Why We Need a “Netboox” for eBooks

Disclaimer: Netboox Doesn’t Exist (YET)

I love reading, but I have to admit that it’s gotten more difficult to do since having a baby. When I was pregnant, parenting books and mom blogs and random strangers warned me to have lots of books to read and music to listen to for all the late night nursing sessions. This was great advice.

I have to be careful when I start a book. I get sucked in and end up reading late into the night. Before MK, I would read all night. My husband would wake up at 5am to get ready for work and look at me in amazement, “Are you still awake??” It can be an addiction. Now that sleep is such a valuable commodity, staying up late reading is always a mistake I regret the next exhausting day when I’m chasing the baby, covered in yogurt and ketchup, wondering what the hell I’ve gotten myself into.

Audio books have opened a new door to reading for me. I can pop in one headphone and take MK and the dog for a walk and get my reading fix in early in the day. I can throw MK in the stroller when she refuses to nap and still get a bit of down time. I can listen during car rides, nap time, even chasing her at the playground.

Normally I get ebooks and audio books from the library. Otherwise, I could spend a fortune on books. Library ebooks check out through my Kindle, and the audiobooks go through my Overdrive app. It’s super easy and convenient and free. The problem with the library is, as the Rolling Stones said, you can’t always get what you want. I usually don’t mind waiting for a book, but when they don’t even have it? That’s when I go to Amazon like here, take all my money!

shut-up-and-take-my-money

Recently, I started reading What Alice Forgot. Even though the naive Alice character is slightly irritating and the plot seems a tiny bit far fetched, the story is compelling and I can’t read it fast enough. Which is why my library ebook wasn’t enough. Since they didn’t have the audiobook I caved in and bought it on Audible.

Amazon has this program (or whatever it is) called Whispersync, which magically syncs your Kindle ebook and Audible audiobook so that you can go back and forth between the two without having to search for your furthest point. It’s the sneaky bookworm ninja, streamlining reading for busy readers everywhere. It’s pretty much the best thing ever… except the cost makes no sense to me.

First you have to buy the Kindle book for $10 or however much, and then you shell out another $10 or whatever (a discounted price) for the audiobook. Now you’ve spent $20 on one book. You can also sign up for an Audible subscription for about $15 and you get one free book with that. So, essentially, that’s $15 per audiobook. That’s what books on CD and tape cost, though, right? So, yeah, whatever. This is more convenient.

But if you think about it, you can get unlimited movies and TV shows on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon for under $10 a month. The cost of movie production has to be higher than ebook production, even for audiobooks with a couple of readers. So what justifies the price discrepancy? Where is our $10 per month Netboox subscription (TM — you heard that name here first!)? Our unlimited streaming audio? Have I just missed it in my sleep-deprived, toddler-focused, haze?

What do you think? Do you use Audible or something like it?

Our Wedding

A Beach Wedding in Santa Barbara on Labor Day Weekend

When my husband proposed, we both knew we wanted a beach wedding. Even though I consider it my home town, Santa Barbara wasn’t immediately our first choice. We considered eloping or having a small wedding / elopement in the Caribbean. But our parents really wanted us to have a more traditional wedding and in the end we agreed.

Ideally, I wanted to get married in the sand in front of crashing waves and a brilliant jewel-toned sunset (as if you can just place an order for sunsets). Since we had settled on September for our wedding date, sunset wasn’t until almost 7:30 and so saying our vows in front of the setting sun wasn’t a practical timeline.

We looked at venues all over Santa Barbara — vineyards, hotels, private estates and home rentals, the courthouse, and other event spaces. We decided to use Fess Parker’s Resort (formerly the Red Lion, now a Doubletree) because we could get married on the beach; have cocktails on the upper Rotunda with almost 360* views of mountains, ocean, and city; and have our dinner and reception in the Plaza Del Sol, set romantically under string lights and the stars. Fess Parker’s also has an ideal location, right at the beach, surrounded by tons of hotel options for guests, and very close to downtown Santa Barbara and its nightlife.

The night before our wedding, we met on the beach before dinner to rehearse. It was a cold, windy evening and we hurried, shivering, through rehearsal. Luckily, our rehearsal dinner was set inside the lovely Stella Mare’s greenhouse. It’s such a perfect little French restaurant set alongside the bird refuge, just down from the beach. The greenhouse room is all windows, giving you views of the stars and the water while you dine.

The day of our wedding was beautiful. We said our vows on the beach in front of the waves, under a bamboo arch strewn with sheer white fabric, white lilies and light blue hydrangea. We walked down the aisle to a string quartet and the guests picked up white parasols to cover them from the sun.

After the sunny ceremony, guests went to the upper Rotunda at the Fess Parker to have cocktails and appetizers while taking in the views of the ocean and mountains. Our band had set up a small area to play acoustic music upstairs while people chatted, drank, and ate. We had spent so much time doing tastings to choose “the perfect” appetizers (my mom is the pickiest of picky and must overdo everything), but we missed the cocktail hour! My husband and I never got to taste a single appetizer because we were taking photos the entire time.

The reception was downstairs in the Plaza Del Sol, a beautiful, Spanish-style, red-tiled, round courtyard lined with string lights, palm trees, and huge windows looking out into the ocean. We even had string lights twinkling above like stars.

We started the night out with our first dance to a live band, the Rembrandt Band (not the band the Rembrandts from the show Friends). Rembrandt band is just amazing. We had all decided music, food, and drinks were the most important, so after my mom talked me into having a live band, Rembrandt was the only one we could agree on. They play everything from music from the 1940s to modern pop, rock, and rap. They started the night slow for dinner, moved into dance music our older guests would enjoy, and finished the night with modern songs our younger guests enjoyed dancing to. After one of the singers finished and Eminem song, my friend even asked me if they were really singing or if they just played an Eminem recording — they were that good!

For dinner, we chose Fess Parker’s stations buffet with carving stations, the most amazing seafood display, and a dessert buffet that featured my and my dad’s favorite dessert — eclairs. We also had a wedding cake. I’d wanted a naked or smooth-frosted cake but I was outvoted and we ended up keeping with the beach theme — blue with white seashells.  In addition, we had an open bar for guests. Having an open bar at a wedding makes for the best entertainment, but it’s a little scary when the ground is tile instead of carpet.

When we were choosing a venue, I’d always wanted to have it outside, or at least with a large outside patio. My husband and I loved the Plaza, but my mom (who overdoes everything, remember) wanted inside so we wouldn’t have to worry about weather (what weather?? we don’t have weather in Santa Barbara). Since we ended up outside, we made sure to have plenty of heatlamps. Then my mom added more. Then some more. At the night of the wedding we had 30 heatlamps (30!!)!! There were so many heatlamps my onsite coordinator said she wished she could get an aerial infrared of all the heat. We had to turn off heatlamps all over, we were so hot. To this day, I have no idea what the weather was like that night during the wedding.

Vendors: Venue, Lighting & Catering – Fess Parker’s ResortPhotography – Michael + Anna Costa, Florals – Juniper Floral Design, Cake – Montecito Confections, Linens – La Tavola, Rentals – Classic Party Rentals,  Music  – Rembrandt Band, Wedding rings – Tacori & Custom,  Wedding Coordinator – Event of the Season,  Make-upTomiko Taft, HairMishay Salon & Spa