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Showing posts from January, 2014

Book Review: Sweet Little Lies (L.A. Candy)

A quick and easy read, Sweet Little Lies is the second in a series by Lauren Conrad, a fictional account of her own life as a reality t.v. star. (For those of you living under a rock... Lauren rocketed to tabloid cover status when her and her high school friends were filmed for the MTV reality show Laguna Beach. She also starred in the spin-off show The Hills.)

As I read this and the previous book in the series, I found myself trying to figure out who was who (since most of these characters are based off of real life people). Lauren does a good job of disguising the guys especially, but it's fairly obvious who most of the girl friends were based on if you've seen the tv shows.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. Nothing to write home about, but definitely a fun weekend beach read.

Book Review: Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles)

This book was super cute, and although aimed at a younger audience, I still really enjoyed it.

I've actually had this book on my shelf for years and it just occurred to me that it is by the author of The Hunger Games (a series that I loved!). While I wouldn't say it's as good as those, this book was still very interesting and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Basically, we follow Gregor and his sister Boots as they fall out of a NYC laundry room into an underworld ruled by giant bugs, bats, and rats. They go on an Alice-in-Wonderland-like adventure as they quest to make it back home in one piece.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Baby-Sitters Club: Then and Now

Book cover changes can sometimes be a good thing. As a graphic designer, I can appreciate that fact. They can introduce a new generation to an old classic that might not otherwise be glanced at.

Sometimes, however...

This happens...

I guess it's better than this previous remake (which thankfully I've never noticed before):

But sometimes I just have to ask... why mess with the original? It was great and it makes me nostalgic just to look it! I admit the girls look a little outdated, but then again... this series is set in the 80's. How else should they look?

Of all the remakes I found of this cover, I think the 1995 version was the best (though I still prefer the original). It updates the cover image to appeal to a new generation, but it still maintains the spirit of the original. I wish the current book cover design had been as thoughtful.

App Review: Runtastic Pedometer

According to smart, healthy-type people, it's best to aim for walking 10,000 steps a day. (In other words, 5 miles a day). As a perpetual couch potato myself, that sounds like a tall order! The Walking Site explains that the average sedentary person (sounds like me!) walks about 1000-3000 steps a day, on average. No wonder my metabolism has slowed down post-high-school! I definitely qualify as a sedentary person.

So... naturally this information made me curious to see how many steps a day I'm walking. I found an interesting free iPhone app (it's also available for Android phones) that you just turn on and leave in your pocket all day. It tracks not only your steps but also translates that into miles. Yesterday I tried it out and walked about 4000 steps (I went for a 15-20 minute walk in the morning, which I normally don't do).

I'm very curious to see over the course of time, how much I walk on average (and whether or not this will motivate me to walk more). I do t…

Book Review: Remote - Office Not Required

As a remote worker myself, this book is preaching to the choir. It repeats itself a lot but is a quick read and gives some great ideas and insights to the practice of remote working.

While I sometimes felt like it was just an advertisement for the author's own company, 37 Signals, most of the time this book just made good sense and found me wishing more companies would operate this way.

A quick read - I give 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Project 365: Week 3

Site Design: Social Demand NY

I recently finished up a fun web project for a social marketing start-up in New York City. I designed a mobile-responsive splash-page style website on the Squarespace platform.

I wish I could say I had to travel there to consult for the project, but alas... I'm still here in sunny California. ;P

Project 365: Week 2

Book Review: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles)

This was an excellent book and I can't wait to read the rest of the series. Cinder is set in a dystopian future where robots are second-class citizens, and robot-human hybrids are even lower than that.

As the name of the book would suggest, this is a modern re-telling of the fairy tale, Cinderella. I liked that it didn't borrow so heavily from the original that the plotline became obvious. This book will keep you guessing until the end and leave you wanting more.

I give this book 6 out of 5 stars.

2014 TBR Pile • Top 20

On my 2014 "to be read" list... (in no particular order)

Homeland by Cory Doctorow
I read "Little Brother" this month and thoroughly enjoyed it. (Couldn't put it down actually - finished it in one sitting).

I've already started reading this and unfortunately it's MUCH slower paced than "Little Brother" so far. According to the online review though, if you can plod through the first 75 pages, the rest is much better.

The Circle by Dave Eggers
This book sounds interesting and the cover was illustrated by one of my current favorite illustrators, Jessica Hische... so that means it must be good, right? Like "Little Brother", this is also a techno-thriller story... technology takes over the world and the little guy fights back. Sounds promising!

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
I started this book a couple years ago and really liked it. I was just... distracted... like I have been for years... so never finished it. This is the year for finishing…

Project 365: Week 1