Sunday, September 29, 2013

Scrappy Sunday: Scrap Our Stash Challenge

Alright, here's another challenge from Scrap Our Stash. This was a sketch challenge, with the added condition to add chipboard to the layout. I also designed this for Outlaw Women's Scrapbook Emporium September challenge to use fall colors.
The Sketch Challenge.
The Color Challenge.
The Sketch.

My page:

The supplies:
Patterned paper, cardstock, craft cardstock from packaging, Sharpie, chipboard title and leaves by The Paper Studio, metal leaf brad

Friday, September 27, 2013

Disaster Chef: Snickerdoodles, Project Pinterest #10 #foodiefriday

My son has been asking me to make him snickerdoodles for a while now, although I’m pretty sure he only likes the name and doesn’t actually know what they are. So, we were actually home together one day (never happens) last weekend with nothing to do (REALLY never happens), so I made good on my promise and broke out the Pinterest to look for a recipe. Turns out snickerdoodles require cream of tartar (I know—what the heck is that?), which I obviously don’t have. I did, however, have everything else, and some of the recipes said you could use baking soda instead of baking powder and cream of tartar. But they all said that the cookies wouldn’t have that classic doodle flavor without the cream of tartar. But I never let lack of ingredients hinder me (see my cookie cake fiasco if you don’t believe me), so I forged onwards.

Below is the recipe, from Culinary Couture's sweet blog. 


Yield: 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies

1 and 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (one stick), room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)

3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds until creamy. Add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined.

Gradually pour in dry ingredients, beating after each addition, until well blended. Dough will be slightly sticky, but workable.

In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Shape dough into 1" balls, then roll into cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on prepared cookie sheet and flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass.

Bake for about 8 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

I like to make my cookies pretty big, so I used a little bigger balls (o.O) and didn't make quite as many cookies. They turned out super pretty, but like all the recipes said, they didn't taste quite like they should without the tartar. Will put it on my shopping list if I try again. They turned out a bit dry, but they all got eaten, so I can't say they were a complete failure. 


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Writer Wednesday: New book spotlight: Spark, by Karyn Pearson

Title: Spark

Series: The Hellfire Series

Author: Karyn Pearson

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy

Formats Available In: Digital

Release Date: June 23, 2013

Blurb: For centuries, the powers of Heaven and Hell have been at war, locked in a perpetual stalemate. Fifty years ago, the war spilled out on Earth and the last modern age of man ended. Humanity now finds itself at the brink of annihilation, barely surviving in small pockets of civilization scattered across the globe. But even in the direst of circumstances, the human spirit lives on.

Now, in this post-apocalypse, humanity has but one choice: resist or die. In order to combat the forces of Hell, man has learned to fight, training from their youth to hunt the demons that threaten their very existence.

Twenty-five years ago, a demon hunter dared rise against an ancient demon family, the Saligia—the Seven Deadly Sins—and was cursed for her defiance. The curse appeared in the guise of an innocent: the huntress’s own daughter, Ardentia, who had been born with a demon soul attached to her own.

In the present day, Ardentia, now grown, seeks to free her mother from her curse by hunting down the demons responsible. But the road ahead will be difficult now that the demon within her has awakened. Trusting him is dangerous, especially when he can turn on her at a moment’s notice. Others have warned her that succumbing to the demon will be her own downfall.

Now Ardentia must decide what she’s willing to lose: her mother’s freedom or herself.


The demon snapped his fingers and the daemonis igni behind Ardentia grew blindingly bright and white-hot, the flames reaching over forty feet high and surging straight toward her. She froze with fear, knowing that in a few seconds she was about to die, burned alive in the fires of Hell.
“Ardentia!” Noxius was shouting. “Run! Run now!”
She was too scared to move. She could not even muster up the strength to take that first step. Somehow, even if she did run away, she knew that the flames or Gula would end up devouring her anyway.
Distantly, she could hear the voices of her comrades, yelling for her to run, to find higher ground, but still, she could not move.
Noxius snarled with irritation, muttering a stream of curses in lingua daemon.
“Idiot girl!” he hissed at her. “I’ve no other choice. I simply cannot allow us both to die here.”
And then an indescribable force slammed against the inside of Ardentia’s skull. She saw bright lights pop in front of her eyes, nearly blinded with pain, and dropped to her knees in a daze. Dimly, she could feel Noxius seizing control; his power coursed through her, flooding her with an unimaginable strength and power that she was incapable of using. Her hand started to reach for the reliquary dangling from her belt, only to feel an invisible hand within her snatching it away.
“What are you doing?” she asked weakly.
“You’ll thank me in a moment,” Noxius answered her.
Ardentia’s eyes fell shut and she thought she could hear the sound of wings being spread then close around her. If she leant to the side ever so slightly, she swore she could feel the leathery velvet of the wing brush against her cheek.
An intense heat passed over her; she realized that it was probably the demonic fire, having reached her at last. She inhaled sharply, preparing to scream as she burned in the hellish pyre, only to find that she did not need to. There was only heat but no flames. She was not burned.

About Karyn Pearson:

Karyn Pearson is a post-grad university student with a B.A. in Anthropology, currently living in California with her two dogs. Over the years, she has created many worlds, characters, and series, which naturally makes her head a very crowded place to be.

When she’s not writing, she can be found curled up with a book, playing video games, doing research for her books on the web, or attempting to not burn the house down with another kitchen experiment, a hobby otherwise known as cooking.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Scrappy Sunday: Scrap our Stash #challenge (Project Pinterest) #sketch

Today I'm sharing a challenge I did for Scrap our Stash. It required a travel theme, an object of signage, and a pre-made vehicle embellishment. I wasn't feeling very creative, so I went to my Pinterest scrapping board to find a sketch. I found an old one from over at Ally Scraps blog. I stuck pretty close to the sketch, changing the page size and orientation of the photo but otherwise staying pretty true to it.

For this challenge I used the American Traditional Designs travel kit I've had for probably 5 years. I use it pretty much every time I make a travel page, but somehow it never seems to run out. It was a big kit! So I used that for the paper.
I also used ink from We R Memory Keepers for ink edging, a car sticker, a Sharpie for journaling, Paper Studios brads, Making Memories letter stickers, and some printables I found over on Pinterest. The other big embellishment I used was the black rubber ring on the bottom right, which reminded me of a tire. I'm not sure what it is or what it's for. I found it on the side of the road while walking one day, and immediately knew I'd use it on a page as a tire one day. I finally found a good use for it!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Thirty Day Photo Challenge (Project Pinterest)

Okay, I posted a few weeks ago about week 1 of the Thirty Day Photo Challenge, but then I got busy and never ended up giving updates. And now it's over, so I'm going to sum up the last 3 weeks of it here.

Well, the challenge started out really fun, even though every time I had an outdoor challenge, the weather did not cooperate (not a cloud in the sky when I needed a cloud pic, completely cloudy when I needed a sunset...) However, I forged onwards, sometimes skipping days and making them up later, sometimes switching days. I think the point of this challenge is to take pictures of the assigned topic each day.

But all the cheating seemed to make the challenge not as meaningful. I know some people just go and find a picture of said topic each day, but I really wanted to take the assigned pics each day. But we all have busy lives, and sometimes I just forgot, or couldn't take the right picture when I thought of it. So I wasn't as successful as I would have liked. Here were some of the pics I took. 

 I realized several things about my limited photography skills during this challenge. For one, I'm not very creative or imaginative. Most of my pictures are of myself, Gabe, or flowers/food/animals. I don't think outside the box very well, and of course, having only a cell phone for a camera doesn't help. So, I'm not sure I'd call his experiment a success. But it was one more project I did via Pinterest.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Scrappy Sunday bonus!

Okay, so I already posted today, but I have another quick project to squeeze in. This one is a project/challenge from over at my favorite blog, Pagemaps. I absolutely love, love, love the pagemaps on their site, and that they are free for all. Maybe my favorite site for inspiration.

 I also love all the challenges they do over at the blog. Here is the sketch for the challenge this month.

And here is my take on it. I went pretty exact with this one. Did a little bit of torn paper instead of the straight lines, since I wanted to use the light blue horizontal stripe paper, and it was already in my scrap bin, torn. Instead of giving up on it, I used it torn. Then I ripped the edges of the top left square to make it match. My favorite thing about this page is the washers I used. These were all metal washers I found on the ground. I am always picking up things off the ground, and I have quite a collection of scuffed up/grungy/distressed washers I've found around town. So it was great to get to use some, of all different sizes. And they fit perfectly with the pictures of my dude in his hardhat, and helped give the page a masculine feel. I used scrap paper from my bag of scraps for everything on this layout except for the background paper. How great is that? I love it when I can get rid of some of those scraps. I also stapled a little bit of ribbon on there, trying not to get too overboard or girlie with it.

The title sticker is from a 7 gypsies collection.
 Background paper, Paper Studios. 
Top right accent paper: KI memories
Spray ink: SEI
Bottom left paper: Colorbok
other: ribbon, staples, paper, washers, journaling block sticker

Scrappy Sunday: Fourth of July mini-album (Project Pinterest #8)

Hey, guys,

Here is something I've been working on for a while. I'm an incredibly slow scrapper, so this one took me several hours on several different days. But, I think it turned out okay. Not nearly as fabulous and vibrant as the original, but it served its purpose. The original can be seen here, but its all written in what appears to be German, so no instructions if you're an English speaker. But, the pictures were enough for me to do a good adaptation.

I accidentally did page 1 first, so that became my cover, and later on, I put the cover inside as one of the layouts. This is the front of the album. I used regular pattern paper, but if I was going to do it again, I would use cardstock for the covers at least. I used a file folder design for this. You can see all the tabs. I ran a strip of washi tape along the binding and between each page to hold it all together.

I used paper from Hot Off the Press (navy packet) throughout. The tape is Washi, spray ink by SEI, and my dymo label maker. 
Here's the first layout. I used a bookmark for an accent. Circle punch (Paper Studio), stamp and circle frame (Target dollar bin), acrylic paint (Making Memories), washi tape, index card, and sticker (colorbok).
This layout has a photo mat, but I didn't put the pics in yet. It fits mostly 4x4 pics. Other supplies: Acrylic paint (Anita's, Making Memories), index card, label maker, sticker (DCWV), staples

Other supplies: oval frame (part of navy kit), brad, stamps (stampabilities, autumn leaves), sticker (Colorbok), washi tape

Other supplies: USA sticker, chipboard star (paper studio), punch
Light blue journaling block (Target dollar bin), stickers (Colorbok), chipboard (Paper Studio)
Additional supplies: Memories Stamp (Hampton Arts)

Additional supplies: journaling spot, stickers (Target dollar bin)

I left some of the pages simple, and really decorated some of them. I left spots open for at least one photo on each page, as well as space for journaling strips, which I will print, cut out, and in after the photos are glued in.

This project was super fun to make. Messy, with all the spray ink and paint.

Happy creating, all!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Disaster Chef: Cookie Cake (Pinterest Project #7)

Though I'm no cook, as most of you know, damned if I wasn’t going to try to make a cookie cake for my son’s birthday. That was what he wanted, and I figured, it’s just like a cookie, right? How hard can it be? You don’t even have to separate the dough into cookies. You just throw the whole mess on a cookie sheet and bake it and, voila, I’m the mom of the year. Of course that’s not how things turn out in the Hillbrand household.

First of all, I got a basic recipe off Pinterest that looked easy enough. I don’t like frosting, and neither does my son, so I figured I’d skip that part, which was the only complicated part of the recipe from Chasing Delicious. If you remember from my previous posts, it’s a difficult thing for me to stick with a recipe. So, again, changes I made are in parentheses. The coconut oil was a necessity, as I found out once I began that we only had one stick of butter in the house. It worked out well, though. I added some whole wheat flour and cut the sugar a bit, but kept it to a minimum so it wouldn’t taste too ‘healthy’ for the kids at the party. We didn’t have many chocolate chips, so I chopped up at 3 oz. chocolate bar and put that in. I would have added white chocolate chips, but we didn’t have any, so I skipped that part. It still ended up with tons of chocolate, as you will soon see.

8 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used 6oz. butter, 2 oz. solid coconut oil)
6 oz. light brown sugar (4 oz.)
6 oz. granulated sugar (4 oz.)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
13 oz. all-purpose flour (8 oz. white flour, 5 oz. whole wheat)
3/4 tsp. salt (I always skip the salt--I don't like the salty taste in many desserts)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
6 oz. milk chocolate chips (I used about 4 oz dark choc chips)
6 oz. dark chocolate chips (3 oz. Green and Black Organic's 85% cacoa bar, chopped)
4 oz. white chocolate chips (I didn't have these or I would have used them. Instead, I added about half a cup of chopped walnuts).
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of the pizza pan with parchment paper and grease the paper and sides of the pan; set aside.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about five minutes.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.
4. Add the vanilla and mix in well.
5. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda and mix until a batter forms.
6. Add the chocolate chips and mix until they are evenly distributed.
7. Spread the dough into the pizza pan.
8. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 22 minutes until the edges begin to brown and the center has set.
9. Cool in the pan for 10 to 20 minutes until cool enough to handle.
10. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack until cool enough to decorate.
11. Decorate with frosting as desired and serve.

So, here I got the cookie dough and spread it on the parchment paper as directed, on a flat pizza pan. It looked all round and wonderful. I was starting to actually feel quite pleased with myself.

I put the cake in the oven. About five minutes later, I thought that since I wasn’t going to frost the cake, I should make a big chocolate 7 on top of the cake. So I grabbed a pot holder and opened the oven and pulled out the pizza tray. The tray came sliding out, and the parchment paper with the cookie did not. It slid off the back of the tray into the oven. The paper couldn’t support the weight of the melting cookie dough and proceeded to dump a huge sliding glop of chocolatey goodness into the bottom of the oven. I might have screamed. I may have cursed under my breath. I grabbed the paper and pulled it back onto the tray. Luckily I was able to salvage most of the cookie. I had a time trying to scrape the chocolate mess from the bottom of the oven, though. All that chocolate had melted, so it looked like chocolate cake batter by the time I had scraped it to the edge of the oven. Chunks of it fell down between the door of the oven and the oven itself, but I managed to get enough of it out that it wasn’t smoking.

Then I had the cake to worry about. Since the dough was still all melty, I was able to reform it into a roughly circular shape. But all the melted chocolate made the parts that had been disturbed brown, while the rest of the cake looked like a chocolate chip cookie. It was entirely hideous! I might have started over at this point, except that…I had no butter. It would have taken 45 minutes to run to the store to get some and get back, and I didn’t have that much extra time before I had to get my son to his birthday party. So, I soldiered on with my wounded cookie cake.

When it was done, I pulled it out and let it cool, as directed in the recipe. Then I transferred it to a wire rack, whereupon it broke in several places. I had already decided I’d have to frost it to conceal the mottled color, so I figured it would be okay. I also broke off a little piece near one of the cracks to make sure it was edible, and it wasn’t half bad. When it had cooled completely, I was ready to frost it. I had quite some trouble getting the paper off the bottom of it, so I’d recommend pulling that off when transferring it to the wire rack to cool…if that’s something that someone else doesn’t know to do! As a newby, I had no idea. I’m pretty sure I’ve never used wax paper before, or I’d probably have known to grab the edge along with the pan when I removed it from the oven!

Now I was ready to frost the cake, but of course I had no frosting, since no one in the house likes it. And as it turns out, you need butter to make frosting. I searched several recipes until I found this one, which was the simplest I could find. I searched through the fridge and both freezers and, lo and behold, I found a rogue stick of butter in the freezer! Finally, something was going right.

I set the butter on top of the stove for a while, but it didn’t seem to be thawing and I really needed to get going. So I threw it in the oven, which by now was almost totally cool and hadn’t been on for a few hours. Now here you can tell me I’m really stupid, because I didn’t put it in a bowl or anything. But it was frozen solid, so I just threw it in and ran to take a quick shower. I came hurrying back, opened the oven, and found a big pool of oil in the bottom of the oven and a little chunk of butter in a wrapper on the rack. I definitely screamed, and, since my son wasn’t in the room, cursed thoroughly. Then I rescued the remaining butter and set to work on the frosting. Luckily, I had just enough (minus one tablespoon) for the frosting. I spread a thin layer on the cooled cake, which (mostly) masked the more unappetizing aspects. Then I attempted a clumsy “Happy Birthday” on top in colored icing. I felt very fortunate that my son was too excited about his birthday to even care about the cake, and was completely forgiving even though it was an epic fail. However, it was a hit at the party despite the appearance. Even my mom liked it, and she hates cookie cake. The walnuts totally made the cake. They were just what it needed to make it a little different from the generic. And, the frosting was amazing.
I don’t know that I’ll ever attempt a cookie cake again, as I was somewhat traumatized, but I will definitely use the frosting recipe again. It was super easy, creamy and just sweet enough.

1 block cream cheese
4 tbs. butter (half stick)
 1/2 tbs. vanilla
1 c. powdered/confectioner's sugar
Beat with mixer until smooth and fluffy.

Overall rating:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Writer Wednesday: Book Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a bit torn on how to rate this book. Parts of it were just...amazing. It had the thing. The sigh-worthy aspect that makes me swoon for a book.

I loved the parts about Oscar, the boy whose father was killed during 9/11. After a bit, I started to love the parts about his grandparents as well. They were so interesting, and the way the story was woven around the dead father really brought the book together. Oscar was such a weird, delightful character. For a similarly weird character, look at The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Unlike that novel's protagonist, I don't think Oscar was autistic, although he could have been. He was just brilliant and wild enough.

So what was the problem? Well...I just didn't get why the grandparents' story was there. If it was just to weave the stories together to show how the father's death effected everyone in the family, then it should have been from the point of view of Oscar, his mother (the wife of the deceased Mr. Schell), and the grandmother (who raised him). Why was the grandfather there? His part seemed unnecessary, and his character wholly despicable. Since he never even met Mr. Schell, I don't understand why his part was included. It made the book somewhat disjointed, like there was one novel about Oscar and a completely separate one about his grandparents' lives, which didn't mention Mr. Schell much at all. I am still unsure why some of these parts were included. It seemed the author had two stories to tell and forced them into one book, though they were only loosely connected.

That said, I would still highly recommend this gem of a book. At one point, I started laughing so hard tears ran down my face. It was sort of random, in the most wonderful way. I would recommend it to anyone who likes weird books/weird characters. I can't wait to see the movie!

View all my reviews

Monday, September 9, 2013

Thirty Day Photo Challenge (Week 1): Pinterest Project #6

As some of you know, if you follow me through other media sources like FB, Twitter, and Instagram, I am doing a thirty day photo challenge. These were popular a couple years ago, although I haven't seen many around lately. Still, I had never done one, and when I stumbled across one on Pinterest, I figured I'd give it a shot. A couple of days I cheated and used a photo I already had, like when I was supposed to take a picture of clouds, and of course on that day, not a cloud in the sky. Otherwise, I tried to use a photo I took that day for the purpose of the challenge.

Here's the challenge list.

 Here's the first week's results.

And here is my favorite picture from Week 1, which deserves a picture all by itself b/c it's so beautiful and glowy, and I didn't do anything to it except write on it. No photo editing, no filters. Just a gorgeous ripe peach from the fruit stand near our house, sitting on the table in a shaft of sunlight. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Disaster Chef: Being Underprepared When Cooking (Black Bean Crunchy Tacos) Project Pinterest

It had gotten a little late last Saturday, and before I’d realized, it was dinner time and I didn’t have anything planned, let alone cooked. So of course I went right to Pinterest, and within minutes, I had found a quick, easy dish.
The recipe is from over at Endless Simmer. Here is the one I attempted to follow, not too faithfully, as you'll soon see. 

  • 2 C. black beans, cooked
  • ½ C. red onion, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 4-6 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Hot sauce
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  1. 1) In a medium bowl, add beans along with red onion, cilantro, and spices. Add a pinch of salt and lightly mash all of the ingredients together. Grate your cheese and have it ready as well.
  2. 2) In a large, non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet, add a few tablespoons of oil and heat over medium-high heat.
  3. 3) Add one corn tortilla at a time and let each get hot in the oil for a few seconds. Then add about 1?4 cup of the bean filling to one half of the tortilla. Top with a sprinkle of grated cheese.
  4. 4) Using a spatula, carefully fold the tortilla over so it forms a shell. Press down lightly on the tortilla so it holds its shape.
  5. 5) As the first tortilla cooks, move it to the side and do a second one. Depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to get 2 or 3 tacos at once. If you have a griddle you can do even more at once.
  6. 6) Cook each taco for about 3 minutes per side until they are nicely browned and crispy.
  7. 7) When flipping the taco to cook on the other side, use a spatula and flip the taco toward the fold so the filling doesn’t fall out.
  8. 8) Serve tacos with toppings like hot sauce, salsa, avocados, and sour cream.
  9. Note: Corn tortillas are resilent to heat. Don’t worry about burning them. They are very flexible. Just be sure to cook them on each side long enough to get them really crispy.

I started getting out the ingredients, but of course, as soon as I did, I realized I didn’t have most of what I needed. But I’m the queen of substitution, so I stuck with it. Instead of black beans, I used a can of great northern beans, which was all we had. I thought it might be a little weird in tacos, but by the time it was all made and piled high with toppings (*see pic), you couldn’t really taste the beans, anyway.

I had no Jack cheese, so I used cheddar. I had no cilantro. Basically, I had nothing I needed! But this just goes to show that you can adapt pretty much anything in this recipe and it will still turn out great. I didn’t have a red onion, so I used a small yellow one, making sure it wasn’t too spicy before I used it, since my son won’t eat spicy food (and since my husband was out of town, I didn’t have to worry about my onion breath). Still, I was going to cook the onion, since I’m not a big fan of raw onions. But it was so sweet that I left it raw, as the recipe says. I was trying to stick to the directions, at least, since I had to substitute all the ingredients.
I minced the onion super fine, and mashed everything with a potato masher, like it says. Not too thorough, you don’t want bean soup. Also, if you use a can of beans, as I did, you should pour off most of the liquid in the top of the can, and you can skip the salt. 

I went to get the tortillas from the fridge, only to find that we had only two white corn tortillas, somewhat fused together. I live on tortillas! There are always about 3 bags of them floating around the fridge. But of course the one time I need them for a recipe, we are out. I pried apart the two remaining tortillas and cooked them as directed. I don’t know how the recipe’s original cook fit half a cup of beans in a corn tortilla, but I would like to know! I put maybe half that in each of mine, and it still spilled out while cooking.

They cooked great, though, just like she said. Nice and crunchy on the outside. And delicious all the way through.

My son moaned and groaned that he hated tortillas and didn’t want a taco, but even he admitted, as he took the last bites of his taco, that it was “kind of good.” Success!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

REVEAL Wednesday: Book Cover Preview: The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd

If you read The Secret Life of Bees and loved it as much as I did, chances are, you read something else by Sue Monk Kidd since then. I read The Mermaid Chair. Good, but not much can surpass Bees, one of my favorite books ever.

So, I was especially excited to have the opportunity to help reveal the cover of Kidd's new book, The Invention of Wings, coming to a bookstore near you on January 7, 2014.

Without further ado...

I cannot wait to read the next novel by this fabulous author! I love the cover already.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mancrush Monday: Hunter Hayes

Okay, so you know when you have a celebrity crush, and every time you see him on TV or whatnot, you get that stupid giggly feeling? So then you decide to go look up pics on google, and he's just ever-so-dreamy? What else is a girl to do but blog about it.

This week's man-crush is Hunter Hayes. Feast your eyes.

You see? You see how dreamy he is? In case you've never heard of Hunter Hayes, he sings "Wanted," one of the most cheesetastic songs that you ever secretly sang along to in the car and wished your own sweetie would think of you when he heard. You know you do it, too.

He also sings "I Want Crazy," but we won't go there.

He is super duper hot when he sings. Go look up his video if you don't believe me. I'll post this link  so you don't have to go far. And this other picture, well, it's just because every girl loves a guy with a guitar, right?

See the smolder.

 Love the smolder.

 But wait, there's more. He can do more than just smolder. And sing. And hold a guitar. Don't be fooled by all the brooding faces. He also has the most adorable little half-smile you ever did see.
 And because we all love a guy who can laugh, he can do that too. What a man of many talents. Not only that, but he can also change his hair. Edgy, or sporty? Who can choose just one?

(Disclaimer: I do not presume to know if he actually styled his hair himself, so I can't give him full credit on that score. Suffice it to say, he's got enough other talents that the hairstyling can't be too big of an issue).