It's been a busy month!! This month, I was able to meet my 30 Before 30 goal of reading 2 books (see below for synopsis and recommendations).
Also, I did some researching and have added a cool new feature to the blog. You'll notice that 3 related posts show up at the bottom of each blog post now. My hope is that when new readers check out a page on mason|raye (they come here as a result of a pinterest pin or Google search, etc.) that they'll read the post they came here for, then see a related post that may be interesting to them and click over there to read that post.... Then, if they like what they see, they may come back again or decide to "follow" or subscribe to the blog. This way, I hope to enlarge the maison|raye readership. Of course, I'm always excited to have my regular readers - thank you for your loyalty! This gets me one step closer to my blog goals. Gotta have an established readership before I can expand the blog, get my own domain name, etc.
I signed up for an online photography class. It's not as in depth as I'd like; it focuses on just photographing people. I'm sure that some of the information will be applicable to food photography... something I'm always working to improve.
Now on to the books:
The Perfect Baby Handbook: A Guide for Excessively Motivated Parents by Dale Hrabi. I have to admit, it was a pretty funny book. I literally laughed out loud, more than once. Hrabi has mastered sarcasm in this book. He has this way of taking popular baby advice out there and putting his own witty spin on it, with hilarious results. I personally think that the illustrations make the book even more humorous. The section on baby names is probably my favorite part ("How many letters should a perfect name contain? Ideally, nine. Some popular options include Sebastian, Elizabeth and Chloeeeee").
I enjoyed reading this book for the most part. The only reason I'm not able to recommend it is that it contains some profanity, which I find unnecessary.
A Family of Value by Dr. John Rosemond. Dr. Rosemond is a psychologist, newspaper columnist, and radio talk show host. He had a lot of practical, common sense advice for discipline and childrearing that I found beneficial. His approach may come across as "old fashioned" to those parents looking for a more progressive, pop-culture approach, but I agreed with his philosophy that children must be taught limits, resourcefulness, respect and responsibility, so when they grow up they will be an asset to society instead of a burden. There's a lot of controversy out on the web about Dr. Rosemond's work. Many people feel he's too conservative (God forbid he exercise his freedom of speech and "praise Rush Limbaugh while villainizing Hilary Clinton" as one reviewer posted on Amazon)... but don't get me started on that train. I'm not here to debate the conservative vs. liberal issue, just to tell you that I read the book and agreed with much of Dr. Rosemond's advice. I do recommend A Family of Value to parents, especially conservative parents trying to establish their childrearing philosophy or looking for practical advice.