Books I’ve Recently Read | Nonfiction November

Posted 25 November, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 8 Comments

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Nonfiction November Books Recently Read


Oh hi! Look at that! A book post! I’m not going to go into the whole “Ugh I’m so tired this pregnancy is kicking my butt” song and dance, but if I disappear for a few days (or more) that’s likely why. Because OMG I’m so tired and this pregnancy is kicking my butt. I keep meaning to get some posts drafted up, but then hours pass and I look at the clock and wonder where the heck the time has gone.

But! But I’ve listened to a few great nonfiction titles this month and I definitely want to share them with you! Dad is Fat is HILARIOUS. Listen to it right away, especially if you have young children. The Walmart Effect was fascinating…and a bit frightening in terms of how much power and sway one corporation can have. And All Joy and No Fun is now my new life tagline–I am having all the joy and none of the fun. Ha! But seriously…see above about being tired. Otherwise, life is good.


Dad is FatTitle: Dad is FatAuthor: Jim Gaffigan
Audio Narrator: Jim Gaffigan | Audio Duration: 5 hr, 26 min
Published: 2013 | Pages: 288 | Genre: Memoir/Humor
Rating: It’s so freaking funny because it’s true

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: Jim Gaffigan, comedian and father of five small children, dishes about life in the parenting trenches. No topic is too sacred to cover and Gaffigan is a master at laughing at himself. I especially enjoyed the parts about his wife being pregnant, getting five kids out the door, and bedtime routines. I have never laughed so hard at an audiobook–at times so hard that I had tears streaming down my cheeks.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: If you’re looking for a good laugh, I highly recommend Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. I’ve been trying to convince Scott to listen to the book, but finally settled on occasionally sending him YouTube clips of some of his stand-up acts. Though I think Scott has a bad taste after seeing me whip through the house while listening to this book with headphones and laughing hysterically. While I think anyone might appreciate Gaffigan’s humor, I especially recommend it to anyone who is down in the trenches of parenting little ones. Sometimes we all need a good laugh at some of the things that are so frustrating or difficult at the moment. And absolutely absolutely go with audio on this one!


The Wal-Mart EffectTitle: The Wal-Mart EffectAuthor: Charles Fishman
Audio Narrator: Alan Sklar | Audio Duration: 10 hr, 27 min
Published: 2006 | Pages: 352 | Genre: Business/Economics
Rating: Hmmm–now I get those low prices!

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: Walmart’s core value is to bring the lowest prices possible to its customers. Fishman explores exactly how Walmart is able to provide such low prices and how their business model has created a ripple effect across the world economy. As someone who is not keen on shopping at Walmart (except for a few things I can’t find elsewhere and this is my absolute last resort), listening to The Walmart Effect was a fascinating experience. In many ways it felt like Fishman was vilifying Walmart, but Walmart is just the way that Walmart is and they do very well at what they’ve set out to do (bring the lowest prices…it’s always about this bottom line). Listening to this book, I was constantly amazed at the power that Walmart has in the market place. I do wonder how much of the book, written a decade ago, might be out of date, but after talking to my cousin last weekend who lives in Bentonville and works at the home office…it sounds like not too much has changed!

Bottom Line and Recommendation: 10 and a half hours seems like a lot of time to devote to just Walmart, but it felt like a quick listen and I was rarely bored with the book or the information presented. I didn’t love the audiobook narration but would have likely never made it through the paperbook at the same speed. If you are interested in economics, business, or Walmart in general, it’s definitely a fascinating read and one that I would recommend. Plus–there’s lots of “did you know…” opportunities within the pages! (Did you know that Walmart is the one responsible for doing away with the packaging that deodorant came in once upon a time? Get rid of the boxes and cut a few pennies per item sold!)


All Joy and No FunTitle: All Joy and No FunAuthor: Jennifer Senior
Published: 2014 | Pages: 320 | Genre: Parenting/Sociology
Rating: The title that defines my life

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: This isn’t your typical parenting advice book–in fact Senior makes it clear that parents likely will not find any advice–at least not on purpose of the author. Rather, All Joy and No Fun looks at the evolution of parenting over the past century and a half and how parenting affects the parent, not how parenting affects the child. I was fascinated by this sociological look at parenting and how our parenting today looks different from that of our parents and their parents. She highlights the different stages of children–baby, toddler/preschooler, teenager–as well as how parenting affects oneself and a marriage.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: My finger worked overtime highlighting all of the things in this book. I really would like to write up a more detailed review of All Joy and No Fun because I have a billion thoughts and a billion quotes I would like to share, but I figured that my track record of saying I’ll talk about a book in more detail isn’t so hot these days. As mentioned in the title, Senior talks about the joys that parenting brings as well as the work and frustration. I found myself at the same time encouraged and discouraged by All Joy and No Fun–it was so easy to recognize myself in the pages of this book, especially in the early baby and toddler sections–and I often asked myself, “Is this really as good as it gets?” (It being parenting).  But thankfully Senior also discusses the immense joy that parenting brings and for all of the hard moments that I experience, the joy always wins out in the end. Again, a billion thoughts…  While this book won’t help you sleep train your babe or give you the keys to teenage rebellion, it is a fascinating look at parenting and one that I would recommend to anyone interested in the sociology and history. (pst…as of today, the kindle edition and Nook edition are $2))


I’m not done with the book yet to include it in today’s post, but I’m also halfway through 10% Happier by Dan Harris. I’m surprised so far at how much more Harris’s book reads like a memoir rather than a self-help manual–it certainly isn’t what I was expecting. It’s a quick little read and I hope to finish it this month (I’m reading and listening to it). But again–that reviewing track record of mine. ;)

What excellent Nonfiction have you read lately? Anything else (fiction or non) on your bedside table?



Nonfiction November Giveaway – Tiny Beautiful Things

Posted 22 November, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook / 22 Comments


tiny beautiful things


Hello hello!!! November is marching right along, though I’m grateful that we still have a little more than a week left until December makes it’s arrival. This is the last week of Nonfiction November hosted by Kim, Becca, Lu, and Katie. I don’t think there’s a topic this week and I’m not participating in the readalong of I Am Malala, so I thought that I’d celebrate this week with a giveaway!!

My favorite nonfiction title of the year (and one of my top favorites for the year) is Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. While this is a book of advice–people wrote in the Dear Sugar (Cheryl Strayed) asking for help and suggestions–Strayed’s answers are so incredibly rich and touching and raw and real that I was immediately drawn in…both to the book and inward towards my own emotions and experiences.

So…if you are interested in receiving your own copy of Tiny Beautiful Things to see what it’s all about, please complete the form below. This is an international giveaway and I will giveaway your choice of paper or electronic copy (sorry, no audio for this one). The giveaway will end 11:59pm (central) Saturday November 28th.

You don’t have to be a follower to enter–though kisses if you are! You do, however, have to be 18 years old to be eligible.

Have you read a particularly touching nonfiction book? What’s the latest nonfiction book you’ve read? 



Current Quilty Works in Progress

Posted 18 November, 2015 by Trish in Crafty / 18 Comments

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The other day I decided to make a list of all of my current quilting works in progress. Ha!!!!! The amount of time that I spend in my sewing room comes and goes. Sometimes I’ll make the 15 minute drive home at lunch just to get an extra 20 minutes in the room without the girls. When the girls are home, I can usually entertain them with buttons or scrapbooking paper and scissors for a few minutes but then the draw of the sewing machine is much more interesting. And trying to sew with a 2 year old on your lap (that you’re already sharing with a 34w pregnancy) is not fun!

But, I continue to steal those moments here and there and find that eventually they add up to something substantive. I thought I’d share with you some of my current Works in Progress. I’m linking up with Lee from Freshly Pieced today (she makes gorgeous quilts and her blog is an inspiration). You should be able to enlarge any of the pictures by clicking on them.

Baby Billy Bobette’s Quilt

About two weeks ago I finally cut into the fabric for the baby’s quilt. I don’t hope to have it finished by the time she arrives in six weeks (six weeks!!!), but the progress is quick at least. I decided to use a herringbone type pattern using Half Square Triangles (inspired by this quilt). I had a layer cake of Bonnie and Camille’s Ruby that I forgot I had stashed and it turns out it’s perfect! Lots of red and pink and green and blue. And if you’re wondering Baby Billy Bobette does not have an official name yet. Poor baby!
Quilt for Baby


Stitcher’s Garden Quilt

You might remember almost a year ago when I first posted about this Stitcher’s Garden Quilt. This month is supposed to be our last of a 14 month class. I’m sad that it will be over and I’ve done fairly well in keeping up with my outside of class homework. I’ve learned so many techniques with this class and it’s already given me confidence to try some new things with my machine rather than straight-line piecing. I’ve especially enjoyed the applique! The fabric I’ve used is mostly Kaffe Fassett and I adore those bright colors!

Stitcher's Garden Blocks


Christmas Quilt

Sigh. This thing should have been finished years ago. Seriously. But! Last weekend my dear sweet sister helped me baste this monster (sandwich the quilt top, batting, and backing together) so that I can quilt it up. It’s 72″x84″ so quilting it will be a bear–plus I’d like to free motion quilt it and it scares me. I still have visions of cuddling under the quilt with the girls, though, while we read Christmas stories or watch movies. Maybe we’ll just do that in it’s current state? *insert crying laughing emoji*

Christmas Quilt


Value Scrappy Quilt

So this quilt! YEARS ago I participated in a block swap–I purchased three different fabrics, cut them into squares and mailed them off to the coordinator. She received three fabrics from all the other participants and sent one square of each fabric to each participant. I think I ended up with 150 5″ squares? And as you can see from the below, the fabric is RANDOM.

After the fabric sitting and collecting dust, I decided that I would use it as an Leaders and Enders project–this means that when I’m sewing a current project, I’ll run these fabrics through my machine as I’m chain piecing. Because I’m never actively working on this quilt, it’s like a total bonus–eventually I’ll have enough of these little Half Square Triangles (remember those from the quilt above??) to have a scrappy picnic quilt.

HST Color Value 2

So what’s the difference in the picture above and below? I decided to separate my blocks into Light and Dark values and sew them into the Half Square Triangles (HSTs). The fantastic thing about HSTs is that there are so many stinkin’ patterns you can create with these building blocks. Take a look on Pinterest for some ideas!  Above and below are the same exact blocks but they are arranged in different patterns to get a completely different look. (I grabbed these blocks at random so they’re not matched up the way they would be for a completed project). I’m still not sure which route I want to take with this quilt…though I think I’m leaning towards the layout below. What do you think?

HST Color Value 1


The Hexie Quilt

I tend to get hung up on projects when I’m stuck on how to finish them. In this case, I need to add a border around the hexie flowers to bring it up to size but I don’t know how to attach the hexies to the border. I REALLY don’t want to do any more handpiecing, so I do I sew them with the machine? And won’t that be a pain in the rear with all those hexies (I want to keep shape rather than cutting them in half to create a straight line). So, this baby is currently hanging in my crafting room closet. Sad.

Hexie Quilt


Quilts for Elle and Evie

Two different tops with the same fabric but different patterns for Elle and Evie–these have been completed for a few months (as are the backs), but again…free motion quilting scares me and I’m not any better with straight line quilting. Womp womp. I really need a local guru to teach me the ways!!

Quilts for Girls


Lizzie Kate Jingles Cross-Stitch

Now this…this is what I spend all my “free” time on–mostly because I can sit on my butt while watching The X-Files and work on it (we actually finished the final movie last night so we’re out of shows until January!!).  This cross-stitch is my first time working with linen and I’m enjoying it…but I didn’t know how to measure the linen against the pattern and completely missed the mark. The pattern is supposed to be very long and narrow, but I’m currently trying to figure out how to cut the pattern in half so that I can work it side by side rather than straight down. I think I’ll actually like it better this way (it’ll be a big square-ish shape), but it does hurt my brain. I’m currently AT that halfway point, so I’m not sure I’ll finish it by Christmas. We’ll see.

Jingles Christmas Cross-Stitch


So there you have it–all my current Works in Progress. Even if some of them are sitting and waiting on me to figure out how to proceed or some of them are long term or some of them are only worked on 10 minutes at a time.

What crafty things have you been into lately?




Five Must-Listen Nonfiction Audiobooks

Posted 16 November, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook / 25 Comments

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Nonfiction November 2015

Yay! Another week of Nonfiction! This week Becca asks us about Nontraditional Nonfiction. It’s no secret that I prefer to listen to nonfiction rather than to read it in print. Of course there’s always exceptions to this rule, but I find I focus on nonfiction better on audio than even fiction books on audio. Whenever someone mentions they don’t love nonfiction or are having a tough time listening to audiobooks, I recommend pairing the two together.

Five Must-Listen Nonfiction Audiobooks


yes please audio

Yes Please by Amy Poehler – Celeb memoirs are one of my favorite types of nonfiction to listen to–even in the case of Poehler’s where I’m only moderately familiar with her work. Out of all the ones I’ve listened to (Fey, Kaling, Mandvi are some of my favorites), Poehler’s Yes Please was the one I felt I could relate to the most. While she did blab on about show business quite a bit, she also shared a lot about womanhood and motherhood. She’s not a born narrator, but listening to her book felt like I was sitting listening to someone very real. She is laugh out loud funny and there are several moments that made listening rather than reading well worth it (her conversations with Seth Meyers were great).


At Home Audio

At Home by Bill Bryson – The only thing that makes me sad about a Bill Bryson audiobook is when Bill Bryson doesn’t narrate the book himself! At Home is a brief history of every room in the house and the things that fill up those rooms. It’s fascinating, to say the least, but the way that Bryson delivers this wealth of information is the icing on the cake. His humor can be wry and a bit sarcastic, but he has a way of drawing readers in with his voice. While by the end of the book you might not remember every detail, you’ll have very much enjoyed the journey!


Unbroken Audiobook

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (narrated by Edward Herrmann)Unbroken is an incredible story–one that most of you are now familiar with thanks to the movie, but it’s a fantastic audiobook. In fact, I’ve listened to it twice and forced it upon my husband and his father. I do have the paper copy but only referenced it for the pictures included. Herrmann (also known as Rory’s Grandpa on Gilmore Girls) is the perfect narrator and has perfect command of his audience while reading Unbroken. There were times when I had to pull over while listening to Unbroken because not only was the content emotional but so was Herrmann’s delivery.



Freakanomics by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven LevittFreakanomics was one of the very first audiobooks that I listened to and it was one of those experiences that made me realize that listening to nonfiction was a fantastic way to go. I’m not sure if any of the information is outdated at this point (though I believe there’s a podcast?), but it made my 45 minute commute in the mornings and evenings an absolute breeze and there were times when I’d get home and sit in the driveway just to finish my chapter! Definitely a great starting point if you’re new to audiobook listening!


bad feminist

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (narrated by Bahni Turpin)Bad Feminist is a number of essays on race, social status, gender, politics, Sweet Valley High by author Roxane Gay and the narration by Bahni Turpin is spot on! While I could have done with highlighting ability while reading Bad Feminist, I loved the way that Turpin’s inflection really brought life to Gay’s essays–her inflection was serious one moment and lighthearted the other. At times she sounded exasperated, at times defeated, at times downright pissed off–all of which helped to really drive home the points in the essays. She made me laugh and then she would make me sit up and pause. A lot of this could have been gleaned from the book, but hearing made this experience one that I’ll remember.


Do you enjoy nonfiction books on audio? What are some of your absolute favorite nonfiction listens? 



Cheddar Meatloaf

Cheddar Meatloaf

Meatloaf has never really appealed to me. It’s basically a chunk of tasteless meat that one must dip each bite into ketchup to enjoy. That is until I had my mother-in-law’s meatloaf for the first time. And the second, and third, etc. I finally convinced her to share her recipe with me (which she got from one of those community cookbooks that likely originally got the recipe from a magazine). This meatloaf is so easy […]

Posted 13 November, 2015 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 24 Comments

Five Fiction to Nonfiction Pairings

Five Fiction to Nonfiction Pairings

Hello! Around these parts we’re still celebrating Nonfiction November! I finally finished Dracula last week so have started All Joy and No Fun on paper and The Walmart Effect on audio. I’ve had a really great nonfiction year so far and I look forward to squeezing in a few more books before the end of the year! Week Two Nonfiction November: Book Pairing! Leslie of Regular Rumination asks us to match a fiction book with a […]

Posted 10 November, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook / 25 Comments

Le Tote Subscription Service Thoughts

Le Tote Subscription Service Thoughts

Remember a few months ago when I told y’all that I’m trying to be more mindful of what I’m wearing and the clothes that are in my closet? I signed up for Stitch Fix and have had a fun run with the service (though I put it on hold for the remainder of my pregnancy). I have been trying to add pieces to my wardrobe that are versatile and in classic style–but this is all […]

Posted 3 November, 2015 by Trish in Life / 16 Comments

Nonfiction November 2015!

Nonfiction November 2015!

Wheeeeeeeeee!!!!! Normally I’m not overly excited for November–I really love October and November means the rat race toward the holidays has begun. But! One thing I look forward to in November is Nonfiction November. Wheeeeeeeee!!!!!!! Kim, Becca, Lu, and Katie are hosting again this year and you should definitely check it out. Each week they have discussion prompts (which I will post on Sundays), link-ups, and even a readalong. If you’re timid about nonfiction, this is a […]

Posted 1 November, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook / 25 Comments

‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

Title: ‘Salem’s Lot Author: Stephen King Narrator: Ron McLarty | Audio Duration: 17 hrs, 35 mins Published: 1975 | Pages: 483 Genre: Horror–woooooo! Rating: Wheeeeeee!!! On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible In Short: In the sleepy town of ‘salem’s Lot, Maine, there’s been a lot of bloodsucking fun going on! Why I Read/Listened: Why, for the #SalemAlong of course! Several months ago Melissa and I were chatting about how we’ve both […]

Posted 30 October, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 10 Comments

The Big Fat To-Do List

The Big Fat To-Do List

If I told y’all that I was easily overwhelmed, you wouldn’t be surprised, right? I’m sure I’ve made mention of this many times on the blog–and really given my tendency to take on ALL the things, I guess it makes sense. I keep thinking to myself that if I could just get organized, that life would fall into place and my days would run much more smoothly. Hahahahaha!!!! Lately, I’ve been feeling particularly overwhelmed. Work […]

Posted 28 October, 2015 by Trish in Life / 22 Comments