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ChickLits Book Club – January

This year is starting off great! The January book is most definitely the book to beat for me in 2018. Too soon to say? I don’t know. It was a pretty damn good book!

Have you ever heard of the genre psychological thriller? Neither had I. So far this year, I have read 3 that are in this category and I love them! Who knows if I’ve read any in the past. Probably have and just never realized it. I know now.

So what is a psychological thriller? It’s “a suspenseful book emphasizing the psychology of its characters rather than its plot; this sub-genre of thriller. In a psychological thriller, the characters are exposed to danger on a mental level rather than a physical one.”

An example of this type of book that you might recognize is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Though I admit I have not read this book, I know many have and loved it. I can see why. Psychological thriller’s keep you on the edge of your seat. They are the type of book that you want to read all in one sitting. You just keep turning the next page until you don’t realize hours have gone by but you don’t care because the book was just so good. =)

Now that you have an idea what a psychological thriller is, want to know what the January book is? Of course you do! You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t. January’s book was The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello.

The Memory Box

“A psychological thriller page-turner with twists and turns until the very last page.

WHAT IF YOU GOOGLED YOURSELF & DISCOVERED SOMETHING SHOCKING?

In this gripping psychological thriller, Caroline Thompson Googles herself and discovers the shocking details of a past she doesn’t remember.

A fast-paced suspense where a group of privileged suburban moms amuses themselves by Googling everyone in town, digging up dirt to fuel thorny gossip. Caroline Thompson, devoted mother of two, sticks to the moral high ground and attempts to avoid these women. She’s relieved to hear her name appears only three times, citing her philanthropy. Despite being grateful that she has nothing to hide, a delayed pang of insecurity prods Caroline to Google her maiden name–which none of the others know.

The hits cascade like a tsunami. Caroline’s terrified by what she reads. An obituary for her sister, JD? That’s absurd. With every click, the revelations grow more alarming. They can’t be right. She’d know. Caroline is hurled into a state of paranoia–upending her blissful family life–desperate to prove these allegations false before someone discovers they’re true.

The disturbing underpinnings of The Memory Box expose a story of deceit, misconceptions, and an obsession for control. With its twists, taut pacing, and psychological tenor, Natiello’s page turning suspense cautions: Be careful what you search for.”

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Has it got your attention yet? I sure hope so!  This book was not only good but I believe it triggered one of the best book club meetings we’ve had since I joined. Each person had their own interpretation of how the events took place. Some, after listening to others speak their opinions, even switched sides or saw parts of the book in a new light. Next to last year’s “Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bon’s”, this has been my favorite book thus far.

Recommendation: I highly recommend that you all read this book. As in now, go get it today and read it over the weekend. I’ll be waiting to hear what you thought on Monday. 😉

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100 Followers!!!

I knew I was getting close but I didn’t realize how close until I was there. lol

The last post I published drew in a few new followers putting me over 100!!

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I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who follows 3 Pink Chairs. Without you, I wouldn’t be where I am!!

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ChickLits Book Club – 2017

I don’t know if you remember but last July I made a list of things to do or try in the days leading up to my birthday. Some of the items on the lists were touristy like things here in KC. Some were things that I said I would do and never did. One of these was to join a book club.

So…I did. The book club reads a different book each month then meets the first of the next month to discuss. I had full intention of reporting that first meeting since it was part of my “30 by the 30th” series but never did. Each month I said that I would catch up. Still no.

It’s a new year though. So let’s do this!

First a recap of the 6 books we read in 2017.

July – Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

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I’ll admit this is not a book that I would have normally chosen for myself. If not for the book club, I wouldn’t have read it. I’m glad I joined the book club. =) The writing style was not one that I had seen before. Instead of chapters, many of the pages were memos or emails between various characters. It made for a quick read.

Overview:

“Bernadette Fox has vanished.

When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces.

Which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where’d You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are, and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother.”

Recommendation – Read it!

August – The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

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I loved this book! Though I had read it prior to the book club. About a year, maybe 2, yeah 2, before I learned of Liane Moriarty when I picked up her book Three Wishes at B&N. I loved it so much I went on to read all of her other books. All of them! I think at the time she had 6, now 7.Image result for picture of all liane moriarty's books

This is her latest book…

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This is a book that you won’t be able to put down.  That’s right, you will read it all in one sitting. It’s that good. The Husband’s Secret follows several characters whose lives are intertwined but don’t yet know it. You know something has happened but you aren’t quite sure what until the end. Then everything happens at once. Climax, climax, climax!

Overview:

“At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that is not meant to be read…

My darling Cecilia,
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died…

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not only the life you have built together, but the lives of others as well. And then imagine that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive…

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything—and not just for her. There are other women who barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they, too, are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.”

Recommendation – Read it! Then follow it up with the rest of her books. Trust me!

September – The Nest by Cynthia D’ Aprix Sweeney

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This was not one of my favorite books. I was forcing myself to finish the book in time for our meeting. However, about half way through it started getting better. By the end, I found myself enjoying it. The book was a slow starter to say the least but it won me over in the end.

Overview:

“Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.

Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the futures they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.

This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.”

Recommendation – Give it a chance. Maybe it will grow on you as it did with me.

October – A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah

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This book was the exact opposite than the last book. I started out liking it but ended with just wanting to be done with it. The book reminded me of a bad Hallmark movie that you watch on a lazy weekend when you are bored and can’t find anything else to watch on tv. Yeah, it was that bad.

Overview:

“Pulled into a deadly game of deception, secrets, and lies, a woman must find the truth in order to defeat a mysterious opponent, protect her daughter, and save her own life in this dazzling standalone psychological thriller with an unforgettable ending from the New York Times bestselling author of Woman with a Secret and The Monogram Murders.

You thought you knew who you were. A stranger knows better.

You’ve left the city—and the career that nearly destroyed you—for a fresh start on the coast. But trouble begins when your daughter withdraws, after her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school.

You beg the principal to reconsider, only to be told that George hasn’t been expelled. Because there is, and was, no George.

Who is lying? Who is real? Who is in danger? Who is in control? As you search for answers, the anonymous calls begin—a stranger, who insists that you and she share a traumatic past and a guilty secret. And then the caller threatens your life. . . .

This is Justine’s story. This is Justine’s family. This is Justine’s game. But it could be yours.”

Recommendation – I say pass but everyone has their own opinion. I will say I was not alone in my dislike of the book at the book club meeting.

November – Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik

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I loved this book! The book follows a group of women, who all live on the same street, over 40 years. You can imagine all that can happen in this span of time. There are good times and bad but the women stick together, mostly, and get through it all.

Overview:

“The women of Freesia Court are convinced that there is nothing good coffee, delectable desserts, and a strong shoulder can’t fix. Laughter is the glue that holds them together—the foundation of a book group they call AHEB (Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons), an unofficial “club” that becomes much more. It becomes a lifeline. Holding on through forty eventful years, there’s Faith, a lonely mother of twins who harbors a terrible secret that has condemned her to living a lie; big, beautiful Audrey, the resident sex queen who knows that with good posture and an attitude you can get away with anything; Merit, the shy doctor’s wife with the face of an angel and the private hell of an abusive husband; Kari, a wise woman with a wonderful laugh who knows the greatest gifts appear after life’s fiercest storms; and finally, Slip, a tiny spitfire of a woman who isn’t afraid to look trouble straight in the eye.

This stalwart group of friends depicts a special slice of American life, of stay-at-home days and new careers, of children and grandchildren, of bold beginnings and second chances, in which the power of forgiveness, understanding, and the perfectly timed giggle fit is the CPR that mends broken hearts and shattered dreams.”

Recommendation – Must read! You won’t regret it!!

December – The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

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I was hugely disappointed in last month’s book. First of all, it wasn’t even a book. It was a novella. If you can even call it that. So I’m one who likes to own my books. I don’t use an e-reader. I like to carry a book in my purse at all times. Yes, my purse gets heavy but without my book, I feel like I’m missing something. When I went to B&N to purchase this book, I learned of how short it was – 65 pages. I thought it was a mistake. Surely my beloved book club didn’t choose such a short book. It was not. This was the correct book. I was not a happy camper. Somehow I missed at the meeting that they were wanting a shorter book due to the holidays.

Since this book was a Christmas novella, it had the price to go with it – $18. I refused to pay $18 for 65 pages. So glad that I did to because not only was the story (yes, story, because it is hardly a book) not enjoyable but there was a picture on every other page. Yep, not even 65 pages of reading! Fail! I was fortunate to find the book at a library. Otherwise, I may have had to skip this month’s meeting.

Overview:

“It all begins with a father telling a story to his son on Christmas Eve. But this isn’t your typical Christmas story. The father admits to his son that he’s taken a life but he won’t say whose—not yet.

One week earlier, in a hospital late at night, the man met a five-year-old girl with cancer. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

As the man tells his son about this plucky little girl, he slowly reveals more about himself: while he may be a successful businessman, idolized by the media and his peers, he knows he failed as a parent. Overwhelmed by the responsibility of fatherhood, he took the easy way out and left his wife and little boy twenty years ago to pursue professional success. Now he is left wondering if it’s too late to forge a relationship with his son, who seems to be his opposite in every way—prizing happiness over money, surrounded by loving friends in a cozy town where he feels right at home.

Face to face with the idea that something is missing, the man is given the unexpected chance to do something selfless that could change the destiny of the little girl in the hospital bed. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he needs to find out what his own life has actually been worth in the eyes of his son. And so, he seeks him out and tells him this story…

Written with Fredrik Backman’s signature humor, compassion, and “knack for weaving tales that are believable and fanciful” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our only legacy is how we share that gift with those we love.”

Recommendation – Pass! Although I have heard that the author is good. I may try one of his other books.

Ok, you all are caught up now. Sorry this is such a long post. It happens when you have months to catch up on. January’s book is The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello. This one was suggested my yours truly. I hope it’s a good one!

Growth

A motivational quote we love here at Fit Bottomed Girls.com

NO

Yesterday and today have not been good days for me. They’ve been great days. Just not food wise. I have said time and time again that I track all of my food. All of it. There have only been a small, very small, amount of days that I have not tracked. That amount just grew by 50% because I didn’t track yesterday or today.

Yesterday I picked out carpet for my new house (btw I owe you all an update on the house front) and then went to lunch with my sister. We ordered two dishes and shared. We practically attacked the food. It was so good though. Wish I would have taken a picture for you all.

Then last night we had a family dinner after my nephew’s soccer game. I had a big fat cheeseburger and lots of hand cut fries. It wasn’t even the best burger I have ever had. It was good. Just not the best. Either way it was still a lot of points. Or I assume since I haven’t tracked it.

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Ok, so I’m feeling a little down because of these two days where I have not made the best food decisions. Two weigh-ins ago I was .6 away from reaching the next 5 lb mark. Last weigh-in, there was no change. So I am still .6 away from that mark. I really want to hit it this weigh-in but do not feel this is going to happen after eating so poorly today and yesterday.

Oh yeah, I didn’t tell you that I ate like 10 snack size candy bars today at work. 10! I went to the candy bowl at work and got 1 of each kind of bar. Oh geez! Bad decision after bad decision.

After hearing all of that, hear this. I know that 2 days isn’t going to ruin me. I know that I’m not going to gain all of the weight back that I have lost. I know that I might not reach the next 5 lb mark this next weigh-in but I also know that I will reach it. If not this week, then next. I’ll get there.

Live happens. We aren’t going to stay within our daily points every day for the rest of our life. Weight Watchers is about teaching us to make good, healthy decisions the majority of the time, how to deal with those days that we don’t and how to stay or get back on track when we get off. They are training us for the rest of our lives. We will have days where we aren’t perfect. That’s ok. Just as long as we don’t let those days get out of control.

So yes, what I did yesterday and today is not helping me get closer to what I want tomorrow. But…

I AM!!!!

The Second Hurdle

Yesterday was the second hurdle in this house buying process. First, put an offer on a house. Second, you get that house inspected.

Today I am terribly emotional though. I know your first thought is that the inspection went terribly bad. Actually it was quite the opposite. The house is 40 years old so obviously it wasn’t perfect. The inspector pointed out a few things here and there. A lot of which he said wouldn’t need to be done for a few years. Yes! Nothing needs to be done right away. That’s a relief. It costs a lot of money to buy a house you know. But there was nothing major. Thank goodness!

So what’s wrong with me? Why am I emotional?

I’m nervous. I’m scared. I don’t want to make a mistake. This is a big deal. This is a huge commitment. I’m not the biggest on commitments. Hell, I’ve never even been in a committed relationship. Never! In a way this house will be my first in more ways than one.

And there is absolutely no way for me to know undoubtedly that this is the right decision. I know, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t make sure this was the house prior to putting an offer on it. I did. At least I thought I did.

This house has pretty much everything I have been looking for in a house. I got everything I asked for when putting an offer on it. The inspection went great. So far the process has been very smooth. I really couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Maybe that’s the sign that I’m looking for. It’s not like I have hit a wall at every turn. I’m not having to fight for anything. Maybe that means that this house was meant for me. The first people’s financing fell through. They weren’t the right people. I am. This house wanted me. Well that might be taking it a little too far. But I think you see where I’m going. lol

I’m sure that I will get excited again. But today I’m not. I guess that’s what I want to share with you all. As happy and exciting as an experience this is, there will be ups and downs. There will be moments where you doubt yourself. But those times and those moments will pass. I’m sure of this. Today, right now, I’m scared. But tomorrow I will probably be excited again. Especially since I really need to get the new carpet lined up. Who wouldn’t think looking at new carpet was exciting?!

The First Hurdle

I’ve asked what all to expect when going thru the process of purchasing your first home. Supposedly there are 3 hurdles and I am past the first one. I’m not sure so about that. There may be 3 big hurdles but the in between time is a hurdle in itself.

What are these 3 hurdles?

  • Hurdle 1 – Placing your offer and it being accepted
  • Hurdle 2 – The inspection
  • Hurdle 3 – The appraisal

One could argue that finding the right house is actually the first hurdle. This is the one that was the hardest and took the longest. For me at least. But once you find YOUR HOUSE, these are the 3 hurdles you will have to overcome to get YOUR KEYS.

So the first one is done for me. I put an offer on the house, there was minor negotiation and then acceptance. The house is pending and the seller can not accept any other offers at this time. I have to tell you as I was showing one of my co-workers I saw the status said Pending instead of Active and it made me a little frantic. When looking for houses, you only want to look for the ones whose status is Active. Otherwise you are just wasting your time. My first instinct was “No, how can that be? I put in an offer and they accepted.”. Then I realized it said Pending because of me. What a feeling?!

After your offer is accepted, your lender will start requesting all sorts of documents. Fortunately for me, I had already given him copies of my tax returns and W-2’s when I was pre-approved. However, there was still a lot of documents needed. They were easy enough to collect though. If any of you are considering to purchase a house be prepared to do this. I was asked to collect the following:

  • 3 years tax returns along with W-2’s
  • most recent month’s paystubs
  • color copy of Driver’s License
  • 2 month’s bank statement for all accounts – checking and savings
  • to take a First Time Homebuyer Education Course online
  • to give them my homeowner’s insurance information
  • copy of front and back of cleared Earnest Deposit check along with updated bank statement

The list may seem daunting but it’s not as bad as it looks. If you keep good records, your tax returns, W-2’s and bank statements will all be easy. Your Driver’s License should also be easy as well as your homeowner’s insurance information. Well, unless you switch insurance companies. This may add a little to it but still not difficult. If you take it little by little, it will all get done and won’t be overwhelming.

That’s the first hurdle. Offer and begin paperwork with lender. Done.

Now I wait for the second hurdle – inspection. Mine is tomorrow morning and it can not come soon enough. I put my offer in Saturday. The offer was accepted Sunday. Monday I was a blabber mouth and told everyone I knew. Tuesday was about gathering the documents for the lender. Today, Wednesday, I don’t have anything to distract me from the inspection. I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m eager to see if this house is in good form or if I’m going to have to walk away. Yes, that is a possibility. I’m hoping and crossing my fingers that I won’t have to. But you never know.

Time is, in the words of one of my dear friends, creeping my today. Hurry up already!

I bought a house!!!

I have great news! Great Great News!! I bought a house!!!!

Well I’m in the process of buying a house. My first one. It’s been a very long process. I started saving over 2 years ago, I started looking, casually, about a year ago and more seriously the beginning of the year.

There were so many houses. Some that were obvious no go’s. Some that were real contenders but someone got to them first. Oh this happened a lot. For those of you who might not know there were a few months over the winter and spring where people were going over the asking price (by a lot!), paying their own closing costs and some even took the house AS IS just to win the bid. I did not want to do this. Although I’m not going to lie, I did put an offer on a house where there were at least 2 other bids. I went over asking and only asked for partial closing.

I didn’t get the house. I was hoping my going over as much as I did would offset me asking for the partial closing costs. I guess I’ll never know. It doesn’t really matter now anyway. It was in the perfect location though. However, there is no comparison between that house and my house. I love saying that…my house. =)

Part of what took so long for me to find the right one was because of the housing market. Houses were going so fast. Some were selling in hours. Hours! But part was due to my budget. I’m not going to list my budget on here, understandably so, let’s just say it’s not in the millions. Not even close. Trying to get everything you want in a house on a non-million dollar budget isn’t easy.

I also couldn’t decide, not fully at least, on a location. I would focus in one area then switch to another. At one point I could see myself living in 3 completely different areas of town. People told me not to focus on the location. Yes, location is important. But when I find the right house, the location will be right for me too. I’m not sure I agree with this 100%. There were a few houses that I liked quite a bit but the location just didn’t work for me.

Busy streets. I had a thing about busy streets. I just didn’t want to be on or even near one. I worried that my cat would get out of the house and run in to the street. I feared that my nephew would chase after a ball and a car would be coming by. I’m not normally a worrier but man do I around busy streets.

This house, my house, isn’t exactly where I wanted to be but I do like the neighborhood. It’s close to both my Mom and one of my brother’s. My stepdad’s cousin even lives a few streets away. It’s not as far south as I had hoped to be but it’s not too far north either. The house itself makes up for the location. It has just about everything I was looking for. I can move in and not have to worry about fixing anything. Sure there are a few projects I already want to do but they are wants, not needs, and they don’t have to be done right away. Yay!

I looked at the house twice. Once with my agent, who is also my sister. And again the next day with my Mom and stepdad. Everyone liked it. My sister even said, “You’re going to leave me aren’t you?”. Currently we live less than a mile from each other. The new house is also about 25-ish minutes away from where I am now. It took me a little while to get the nerve to say yes to the house. Get it? Say yes to the dress. Say yes to the house. No? Ok, well I’m sure some of you will. hehe It’s a big step. Did I mention this is my first house??

I’m so afraid of making mistakes and this would be a huge one. I had to think about it. Could I really see myself living in this house? Does it have what I’m looking for? Am I ok with the location? Is it too big? And the big one, can I afford it? I’m also one to reach out to friends and family for advice. I do it all the time. This was no exception. I must have reached out to 10-15 people. Everyone liked it, even loved it!

There was one thing that I kept thinking of. This might seem silly and no, it’s not the reason why I chose to put an offer on this house. But it was on mind as I was making my decision. At the base of one of the deck posts was a rose bush. On this rose bush there was a single rose growing. My Grandma loved roses and had rose bushes of her own. Seeing this rose made me think of her. I feel as if she was trying to tell me that this was the one. My search was over. I had finally found the house I was going to buy.

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Man, I’m getting teary eyed writing this. I wish that she was able to see the house that I have chose. To help me decorate, watch TV together, make apple butter together, play rummy on the deck, etc… I could go on and on. I miss her so much and wish that she was enjoying this with me. I know that she would be so happy. She is with me though in my memories and so many other things. I have a few pieces of furniture from her house that will now go in my house. Her pictures will be spread throughout. I will make apple butter, banana nut bread and even pecan tassies (my favorite of hers!) in her memory. Sitting on the back deck, more so on the lower deck area, will bring back memories of my Grandpa. So much of this house, mainly the back yard, made me think of their house. They were both on my mind so much this last weekend.

I feel I have somewhat gotten off topic. Sorry!

Bring it back Bettina…so I put an offer on the house and it was accepted! Yay! Technically the seller countered and I accepted their offer. But still yay!

That’s where I am at the moment. It’s still very early in the process. My inspection is in a couple days. Fingers crossed everything goes well. Nothing to do but wait until then. Stay tuned. I’ll try to post throughout the process and of course through the first few months of being a new homeowner. =)