Read: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

27070127Book Review: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Rating: 3/5

Origin: Browsing goodreads

Genre: Fiction, Romance

“The unsatisfying thing about practicing restraint was that nobody knew you were practicing it.”

Summary: 20-something Kate Battista is somewhat of a loner. She lives with and mostly takes care of her scientist father and younger sister, Bunny. Dr. Battista is rather peculiar and his daughters have come to live around his quirks. From the way the house is cleaned, to the way dinner is served, there is a systematic method developed by their father to complete all tasks.

Kate works as a daycare teacher’s aid at a well-to-do school. She does the same thing most days and doesn’t have many friends. She is quite unpleasant and forward in her manners, and seemingly unaware of her directedness, as she’s surprised when the headmistress pulls her aside and lectures her about her demeanor toward the kid’s parents. She becomes afraid that her job is in jeopardy, so she does her best to pep up at school. Bunny is more social than her sister. She attracts people with her looks and is wrapped up in vanity, thriving off of the attention she gets from boys. Her father gushes about her, and seemingly favors her with his pet-names and inclination to see past her flaws and suspicious behaviors.

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I Took Control of My Money…and Then I Raised My Credit Score Over 120 Points (In 8 Months!)

True story. For as many years as I can recall, I had no idea what was happening inside my bank account. I remember the days of holding my breath, envisioning a magic number (“If I have at least $____, it’ll all be okay!”), crossing my fingers, and hoping for the best as I peeked at my balance through my fingers. Oh boy, those were the days, and we’ve all had ’em.

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The Truth About Letting Go

A couple of months ago, a person said some very hurtful things to harm me. This person shared their thoughts about me in an extensive conversation with my husband himself. For weeks, while several isolated attacks on my character were unfolding, the emotional pain I experienced quickly turned physical; my face would grow hot at the very thought of what was said about me and to whom, my posture would tighten and cause my spine to curl and lock, my heart would palpitate, and suddenly I would start to shake. This went on for weeks, and my hands are ever so slightly threatening to start shaking at this very moment, knowing that I’m going to publish my vulnerability for others to read. Alas, I remain calm…

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So. Monday, We Meet Again.

Did anyone else spend the rainy weekend in their PJ’s & slippers, Netflix n’ chillin’? No? Just me? Jokes on you. I was able to peel away from the couch to cook gourmet breakfast, lunch, and dinners on Saturday and Sunday. Ah, what a luxury!

Monday’s always drive me into a goal-oriented mindset. What do I want to accomplish this week? What’s on my plate? (Literally and figuratively) What’s new? How much money do we have, and where’s it going?

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Read: As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

Book Review: As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

Rating: 5/5

Origin: Browsing goodreads

Genre: Historical fiction

Death is not our foe. There is no foe. There is only the stunningly fragile human body, a holy creation capable of loving with such astonishing strength but which is weak to the curses of a fallen world. It is the frailty of flesh and blood that causes us to succumb to forces greater than ourselves.

Summary: In 1918 the Bright family makes the move from their quaint tobacco farm in Quakertown, Pennsylvania to the growing city of Philadelphia, where Thomas Bright thinks he can give his wife, Pauline, and their three young daughters, Evie, Maggie, and Willa, a fresh start and a better life by working as his undertaker uncle’s apprentice. With no son’s of his own, his uncle wants to pass the business to his closest nephew.

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It Was Always My Mom

I’d always been a die-hard daddy’s girl growing up. My dad and I were so much alike that our bond came naturally and with an ease that few daughters are lucky to understand. He was so cool. While my mom worked on the weekends, he’d take us to hole-in-the-wall diners with questionable sanitary conditions. Sometimes he’d take us to the flea market, give us five bucks, and let us loose. Most times we’d drive through downtown and settle at one of the parks for the day, or the giant water fountain if it was hot enough. Everything felt like an adventure when it was just us and our dad. He was the king of cheap thrills and he was always laid back.  Things were different with my mom around. As a kid, I remember her presence was more tense. She wasn’t going to bust balls to make it to my soccer game. She was always the anxious parent at the pool who’d conditioned herself to keep two eyes on six kids, or the frantic woman at the park who couldn’t relax; my little sister has a severe allergy to bees and my mom would be damned if the EpiPen wasn’t an arms length away. For many years, it was my dad I’d call to chat with, my dad I’d go out to dinner with, my dad I’d travel with. It was always my dad.

But I’ll never forget the day my relationship changed between my mom and I forever. I was 20 years old when I came home from work in a frenzy, tears flowing, my world shaking with fear and uncertainty. It was one of the worst days of my life. I ran straight up to my sister’s room and confided in her what I should have told my mom first. My mom had been on my tail as soon as I’d walked in the house, and I still remember her standing in the door way to my sister’s room watching me cry. Her eyes were big with worry, “what is it, Rachel? What’s wrong?” I told her, “I’m… pregnant!” followed by another round of convulsive crying. Her face relaxed slightly and she looked unconcerned. “That’s it? I thought someone died” she said.

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Why I’m Married to My Husband

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Above, and featured image: Michelle Joy Photography, 2016

The day my husband proposed to me was one of the most joyful days of my life. As I gleefully accepted, my heart was somersaulting in my chest and surely he saw the fireworks in my eyes. I walked around in pure delight after becoming a new fiancée, holding my left ring finger strategically so that anyone who was paying attention knew that I was getting married. The whole engagement thing is rather sanctimonious like that now-a-days. Alas, looking forward to the shameless Facebook announcement has become a highlight of the event in itself.

Once upon a time marriage was seen as an expectation; while in today’s society marriage is perceivably a bit less so. The marriage rate is down a little less than 20% from the 1950’s. Is that because gender roles have progressed, and men and women are considerably more independent from each other? It could be. Regardless, the concept of a modern relationship taking it to the next level is extravagantly celebrated. After all, it’s a unique, life-changing event, and despite the ~forever alone~ memes that circulate our social media feeds, the status is coveted, if not only for the sheer romance of sharing day-to-day life with someone they connect with. I consider myself a lucky one, because although our relationship hasn’t been effortless, we’ve persevered through good times and bad, and we’ve been watering our love fern together for almost four years…

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