Month: September 2015

Giveaway: Aloha Superfood Dark Chocolate

Win a six pack of Aloha superfood chocolate!Yay, it’s the weekend! I’m excited to spend some time curled up on the couch with a good book and some homemade chocolate chip cookies. Unfortunately I can’t give away a plate of cookies here on the blog—I’m pretty sure they’d be fuzzy before they made it through the post to the winner!—but I’m giving away something else delicious instead: a bundle of Aloha Superfood Dark Chocolate bars.

If there’s a way to make these bars better for you, I’m not sure what it is: they’re vegan, kosher, USA-made, non-GMO, free of soy and gluten, and made with fair trade ingredients. They’re loaded with superfoods like wheatgrass and moringa for a nutritional boost. Oh, and they’re pretty tasty, too!

One reader will win a six-pack of original dark bars; you can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Impatient? Head over to the Aloha website and order your own six-pack in original dark, hazelnut & fig, macadamia & coconut, tropical twist, or cereal crunch. You can use the code “MARTHA37” to get $20 off your first order!

The giveaway is open internationally and will close next Sunday. Good luck!

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Book review: ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ (Unpopular opinion time!)

All the Light We Cannot SeeAll the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr (hardcover, 530 pages). Three and a half stars out of five. Thank you to NetGalley for the review copy!

Unpopular opinion time! All the Light We Cannot See is one of those books that is beautifully written, yet somewhat dull to read. Doerr’s story unfolds in aching prose, skipping back and forth through time and multiple POVs, weaving together the fates of a blind French girl named Marie and a young German soldier named Werner. The title is a bit of a scientific reference that also reveals a truth about the characters and stories within the novel: we see only a small part of what is truly occurring, and the rest–the events that shape a person and set them on their path–are invisible to the naked eye. War and history tend to focus on the big picture and gloss over the smaller details, but it’s the smaller details that Doerr brings into focus here: a father’s devotion to his daughter, a young man torn between duty and a stray childhood memory, an old man haunted by ghosts only he can see.

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Recipe: oven-roasted potatoes and veggies

Oven-roasted potatoes, carrots and onions in an Italian dressingAutumn means cooler weather and a return to cozier things, including food: oven dinners, hearty meals and lots of comfort food! Accordingly, I wanted to share a recipe for oven-roasted potatoes and vegetables that’s become a bit of an autumn staple in our house. It’s easy to make—there’s almost no way you can goof it up, short of taking it out of the oven an hour early—and once it’s in the oven you don’t have to check, stir or uncover anything, so it can basically sit unattended all afternoon while you prep other dishes or just relax with a book and a cup of tea.

Read on for the full recipe and how I like to turn this dish into a main course for Thanksgiving!

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Top Ten Tuesday: ten books I love to give as gifts

Top Ten TuesdayIt’s a freebie this week over at Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Since we’re coming up on fast on the holiday season (especially for those of us who ship internationally), I thought I’d do a top ten list of the books I love to give as gifts. Obviously I love giving books as gifts anyway, and shopping for a new title for a friend’s birthday or holiday is always exciting, since everyone has different tastes and delving into different genres in search of something they haven’t read yet is like a treasure hunt. But there are several books that are my kind of “catch-all” gift titles—the books I tend to give over and over, as soon as I find out a friend hasn’t read them. They’re the books that I just love and want all my friends to read too.

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Thought Questions, #232-#238

Old VW van(Original photo source: Kyle Szegedi via Unsplash)

Over a year ago, I found a post on Danielle’s blog Underland to Wonderland about “365 thought-provoking questions to ask yourself this year”. What started out as a daily blogging project turned into a weekly summary and was then abandoned altogether, for various reasons—lack of time, lack of inspiration, etc. I thought that I’d finally like to pick up where I left off and finish answering the questions, so I’m going to recommit to posting a set of seven questions each Sunday until I’m finished—I have 134 questions left to answer, so I’m about two-thirds done!

#232: Based on your current daily actions and routines, where would you expect to be in five years? A published author and successful blogger.

#233: What was your last major accomplishment? It sucks to say this, because I’m not overly fond of my job, and also it’s a hella long time ago, but—probably my promotion two years ago.

#234: Through all of life’s twists and turns who has been there for you? I’m going to get laughs for this one surely, but I’m going to say my cat. Pet owners will understand! Even after a bad day or when you don’t feel like talking to anyone else, your pet will snuggle up to you and just love you.

#235: What or who has been distracting you? I think I’ve really been distracted from my goals by the nagging thought that perhaps they are somehow not “good enough” next to what someone else is doing. But you know what they say: comparison is the thief of joy!

#236: What are you looking forward to in the upcoming week? Recovering from this brutal cold, I hope. I’ve been sick for over a week now.

#237: Who is your mentor and what have you learned from them? I don’t know that I really have a “life” mentor, but I do have one boss whose constant mantra is “Make good choices!” It’s started to ring in my head even when she’s not around. Basically, you can’t control what other people do or what they think of you, but you can control the good or bad choices you choose to make in life. As long as you’re choosing wisely you shouldn’t worry about what other people say.

#238: What are you uncertain about? Like all humans, I wonder about life after death. Everyone has a different theory and I honestly couldn’t say that I hold to any one of them. I just don’t know how we’re supposed to be 100% sure.

Top Ten Tuesday: fully published series I have yet to finish

Top Ten TuesdayOnce again, I’m linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday! This week, we’re talking about those series that are fully published, start to finish, books one through whichever–but which, for some reason, we haven’t finished reading. I admit, I tend to be bad about finishing series–I get distracted easily!–and often enough, I start a series that is only partly published and then have to wait (and wait and wait) for the rest of the books to come out. (A Song of Ice and Fire, I’m looking at you.)

But there are a few series that are all ready to go at the local library, so I really don’t have a good reason for not going back to them. It’s not that I’m not interested, I just somehow haven’t gotten back to them. Maybe I’m worried the rest of the books won’t live up to the first. Maybe I was waiting on the next book and then got busy reading something else. For whatever reason, here are the book series that I still haven’t finished up.

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