I Heart New York

Title: I Heart New York
Author: Lindsey Kelk
Paperback: 307 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (2010)

I am actually not really into chic-lit genre. Once I felt in love with Sophie Kinsella with her fabulous shopaholic series but after that I stop reading any chic-lit. I just found that it's not too engaging anymore. But recently looking at my tight teaching schedule, I suddenly thought that I needed a simple book to read. I chose this book written by British author, Lindsey Kelk, just because I was attracted with the title and the cover (yep..a very strong reason).

The story is about a Londoner, Angela Kelk who is having a broken heart and tries to run from her daily life. Out of the blue she finally decides to go to New York (for the first time) and hopes that she might  recover there. Angela's days then filled with some new friends who turn out to be really supportive in helping her to cope with her broken heart.

Let's follow Angela's days in New York, the city that never sleeps. She has a make over, some serious retail therapy and of course the tour of the city. She's also dating two sexy guys and gets opportunity to blog about her escapade for a fashion magazine.

Not so special story actually, just a fun, light read that celebrate New York. But for me it does good for my short me-time. This book is one of I Heart series, there are I Heart London, I Heart Paris, I Heart Vegas, etc. If you adore chic-lit genre, you're going to love these series.  

The Piano Guys

 via YouTube

Recently I am in love with these five guys, the awesome Piano Guys. Their music is epic, their video is wow. I am speechless.

The Piano Guys consist of five men. It's all started in a piano shop owned by Paul Anderson  in St. George, Utah. Anderson then met Jon Schmidt who just walked  into the shop and asked whether he could practice there for an upcoming concert. Months later, Anderson and Tel Stewart for the sake of fun started making videos together of Jon Schmidt.

The collaboration then continued with the five of them, Jon Schmidt (the Piano Guy), Steven Sharp Nelson (the Cello Guy),  Paul Anderson (Producer/Videographer), Tel Stewart (Videographer/Editor) and Al van der Beek (Music and Studio Guy). They produced a music video every week and posting it to YouTube.

Since their music and videos were well prepared, no wonder if people easily fall in love with it. As of May 5, 2013 The Piano Guys' YouTube channel has over 224 million total video views and over 1,6 million subscribers.

"Lots of parents are using our music to show their kids how fun classical music can be and motivate them to learn instruments", says Schmidt. That's definitely true, I have shown all Piano Guys' videos at YouTube to Najla and Zea and it seems they love almost all of them. Hope this will encourage them to practice the piano more diligent and who knows maybe someday they are also interested to practice cello. Okay I start sounding like an ambitious mom. Forget my last statement girls, just concentrate on your piano class but if only you change your mind, let mama know...soon..haha...:) 

Counting the Days

Play in the park
Hang out in the playground
Have a tea party
and...can't wait for a lunchtime
The long school holiday is finally finished. Tomorrow will be the first day of school. The first day for Zea to study at a new school and also the first time for her to fulfill her fasting until Magrib, alhamdulillah. While Najla will enter her third grade and also enjoys her third time of full fasting, insya Allah.

These are some pics from holiday with nieces. They now are waiting for lebaran holiday with nieces. Yes, the school just starts while they are now already thinking about holiday. Ah..kids, they just can't get enough of holiday.

And the Mountains Echoed

Author: Khaled Hosseini
Hardcover: 404 pages
Publisher: Riverhead, 2013

After waiting for five years, finally Khaled Hosseini released his latest novel And the Mountains Echoed. Since I love his first two novels The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, I really have high expectation toward this new book.

As usual Hosseini still writes about Afghan people. This is a story about a family who lives in a poor Afghan village in 1952. It begins with a father tells a story to his two children, Abdullah and Pari about a giant who likes to take children in the village. A touching yet tragic story. It turns out that father is actually  telling a true story since at that time due to his hard condition, he intends to sell his daughter, Pari to a wealthy merchant in Kabul. Abdullah and Pari are always together. This separation really breaks their heart, especially Abdullah who is already big enough to understand what is going on there. 

The first 50 pages of the book is quite engaging. But on the way to reunion of Abdullah and Pari, Hosseini gathers up many characters and situations. We will go around the globe - from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco even to the Greek island of Tinos. It's just too many characters introduced without connecting them in a meaningful way. The story kept jumping back and forth from past to present and the people are not tied together.

Unlike the other two novels, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, which had focus on characters and developed them in details, this book doesn't centre around regional conflicts. The current work burdens itself with creation of unnecessary characters. Hosseini tells us stories of individuals who are going through real life journeys. Many irrelevant characters just thrown in and discussed for a while and then dropped while the story of Abdullah and Pari is not enough explored.

Never though that Hosseini's work could bring such disappointment. But it just happens. Perhaps I have too high expectation since his other two works are awesome.

A Little Girl and Her Soul Mate

There are two things that Najla loves most, swimming and riding a bike. Her love towards bike has been coming since she was very little. Her first bike was a birthday present from her grandpa. At the age of four she tried hard on her own to be able to ride a two-wheeled bike. She practiced every day back and forth at our front yard. I remembered back then that I was so surprised to finally see her riding the two-wheeled bike.

Right now Najla and her bike are like soul mate. They hardly separate. Every time I see her riding the bike, I can see excitement and  happiness clearly shown on her face. The bike means a world to her. Enjoy your ride, sweety...