Friday, July 23, 2010

I Write Like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (or so I'm told)

I write like
Arthur Conan Doyle
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!
So, it's Friday night and boy has it been an exciting one.  First, I worked late today (until 3:45pm!!!) GASP ... then kid stuff ... then DATE NIGHT with the hubby at Costco!  One of the best places ever, we always love to walk around and look at all the cool stuff there, plus of course, spend much more money than anticipated (but that's the point of Costco right?).

This was followed by a "dinner for two" at home -- fish tacos (yumm) -- and 48 Hours Mystery and Dateline.  Can life get much better?  [Side Note:  I joke about this, but wouldn't trade it for the world.]

So, of course, the hubby falls asleep on the couch (does this happen at anyone else's house?).  This leaves me to scout out the blog scene on line (YAY).  So, while watching a rerun of Friend's, I came across a post over at The Answer Is Chocolate.  Carol had her writing "analyzed" and found out she writes like Stephen King.  Cool huh?  So of course I had to jump on the bandwagon and have my writing analyzed ... well, I write like Arthur Conan Doyle.  I never really considered myself a Sherlock Holmes kinda of writer (or reader for that matter), but the analyzer can't be wrong.  Right?

So, now that you are dying to have your writing analyzed, head on over to I Write Like.  Let me know the results! 

Post Linked To ...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review: The Smart One and The Pretty One

This book was overall a good and easy read about the ups and downs of sisterhood.  I'm guessing it's pretty true to life (but it's just a guess, as I'm an only child).  There are two sisters, Ava and Lauren.  Ava is the hard working attorney that could care less how she dresses as long as she gets her job done.  Lauren on the other hand is an unemployed, former fashion buyer who is flirty and fun in the latest trendy fashions.  I think that most women could identify with at least one of these sisters -- to be honest, I could see a little of myself in each one (ssh).

I thought Claire LaZebnik's other book, Knitting Under the Influence, was much better than this one but that may just be because it centered around one of my loves -- KNITTING.

I would still recommend reading both of her books - great summer reads.

My next read is ...

After the sudden loss of her only child, Mary Baxter joins a knitting circle in Providence, Rhode Island, as a way to fill the empty hours and lonely days. The women welcome her, each teaching Mary a new knitting technique and, as they do, revealing their own personal stories of loss, love, and hope. Eventually Mary is able to tell her own story of grief and in so doing reclaims her love for her husband, faces the hard truths about her relationship with her mother, and finds the spark of life again.

Post is linked to:
Smart and Trendy Moms

Wordless Wednesday

Oh, to realize and show this much joy ...

Thank you Scott & Jana for letting me follow Morgan around this weekend like a paparazzi.

My sweet girl.

Post linked to ...


the long road

Monday, July 19, 2010

Calling All Artists, Crafters and Musicians

As some of you know, I manage shopping centers (by day ... crafter and blogger by night).  We are having a Summer Arts Festival on July 31st at one of my large centers, LakeSide Market Shopping Center which is located in Plano, Texas. 

It's going to be a great, fun-filled day for the whole family.  We will be having over 20 artists that will be "performing" their art and displaying art for sale (examples of our artists:  potters, tshirt screen printer, painters, air brush artist, face painters, etc).  In addition we will be having alot of interactive art going on for kids - sidewalk chalk cities, squirt gun painting, mini art / dance classes, etc.  Tents will be provided for all artists.

Another aspect is MUSIC.  We will have (3) stages - the main stage for larger bands, dancers and a fashion / photography show; a second for single performers; and a third for kids to pick up an instrument and play away (Instruments of Mass Percussion).

The FREE event will go on from 11am to 5pm and will include some tastings from our restaurants, plus cool stuff from other tenants (temporary hair coloring / styling for kids, cupcake decorating and much more).

If you are an artist, crafter or musician and would like to be involved in the festival or have any questions -- please let me know!!  I look forward to hearing from some of you.

Post linked to:  Traci 66 (Tuesday Taga-Along, Welcome Wednesday and Keepin' Company) and  Survey Junkie.


My Weekend in Oklahoma

I had such an awesome time visiting my cousins in Oklahoma this past weekend.  I always have such a good time when we are all together!  I came home Sunday and miss them already :(  

It would be so great if we lived closer to each other, I'd love for us to be able to "pop over" to each other's house for coffee or wine, depending on the time of day ... of course :) - I mean it's just tacky to drink wine before 11am!  But, I know we aren't moving to Oklahoma and they aren't moving here to Texas ... so I guess for now we are stuck with the 3.5 hour drive. 

Here are of my favorite pics from our little trip on Saturday to ...

Morgan ... how sweet is that face?

Sweet girl, again ... acting coy this time.

My daughter, Addison, enjoying her first pure cane sugar coke (ice cold in a bottle).

My "hollywood" daughter, again.

Morgan, Jana and Addison

Post is linked to:  The Trendy Treehouse.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Raspberry Chipotle Chicken & Bacon Sandwich

Excuse the ketchip smear on the plate ... the hubby had already polished off the first sandwich by the time I thought of taking a pic (I'm taking that as a sign that he really liked it).

So last night I wasn't that hungry (I had a yummy protein shake for dinner), but of course I still had to feed the hubster.  So here is what I whipped up:  Raspberry Chipotle Chicken & Bacon Sandwich

  Olive Oil
  Salt / Pepper, to taste
  Chicken Breast(s)
  Romano Cheese, freshly grated [I used Kirkland brand]
  Raspberry Chipotle Sauce [I used Fisher & Wieser brand]
  Bread [I used Orawheat Original Oatnut]

Pour olive oil into a deep skillet and heat.  Place chicken breast in pan (mine were giant, so I cut them in two halves).  Salt and pepper both sides, to taste.  Cook until half-way done (this will depend on thickness of breast), then flip over to finish cooking.  Several minutes prior to the chicken being done, put the bacon slices in the skillet.  I used (2) slices per sandwich.  When chicken and bacon are done, remove from pan onto a paper towel lined plate.  Pour off grease.  Pour some Raspberry Chipotle Sauce into the pan, place chicken back into the pan and pour additional sauce on top.  Stir chicken around in the sauce until covered and the sauce is warm.

Spoon some of the sauce on one slice of bread, then add (2) bacon slices and chicken breast.  Spoon more sauce over the chicken and top with the cheese.  Other bread slice goes on top (duh, huh?) ... and there you have it.  I served this with french fries.  Pretty quick and pretty tasty.

I must say that I ripped off was inspired to make this based on one of my favorite sandwiches from Bread Winners Cafe & Bakery.

Do you have a fav recipe to share? Or do you just want to get some new ideas?  Then head on over to Hon, what's for dinner.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dishing It Up Party *Your Summer Reads*

Join in the fun and the party!  Head over to Serenity Now and link on up - leave me a comment if you do as I would love to check out your answers as well.

Here are the questions for this party:

Give us your list of top 5 picks for summer reading.
Top 5.  Yikes.  That is hard to just pick five!  As my TBR stack keeps growing.

(1) Storm Prey by John Sandford ... I have read all of the books in the "Prey" series and LOVE them, (2) Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin ... have also read all of her books and LOVE them, (3) The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood ... new author for me, (4) Spinning Forward by Terri Dulong ... another new author for me, and (5) The Magnificent Obsession by Anne Graham Lotz.
[Side Note:  Anne Graham Lotz spoke at my church a little while back ... she was fantastic.  She says "Je-sus" just like her daddy.  I could have sat and listened to her all day]

What genre of literature makes you want to pick up a book and read (biographies, chick lit, Christian fiction, historical fiction, etc.)?
I do love good Chic Lit books (ck out Jen Lancaster, Sophie Kinsella-all except Twenties Girl-ugh, and Wendy Markham).  I like SOME Christian Fiction (confession time-I still have not finished reading The Shack, I just think it's way over my head).  Historical Fiction, uh not so much.  I LOVE Fictional Knitting books (ck out Maggie Sefton and Kate Jacobs).  Oh, and I almost forgot, Cookbooks.  Yes, I love to just sit and read cookbooks ... that may not translate into my actually USING the recipes, but isn't reading them the next best thing?

What are your favorite magazines?
Southern Living ... why is it that they have the BEST recipes?  Creative Knitting ... humm, are you seeing a theme here?.  Food Network Mag ... it is AWESOME.

If you had to be stuck on a desert island with any fictional character, who would you choose?
Humm.  I saved this one for last.  This is tough.  [cricket sounds]  It could be any of the cool knitting characters from the books:  Friday Night Knitting Club, Knitting Under the Influence or the Maggie Sefton Knitting Murder Mystery Series.

How do you make time to escape into a good book?
Various times.  I read (1) almost every night before turning off the light and going to sleep, (2) while the hubby "watches" [ie naps through] golf, (3) in the car, while waiting - mostly for my daughter.  She's 13, need I say more?, (4) while floating in our pool, listening to the water run over the rocks ... ah, it's the best!

What's your favorite place to get your books?
(1) Half Priced Books (2) Friends, borrowing/trading is always a great option (3) Costco, super great prices (4) Borders Books, as they email out a ton of coupons.

What's next on your "to-read" list?
Mike, Mike & Me; The Nine Month Plan; Hello, It's Me; Bride Needs Groom and a ton more - all by Wendy Markham.  That's just a start as I have 57 current "TBR" books in my Goodreads list.

Also linked up to the Ins and Outs blog hop 

We have a winner! $40 CSN GC

Alrighty.  Here is the winner of my very first GIVEAWAY (sniff, sniff [imagine tissue in hand]-- I'm so proud):

Heather over at Airplanes and Dragonflies!!

Heather, I will send you an email with the details.

Thank You! to everyone that entered! and Thank You! to CSN Stores for the GC!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

100! 100! 100! Followers!

I'm so excited ... I just got my 100th follower!  WOO HOO!

Image:  We Heart It

Thanks to everyone who is a dear, wonderful, awesome, great, fantastic follower!

Special thanks to #100 ... Rachel over at Second Time Around.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Housewife Bootcamp - The Bedroom

That 22 Yr Old Housewife inspired me to do some cleaning today.  YAY for her (and me)!

Ok, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but here goes anyway.  It has seems here lately that I have lost my MOJO ... not sure where it went (possibly in the cushions of the couch as that is where my butt has been alot lately!).  During my mojo-less time period I kind of let certain things go, one being cleaning.  My bedroom has taken the brunt of the household punishment.  It has been the catch all for everything.  To the point of me TRYING to divert my eyes from the mess each time I walk in.  This has not worked very well.  My friend Jenn had to come into our bathroom last weekend to use my hair dryer, I had to ask her to walk directly to the bathroom and not to look left ... to the "desk" area (I use that term loosely since you really couldn't see the desk).  Brace yourself for the before and after photos below:

This is my bedside table (and additional tray / table).  Yes, it was a wreck!  It was overcome with knitting projects, books and crumbs (I shamefully admit).  But now it's mucho better and my current knitting projects are organized in this cute little box.  Beside my table is a mini trampoline and my spin bike.  Yes, dear bike, as God as my witness - I shall use you again.

Here's my reading / knitting chair.  As you can see by the before pic it was a bit crowded.  Lets see, on it was one of my daughter's hoodies, a cookbook, 3 purses and 3 blankets.  Now it's just loaded with my comfy pillows and a soft throw.  On my milk jug side table are my TBR (to be read) books.  Beside the chair I still have my ebay bag ... things that I need to get around to listing for sale (someday).

Now for my chest of drawers.  On it was all of my fun jewelry plus a large basket of a bunch of my freebies or almost freebies that I have been collecting with my coupons ... I just can't seem to find the right spot for these items (as under my bathroom sink is FULL).  So the chest has been dusted and my jewelry has been organized (somewhat).  As you can tell, I love crosses.  I have all of my cross necklaces hanging on a cross plus 3 cross candlesticks.  If you could see the boxes on my jewelry tray you could see that they are mostly Silpada.  Then there is the jewelry "casket" which sounds a bit gruesome, but it really pretty cute and was a gift from my great sister-in-law.  There is also a little Brighton jewelry box that was a birthday gift from my dear friend Donna.

This area was a complete disaster.  Yes, somewhere under the "stuff" is a desk and a fireplace.  This had been a drop zone for everything.  I see reusable shopping bags, knitting bags, a trash bag full of yarn (from the HUGE after Christmas sale that The Woolie Ewe had), bags of gift items (I buy ahead when I find items that I like), a cashmere sweater, a fleece hoodie, a storage container with more "to be sold on ebay" stuff and boxes of paperwork that must be sorted through, eventually.

But now, TA DAH.  Cleanliness!!  There is still paperwork to be gone through, etc. - but at least everything is in neat piles.

WHEW.  So glad to have that over with tonight!  :)  Thanks for the inspiration Lauren.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hoo Are You? Tuesday ...

Here are this week's questions and my answers ...
I would love to hear your answers too, so please join in the fun!

1. What is your favorite restaurant?

I would have to say Campisi's ... but ONLY the original one off of 75 and Mockingbird (Dallas) ... not the knock offs other locations around town and only if I can eat in the main part of the restaurant, the old original area with the old red vinyl booths.  For info on the cool story that goes along with this restaurant, check out:  Father's Day.

2. What kind of music do you like?

My favorite radio station is 94.9 KLTY ... Christian Radio at it's best.  I find this station so uplifting, especially in the mornings on my drive into work.  Some of my favorite artists:  Third Day, Chris Tomlin, Mercy Me, Francesca Battistelli and many more!

3. What do you watch on TV?

Well, just to name a few :)

4. Do you enjoy reading and if so what kind of books do you read?

I LOVE to read!  cook books, knitting books, fictional books about knitting, chic lit, etc.  For more info on some recent reads, check out:  my latest book review.

5. What is your favorite color?

Join in the fun over at Night Owl Crafting and let everyone know HOO YOU ARE!

[check out my giveaway - $40 CSN GC]

Book Review: Knitting Under the Influence

unsolicited review

I loved this book!  I love to knit and love reading about people knitting ... yes, I do live an exciting life.  Here is a description of the book (thanks to

When you're in your late twenties and nothing in your life seems to be falling into place, knitting is an awfully seductive way to spend your free time. After all, as long as you're following the instructions, you can knit row after row with the knowledge that the pattern will emerge and you'll end up with just what you wanted. Life, on the other hand, doesn't come with a stitch counter, so Kathleen, Sari, and Lucy, the heroines of KNITTING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, just have to figure things out as they go along.

 Their weekly Sunday knitting circle is the only thing holding them together as Kathleen is cut off financially by her family and forced to enter `the real world' for the very first time at the age of twenty-seven, Sari finds herself falling for the man who made her life a living hell in high school but who now desperately needs her help, and Lucy finds herself torn between emotion and reason when her lab and her boyfriend are assailed by an animal-rights group.

 At their club meetings, they discuss the really important questions: how bad is it, really, to marry for money if you like the guy a lot anyway? Can you ever forgive someone for something truly atrocious that they've done? Is it better to be unhappily coupled than happily alone? And the little ones: Can you wear a bra with a hand-knit tube top? Is it ever acceptable to knit something for a boyfriend? And why do your stitches become lopsided after your second martini?

 In Claire LaZebnik's hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking novel, Sari, Lucy, and Kathleen's lives intersect, overlap, unravel, and come back together-the result is an utterly satisfying read.

This was the first book by Claire LaZebnik that I read, but I just couldn't pass up a book with this cool of a title.  I mean it combines two favorite past times - cocktails and knitting.  This book just drew me in from the start.  I really liked and could imagine the characters as "real people" (i.e. people that my friends and I would hang out with).  It was almost "Sex and the City like" - I kept trying to figure out which character I liked the most.  Sari and Lucy are more reasonable, but Kathleen is a blast!

It's great to read about knitting from an author who ACTUALLY knits ... so that they really understand the process.  Another realness factor.  This author also has a son with autism, which is why the story line seems so real when read.  I found myself completely drawn into the clinic in the book and the world of autism and even though it was a fictional book, I came away feeling like I really learned something.

At the very end of the book are cocktail recipes.  How great is that?  With cool names like Pink String Bikini, The Glittery Scarf, etc.  You'll have to read the book to figure out where these names come into play :)  Happy Reading!

now for my current read

I finished the other book on Monday and immediately picked up another Claire LaZebnik book, "The Smart One and the Pretty One."

Ava is the smart sister, an L.A. lawyer who hasn’t dated in years. Lauren is the pretty sister, an unemployed New York stylist buried in debt. Lauren returns to L.A. when their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. Between chauffeuring her to chemo appointments, Lauren finds an old “contract” betrothing Ava to Russell, the son of family friends, and decides a reunion is in order. Though Ava finds herself uncharacteristically falling for Russell, she can’t believe a man would choose her over her glamorous sister. She nearly lets her skepticism ruin her shot at love until Lauren meddles again. LaZebnik, author of Knitting under the Influence (2006), writes a funny and endearing novel that truly captures the devotion and rivalry between sisters. Whether they relate to the smart one or the pretty one (or both), readers will find this book irresistible. --Aleksandra Walker  (BOOKLIST)

I just started this book and like it already too.  I thought I'd use it to participate in the Teaser Tuesday, a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"I'm nothing like her," Lauren said.  "I've moved out of my mother's house and I've had plenty of boyfriends."

Page 21 - and so the drama begins between the sisters!

[don't forget my current giveaway, a $40 CSN gift card]