Friday, July 22, 2011


After doing a pretty poor job of maintaining four different blogs, I have decided to migrate them all over to Wordpress to become one blog. I only chose Wordpress because it is super easy to migrate multiple Blogger blogs over into one Wordpress blog, whereas I would have had to cut and past each individual post from each blog into a new Blogger blog. Therefore, I decided to jump ship.

Anyway, you can find any and all new ramblings of mine at This will be a combination of my general blog (Rich Girl, Poor Girl), my health and fitness blog (Hamhocks), my now-defunct food blog (Chicken, Again?), and my very briefly maintained "mommy blog" (Mountain [Step]Mama). In time, if I maintain more of a blogging presence, I might just look into paying for my own domain, but for now, this is where I will be. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Last year, when someone suggested I wait until Apple came out with their new tablet before committing to an e-reader, I scoffed at the idea. After all, I knew I wanted a NOOK from Barnes & Noble, and I had NO interest in Apple's latest creation. When the iPad came out, I knew I was right that I didn't want that as an e-reader. After all, one of the biggest plusses of the NOOK is that it has e-ink technology that makes if virtually like reading a book on a printed page. The backlit screen of the iPad was not going to work for me. And that name! I made fun of it, along with much of America.

I got my NOOK, and as I have mentioned plenty of times, I love it. I read over fifty books on if last year, most of them for free because of my membership to the Free Library of Philadelphia. I can read the NOOK anywhere, and it fits nicely in a purse or tote bag. If has been indispensable during my elliptical and StairMaster workouts, and on my one plane trip of the year, it meant I didn't have to carry multiple books with me. It was a GREAT purchase.

As 2010 continued, I started to see more and more people with iPads, however, and my curiosity was piqued. And then several of my less tech-savvy co-workers found themselves the proud owners of new iPads and LOVED them, and I decided that if they had iPads, I must have one too. I started planning to buy myself one for my 35th birthday, which is coming up in April. And obviously, I couldn't wait because I am typing this blog entry on my iPad right now.

So far, I am pretty impressed! The first thing I did was sign up for Hulu Plus in order to be able to stream their content to the iPad. I have been watching episodes of 'Grey's Anatomy,' a show I have just recently started to develop an interest in, all week. The clarity of the screen is amazing, and I am loving being able to watch TV shows this way! The next thing I plan to sign up for is Netflix, so I can stream their available content to it as well. And this has also given me the push to get something we can use to stream content to our new TV when we get it, so I have decided to get a Roku player as well. I love all this new technology!

Some might recall that I named my NOOK "Alice Bluebonnet" after one of the two hats in the old Disney short cartoon with the Andrews Sisters providing the vocals. Well, Alice Bluebonnet has been reunited with "Johnny Fedora," in the form of my new iPad.

-- Post From My iPad

Saturday, January 01, 2011

My literary year in review...

My goal this past year was to read 100 books, and I managed to do it!  When the clock struck midnight last night, I had read 101 books in 2010!  I read 69 in 2008 and 76 in 2009, so this was a big jump for me.  I credit some of my success to my NOOK (I have noticed that B&N has changed their capitalization on their e-reader from nook to NOOK), as it makes it easy to read in many, many places, and especially while exercising on the cardio equipment at the gym.  For record keeping purposes, I will put a * next to the books I read on my NOOK this year.

1.  The Widow's Season by Laura Brodie
2.  Mania by Craig Larsen*
3.  An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
4.  Forbidden Falls by Robyn Carr*
5.  Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers*
6.  Spellbound by Nora Roberts*
7.  Bird in Hand by Christina Baker Kline*
8.  Kelly's Chance by Wanda E. Brunstetter
9.  Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty*

10.  Friday Nights Lights by H.G. Bissinger
11.  Three Fates by Nora Roberts*
12.  Angel's Peak by Robyn Carr*
13.  Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky*
14.  Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick
15.  Roses by Leila Meachan*
16.  The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister*
17.  The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell*
18.  Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen*
19.  Bittersweet Rain by Sandra Brown*
20.  The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks*

21.  Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins*
22.  The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins*
23.  Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins*
24.  Too Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins*
25.  Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie*
26.  The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie*
27.  Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie*
28.  What the Lady Wants by Jennifer Crusie*
29.  The Summer Hideaway by Susan Wiggs
30.  McKettricks of Texas: Tate by Linda Lael Miller
31.  Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr
32.  Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie*
33.  Henry's Sisters by Cathy Lamb
34.  Fools Rush In by Kristan Higgins
35.  Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie

36.  McKettrick's Luck by Linda Lael Miller
37.  McKettrick's Pride by Linda Lael Miller
38.  McKettrick's Heart by Linda Lael Miller
39.  The McKettrick Way by Linda Lael Miller
40.  Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie*
41.  Montana Creeds: Logan by Linda Lael Miller
42.  Montana Creeds: Dylan by Linda Lael Miller
43.  Montana Creeds: Tyler by Linda Lael Miller
44.  A Stone Creek Christmas by Linda Lael Miller
45.  Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt*

46.  Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts
47.  How to Knit a Love Song by Rachel Herron
48.  The 9th Judgment by James Patterson
49.  Sierra's Homecoming by Linda Lael Miller
50.  Spinning Forward by Terri DuLong*
51.  The McKettrick's of Texas: Garrett by Linda Lael Miller

52.  The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell*
53.  Summer on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber*
54.  Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber
55.  That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo
56.  Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich

57.  The House on Olive Street by Robyn Carr
58.  The McKettrick's of Texas: Austin by Linda Lael Miller
59.  A Summer in Sonoma by Robyn Carr*
60.  Beaches by Iris Rainer Dart*
61.  Sheltering Hearts by Robyn Carr*

62.  The Beach House by Georgian Bockoven
63.  Columbine by Dave Cullen
64.  A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand*
65.  Family Ties by Danielle Steel
66.  All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins*
67.  Smitten by Janet Evanovich*
68.  Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer*
69.  Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie*
70.  Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie*
71.  Private by James Patterson*
72.  Life's a Beach by Claire Cook*
73.  Seven-Year Switch by Claire Cook

74.  Summer Shift by Lynn Kiele Bonasia
75.  Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger*
76.  Every Last One by Anna Quindlen*
77.  Last Light Over Carolina by Mary Alice Monroe*

78.  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
79.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
80.  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
81.  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

82.  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
83.  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
84.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
85.  Some Assembly Required by Lynn Kiele Bonasia
86.  At Home in Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller*
87.  Beach Road by James Patterson*
88.  The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe*
89.  Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts*
90.  The Hollow by Nora Roberts*
91.  Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn*
92.  Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
93.  The Beach House by James Patterson

94.  Summer House by Nancy Thayer*
95.  Big Girl by Danielle Steele*
96.  Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins*
97.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
98.  For One More Day by Mitch Albom
99.  Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins*
100.  Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins*
101.  Trust Me on This by Jennifer Crusie*

WHEW!  That took a long time to type out!

If you notice, there were some patterns that emerged in my reading.  In March, I discovered Kristan Higgins because her books were on the list of low-priced NOOKbooks.  Obviously, I liked what I read because I read everything of hers that I could get my hands on!  I also read a lot of Jennifer Crusie's books that month and through the rest of the year.  April pretty much belonged to Linda Lael Miller and two of her (interrelated) contemporary series.  I loved both of them and hope that she continues them!

I also read two great series this year.  After YEARS of being told I should do so, I finally read the Harry Potter series this year.  And I loved it, as everyone who recommended it knew I would!  I read the entire seven-book series in two weeks.  It was that good.  I also read the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins on the advice of my online book club and devoured those books!  They were AMAZING!

Obviously, the NOOK has really changed reading for me.  And a huge part of my NOOK experience is the ability to borrow e-books from the Free Library of Philadelphia using Overdrive.  I was able to get a free card to the FLP because my local library is part of the ACCESS PA library partnership.  Out-of-state residents can get a card for $15 per year, and I would definitely pay that amount for a card.  The selection is great, and it's easy to get e-books from them!  I read 56 e-books this year, and I got more than half of them from the FLP.  So that was awesome!

I just ordered an iPad, so I am interested to see what that does to my reading in 2011!  The biggest thing I think it will do is allow me to compare prices among different e-book stores.  The "big three" (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders) have apps for the iPad that allows you to read their books on it.  And Apple has the iBooks store and app that is another option for books.  I still plan to use my NOOK heavily (especially since I have purchased Diana Gabaldon's entire Outlander series for my NOOK), but I will also dabble in iPad reading if it allows me to save some money on books.

The best stand-alone book I read this year was The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. I loved the setting, the characters, the story...pretty much everything about the book.  And the worst book I read this year, by FAR, was Big Girl by Danielle Steel.  In fact, I think I am done with Danielle Steel for a long time and perhaps forever because of that book.

In 2011, I have joined a "111 in '11" challenge with my online book club.  The first book I plan to read is the third in a Nora Roberts trilogy (the Sign of Seven trilogy) that I started last year.  I was on the wait list to get the e-book from the FLP, and it was arrived, so I can't wait to read it!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A MeMe to confirm I am still alive...

Since I don't have a concrete idea for a blog post, I stole a MeMe from one of my friends from the Nest Book Club to fill a little space here in the old blog!  This is a book-related one:

5 Books I’ve Read Recently
1. Life's a Beach by Claire Cook
2. Seven-Year Switch by Claire Cook
3. Summer Shift by Lynn Kiele Bonasia
4. Chasing Harry Winston
by Lauren Weisberger
5. Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

5 Books I’m Planning to Read (in the near future)
1. Bed and Breakfast by Lois Battle
2. The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman
3. Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn
4. The Quickie
by James Patterson
5. Some Assembly Required by Lynn Kiele Bonasia

5 of My Favorite Books1. Beaches by Iris Rainer Dart
2. Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
3. The Summer I Dares
by Barbara Delinsky
4. Mirror Image by Sandra Brown
5. The Prince of Tides
by Pat Conroy

5 of My Least Favorite Books

I don't really have an answer for this one because if I don't get grabbed by a book in the beginning, I stop reading it.

5 of My Favorite Book-to-Film Adaptations
1. The Prince of Tides
2. Beacher
3. The Doctor
4. The Wedding Date

5. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

That's it!  Grab it if you'd like!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine years gone...never forgotten...

Every year, I post a tribute to one of New York's Bravest who lost his life on September 11, 2001, fighting the fires at the World Trade Center site after terrorists attacked our country.  I will never forget this day, and I will never forget the brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice that day.  As we look back and remember, I bring you once again my tribute to Dennis O'Berg.


At 494 Dean Street in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn stands the building housing Engine Company 219 and Ladder Company 105. The two companies have shared that building since 1977. Prior to 1977, they were located in separate houses, about ½ mile away from each other. Ladder 105 has its roots in a volunteer company, Ladder 5, from the Greenport section of Brooklyn that was organized in the latter half of the 19th century. After spending time as Ladder 5 of the Brooklyn Fire Department, Ladder 5 of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), and Ladder 55 of the FDNY, Ladder 105 was organized on January 1, 1913 as a part of the FDNY.
One member of Ladder 105 who was lost on September 11th after responding to the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center site was Dennis O’Berg. Dennis was 28 years old at the time of his death. He was a resident of Babylon, on Long Island, where he lived with his wife of less than one year, Christine. Their first wedding anniversary would have been September 28, 2001.

Dennis didn’t always plan to be a firefighter. He graduated from the State University of New York at Geneseo with a degree in accounting and worked for the Big 4 accountancy firm Ernst & Young after graduation. However, he followed his father’s footsteps as a firefighter, entering the academy because he felt shackled to his accountant position. He graduated from the academy not long before the September 11th attacks and was assigned to Ladder 105. Being a firefighter changed him into a happy and smiling and easygoing person. On September 11th, he had been a firefighter for only seven and a half months.

Dennis’s remains were not found in the wreckage at Ground Zero, and his family held out hope that something would be found so that they could plan his funeral. After only his helmet, his jacket, and one of his boots was found, Dennis’s family held a memorial service for him on June 28, 2002, burying an empty casket. Dennis’s father, Lt. Dennis O’Berg, retired from the FDNY on September 11th to dedicate himself to finding his son. However, when all the wreckage had been cleared, it was not to be so.

Family and friends remember Dennis as someone who was young at heart. He was a fan of Harry Potter, Norman Rockwell, Star Wars, and the New York Rangers. He collected baseball cards and enjoyed all kinds of music. He was a romantic and often gave his wife roses for no particular reason, took her on long drives and picnics on the North Shore, and left her notes telling her that he loved her. She found one of those notes in her bed the evening before September 11th as she was preparing to retire for the night. His dream was to be there as a husband and father for his wife and kids and to raise a family on Long Island. He never got to fulfill that dream. Instead, his life was cut short by the terrorists who attacked America on September 11th.

Dennis P. O’Berg. Forever in the thoughts of his friends and family. And now, forever in my thoughts as well.

To learn more and pay tribute to other heroes lost to us on September 11, 2001, please visit the 2,996.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Autumn is in the air...

Today's weather has been awesome here in the Poconos, after some rain this morning, and I am currently happily wearing pants and a cardigan in preparation for a meeting I have to attend tonight.  In fact, brace yourself for this...I am actually wearing a pair of SKINNY jeans.  I am not sure how I feel about this trend, but since I was able to get a pair from Forever 21 for like $12 on sale, I figured I would try them out.  I am wearing them with a black t-shirt, a grey longish cardigan, and black flats.  They will also work well with the knee high boots I plan to sport this fall and winter.

And speaking of those knee-high boots, I have added another widget to my sidebar entitled "Dream a Little Dream."  I used to have my wishlist on my blog, but I took it off after I fulfilled most of it, well over two years ago.  It has returned, and it has some of the items found in my previous post in it, as well as a couple of new items.  Two of these items are knee-high boots that I am planning to purchase at some point from my beloved Target.  They are real leather riding-style boots in black and cognac, and they are $49.99 per pair.  I own a pair of the same boots in taupe, and I really like them.  They aren't of as high a quality as a Frye boot, but the price is right.  There are also two pairs of suede wedges, also from Target, in black and grey on the list.  I don't have dress shoes at all, and these seem to be of a manageable height while still being pretty cute.  I am going to space these purchases out, of course, but I would imagine that they will all at some point become residents of my closet.

I also have found another cardigan type that I like from Ann Taylor Loft that is currently on sale as part of a buy-one-get-one-half-off promotion.  It's a simple longish v-neck cardigan, and I am eyeing it up in the light brown and dark grey colors to replace cardigans that I just threw in the giveaways bag.  I tried on the cardigans I bought last year, and they are just too ridiculously large for me to wear this year.  I thought I could maybe pull them off until I had a chance to replace them, but it's not going to happen.

Anyway, I blame all this fashion talk on the weather outside!  As we head into fall, I think about things like sweaters and boots and new looks for the new season!  Hopefully, by going slowly and buying them over time, I will add all of these items to my wardrobe!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

If wishes were horses...

I really like stuff.  I have big appetites for clothes, shoes, purses, make-up, gadgets, gizmos, and any other thing that strikes my fancy.  I try not to splurge too often because I am not growing money on the trees in my back yard, but once in a while, my wish list gets heavy.  I thought I would share some things that I am a really big fan of right now, as well as some general stuff I am looking for to change up my autumn wardrobe.

First, I love this bag:
MICHAEL Michael Kors MICHAEL Michael Kors Hamilton Extra-Large Tote, Luggage
It's such a great shape, I think, and I love the color.  I will almost definitely NOT pull the trigger on this one, but I do love it.  Looking at it makes me happy...I can't imagine how I would feel if I owned it!

I also am on the lookout for some boyfriend cardigans in neutral colors (probably grey, black, and brown) to replace the ones I bought last year.  Last year's are about two sizes too big (YAY!), so I will probably be unable to make them work for this year.  I would love to get this in each color:
Oatmeal Heather

I also am really enjoying the flat ruched-toe boots that I am seeing a lot of places this year.  Here's an example:

I wear mostly boot-cut jeans and pants, so I don't need these in a tall boot, but I love this look peeking out from under my jeans.  I may eventually make these mine, but I will wait until the weather is a little cooler.  And since I am not looking forward to fall, as it eventually gives way to winter, and I hate winter, I am going to pretend it is not almost the time of year to buy these boots!

I am also planning to get a heart rate monitor soon in order to better direct my health and fitness efforts.  My plan is to get the Polar FT7, which will allow me to track my heart rate while working out and also track the calories I am burning throughout the day.  I am having trouble hitting the "sweets spot" of calorie intake that I can enjoy while still losing weight.  I had a good thing going for most of six months, but now that I have lost some weight, I have to adjust that down, and I am not sure what the right answer is.  I am currently trying a new calorie range on for size, but the science nerd in me wants some cold, hard proof that I am eating the right amount of calories for my body and activity level.

Other than that, I am filling my closet with khakis and cords from Old Navy for the fall and winter because, they are comfy, come at a great price, and come in different inseam lengths, which is great for those of us who are taller than "regular" pants work for!