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Pancake Power!

It's Shrove Tuesday!
That means...pancakes! Okay, so that's not actually what Shrove Tuesday means, but here's a quick guide to help you (and, uhm, me) out: 

  • Shrove Tuesday precedes Ash Wednesday, so the date is determined by Easter (which changes each year)
  • "Shrove Tuesday" gets its name from shrive, meaning absolution for sins by doing penance
  • "Shrove Tuesday" is the tradition of trying to be 'shriven' before Lent
  • Pancakes are made as a way of using up rich, perishable foods, like eggs, milk, and sugar before Lent (traditionally, 40 days of fasting)
Cool. Look, I'm down with any excuse to eat pancakes...but which recipe to use? I have so many favorites, and I'm hoping you guys will let me know about some of your favorites. I posted a whole bunch of pancake pics on Insta last year (I know, I know...but I like sharing "new recipe" pictures as it helps me out to remember which ones went well and which ones, er, didn't).
But in case you weren't following me on Instagram last year (you can do that HERE!), here are some of my favorite pancake recipes (pancakecipies? ...nope) and how they turned out. Share yours with me in the comments!, who's indulging today? :D

Friday Flash: "More Fun"

Happy Friday!
Today's Friday Flash is about getting out there and living life...and being overwhelmed by the choices. It's a little bit auto-biographical -- I used to get those emails from WagJag and GroupOn and all those other group-buying services, and found that there were literally too many things I wanted to try! And then I'd find myself frustrated at how big the world is, how much I'll never know or experience, and then I'd be stuck in this infinite loop of "do I try it? but what's the point?" and yeah, I may have gotten a little melodramatic about it at times.
And before you ask, yes -- I did try the skydiving simulator at Niagara Falls. It was super fun. :D

Everyone wishes they could have more fun in their lives. But what about the people who want to have lessfun? Yeah, that’s right. We exist.

"Why don’t you say no the next time somebody asks you to do something?” asked my oh-so perceptive friend Rachel.

"Thanks, I didn’t think of that,” I replied. No stink, Sherlock. "What do you think I’ve been doing the past three months?”

"Practicing how to say no in the mirror?”

I wanted to kick her in the kneecaps. Instead I settled for throwing a couch cushion at her head.

"Problem is, there’s just so much to experience, it’s like… if I don’t get out and have fun, try new things, I’m going to come to the end of my life having wasted it all sitting around watching Vampire Diaries reruns and eating cheap potato chips.”

"Get a Costco membership. They have the good stuff at decent prices, plus you get like seven bags per trip.” Rachel stretched her arms above her head and yawned. She never had any fun. I envied her at times like this.

"You’re missing the point,” I said, standing up and crossing my arms. "With all these GroupOn and WagJag and whatever deals, there’s more fun to be had than ever before! It’s like… there are hundreds of things to do that I didn’t know existed before group buying sites. And I thought I had too much to do already…”

Rachel poked me in the leg. I buckled backward on purpose and let the momentum carry me to the floor, sitting cross-legged and burying my head in my hands.

"You know, most people don’t even have the courage to get off their couches let alone try, uh, what was it you did last weekend?”

I groaned. "Skydiving simulator at Niagara Falls.”

"You’re insane,” she said.

"I know.” I sighed and rolled back until I lay on the carpet, staring up at the stucco ceiling. Next weekend I had a painting class scheduled where I was supposed to learn painting textures. I don’t paint, but I thought I could use it to re-do the ceiling in my room.

"Too much fun,” Rachel said, yawning again and closing her eyes. She snuggled against the pillow I’d thrown at her at minute ago. "It’s not like life is there to be experienced or anything.”

Don’t I know it.

Booksbooksbooks! January Lookback Edition

Welcome to Booksbooksbooks, my monthly lookback at awesome books I've read & loved in the previous month!
In the interest of time and being spoiler-free, I'll be posting my reading highlights with brief commentary on why I loved the book. Where possible, I'll post link to the books on GoodReads so that you can easily mark the ones you haven't read & want to as Want to Read.
Here we go!
My first Awesome Read for January was:
I'm going to date myself a bit with this reference, but...this book was like "bubble boy" for a new generation. But in the best possible way. I don't usually read a lot of contemporary, but if there are more like this, I'll definitely pick up more books. I read it through in one sitting at the bookstore and literally laughed out loud, cried, gasped, and wept. It didn't matter that there were other people around. I didn't care that I was making a bit of a scene. It was just me and the characters and the story and it was so clever and beautiful that I just. didn't. care. what other people thought. I loved it. Marvelous debut for this author. Very, very well done.
(I will say that on further thought, there were some issues with the story -- but if I tell you about them, it'll spoil the story. So go read it, then DM me on Twitter and we'll chat. In fact, I encourage you to!)
2) AFTER OBSESSION by Carrie Jones & Steven Wedel
I didn't know anything about this book, so I wandered in blind and came out the other side the next morning with a) not enough sleep and b) satisfaction for having sacrificed sleep for reading. It's a YA dark paranormal possession story that incorporates Navajo spirituality and a cast of characters that seem quite real and well-developed for the short space given to their actual early development. The first few pages in, I wasn't sure if the book was for me. A few more pages in and I didn't stop reading until the book fell onto my face because I'd fallen asleep. And then when I woke up, I grabbed the book and my coffee and finished it.
When I Tweeted the authors the morning after to tell them about this, they thought it was hilarious. Meanies. :P Heeeee!
3) THE DISTANCE FROM A TO Z by Natalie Blitt
A sweet, entertaining YA contemporary romance from a debut author. The characters were believable and flawed in the best of ways, and I found it refreshing to have a story where the reactions to events and revelations rang true to life. The only bizarre part was just how overly obsessed the MC's family was with baseball -- I mean, changing a funeral time of a family member to not miss a baseball game? It was just really weird to me, maybe because I don't really...uh...sports. I don't sports? Yeah. Sportsball is not my thing. :P That said, it was a good read and because it's digital release only right now, paying only $2.99 felt...wrong, somehow? I'd have paid paperback price for it! Overall a strong debut from a promising new author! YAY DEBUTS!
4) BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE (Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater
Okay, I know I'm really late to the party on this one, but here's the thing. It took me a while to get into THE DREAM THIEVES, the second book. I started it immediately after the first book, but stalled about a third of the way in. I don't know why it didn't grab me. I was frustrated because I wanted to like it, because I had a strong feeling that this series had a slow build and that it would seep into me and rattle my bones at any long as I kept at it. I don't know what made me feel that way...the writing? The atmospheric development? The characters? But I put it down. For months.

Then I picked it back up again. Read two chapters. And wondered how I ever could have left this story, these people. 

Finished it without even catching my breath. Set it down, ran to get book three before my heart burst from my chest...and here is where it all came clear to me. Where words on a page turned into reality, where the people and story and Cabeswater became real and burrowed into my head until it was all I could do to unstick the book from my hand to eat or drink or, you know, do those things humans need to do.

I finally understood why this story has wormed its way through so many people. This was more than payoff for sticking through, this was...I don't know. Hearts on a page. Magic that squeezes your insides and leaves you wanting more.

When I turned the last page, the book had not even fallen from my hand before I'd reached the computer to click "pre-order" on book four. I cannot wait to experience how this story ends...and yet I don't want to say goodbye, either.

Good grief. I'm still thinking about it. I just can't let go. I don't want to.
And that's the Booksbooksbooks list for January! What fantastic books did you read this month? I read plenty of others that didn't make it into this post (because I don't want to take up your entire day, frankly), but please share your favorite January reads with me.