Book reviews

This has been an eclectic mix of books for me lately, and some of them I had to struggle to get through a bit. I’ll also admit: I didn’t quite struggle through all of them!


Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare

The Infernal Devices is Cassandra Clare’s other series, a prelude to the Immortal Instrument series. Clockwork Princess is the last book in the trilogy (I think it’s a trilogy? Clare has confounded me before by writing a finished trilogy, then keeps on going). Anyway, I like the Infernal Devices way more than the Immortal Instruments. The characters are more likeable, there is no weird incest issues going on, and set in Victorian London, there is a cool steam-punk vibe to it. I also really enjoyed the epilogue, tying up all the characters problems neatly, in a way that everyone will end up happy. Vastly more enjoyable than the “City of” books. I hope they make these into movies, because the visuals would be awesome.
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Olive oil: keeping babies cute since the ancient Greeks

I love finding natural home beauty solutions that really work. This one wasn’t for me, but rather for my son. In his four short months of life, he hasn’t been particularly lucky with his hair. When he was born, it was dark, thin, and immediately all fell out except the hair at the very back of his head, forming a kick-ass skullet. Now, his hair is growing in as a lovely golden blonde. Unfortunately, just last week I noticed cradle cap was forming. I’ve heard a lot of mothers say their babies hair fell out with their cradle cap, and I didn’t want that to happen to X!

I found a tip online saying that rubbing olive oil into the affected area before a bath can help loosen the skin forming there, so I gave it a go. I read put the oil on anywhere between a few minutes before up to several hours before the bath, so I decided to cut the difference and marinated him good about an hour before bath. As he splashed away in his suds, I carefully used his soft little baby brush on the area, and all the scaly skin did exactly what they said they would: lifted up easily and brushed away. You’d never know there was a problem at all, and he got to keep all his hair. So relieved one issue could be dealt with so easily!


Thanks for saving my hair, olive oil!

Word of the day:

Anthropogenic: caused or produced by humans: anthropogenic air pollution.

Book reviews: Cookbook edition

The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: A Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health, by Nancy Harmon Jenkins

It has been so long since I perused a new cookbook – who has time for that! But I’ll admit that this book on Mediterranean cuisine seduced my interest, largely in part because I really love olives. Don’t they look delicious. There is an intro on how great the Mediterranean diet is for you (in a word: very), but it is chock-full of interesting recipes I’m now itching to try out. The fact that it’s heart-healthy, and includes daily wine, only makes it even better.

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Culinary adventures: lobster tales

Lobster v. Xander

I gave the lobster this very same look of trepidation as my little helper

Seafood was not a big thing around my house growing up. Like, it was non-existent. As a child into adulthood, I believed with every fibre of my being that things from the sea were “icky.” But then, I grew up, and tasted salmon. And shrimp. And crab. But one thing I have little experience with is lobster. After a lobster boil at a friend’s place last week (where the lobster had been helpfully cracked open and the meat removed for sissies like me), the host offered me some leftover lobsters. Thankfully, already boiled, I’m sorry but I don’t have it in me to actually kill them. I realize it makes me a hypocrite. Anyway, I was already having people over, so I thought what they heck?

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The Reno begins

After writing about homes, renovations and decor for the better part of the last three years, I thought I knew what I was talking about when in came to home makeovers. However, now that I’m actually going through the process myself, I realize that my knowledge was weirdly varied, at times very in depth, but often on the newest and trendiest of products. I don’t know too much about the nitty gritty about getting it done. This past week I had my first big experience with this renovation: Trades day.

I did not know what Trades day was, but it is when our contractor rounds up all the trades guys, from demolition to finishing, to come into the place to give us more exact estimates. For the record, I am SOOO happy we decided to hire a contractor. Not only is it going to be easier on us, but it’s going to be so much nicer. The top two floors of my home are going to look like a new showhome, something I do know lot about. Anyways, Trades day was kind of crazy, made even more so by me trying to calm a crying baby for four hours as I met everyone who is going to take care of our place.

I am really excited to start to post “during” photos, but right now I’m still stuck with the before. The weather has finally turned, so I was able to get outside and take some photos of our beautiful backyard.


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Book reviews: the apocalypse and some health advice

The Walking Dead: Compendium Two

Okay, I finally did it. I got through the next The Walking Dead Compendium. Whoever says graphic novels are easy reads are out of their mind! I found this one was better than the first. By better I don’t mean better written or that the plotline was more exciting it was just slightly less … harrowing. It still very much deals with the theme of the choice between maintaining humanity and survival – incidentally, it’s a theme that comes up a lot in my new novel, scheduled to come out at the beginning of 2014 – look for it then 😉
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Beauty beat: foundation stick


I have a new beauty obsession – Bobbi Brown’s foundation stick. I will be the first to admit that I do not have good skin. I have never had good skin, but the whole pregnancy thing did not improve this. I still have to deal with daily blemishes and scarring, the kind of thing I had really been hoping would have improved once I left high school. Sadly, it was not to be.
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