What I read in July

Goodness, did July seem to go by quickly for anyone else or is it just me?  Seems like I just did the June book blog!

I read a little bit more this month than last month as I wasn’t on the computer much the last week or two.

Anyway, here is what I read in July. :)

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Sushi For Beginners by Marian Keyes – Lisa Edwards

This Prada-wearing magazine editor thinks her life is over when her “fabulous” new job turns out to be a deportation to Dublin to launch Colleen magazine. The only saving grace is that her friends aren’t there to witness her downward spiral. Might her new boss, the disheveled and moody Jack Devine, save her from a fate worse than hell?

Ashling Kennedy

Ashling, Colleen‘s assistant editor, is an award-winning worrier, increasingly aware that something fundamental is missing from her life — apart from a boyfriend and a waistline.

Clodagh “Princess” Kelly

Ashling’s best friend, Clodagh, lives the domestic dream in a suburban castle. So why, lately, has she had the recurring urge to kiss a frog — or sleep with a frog, if truth be told?

As these three women search for love, success, and happiness, they will discover that if you let things simmer under the surface for too long, sooner or later they’ll boil over.

What I thought: Well, I had high hopes for this one, but it was just…ok. It seemed to me like an episode of a soap opera or some other drama show…I didn’t really get into the story as much as I would have liked…And it was another book with words from Ireland/England so I always get thrown by some of those, lol.

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All the Things You Are by Declan Hughes – About to turn forty, her youthful dreams of becoming an actress abandoned, there’s no doubt in her mind that suburban wife and mother-of-two Clare Taylor has settled. A wild week in Chicago may have shaken things up a bit, but as she turns her key in her Madison, Wisconsin home on the eve of Hallowe’en, she knows that what happened with her ex was nothing more than a distraction, that this is where her life is.

Except it’s all gone. The furniture gone, the house stripped, her husband Danny, her daughters, all gone; no message; no note, nothing. Outside in the dark, searching for a sign, she steps in one: the eviscerated body of the family dog.

By dawn next morning, her supposedly mortgage-free home has been foreclosed against, one of Danny’s childhood friends lies dead in her backyard, and Clare is caught up in a nightmare that began with her husband on Hallowe’en night, 1976. A nightmare that reaches its terrifying climax thirty-five years later.

What I thought: Another that I had high hopes for. I don’t think the story played out as I expected so I was a little disappointed. I am sure if someone didn’t go into the book with my same expectations it might be a better book…

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Sam’s Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson – Narrator Jen returns to her grandmother Samantha, who fell and is in a coma. She finds a series of letters addressed to her, about Sam’s secret affair. Meanwhile a childhood summer pal moves in nearby. Brendan is handsome, kind, funny, and ill. Two extraordinary love stories are entwined.

What I thought – Well, I have to admit that I was drawn to the book since it had my name on it… ;) But it was a cute little story and I like the way it was told. I enjoyed it…

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Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline – New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award winning author Lisa Scottoline is loved by millions of readers for her suspenseful novels about family and justice. Scottoline delivers once again with Keep Quiet, an emotionally gripping and complex story about one man’s split-second decision to protect his son – and the devastating consequences that follow.Jake Buckman’s relationship with his sixteen-year-old son Ryan is not an easy one, so at the urging of his loving wife, Pam, Jake goes alone to pick up Ryan at their suburban movie theater.  On the way home, Ryan asks to drive on a deserted road, and Jake sees it as a chance to make a connection. However, what starts as a father-son bonding opportunity instantly turns into a nightmare. Tragedy strikes, and with Ryan’s entire future hanging in the balance, Jake is forced to make a split-second decision that plunges them both into a world of guilt and lies. Without ever meaning to, Jake and Ryan find themselves living under the crushing weight of their secret, which threatens to tear their family to shreds and ruin them all. Powerful and dramatic, Keep Quiet will have readers and book clubs debating what it means to be a parent and how far you can, and should, go to protect those you love.

What I thought – This has to be one of my favorite suspense authors. There are relationships and the suspense is almost an afterthought but it is always there. Makes you imagine what you would do in the situation. I love books that make me not want to put them down and this was one of them. I do think that the ending could have been done differently, but really, it was worth the read.

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Relativity by Cristin Bishara – There are so many moments Ruby Wright wishes she could change. The moment her dad uprooted her from California to live in backwoods Ohio with their new stepfamily. The moment she moved away without telling her best friend George she loved him. The moment a car accident ended her mother’s life.

But no one can rewrite time. At least, that’s what physics-obsessed Ruby believes.

Then she stumbles upon a lightning-powered tree—a doorway to a series of parallel universes. How many possible worlds will Ruby have to explore to find the one with the perfect combination of people, relationships, and experiences? And is she willing to risk everything she has to get back what she has lost?

With a deft blend of science and heart, Cristin Bishara’s thought-provoking debut novel explored the laws of time and space…and the even more mysterious nature of love and loss.

What I thought – This was a pretty fast read, which I needed towards the end of this month. Makes you think about how small things can totally change a life. The people you meet, the places you go… Very interesting..

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The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy took their first steps into the world behind the magic wardrobe, little do they realise what adventures are about to unfold. And as the story of Narnia begins to unfold, so to does a classic tale that has enchanted readers of all ages for over half a century.

What I thought – What can I say about this book? It was my first time reading it, surprisingly, and it was nice. I wish I had read it before I saw the movie though!

Let me know what you read in July! I love love love getting recommendations! Although I do have a large hold section at the library this moment. Oops!!

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Adoption: 5 Funding Ideas That Work
I am blogging with Lifesong to advocate for the orphan. Every month there will be a new blog post on different topics. This month is about adoption funding ideas.
This post is part of Lifesong’s Adoption Journey Series. See previous post, “Adoption: 3 Ways to Prepare for the Journey” here.
 
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While nearly two in five practicing Christians have considered adoption, only 5% have actually done it.* What keeps people from growing their families through adoption?

One of the biggest barriers to adoption is the cost. Depending on the circumstances, adoption can cost up to $50,000! It makes sense why many families who have a heart for vulnerable children, look at adoption as something they desire, but is just too hard to grasp because of the high costs.
There are families who have seen God perform miracles as they have stepped out in faithfulness to follow His call for their family…if it’s His will, it’s His bill. He will make a way to show Himself as THE Provider of all things. Don’t let money stand in the way, when He has provided many avenues for families to bridge that financial gap.
Here are few tips and resources for funding an adoption…
  1. Save & sacrifice. It’s never too early to start saving for adoption. Try to cut back your budget to set a portion of money aside each month to pay for some of the initial adoption costs, like home study and application fees. Make sacrifices as God moves you, maybe that’s postponing a big purchase or selling some of your possessions.
  2. Learn from others. In her must-read book, Adopting Without Debt, Julie Gumm shares how to find extra money in your household budget, apply for grants, and fundraise in order to build your family without saddling it with debt. 
  3. Apply for Adoption Grants & Loans. Research and apply for national, state, and local adoption grants. A few favorites we direct families to are our friends at Show Hope & Abba Fund. See Resource Report for more grants & loans available and don’t forget to check out our adoption grant & loan page.
  4. Think outside the box. The fundraising creativity of adoptive families continues to grow. Check out organizations like Both Hands, who help families fundraise for adoption while doing a service project for a widow. Other groups like 147 Million Orphans & MudLOVE provide jewelry, t-shirts, and other products you can use towards fundraising.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask. Maybe the word “fundraise” and the thought of asking people for money makes you nervous. WATCH the video below to see how God moved in this couple’s heart to show them adoption was so much bigger than their family.

 

I want to hear from you? What ways did your family raise money for adoption?



*from Becoming Home by Frames Barna Group & Jedd Medefind

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Eighteen years!

Eighteen years!

Eighteen years ago today happened to be a Wednesday. Eighteen years ago today I married Jeffy. Who gets married on a Wednesday, right?

We were engaged on July 8th and married on the 24th. Yes, we got all sorts of comments about that. But like in the story I told here, we met when I was 15, so it wasn’t like we just started dating or something…

We got married at my mom’s house with just a handful of people present. We lived next door to a church..so, that was pretty convenient. ;) I feel bad that more people couldn’t be there since we changed the date at the last minute. Neither one of us like being the center of attention though, and our wedding, as unassuming as it was, was still a special day.

It has been quite the ride the last eighteen years…we’ve had ups and downs and a lot of side to sides…but we have made it this far! Smile at the camera and go again!

A few years ago he went along with my idea to get photos together for our anniversary. If it is one thing he doesn’t like is getting his picture taken. Getting his picture taken on a busy street is even worse. But he did it for me…. I appreciate my friend Jen for every single image that she got of us…. Look, we are youngins!

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If Jeffy can always do something, it is make me laugh. I think most people that know him will say the same thing about him.. :)

I googled what the customary gift was for the 18th year.. and well, it is feathers. Feathers? I guess I can go get him some from the yard. Guinea feathers are actually quite pretty. :) The more modern choices were porcelain or cat’s eye jewelry. :shrug:

Our anniversary gift is something that we will be excited about every day. It’s kind of large and it took a bunch of people to get it ready for our special day…

What is it you ask? It is a brand new air conditioner and a bunch of new duct work. Romantic, eh? ;) But really, this is so exciting because ever since we moved into this house the ac has not worked. We had to buy window units for each room upstairs and one for downstairs. Seriously, no air flow upstairs at all. Summer was miserable but winter was brutal.

I told him we need to make a plan to do something for our 20th..so that is next on our list. I have plenty of ideas, but not sure it will be feasible..

Do you have any wonderful ideas to celebrate 20 years of marriage? :) What are some things that you have done? Inquiring minds want to know!

Posted in Chit chat, Family | 1 Comment
Thursday Things

So, today is a special Thursday Things.. It’s Ryan’s birthday and he is turning 15!

Of course, it was pretty uneventful…hopefully this weekend will be more celebratory!

It is getting late, so I wanted to make sure and get this posted.. See, life is hectic right now and I am really trying to post more, lol.

So, here are this weeks Thursday Things..

Ryan babyThis is Ryan when he was a baby. I total remember taking this pic. He was right by the fish tank stand.. Check it out, film camera, lol. This is just a scan.

This Trek Mix from Costco is sooo yummy. :) I love everything in it! You know sometimes there are trail mixes out there and you pick things out and leave other things? This one, I eat everything.. Yum yum!

EOS Shave Cream. I love their lip products and now I love their shave cream. This is an actual cream, not a gel or anything else. It is thick! And this vanilla flavor??  Smells soo good.. I won’t go back to gel again!

airplaneI can’t say much about this yet…but I am loving it this week. :)

 

This song. I know it has been everywhere lately. But I do love it. :)

What are things that you have enjoyed about this week? I love hearing good news…

Have a great rest of the week!! :)

 

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Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Sauce

Before we moved to NC, we made sure to buy as many bottles of Samurai Sam’s teriyaki sauce that would be able to fit in the RV. Why, you ask? Well, the combination of the sauce and white rice was one more meal that Lauren could eat…and with driving across the country, we knew that we would need such a thing!

We made it to North Carolina, and even into our house a few months later…we finally ran out of sauce. :gasp: Luckily, it said on one of the old bottles that we could order some! Yay!!! So, we did what anyone who has a child with sensory issues would do…..we ordered two cases. :P

We eventually ran out and I went to order some more only to find out that they don’t do that anymore. :gasp: What!?!

Seriously, Lauren eats only a handful of different things…things that we know she will eat and be ok with. I talk about it a little bit more here in case you were curious.

I wrote to Samurai Sam’s off of their contact form on their website asking if there was any way that I could get some of the sauce. I think it was the VP of something or other that got back to me..she commented that I should just go into my nearest restaurant and purchase some. Well sure…our nearest Samurai Sam’s is in Virginia…and is about 2.5 hours away. We made a plan to go there but decided to call first to see if they even sell the bottles of sauce. Guess what? They don’t. Saved us a trip, although Lauren was disappointed that she wouldn’t even get a meal.

I wrote to the VP again and explained our story…she offered to go into a store herself and purchase one for me and to send her our address. That was nice of her!!  But, I told her that it wasn’t necessary, that a bottle would only last for a couple days and it wasn’t worth her doing all of that…

I posted my disappointment on Facebook, just because I was really frustrated that the ability of getting sauce for Lauren was looking more and more impossible.

I was so surprised when a few people offered to pick up some and send it to us. I had no idea that anything would come of it!

Well, guess what we got in the mail two days in a row?!?!?!?! Seriously you guys….this is just amazing. Nine bottles. Crazy!!!

Lauren couldn’t stop smiling and cheering….no exaggeration.

Thank you to the two lovely gals that went and did this for Lauren, for our family… Jen and Chrissy, you guys are awesome… :)

You can tell that we all had a celebratory dinner last night already, with the almost empty bottle…lol.

Samurai Sam's teriyaki sauce and Lauren

Posted in Chit chat, Family | 1 Comment
What I read in June

I can’t believe half of the year is over.. Maybe because with the ice storm, winter seemed to stay longer in my thoughts than before. Hard to imagine that in just a couple months it will be Fall again!

June only had me reading four books, I knew it wasn’t going to be a lot. I had a lot of deadlines to meet all at the same time it seemed… Of course right now I have started a book that is kind of slow going at the moment. I hope it picks up!

Here is what I read in June!

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The Summer I Saved the World…in 65 Days by Michele Weber Hurwitz – It’s summertime, and thirteen-year-old Nina Ross is feeling kind of lost. Her beloved grandma died last year; her parents work all the time; her brother’s busy; and her best friend is into clothes, makeup, and boys. While Nina doesn’t know what “her thing” is yet, it’s definitely not shopping and makeup. And it’s not boys, either. Though . . . has Eli, the boy next door, always been so cute?
This summer, Nina decides to change things. She hatches a plan. There are sixty-five days of summer. Every day, she’ll anonymously do one small but remarkable good thing for someone in her neighborhood, and find out: does doing good actually make a difference? Along the way, she discovers that her neighborhood, and her family, are full of surprises and secrets.
In this bighearted, sweetly romantic novel, things may not turn out exactly as Nina expects. They might be better.

What I thought: This is totally a teen book…I wouldn’t even classify it as YA. But it was cute. And if filled the quick read that I needed this month. It is a nice story of someone trying to do a certain number of ‘nice’ things. I would definitely recommend this book…

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My Real Children by Jo Walton – It’s 2015, and Patricia Cowan is very old. “Confused today,” read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. She forgets things she should know—what year it is, major events in the lives of her children. But she remembers things that don’t seem possible. She remembers marrying Mark and having four children. And she remembers not marrying Mark and raising three children with Bee instead. She remembers the bomb that killed President Kennedy in 1963, and she remembers Kennedy in 1964, declining to run again after the nuclear exchange that took out Miami and Kiev.

Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War—those were solid things. But after that, did she marry Mark or not? Did her friends all call her Trish, or Pat? Had she been a housewife who escaped a terrible marriage after her children were grown, or a successful travel writer with homes in Britain and Italy? And the moon outside her window: does it host a benign research station, or a command post bristling with nuclear missiles?

Two lives, two worlds, two versions of modern history. Each with their loves and losses, their sorrows and triumphs. My Real Children is the tale of both of Patricia Cowan’s lives…and of how every life means the entire world.

What I thought: Woah…what an interesting idea for a book. I am sure there have been other similar stories, but I loved the way this one was told. A woman having lived two different lives.. and during the story, you imagine that one of them is true..but then you realize that she remembers both lives.

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This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash – The critically-acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home returns with a resonant novel of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, involving two young sisters, a wayward father, and an enemy determined to see him pay for his sins

When their mother dies unexpectedly, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are shuffled into the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina, a town not far from the Appalachian mountains. But just as they settle into their new life, their errant father, Wade, an ex-minor league baseball player whom they haven’t seen in years, suddenly appears and wants to spend more time with them. Unfortunately, Wade has signed away legal rights to his daughters, and the only way he can get Easter and Ruby back is to steal them away in the middle of the night.

Brady Weller, the girls’ court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and he quickly turns up unsettling information linking Wade to a recent armored car heist, one with a whopping $14.5 million missing. But Brady Weller isn’t the only one hunting the desperate father. Robert Pruitt, a shady and mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, is also determined to find Wade and claim his due.

What I thought: I enjoyed this story. That’s pretty much what it was, a story…someone telling events that happened. I didn’t get into the characters as much in this book. I had an issue with how it ended.. It wasn’t a strong ending for me. I still did enjoy the story though..

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

What I thought: What can I say about this book that so many people have read? lol. It was a great story. I hated some of the language in it since we were reading it in school. But it is such an interesting story…

Let me know what books you have read lately and enjoyed! I have a list here to take with me to the library next time. We live in the middle of nowhere so some of your suggestions might be on the list a while, lol.

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The Power in Your Hands

The search for the ‘perfect’ curriculum seems never ending sometimes.. I think I have math taken care of, science and language arts.. But writing? Goodness. I have tried so many things! There are books that I have gotten recently that I totally love…but they aren’t substantial enough to stand alone… Argh!!

So you can understand how excited I was when  asked to review The Power in Your Hands. (Writing Nonfiction in High School) This is made for high school ages, around grades 9-12. We just started our school year in January this year, so Ryan was only a few months into grade 9.

The Power in Your HandsI received the teacher and student book and, in my opinion, you need both!

I will start with the student book! (click here for a sample!) What I like about this book is that there are noted end points where to stop for each day. Oftentimes in a book like this, I just keep going until it feels time to stop. This book tells you when to stop!

The book starts with a little questionnaire to get a feel on how you feel about different areas in writing. Some may like reports, others stories…it also asks about writing utensils you prefer, and times of day for writing.. Very interesting reading the results from that!

It pretty much jumps right in with learning the structure of an essay and different ways to start and end an essay. Meanwhile it is asking for your opinion on a matter and asks you to brainstorm the idea…and then come up with a beginning…and an end… and eventually you are asked to write an opinion paper! Woah..that was fast, right? But not really, because each day you already had been working on little bits and pieces! I love that!!

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Now, a little about the teacher book. (click here for a sample) This thing is pretty full of…stuff. It is hard to narrow down what is in it!  The first 40+ pages give you hints on grading and proofreading. You would probably want to read that before starting these as it was very informative! Then it tells you what is going to be covered in the student book. After that is a section that includes 14-minute power surges. What in the world are those? Well, basically they are daily prompts…given Monday-Thursday. Write for 14 minutes, keep the work until Friday when you pick which paper you like best, complete it and turn it in Monday to be graded! They are listed by month and week, which is nice if you are like me and tend to lose your place on things like that. :nodding:

The rest of the teacher book pretty much goes over each lesson. If there are questions in the student book, the answers are in the teacher book. It is very helpful! You might be able to start seeing how having both books would come in handy!

The prices are really great too! $39.98 for the student book and $14.98 for the teacher book! The books are so thorough that I would have thought it would be double the price!

Now, how did our first essay go? Well, I involved all three kids in this first round just to see how it would work out. Which, my kids are almost 11, 12 and almost 15. The essay itself went great! I was very impressed with what they came up with! I know my youngest had a little help with her dad, which is totally fine as the subject was to explain why it is, or isn’t, a good idea for teens to have credit cards. She wasn’t sure about some things.

With that said, I think I may purchase the middle school version, Jump In and start with that. It will be nice to keep this high school one to use in a year or two.

I think it is definitely worth checking out both products, to fit in what age group you are working with! The author did such a great job with these books! The way she writes in the student books is like she is chatting to you in person, which makes it easy for independent work, or if you do like I did and read aloud. There are some Christian based content, so keep that in mind.

If you’d like to read other reviews of The Power in Your Hands or the other items for sale, click here!

mosaic reviews

 

Posted in Homeschooling, Reviews | 1 Comment
Vain Pursuits

I have wacky skin. Yes. I do. You may too… My pores are huge, I have oily skin with dry patches and my skin is very sensitive. With all of that, skin care is just, well…a nightmare.

I hear about a great product that has awesome reviews, I buy it and I have a reaction to it, or it just does nothing for me. You know spf in lip balms? Yeah…no. I look like Angelina Jolie and my lips hurt like crazy!
SOOOO Frustrating!!

I recently got to try out a service that Vain Pursuits provides and let me tell you, they have won me over.

I know a lot of you have tried Stitch Fix or have heard of that…well, this is along those same lines! Your $20 ‘styling fee’ will go toward any full size product that you end up purchasing.

I went to the website, answered a brief survey about my skin and products that I use, what I liked about certain products and not too long after that I opened my mailbox to my very own Vain Kit that included three samples made just for me!

Vain Pursuits packageVain Pursuits samplesNow, I know a lot of my friends are into the essential oil thing. You will LOVE these. Love love love.  Each of my samples, (well, except for one that I chose as unscented) is scented with essential oils!

Everything that was on my survey was done for each sample I received. For some things I like a thicker consistency and others I prefer thin. For some things I like a stronger scent and others a very light or even no scent. They took into account each one!

Along with the ingredient list that was sent with each sample, on the back is a personal note from my skincare confidant letting me know what was added to it and why they picked this certain combination.

I was very excited to read that their products are paraben-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free and synthetic fragrance-free. They use natural ingredients, are cruelty free and they even use recyclable packaging. It is totally my kind of company! I am always on the lookout for this type of product and sometimes it is hard to find!

I will go through my samples!

Vain Pursuits PeacekeeperVain Pursuits PeacekeeperFirst is the Peacekeeper Night Lotion. I loved everything about this combination. It wasn’t too strong, since being a night cream I just didn’t want to be suffocated by scent while trying to sleep. It is scented with the essential oils of frankincense and litsea. Great consistency too!

Vain Pursuits Self-AbsorbedVain Pursuits Self-AbsorbedNext is the Self-Absorbed sample! This is a facial moisturizer and this is the one that I chose to be unscented.  It has a light texture with gentle ingredients which is what I wanted since it would be on my face for most of the time.

IMG_2945Vain Pursuits Soft-SpokenMy last sample is Soft-Spoken which is a day lotion. I enjoyed this one a lot. It was Jeffy’s favorite scent too. It was scented with lavender, orange and litsea. Wonderful combination!

Once you get your samples, they want you to try them on your wrist and let them know your first impression…like how the consistency is, the scent, that sort of thing. They give you tips and ideas on how to test certain samples and really walk you through the process.

Then, they take your feedback and create the perfect full size product for you! You can change anything! I had two scents that I liked and couldn’t decide between the two. But I liked one of my samples just the way it was, so I stuck with that. I am so excited to get it, I will make another post when I do!

If you want to check it out, feel free to go to their website! If you use my link, you can save $5 off your first order!
Let me know if you do, I would love to hear of the combinations that you are sent!! :)

Besides going to their website, you can find Vain Pursuits on twitter, facebook, instagram and pinterest. They also have a blog which has a lot of interesting infomation. The latest blog post really has me wanting to look at the ingredients and scents of random things I may purchase! Ew!!

I really think this is a fresh way of buying skin care!!

Note: Products in this post were provided by the brand for review. All opinions stated above are my own based on my personal experience and have not been influenced by the brand.

 

 

 

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Two years ago…

I am loving the Timehop app. Yes, I know it is kind of annoying seeing all of the repeat posts on facebook, but come on, it is kinda awesome knowing what was going on last year, two years ago or even six years ago!

Yesterday it reminded me that we were all packed up to start our move to NC that evening two years ago. In some ways it feels like it was yesterday, and other ways it feels like we have been here for a long time.

It is nice getting to places without the gps always being on, but we still use it like crazy..

The seasons have been so wonderful! When we first arrived here there were notices about breaking heat records, hot hot hot… We didn’t think it was all that bad, sure it was humid, but hot? Not really.. ;)   Then, this past winter we had a huge ice storm. I mean, it was like walking through a war zone.. Well, you get my point. If that was year one and year two, I can’t imagine what year three is going to bring, weather wise!

I miss my friends like crazy. I miss my neighbor! You know when someone just gets you immediately after meeting them? Yeah, that’s her. Gah.. Everyone here lives so far away from me and honestly, I don’t think anyone gets me…lol.

We are surrounded by birds. I dunno, but I think we have close to 80. We stop counting once it gets up there because we really don’t want to know. We do have to get rid of a lot of our smaller chickens as there are a lot of roosters and that just won’t be pretty in the end.

Like last year, I thought it would be fun to take a pic of us in the same position that we were in the pic of us getting ready to leave AZ. It is cool to see how much everyone has grown or changed.. This was the middle of the day with the sun overhead, sooo not flattering for anyone, but I knew there was supposed to be rain later in the day and that would be even less flattering…so, here ya go.. :)

Two years ago…AZ to NC in the RVLast year…

One year in NCAnd this years pic..
Two years in NCLooks like we need to step it up on the grass color but it was just mowed, so… ;)
But yeah, looks like it was the year of inches gained..pretty soon everyone is going to be taller than me. lol.

Posted in Chit chat, Family | 1 Comment
What I read in May

Yes… I am so far behind on blogging. There are so many things that I wanted to do on here this month, but alas, time got away from me! In a serious way!

My mom and brother came to visit and that took up half the month. The other half? Well, I think I just blanked on that whole time.  One of those things that I had too much to do so I just gave up and didn’t get any of it done… Please tell me I am not the only one that does this…

This month will be better…she says hopefully. :)

Anyway…this is what I read in May!

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City of Darkness and Light by Rhys Bowen – Molly and Daniel Sullivan are settling happily into the new routines of parenthood, but their domestic bliss is shattered the night a gang retaliates against Daniel for making a big arrest. Daniel wants his family safely out of New York City as soon as possible. In shock and grieving, but knowing she needs to protect their infant son Liam, Molly agrees to take him on the long journey to Paris to stay with her friends Sid and Gus, who are studying art in the City of Light.

But upon arriving in Paris, nothing goes as planned. Sid and Gus seem to have vanished into thin air, and Molly’s search to figure out what happened to them will lead her through all levels of Parisian society, from extravagant salons to the dingy cafes where starving artists linger over coffee and loud philosophical debates. And when in the course of her search she stumbles across a dead body, Molly, on her own in a foreign country, starts to wonder if she and Liam might be in even more danger in Paris than they had been at home.

As Impressionism gives way to Fauvism and Cubism, and the Dreyfus affair rocks France, Molly races through Paris to outsmart a killer in City of Darkness and Light, Rhys Bowen’s most spectacular Molly Murphy novel yet.

What I thought: I enjoyed this book! The main character was written well. I could have done with a better end part, but it is what it is… I enjoyed reading about this time period and some of the artists mentioned…

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The Stench of Honolulu by Jack Handey – Are you a fan of books in which famous tourist destinations are repurposed as unlivable hellholes for no particular reason? Read on!

Jack Handey’s exotic tale is full of laugh-out-loud twists and unforgettable characters whose names escape me right now. A reliably unreliable narrator and his friend, who is some other guy, need to get out of town. They have a taste for adventure, so they pay a visit to a relic of bygone days-a travel agent-and discover an old treasure map. She might have been a witch, by the way. Our heroes soon embark on a quest for the Golden Monkey, which takes them into the mysterious and stinky foreign land of Honolulu. There, they meet untold dangers, confront strange natives, kill and eat Turtle People, kill some other things and people, eat another thing, and discover the ruins of ancient civilizations.

As our narrator says, “The ruins were impressive. But like so many civilizations, they forgot the rule that might have saved them: Don’t let vines grow all over you.”

What I thought: Ok, I am a fan of Deep Thoughts and so I thought I would give this book a go. I liked it for the silliness that it is. I definitely chuckled a few times and other times I was almost embarrassed to be reading it.. Very quick read!

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The Hive by Gill Hornby – It’s the start of another school year at St. Ambrose. While the children are busy in the classroom, their mothers are learning sharper lessons. Lessons in friendship. Lessons in betrayal. Lessons in the laws of community, the transience of power…and how to get invited to lunch.

Beatrice — undisputed queen bee. Ruler, by Divine Right, of all school fundraising, this year, last year, and, surely, for many to come.

Heather — desperate to volunteer, desperate to be noticed, desperate to belong.

Georgie — desperate for a cigarette.

And Rachel — watching them all, keeping her distance. But soon to discover taht the line between amused observer and miserable outcast is a thin one.

THE HIVE is a wickedly funny and brilliantly observed story about female friendship, power plays, and the joys and perils (well, mainly perils) of trying to do one’s part.

What I thought: Ok, this book was written by someone in England and I could NOT keep up with all of the terminology and slang used. I just guessed at a lot of it. I can see the idea that the author had for the storyline, but I think it could have been written differently. The switching of characters was confusing at times. I did witness a bunch of girls acting this way though, desperately wanting to be acccepted, so there is truth in what she is saying. The book was ok, and it took me a long time to get through.

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Number the Stars by Lois Lowry – Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It’s now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are “relocated,” Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen’s life.

What I thought: Yes, I am late to the game on this book…but we read it for school.. :) I really enjoyed this book, as short as it was. I liked what the author wrote in the back of the book too, that was interesting.

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Pretenders by Lisi Harrison – It takes place at a high school in New Jersey. Summer is over. Sophomore year begins tomorrow. Outfits are being planned. Lunch buddies are being secured. Texts are flying. All seems normal when…ping! Everyone in the sophomore class gets an email.

SUBJECT: The Phoenix Five: License To Spill.

Attached is a mega document.

A letter from a mysterious student starts the book. It explains that at the end of each year the school yearbook- The Phoenix- names the five most outstanding freshman. She (or he) always suspected that last years’ five (3 girls, 2 boys) were phonies. She (or he) always thought they tried too hard to be popular. But she (or he) never had the proof. Until now. She (or he) stole the secret diaries they were asked to keep by their English teacher. She (or he) has compiled them into a book.

This is that book.

What I thought: Ok… I was really liking this book and the stories it was telling. The author has a great way of personalizing her characters. I didn’t quite understand how the book had anything to do with the Phoenix 5 that was briefly mentioned, and I am assuming that will all come out in the sequel? I think there should have been a little more in the letter leading up to all of the journal entries and a totally different ending. I don’t think books should have a ‘to be continued’ feel to them, there should be a definite ending of some sort. But maybe that is just me..

Anyway, have you read any of these? What did you think? Let me know any titles you have read recently!! :)

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