Books Books Books

Ok so two places I totally go to for my reading news, Amazon and GoodReads, put together a list of books one should read in a lifetime.  I’ve decided it’s time to go back to the classics, the ones I never got to read in high school or college. I’m not gonna set a time limit on it, but I’m going to do my best.  How many have you read?  Do you agree with this list? I have to say, I enjoyed The Hunger Games, but I don’t think it really warrants a book everyone should read in their lifetime.  

Goodreads 100 Books You Should Read in a Lifetime

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  3. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  4. 1984 by George Orwell
  5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  6. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  7. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  8. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  11. Fahrenheit 451: A Novel by Ray Bradbury
  12. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  13. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  14. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  15. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  16. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  17. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  18. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  19. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  20. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  21. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  22. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  23. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  24. Night by Elie Wiesel
  25. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  26. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  27. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  28. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  29. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  30. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  31. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  32. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  33. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  34. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  35. The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery
  36. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  37. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  38. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  39. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  40. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  41. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  42. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  43. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  44. The Holy Bible: New King James Version by Thomas Nelson
  45. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  46. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas pere
  47. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  48. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  49. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  50. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  51. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  52. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  53. The Stand by Stephen King
  54. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  55. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  56. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  57. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  58. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  59. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  60. Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel by Arthur Golden
  61. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  62. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  63. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  64. Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire Book 1) by George R.R. Martin
  65. The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman
  66. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  67. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  68. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  69. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  70. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  71. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  72. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  73. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games Book 2) by Suzanne Collins
  74. Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen
  75. The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
  76. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  77. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  78. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  79. The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingslover
  80. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  81. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  82. The Odyssey by Homer
  83. Celebrating Silence: Excerpts From Five Years of Weekly Knowledge 1995-2000 by Sri SriRavi Shankar
  84. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  85. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  86. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  87. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
  88. The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
  89. Mockingjay (The Final Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins
  90. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  91. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  92. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  93. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  94. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  95. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  96. Helen Keller: The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  97. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  98. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  99. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  100. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

List originally from : Kansas City Mamas via Pinterest. 


Bowtie Pasta Salad

photo 1

Ok another by special request — bowtie pasta salad.  I have to admit, I don’t eat pasta salad, ever.  The thought of cold pasta kind of freaks me out.  BUT the  idea of bowtie pasta for our kentucky derby party forced me to face my cold pasta fears for the sake of bowties.  That being said, if I was going to make bowtie pasta salad, I was going to make it with stuff I like.  Sorry peppers and olives you are not invited to this bowtie pasta party.  So you’ll have to forgive my lack of specific instructions here (I pretty much eye balled the whole thing) but I think you can get the general gist of it.


  • Cook your pasta as directed, drain and let cool
  • Make your dressing (I made a simple Pesto from Food Network)
  • Add your toppings!  I put in: mini mozzarella pearls, cherry tomatoes (chopped in half), & avocado
  • Toss and serve cold — (I actually mixed the pasta and half of the pesto dressing and let it sit overnight and then mixed the rest in the morning)

photo 2

Kentucky Derby Day Party!



I have always wanted to throw a Kentucky Derby party.  The hats, the bowties, the endless amount of seersucker, its a preppy girls dream.  My friend Lauren and I FINALLY decided to bite the bullet and go all out with a Derby Day Party this past weekend.  We spent weeks on invites, decorations, recipe searching, we even put a pinterest inspiration board together.  Now that it’s all over, I wish we could have a Derby party every month because it was so much fun.   Everyone who walked by asked about the party and why we were so dressed up, a random stranger even pulled her car over to take a photo with everyone because she loves the derby so much (true story).    That being said I thought I’d share some of the photos from the event maybe to inspire you to have your own derby party (or hey even just a lets get dressed up party).  Enjoy!

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If you noticed some of the signage throughout the party you can thank HWTM for the free printables (which I just changed the colors around a bit to match the rest of the decor)

Strawberry Bruschetta

Ok so this post is by fan request.  Yes someone saw a picture of this beautiful creation on my facebook and asked me for the recipe — as I didn’t really have a specific recipe I could point to, I thought hmm I guess I’ll write it up and put it on the blog.  This one is for you Ten!

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Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta

  • Strawberries, Sliced Thin
  • Crumbled Goat Cheese (I love Trader Joes!)
  • Honey
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Baguette
  • Spray Butter/Olive Oil
  1. First I start off by slicing all of my bread into about 1/4 inch thick slices.  I use a little spray butter on each side and I pop it on a tray in the oven at say 350 for about 8 minutes (flipping about 4 minutes in).  But check on the bread — you want the bread to be a bit toasty but not hard and crunchy.
  2. Wash and slice your strawberries, as thin as you can get them.
  3. Once your bread is done, take the goat cheese and spread on the warm baguette.
  4. Top with the Strawberries, then drizzle a bit of honey and a bit of balsamic (not too much that the bread would get soggy).
  5. If you have extra goat cheese left sprinkle that on top too (you can never have too much goat cheese!)

Serve and enjoy!

Fruity Oatmeal Bake

photo 5Ok, this is one of my favorite breakfast recipes. I will make a good batch of this and cut it into slices to eat throughout the week. You can adjust this with whatever fruit you like, but here is the way I make mine. I took the original pinterest recipe and slightly adapted it.

Fruity Oatmeal Bake

  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup of strawberries (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries (sliced)
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups non fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 banana sliced

Heat oven to 375 degrees . Spray your baking dish generously with non-cook spray!

photo 1

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and half of the chocolate, raspberries, strawberries, and almonds. Add to baking dish.  Then arrange the remaining chocolate, raspberries, strawberries, and almonds  as well as the banana slices on the top.

photo 2

In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, butte, and vanilla extract. Then, pour over oats and fruit. Gently shimmy and shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats.

Bake oatmeal for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the milk mixture has set.

photo 4

Serve warm!

Original Recipe from: Inspired Taste

Paper Love



My love of paper products began when I was a teenager.  I worked at Hallmark for over 5 years throughout High School and when I was home from College.  I LOVED working there, to this day I can’t walk through a store (or rather any store) without fixing the cards so that they are all in order.  I would look forward to the day when we got new cards in store so I could read through them all.  I would insist on sending out only Hallmark cards, and if someone gave me a card that wasn’t Hallmark they clearly didn’t “care to send the very best”.  My taste has evolved over time and I’m not quite as much of a Hallmark snob, but a snob of good paper and design still stays true.  I could spend hours at Paper Source or some of my favorite local Paperies like SugarPaper and Urbanic for the perfect card.  I even buy cards months in advance (i.e. I bought my my Mother’s Day & Fathers Day cards last month…).  I don’t get cards in the mail very often (outside of all the beautiful wedding invites I’ve gotten over the years) and I don’t send out as many as I should, (Perhaps I should start!) but everyone can appreciate good products when they come in.   Ha, now that my rant is over take a look at some of my favorite prints & companies I love to buy cards from!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

p.s. if you want more check out my paper love Pinterest board here!

Music Mondays: KONGOS, Come With Me Now

Heard this on Sirius… listened to it 5 times today already. Enjoy.

Musical Mondays: Come Downstairs and Say Hello

So yes most of my previous Musical Monday posts have been about new music (or at least new to me) but today, it’s time for and oldie but a goodie. I’m slightly obsessed with Guster. I’ve seen them in concert close to ten times (I know…) and this song always gets me jamming in my seat (assuming I’m sitting). It starts out slow but keep listening, you’ll be jamming too. PLUS this version is with the Colorado Symphony so it’s doubly amazing. Enjoy!

p.s. if you are new to the joys of Guster, they put out an entire live album for FREE and you can download it HERE!

Spring Inspiration: All About Nautical

Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you — I have a certain knack for all things nautical.  Maybe because I spent so much time in the water growing up… who knows.  If I see something with an anchor or a boat on it, generally speaking I’ll most likely buy it.  That being said over the past few years the rest of the world has caught up to my love for all things nautical as it has been quite the trend recently.  Old Navy has gone crazy over it, and Kate Spade did a whole nautical collection earlier this year.  I decided to curate some of my favorite nautical things online and put together a little best of list on pinterest.  You can see my full collection HERE, but take a peak at some of my favorites below.Slide1

Joss & Main | Target | Sperry Top-Sider  | Sugar Paper | Lindsay Letter  |
Kiel James Patrick  | Kate Spade | Scout’s Honor  | Vineyard Vines

Let’s Talk Books.


I love to read, and I find I buy a ton of books and never get around to reading them.  I am trying to make it a priority to read one new book a month this year.  In case you are looking to jump start back into the reading game, here are a few recents reads that I would absolutely recommend.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?
I can not give this book more love than it already has.  I started reading it after work one night, and stayed up till 1am to finish it.  I could not put it down.  It’s a mystery, but hilarious, charming, and endlessly entertaining.  If you haven’t read it yet, put it at the top of your list.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
OK so this one isn’t a completely new read, I read it last year — but I enjoyed it so much that I felt it worthy of this post.  It’s poignant, both heartwarming and sad, also incredibly charming (I’m sensing a theme here),  and will make you want to take a trip over to Guernsey immediately.

My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir
Apparently I didn’t read the “A Memoir” part of the title, because I had honestly no idea this was a true story until after I finished reading the book.  It also makes me want to read every single book about Eleanor Roosevelt I can get my hands on (anyone have any recommendations!?).   This is a super easy book to read, and completely inspirational, funny, and introspective.  If you are looking for a kick in your pants — start here.

I’m a few chapters into Anthropology of an American Girl , I’ll keep you all posted on what I think.  Do you have any recent books you’d recommend!?