Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

It’s getting to be that time (fingers crossed) that you might want to start making a list of books to read in a lounge chair in your backyard or even by the pool (MIchigan has a while to go before we get there, unfortunately, but hey, it might actually be nice where you live). If you haven’t read this book yet, this is one to add to your must-read list.

The Fault in Our Stars.jpg

I fell in love with John Green when I read Looking for Alaska, and my love for him only grew stronger when I read a copy of The Fault in Our Stars. 

There is a tremendous list of reasons that I adore John Green’s work, but I must say, one of the reasons I recommend his work to everyone is that he has that uncanny gift of making everyone who reads his book feel like he or she was the exact target audience for the book, whether they are a teenager or a senior citizen. His books feel like they were written just for you. As one of the most celebrated Young Adult authors of recent years, he obviously knows how to capture a young audience, but his razor-sharp wit, his cunning wordplay, and the vast knowledge he gives his young characters will have you hooked in the first few pages; I guarantee it. 

Now here’s where I have to get all technical and admit it is, in fact, a book about teenage cancer patients. I know, I know. It’s hard to commit to picking up a book like that, because you know you are putting your heart at risk of being completely demolished, but I promise you — it is worth it. The beauty of this novel, the amazing characters, everything — it is worth having to think about your own mortality or that of your children. It is not one of those books that piles it on, trying to make you feel miserable, it just happens to be about cancer.

In case you hadn’t figured it out, I love this book and recommend it wholeheartedly. Please read the story of Hazel and Augustus and consider the forces of love, pain, loss, and acceptance in your life. You won’t regret it.

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), and on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.

Wedding Ideas: Erica and Matt’s Unity Tree

from the desk of: Veronica

Recently, one of my blogger friends wrote about making the trip to Massachusetts to see her brother get married, and something the bride and groom included in their ceremony just jumped out at me: A Unity Tree!

Instead of a unity candle or a sand ceremony, the couple brought dirt from the yards of their childhood homes to surround a tree they will later plant in the yard of their new home. I’m so in love with this idea! They also gave out saplings as favors.

Here are the details, provided by the bride, Erica:

Date: February 22, 2014

Location: The Country Club of Pittsfield, in Pittsfield, MA

Why they chose a “unity tree”: Erica always dreamed of a winter wedding, and imagined getting married outside with a beautiful fresh coat of snow on the ground. She wanted to have a winter theme, but wasn’t keen on snowflakes, so her and her fiancé settled on pinecones, which led her to the idea of giving away saplings. Erica says, “I feel like often times the favors we get at weddings end up in a drawer somewhere never to be seen again,” and giving saplings certainly solved that problem. After further Pinterest searching, she stumbled across the idea of a unity tree, and knew it was for her because it was unique, fit her theme, and “this symbolizes a blending of our families. I thought a tree is a nice way to symbolize the growth of our relationship as well.”

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During the ceremony, the following was read: “Matthew and Erica will now take part in a Unity Tree Planting Ceremony, to symbolize the roots of their relationship, and the continued growth of their love, as they become each other’s family today. As we are here today, Matthew and Erica’s marriage is like the velvety roots of this young, yet resolute sapling. As they have found each other and chosen to share their lives together, two roots will burrow through the mysterious unknown until they find their true counterpart. Intertwined, supporting and being supported by each other, they shall grow stronger in their union into endless depths. The soil they will use to nurture this young sapling has been gathered from the grounds of their parents’ homes. Fertile by nature and nourished with love and attention, this blend of life’s ingredients will be the foundation of great things to come.”

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And finally, I had to share a little of Matt and Erica’s love story:

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Erica and Matt met through E-Harmony. Erica initiated the communication, and after many months of on-line communication and the occasional phone calls and text messages, Matt asked Erica to meet in person to go mini-golfing in Lake George, NY. Both Erica and Matt were on their way to meet when Matt called Erica to say that he wouldn’t make it because he had just been in a car accident. Erica wasn’t sure whether to believe him or not, and thought he was blowing her off. Immediately after that, Erica was leaving for a work conference and then out to Texas to visit her cousin a few days after that. After Erica got back from Texas, she ended up hitting a deer on her way to work one morning and didn’t have a car for about three weeks. Finally, Matt suggested that just because Erica didn’t have a car, it didn’t mean they couldn’t meet. Erica’s roommate, Brier, was willing to drive her down to Saratoga and meet up with Matt for their first date. It was a little strange to have a “chaperone” on the first date, but it became a joke that without Erica’s roommate, they might not be together! After that, they went on many more dates and eventually Matt moved to Vermont to live with Erica and attend college. The rest is history!

Thank you to Erica and Matt for sharing their story, and thank you to Rebecca for “introducing” them to me.

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), and on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.

Etsy Finds: Ring Bearer Pillows

From the desk of: Veronica

Hello, folks! You might already know that I could plan a million weddings for myself, so it will come as no surprise to you that I love looking through all things wedding and picking out my favorites. This time, I browsed through some ring bearer pillows on Etsy and picked a few I thought you should see.

Ivory ring pillow Wedding ring pillow Ring pillow with feathers

Ivory ring pillow, $18

Feathers and brooches and all over the wedding scene these days, for good reason. They are a little different while being very classy. This pillow is beautiful AND it costs less than the standard pillow from the wedding aisles of Joann, Hobby Lobby, or Wal-Mart. Plus, the seller is from Lithuania and I am a quarter Lithuanian, so … you know. 🙂

Ivory ring pillow White ring pillow Wedding ring pillow Wedding ceremony

Ivory ring pillow, $20 (can also be made in white)

This from the same seller as above, and I like it for all the same reasons — unique, beautiful, fantastic use of brooch, great price.

Monogrammed Irish Linen Ring Bearer Pillow Style 5821

Monogrammed Irish Linen Ring Bearer Pillow, $54

Need a few traditional touches in your ceremony? Are you Irish? Do you love monograms and personalized touches? If you answered “yes” to any of the following, have I got the pillow for you!

Ivory Ring Bearer Pillow Lace Ring Pillow Pearl Rhinestone Accent

Ivory Lace Ring Bearer Pillow, $39

Simple, yet not too simple, fancy, but not too fancy — just the right amount of lace and bling. Lovely.

Ring Bearer Pillow – The Elizabeth, $86

I’ve always been a sucker for giant flowers (just ask my daughters, who, on more than one occasion, have been made to wear flowers in their hair roughly the same size as their heads), so this one spoke to me.

Wedding Ring Bearer Pillow - White (Made to Order)

Wedding Ring Bearer Pillow (made to order), $110

If you have a little room in your budget and also require a little bling, might I suggest this bad boy.

To see my previous Etsy picks, click HERE.

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), and on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.

Hello, Gretzky Boys

Recently, Golf Digest made the controversial decision to put Paulina Gretzky on its cover. While it made good sense from a practical stance — images of good-looking women sell magazines — it had many people confused and angry. Paulina Gretzky’s main tie to the golf world is that she is engaged to a professional golfer.

Now, I certainly could go on and on about the implications of this choice, but one photographer managed to make a statement about the choice AND do something hilarious at the same time. Enter Cy Cyr, who posted this series on his blog on Monday:

Gretzky Boys

Image used with permission of Cy Cyr

I. LOVE. IT.

Whether you want to use it to spark a discussion on gender issues or body image, or if you just want to make a friend laugh out loud, this does it all.

Bravo, Cy Cyr.

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), and on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.

Awesome Maid of Honor Toast

You already know I’m a bit partial to watching videos of big elaborate public proposals, but I’ve always been a little on the fence when it comes to over-the-top best man and maid of honor toasts.

At my wedding, our best man and maid of honor gave lovely toasts — not too long, not too short, funny without being crazy, and touching without making me ugly cry. PERFECT.

I have also been in attendance at weddings where the best man or maid of honor tries to do something wild and DANG is that a gamble. Sure, people might love it, but what if it’s a flop or offensive or so long people start rolling their eyes and talking (I’ve actually witnessed all those scenarios) that’s something the bride and groom will remember forever. What I’m saying is, if someone were to ask my opinion on whether or not they should do an elaborate toast, I would have emphatically said NO … until today.

I stumbled across this video on Mashable today, and at first I thought it was good but nothing special, but a minute in I was smiling ear-to-ear, and then the last line got me and I sat blubbering at my computer. If I were at that reception … whoa. I would be laughing while I ugly cried, for sure. (So glad I wasn’t there.)

Without further ado, the maid of honor toast that changed my mind about wedding toasts:

(But if you can’t rap, please promise me you won’t try this at someone’s wedding and then blame me when it’s a flop.)

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), and on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.