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Long weekend! Thank you, Memorial Day. Err…and the soldiers. You know, the reason we have Memorial Day. Thank you, soldiers!

Activities I’m doing:

  • Watching movies and TV – I’ve fully embraced this as my relaxation hobby, and now that fellow-movie-aficionado boyfriend has moved home, we’ve been watching movies and shows pretty frequently. It’s been quite enjoyable – not to mention, I’m finally starting to get through some of the shows on my must-watch list.
  • Biking – Now that my bike, Shelby, is home and I have a biking partner, we can finally get out. We haven’t done much yet, but hopefully we’ll start picking it up soon. We did bike eight miles (round trip) down to a park a couple of weeks ago. It was great, but there should be a law that parks have to be built on hills so that when you leave, you’re going downhill all the way.

This is me. Only with less hills and more panting.

  • Going to the gym – Along with biking, boyfriend and I have been going to the gym more frequently. I used to have a decent gym routine set up, but it completely fell apart once I got crazy busy over the winter and I haven’t been able to get back into it yet. Now that boyfriend is coming with, I have incentive to get my butt over there and lift some weights.
  • Decluttering – We’re preparing to host a garage sale at my house, and since boyfriend and I are preparing to move in together soon, we’re looking at our stuff and seeing what we can get rid of. It’s a bit of a process to dig through all of our stuff, but we should get through it over the weekend.

What I’m watching:

  • Arrested Development – Boyfriend and I saw Bridesmaids last weekend (which was decent and worth a theater viewing), where we saw previews for two upcoming movies starring Jason Bateman. That led us to a brief discussion about Jason Bateman’s humorous qualities, which led us to decide that we should watch AD next since I’ve never seen it and boyfriend liked it. Long story short, we’re about to start streaming AD on Netflix.
  • Criminal Minds – Yep. I’m still watching it. Last available season, though.
  • Tron: Legacy – I was kind of curious about this movie when it came out, and boyfriend wanted to see it, so he got Tron in last week so that I could see it. We got Tron: Legacy  in on Wednesday.

Onto this one.

  • Leverage – Turns out season 3 is on Netflix, so I can finally finish watching the later episodes that I missed (and thus, start watching season 4).

What I’m reading:

  • Influence: How women’s soaring economic power will transform our world for the better – This is an interesting topic to me, especially with the ever-prevalent wage gap between genders. Dychtwald talks a bit about how women have been able to prosper in developing countries with just a little sustenance, but she also talks about how women in first-world countries have learned to become highly successful from little as well. I haven’t been able to get into it yet because I suck at reading nonfiction, but it’s the one I’ve started.

On page 4.

  • Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere – This is the one book from the library that I may not get around to before they’re due, but it’s probably the one I should get around to. It’s written by bloggers, which is fantastic, and discusses dieting, body image, and acceptance. Definitely apropos for me.
  • New Day Revolution – I actually wanted to read another book of this author’s, but this was the one my library had on hand. It looks like a fairly interesting book – it discusses how to make small changes in your daily routine that make a big difference. I’m looking forward to seeing if it’s any good.
  • The Succulent Book of Succulence – I’m pseudo reading this. To be fair, I’ve been pseudo reading this book for years. It’s not that it’s a bad book, I just always find myself doing something else. Like most nonfiction, I’m having difficulty staying caught up in the book. Hopefully I’ll pick it up again soon.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • My new job! – I cannot express how excited I am about my upcoming new job! I really admire this organization and their mission. I’m a little nervous about my role as Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator because it’ll be quite a bit challenging, but I’m very excited to see what I can do. I need to be challenged. It’s how I thrive.
  • Garage sale – As I mentioned above, my house is participating in our city’s community-wide garage sale next weekend. We had to drop $20 to participate, but considering that a regular garage sale ad in the local paper is $45 and we get TONS of traffic, it’s definitely worth it. We just have to work our booties off to get it prepared.
  • Getting my new computer – I’ve been hoping to get a new laptop for a while – I’ve had mine for a few years, so it’s got a slow processor and the fan was dying. We’ve solved the fan issue, but it was time, so I finally dropped $700 on a new computer. It’s a Lenovo IdeaPad Y560 and it sounds fabulous. That’s definitely the most money that I’ve spent on any purchase lately, but I think it’ll be worth it.

Hello, new lovely!

  • Shopping with my friend – One of my dear friends is moving to Washington, D.C. in the next few months for a job, so I’m trying to steal as much time with her as I can. She hasn’t been fully introduced to the Mall of America (she’s a native Texan), so we’re going to browse around there and nom on Noodles and Co.’s Wisconsin Mac ‘n Cheese. Yum.

What are your current happenings?


This week’s Truth Thursday is on things that make me happy – a bit simple, yes, but absolutely essential. Whenever I’m down, these things have the power to bring me back up.

1. Otters – I had a rough weekend last weekend for no extreme reason. When boyfriend noticed me getting sad, he entered “otters” or “curious otters” into the Google Images and pulled up a picture. Immediately, I lit up. He also posted a picture of a mama otter on my FB wall this week, and last week, he randomly changed my desktop picture to an otter. Boyfriend knows me well. Anyway, the point of all this otter picture rhetoric is that I FREAKING LOVE OTTERS. Although if you didn’t already know that, you probably haven’t been reading my blog.

I should not have looked up otters at work. Cannot...contain...squees...

2. Berries – I love most fruit, but I especially love berries. Strawberries and raspberries are some of my very favorite foods. I have been known to purchase 2 lbs. of strawberries and go through them in less than 48 hours. I would say the same about raspberries except that they’re so expensive that I’ve never tried. I also love a lot of food with strawberries and raspberries, like pancakes with strawberries on top. Yum. Okay, I’ve made myself hungry. Moving on.

Oh. My. God. What are you and why are you not here in front of me?

3. Farmers markets – I knew about farmers markets way back when. I didn’t really go that often, but they seemed pretty cool. When I moved out to California, however, I truly discovered the joy of farmers markets. California has these markets everywhere year round and the locals present the most amazing food. You have to pick and choose what you get – some are overpriced or picked over – but you can almost always walk away with some great, tasty finds. I cannot wait until my city’s farmer’s market opens up next week! Damn Minnesota and its winter ruining my farmers markets.

4. Thunderstorms – I love thunderstorms. I like rain in general, and I sure love sunshine, but nothing beats a good thunderstorm. There’s just nothing like waking up to the sound of rain. I usually open my window or my patio door when it’s raining at night just so I can hear it. Any water sound is calming to me, but particularly rain does the trick. I do NOT like tornadoes, however – they scare the hell out of me. Sending good thoughts to the people in north Minneapolis, Missouri, and Kansas right now.

5. Finishing a good book – Reading a good book is great, absolutely. But finishing a good book? Only that can give you the mixed feelings of satisfaction, sadness, loss, joy, fulfillment, and confusion about the mixed feelings in general. After I finished reading “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” for instance, I cried for at least 15 minutes and could not shake my mood for the rest of the day. Something in that book resonated with me, and that’s pretty powerful.

What simple things make you happy?

Ever have those weird smells that you love? The ones where other people look at you like you’re crazy when you mention that you like them? Today, I’m going to list some of my favorites. Some of these smells probably aren’t even weird to you – you may even enjoy them, too! Regardless, I love these smells:

1. Fresh cut grass – This is probably the most common “weird” smell that people like. In fact, who doesn’t like the smell of fresh cut grass? It’s like an automatic reminder of gorgeous weather (usually). Even the grass flavor of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Harry Potter jelly beans tastes good! As well it should, since grass smells so damn good. Environmentally related, I also love the smell before/during/after it rains. I love rain.

I also love how vibrant grass looks.

2. Gasoline – I’m surprised by how many people also like the smell of gasoline. Now I’m not saying that I get out of my car at gas stations and take a deep breath of fumes – I just don’t avoid the smell. I don’t know why I like the smell of gasoline. There are a few similar smells that I don’t hate, such as sulfur. I don’t love them, but I certainly don’t hate them, either. Anyone in this boat with me?

Not a fan of gas prices, though.

3. New books – To be fair, I think this has more to do with enjoying new books than it does for the specific smell of new books, but regardless, I like that smell. The smell of new books immediately makes me think of opening a brand new book – with all of the anticipation that a new book brings – and settling down for a good read. Strangely, I don’t care much for the smell of old books. I’m not sure why – it just doesn’t bring the same tingle of anticipation as new books do.

How I love thee, books.

4. The ocean – More specifically, salt water air. I think this stems more from my deep love of the ocean (and northern California) than it does for my love of salt water. Whenever I visit, when I step out of the airport – and get away from the car fumes – I immediately take in a deep breath of salty ocean air. Even in South San Francisco (inland from the ocean, but bordering the San Francisco Bay), the ocean air is distinct. It immediately reminds me of where I am – and it’s the perfect start to my time in California.

*sniff*sniff* Ahhh...

5. Pools – Speaking of water, the smell of the pool with its chlorinated water has to be on my list. I’m not sure why. When I think of the pool, I think of kids, tanners, and general disarray. But despite all that, I love the pool. I love swimming, even if I’m not that good at it and feel awkward in a bathing suit. I also prefer feeling clean, and despite the peeing in the pool issue, I feel like pools are cleaner than lakes or rivers. I just love water in general. Let’s chalk it up to that.

I want this pool. Seriously.

What weird smells do you like?

Congratulations to…Erin G.!

You’ve won a copy of any nonfiction book listed on this post about nonfiction books. Thanks for entering, everyone!

It’s time for another giveaway! To follow up on last month’s giveaway, this month one lucky person will win ANY book of their choice from my favorite nonfiction books post. That’s right – this time, it’s your choice!

How do you win? Here are the rules:

One winner will be selected at random from each monthly giveaway. Anyone is eligible to enter.

To enter, you MUST leave a comment on THIS post that responds to my favorite nonfiction books blog post. Keep in mind that I have to know your contact information if you’re the winner.

Each of the following will provide you with an additional entry:

  • Subscribe to my blog via email or RSS
  • Follow me on Twitter: @cassomatic
  • Tweet this on Twitter: I want to win free goodies from @cassomatic‘s blog!

Remember to leave separate comments for each additional entry. Also, I MUST be able to contact you if you are the winner, so make sure that I have your contact information (you can send via DM on Twitter if you want to keep it private).

The contest will run through April 30 – check back on May 1st to see if you’re a May Day winner. Good luck!

Good morning! Spending the day in Chanhassen at the MN Speech State competition – wish our kids luck! Here are this week’s currents:

What I’m reading:

  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – Finally, I get to finish the Hunger Games series! I’ve had the books in my possession for a while, but I haven’t read them because I’ve had so many books out from the library and I felt like I needed to finish those first since they had a more quickly approaching due date. I definitely have to get this series, too.

So excited to read this!

  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson – I know this book has been on my list before, but as mentioned above, I haven’t been able to focus on reading books that weren’t from the library. I’m very interested to read this story as it was banned from some schools for its discussion of sexual assault – uh, hello, don’t you want your kids to be prepared? Apparently not.
  • Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti – Yes, I know this book keeps showing up on the list too, but I keep having to return it to the library before I can finish reading it. I’m waiting to get it back from the library so I can finally finish it. Still amazing!
  • Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe – I’m actually not reading this for fun, I’m summarizing this to write an article for work with a colleague – however, it’s pretty interesting! It provides a new and logical guide to teaching and preparing curriculum. Any teachers reading this should definitely check it out. I’ll try to let you know when the article is available.

Places I’m shopping:

  • Victoria’s Secret – A week ago, I went into VS to find out the amounts on my secret rewards cards (I had three). I scored $100 off! Needless to say, I was ecstatic. I stocked up on another of my favorite bra and got myself a fantastic deal on my new favorite perfume. $110 for $10. Awesome.
  • Gordman’s – I’ve been to this store once, but I must not have been in the mood to shop because I don’t remember it and it’s definitely worth remembering! I went with my friend last week and picked up a cute headband, a kitty laser toy, and an adorable new purse for only $30. We browsed around for at least half an hour and I avoided buying a lot of stuff that I wanted. I entered into a store sweepstakes, so hopefully I’ll win a $100 shopping spree there.

Come onnn, shopping spree.

  • Target – Ah, the old standby. I’m just pleased because I managed to pick up all the treats for my speech kiddies for a very low price. Nothing beats that!
  • Ulta – I found a new shampoo that I love called Giovanni Tea Tree Treat. It’s perfect for my hair if I skipped a daily shower and smells great. It’s supposedly sold at Target, but I’ve never seen it, so I go to Ulta for my shampoo needs. Plus they always have great deals!

Happenings I’m attending:

  • Speech banquet – At the end of every speech season, the team celebrates at Brackett’s Crossing Country Club with a team dinner. Seniors stand up and say a few words, a few students give their speech, and coaches hand out awards to key students. It should be a great finale to a fantastic season!
  • West Suburban Teen Clinic (WSTC) board meeting – I take notes for WSTC at their monthly board meetings. This Wednesday is their April meeting. I always enjoy going and seeing their new space, so it should be good!
  • Dinner with the family – After cool g-ma died, my mom, aunt, and I set up a monthly dinner to ensure that we would spend time together. It hasn’t happened every month due to time constraints or illness, but it does happen at least every other month. My aunt was in the hospital this month (she’s okay now) so we couldn’t have our dinner on the 6th as planned, but we’re going to have it sometime around Easter. Perhaps Easter dinner?

I'm the one with the mustache.

  • Rachel’s party – It’s my colleague’s birthday tonight! I’m invited to a dinner to celebrate. I’ve never met any of her friends, but she’s awesome, so it should be just fine.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • Thrifting – My friend and I still haven’t gotten around to thrift shopping – I work weekdays and she works weekends, so it’s hard to find a time when we’re both free for at least a few hours. Too bad thrift shopping requires so much time and patience.
  • May and the return of my normal food budget – As I mentioned in a Foodie Friday post, I have way too much food in my house. And yet, I still spend an enormous amount of money on food. This month, I set up a strict budget for my grocery spending – which I’ve increased slightly now twice. I completely forgot when I went to Winona that I had set up the budget and went a little crazy when shopping with the boy. Oops. But May brings the return of my less restricted budget!
  • Sprummer – Yes, you read that correctly. Sprummer is the very short period in Minnesota that falls between spring and summer. Ideal temperatures, sunny, not yet humid…perfect. I can’t wait to finally get to that short-lived season.

Tulips are perhaps the best thing about sprummer.

  • Hanging out with my lovely former work friend – Tomorrow night, I’m hanging out with an old friend of mine. I haven’t seen her in forever, so I’m super excited. She’s just a ball of joy to be around and we always have fun together, so I’m really looking forward to it!

What’s currently going on in your life?

Last month, I posted about my favorite fiction books. Although I prefer fiction, I read a fair amount of nonfiction books as well, especially lately. As promised, here is the list of my favorite nonfiction books in no particular order:

Malcolm Gladwell - I love the hair.

1. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell – I just finished this book and I really enjoyed the subject matter. Blink discusses snap judgments and how our brains automatically perceive information. One of the ways Gladwell demonstrates this is through the Implicit Association Test administered by Harvard. It’s a fascinating look at your underlying, automatic preferences. It’s also free – check it out! My only critique of the book is that Gladwell says he’ll teach us how to train our brains to make snap judgments accurately and rely on them, but I didn’t get much of that throughout the book. Overall, I still highly enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading his other works.

2. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne – When I first heard about this book, it sounded kind of cheesy – like one of those traditionally “spiritual” blah-blah-blah books. When I finally decided to read it, however, it really made sense to me. I realized that you can’t really explain the context of the book in a way that doesn’t come across as spiritual blah because we, as cynics, are trained to think that way about spiritual guide books. The only thing I will say about it is the idea is that thinking positively about scenarios – truly believing that you can and have what you want – will help bring it about. This makes a lot of sense to me – our brains will believe what we tell them is true. Take placebo tests, for example – people who unknowingly take placebos instead of actual medicine show increased signs of improvement. Is it foolproof? Of course not. But it’s an interesting start.

This is an example that makes me happy.

3. Postsecret by Frank Warren – I stumbled across this book in Barnes & Noble and couldn’t stop looking through it. Postsecret is simply a community mail art project – people anonymously write a secret on a postcard and sent it in. You would be amazed at what people send in. Some things brighten my heart, some things make me want to cry. In fact, “postsecret” has continued on to this day and become quite popular. There is now a website – check it out.

4. The Single Girl’s Manifesta by Jerusha Stewart – I should mention that I haven’t been single in almost two years. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love this book. It’s actually weird for me to be in a long-term relationship – I was the girl who was always single, whether I liked that or not. This book really helped me appreciate being single and learn to appreciate myself more. It took me a long time to not only accept being single, but also enjoy it. Of course, when I finally did that, my silly boyfriend came along. 😉

This is the old edition I have.

5. Our Bodies, Ourselves published by The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective – This was one of the main books in my Introduction to Women’s Studies class and I adore it. The book discusses all sorts of women’s health topics, such as menopause, childbirth, sexual orientation, sexual health, etc. It was published in 1973 and has improved through a dozen fresh editions. It’s my goal to own the original copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves from 1973 and see just how much has changed. I’m close – I have a copy from 1975 that I scored at a garage sale!

6. Colonize This! edited by Daisy Hernandez and Bushra Rehman – This is another book from my women’s studies course that I absolutely love. I love it because it’s not your traditional white-feminist-from-the-70s book. It’s much more characteristic of third wave feminism, which includes art, music, and as this book discusses, race and feminism. This book contains essays written by feminists of color and discusses how those two crucial ideas constantly entangle. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re at all interested in feminist literature (and let’s remember that when I say “feminism,” I simply mean equality of men and women – that’s the definition).

7. Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath – You may have heard of another book written by the Heath brothers called Made to Stick – I think this one is better. Switch talks about why real change is so damn difficult and how we can go about making change work for us. They have a terrific analogy regarding a rider and an elephant – the rider (our willpower) holds back the elephant (our desires), but there’s only so long that a rider can keep up the strength. Their language also makes it very easy to read, which is essential to me with nonfiction books.

8. The Chemistry of Joy by Dr. Henry Emmons – I’ve mentioned this book before. I LOVE this book. I know I said no particular order at the top of this post, but I lied – this is my number one book. I’ve gotten such great advice from this book. I don’t like having to use medications (read: anti-depressants), although I think they make perfect sense for others (it’s a weird conundrum). This book explains depression and then provides drug-free ways to combat depression – through food, nutrition, exercise, and eastern practices. Dr. Emmons says that drugs are sometimes necessary and helpful, but his methods have allowed me to find natural ways to combat depression. He has also written The Chemistry of Calm for those who suffer from anxiety.

Damn right.

9. Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti – I recently read this book and it is probably the best feminist book I’ve ever read. Ever wondered why rape is so prevalent in our culture? Read this book. Ever wondered if there were a way we could change our culture so that rape is less prevalent? Read this book. Never wondered either of those? Open your eyes to our culture and READ THIS BOOK.

10. This Book Will Change Your Life by Benrik – This is one of the oddest books I’ve ever read or owned. It has 365 things that one “should” do in order to change his/her life. I’ll let you in on a little secret – it’s a satirical book. That being said, it’s kind of amusing to attempt some of these activities, and in fact, most of them really should be done. I just advise against doing ones like “volume test your neighbors – blare your music louder and louder until they start complaining.” If you get through all of 365 days of activities, there are sequels as well.

What are your favorite nonfiction books?

In Winona with the boy! Here a list of my (our) currents:

What I’m watching:

  • Criminal MindsI’m officially on season 3! In fact, I get disc 2 of season 3 tonight. I’m getting there. I have to admit, though, it’s weird without Gideon.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer – I reached a point in Angel where I was ready to switch back to Buffy to finish up the series. So far, it’s been okay…seems a little repetitive, to be honest, but I like the addition of Principal Wood’s character. I’ve been waiting for Faith and Caleb to show up, and apparently they show up in the same episode, which is the next on my list to watch.
  • The Fighter – I love Mark Wahlberg and I’ve been interested in seeing this movie since it got Oscar notice (when I heard about it). Either my boyfriend or myself usually rents a movie from Netflix so we can have a movie night, so this is the one I chose.
  • Hop – Part of the reason I’m down here this weekend as opposed to a different weekend is because my boyfriend and I had a quadruple date with his friends to see Hop yesterday. I got a great deal on movie tickets from LivingSocial, so it was only $9 for two tickets!

What I’m reading:

Some of these haven’t changed since I last updated on this, but I’m slowly working my way through them. I just finished Blink, which I would highly recommend!

  • Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti – As a feminist, I love feminist literature. I have an entire shelf on my bookcase devoted to feminist literature, including a book of Bitch essays, Our Bodies, Our Selves, and many Eve Ensler books. That being said, this is one of the best works I’ve ever read. It contains many essays that discuss female sexuality (gasp!) and how our society actually enforces a rape culture in many ways. It also talks about ways we can change that. I highly recommend reading this book, even if you don’t consider yourself a “feminist” (which, by the way, simply means that you believe in equality between sexes).

  • Buddha’s Brain: The practical neuroscience of happiness, love, and wisdom by Rick Hanson – I have heard nothing but glowing reviews for this book. My main goal in life is to be happy, so to work on that, I try to find new ideas about how to achieve happiness. I’m very interested to see what Hanson has to say on the subject.
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – Yes, I’m finally getting around to reading the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy. I’ve been so busy trying to get through the books I have checked out from the library that I haven’t been able to read the ones I’ve borrowed from my awesome head speech coach. Mockingjay (the third book) is also on the list.
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson –Speak is another book I’m borrowing from my head speech coach. I first heard about this book when I saw that it was banned from some schools for being “too explicit” in its rape description. Just from flipping through it, I don’t think it’s too explicit at all. I think young women (and men) need to know what rape is like in the hopes that we can avoid it in the future.

Events I’m attending:

  • West Suburban Teen Clinic’s volunteer appreciation night – I’ve volunteered with this amazing organization for almost a year and I’m very excited to attend the appreciation night with other volunteers! It’s being held at a bowling alley where I used to work (different location, though), so I’ll be familiar with the venue as well. Should be fun!

  • U of MN Career Networking Fair – I’ve been taking on more HR responsibilities at work, which includes attending career fairs on behalf of the company. In mid-April, I’m attending another career fair hosted by the University of Minnesota (I attended one in February). Hopefully it’ll be useful.
  • Speech sections – Although the regular season of speech has ended, we still have work to do to prepare for sections and state. 39 kids from our team (including two of my kids!) qualified for sections coming up this Thursday – I can’t wait to see who moves on to state.
  • Dinner with my mom and aunt – This isn’t really an event, per se, but it’s an important night for my family. Ever since my grandmother died in 2009, we’ve had (mostly) monthly dinners. This Wednesday is my grandmother’s birthday, so we’re having our monthly dinner that night. I haven’t decided how to honor that yet.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • Spending time with my boyfriend this weekend – I LOVE going to visit my boyfriend. He doesn’t like where he lives, partly because we’re apart, but I love visiting. Obviously, I love getting to spend time with my boyfriend, but I think part of the reason is also because it’s a mini vacation for me. I sleep later and fall asleep easier, we veg out in front of movies, we bike around – it’s wonderful.
  • Getting back to the gym – I used to hate the gym. I still somewhat dread going to the gym. But I really miss the feeling of working out and feeling like I’m not entirely lazy. I put my account on a freeze for this month when I realized that I wasn’t going to have any spare time to go because of work and speech. My account starts back up in April and I can’t wait! In fact, I’m going to make my boyfriend take me to his gym this weekend so I can get started.
  • Biking around town – One of my very favorite things to do in Winona is bike around town. Winona has some great trails around man-made lakes, but my boyfriend and I also like to bike into the town and ride around. We’ve even biked a couple of miles down to the edge of town on the highway. Who knows what we’ll do this time (depends on the weather), but I can’t wait to get my bike back!

  • Thrift store shopping – My friend and I love shopping, but we’re both broke, so we’re going to take a day and go thrifting. I found a few shops up in Richfield that I want to try out – I’ll let you know how that goes!

What are some of your current happenings?

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Everyone has their own little things that they’re OCD about. People who are “type A” tend to have a few more than most. Here are a few of my OCDs with my “common sense” reasons:

1. All DVDs and CDs have to be facing up – This is something I’ve done for years. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a disc sleeve or the case it came with – they face up. I can tell if I put the disc back in its case simply by looking to see if it’s facing up. My reasoning? It’s easy to immediately see what disc you’re looking at. I also have all of my DVDs in order of genre, and yes, I put a movie back if it’s not in its proper place.

Ahhh, yes. Order.

2. Dishes should be in their rightful place – I love my roommates, but I find dishes in random spots around our kitchen, or worse, right next to where they should go, and it drives me nuts. I’ll admit, this is an OCD of mine and I feel a little bad for my roommates for having to deal with me for it. But to me, it’s like why wouldn’t you put it back where it should go so it’s always there when you need it (unless it’s dirty, and then you know it’s dirty)? I’ve considered making myself the only person to put dishes away (seriously) but I always realize that I’m freaking out about nothing before I do.

Dear God, why??

3. Books I own have to be in the same format – I was talking with Kate about this and thankfully, someone else out there agrees. If I’m going to own a series, they are all going to be in the same format (hardcover, trade paperback, or mass market paperback). For example, I have waited for over a year to buy the final book in the Millenium trilogy because I have the first two books in trade paperback and therefore, the last book needs to be in trade paperback. I prefer reading trade paperback, but I prefer buying the series I’m devoted to in hardcover. Here is an example of my extreme feelings about this: I decided to buy the Twilight series. I got the second book in trade paperback, then was given the third book in hardcover. I eventually got the first and fourth in hardcover, so I had a complete series, right? Wrong. I sold the second trade paperback version and bought a hardcover version. I admit, there is no common sense reason for this – it’s just weird.

Hardcover rocks.

4. Everything in my closet has a specific order – In case you haven’t given up on me yet, here’s another weird OCD habit of mine. My closet is highly organized by style and color. My dresses and suit jackets are in one area, my casual shirts are next to my dress shirts, and my jeans and work pants are in the same area. Beyond that, my clothes are arranged according to color within these regions. My boyfriend thinks it’s ludicrous, I think it’s incredibly efficient. I always know where every item of clothing is.


This is just half of my closet. Best part of this house.

5. I recycle everything – I’m a crazy recycler. I recycle everything I can and a little of what I can’t. It honestly really irritates me when people don’t bother recycling when they easily could. It actually makes me angry. It takes so little work to recycle. If I have a can of soda out somewhere and there’s not a recycling bin around, you bet your buttered biscuit that I will bring it home to recycle it. I will pick something out of the trash (if it’s on top and not gross) to recycle it. This stems more from overall guilt of killing the environment than anything. It feels good to know that I’m doing my part to help conserve resources. I’m an extreme case, but it takes so little to recycle.

I blame my extreme recycling on my roommate in New York.

What are your obsessive tendencies?

*Note in reply to comments: I know I don’t have OCD or even really OCD tendencies. I just really like being organized. 🙂

I apologize for the lateness in announcing a winner. The winner is…Nina! Congratulations! 🙂

Many, many thanks to the lovely Kate for sponsoring this giveaway (CHECK OUT HER BLOG!)!

Thanks for participating! Look for another giveaway coming soon.

It’s that time again! In honor of my favorite fiction books, I’m giving away three of the books on my list: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenberger, The Virgin Suicides by Geoffrey Eugenides, and Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.

How do you win? Here are the rules:

One winner will be selected at random from each monthly giveaway. Anyone is eligible to enter.

To enter, you must leave a comment on this post that responds to my favorite fiction books blog post. Keep in mind that I have to know your contact information if you’re the winner.

To receive a second entry, tweet this on Twitter: I want to win free goodies from @cassomatic‘s blog!

The contest will run through March 31 – check back on April 1st to see if you’re a winner! I promise not to trick you. 🙂

I was reviewing Kate’s Currents on the blog of the ever lovely Kate and began thinking about my own currents. That’s the thing about blogs – they inspire other people to write! Here are some of my currents:

Books I’m reading or about to start reading:

  • The Chemistry of Calm: I’m a huge subscriber to the ideas in Dr. Emmons’ first book, The Chemistry of Joy. This book is his second and talks about natural, drug-free ways to reduce anxiety and instill calm into your life. I haven’t gotten past the first chapter yet, but I’m looking forward to reading more of his ideas.
  • Made to Stick: I’m currently reading this book for a book review blog at my work. I started reading the Heath brothers’ latest book, Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard, and really enjoyed it but didn’t finish it (a woe that often occurs with me and nonfiction – ironically, this whole list is nonfiction). Made to Stick discusses why certain ideas stick and what we can do to make our ideas “stickier.” It’s a great read so far – again, only a couple of chapters in – and hopefully will give me some ideas of my own.

A good read so far!

Blogs I’m loving:

  • Divergent Musings: As you know, I often steal ideas or link out to my dear friend, Kate, but it’s only because she has fantastic posts! Kate is the person who got me interested in blogging again, and it’s only because of her that I now blog so frequently. Her posts often inspire posts of my own. Kate’s blog is actually the only blog I read on a regular basis. I definitely recommend checking out her site!
  • Blog Giveaways: This is the site that I post my monthly giveaways on (thanks to Kate). If you have any kind of a giveaway on your blog (sponsored or self-funded), simply shoot the blog owner an email and she will post a link to your contest. The blog has over 1,500 followers, and that doesn’t include the readers who don’t subscribe. It’s a great way to announce your giveaway and (hopefully) get more readers for your own blog!
  • Cake Wrecks – My colleague introduced me to this blog when she sent me a link to Dr. Seuss cakes (who could resist that?) and I immediately loved the humor and sass of this blog. Send me something sarcastic, I’ll probably like it. The blogger somehow manages to routinely find pictures of horrifying cakes for every occasion. Good times.

I want a wedding just to be able to have this cake.

  • Sex and the Fat Girl – I don’t remember to read this often, but there is terrific commentary on here about fat acceptance and sex. It’s a great blog for anybody who’s bigger in size and feels self-conscious about weight. It’s good for skinny people, too, to truly understand about different people and individuality. I highly recommend it.

What I’m watching:

  • Boogie Nights – My boyfriend and I haven’t seen this movie, but we both love Mark Wahlberg, so we decided it is high time that we watch this movie. He has it on Netflix – we just haven’t had the chance to sit down and watch it. It’ll be our movie night movie.
  • Criminal Minds – Although my boyfriend is in town, I’ll probably still end up watching this tonight since he’s going to be hanging out with friends. This is my second favorite crime show (Castle is tops) – I love the psychological aspect of it.
  • Angel – I’m slowly streaming season 4 of Angel on Netflix. I probably won’t get around to watching any this week, but as things start to slow down, I should have more time available to catch up on this.
  • Buffy – As soon as I finish season 4 of Angel, I’m planning to finally finish season 7 (final season) of Buffy. I can’t wait!

This is a sad statement.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • Sleeping in on Sunday – I coach Speech at a high school and we’re nearing the end of our season, which means I spend about 15 hours a week coaching or judging at tournaments in addition to the 40 hours I work for my full time job. Which means I don’t sleep enough. Sundays are my only day off for another two weeks, so I fully intend on taking advantage of sleeping in on Sunday.
  • Eating 2 lbs. of strawberries – I bought 2 lbs of strawberries last night at Sam’s Club and intend to eat the entire container by tomorrow night. Strawberries are one of my favorite foods and needless to say, they don’t last long around me.

Don't judge me.

  • Movie night with my boyfriend – My boyfriend lives two hours away from me, but he’s on spring break and staying with me for the week, which makes me really happy. Sometime this week we’re going to have a movie night and veg out with snacks and relaxation. Sounds ideal.
  • Finding out the amount of my Secret Rewards card from Victoria’s Secret – I recently replaced my old mascara and got a Secret Rewards card. In April, I go back to VS and find out if I received a coupon for $10, $50, $100, or $500 dollars off my next purchase. No matter what, it’s a good deal, but I can only imagine the shopping I’d do if I managed to score a $500 card.

What are your current pleasures?

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