embarrassing reading

Posted: September 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: books | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

One of those “funny ’cause it’s true” things. Don’t act like you haven’t thought about this before! I may be considered ashamed of what I’m currently reading… but not fully ashamed because it’s still entertaining, and after all, it’s still reading. I decided to give the Emily Giffin books a go, and I’m on book 4. I’ve read Something Borrowed, Something Blue (my fave), Baby Proof (least fave), and now I’m reading Love The One You’re With. They are easy to read and hold my attention for the most part, but it’s not like I’m learning anything or challenging my mind while reading. And I certainly wouldn’t read them in public. The very definition of chick lit!  Let’s face it, it’s cooler to be seen reading something that makes you look slightly more intellectual. At least it’s not Twilight!

I am not sure if reading the books back to back is something I would recommend, because I am starting to get that feeling you get when you eat one too many chocolate caramels. Good in small doses but really, really hard to stop even once you realize you’ve had enough. It’s leaving me feeling glazed over and like the story lines and characters (all female, with cool jobs, living in NYC, caught in an undesirable romantic situation) are starting to blend together.

Anyone else read these books? What did you think?

 

Shamefully, I have no idea where that image came from and the Internet isn’t helping me out here.

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ray bradbury

Posted: June 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: books, quotes | Tags: , , | No Comments »

 

To honor his passing, I wanted to share one of the many great quotes by Ray Bradbury (author of Fahrenheit 451 and other sci-fi classics):

 

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”

-Ray Bradbury

 

Rest in peace, Ray.

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the hunger games trailer

Posted: November 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: books, movies | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Eeeee! That’s me squealing like a fangirl over the first trailer for The Hunger Games movie. It was less than a year ago when I first started obsessing over the books, and at that point, the idea of a movie wasn’t even a blip on the Hollywood radar (at least in the media). But my how quickly it’s come to fruition, and despite my hesitations (how could they possibly live up to the books?), it looks wonderful. Almost identical to how I pictured it in my mind! They’ve done a GREAT job, and even the actor playing Gale doesn’t entirely suck it seems!

Please tell me I’m not the only one out there that is losing it over this. I haven’t been this excited since the Sex & The City movies. I can only hope this turns out better than those did!

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i’m reading a book

Posted: January 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: books, funny, music | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

I owe you all a proper update, but until I muster up the energy, here’s a little something fun for you to watch. It’s my hubs’ latest video, one that he worked extremely hard on I might add! I guess Julian felt a little bad for making me listen to him editing this song for weeks on end, so he gave me a little cameo. First timer!

I’m a big fan of all his vids, but this one is especially fantastic. I think it’s my new fave.

Last thing. Let me take this moment to debunk the myth that Julian actually reads books… I’m the library nerd around these parts.

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water for elephants trailer

Posted: December 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: books, movies | Tags: , , | 4 Comments »

And just like that, I’ve got another favorite movie to look forward to. I read Sara Greun’s Water for Elephants this past September and fell in LOVE with the story of love & life among an old-fashioned prohibition-era traveling circus. I was sad to finish the book, but ecstatic to find out that one of my fave actresses, Reese Witherspoon, was set to star in the film-version of the book alongside the handsome Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz of Inglorious Basterds fame.

The trailer has just been released, and I’m pleased to say it looks incredible!! Get excited!

But before you get too excited – promise me you’ll read the book first. It’s just the proper thing to do. You have until April 2011 which gives you about 4 1/2 months. That’s plenty of time.

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the bookworm found time to read

Posted: May 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: books | Tags: | 2 Comments »

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While my hobbies and interests have changed greatly over the course of my life, there is one thing I can say I have always enjoyed, and that thing is reading. I really don’t understand folks who “can’t read” (my husband included), because to me there is no greater joy! Ok, that last part is a stretch, but reading is pretty stinking wonderful. Sadly, these days I usually give up reading books in lieu of watching movies, surfing the internet or sleeping, but on our honeymoon, I read TWO books front to back. Yes! I am quite proud of myself. Not because I read two books in a short amount of time – I inherited my Mother’s ‘speed-reading’ gene – but that I was focused enough to actually tell Julian to find something else to do because I was reading. Usually I feel guilty and put the book down.

Plus, I can’t sleep on planes, and with the many long flights we took, reading was just about the only thing I could do.

Anyways – both books I read were fantastic, historical fiction (kind of) – The Help (about maids in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 60s and one woman who wants to share their story) and The Heretic’s Daughter (from a young girl’s perspective as her mother was tried as a witch in the Salem Witch Trials). I highly recommend!

guide_hereticsdaughter

Side note: Julian really loves the cover art for The Heretic’s Daughter. Everytime he sees it he mocks me saying “Are you kidding me?” – I guess I give him that look from time to time…

I started to read Pride & Prejudice on the last flight but am only 1/8th the way through. Gotta see what this Jane Austen character is all about, ya know.

It seems like everyday, I add another book to my Amazon wish list. I try to prohibit myself from buying new books until I’ve read the ones I already own and haven’t read but IT’S SO HARD!

Tell me, what are you reading these days? What do you recommend? How dorky would it be to start a reading club on my blog? I promise I won’t do that.

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Original Alice in Wonderland Film from 1903

Posted: March 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: books, movies | Tags: , , | No Comments »

I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to shell out the dough and brave the crowds to see Alice in Wonderland this weekend, but something tells me the answer is “NO.” I do want to see it, but I’m more the type to wait and see how the reviews look – especially when it costs $60 to see the thing in 3D. Luckily, this vintage footage of the original Alice in Wonderland film from 1903 popped up on YouTube recently, and it’s almost as cool as the trailers for Tim Burton’s version.


Can you believe this was made only eight years after they started making movies? Also – can you believe the Alice in Wonderland story is over a century and a half old? It was written in 1866. Amazing.

P.S. This is my favorite still-shot of the movie so far. I wouldn’t mess with this mouse.

Picture 8

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What I’m Reading.

Posted: February 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: books | Tags: , | No Comments »

A couple months ago, I decided it would be cute to add a little section to the sidebar of my blog that shares the books I’m currently reading. If I were honest, that list would be longer than the entire sidebar, but I’m trying to keep this site (and my mind) clutter-free. You see, I’ve got this bad habit of starting [several] books and not finishing them. I’ve always been an avid reader, but these days, I’m so busy it’s hard to discipline myself enough to finish a solitary book. Plus, I read the most at night before bed, so reading always makes me fall asleep. I also tend to buy educational books, which can be a snore if you’re not in the right frame of mind. It’s quite the sad story.

via remodeling center.com
Adorable home library loft.

In reality, my “Currently Reading” list looks like this:

On Writing Well
Mere Christianity
The Omnivore’s Dilemma
Jesus For President
Velvet Elvis
Franny and Zooey
Glamorama

Quite the eclectic mix, right? And this is only off the top of my head – I’m positive there are more. Many of those I’ve given up hope on months or years ago, but the truth is the truth.

I’ve also got quite an extensive collection of unopened books that I’ve either purchased or borrowed from friends. It would be great to start making a real dent in that collection. I’m not going to go as far to say that I’ll start a book club or even review books on my blog (how boring is that), but I would like to draw your attention to the sidebar and let you know that I’ve added the feature.

My list of books that I want to read grows tremendously by the day, so cross your fingers I can stay focused on reading more books, less blogs.

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The University of Zappos.com

Posted: October 21st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: books, fashion, travel, work | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

I still have to do a summary post about my trip to Vegas for BlogWorld Expo 2009, but the tour I took of Zappos.com deserves its own little blogdiddy. Thursday afternoon, thirteen of us crammed into a shuttle to the Zappos compound in Henderson. We had no idea we were in store for so many laughs and so much inspiration!

Zappos’ award-winning customer service is no surprise, the online retailer and its brilliant CEO Tony Hsieh have been featured on the covers of Fast Company, Inc., and many others. Their value is undeniable (just ask Amazon, who recently bought the company). What I wasn’t aware of, was their goofy, colorful, productive and absolutely infectious company culture.

foyer

The first thing I spotted walking in the door was a free coffee machine disguised as a robot like in Spaceballs. Then I noticed the free popcorn in the old-fashioned popcorn machine by the reception desk, followed by the toys, awards and props strewn about. “What is this place?” I thought to myself, as I knocked over a gold-painted column crafted from cardboard. Note: do not lean on these.

After drinking free coffee, registering for our tour, receiving free water bottles and gifting the friendly reception ladies with SocialVibe Pink Balls, bracelets and stickers, our tour began with a quick history of how Zappos got its legs.

zappos

Soon after, we were led by a giant Zappos flag up the stairs, past a class schedule of courses offered to employees to further their skill set and enhance their work experience. On to the epic call center, where all the award-winning service takes place. A few fun facts about their call center:

    1. It never closes.
    2. The reps do not use scripts, ever.
    3. They have no time limit on calls. The longest recorded customer service call lasted 5 hours and 25 min. What patience! What dedication!
    4. After their initial training, call center employees are actually offered $2,000 to quit, to test their passion and desire for the trade and the company. Our guide told us that less than 1% of employees take them up on this offer.

pinkzebra

I quickly noticed that the entire office had a very bubbly, positive feel to it, and not only because their Marketing head was running around screaming with delight notifying the employees about a very exciting upcoming television spot for the company. Zappos.com’ headquarters are extremely cheerful and bright. They aren’t super glamorous like the Google campus, or anything, on the contrary it is mostly boring gray office carpet with icky cubicles – but the kicker here is that they are decorated within an inch of their lives with shoes, knickknacks, magazine cut outs, etc., looking more reminiscent of a kindergarten classroom than a multi-billion dollar company. I loved it.

We made a quick stop by Dr. Vik’s, Zappos’ in-house doctor (yes, full-time). He provides life coaching – both work and personal related – or as they call it, a “checkup from the neck up.” We took polaroids of us sitting in his office throne with crowns and tiaras atop our heads.

lunchroom

Next we were off to the cafeteria, where all the employees are treated to snacks and drinks all day long, as well as a complimentary catered lunch (which one of our guests happily helped himself to…. no names, ahem).

Later, we learned about the company’s innovative technologies for sorting and shipping merchandise – including a portability system called Kiva and the world’s largest carousel, measuring over 800,000 square feet, or the size of 17 football fields. UM, WOW.

Did I mention there is no cost for shipping? And that customers have 365 days to return merchandise, free of charge? Or that their shipping facilities are located in Kentucky, which means only 2-3 days to get to most US locations? Or the fact that it is just down the street from a huge UPS center? Oh. Well it’s true.

We also learned that until recently, the company relied on simple word-of-mouth marketing versus larger campaigns. They’ve just broken into TV commercials and sports sponsorships in the past couple of years. Here is one of their creative TV spots:


We perused the rest of the offices – the marketing department, various apparel and shoe departments, conference rooms, NAP rooms (because of studies indicating that well-rested employees are more productive, naps are encouraged on breaks), the Zappos Insights department (where other companies can come and learn how to apply the Zappos values and culture to their own organizations), and even “monkey row,” where the CEO and other executives sit (among the other employees – no walls or corner offices here!)

I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story.

shoes
It wouldn’t be Zappos without shoes.

moreshoes
More shoes.

big shoe
Really big shoes.

cooldecor
Hanging shoes.

dc
Autographed shoes.

mannequin
A scantily clad mannequin.

confroom
Now that’s a conference room.

conftable
Conference table collage.

count
Sesame Street decorations.

monkeyrow
This row of cubicles – yes cubicles – is where their CEO sits. And the other execs. They call it “monkey row.”

naproom
The nap room, complete with LOLcat.

insights
The Insights department, where companies can come and learn the way of the Zappo.

pirate
What? It’s just a pirate, getting his bones shined.

The best part was, when the tour was done, they encouraged us to take free inspirational books on everything from marketing to management from their library, including the official 2009 Zappos company culture guide.


books

I have never walked away from a place with so much envy in my life! I highly suggest you all take a chance to explore how the Zappos.com company culture operates (they even have a blog where you can read about it), and replicate it as much as possible. I guarantee you will have much happier, more motivated and satisfied employees.

Just take a look at their Ten Core Values:

    1. Deliver WOW Through Service
    2. Embrace and Drive Change
    3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
    4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
    5. Pursue Growth and Learning
    6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
    7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
    8. Do More With Less
    9. Be Passionate and Determined
    10. Be Humble

AWESOME advice! Imagine how different your life would be if your business operated on the same values?

crown
I’m royalty at Zappos.

Huge thanks to the wonderful @Sloane, KiVA Fellow and world-traveling-do-gooder, for setting the whole tour up.

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you can’t put God in a can

Posted: October 12th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: books, faith | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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There is a lot going on today, but I want to take a quick second to post something (and to help me keep things in perspective). I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, and though I’ve read a lot of things worthy of quoting, this really stood out as I was listening to Francis Chan’s Crazy Love on the way to work this morning.

    “God exists outside of time, and since we are within time, there is no way we will ever totally grasp that concept. Not being able to fully understand God is frustrating, but it is ridiculous for us to think we have the right to limit God to something we’re capable of comprehending. What a stunted, insignificant God that would be. If my mind is the size of a soda can, and God is the size of all the oceans, it would be stupid for me to say that he is only the small amount of water I can scoop in to my little can. God is so much bigger, so far beyond our time-encased, air-food-sleep dependant lives.”
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