Thursday, December 31, 2015

All Bad Things Must Come to an End

Most bloggers are talking about New Year's Eve, looking back at 2015, posting "best of" posts, or even goals for the 2016.  Not me.  I'm taking a moment to mourn the end of one of my all-time favourite bands.  Spotify created a playlist (since I failed to compile one, you should listen to theirs): #NowPlaying This Is: Mötley Crüe by Spotify

Tonight is the last night for Motley Crue.  They end their 30+ years as a band on New Year's Eve in Los Angeles.  The four original members signed a legal document stating that they would not be touring as MOTLEY CRUE ever again.  This is it.  (Nor can any one member solely own the name, grab some other musicians and tour under the ban Axl Rose does with GNR.)

For me, for my era, they were the band that personified sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll with a mix of danger.  Sure, there were others that did the same.  Sure, there were others before them, others with more critical acclaim, others to follow.  But, for me, Motley will forever hold a special place in my rocker girl heart.

My first Motley Crue concert was during the Girls Girls Girls tour (I can't remember if it was 1987 or 1988), and I've seen them more times than I can count.  I've been on the front row, in smaller venues, and at festivals.  I've danced, I've sang, I've rocked, and I've had my finger sucked by Nikki Sixx.

I think Mick Mars is one of the most under-rated guitar players of his time.  Tommy Lee is a consummate showman.  Vince Neil...well...Vince is Vince...still a party boy through and through.  Nikki Sixx is a genius (in my humble opinion).

There have been:
  • Albums and Videos
  • Tours and Parties
  • Marriages and Divorces
  • Fist fights and Jail terms
  • Overdoses and Drunk-driving accidents
  • Groupies and Wives
  • Kids and Pets
  • Band break-ups and Reunion tours
  • Spandex and Leather
  • Hairspray and Eyeliner
  • Books and Documentaries
  • Side projects and Solo albums
  • Debauchery and Sobriety
  • Illness and Loss
  • Rotating drum kits and Guitars that shoot fire
  • Back-up singers and Strippers
  • Tattoos and Piercings
  • Pyrotechnics and Acrobatics
  • Reality shows and Talk of a movie
  • Arguments and Brotherly love
And...there has been rock 'n' fucking roll.  As the lyrics to one of my favourite Crue songs (Primal Scream) says:

Crash & burn they did.  In good ways and bad.  And, I will forever love those reckless maniacs from the streets of Los Angeles.  Their music will forever be a major player in the soundtrack of my life. Take a bow, guys.  Thanks for the memories.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best Read Books 2015

Steph and Jana have asked us to share our favourite books that we read in 2015.  Looking at my goodreads account, I compiled an initial list.  There were 22 books on that list for "best read".  I didn't think I could keep you folks around long enough for a list of 22 books, so difficult cuts needed to be made.

Then, I read another book that was fantabulous.  Now, I needed to choose from 23 books.

Maybe if I group them by genre...........The following (historical fiction, mystery/crime/thrillers, contemporary fiction, and YA), plus non-fiction too.  I didn't have any superior stand-outs this year that were a "best read", so that genre got skipped.  Hopefully next year...

Seriously.  The title of this post should be I Loved So Many Books This Year I Just Can't Choose.

My Best Read Historical Fiction of 2015 included two books that were set during WWII.  If you read this genre, you are aware that this is a familiar setting.  Both The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (set in France during the German occupation) and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (following a Lithuanian family sent to Serbia) examined different lives, experiences, and historical significance than other books I've previously read from this time period.  Both were heart-breaking and beautiful.  As was my third choice, Under a Dark Summer Sky by Vanessa Lafaye (also released as Summertime).  Set in the Florida Keys in the 1930s, this is a story about community, family, race, relationships, and more all set on the backdrop of an impending natural disaster.

(Because I can't control myself) Honorable mentions:  The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom, Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (which is actually a memoir, so not fiction, but works with this group), All That I Am by Anna Funder

My Best Read Mystery/Crime of 2015 consists of stories about a school shooting, an abduction, Stockholm Syndrome, and the dangerous, violent world of Mexican drug cartels.  None were necessarily fast-paced thrillers (hence, why I didn't use that description in the genre), but all were gripping, thought-provoking reads:  Stolen by Lucy Christopher, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (my first book ever read by this uber-popular author), and The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow.

Honorable mentions:  Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

My Best Read Contemporary Fiction of 2015 all made me laugh, cry, and experience a variety of emotions.  I love books that make me feel and these did just that in enjoyable reads.  After starting, I did not want to put these books down:  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (also released as The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry), I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak (also released as The Messenger), Still Alice by Lisa Genova.

Honorable mentions:  Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper


My Best Read YA books of 2015 were all very different books from each other...but all gave me lots of feels...all had lessons to learn packed in their pages...all dealt with meaningful relationships:  The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta, Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy, and The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay.

Honorable mentionsEverybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Varga

I know.  I should have cut and culled more.  But...but...but...I had a really great year of reading.  In 2014, I read 66 books.  I set the goal for 75 books in 2015.  I smashed that.  I read 90 books!!

I'm actually feeling guilty about the ones that did get culled and left off of this post, so I should stop now. 

Are you going to read any of these books?  Or have you read them already??

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday's (more than) Seven Snapshots vol.53

Christmas tree outside of Customs House Library

I read somewhere that this scene in Love Actually was all Emma Thompson's doing. It was scripted to go in her room, turn on Joni Mitchell, and then let it go. This scene is brilliant. 

The world needs more care packages!!!  This super special one was from Kristen at See You in a Porridge. We expats gotta take care of each other. 

Christmas Day - my guy and his kiddos

Pretty pearls from my guy

These two *love*

Ricky cuddling with Chels after Christmas lunch

Some of my loot - a book, two gift cards for books, shoes, perfume, Gwen Stefani Urban Decay eye palette. 

Now......I'm going camping. That's right. Camping. Pics to come. 

Hope your holiday was filled with love and laughter!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Twas Humpday Before Christmas

I can't tell you how many times this week that something would happen and I'd think "that would go great in my Humpday post"...only to forget those wonderful moments.  #writeitdowndumbdumb

I work at a retail store.  We are small business owners.  Christmas trade es muy importante.  But damn if it doesn't drive me crazy.  #muyloco #craycray

If it is the week of Christmas, and you are just getting around to shopping for your wife or girlfriend, and you walk in a jewelry store asking for something in blue topaz and white gold, and you are shown more than 15+ items ranging in a rather broad spectrum of price, style and shades of blue, and you say "Uh, I don't know, uh, let me think about it, uh, I'll be back."  Just don't.  Don't let this be your response.  Be honest with the customer service person.  Say "I don't see anything that is exactly her style" or "I'm not sure that fits in the budget I wanted to spend" or something besides a big fat lie like "I'll be back later".  #retailrant

I work and live with my husband and father-in-law.  No one should have to work and live with a parental figure...or an in-law.

I confess: This week, I came very close to kicking my father in-law in the nuts.  Or at least the shin.  #butididnt #irestrainedmyself

He was complaining about not having a home-cooked meal and that he was tired of "eating out of a tin can".  First, he's a grown adult, not an invalid, and I'm not going to feel guilty that (by this age of his life) he hasn't figured out how to feed himself.  Second, my guy and I both cook and make enough for left-overs.  We also purchase things and have them in the pantry and refrigerator that would be easy for him to prepare on the nights we aren't at home.  Like, when we have our own lives to live.  Or, more likely these last couple of weeks, when we are working super long hours at the shop.  #ilivewithaspoiledandlazyelderlyman 

I confess:  When my father-in-law acts like a lazy ingrate, it makes me miss my dad all the more.  I know you could say "the grass is greener" or "absence makes the heart grow fonder"...but not in this case.  #mydadrocks

That's it.  The straw broke the camel's back.  The final nail went in the coffin.  I've lost it.  A customer (rather, an old, ignorant, chauvinistic fuck) shushed me.  Even used a hand gesture.  He needed a watch band sized, I was telling him that I'd get the watchmaker, he held up his hand, shushed me, and told me I was too loud.  His look of condescension while doing it sent me into a tailspin.  Out of frustration, anger, and pain from biting my tongue, I went to the bathroom and cried.  Yep.  I confess:  A customer made me cry this glorious holiday season.  #ineedadrink #imfromtexasandwetalkloud #ireallywantedtotellhimwhatithoughtofhisshushing

I confess:  I'm sounding like the Grinch.  Or Scrooge.  I got the Christmas Spirit in me.  I promise I do!  #turnonchristmasplaylist

The good awesome magnificent news is this:  Our shop is in a business district that goes quiet the week between Christmas and New Year's.  So, our shop will be closed.  And, we'll have the boy.  That's right...a week with my guy, the boy, and me.  We don't have any major plans, and I confess: that's just fine by me.  I'm looking forward to some quality time, some reading, and some relaxation.  If we can throw in an adventure or two, even better.  So, it may be a little quiet around these parts ... but don't fret ... I shall return!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good everything!

Wednesday link-ups with Laura & Lauren and  Nadine & Kathy

Monday, December 21, 2015

Aussie Author Challenge 2016

I participated in the Aussie Author Challenge 2015; I reached "kangaroo" status, and I loved discovering Aussie authors new to me or reading authors that I didn't even realize were Australian.  (My final post about it is here.)  A couple of the books that I read for the challenge will even make it to my Best Books I Read 2015 post coming up soon!

I'm a self-professed book challenge junkie, right?  Needless to say, I've be organizing my Aussie Author Challenge 2016 list before the challenge was even announced.  Well, it's HERE
I'm pretty sure I've got Kristen roped in for it this year.  Any other book lovers want to join us?  You only have to commit to reading and reviewing 3 books (for the minimum level).  That's not asking too much, is it?
Here's the info (or click on the picture/link to take you directly to the site): 

Read on to decide which challenge level suits you and how you can get involved.

Read and review 3 titles written by Australian authors, of which at least 1 of those authors are female, at least 1 of those authors are male, and at least 1 of those authors are new to you; Fiction or non-fiction, any genre.
WALLAROO Read and review 6 titles written by Australian authors, of which at least 2 of those authors are female, at least 2 of those authors are male, and at least 2 of those authors are new to you; Fiction or non-fiction, at least 2 genre.
Read and review 12 titles written by Australian Authors of which at least 4 of those authors are female, at least 4 of those authors are male, and at least 4 of those authors are new to you; Fiction or non-fiction, at least 3 genre.

How to Join:
1. Tell the world you are committing to this challenge and at what level – you can do that either on your own website, facebook or google+, or any other form of social media that will allow you to convey your feelings about each book after reading them. In that commitment provide a link to this page and display the Aussie Author Challenge 2016 badge to show your support for the initiative. Then register for the challenge by adding a link to your challenge commitment using the Registration Linky below.
2. Each time you read and review a book please provide a link back to this challenge page. Then add a link to that review to the Aussie Book Reviews Linky below.
3. When you have completed this challenge tell the world about the acheivement, and submit a link to that completion announcement via the Challenge Completion Linky below.
When sharing your reviews via twitter, or more generally discussing this challenge, use the hashtag #aussieauthor. If you ever have any difficulties using the form below don’t hesitate to email me at
Resources you may find useful:
I'm going for KANGAROO status again, and here's my initial book choices:

Female Authors:

Male Authors:

Authors New to Me:
Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Did you know the author is Australian?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.52

Wrapped gifts under my tree definitely gets me into the festive spirit. 

Doesn't everyone need a helper when wrapping gifts?

Anniversary selfie!

Sometimes a gal needs to wear a pop of color to add a little fun to her face, and that gal is me. 

Could he be any more handsome?

I know I posted this other places...but, this was me finishing The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Holy sobfest. If you like historical fiction, read this book. 

I know a lot of excitement surrounds Star Wars right now, but this boy is hanging for the Batman/Superman movie.

Happy Weekend to you! 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Ten Things That Made Me Happy This Week

Linking up with the ladies who love to spread positivity, Lindsay & Krysten, for Ten Things That Made Me Happy This Week:
1.  That I'm actually participating in this week's link-up because I've been neglecting this positive exercise the last few weeks
2.  My guy and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on Monday.  Yay for us!
3.  Free dessert (after a fantastic steak dinner) for our anniversary
4.  Snap-chatting with Kristen about books, blogs, and nonsense
(wanna add me?  I'm texerin)
5.  Being nominated for Best Kept Secret in Karen's Blog Awards
6.  Glittery, sparkly, festive nails
7.  Kitty cuddles (yes, cuddles from fur babies is a constant happy spot for me.)
8.  Wrapping presents - mine aren't overly crafty or perfectly matching, but they are wrapped with care, and it's a chore that I love doing.
9.  A customer is handing my guy $3,000 cash for a pair of earrings as I type this...that makes me happy alright!
10.  The excitement is building for Book Challenge by Erin that begins January 1st. (yes, books and book challenges are a constant source of happiness for me as well.)
What made you happy this week?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Holiday Playlist with a Jana and Erin Twist

It's that time again...time for Jana and Erin to bring you a playlist.  You know, the holiday season is upon us, and we'd be letting you all down if we didn't bring you our own version of a holiday playlist.  Yes, there are many bloggers who have posted their own enjoyable playlists.  This is a holiday playlist with a Jana and Erin twist.

The Season's Upon Us by the Dropkick Murphys -  What better way to kick-off a holiday playlist than with a group of aggressive Irishmen? 
Merry Christmas  Baby by Sister Hazel - If you aren't a fan of the sing-song type Christmas songs, then check out Sister Hazel's entire album.  They have enough grit (but not too much) to make it feel like you aren't listening to cheesy Christmas music.

I Won't Be Home for Christmas by Blink 182 - Pop punk icons that are completely irreverent should record a Christmas song, right?  Makes total sense.  This is a fun one.
Oi to the World by No Doubt - Want more pop punk fun in your Christmas song?  How about this one that really doesn't sound like a Christmas song at all?
All I Need is Love by Ceelo featuring The Muppets - More silly holiday cheer?  Yes.  But, is it a decent song?  Yes.
Christmas Wrapping by Spice Girls -The original by The Waitresses is probably a better version, but it's a rare moment that I'm going to want to post the Spice here it is.
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Anberlin - This song has been covered by many...admittedly, most aren't too bad.  You might have assumed we'd pick U2 because they'd be the most obvious choice for women who like rock music that grew up in the '80s and '90s.  But, no.  We picked Anberlin's.
Do They Know It's Christmas? by Band Aid - Speaking of the '80s, this song holds Jana's title of "the only Christmas song on the radio I don't turn off". 
O Come All Ye Faithful/Oh Holy Night by Trans Siberian Orchestra - Trust me on this.  If you ever have the opportunity to see this live, do it.  Not kidding.  If you don't get goosebumps multiple times in a TSO performance, well, then, I don't know what to say about that.
Happy XMas (War is Over) by Winger - You didn't think Jana & Erin would create this playlist without some hair bands, did you?  Don't laugh at Winger.  This is a good version. 
Medley (Santa Clause is Coming to Town and Run Run Rudolph) by Bon Jovi - You didn't think Erin would have a hand in this playlist without Bon Jovi, did you?  C'mon.  It's a live clip, and Jon dances with Santa.  What's not to love?
Please Come Home for Christmas by Jon Bon Jovi - Hey, Jon Bon Jovi and Bon Jovi (the band) are two different things.  Plus, this is the sexiest Christmas video ever created.
Dominick the Donkey by Lou Monte - Because Jana allowed Erin two Christmas songs with Jovi in the artist, Erin has allowed Jana this song.
Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You by Billy Squier - Every time this comes on, I can't help myself, I sing, I sway, I want to say "I love you" to a loved one.
On behalf of Jana & Erin - Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Merry Festivus!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

F Word Humpday

Apologies to anyone who is offended by cursing.  Move along if the F word offends you.  Please. 

Warning: profanity filled comments

I confess: I try to remove profanity from most blog and social media posts. I'm a Southern woman raised in a Christian home, and we're not supposed to talk "like that".  #butivealwaysbeenarebel #andilikethewordfuck

I confess:  Sometimes, I give #zerofucks how I'm "supposed" to talk, and I just let it out.  Like now...

Megan (from but I can't link to her although I want to because I'm trying to fix this post on my fucking phone!...see explanation below) and I were discussing the idiocy of Donald Trump, and this is what I had to say:

...Trump is a fucking embarrassment. He is a fucking idiot. Fuck him, fuck his hair, fuck his terrible spray tans, fuck his racism, fuck his bankruptcies, fuck "The Apprentice", fuck the political climate that has developed where people are actually supporting him. #goawaytrump

I confess: I wish I could say I feel better for getting that out there, but he's still around, so I don't. Fuck.  #ishegoneyet 

I confess:  There are people in my Facebook feed that support Trump. #icanteven #whatthefuck #hidefromtimeline #cantfixstoopid

I confess: I hit edit on my phone, on the train, erased half the post, and fucked it all up!

Now, I'm trying to edit...from my phone...while on the train. Good chance this is going to be choppy, poorly-written, pictures and gifs all wonky. #clusterfuck

I confess: I'm fucking pissed because I liked my F Bomb Humpday post. #fuckingfuckfuck

I confess: I was going to remove the post until I could properly edit and update. But, you know what? #isaidfuckit

So, in my original fan-fucking-tasting post, now's about the time I'd tell you about Karen's Blog Awards (and link you to to vote. Because I've made it to the finals of Best Kept Secret. Say what?

I confess: I'm proving why I'm such an amateur in the blogging world, but I don't care. Remember, this is my #zerofucksgiven post. So, if you'd like to vote for some fabulous bloggers (or idiots like me), check out Karen's blog at A Peek at Karen's World. (Seriously...use this hashtag on Twitter to find it: #KarensBlogAwards)

*******I'll add all the appropriate links when I can get to my computer that I left at work.******** #ifuckinpromise
update:  links were added, gifs were fixed, but that's about all that got corrected.

From now on, when I hit anything on blogger from my phone app, I'll hear Rupaul's voice in my head:

I hope your Humpday goes much smoother than mine. My wish for you: no fuck ups!

Wednesday link-ups with Laura & LaurenAlanna & Sarah, and  Nadine & Kathy