Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring Bloggiesta Goals

This is a sticky post and will stay on top until Bloggiesta is over.

Time for Bloggiesta! Here's my list:
  1. Move Lists of a Book Lover to pages bar
  2. Update pages bar to only be one row
  3. Change title and post title font
  4. Prewrite April's The Bloggers We Read posts
  5. Make templates for April's posts while I have good wifi connection
  6. Finish Book Addict's monthly book challenge
    1. Link reviews to Amazon (as a bonus I added on Goodreads too)
    2. Pin reviews to Pinterest
    3. Pin travel blog posts
  7. Write at least 6 posts for travel blog
  8. Write wine update
  9. Add post subscription box and an author box
  10. Update links on What is Your page, The Bloggers We Read page, and reviews to 2015 books page
Considering everything else I have to do in order to close up my current house and move to Honduras, I think this list is plenty.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cooking My Way - Bacon Addict

Cooking My Way is a project I started in 2011 when my recipe collection had reached out of control status. I decided to finally cook my way through all the recipes I've collected throughout the years in a 3-ring binder from magazines etc. Eventually, I hope to finish the project.

Maple Chile Bacon
again with the bacon, I know. I can't help it. Hello. My name is Bree and I'm a bacon addict. I left this bacon in the oven for 3 minutes too long. Timing is everything when making candied or flavored bacon. It still tastes good delicious but not as good as if I hadn't overcooked it.

1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a rack on top.
2. Lay 6 slices of thick-cut bacon on the rack in a single layer. Bake until they start to crisp, 12 to 14 minutes.
3. Flip the bacon and top with your seasoning mixture.
4. Continue baking until browned all over, 12 to 16 more minutes. Drain on paper towel.

(my changes: I used regular sliced bacon, dark brown sugar, ancho chile seeds and cinnamon maple syrup. I didn't use a rack as I don't have one in my rental house. And I didn't cook bacon as long especially since it was regular sliced. Also, candied bacon sticks to paper towel very quickly so don't leave on towel too long)
(copied from: Food Network Magazine, March 2014)

Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Bloggers We Read: Caro @ A Girl That Likes Books

Introducing....Caro @ A Girl that Likes Books

I love when women go into the science field. While it is not a passion of mine, scientists are intriguing, don't you think? All that school. Playing with chemicals and experiments. Sounds cool. Check out Caro's blog. How she can keep up with pleasure reading, blogging and PhD studies is beyond me.

Why did you start blogging? 
To be honest I started my blog at first just to have a type of reading journal. In doing so I started meeting all of these wonderful other book bloggers and I've been trying ever since to expand a bit more the type of post I have.

Do people in your personal life know about your blog or is it your private spot?
Some of them do, is not a private spot, but at the same time I didn't want to "force" them into it. The ones that have found out about it seem to like it, so yeii!

Do you have other blogs? If so, what are they?
I have another personal blog, called Middle PhD Crisis that I started quite recently, where I talk about my life in the lab (I am doing my PhD in Virology and Immunology). Also recently I joined the amazing team of Book Bloggers International  where we try to feature new bloggers and every month we have a main topic and guest posts, once again to introduce them to others

What are some blogs (bookish or not) people should check out that you enjoy?
The blogs of the girls in the BBI team of course, you can find out a bit more about them here. I love Trish from Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity and Andi from Estella's Revenge. Non bookish, I would say Science Borealis, a site dedicated to science with a Canadian perspective

Anything you would like to share about yourself, family, etc?
I am the eldest of 3 siblings, only girl. I am originally from Colombia, but I have been living in Canada for the past 6 years, where I am pretty much settled with my (now) fiancé A, and our cat. (Ooooo Colombia, I hear that is a fantastic country. I hope to visit there next year.)

What do you do for a living?  Anything book related that the rest of us can be jealous about?
Oh I wish it was something book related! As I mentioned I am doing my PhD right now, and should be done in a bit more than a year now. After that I would like to pursue a career in Scientific Writing (oh man, sounds difficult!)

What are your childhood reading memories?
My mom taught me to read when I was fairly young, so all my reading memories as a child are associated with her. She died when I was 7, and I miss her every day. (terribly sorry to hear that. :( 

What do you think of forcing students to read certain books especially the classics? Yes or No? Harmful or helpful to their reading life?
I am in general against forcing anyone to read. I do believe students should be exposed to certain books, or at least certain authors. But I think there is always a way to encourage rather than to force. In my experience, my brothers were forced to read and they just grew to dislike reading as a whole :S.

What suggestions or advice do you have for new bloggers?
To have patience. It takes a while to find your own voice and hence your audience. Don't despair and don't succumb to checking your stats too often. Do it because you are having fun, not to get followers, and above all respect other people's work.

What is your guilty secret pleasure?
Well, if I tell you it won't be a secret anymore! (true)

Favorites Section:
Favorite Author: that's a hard one, I am going to skip this question, if you don't mind
Book:Another hard one, I guess I will go with Momo by Michael Ende, one of the few books I have re read.

Blogging event/challenge:Dewey's 24-hour Read-a-Thon!
Food:hmm,  I love limes, anything with lime...oh and sour gummies (me too. Both of them! Have you tried Lime Wheat Thins crackers? yummy)
Drink:I love Coke, but I try to avoid it, because of the sugar content, but when I have one, is like heaven!
Tea or Coffee Drinker:Both, mostly coffee though
Dream vacation spot:I've always dreamed of going to London
TV show:American Horror Story, Mad Men and Once Upon a Time
Brad Pitt or Channing Tatum:pfff, they are really not my type. Gael García Bernal, or Zachary Quinto would be more like me :D

Summer or winter:Summer! I can't stand winter anymore!

Thanks for participating in The Bloggers We Read!

You can follow Caro:

The Bloggers We Read is a regular feature on The Things We Read
If you would like to have the spotlight shine on you, send me an email.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Links We Read and other daily stuff

  • Some day I will travel here!
  • Because I found almost all Girlxoxo's links helpful or informative, I'm going to refer you to her list of links this week. It is awesome!

I spent last week visiting with my sister and brother-in-law. We had a great time catching up after a year long absence. This week is going to be spent packing up my house. I ordered a Kindle and camera. Finally. I haven't owned a camera since the age of film. Hello digital age! I'm a little behind the times.

Last week I spent touring Portland and the Oregon coast with my sister and her husband. :) So Much Fun! I went to restaurants I've been wanting to go to as well as places my sister found. We ate so much food. I'm sure I gain 10 pounds but we walked everywhere. I like to think the walking walked off all the extra calories. Have you ever been to the Oregon coast? It's gorgeous. I've never seen beaches so wide. Granted the tide goes out pretty far but the expanse is huge and vast.

Last Week:
  1. Finish TEFL
  2. Learn Canva and see if it is a better alternative to Picmonkey (yes it is easier in most ways. Try it)
  3. Buy a Kindle
  4. Learn about adding Related Posts in Wordpress (I don't care for Zemanta, need to find another plug-in)
  5. Buy a camera
This Week:
  1. Go to Tulip Festival
  2. Learn what is Meta Description on Wordpress
  3. Complete Bloggiesta list
  4. Write "if I die" paper (kinda like a will, I guess)
  5. Buy contacts

  • My most popular post ever - Slice of Life about Love from 2014. I had no idea my random thought about love would be so popular
  • Some delicious recipes I tried in 2011
  • What my Book A Day calendar recommended (3/17/09)

  • Shiny updates from Bloggiesta
  • The Bloggers We Read shines on Caro at A Girl That Likes Books

How was your week?

Friday, March 20, 2015

When Your Home is Everywhere and Anywhere


Review: Home Sweet Anywhere
Author: Lynne Martin
Genre: Non-fiction, travel

My Thoughts: I am addicted to reading travel books especially memoirs of traveling. This travel remembrance was a little different then most I've read because the age of the travelers, Lynne and her husband, is quite a bit older than most. They are retired and approaching 70. I think their tale is super cool. They sold almost everything and hit the road with rolly duffel bags. Since they are not the typical backpackers, there are several differences in their travels. They prefer to rent apartments for a month or more and they rent cars for road trips; however, they are still of the budget conscious mindset. Their story starts off when they concoct the idea to travel, follows them through the process of preparation, and finishes with chapters on each of the countries they visit for the first 2 years of traveling.

The beginning and middle of the book will keep you enthralled and laughing at their tale. I did start to skim towards the last few chapters as it became a little redundant. However, I still recommend the book as a good travel memoirs especially if you are thinking of hitting the road yourself. They bring up several ideas and keypoints you should add to your to do list as well as several helpful travel hints once you are on the road.

You can read more about their adventures on their blog Home Free Adventures.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

March Madness Midmonth

March Madness is a month long readathon hosted by Cedar Station. She created it last year to get out of a reading slump. It helped me get out of a slump as well. Last year I read 11 books. This year: (hanging my head) not so much. I have been sucking at my numbers. Let's see what I can blame: sickness, moving planning, visitors. Ok, fine. Myself. :)

Here's what I have finished:
Did not finish:
I'm hoping to finish this month:

How is your March Madness reading going?


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Bloggers We Read: Ashley @ Nose Graze

Introducing....Ashley @ Nose Graze

Meet the coding genius behind Nose Graze. I can't sing this girl's praises high enough. She is fantastic and my go-to source for Wordpress questions. Not only does she write phenomenal posts on Wordpress design/coding, she squeezes in time to read and write about books. I don't know how she does it all. Plus she runs her own design business, Creative Whim!

Why did you start blogging? 
I started blogging because I wanted a place to categorize and document the books I'd read and owned. I'm kind of a huge nerd when it comes to statistics and record keeping, and I wanted to do that with my books. For a long time I just kept a text document of the books I'd read and on which date, and I finally decided to convert that into a blog!

Do people in your personal life know about your blog or is it your private spot?
Everyone knows about my blog! I think it would be hard for me to keep it a secret because it's such a huge part of my life and my business. Both of my parents actually subscribe to my blog. Sometimes my dad emails me about typos in my blog posts, haha. (parents! They never stop looking out for you.)

Do you have other blogs? If so, what are they?
Nope, just one blog for me. :) I have had two other blogs in the past: a relationship blog and a web design blog. But I found it too difficult to manage more than one blog at a time. I always found myself favouring one over the other. So I decided to merge them all into one blog where I could just talk about anything I wanted. Sometimes I talk about books, sometimes about web design or coding, and sometimes about life/love/relationships. Anything goes!

What are some blogs (bookish or not) people should check out that you enjoy?
Here are just a few a few of my favourites:
Anything you would like to share about yourself, family, etc?
I'm a 24 year old California girl. A few years ago I fell in love with a hot British boy and ran off to England to go meet him. I've been living in England ever since! I'm addicted to hot chocolate, blogging, reading, and coding.

What do you do for a living?  Anything book related that the rest of us can be jealous about?
I started my own web design/development/hosting business. That means I work for myself and get to sit around in my PJs all day long! It's a pretty awesome job. I get to do what I love every day and get paid for it. I make blogs and websites for authors, bloggers, and small businesses. I create premade themes and plugins for WordPress, that I sell in my online shop. That's probably my favourite part! And lastly, I also run a managed WordPress web hosting business, which I started for the book blogging community. I wanted to make it easier and faster for bloggers to set up a self-hosted WordPress site. (So cool! In my dreams, I could be that smart.)

What are your childhood reading memories?
All throughout school I was kind of the quiet, nerdy girl who would run off to the library during lunch and recess. I remember walking up and down the library aisles to find new books, then cuddling up on the sofa and reading until class started again.

What do you think of forcing students to read certain books especially the classics? Yes or No? Harmful or helpful to their reading life?
I think it's harmful. I always despised required reading at school, which is sad because I loved to read outside of school. I know that there are plenty of people who love the classics, but I also think they're kind of stuffy and difficult for some people (especially younger people in middle school/high school) to swallow and understand. My all time favourite books in school were always the more recent MG/YA books we got to read, like Holes and Fat Kid Rules the World. That's when I first realized that not all required reading was "old", you know? (Totally. Required reading of classics is one of my pet peeves, hence, the question. I wanted to get other readers outside of the teaching community take on the topic.)

I guess, in general, I think it's bad to force anyone to read anything. If you force someone who loves classics to read a different kind of book, they'll go into it expecting to hate it. And vice versa. It would probably be more helpful if there were a system where teachers allowed students to choose their own books (at least from a long list that had a variety of genres).

What suggestions or advice do you have for new bloggers?
Don't go into blogging expecting there to be a certain path you have to follow. I feel like so many bloggers can imagine a book blogging road map that they think they have to follow. It looks something like this:
Start a blog.
Participate in memes.
Host giveaways to get more followers.
Once you have at least x followers, start requesting ARCs.
Build up to forming publisher contacts.
Book blogging success achieved.
That's not how this has to work!!! I feel like the ARCs are a huge point in particular. So many bloggers think that they have to read a point where they get ARCs regularly, and then they've achieved book blogging success or something. Let me tell you: ARCs are cool, but they are the #1 thing that lead to stress and burn out. So many bloggers lose their drive, motivation, and even love for blogging. I think more often than not, that boils down to ARCs and a sense of "obligation". They feel obligated to read certain books at certain times by certain dates, etc. Then it starts to feel more like a job than a hobby.

You don't have to request ARCs. You don't even have to blog about books all the time. The best way to create a blog that you love and will continue to love for a long time is to ditch all labels, expectations, and "guidelines". Blog about whatever you want, whenever you want. Read whatever you want, whenever you want. Post original content. Don't post meme after meme after meme. Don't think that you have to host tons of giveaways in order to get followers. Just be yourself and do what makes you happy. (I absolutely agree. Your blog is about you. It's the personality that keeps readers coming back)

What is your guilty secret pleasure?
I like to rewatch The OC like once a year. That show is actually where I got the idea for my blog name, Nose Graze.

Favorites Section:
Favorite Author:This is REALLY hard for me to answer. I'll go with Samantha Young
Book: Normally I'd say Harry Potter, but I'll try to be different and say: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Or maybe My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi. It's been almost two years since I read that and I still think about it all the time. (Sign of a good book)

Blogging event/challenge: Bloggiesta. I love being able to help people out with their blogs during these events. And the Twitter chats are tons of fun!
Drink:Hot chocolate
Tea or Coffee Drinker:Neither! See above. ;)
Dream vacation spot:I think I've already been there! My favourite trips were Africa (safari), Egypt, and Bora Bora. All fantastic trips there were dreams come true. (Bora Bora! I would love to know about that trip.)
TV show:Oh gosh I have so many. Right now: The 100, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., White Collar, Prison Break... on and on and on.
Brad Pitt or Channing Tatum:Channing Tatum. I think Brad Pitt looks oddly feminine and I don't like that. It's something about his lips.
Summer or winter:Winter! Scarves! Gloves! Hot chocolate! Blankies! 'nuff said (Me too.)

Thanks for all you do to help the book blogger community!

Hope you enjoyed meeting Ashley. You can follow her at:

The Bloggers We Read is a regular feature on The Things We Read
If you would like to have the spotlight shine on you, send me an email.
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