The Help

Hello all! I hope that you had a wonderful weekend. I was very glad to have the weekend off from work (although having weekdays off can be quite a treat too!). Yesterday, I was able to watch one of my babysitting charges in his middle school play. It was so fun to see him perform, I have known him since he was about six years old. It is crazy how fast time flies!

After that, I spent the remainder of my night babysitting. By the time I left that house, I was pretty pooped and ready to hit the hay!

And now, my friends. For the ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DECADE.

(only not really…)

I finished The Help!! Finally.

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As you may recall, I started reading this book back around New Year’s. After all of the great things that I had heard about this book in the past couple of years, I had very high hopes. Overall, I did enjoy the book and I thought the story was definitely original, but for some reason, it was just a struggle for me to finish it!

Brief Synopsis:

I will keep this part short, since I am sure 99% of you have either a) already read this book or b) at least know exactly what it is about.

The Help takes place in 1962 Mississippi. The lives of affluent white women are faithfully bolstered by the assistance of their family maids, all of whom are black women who have raised dozens of white children and kept households running smoothly for decades. But as illustrated throughout this whole story, the climate of the ’60s south was one of racism, hatred and entitlement. The author, Kathryn Stockett, tells the story of Aibileen, the wise black maid who, despite her own heartbreak and tumultuous life, gives nothing but love and affection to the children she cares for. There’s Minny, the sassy, smart-mouthed maid who gets herself into trouble around every corner. And importantly, Miss Skeeter. A twenty-two year old, recently graduated young woman who is trying to navigate the life of a lady as encouraged by her prim and proper mother.

After deciding to pursue her true love of writing, Skeeter takes on a major project. She decides to collect the untold stories of the black maids in town. Writing them all down for all to read and hoping that a NYC editor, Mrs. Stein, will agree to publish her work. Despite the fact that they are all putting themselves directly in harm’s way by meeting with Skeeter, the maids unleash all kinds of stories for her to write. Some are funny, some heartbreaking, some are entirely sickening.

As Skeeter works on The Project, the novel follows the progression of Skeeter’s post-grad. life back at home, everything from love to family to career choices. Chapters switch between the unique narrative voices of Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny.

My Opinion:

Overall, I think that the idea behind this novel is a great one. It’s unique and captivating and equal parts touching and gut-wrenching. But for some reason ( as you may have noticed) I had a RIDICULOUSLY hard time getting through it. I thought that the story was a little on the redundant side and I think overall, the whole thing could have been cut by about one hundred pages without losing too much value. I really enjoyed the parts with Skeeter and I loved the camaraderie and friendship that eventually developed between her and the maids, but I think there needed to be a little more intrigue throughout.

I would definitely give this story major points as a very rich character study, but I am not sure that I am quite as enamored with the whole thing as the rest of America seemed to be in its prime!

I also must say that for a first-time novelist, Kathryn Stockett’s work and success is massively impressive. As an aspiring writer myself, I find that whole story to be wildly motivating and inspiring. 

So what’s next on the Reading Radar??

photo (47)I am really not sure what to expect from this one, but it just feels like something that I have to read. It’s been around forever and in its own right is kind of a “classic.” Stay tuned for a review! (Hopefully it will take me less than a month and a half. 😛 )

And I think that’s about all for today!

Tomorrow it is back-to- Bedrock time! I am quite excited, however, because I have finally put a little bit of prep work into getting a few days’ worth of healthy, filling, tasty lunches set up for myself. Protein bars begone! (Which is not to say that my beloved PB&J won’t make the occasional appearance, I love those just a little too much to let them go forever. No matter HOW sophisticated my lunchbag becomes. 😉 )

ALSO, speaking of prep work, guess what I did tonight…

photo (46)That’s right, kids. Brittany packed a GYM BAG. There is absolutely NO stopping this lady from hittin’ up the gym tomorrow after work. I’ve got the whole thing planned out.

My shift into this new position ended up involving quite a bit of juggling and schedule re-arranging, but I absolutely MUST find a way to work my physical activity back into the mix! It starts to wear on my mind– I get crankier and slower and I even start to feel stupider! Nobody wants any of that. I know that I have what may be the World’s Most Quintessential love-hate relationship with running, but I really, really do miss it. Recently, I have been in that thinking zone where 2,000 different things run through your mind every minute of every day and one of my favorite releases for that feeling is running. I am SO ready to start my half marathon training, but since that won’t come into play for a few months yet, I’ll take whatever I can get! Right now, my plan is to work on timing for my spring 5k and to strengthen up those legs and abs so that I’ll be able to train without injury and without hesitation for the half when the time comes!

I hope you have a great night and I will talk to you tomorrow!

 

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Gym Bags

Things I will not be talking about in this post: Work (bad day). Gym (skipped it). The Spilled Coffee In the Bottom of my Purse (I am almost convinced that spilling my coffee is a bad omen as this is not the first time that a terrible day at work has been preceded by this unfortunate event.)

I hope that YOUR day was wonderful.

Now this  is going to sound like is a terrible excuse, but tonight on my way home from work, I really wanted to stop at the gym. I really, really did. But what I didn’t want to do was drive from work PAST the gym, go home to get my clothes/ water bottle/ sneakers/ earbuds/ wristlet/ life and then go BACK out to the gym. Now granted, I could have just thrown those things in my car this morning and solved this whole problem, but I seem 110% incapable of EVER remembering everything I need. Unfortunately, I most often forget the earbuds and as sad as it may sound, I can’t seem to do a blessed thing without my tunes.

Assuming that you all read the first few sentences of this post, I guess I don’t have to tell you that I didn’t go to the gym tonight. Instead I came home and pouted about my frustrating day and decided to update my blog instead.

I did decide something, however. I need a gym bag! Duh.

Now anyone who knows anything about me probably knows that I love my purses. I have a zillion different purses/ wristlets/ wallets and I love them all. They’re all my friends! (Not really. No need to worry.) But I especially like funky/ unique things. I hate having the same thing that every other girl and their mother seems to have so if I am going to give in to this whole gym bag nonsense, I am going to do it my way and pick a fun one!

None of this:

 

(NOTE: Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Nike workout gear. Even this bag looks very nice, I just want something less duffle-y and more… purse-y!)

So here is what my internet search has led me to so far.

Option 1:

 

It’s a Vera Bradley tote! There are a zillion pockets inside, it’s washable and 100% girly. Although Vera Bradley isn’t exactly “unique” (just look at any high school in town. There are VB prints galore!), but I think this use for it is a tad more creative.

Option 2:

This one is a little funkier. The retro-style tote is also appears to be more than roomy enough.

Option 3:

This one is secretly my favorite. The print is adorable, it’s roomy inside and the perfect shape! Also, it’s from one of my favorite websites which is a definite plus.

Option 4:

 

I am sure that you all recognize this classic bag. The L.L. Bean “Boat Tote”. Although this one is not incredibly “funky” or “unusual”, I feel like it would be sturdy and I bet it would last a very long time.

So which will it be!? I guess you’ll just have to wait to find out! Please feel free to cast your votes.

I’ll see you all again tomorrow.