weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

Shelve It: Zac Efron and Breaking Book Bans

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

Hiya! Tell me if I’m alone: you know you have to do a v-log but you are either not showered, just came back from the gym, or too darn tired to collect the books all over your apartment. This was me, so now it’s Sunday morning and I’m giving you a pajama party v-log. My hair looks a little movie star-ish. But there are exciting things to talk about (as I hint in the title of this post) and it’s been a fun week. I wrote guest posts for Gaby (help me decide what to buy with my B&N coupons — you have 5 days left) and Cassie (my favorite Queens restaurant spots for Foodie February). And, of course, reading!

Best book I read in the last week was: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy. Can’t wait to share that review with all of you and something else special. (I’m so mysterious!)

Check out the v-log:

Books I bought (gasp! yes, it’s true):

You and Me and the Space In Between by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
September Girls by Bennett Madison
A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents by Liza Palmer
How I Came to Sparkle Again by Kaya McLaren
Muppet Character Encyclopedia by Craig Shemin

Books I was gifted:

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone (Thanks Rachel!)
Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess (Thanks Alexa!)
The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick (Thanks Nisha!)

Books I won:

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes (Thanks Leah!)

Books for review:

The Hit by Melvin Burgess — releases April 4, 2013 — thanks Scholastic!
Only Everything by Kieran Scott — releases May 6, 2013 — thanks Kieran!
(and how I totally forgot this in the video!) The Geography of You & Me by Jennifer E. Smith (NetGalley) — April 15, 2013.

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On the blog this week:

These Broken Stars review (with a Pixar picture!) | See Jane Run by Hannah Jayne (YA thriller-ish)

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What’s exciting in your book world lately?

(BONUS: I added the answers to the Guess the Baby Blogger game!)

Magan: We’re Not Talking About Books Q&A

Estelle and I are swapping questions and getting into the nitty gritty details… Welcome to our “We’re Not Talking About Books Q&A.” Today I’m answering Estelle’s questions and soon she’ll be answering mine. I haven’t even read her questions yet. I’m just copying and pasting them and writing whatever first comes to mind. Are you scared? I kind of am. But let’s get started, shall we?

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I feel like you had a good traveling year. What was your favorite trip? Where do you want to try to go next year (a trip with the little one or maybe a romantical trip for two)?

I did! This year feels like such a blur because so, so many things happened, but we got to go on a few trips! First was our trip to DC in February, where we reunited for a little more than 24 hours. That was such a whirlwind trip; it went so fast and we tried to squeeze so many things in, but I loved that there were little moments like you and I taking the time to meet up with Sasha of Sash and Em for dinner. In May we went to Colorado with my family. It was our first trip as parents so that was a wee bit stressful for me and I’m positive we overpacked. I think I took enough diapers for an army. That trip and our August trip to Florida with Dustyn’s family were both very meaningful (and necessary) because this whole foster care process has been so stressful. If I didn’t highlight my hair, I’m certain you’d find a bunch of gray hairs on my head. Those trips really gave us time to escape reality, be a little family, and not focus on all the normal craziness we face on a daily basis.

non-bookish end of year reflections with magan

(Left) Magan (l) and Estelle (r) outside the Newseum in D.C.;
(Right) Magan + Her Husband, Dustyn, on the beach in Cape San Blas, FL

As for next year, we have zero trips planned right now. That seems kind of sad to admit, but there are still so many what-ifs in our lives with our foster daughter and we have Baby Blasig making an appearance in February of next year. I would love to plan a getaway trip with Dustyn at some point, but it would probably be mid-to-late 2014 to who knows where. It won’t even matter, I’m sure. Our 10-year anniversary is in July so hopefully we’ll do something memorable to celebrate!

It might just be because I’m your friend but when I think of you this past year, I feel like (if it’s possible) you’ve become more selfless and have really come into your own as a mom. You’re my first close friend who is a mom so maybe I’m just noticing it more? I don’t know! But I feel like it’s the coolest thing and I’m in total awe of all you do. Is there a change you feel in yourself after the past few months?

Oh, man. Were you intending to make me cry, Estelle? Geez, Louise. *grabs tissues* I definitely feel like I’ve changed a lot this year, but I can’t really pinpoint how I have or even begin to put that into words. I think my priorities have shifted so much. There’s definitely been so much less “me me me” (especially when it comes to spending money and shopping). I feel like almost every time we’ve had a court hearing, we’ve anticipated losing our foster daughter and that’s really taught me the value of time and how precious it can be. I’ve also had to be more gracious and accepting of a lot of situations I never thought I would be faced with. I don’t think I’ve particularly done anything TO change, but my heart and focus have been changed because of her. She’s just taught me so, so much. Especially how to be more patient. I’ve never, ever been a patient person and that’s one thing I’ve been told I am over and over again this year. (I’ve always secretly giggled at that because usually my insides are so anxious.) All of the changes I feel and am experiencing right now, I hope they last and are more than just temporary. You and I have talked a lot about, and I’m holding onto a card forever that you wrote me, about how because of our foster daughter, a lot of good has occurred. My pregnancy might never have happened. I might have stayed so selfishly me-focused, and my eyes certainly wouldn’t have been opened to the entire foster care world.

What do you want more of in 2014 that you didn’t get this year?

It’s funny you mention this because I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately. I’m never one to make big resolutions at the beginning of a new year, but I am hoping to change my perspective on a few things. Growing up, we never really had a ton of people over to our house besides grandparents. Now isn’t the time or place to discuss why that is, but recently a friend said to me, “I think it’s been a year since I’ve been to your house.” That really, really hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m finding that I love to have people over, but constantly feel self-conscious about the state our house is in (especially now that we have a little person who leaves toys stranded every three feet). One of my biggest hopes is to let those fears reside and to really be more inviting and allow more people into our lives. We do a lot of dinners out or hang out at friends’ houses, but I want to bring that sense of community into our home and not keep people at arm’s length. This answer is probably so much deeper than you were hoping for, but it’s just what’s been on my mind lately.

WHEN ARE WE HANGING OUT AGAIN? (Yes I screamed that.)

As soon as possible. Sadly I’m now in the not-safe-to-fly part of my pregnancy, but soon you’ll have a little Blasig to meet! And I really do want to visit NYC again soon. I feel like no matter how many times I go there, I’ll always find something new to see and experience.

Do you think we will get more Zac Efron next year? Because… I’m seriously disappointed in his life choices and lack of movies in my theater. What are we going to do with him?

I sincerely hope so. And hopefully our clean-cut Zac will return and there will be no more press releases about his rehab stays. (Has anyone else been as deeply disappointed with him as we have?) We haven’t seen nearly as many movies this year as we have in the past, and I’m sure Dustyn is oh-so-thankful for less of Zac’s smoldering physique, but come on! WE NEED MORE ZAC!

Can you share one of your favorite pics from the year?

Of course I can! This photo is from our Florida vacation where I seriously wished I had carried my camera everywhere we went. This is an iPhone photo of a boat floating by right by where we stopped to eat that evening. I don’t remember the food or what I ordered. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but I do remember the peacefulness of this moment and how absolutely beautiful the sky was.

magan's favorite travel photo from 2013

The most fun moment you had this year?

Goodness gracious. I know this may sound like a cop-out answer, but honestly, every moment you and I had together was so awesome. I wish that could happen way more often than it does. Talking/texting/chatting just isn’t enough. Aside from our gushy friendship, I loved finding out that we were expecting our first baby and telling our grandparents all about it at a surprise lunch. We had them all arrive at the same restaurant together. I made little boxes with scratch off tickets that told them we were expecting (which shocked them because everyone suspected maybe we had big foster daughter news to share). I also included one of our ultrasound photographs in frames for them and personal notes to each one of them about how excited we are for them to meet Baby Irmagerd. I also gained a new appreciation for my job this year that gave me a different perspective on why I love being a photographer; the bride from my last wedding of the year sent me an email on behalf of one of their groomsmen who wanted to know if my assistant that day was single. That’s pretty priceless!

And the best buy of 2013? (I’m sure there were many of them.)

You’re catching me on a day when I’ve just splurged on something super fun for myself. I bought the new Urban Decay Naked 3 palette, and ohemgee is it beautiful. (For those who aren’t aware, Estelle and I are make-up junkies, too.) When I was excitedly doing my make-up this morning, I couldn’t even begin to pick out which colors to use first. They’re all so beautiful! If you are a make-up-aholic, you need this in your life.

With just a few days left until Christmas, what’s a stand out memory from the holiday that you have?

Growing up, my maternal grandparents would always come over to our house to help us put up the Christmas tree. It was never planned and happened spur-of-the-moment, but I remember them always being there. This year, with baby girl in our house, Dustyn and I put the tree up pretty early so she’d have a long while to experience the lights and ornaments. We were initially having the problem of her going to the tree and taking (i.e.: yanking) all the bottom ornaments off. One day my grandma and mom came to Austin to hang out with us. We made a trip to Michael’s and my grandma mentioned wanting to get baby girl her own Christmas ornament. Baby girl chose a sparkly snowman with silly arms and legs. When we got back to our house, grandma unwrapped the ornament and let baby girl put it on the tree. Every single morning, one of the first things she does is run to our tree, find her snowman, and bend down to give him a kiss. I swear it’s the cutest thing in the entire world; she sporadically checks on him throughout the day, too. These two memories are so special because it’s essentially the meshing of my childhood with hers and having my grandma be so integral to both.

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Stay tuned for Estelle’s answers to my questions!
Tell us your answers to any of the above questions…
We always want to get to know you guys better, too!

What Happy Looks Like: Dream Boyfriends

Happy Tuesday pals!

Today I’m celebrating the two-week mark before Jennifer E. Smith’s new book This is What Happy Looks Like comes out! (If you didn’t catch my review from last week, here ya go.) In the book, Ellie and Graham meet online when Graham sends an email and it lands in her inbox by accident. Thus starts the adorable and sweet back and forth between the two. They tell each other a lot, but never share their names and Graham doesn’t disclose the fact that he is a teenage heartthrob. Eee! It’s like a dream come true for teenagers, right? To make some connection with a celebrity they absolutely adore?

While I’m not sure things like stardom impress Ellie, I was totally that girl who had a ton of Bop and Twist and Teen People magazine posters hanging all over my room. (I had an entire collage of them in my closet.) Even now, I still like to crush on those darling celebrity guys and my husband makes fun of me. (I can’t help it.) So because I have no shame, I thought I would share a few of my past crushes.

Like which celebrity would I want to accidentally fall into an email relationship with? Here ya go:

Jordan Knight:

I was an absolutely huge New Kids on the Block fan when I was a kid. My first concert was seeing them when I was 5 years old. I collected every newspaper article, every piece of memorabilia, and even had the comforter/sheet set. Oh, and a Barbie doll! The doll had Jordan’s braid down the back. You know, I have to say… I had pretty awesome taste because Jordan is still looking pretty rad  these days. (A thought a few hours later: Jordan was quite feminine looking, don’t you think?)

Devon Sawa:

One of my best friends loved Jonathan Taylor Thomas and I loved Devon Sawa. (This is who we have stayed friends forever.) Casper, Now + Then, Little Giants – man oh man he was a cutie. When we played MASH in grade school, I was always hope hoping that the fates would have us cross paths. (Nice to see he still has a career now, right?)

Joshua Jackson:

Way back when, I had the top Joshua Jackson fan site on the webs. Seriously. (It was called Joshua Jackson Paradise… sigh. I wish I didn’t pick that name.) I loved Mighty Ducks but I didn’t completely fall for him until Dawson’s Creek — the funny sidekick? Sign me up! I always thought he was the cutest and wanted him to get the girl… or just come and find me. There was a time when I used to know the name of his dogs, and basically every movie he had coming out. (Too bad I was never a Fringe fan… but I am rooting for the Dawson’s Creek reunion!)

Jesse McCartney:

This was around college time… I wasn’t THAT old for Jesse. But when I heard him singing a cover of “Second Star from the Right” as I diligently worked at the Disney Store — I was hooked. Did anyone watch Summerland on the CW a few years ago? He was so freaking cute. And I loved his voice! If you want to catch one of his movies, be sure to check out Keith. It’s really great.

Zac Efron:

 Oh this obsession is alive and well, my friends. He was on Summerland too actually but it wasn’t until High School Musical that I started to fall down the rabbit hole. He was adorable, he could dance, and he could sing (kind of? because they mixed his vocals with someone else for the first movie). For the record, he sings his own stuff in 2 + 3 (which I cried over in the movie theater). Okay, so he may be totally ripped and have gorgeous eyes but I honestly think he’s acting is really great. Have you seen Charlie St. Cloud? Prepare your tissue box but he’s very very good in it. I’m looking forward to what he does next. (Sidenote: I’m still not over him and Vanessa Hudgens breaking up.)

Jeremy Jordan:

If you have gotten this far, you may notice I have a thing for guys who can sing and act and look pretty? Well Jeremy Jordan is the full package. If you don’t know him, he’s a Broadway guy — he recently originated the role of Jack Kelly in the Newsies musical. I had the opportunity to go to the dress rehearsal of the pre-Broadway tryout + the first note, the first time I heard his voice… I was like WHO THE HELL IS THAT? (Seriously. If you ask the people I was with… it was all I could talk about.) I was a fan right at that moment, went on to buy tickets to a show I never thought I wanted to see (Bonnie + Clyde) and I’ve been following his career ever since. Right now, he’s playing Jimmy on Smash (sad sad Smash) and is going to be starring in The Last Five Years movie with Anna Kendrick. I’m so psyched about how his career is blowing up… (I’m also a little possessive because I’d like to keep him to myself.) FYI all links in this paragraph are of Jeremy singing. You are welcome.

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Okay, give me the dirt. What boys did you love or are you currently loving?

And also, what are you waiting for? Pre-order Jennifer’s new book, This is What Happy Looks Like, for a tale of romance, family secrets, and all the possibilities of summer.