Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.84

The destructive duo ~ love these faces

I think I need these Muppets pj's.

I made this salad, and it was almost too pretty to eat. 

Scenes from a Sunday morning

A sweet tribute to a furry friend

I worked at a local markets this weekend helping a friend sell her jewellery. 

Sunday night ~ night cap

How did you end your week?  

Thursday, July 28, 2016

True Colors: A playlist by Jana and Erin

Last Thursday of the month means it's time for another playlist with Jana  and Erin - a playlist with a twist.  Often, we try not to choose themes that you've seen time and time again.  This month, we thought we'd get colorful and share songs with a  "color" in the title.  Of course, we don't just share any songs...we only share songs that we actually like.  So, you ain't gonna find Coldplay's "Yellow" on our list.  And, we know several of these songs are covers.  We just happen to prefer some of the cover versions.

The metallics:

Gold on the Ceiling by The Black Keys

Silver and Cold by AFI

Stay Gold by Butch Walker

The repeat offenders:

Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones

Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones

Little Red Corvette by Prince

Purple Rain by Prince (if you have not watched this SuperBowl performance lately, do yourself a favor and watch it):

Black by Pearl Jam

Yellow Ledbetter by Pearl Jam

Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden

Fell on Black Days by Soundgarden

The pinks:

Pink Houses by John Mellencamp

Pink Cadillac by Bruce Springsteen

The reds, whites, and blues:

The Red by Chevelle

Red Barchetta by Rush

White Wedding by Billy Idol

Pretty Fly (for a White Guy) by The Offspring

Blue Monday by Orgy

Blue Morning, Blue Day by Foreigner

Behind Blue Eyes by Limp Bizkit

The blacks:

Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance

Back in Black by AC/DC

Black Balloon by The Goo Goo Dolls

Supermassive Black Hole by Muse

The song that doesn't fit in a category, but we like it, so it stays:

Amber by 311

We've included songs with a color in the title in previous playlists (I Saw Red by Warrant and Fade to Black by Metallica, to name a couple).  And, we know this is a long list.  If you are still with us, tell us...
What songs did we miss?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


I'm in such a state that I can't even come up with a catchy (or simple) title for this post.  That's how discombobulated I am.  Wait.  I like that word.  That's my post title. 

It is fascinating (and terribly disheartening) for me to "view" this U.S. Presidential election from afar.

The comments I see are SO divisive. 

Often, I wonder how some people are actually watching, reading, and listening to the same people because the responses are SO different sometimes.  Examples of comments seen on my facebook feed in the last two days alone...everything from.....
    • "I love this guy" (showing a picture of Bill Clinton speaking) to "This speech is a fucking joke!!!!!!!" (in reference to Bill Clinton's speech)
    • A friend who wants to be BFF with Michelle Obama to a friend who calls her "the wife of the enemy within" 
    • A friend who claimed that on her friends' list, 56 people had "liked" Donald Trump's page and  5 people had liked Hilary Clinton's page, therefore it would be voter fraud if she won.
    • From one friend saying "yes, I believe he has what it takes to make America great again" (referring to Donald Trump) to another stating "he makes me want to vomit every time he speaks."
Oh, you know there have been more...because I haven't even talked about the memes.........

The positivity and support for a candidate...I'm fine with that.  No problem whatsoever.  I may not agree with you, but support and promote all you want.

It's the hateful negativity that gets me....

Have an opinion.  Please do.  Have thoughtful and thought-provoking conversations.  But, crossing the line into such hateful rhetoric has me shaking my head.

The hatred for particular candidates (on both sides) is quite scary. 

The disrespect shown towards people that are supposed to lead one of the greatest nations on Earth is so sad.

Words I've seen used today on my social media feeds in regards to one and/or both candidate(s):  "racist", "thief", "liar", "crook", "bigot", "criminal", "hypocrite", "asswipe", "separatist", "Killory", "corrupt"...just to name a few.

I am not without guilt.  Just a couple of months ago, I went on a rant right here on this blog about my dislike of Trump (before I actually believed that his candidacy was going to be taken seriously.)  Many f-bombs were dropped.

I know that elections get heated.  I know they are hard fought journeys to the end.  I know there is mud-slinging and name-calling that happens. 

But, doesn't this one seem uglier than previous years?   

And, it's only July.........

I feel so conflicted.  I love my home country of America.  Love love love it.  But, when you love someone (or something) that means that you love them no matter the good, the bad, and the ugly.  But, you don't have to accept the bad and the ugly.  You can want and expect better.  I am saddened by the commentary that I've seen.  I am disheartened that these are the candidates for President.  I want better for my loved ones in the country that I love. 

From the last time I celebrated the 4th of July in the USA
I was going to disable comments for this post.  But, no.  We should be able to have respectful, intelligent discussions about this wonderful (that is not sarcasm) democratic process. 

So, share your thoughts..........

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Blogger Love vol.7

Let me make a confession before we get started: I've been terrible about keeping track of blog posts that I wanted to share since my last "Blogger Love" post.  There have been some great posts out there that I'm leaving off and forgetting because I dropped the ball this go 'round.  But, that doesn't diminish how much I enjoyed the following posts, so I want to share them with you, in cased you missed any of them:

Karen shared her thoughts about an article that xojane originally published (then removed), and I couldn't agree more with what Karen has to say:  A terrible person wrote something stupid and the backlash was glorious

This one had me giggling and nodding in agreement when Life as Louise discussed trying to be nice.

Rachel at A Nesting Nomad ended a successful travel link-up with this post: The Best of Travel Tuesday.  It has SO many fantastic travel posts and links that if you want to explore the world through bloggers' eyes, you can't look past this one.

Ashley gave some practical, common sense advice that she's learned from six years of marriage.  You may have heard these relationship tidbits before, but this post is a good reminder for any of you in a relationship:  Five Things I've Learned from Six Years of Marriage

Most of you that come share some time with me in my little space already know Steph at Life According to Steph, but just in case you missed this, you need to read this post:  A is for Agreement...and Aniston.

Digging into my archives, I'm sharing some "blogger love" with myself because this post of mine addresses some issues that Steph and Jennifer (you know, Aniston, yea, we're on a first name basis)talk about too. 

Are any of these posts new to you?  What did you think?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.83

This week, the sky was filled with treats like a full moon, a rainbow, and beautiful sunrises like this one. 

I had visits at work from some of my friends' adorable kiddos...Tuesday, I saw Shae. 

Saturday, I got some Louis cuddles. 

Some nights require a candlelit, bubble-filled bath and a book. 

Family fun spent exploring about 2 hours from our home. We went to look for whales (it's migration time). 

Also, we watched a pelican feed that happens daily with scraps provided by a local fish shop. 

The hungry guys were surprisingly well-mannered and patient. 

Hope you're able to take time and go exploring around your home every once in a while as well. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

10 Books Set Outside the USA

I'm a big fan of reading books set in different countries, so much so that I am participating in Around the World in 80 Books.  I feel like I get to travel to another world, another country, another continent without the expenses.  I learn about other cultures, histories, and times through this world of reading.

Karen wrote a post yesterday about this topic, but I didn't notice that it was inspired by a link-up.  After seeing Heather's post about 10 Books that she enjoys that are set in other countries (besides the USA), I knew I needed to jump on that post idea.  After all, my love for the following books inspired my interest in the Around the World book challenge.  So, I will be linking as well with The Broke and The Bookish my recommendations as well for the Top 10 Books Set Outside the USA.

1.  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (England) - I don't re-read books.  I can't think of one novel that I've read more than once, except this one.  I took a class in university about Children's Literature. I remember re-reading the book then (having read it as a young girl) and enjoying it. Unfortunately, I was too hungover most lecture days that I don't remember much else about the class. I'm glad I re-read it again (and again) at different stages of adulthood. It's even more delightful of a story the third (and fourth) time. I'm a sucker for a transformation story, and the combined transformations of characters and the garden is a winner. 

2.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Guernsey, United Kingdom) - Delightful.  That is the word that I use to describe this book.  It made me giggle.  It made me cry.  It gave me warm feelings all over. 

3.  The Ed Loy series by Declan Hughes (5 books in all, set in Ireland) - Gritty, dark, suspenseful mysteries that follow the cases of private detective Ed Loy.  The underworld of Dublin comes to life in these books.

4.  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (France, during the German occupation of WWII) - A book that has received a lot of attention, deservedly so, in my opinion.  If you like historical fiction, read this book. If you like strong female characters, read this book. And, have a box of Kleenex next to you for the last 50 pages or so...and preferably don't read those pages in public.

5.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Germany) - Yes, another WWII book.  Yes, another book that has received a lot of praise.  Remember that I said I don't re-read books?  I plan to re-read this one this year.  I want to experience it again.  The characters are brilliant, and a love of books and stories are prevalent.  The narrator is unique and poignant.

6.  Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (Lithuania/Serbia) - Last WWII book, I promise.  I love a historical fiction book that actually expands my knowledge. This book did just that. While reading, I found myself googling things about Lithuania, the Balkans, and Stalin. This book is heart-wrenching, even horrific at times, with tales of brutality, starvation, disease, and loss...but it is wonderful and beautiful, and I highly recommend it.

7.  Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Iceland) - I'm certainly glad I didn't discard this one just because it is based on a true story set in Iceland in the 1800s, and I was slightly intimidated by it. What a beauty of a book; heavy with dark imagery, but beautiful nonetheless. As I was reading, I wanted to know more and more of Agnes's story. I became emotionally invested in her and other characters.

8.  Saving Francesca & The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta (Australia) - For YA fans, I have so much love for these books.  They follow the same group of friends but different lead character in each book; in Saving Francesca, from a high school girl's perspective, and in The Piper's Son, a twenty-something year old boy.  Both are stories of self-growth and finding oneself with the spirit of Sydney suburbs accurately depicted.

9.  The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi (Afghanistan) - If you've read Khaled Hosseini's books (which I recommend as well) and found them fascinating and powerful, then add this to your "to read" list. A captivating book that is both emotional and educational about two generations of Afghan women who faced hardships including abuse (physical, sexual, verbal, emotional), loss, loneliness, abandonment, betrayal, and more. If you are like me, you'll read this book, then want to go save alllllll the girls of the world that are denied opportunities and treated as inferiors for being female.

10.  The Power of the Dog and The Cartel by Don Winslow (Mexico) - Ruthless, brutal, and violent. Think The Godfather; instead of The Mafia, it focuses on Mexican drug cartels. No, not The Godfather. That isn't violent or horrific enough. Think The Sopranos multiplied by 1000.  This is an epic story spanning decades about the rise of Mexican drug cartels, the DEA that hunts them, and the effects of the drug trade to all involved and surrounded by it.  Much like Law & Order: SVU takes real stories and headlines and fictionalizes them for a television show, the author has done the same for these books. 

Have you read any of these?  What others would you recommend?

Linking up for Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and The Bookish

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I wear what I want to wear

I am learning to embrace myself, all of me.  As I get older and years have snuck up on me that I once viewed as "old", I realize that I embrace my years, my experiences, the lessons I've learned, the person that I am, and the person that I will become (because I always want to learn and grow more.)  No one is guaranteed to make it to 43 years old.  So, I appreciate where I am in life.

One thing about myself that I've always embraced is this...I wear what I want.  I don't say that to mean that I don't care whatsoever what people think.  I do.  A little.  But, for the most part, I wear what makes me happy and comfortable.  Not to the standards of what others think I should wear.  Especially those stupid lists that you see in many female magazines.

Which brings me to this link that I saw shared on facebook:  24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear
Do yourself a favor; please, please click on that link.  I know it's only Tuesday, but it made my whole week.

Things I still wear because I want to, and I could care less if I'm "supposed" to (or not) since I'm "over 30":

Cons & Vans (yes, these have sequins on them):

Animal print (taken today!):

Cute & silly painted nails:

Docs (I have pink, black, and these):

Graphic tees:

Pink hair:

Big, fake flowers in my hair:


Double whammy...concert tees & purple glitter eyeliner:

What do you wear that breaks the rules?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.82

When hangin' out with the stepkid, sometimes we can get pretty silly. 

Sometimes, I need an afternoon sugar rush. Yes, it's bad for me. But, these tasty treats are perfect. 

Chalk art outside the library 

My mom is adorable. Example: this week she shared a video to show me she was watching Bret Michaels sing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn". 

The husband, Astro, and me ... We have a bizarre love triangle

A tiny filet mignon with roasted potatoes was served to me like this. Is it just me, or should they have put it on a smaller plate?

Sunday was a Funday with friends and this Greek food share plate. 

Hope you had a wonderful week!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Read My Books results and link up

Did you join us for the Read My Books Challenge?  Today is the day to link-up and tell us how you did.  Yep, it's Thursday in my part of the world, so this post is going live!

I've got (at least) a year's worth of neglected books sitting at home and begging to be read.  I have mysteries and thrillers and YA books.  I have contemporary fiction and historical fiction.  I have books recommended by bloggers and friends, and books I picked up randomly because I liked the cover and synopsis.  I have non-fiction crime stories, rock bios, and a celebrity memoir (or two).  I have plenty to choose from for a month of reading.  I barely made a dent in what is there, but I feel like I accomplished something.

So, how did I do?

Welllllll.....technically, I didn't start tackling this challenge until the 3rd of June because I was in the midst of a library book (The Cartel by Don Winslow) that I didn't finish until then.  It was a good book.  It was worth slightly cheating.

The rest of the month I read SEVEN books from my bookshelf at home.  Four of these I'd purchased at a secondhand bookstore and had been sitting on my shelf for months, possibly years: (Running with Scissors, The Sisters Brothers, Not Without My Sister, Still Missing).  One was a gift from another blogger (The Royal We).  One was on my radar for months (Dumplin'), but the libraries that I use didn't have it.  I'd finally bought it earlier this year.  Lastly, I purchased one (Inside Out & Back Again) using a gift card I received at Christmas, and it's been sitting on my bookshelf since January.

For an added bonus...5 of these counted towards my reading for Semi-Charmed Summer Book Challenge 2016, and the other 2 counted towards my challenge for Around the World in 80 Books.

I was pleased with my results.  How did you do?

Now, link-up and tell Dani & I how you did with the Read My Books Challenge.  Good or bad; successful or failed miserably.  Tell us.

As promised...we are giving away not one, but TWO gift cards on amazon just for participating in the challenge!  Take your chances using the rafflecopter options below.  (For number of books read, please only select ONE option, the one that pertains to the number of books you read during the month of June.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I show you my books, you show me yours... vol.18

Jana & Steph are bringing us book lovin' bloggers our favorite day of the month again - Show Us Your Books day! 

What I've read since our last link-up:

1.  Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs - Severe levels of dysfunction wrapped in a supposedly humorous memoir. Nope. Not the book for me.  I'd have to share spoilers to explain what has disturbed me so much, so if you'd like to chat about it, we can do that via email. 1/5

2.  The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt - The pace of this book is so smooth even with multiple murders, disease, animal deaths, and loneliness.  I'm finding it difficult to articulate why I enjoyed the story so much, but I did.  4/5

3.  Not Without My Sister by Kristina Jones, Celeste Jones, and Juliana Buhring - I strongly believe that using religion to brainwash, manipulate, and abuse children is the most disgusting crime that exists.  I'm infuriated that groups like this have ever existed and still do.  4/5

4.  Still Missing by Chevy Stevens - Solid mystery/thriller with twists and turns and the right degree of fucked-up-ness.  My first to read from this author, and it won't be my last. 4/5

5.  Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai - The story of a Vietnamese refugee family that moves to Alabama during the Vietnam war told through the eyes of a 10 year old girl.  Poignant and emotional, this was a Newberry Award for children's literature, deservedly so. 4.5/5

6.  I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson - Heartbreak, art, family, love, tragedy, self-discovery, and a little whimsy too.  Some parts of the story, I predicted; others, I didn't...but I enjoyed the ride.  I had high expectations, and this book exceeded them. 5/5

7.  The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde - I'm just not meant to read "classics".  The end.  P.S. Children's literature is the exception.

Currently reading:  In the Woods by Tana French

Reminder:  Link-up this Thursday to let us know how you did with the Read My Books challenge.  Feel free to link up if you succeeded, rocked the challenge, failed miserably, intended to read a book from home but didn't.  Just as long as the post has something to do with your reading habits.  There are TWO chances to win $50 Amazon gift cards, so stop by Thursday, and take your chance for a win.

Thoughts on any of these books?