A challenge for 2016


For 2016 I have decided to do a reading challenge. I am a really (painfully) slow reader, which is difficult for me as a writer. Every single day I find new books I want to read, so it’s really hard to pick the ones I will actually be able to read.

This challenge is a way to organize my reading schedule and allow me to accomplish reading as much as possible this year. I read ebooks and print books, which allows me to get in some reading time when I’m out and about during the day, too. It’s helpful to be able to use my time as wisely as possible.

GoodReads is a great tool to keep up with your own reading. I set a goal of 24 book total for this year. After looking through many challenges on the web, I decided to make my own with a total of 12 books (one book a month). I’m looking forward to sharing some of my thoughts about the books I’ve selected with you during the year.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dean Martin and Perry Como sing ‘Return To Me’

In honor of the day of love I have compiled a list of my top ten favorite ‘lovey dovey’ movies (or movies based on books). Later this week I’ll spotlight some love songs to swoon over, so stay tuned.

Grab some popcorn and snuggle up before tomorrow, which is the really important day…when all the Valentine’s Day candy goes on sale! 🙂

I love (in no particular order)…

1. Return to Me – A widower meets a woman who has a heartfelt secret. The title comes from one of my favorite songs recorded by Dean Martin.

2. Pride and Prejudice – 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic…I have to admit I love this version the best because Matthew Macfadyen is one very attractive Mr. Darcy! 😉

3. Leap Year – Anna goes to Ireland. I’m such a sucker for this movie…haha.

4. Flipped – Based on the YA novel by Wendelin Van Draanen.

5. Notting Hill – Yes, another man with a sexy foreign accent. I’m in.

6. While You Were Sleeping – I love movies/books where one crazy thing leads to another and then it gets out of hand and the protagonist ends up thinking ‘How in the hell did I get myself into this mess?’

7. Penelope – There’s more to this than the love story, but I love her fairytale-ish visually spectacular journey.

8. Kate and Leopold – Chivalry is not dead…even in modern day NYC…in the form of dreamy Hugh Jackman.

9. The Princess Bride – Um, classic for my 80’s heart. Need I say more? (based on the book by the same name by William Goldman).

10. Beauty and the Beast – My favorite fairy tale! I like the Disney version because it came out when I was a kid (and he gives her a library, the greatest gift EVER!)

It’s already February?

Snow in the mountains!

Snow in the mountains!

Wow, where has the time gone? I have been one busy bee in the past couple months, but I also feel as though I’ve gotten nothing done, as if everything has been moving in slow motion and speeding along at the same time. Does that make sense? Probably not!

We’ve had several ‘snow scares’ here in the South in the past couple weeks. This is what I like to call those days when they start calling for snow on the news and everyone freaks out and buys out all the milk and bread on the store shelves. Usually I drive north a little bit to see snow covered mountains. I took this photo at the beginning of January on a beautiful mountain drive!

Sometimes I watch a lot of TV…this month both Downton Abbey and American Idol came back on, so I’ve been rushing to get stuff done during the day so I can camp out in front of the TV on Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights like the TV zombie I am. American Idol has been drama and inspiration as usual…I will be glad when the audition stage is over and the actual competition begins. I always feel like this show goes on forever…which I guess it really does.

Downton Abbey has been good but…I feel as though it’s gotten to that plateau point. I really stayed away from spoilers, but I did accidentally see certain characters (or the actors that played them) wouldn’t be coming back for season 4, then there was speculation of whether there would be a season 4, and I stopped reading articles because I knew it would spoil the show for me. So to say the least, I was heartbroken over last week’s episode. But from a writer’s standpoint, I’m not surprised. Like I said…plateau. Something (a book, a show, a movie, etc.) can only go on for so long. The best thing an artist can do is know when to stop and say ‘This is the end. There’s no more.’ in most cases. Yes, it makes people angry, but you run the risk of becoming unbelievable and losing your audience at some point. I think it’s definitely a fine line, and DA is getting to that point where it could (and has in some ways) cross that line of ‘This isn’t believable anymore.’ I love it and don’t want it to end, but nothing lasts forever!

Speaking of things lasting forever…I saw The Hobbit back in December (and am just now blogging about it…haha), but I thought it was really good. I’m a sucker for all things Tolkien anyway and have been waiting a long time for this movie, so I’m totally biased and it doesn’t really matter what my opinion is. I’ve heard some people liked it and others didn’t for various reasons, but I thought it was pretty phenomenal and I would like to go see it again before it leaves the theaters.

The holidays are here again!

I saw this video of The Gundersen Family singing ‘Wandering Bird’ on Quill & Arrow Press‘s blog and I thought it was lovely. Hope you enjoy!

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is this Thursday! It seems as though the last couple months have really flown by. I’m really excited to spend some time with my family and friends and eat, eat, eat! I would say shopping, too, but I don’t really get into the Black Friday mayhem…maybe Cyber Monday, though (hehe).

Is everyone thinking about Christmas already? I am! The other day I finally found Terry’s Chocolate Oranges in stores, so I stocked up since I can’t find them anywhere during the rest of the year. What are some of your favorite seasonal treats?

Have a great Thanksgiving! 🙂

Scavenger Salad

I love food! Hopefully I can share some of my favorite recipes, restaurants and other food adventures with you often. Here is a recipe for a salad I put together with ingredients I found around the house. Hope you enjoy!

Scavenger Salad
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 can black olives, drained and sliced
1 avocado, sliced thin
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
a handful fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
1 hard boiled egg, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1 tsp mayonnaise
2 tsp mustard (creole, yellow, dijon, etc.) —> I used creole
a couple dashes of hot sauce
To Make:
Mix all salad ingredients except egg together in bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients in separate bowl, then pour and mix into salad. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve cold garnished with sliced egg. Enjoy!

Indie Craft Parade


Instrument postcard from Quill & Arrow Press, banjo kitchen towel from Tiny Peepers, and postcard set from Marisol Spoon.

Have you ever been to a handmade crafts fair? I love them! So many great gift ideas (or gifts for yourself ideas…hehe) and so many talented artists all in one place! This past weekend I attended the Indie Craft Parade in Greenville, SC and spent several hours drooling over all the pretty handmade items. See the entire vendor list for lots of great stuff! Above is a photo of the treasures I actually was able to take home with me! 🙂

[[ cross posted (with more photos) at my art blog ]]

A detour of worth…

‘A friend accepts us as we are yet helps us to be what we should.’ ~author unknown


I had another post planned, but I will save it for next time because I wanted to talk about best friends today.

I met my best friend in college. It was one of those situations where you meet and then try to remember a time when you didn’t know this person and can’t recall what it was like…one of those ‘I felt as if I’d known her my whole life’ moments. The kind of thing that happens only once or maybe twice in a lifetime, so therefore, if for no other reason, you know it’s special.

Right now my BFF is on a road trip across the country with her family (of six!), so I’ve been thinking about her a lot. Taking a road trip across the United States of America is one of those crazy dreams I hope I can accomplish one day, but right now is a figment of my imagination. So I’m pretty much in awe!

Over the years I have felt this way much of the time I’m in the presence of my BFF and her family. They are truly amazing people who emit LOVE in every way towards everyone they meet. I can be somewhat cynical, abrasive and easily the most impatient person in the world in my worst moments, but being around her family fills me with peace and a calmness I rarely experience any other time. As for what she sees in me as ‘best friend material’ I’m not really sure I’ll ever know, but I’m sure glad she picked me to share in this crazy journey!

I pay a lot of attention when others talk about their friends. One of the most interesting things is an almost imperceptible change in their eyes and voice…they light up in a way. You’ll miss it if you’re not looking for it, or maybe you’ll notice it but won’t quite pick up on what changed, but there’s a familiarity in it. You know exactly what they feel, because you feel the same way about that person who loves you no matter what, even when you are the most human version of yourself, all at your wits end about the hardships in life. They will give you a hug, listen to you ramble, ask you to be their children’s godmother and point out all the quirky things no one else seems to notice about you. And you will feel honored, and unworthy, and mostly in awe, because ten years after that first ‘hello’ in a college classroom, you still smile when you hear their name, wondering how another human being can be so different, yet fit into your life so perfectly at the same time.

Fortunately I’ve been able to experience some of their journey across our beautiful, diverse country through photos, which brings back that feeling of peace, allowing me to reflect on the beauty of friendship and its varied ways of helping us on our own journeys to become better versions of ourselves in the end.