. And children who can read minds. All in all, the powers are concentrated into five groups. Our main character, Ruby, has one of the powers.

I hastily blew through these books. And I liked them, I did. But, there was a great deal of wasted plot opportunities and too many pages of teenage yearnings that I felt could have been curtailed to take it from a good series into a great one. I would give the series a 7/10. I really liked the ending and that seems to be a hard thing to get right in dystopian fiction.


Inhuman by Kat Falls. A biological apocalypse has happened and it is illegal to travel outside of the city limits. So, you can guess what is about to happen. A teenage girl travels outside of the city limits. Outside of the city zone is called the feral zone, because some humans have turned into different versions of animals due to the biological disaster. The main character gets to witness this biological development first hand as she goes on her journey.

This is my daughter’s favorite book. She begged me to read it. I admit that I thought the premise sounded a bit far-fetched and it did not interest me. However, I read it for my daughter. It is a very easy read. I loved it. Another high mark from me. 8.5/10. I do hope that this series continues. It is only on book one with no release date for book two yet. And with the ending being a cliffhanger, I hope I am not disappointed when the series does continue. I can recommend this book to kids in junior high school and high school. I think it will appeal to most kids (and the kids at heart).


Uglies by Scott Westerfield. This was a good series. If. And I mean IF. IF you pretend it only had three books and not four. Reading the fourth book ruined it for me. It is completely out of context. It does absolutely nothing for the series. This is a book about children who once they reach the age of sixteen must have an operation that will make them “pretty.” Then the pretties all have mindless parties and life is great. Except, what if it wasn’t? Young Tally is fifteen and is on track to having the operation that will take her from an “Ugly” to a “Pretty.” But before her operation, she is suddenly required to track down her friend Shay, who has escaped Utopia and is living with the rebels. It sounds silly and it is. But it is also surprisingly smart. I give the series with books one through three only, a 6.5/10.


The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. This a singular book and not a series. It is in the adult dystopian section, however, I feel it could easily be read by a teenager. I don’t want to write exactly what the book is about because it would ruin the suspense of the first few pages for you. Needless to say it is a very scary and graphic dystopian book. It is told from the point of view of a little girl named Melanie. My husband read this one, too. He liked this book as much as I did. 9/10 from me. It is an enjoyable, smart and easy read. This is an equal parts horror and dystopian book, so keep that in mind when making your selection. Also, due to it being in the adult section, there is a sex scene, so I would not recommend this for preteens.


“The Reckoners” series by Brandon Sanderson. The series starts with the book Steelheart. This author is one of my very favorites. He typically writes adult fantasy, which is the genre that is number one in my heart. In fact, for one of my birthdays, my husband purchased all of his books signed to me directly from the author. That is the epitome of romance to me.

This series is young adult and about the apocalypse and super heroes. Or what I would define as super heroes in a small description of someone with supernatural abilities. It is a fun series. The world is ruled by evil superheroes. Which I guess are more supervillain than superhero. I hate superheroes. I do not know why, but I do not enjoy any of the “Spiderman,” “Batman” or “Superman” themed books or movies. However, I liked this. It is such a different viewpoint to think of. I have not read a series like it. Brandon Sanderson is the best at surprise twists. Even knowing that this is what he is the master of, he still manages to trick me with each book he writes. Every single one, he blows my mind with a plot twist. And it is genius and it is brilliant. Another 9/10 from me. I think it is recommendable for all ages. I was thrilled, when writing this review, to discover the second book in this series, Firefight just came out this month. It looks like it is getting great reviews. I just ordered mine and will be receiving it on Friday. I cannot wait!

Have you read any of these books? Are there any other dystopian books I should read (not “Divergent”)?

This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing from the links in this post will provide a small commission for the search for “Dystopian” this site.

Winner of The Etsy Gift Card and Cravings

The winner of the Etsy Gift Card is Kristen. Congratulations! And thank you to everyone who entered. I really appreciate it!

I am so behind right now with this blog. I am doing my best to catch up. Thank you so much for being patient. The good news is all of our bags are now unpacked. The laundry is done. And the house is actually clean (attributed only to the fact that my two children are away for the week). This also means I can finally take some recent house pictures because there are a few new things I want to share. The first thing will be coming up in a post on Thursday. I am going to try to squeeze in some more home posts in the coming month.

As far as purchases or cravings, there are not a lot right now. Sometimes it seems as though stores have so many things that I really want and other times, there is hardly anything. This is one of those times. All I have purchased this month, as far as clothing is concerned, is this skirt. It hit sale and was selling out.

There are some things I have my eye on. I am only human, after all. But I will be waiting for sale:


At the top of my wishlist is Modcloth’s Porchlandia Dress. I love the embroidery. The price is right. And I like the shape. This one I might not wait for sale for. Maybe it will be a birthday purchase.


I love Free People’s Everyday Girl Swiss Buttondown. I can think of so many ways I would wear this top. It is one I will be watching.


I have been craving more items for the house than I have clothes. I am in love with this pillow from Urban Outfitters.


I recently purchased some more gnomes from The Moon Goat on Etsy. I wish I could buy all of the ones shown here. Aren’t they awesome? She is so talented! I only had one girl gnome in my house and this seemed entirely unfair and way too Smurflike. So, I added two more girl gnomes to the mix.

In reading news, I just finished The Girl With All the Gifts. I will have a full review of this book coming up, but if you like “The Walking Dead”, than I recommend this book. It is about zombies. I do not want to say anything else for fear of giving anything away. And I am thrilled about the sequel to Blood Song (my review for Blood Song can be found here) coming out in July and Patrick Rothfuss’ short novella coming out in September. I love looking forward to new adventures!

What are you cravings this month? Have the stores released anything you are pining for? I am hoping the best is yet to come!

*This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on or purchasing from a link certain links will result in a small commission for this site.

Pictures shown here are from Modcloth, Free People, Urban Outfiiter’s, Etsy, and Amazon’s websites.

Handira Blanket Winner and Things I’m Craving

The winner of the Anthropologie Handira Blanket is Melinda. Congratulations! I will ship it out to you on Tuesday.

I loved reading about each of your peaceful places. It was so wonderful to have that imagery in my head. Thank you for that! It made my week entirely better. You are all so awesome. I just appreciate you so much. I want to hug you right now!

Next month is my one year blog anniversary! I am very excited about it! So, tune in on the tenth of next month for that one! I cannot wait! I have tried to make it special. : )

Thank you for all of your support and kindness. You make each one of my days happier. Fuller. More complete.

Things I’m Craving:


This month, I spent so much money on the Lace Study Dress, that my budget was primarily used up. I told myself I could not purchase anything unless it was $20 or under. Unfortunately, I am great at finding $20 and under. I managed to score some excellent popbacks. I got the Corca sweater for $20, the Illusione Top for $10 and the Lace Peplum Hoodie for $20. Three pieces for less than $50! Retail price for all three was $384.


I found this jacket that looks incredibly similar to the jacket I coveted on Elsie from A Beautiful Mess in November. Except hers sold out at $66. I was really sad I missed out on it and have been thinking about it for months. Then I found it. Sort of. I found mine last week at Forever 21. Cost after 30% off sale? $21! I will post a picture with it styled soon. I may or may not hold my dog in the process, stand in my dining room, and have my hair in a messy bun atop my head. Is that too stalkery creepy awesome?


I am coveting nothing at Anthropologie right now. I do not know what is going on, but I am not in love with any of the spring items that have come out (except for the Lace Study Dress I caress nightly). Although, if I could afford it, this beautiful lamp from last year would be coming home to me.


I cannot afford this jacket from Free People, but I think it is rad (a word I seem to be using a lot lately).


What I have been lusting after our books. I bought “Fan Girl,” “The Magician’s Elephant,” and “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.” I finished the first two and I am halfway through the third.


Because I absolutely adored “The Magician’s Elephant,” I also purchased “Flora and Ulysses” to read to my family this week.


And “Attachments.” Although, I think this author is brilliant, I do not care for her abrupt endings in the other two books I have read by her. I am hoping this one is different.


On Valentine’s Day, I made these brown sugar cakes for my family from this recipe. I will not be creating a full post about them. But if you like macadamia nuts, you will like the cake. If not (like my kids and myself, you probably will not). My husband loves macadamia nuts and loved it. Which is why I made it for my Valentine. : )

I am kind of burnt out on shopping. I picked up some coated Paige Denim Pants for 81% off at Nordstrom Rack and a tribal maxi cardigan from Forever 21 for $17 recently. I also couponed my butt off on Saturday and saved over 50% at the grocery store and got two loaves of french bread for .45 cents each in the process! Stick a fork in me, I’m done.


Also, I had to share what I came across on Friday night. I was turning all of the lights off in the house. I am a night owl. I am always the last person to bed. I was on my way to my bedroom when I heard a loud snort. That snort could only be coming from one thing. Ollie. But I looked around the floor and could not see him. I turned on the lights. And there he was. In my Corrigan chair. He was so ashamed at being caught where he knew he was not supposed to be, he would not look at me. I called his name numerous times. Nope. If he can’t see me, I can’t see him. Right? After these pictures were taken, I had to move him. You can imagine the snorts of indignation this produced!

Poor guy.

What are you craving this month? Are you excited or nonchalant about the stores’ spring items trickling in? Do you just want to crawl into a chair and not be seen? I can kind of see the appeal in that.