Try It Tuesday: Back to Basics

With the events of the past week (and the subsequent non-events of the weekend), I’ve come to a realization. Getting back to the basics isn’t so bad.

simple goodness.

Basics are the building blocks of life – things like family dinner, ice cream, lemondade, swing sets and imagination. We tend to get caught up in the newest technology, the biggest and best gadget, the ‘it’ diet, workout, etc.

We as Americans push ourselves to be smarter, faster, stronger and better than everyone else. We take less vacation, spend more time in front of the t.v, are less healthy and more obese than many other countries.

simple breakfast - whole wheat blueberry waffles with peanut butter (and a vitamin!)

So today’s Try It Tuesday is to get back to basics. Read a book. Have a conversation and actually listen. Enjoy silence (even just for a moment.) Embrace the simplicity of a less complicated life. Who knows? You might like it.

Is it really this easy? (click for source)

Calories Don’t Count Weekend

This weekend was exactly what I needed.

I spent Friday night hanging out with the JA. Early Saturday morning, I made my way up to Towson to meet my weekend beach buddy. We made our way to her family’s beach house in South Bethany and promptly took a walk on the beach.

It turned out being a super long walk and we fought the wind on the way back. I wasn’t planning on working out this weekend, but that walk certainly counted as exercise!

After our walk, we promptly camped out in front of the T.V. – watching three movies. We only stopped to refill our drinks and order pizza. Truth: I was so tired that I passed out during two of the three movies!

Yesterday morning, made our way into town for diner food and spent the rest of the morning watching yet another movie. It. was. glorious. However, we knew we had to return to civilization so we cleaned up the house and hit the road.

Bring at the beach in the winter certainly gave me the opportunity to take a step back, relax and recharge. I’m ready to own this week!

What’s your favorite way to de-stress?

Dude – An Evening with Matthew Norman

As I mentioned yesterday, my book club had the privilege to speak with Domestic Violets author Matthew Norman. (Click here for a synopsis and my thoughts.)

Almost like a campfire, the ladies sat in a circle and passed the phone from one person to the next asking Matt questions.

First, we talked about why he chose to set the book in D.C. and not Baltimore (he lives in Federal Hill). He said that he was actually living abroad when he wrote the book and just pictured D.C. and New York as the perfect settings for a story set during the financial crisis.

We talked about the idea that affairs in the workplace have increased since more women started working. We talked about how many relationships begin with a friendship and then grow into attraction. We discussed the difference between how men view affairs and how women see them.

As the phone got passed, we talked about how Domestic Violets has been optioned for a movie. We discussed the actual term of what ‘optioned’ means (studios have a certain amount of time to gather a team together to make the movie before it’s ‘on the market’ again). Matt mentioned that a big name actor has already expressed interest in playing one of the main characters. He expressed is surprise that a, “kind of small, geeky book” had been optioned. He talked a bit about how it’s a relief to sell his novel off to a studio because either way, he wins. If the movie bombs he can say, “They ruined my book!” and if it does well, “Of course it did – I wrote the book on which it’s based!”

We explored a bit of his writing process. How he likes to write with a complete arc in mind. He’s working on another novel, but doesn’t have the end for it yet. As he put it, “I’m aimless. It makes for a longer road and you feel like you just have to grind it out. It’s much easier to write toward something specific.”

He then talked about the book pairing of Domestic Violets and The Violets of March as a marketing strategy – giving all the credit to Sarah Jio.

We dove into his characters – how his voice is quite similar to Tom’s, the main character. He said that Tom is a bit more outspoken than he is and that writing the dialogue was a bit like living vicariously through his character.

We finished the conversation by coming back to the topic of infidelity. How a certain scene divided the group’s opinions. Matt said that he didn’t write the book to be controversial, but this particular scene has since sparked quite a bit of conversation. He explained himself by stating that he didn’t want a typical romantic comedy scenario; he never buys it when men just blurt things out in an effort to win a woman over. Here, he provided my favorite quote of the night, “He wasn’t deciding whether or not to tell, he was deciding whether or not he wanted to be married.”

All in all, it was a great night. It was a pleasure to have him join in our gathering for the night. All nine of us liked it and urge you to try it out as well!

Sometimes

Sometimes you have those days. Days where you nothing seems to go correctly. This week has been a string of those days. So yesterday, I actually ate dessert.

delicious!

I re-watched segments of Joe Paterno’s memorial service. I teared up, laughed, and mourned a man that I never had the chance to meet. A man who represents my alma mater and who remains a bond between my parent’s Penn State experience and my own. One friend described it very well. She said, “It’s almost like losing a grandfather.”

As I said, it’s been a long week. I’m glad it’s almost over. This weekend, I’m taking some time off. I decided to head to the beach with one of my bridesmaids who is leaving me for a job in Texas soon. I’ve (politely) blown off everything else I had planned and am very excited to drink some wine, watch some movies, relax, and spend the weekend with her.

Cheers!

Black Sheep

It’s not often that we have a man at Book Club.

However, thanks to one of my fellow members, last night we had the opportunity to speak with Domestic Violets author Matthew Norman. The book was highly enjoyable, as was Matthew himself. We spoke about Baltimore, movies, relationships and all sorts of good stuff.

I’m still sorting through my notes and hope to have a complete post later.

Until then, enjoy the review!

Domestic Violets

When Sarah Jio called in to our Book Club a few months ago and mentioned she was partnering with a Baltimore-based writer for a his & hers book club challenge, our whole group knew what book we wanted to choose. Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman.

as always, click image for source

Synopsis:

Tom Violet always thought that by the time he turned thirty-five, he’d have everything going for him. Fame. Fortune. A beautiful wife. A satisfying career as a successful novelist. A happy dog to greet him at the end of the day.

The reality, though, is far different. He’s got a wife, but their problems are bigger than he can even imagine. And he’s written a novel, but the manuscript he’s slaved over for years is currently hidden in his desk drawer while his father, an actual famous writer, just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His career, such that it is, involves mind-numbing corporate buzzwords, his pretentious archnemesis Gregory, and a hopeless, completely inappropriate crush on his favorite coworker. Oh . . . and his dog, according to the vet, is suffering from acute anxiety.

Tom’s life is crushing his soul, but he’s decided to do something about it. (Really.) Domestic Violets is the brilliant and beguiling story of a man finally taking control of his own happiness—even if it means making a complete idiot of himself along the way.

I completely identified with Sarah when she said that the book made her blush in its first few paragraphs. It’s something that I could never have read at work, for I would have been beet red at times and completely exasperated at others. A dynamic read, Matthew Norman tells the tale of Tom in a way that is completely relatable to anyone who has family secrets, looks up to their father or (I would imagine) has a small child.

It’s very funny with a surprisingly emotional side. I’m tempted to liken it to The Family Stone or Friends With Benefits. Touted as one thing but then sucks you in with a sub-plot to bring it home.

Another quick read for me that had the added bonus of knowing the general geographic location of the story. Highly recommend.

Try It Tuesday: Book Club

I know in previous posts I’ve mentioned how much I love my Book Club, but I wanted to elaborate a bit on why.

I ❤ my Book Club

Not only are these women smart and well-read, but they can network with the best of them. We had Sarah Jio call in a few months ago and have another author slated for an appearance at this month’s meeting.

Additionally, for the most part, we have all become friends. Sure, we break off into our own separate conversations sometimes, but for the most part we discuss the book and how it relates to us. We have shared in each other’s triumphs and pitfalls all over copious amounts of appetizers and, yes, wine.

For me, book club is a release – an event that I anticipate every month. It falls toward the end of the month, when I’m generally stressing about one thing or the other. When I arrive at Book Club, all that dissipates. I’m around women who I admire both personally and professionally.

On a somewhat related note, for all the men folk out there – I mentioned last year that the school at which I work instituted a mandatory summer reading program/discussion. In sitting with these young men, while the are not the most articulate or enthusiastic readers out there, I learned that they pick up on themes and enjoyed our discussion. While it may not be extremely ‘manly’ to sit around and talk about books, you may find a new author you enjoy, a new friend, or a new perspective.

Get out there and read some books, people!

For some of my most recent reads, click here.