the Duchess’ Book Club

TA-DA! Drum roll please! After reading 24 books in the past 4 months I am ready to slow things down a tiny bit and add some more people to the fun! I am officially starting the Duchess’ Book Club! I have started a club through Book Movement! You can go and sign up (it’s free) and join the DBC through the site or if you cannot find it you can comment or email me with your info and I can add you!

The first book on our list is going to be….

State of Wonder, by Anne Patchett
I have heard so many good things about this book! So here is the schedule! There are 11 Chapters in this lovely book so we are going to take approx 11 weeks to finish this! I hope that will be slow enough for some and fast enough for others. So our date of completion is November 1st! So you have ALL of September and October to delve in the mind of Ann Patchett!
Warning: apparently the beginning is a tad slow but then you get hooked! SO keep at it clubbers! At the end we will have a discussion (in some format… it will good I promise) but every couple weeks or so there is a ‘fun’ post scheduled to keep you reading! 
Here is the DBC Schedule: 

Are you excited? Are you signing up for Book Movement right now? What are you thinking?

***UPDATE: on Book Movement once you make your account comment below and leave the email address you signed up with and I can add you!***

24 before 24 update

Here was my list of things to accomplish before I turned 24, which was yesterday!

 1) teach Winston to walk/run while I’m riding my bike
√ 2) write my name with a sparkler
 3) visit Valley Fair  4) make dinner every night for a week with my crock-pot I got 5 days done, a school week… does that count?
√ 5) win a hand of blackjack in Vegas 
 6) learn how to properly tease my hair  
 7) make 5 things off Pinterest (wreath, chalkboards, canvas beach bag, laundry detergent, glitter iphone charger)
 8) start writing a book 
 9) ride my bike to work 
10) run around Lake Calhoun with Winston (or without) but NO STOPPING
 11) get my splits back 
12) cross stitch a design I like I have the design so that’s half the battle
 13) get a tattoo 
14) ride ‘The Falls’ at Schlitterbahn didn’t quite get to the Bahn this year
15) sew an apron nope
 16) donate blood (even though I fainted the last time!) 
 17) learn how to drive a boat 
 18) float the river (either in MN or TX) 
19) make croissants from my skills learned in Paris 
 20) visit one of my ‘Life In…’ friends 
√ 21) continue my Gospel study with the scripture journals I got for Easter 
 22) get a new position with the IQA 
23) read 24 books (in 3 months?! here I go!) I got to 20! That’s still a lot!
 24) make a 25 before 25 list! 

I’m looking forward to a great year of being 24!

Life In: Cardiff, Wales

My name is Zowie, and I had the pleasure of having Katherine in my American Foreign Policy class while she was still a bright-eyed undergrad at Texas A&M. To date she holds the record for the best excuse I have ever heard for not being able to come to class: “I’m playing in the Quidditch World Cup.” Sold.  
I’m originally from the UK (which naturally made me a perfect fit to teach American Foreign Policy to Texan undergrads…), and after finishing my PhD I returned home and landed my dream job. I’m currently living and working in Cardiff, the capital of Wales. I’ve been here for about a year now, and have fallen head over heels for the city. 
Senedd
I live about five minutes walk from the Bay area, home of the Welsh Assembly (Senedd), BBC Wales, the really cool looking Millennium Centre, and lots of cool restaurants and bars. I love how chill the Bay is, great for evening walks or meeting friends for post-work drinks.
Millennium Centre
20 minutes walk from the Bay is Cardiff city centre with every sort of shop, bar, and restaurant you could wish for. Unfortunately for my bank balance I walk through the city centre on my way to and from work. One of my favourite buildings that I walk past is the central library. I love it on cold winter nights when it’s all lit up.
Cardiff Central Library 
Some more of my favourite places:
Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle. In 1947, the 5th Marquess of Bute gave Cardiff Castle to the residents of Cardiff. If you live in the city you can get your own ‘castle key’, entitling you to free admission. So yeah, no big deal, I kind of own a castle now.     
Bute Park
Cathays Park and Bute Park. Cardiff has great parks in general, but these two are in perfect proximity for the rare work day where the sun is shining and I have time to eat a sandwich outside. 
Chapter Arts Centre. The closest thing I’ve found to the Alamo Drafthouse outside of Texas. Cinema / Gallery / Restaurant and so much more, I love hanging out here with friends. 
In conclusion, Cardiff is fabulous! An affordable, fun city with lots to see and do. Also, it’s only two hours to London by train. If any of you find yourself in the UK, it’s definitely worth the trip.
Thanks so much Zowie! I hope I still hold that record in years to come!