Read Or Die: Everything I Never Told You

May’s bookclub was a special one and marked the end of an era for the Read or Die bookclub. One of the founding members Erin is moving to California for an exciting new adventure with her family. I’m so happy for Erin and her next chapter in her life, but I’m so sad to see her go. She is truly a wonderful person with a warm personality and a caring heart. She’s smart, funny, and kind and brings a lot of wonderful and unique perspective to our little bookclub. She’s also a wonderful mother and a talented baker (there are a lot of really talented people in my bookclub). While I’m sure our paths will cross again, it definitely won’t be the same without her. Maybe she will start a California chapter of our bookclub ;). 

Me, Rachel, and Erin... We made shirts!

Me, Rachel, and Erin... We made shirts!

For our book this month, we let Erin have one last pick, and she chose Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. This was a fantastic read! The writing was brilliant, and the characters felt very real and authentic. They were so dynamic and multi-faceted. The book started with the death of their daughter and the subsequent reactions of the family. It also looked back upon the mother and father’s lives as an interracial couple, and no matter how hard you try, you may be doomed to repeat the mistakes of your parents. While I don’t believe this personally, the book did make some strong logic as to why that might be true. This book was beautifully written and took on a lot of heavy issues. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, and I look forward to reading other books by this author. 

Rachel provided and extra special dinner with Shrimp Fried Rice, Pork Hum Bao, BBQ Pork, PB&J Cake, and Rosemary Limeade.  The PB&J cake is one of my favorite cakes ever, it is seriously delicious! If you haven’t already checked out the recipe for the Rosemary Limeade, do yourself a favor, and make a batch right now, with or without alcohol it is divine! 

Our next months book is Moonglow by Michael Chabon, and you can find all of the books we’ve read here

Have any of you ever read Everything I Never Told You? Let me know in the comments. 

Harry Potter Gift Giving Guide

The Holidays are upon us. It seems that every year goes by faster and faster, even though each Monday feels like three years by itself. Such is life, I suppose. Every year around this time gift giving guides crop up like ma and pa Christmas tree stands. When I was younger I would flip through women magazines to see the holiday gift guides. They were usually broken down by types ofpeople-  get the girly girl in your life get XYZ, or for the Bohemian lady in your life get these chic grass earrings. While these were entertaining to read one thing that struck me (even as a bratty teenager with barely any knowledge of personal finance and budgeting) was how expensive everything was. Don’t get me wrong, the people in my life deserve the world, but advocating spending $10,000 on a personal computer seems absurd. Even small stuff like jewelry had diamonds in it that would run easily up to $1000. Meanwhile last year I colored pictures and gave my parents homemade candles (Love you Mom and Dad!). 

So I wanted to take a departure from the traditional gift giving guide by sharing a Harry Potter themed one. I broke it down by house. If you don’t know what house you belong in (or your friend doesn’t either), get thee over to Pottermore and get sorted! I am apparently a Gryffindor, not a Slytherin as I had previously thought. (Let me know what house you’re sorted into in the comments!) I’ve tried to include things from all price ranges, including homemade items or experiences, or offering help in some way.

The Hogwarts Crest

The Hogwarts Crest

Here is a list of famous people and their Houses if you need inspiration: 
Slytherin- Lin Manual Miranda, Emma Roberts
Hufflepuff- The Rock, Kristen Bell
Gryffindor- Idris Elba, Maisie Williams
Ravenclaw- Kendrick Lamar, Daisey Ridley

Gryffindors are known for being brave hearted. They are also loyal, courageous, and adventurous. Gryffindors motto is “do what is right.” 

1.) A bottle of Macallan 12yr a classic Gryffindor scotch, it is bold and will be a scotch you will always reach for even in uncertain times. - Prices Vary $50-70 depending on where you live. 

2.) A collectors edition of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien -$30

3.) A Gryffindor house snuggie (I am currently wearing mine and it is wonderful)-$26

4.) A classic hat, every good adventurer needs one, I’ve chose and Indiana Jones style hat for Gryffindors. -Prices can vary from $15-$60

5.) A Coupon for grabbing pints with your mate. Make sure you go somewhere you can actually talk. -Probably around $10, you can make it cheaper buy buying a six-pack and drinking at your house too. 

Slytherins are known for being cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherins crave power and love being leaders. Their motto is “do what is necessary.” 

1.) The Ardbeg 10yr Scotch, a nice expression for the cunning Slytherin, it is peaty and slightly smoky but with a smooth finish, perfect for those nights when you are discussing clever plans with your fellow Slytherins. - $40-$60

2.) The Art of War by Sun Tzu. A must read for every Slytherin- $4

3.) Slytherin Robes- $23

4.) A trapper hat to keep their ears warm in the winter months or when they are visiting Durmstrang- $20

5.) A homemade coupon to pet sit their owl or snake while they are away. 

Ravenclaws are known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Ravenclaws value brains over brawn and are often quite quirky (a la Luna Lovegood). Their motto is “do what is wisest.” 

1.) Talisker 10yr is definitely the Ravenclaw of scotches. This scotch comes from the Isle of Skye and is as slightly salty with a nice medium finish. Perfect for playing a game of wizards chess with a fellow Ravenclaw. - $80-$90

2.) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. A classic for the Ravenclaw in your life- $9

3.) Ravenclaw Robes- $31

4.) A Porkpie Hat for when their studies take them all across the globe- $20-$70

5.) A coupon for board gaming and beer. 

Hufflepuffs are known for their hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuffs are sought for being just and true. Their motto is “do what is nicest.” 

1.) Highland park 12yr sure to delight any Hufflepuff. Highland Park is slightly grassy with a sweetness to it, that is always nice to drink. - $50-$70. 

2.) Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin is a perfect read for Hufflepuffs just graduating- $13

3.) Hufflepuff snuggie- $65

4.) A slouchy beanie is ideal for fitting in with just about anyone- $15

5.) A coupon to make them a home cooked meal of their favorite dish. 

Don't forget to tell me what house you are sorted in below!