March 31, 2010

Hammocks and The Bahamas

My first cruise vacation was when I was around 10 years old. Two of my Aunts worked for a cruise line called The Big Red Boat (it is no longer in business). Since we lived by Cape Canaveral, it wasn’t much of an expense to go with their discount (I really do miss that).

The cruise was fun, from what I can remember.

We went in to Nassau, which then was really much more chaotic. The ladies that practically attack you after you step off the boat to braid you hair (oh how they wanted to braid mine because it was really long then too), the Straw Market was much more unorganized (the people were still very friendly though), oh and the taxis drove like getaway cars (not sure if they still do). Needless to say, kids under a certain age (and teenagers) were never to step off the boat without adults at this port.

My favorite stop was Key Island I think it was called. It was the cruise’s island (I think) so we could wander around it pretty much okay. One of the biggest memories of it though were all the hammocks tied up against palm trees. I’d never been on one before, so I just had to try it out – and I loved it! The ocean breeze, white sand, palm trees and a fresh white rope hammock. Ah, if only I had been 11 years older I could’ve had a nice umbrella drink to go with that. I’ll try that the next time I go on a cruise, whenever that is.

I played in the water too since it was crystal clear and I saw no sharks or weird fish that would sting or bite me. I probably got a pretty bad sunburn from the trip, but I don’t remember that if I did.

My Mom and Aunts loved the hammock chairs too. They read their books and magazines in there while watching us play in the water and build white sandcastles. My cousin and I would sit in them too, but kids can only stay still for so long in a place like that ya know?

I’ve never actually had a hammock to myself though at home. I’m not sure why, since I really do enjoy them. It is something I will definitely look into purchasing though this summer. I'm not sure where I'd hang it or if I should just get one with a stand though. Outdoor hammocks have really come a long way in style and comfort, so it will surely be hard to pick one – but I’m up for the task!

Do you have any favorite memories from a cruise or vacation? Love hammocks too? I’d love to hear about it!

* This is a sponsored post from OUTDORA.

March 30, 2010

Photo Tag!

I haven’t been tagged with a meme or anything for awhile, so I was really excited when Brenda (an awesome woman who you should all go check out) tagged me with a photo tag!

Here are the rules:
1. Open your 1st Photo folder.
2. Scroll to the 10th photo.
3. Post the photo and the story behind it.
4. Tag 5 or more people.

Wow. This was taken when I was in New Orleans, LA last year for my birthday. I had an amazing time and took MANY pictures. This was one that didn’t end up making it on the Blog and I took it just for fun and while I was probably typing up either a Blog post or writing up one of the reviews I did on Associated Content while also probably drinking a Heinekin (my favorite type of beer) and joking about our local vampire hotel next door to our own hotel.

I really can’t wait to go back to New Orleans. This time I will be prepared with better shoes though, my feet hurt just thinking about it. Those streets are not good for walking, even with semi-comfortable sneakers. I don’t know how the girls in heels did it. They must have been drunk.

I’m Tagging…
1. Wendy – Wendy, you take some beautiful pictures and are awesome so I think you will enjoy this one!
2. TeeTee – You are a fun spirit that also loves photography, so hope to see you participate too.
3. Andhari – You are my long-lost Indonesian twin and have such a fun life and you also love sharing pictures, so I hope you participate too!
4. Carina – I love reading about all of your adventures and opinions on things and really hope you do this tag too!
5. Nickie - One of my best blog friends! I am guessing your picture will involve your car or Florida?
6. Shareen - Another one of my favorite international bloggers. I hope you do this one too!
7. Melanie - You are very cool and I think it’d be interesting to see what picture pops up for you!
8. Everyone I’m too lazy/tired to list that is reading this too that wants to participate. I never know who wants to do these things, so if you see this and want to do it too, go ahead!

The Last Song Giveaway – Winner!

The giveaway for The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks is now officially over. I used to come up with one winner randomly – and the winner is… Kathy!

Congratulations, I hope you enjoy the book. I will contact you right now to get your contact information to send this great book to you.

March 29, 2010

LSD not LCD!

No, I haven’t taken any LSD if that is what you’re thinking.

However – getting up at 5AM when I am really not a morning person to go take a Psychology exam at 7AM is not fun. Add in the fact I only got a few hours of sleep and well it feels like everything I studied for the past week is jumbled up in my brain.

Some parts of the test were about drugs. I know plenty about drugs. I have a Criminal Justice B.S. and minor in Sociology. I’ve taken 3 courses about drugs at UCF. Anyways…

I think I put LCD instead of LSD on the exam this morning. Stupid mistake if I did and now I’m worrying about it. I mean, that was one section I knew from long-term memory! I really needed to get those questions right ya know?

Hopefully the score will be up soon so I can stop worrying about it. I really shouldn’t be worrying too much though even if I didn’t get an A on this one, I still scored 102, 108 on the previous 2 tests, so I’m good. I just hate not doing well on something I know.

Tomorrow I have an exam in Biology which I’m just not getting. Hopefully I can pull a B, but probably more like a C at this rate. Ugh!

Alexander Skarsgard was in Zoolander!

Zoolander is one of my favorite movies of all time.

I love it. I’ve seen it probably more times than Twilight (yeah, I know...). My ex-bestfriend and ex-roommate and I used to go to the movie theater in our apartment complex and watch it at least every other week, if not once a week. It was a great comedic relief to college and boys.

I remember thinking that blond model was pretty hot, but never really looking into it further – until I was watching it last night and guess who I notice it is?!?


Yes, yes it is. He was Meekus!

Watch this scene from Zoolander if you don’t remember...

He wasn’t in the movie for very long, he dies in a freak gas explosion at the gas station after drinking orange mocha frappachinos. So sad.

He doesn’t really die though because we all know he comes back to life as Eric Northman on True Blood! Yeah, okay I had to throw that in there… he is so much hotter as a vampire.

Ah, I can’t wait for the next season of True Blood to see (much more of) Alexander Skarsgard. Love saying his name too. So sexy.

March 28, 2010

Giveaway Reminder

Don't forget to enter to win The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks book I have going on until March 29, 2010!

Good Luck!

March 27, 2010

Planting with Greenhouses

A few years ago, if you remember, I started planting flowers and tomato plants from seeds. Some of them did really well, and well some didn’t. I used empty egg cartons and other random things and planted the seeds, kept the watered and placed them in the windowsill in rooms with good light around the house.

This year though, I bought a little mobile garden greenhouse that you can start indoors. We even bought grow lights for them.

The seeds we bought are heritage seeds and some old flower seeds as well. Most of them though are vegetables we’re trying to grow and a couple flowers too.

Vegetables: tomato, broccoli, peppers, lettuce, celery, onion, cucumber, okra and basil (not a veggie but w/e)

Flowers: sweet williams, zinnias, sweet peas, and daisies

What I really want one day is to have a big hobby greenhouse that I can setup outside to use year round. I think they are just great and perfect for places where you can’t otherwise have flowers or grow vegetables or fruit year round. Ah.. one day.

For now though, I’m trying to make do with what I’ve got. I think the setup we have now is a good start for the garden we’re trying to get setup for this year. If all goes well, we will have many homegrown vegetables and probably save money on some groceries too. Always a bonus!

The greenhouse accessories that will really be helpful with this though is the grow light and the use of my old aquarium. Without that we wouldn’t really be able to start as many indoors as we are now (too many other stationary plants are in front of windows right now that get the best sun).

I’ll post more once more activity is happening in the garden – but as a sneak peak, I did 12+ hours of yard work last week trying to get the yard back in shape! Talk about being sore for days afterward though… ugh I still feel it.

* This is a sponsored post by OUTDORA.

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Earth Day is coming up soon, and we should all really be more eco-friendly year-round anyways. So, when I heard about a new Energy saving website from Microst-Hohm, I had to check it out.

I signed up for a FREE account and got started analyzing how energy efficient my home really is. After filling out the basic information (like how old my home is, how old the heater and A/C is), I then had to enter the electric provider we have to estimate energy costs. Well, the one we use wasn’t listed or partnered with them, so I had to enter it manually. Rather annoying, but after getting the last statement it wasn’t that hard to do myself.

After that was finished, I looked at the recommendations listed for our home to save money with our home energy. I was a bit disappointed to see that we’re already doing most of those recommendations. The only ones that I really haven’t done is seal up our windows and doors (which we will be doing soon hopefully) and replace our windows (which we also want to look into doing soon). For the beginner at energy savings though, they do offer very good ideas like replacing your lightbulbs to the CFL or LED ones.

One of the biggest energy wasters is home appliances. I try to get one with the Energy Star seal on it or ones I know won’t be wasting a ton of electricity in use or even when turned off (yes, they still use electricity when off too). The only problem with this is that big appliances are expensive and people really can’t afford to just go out and buy a new one to save energy until their old one breaks. If you do get a new one and your old one works, don’t just toss it in a landfill though – donate it or even sell it. You aren’t helping the environment if you just put perfectly good items into landfills.

Overall I found this website to be quite user-friendly and helpful to those wishing to be more Green and Eco-Friendly. For more info with them and tutorials, check out their YouTube Channel.

* This is a paid post to help make your home more energy efficient by using All opinions expressed are my own and I wasn’t paid to write about it positively.

March 26, 2010

The Sims 3: High End Loft Stuff

The Sims likes to keep your Sims happy and you from getting bored from the same old things that come with the game (and expansion packs). So, while waiting for a new expansion pack to come out, they often release “stuff packs.”

The first stuff pack for The Sims 3 is High End Loft Stuff and is as you would expect, very modern and “high end.” With this upgrade, you can transform your Sims homes into sleek, edgy apartments and homes. Furnishings are all quite sleek and modern too. The new fashion is modern and sophisticated as well.

• Add high-end furnishings to your Sims bedroom, entertainment room, office and patio.
• Transform your Sims’ homes into cutting-edge spaces with contemporary sofas, sleek coffee tables, and eclectic art.
• Give your Sims coveted electronics including high-tech, ultra-slim TVs, video game systems, stereos, and more.
• Upgrade your Sims’ wardrobes with fashion-forward apparel, tailored suits, and sophisticated outerwear.
• Plus Bonus Anniversary Items! This special 10th Anniversary pack also includes three well-loved items from The Sims and The Sims 2 games: the heart-shaped vibrating bed, the electric guitar, and the aquarium.

My favorite item included in this stuff pack is the large fish aquarium. I was really missing have a fish tank in my home (the little goldfish one wasn’t cutting it), so I was really excited to see this in my Sim’s home. I could even stock it with fish (and even an alligator) that my Sim caught herself. Yeah, pretty cool.

I also really like the new high-tech TV, game system and stereo too. I’m more about fashion though, and really like one of the outfits offered and edited it myself (first one I really wanted to submit to the exchange). Which, you can see here if you like.

One of my favorite new aspects to The Sims 3 is that you can use their Exchange. Which allows users like you and me to upload and download edited items into your game. If you don’t have the style you are downloading in your game already though, it won’t work so you still have to purchase it before the download will work.

Aside from The Exchange offered with The Sims 3, they do have many new sets and items you can purchase singularly from their Store which you can download right into your game. Items from the “stuff packs” and expansions are NOT in the Store, so you will have to purchase those the normal way.

I actually did give in and purchase their fairy and gothic sets from the Store. I’m a sucker for fairies and vampires. Speaking of, I hope they let us be vampires in The Sims 3 one day.

You can go to my studio and checkout and download (please rate up too) clothing, patterns and even me as a Sim. As of right now, my items have been downloaded over 1,000 times. Pretty cool. Kinda weird too though thinking that I’m in people’s games I don’t know. I wonder what they have my Sim do?

If you play The Sims 3 too, go to my page and add me as a friend. I’d love to see what you’ve created as well!

System Requirements:
Requires The Sims 3 or The Sims 3 Collector’s Edition for PC/Mac to play.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Sims 3: High End Loft Stuff, Electronic Arts and Gamers Gate for providing me a digital copy of The Sims 3: High End Loft Stuff and allowing me to review the game.

Funny Period Commercial

Have you seen this funny commercial yet about periods? If not, check it out and laugh long and hard with me…

Oh yes, I actually took the time to watch this commercial one day. I usually fast-forward through commercials – who watches live TV anymore?

I laughed hysterically. I mean, it is so true. Who really feels like running on the beach, dancing in a circle and wearing WHITE spandex when it is that time of the month? Definitely NOT me!

Also, mentioning the blue liquid used in the commercials for pads – LMAO! Yes, we have blue blood people! What? Your blood isn’t blue too? Hmm.

The commercial is an ad for U By Kotex, which after going there I found you can get free samples of their product. Score!

* Disclaimer – I am in no way affiliated with U By Kotex, I just liked their commercial and am hooking you up with free samples.

March 25, 2010

Robert Pattinson Wax Figure at Madame Tussauds

Here is a picture of the Robert Pattinson wax figure at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in New York City, NY.

Looks pretty good. Good enough for me to actually want to go to one of these museums – if just for a few pictures with a wax figure of Robert Pattinson. I wonder if they let you hug or kiss it? Oh come on, you were wondering that too! Don’t deny it!

Now I just hope they make one of Alexander Skarsgard (preferably looking like he does on True Blood). Yum!

Would you go see this at the museum?
Would you take pictures with him too?
Which celebrity would you like to see at a wax museum?


No, I’m not talking about Rihanna’s song - which I actually always found to be quite annoying. The ella-ella-ella-eh-eh-eh part just makes me cringe like nails on a chalkboard.

I’m talking about a large umbrella for the patio, pool, beach, etc. These are perfect for pale people like me that get sunburns easy, yet they want to enjoy a nice cool breeze and sit outside. Even with umbrellas though, I still need to wear sunscreen. Last year I got a pretty bad sunburn sitting underneath one (even with sunscreen on) – I was outside for quite awhile though and it was a low SPF. I only wear sunscreen higher than 30 SPF now.

The market umbrella style is one of my favorites (seen in picture with this post). This is the type we have on our patio that actually came with a bar set we bought to go with our gorgeous pool area when we lived in Florida. It works just fine on our patio here too though overlooking the river. I really do wish we still had a pool though. Ah, maybe one day.

I also require a big umbrella when venturing to the beach. I didn’t use to bring one back when I was a teenager, I guess I was stupid and didn’t care if I burned or not. Who really thinks about getting skin cancer one day when they’re a kid? I sure didn’t. I’ve had way too many bad sunburns to not think about it now though, so I never (and I mean NEVER) stay outside for any extended period of time without a really good sunscreen on.

While not a patio umbrella, I also love to get really cute umbrellas for when it is raining. My favorite is a red plaid Burberry one which was actually free as a gift when I purchased my Burberry Brit perfume. I also have a very cute Cynthia Rowley one (also free as a gift) from a perfume combo pack when I sold Avon. I have a few others that I actually purchased, but they’re not my favorites.

Do you have a patio umbrella? How about a favorite rain umbrella?

* This is a sponsored post by OUTDORA.

March 23, 2010

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks – Review + Giveaway

Nicholas Sparks is quite honestly one of my favorite authors. He is able to make me cry with each book and movie I’ve either read or seen – even after I’ve seen it before, I still cry. Remember A Walk To Remember? The Notebook? I cry like a little girl.

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks was actually written as a screenplay before it was written as a novel. It is a love story and a coming of age novel sure to capture the hearts of audiences. It is also the longest novel that Sparks has written. Another interesting tidbit is that Miley Cyrus (who stars in the movie) actually chose the name Ronnie for the main character (that she plays).

Book Description
Seventeen year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father… until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie’s father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church. The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story about love in its myriad forms – first love, the love between parents and children – that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that deeply felt relationships can break our hearts… and heal them.

My Thoughts
In all honesty, for the first 12 chapters, I thought I was going to hate this book, which really quite surprised me. It was so boring and was quite dragged out. If those first 12 chapters were condensed into 2 or 3, it would have kept the interest better. Reading about a rebellious teen and how much she hates her father and small town life isn’t really very interesting.

After getting through those first 12 chapters though, it becomes interesting and reads more like a love story. It is however quite predictable. I won’t go into details in case you read the book or see the movie, but after the first few chapters I predicted just about everything that ended up happening in the book – no looking ahead either.

Even though I predicted (correctly) what happened, I still really enjoyed the book. Yes, I did cry a few times and probably will when I see the movie too. It is really a beautiful coming of age story mixed with a love story that will be remembered by those who read it (or see it) for years to come. I do encourage everyone who loves stories like this to read it.

The Movie
The Last Song movie is out in theaters on March 31, 2010. I don’t think it will stay quite true to the book, but I think it is still going to be quite good and I really look forward to seeing it.

The Contest
Love Nicholas Sparks novels and want to win The Last Song? Well, here is your chance! Follow the rules and comment accordingly please.

* You must be a follower (publicly) of my Blog for your entries to count.
* You must have your entries in before the contest ends!

* Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

One entry – Leave me a comment about The Last Song and tell me which Nicholas Sparks book and/or movie is your favorite and why.
One entry – Blog about this contest on your Blog (don’t forget to link to it too).
One entry – Be a follower of me on Twitter and tweet about this contest.

Contest ends on March 29, 2010.

* Thank you to Hachette Book Group for providing me with a review copy for this review.

March 22, 2010

Medical Tourist

With all of the recent talk about the national healthcare reform here in America, and the bill passing last night, it is without a question a hot topic.

I don’t think that the nation should enforce people having healthcare unless they can supply it for people who cannot afford it. Taxing people extra money they don’t have if they can’t afford the insurance is just ridiculous and really presses our “freedom” and “rights.” It will be interesting to see how it all plays out in the coming weeks, months and years.

Don’t get me wrong though, I think that we should all have healthcare (which should also include oral care and all sub-cares people need). I just don’t think that we should be forced to purchase sub-par healthcare. If they want everyone to be equal and have the same healthcare, then everyone up to the Senators, Governors and even the President should have the same type of service, right? Anyways…

Have you thought about being a medical tourist? It might be something people go for more often in this country if the healthcare quality is lowered in America. Some already leave our country for medical, dental and surgical needs due to money or higher care in other countries.

Sure, we’ve all heard and seen horror stories about bad breast augmentation, nose jobs, liposuctions, etc done in other countries. We don’t see all the good ones though. Those same surgeries have horror stories from some surgeons here in America too.

I wouldn’t personally ever get an elective (or needed) surgery performed from a doctor that I didn’t research fully, meet with well beforehand and feel comfortable with. However, I do see how medical tourism could be a very alluring idea for some people, myself included depending on circumstances. I wouldn’t set it up either to pretend to be a vacation, it isn’t. Unless maybe dental care… the rest would be too painful to enjoy any of the special and fun things the resort or wherever offered, don’t you think?

So, my questions for you:
• What do you think of this healthcare reform that passed last night?
• What do you think of medical tourism?
• Would you ever opt to go out of the country for a procedure (either due to cost or higher quality care elsewhere)?

March 20, 2010

The Highs and Lows of Composting

Composting is a fantastic way to be eco-friendly, green and even saves you some money with the organic dirt you “make” yourself.

It sounds gross if you don’t know much about it. Compost is not a very “fun” word is it?

Honestly, if you asked me 5 years ago if I’d ever have a garden composter, I would have flat out told you that you’re crazy! Of course 5 years ago I was living in an apartment in Orlando, FL and wouldn’t have been able to anyways (apartment regulations and lack of a yard). I was more of the career-seeking, newly college graduate that was much more interested in materialistic things than I am now (though that is still a part of me, just not as much).

Fast-forward to the present - and guess what? I compost! I don’t compost everything though and it isn’t in a neatly contained way like is probably best, but I try. It is a conscious effort to not only save money on organic soil, but also to help be more environmentally friendly.

One of the biggest factors (I think) that is lacking in my current compost is the lack of worms. Sure, there are some in there and if anyone sees some in the yard, we throw them in there but I’m not sure how many in there are actually doing what they’re supposed to do (whatever that is). The Worm Farm would be a great solution to this problem and it would be in a much smaller and contained space than what our compost currently is.

Another issue that happened is that the ashes from the fireplace were thrown into the compost way too many times last winter. The ashes made the soil become much too gray and well unbalanced. We also weren’t adding in enough leaves and other greens when we added in banana peels, coffee grinds, etc. Opps!

Have you ever heard of a toilet composter? For those really eco-friendly and friendly with composting, you can even compost from your very own toilet. It is really good for the compost I hear.

With Spring starting today, I hope to get some good compost soil (finally) for my garden which will be started soon!

* This is a sponsored post by OUTDORA.

Lady Gaga and Beyonce: Telephone

I love Lady Gaga, I’ve mentioned that before (a few times). I’ve had this song on my playlist for awhile now and was anxiously awaiting the real video for Telephone by Lady Gaga and Beyonce.

It is out! If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is:

Trucks: More of a Southern Thing?

I’m really not a “truck” person myself. My brothers all are. They grew up in Alabama though, while I grew up in Florida. Maybe that is why? Sure, I mean some of the guys I knew in FL had trucks, but most had sports cars and SUVs. I have a sports car. You’re more likely to see women driving sports cars here than men. Men like the big expensive trucks.

This brought me to wonder if it is more of a Southern thing for guys to want trucks more, or maybe more of a “country” thing? What do people drive more of where you live?

If I had a truck though, I would make it cool. There are so many kinds of truck acessories that make them look better than trucks just used for say mudding – and no, I’ve never done that. A billet grille like the putco billet grilles are a must on any good looking truck, don’t you think? There was even a song written about “grills.”

You can put grills on SUVs and cars too, but they really look best on trucks I think. If I had a Jeep though, I'd get the Rampage Jeep Wrangler 3D Mesh Grille, it looks really nice.

What kind of vehicle do you have? Which kind do you really want if you don’t have it already? Which accessories on said vehicle would you want to get, or already have?

* Disclosure: This is a paid post from Real Truck. All opinions expressed are honest and my own personal opinions.

March 19, 2010

The Sims 3 Ambitions Expansion Pack Announced!

The Sims 3 has announced the next expansion for The Sims 3 called: Ambitions. While new “stuff packs” are fun, it isn’t really that much fun as compared to a whole new expansion pack! I really liked World Adventures, so I’m really excited for Ambitions. Mainly because I love the new career paths – especially the ghost hunter and fashionista ones! How fun will that be?!?

As posted on their News section about this expansion pack:

Widen your Sim’s horizons with a bunch of killer new career opportunities. With The Sims™ 3 Ambitions, decide whether your Sim will be the brave town hero or cause loads of mischief among their neighbors. Make your Sim save the day as a brave firefighter, change the town as a leading architect, or live on the edge as a tattoo artist. Will your Sim find success as a billionaire high-tech inventor or eke out a living as a bumbling mad scientist? Will they uncover secrets as a private investigator by dusting for prints or roughing up a suspect for information? Their future is entirely in your hands!
For the first time ever, you control your Sim’s actions and interactions while they’re on the job.
• Be a hero or mess with the neighbors as a firefighter, private investigator, doctor, ghost hunter, and more!
• Choose how your Sim’s career progresses—will they work for good or evil, pursue creative endeavors, rise to success as a mogul, or shirk responsibility as a slacker?
• Your Sim’s on-the-job choices now change their town and affect other Sims as well. Modify the town’s structure as an architect or set neighborhood fashions as a stylist.
• Enjoy all-new skills and activities! Master the arts of inventing, sculpting, and tattooing, and use your skills to earn Simoleons.

March 18, 2010

What Kind of Woman Does Alexander Skarsgard Want?

Women (and some men) that are fans of True Blood and/or Alexander Skarsgard in general are quite happy that he is still single. At least we can dream and hope that maybe one day he’ll notice us at some freak unexpected encounter, right?

In a recent issue of UK Glamour Magazine, he shares his dating checklist.

• Apparently, he doesn’t mind dating older or younger women (he is 33). He would however, like to find someone who is within 10 years of age of himself (but 15 years might be okay too).

• He values trust because without that, no relationship can work.

• He likes to be thoughtful and show a woman how much he cares about her. He realizes that money doesn’t equal love though!

• He doesn’t really need all the fancy clothes and lots of makeup on his woman either. He says, “I don’t go for really dressy women. My family has a small cottage in the middle of nowhere in Sweden. It has no phone, TV or shower. You have to swim in the lake to wash. I love it. Taking a girl there is a good indicator of whether she’s right for me.”

Alexander Skarsgard plays the sexy vampire Eric Northman on HBO’s True Blood series. He says that while many fans have asked him to bite them, it isn’t something he would do in public. Can I ask for a private biting then? Hmm…

Kate Bosworth has recently been caught with Alex and the paparazzi think they may be dating. If this is true or not, well I don’t know. Whoever ends up taking the lucky role of the real Alexander Skarsgard’s girlfriend is one lucky lady!

March 17, 2010

66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb

A Conversation with God That Invites You into His Story

Thanks to Thomas Nelson’s book review program called Book Sneeze I was able to review 66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb. I’ve mentioned before that I’m more spiritual than necessarily religious. This book really tested my will to reading, spirituality and religion. Maybe because it is a very large book and I found it to be boring, but it took me a very long time to finally finish this book.

Book Description
The story of God written in intimate love letters just for you.

Dr. Larry Crabb knows that if we could see the larger story of God and humanity, our world would never be the same. That story is found in large part in the sixty-six letters of the Bible.

Written in a conversational first person, as if God is speaking directly to us, Dr. Crabb looks at each individual book in scripture and boils it down to a one- or two-sentence message to us from that particular book. He then unpacks each sentence in a short chapter answering the question, What does God want me to hear from this love letter? The book's epilogue then fits all sixty-six pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together into one coherent paragraph and reveals the beautiful picture of what God has been about since the creation of the world. Far from being comprehensive, this is a personal approach to helping readers know God and his great love for them, his message for all mankind, and how their lives fit into His larger story.

My Thoughts
I didn’t really like how it was written as if God was speaking to the author and we were just reading his experience with it. All 66 “love letters” were like this. I had to take it in 1 chapter sections to make it through without wanting to chuck the book. I honestly can’t count how many times I rolled my eyes while reading this book. Its okay, I’m sure many people reading this review will want to chuck something at me for saying this… but I do not recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Today is St. Patrick’s Day which to some may just mean green beer, wearing green and 4 leaf clovers. Sure, those are fun aspects to the day – I mean who doesn’t want to wear green and drink green beer while in search for the lucky 4 leaf clover?

The History Channel’s website actually explains the origin of St. Patrick’s Day very well and has some videos on the holiday and even why people wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, if you want to go there to find out more about it. So, I encourage you to embrace your inner nerd and go educate yourself about the holiday there.

Here are some of my favorite Irish Quotes or Irish Blessings (for more, check out the article I wrote on it)

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
~Irish Blessing

If you hold a four-leaf shamrock in your left hand at dawn on St. Patrick's Day you get what you want very much but haven't wished for. ~Patricia Lynch

A best friend is like a four leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have. ~Author Unknown

I don’t quite know why, but I love the holiday and Ireland in general. I’m not even very Irish. I have a little Irish heritage, but I’m a true European Mutt so I have a little of everything. Who knows? Maybe I was Irish in another life or something.

One of the weird and maybe tacky things I do each year is buy a new St. Patrick’s Day shirt. I know, call the fashion police on me but I love them – and yes, I do wear some to bed throughout the year – so what?

I’m not exactly sure if I have “the luck of the Irish.” Actually, I don’t think I do. I’ve never really been that lucky. I just have occasional luck – and generally when I least expect it or I’m wearing my green aventurine and 4 leaf clover necklace.

I made it, pretty cool huh? Genuine aventurine gemstones (supposed to bring money to you) and a real 4 leaf clover (did you know only 1 out of every 10,000 clovers is a 4 leaf one? That is what I heard on CSI: NY anyways…). Sorry the picture is not as good as some I’ve taken of it (like ones in Etsy shop) but since my PC died on me I haven’t taken any good quality ones of it again and I lost the old ones in the crash.

If you want one like it, just let me know and I’ll make you one too. I used to have a few in my Etsy shop (which is now closed b/c I'm setting up a shop elsewhere) for $20 (and shipping which is whatever it costs to mail to you).

Do you have any plans for today? Drinking any green beer or wearing green at least? Which of those shirts do you think I should wear today?

March 16, 2010

Cool Weather Welcomes Outdoor Heaters

Most of the country is still having cold fronts and chilly weather with just touches of spring showing through. Even though it isn’t quite warm enough out for us to spend much time on the porch or patio as it is, there are ways that make it more enjoyable in colder weather.

As I’ve mentioned before, we have an outdoor fireplace which is great for heating up the area while still enjoying the outdoors when it is cold out (or even when it is warm). Outdoor heaters are another great option for the same effect if you don’t want to have an actual fire.

There are two main types of outdoor heaters: gas and electric. Both of these options have great designs and can help warm up your cozy outdoor spaces when the weather is otherwise too chilly.

Gas heaters are a cost effective way to keep the patio warm. Many gas heaters don’t require electrical connection and can warm a large area.

I would love to have a couple of these hanging on our patio deck. It would really warm up the area and make it cozy year round.

I don’t like messing with gas though (unless it is going into my car), so I prefer the electric heater. Most of these can be used with standard outlets and don’t have any gas odors since it is fully electric. The only worry I’d have with these though is how much it would raise the electricity bill.

I would love to see solar powered outdoor heaters that could save the energy from the sun during the day and warm up the area at night – that would be amazing and very eco-friendly!

Which would you prefer, the outdoor fireplace or an outdoor heater? I think I prefer the fireplace because I like fire – but the heater is a good option too.

* This is a sponsored post by OUTDORA.

Jessica Simpson’s New Show: The Price of Beauty on VH1

If you watch any daytime news or talk shows, you probably saw Jessica Simpson being interviewed about her new show on VH1 called The Price of Beauty.

The first episode premiered last night. Jessica, CaCee and Ken went to Thailand and experienced a brutal Thai massage, ate bugs, rode on an elephant and met women with elongated necks with gold rings wrapped around them.

If you missed it or don’t get VH1, you can watch it online for FREE! How cool is that? I never knew VH1 did this or would get them up so quickly after aired.

About The Show (from the VH1 website)
Jessica Simpson is embarking on a world tour...but this time it has nothing to do with music. Jessica, along with her two best friends, Ken Paves and CaCee Cobb, are traveling the globe to explore how different cultures define beauty and the extraordinary lengths that women will go to in order to achieve it.

Journeying from Tokyo and Thailand, to Paris and Rio, to Uganda, Morocco and India -- the cast is met in each city by a "beauty ambassador" who helps them tackle topics revolving around fashion, fitness, diet and outlandish spa treatments. In each country, Jessica, Ken and CaCee experience firsthand some of the local beauty rituals, from drinking cow urine in India, to being buried up to their necks in Tokyo, to drinking gourds of ghee in a fattening hut in Uganda. But it's not all fun and games -- Jessica also explores the high price that some women pay to feel beautiful. Imagine the plight of women in Northern Thailand, who wear 20-pound rings around their necks, crushing their clavicles, to a mother in Rio who cannot afford electricity, but is secretly saving for butt implants.

Each episode ends in a complete transformation of the cast. Imagine Jessica, Ken and CaCee dressed in ornate kaftans, or camel-back riding to a festive Moroccan party complete with belly dancers and live musicians.

As Jessica learns how beauty is defined across the globe, and how she "measures up," and her own definition of the word, she is challenged to redefine it along the way, allowing the audience to see a personal, vulnerable and oftentimes hilarious side of Jessica Simpson.

Each episode culminates in a complete transformation of the cast -- Imagine Jessica, Ken and CaCee dressed in ornate kaftans, riding camel-back to a festive Moroccan party, complete with belly dancers and live musicians. They talk to local women and dance the night away Moroccan style.

As Jessica learns how beauty is defined in far away lands, her own sense of beauty, and how she "measures up" is challenged and redefined along the way, allowing the audience to see a personal, and often times, vulnerable and hilarious side of Jessica Simpson.

What do you think?
I think it is going to be a really great series for women all over the world. Do you think it will be? Where do you want to see Jessica, CaCee and Ken go? Do you think she would have done a show like this if she wasn’t so harshly judged by a little weight gain? Did you watch the episode, or plan to?

March 13, 2010


Weathervanes are an instrument used for showing the direction of the wind. They’re generally used as an architectural ornament on the highest point of a building, or put in yards or gardens as decoration.

Garden weathervanes are a fun way to add a touch of that extra something special to your garden. There are many different types of weathervanes; some are more popular than others though.

Rooster weathervanes are one of the original weathervanes which may date back to Peter the Apostle. Rooster weathervanes even appeared in the Bayeux Tapestry soon after France conquered England in 1066.

We have a rooster weathervane where we live which was a present my Mom received from her Mom. It is a tradition for our family to have one at our homes, rooster or not. I like it because when it is raining and windy it moves around and is quite sturdy so it doesn’t fall down easily.

One of the coolest I’ve seen is the good directions weathervane‘s Stained Glass Moon Copper Weathervane. It is the picture included with this post, it isn’t a rooster but it is unique and not like any I’ve seen before which is why I like it so much. Good directions weathervanes also have very cool butterfly, hummingbird, angel and witch ones I really like too.

When I have my own house, I will probably get one from Mom (gotta keep tradition up ya know?). I just hope it is as cool as the ones mentioned above because I don’t really like chicken or rooster themes myself.

Do you have a weathervane at your home (on your house or in your yard)? Did you have one where you grew up at? What type of weathervanes do you like most? Would you buy one for your home? Where would you put it?

* This is a sponsored post by OUTDORA.

Grains of Goodness: Winner!

The giveaway for the Grains of Goodness is now officially over. I used to come up with one winner randomly – and the winner is…. Melanie! Congratulations, I hope you enjoy the gift pack.

Thank you again to MyBlogSpark and General Mills for providing for this review and contest.

March 11, 2010

The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

I have this edition of The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. It is leather-bound with golden page edges. Very cool. It includes the first three books in the series: Interview with a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned.

It was my favorite present I received from Christmas last year. I love vampires, books, New Orleans and the 2 movies these books were based on – so naturally, I’d love this series too, right? RIGHT? Wrong! Well, sorta.

I’ll start with Interview with a Vampire. I loved the movie. I’ve seen it a few times and love Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in it. Kirsten Dunst even too as Claudia. The book itself was really not as interesting and quite dragged out. I read it though and figured it would get better as the series went on. I mean, I didn’t hate it. I was just left with an “eh” feel.

I then started reading The Vampire Lestat. Through this book, you learn much more about Lestat obviously and the whole vampire culture and how things go back to “those who must be kept” – the king and the queen. Interesting but so did not captivate me. It took me forever to get through this book. It was so drawn out that I can see why they didn’t make a movie about this one exactly.

I would have stopped reading the series all together if it weren’t for the fact that Queen of the Damned was included in the book I have. I have to say that I liked Queen of the Damned much more than The Vampire Lestat. It was written in different perspectives of the different vampires in the series and more myth and legend comes into play in this one too. Akasha – the "Queen of the Damned" is even awoken by Lestat’s music and him declaring he is a vampire rocker in the media. This isn’t much of a spoiler, especially if you saw the movie. Speaking of the movie, I really do like the movie – even if it doesn't go by the book very much at all.

As I finished reading Queen of the Damned, I was left with some wonder of what happened next in the series. I really wanted there to be a love story of some extent between Jesse and Mael. So, I looked up the next books in the series on Amazon and read the synopsis. I didn’t see anything in there at all about them. Then I looked it up on Wiki (because you can find everything on Wiki, right?) – and nothing is mentioned about them after Queen of the Damned. WHAT?

Rice finally made me want to read something next in the series and it wasn’t ever even written about. That makes me sad. Even if I didn’t want to read the whole series, I wanted to at least know what happened between these two. Ugh!

Normally I’d give this a great review, I mean vampires and New Orleans (two of my favorite topics) – but this I cannot recommend. Perhaps if you hated any new vampire books/series like Twilight, True Blood or the Southern Vampire Series (books based on True Blood) or The Vampire Diaries you may end up liking this series. I just found it sadly to be bland and lacking any type of romance at all.

My overall rating: Two fangs down.

Patio Paradise

I love hanging out on the porch or patio when the weather is nice. Even if it is slightly rainy, I enjoy sitting out there reading a good book. It is calming and since we live in an amazing spot on the river, it is quite pretty scenery too.

Since Spring is almost here, I thought about maybe buying a few new pieces for the patio this year. The furniture we have out there is okay, but some of it really needs to be replaced. However, finding affordable, weather resistant furniture isn’t always very easy around here.

Patio dining sets are a must for any patio space that is used to entertain. Ours is still in really good condition and we have other furniture to go with it, so this isn’t something I’m looking to replace quite yet. However, some of the new sets out there are so nice!

Unfortunately we don’t have the space to bring in furniture, so we have to stick with the wrought iron or aluminum types, but those too can be quite nice as well. One of my favorites is the woodard furniture – so elegant and timeless!

I absolutely love outdoor chaise lounges. They are the perfect excuse to drink some wine or a margarita, lay out in the sun and fall asleep reading a fashion magazine or getting engrossed in a really good book. Of course these are just as great while chatting on the phone, watching TV or listening to music while on the patio too.

What are your favorite pieces of patio furniture? Do you like wood, plastic, wicker, wrought iron or aluminum types more? What do you like to do on the patio the most? Do you have any fun stories about parties or just good times in general on the patio? I’d love to hear them!

* This is a sponsored post from OUTDORA.

March 8, 2010

Giveaway + Review: Grains of Goodness!

Thanks to MyBlogSpark and General Mills I was able to review some of their cereal and also host a giveaway for you!

I love cereal. It is the perfect breakfast food when you are in a rush and also makes a great low-calorie snack at night too. I admit it though; I am a bit of a kid when it comes to cereal. I still love Cinnamon Toast Crush, Lucky Charms, Trix, Fruity Cheerios, etc.

I decided to go with the Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Banana Nut Cheerios for my review of these Big G Cereals. Cinnamon Toast Crunch is now whole grain – can you believe it? It still tastes great though, so I have no complaints. The Banana Nut Cheerios also tastes quite good and makes me feel like a grown up just a little bit more. Both were very tasty and really hit the spot, both are something I’d buy again.

Did you know that studies have found that a diet rich in whole grain can be helpful in maintaining a healthy heart, managing weight and may also reduce the risk for diabetes and certain types of cancer?

Think you know about whole grain? I invite you to take the Whole Grain Awareness Challenge!

Grains of Goodness Prize Pack Giveaway:
Giveaway provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark includes:
* 2 VIP coupons for Big G cereal products
* A breakfast chiller
* A large cereal mug
* A tote bag

One lucky winner will be chosen at random on March 12, 2010.

To enter please leave a separate comment for each entry:

One comment – Follow my blog.

One comment – Let me know which Big G Cereal is your favorite.

Two comments – Blog about my giveaway. Leave URL of the post.

One comment – Follow me on Twitter. Leave username on there.

Two comments – Tweet about my giveaway. Leave URL of the tweet.

March 6, 2010

Stem Cells

I did a report on stem cell research when I was in high school, so almost 10 years ago (wow it is scary writing that). It was one of my first really big research papers.

Stem cells were hugely controversial then, and still are really. My teacher even said I should maybe go another route with the paper, but I didn’t – I like a challenge.

The embryonic stem usage I don’t agree with, but the adult stem cells used to treat yourself, I don’t see any harm in that. I’ve always supported it because I can see the huge medical advances we can make with it to help people.

I understand the religious and political reasons for those who do not support this. I just don’t quite get why they don’t want this to be researched. If you don’t support it, instead of just maybe un-following me or calling me an awful person, please let me know why you think what you do about stem cells.

Since I wrote that research paper, much more has been discovered on stem cell research. There is even a Stem Cell Bank! New information about stem cell research is being found everyday, and it really does amaze me. The possibility to cure some diseases and repair organs is quite amazing.

If you want to learn more about stem cells, check out this You Tube video:

How do you feel about stem cell research? Are you really for or against this topic? What does your religion say about stem cells? Do you know anyone who has used stem cells in any way? Would you want to go this route if possible if you needed an organ or something to be healed?

I won’t be mad or angry with any comments or feedback left on this one, and if you want to be anonymous, go ahead. I just want to know what you guys all think about this controversial topic.

March 5, 2010

Busy, Busy!

This week I had another psychology exam. The grades are posted, and I made a 108! Pretty awesome if I do say so myself. I wish I could transfer some of those extra points to my Biology exam which I didn’t do so hot in (still passed of course though). School is going pretty well, and I’m glad I have time to better concentrate on it all now too.

Today I went to the Cottontail’s Arts and Crafts show with my Mom. She was really excited to go to it, and we had a fun time. I actually didn’t buy anything though, crazy huh? I did write an article about it though, so please check it out:

Cottontail's Arts, Crafts & Gifts Show at the BJCC in Birmingham, AL March 5-7, 2010.

Here are some pictures of my favorite booths from the event:

What can I say? I want to be a fairy that can make cool bubbles with a magic wand. Who doesn’t want that?

I’ve also been trying to write more articles and finish up some reviews I still need to read and write about. Hopefully I can get one of those up this weekend. I just finished the first 3 books in The Vampire Chronicles, so I'll hopefully have that one up next. Any good suggestions on future ones for me to review? Please let me know!

I hope everyone has a great weekend and enjoys the warm weather (if you are lucky enough to be getting some this weekend).

March 2, 2010

Just in Case by Kathy Harrison

Are you ready if a disaster strikes? Most families aren’t. Just in Case by Kathy Harrison is just the book to get before the unexpected happens – just in case something does happen in the future.

Just in Case is well written from a mother’s viewpoint on how to prepare for the unexpected. Harrison helps you prepare for disasters by organizing, acquiring goods you’d need for your family for 3 days to a month (or longer) depending on how long you want to prepare for in advance. Also included in this valuable book is a how-to guide on survival basics such as cooking with your stored food, purifying water yourself, gardening, how to store food, keep warm and much more.

Book Description
Disaster can strike at any time. How will your family stay warm, fed, and sheltered during a power outage? Do you have an evacuation plan if you are forced to leave your home? Be prepared for the unexpected by following Kathy Harrison’s practical plan for emergency self-sufficiency. Learn how to evaluate, organize, and rotate your food supply; pack an evacuation kit; protect important documents from fire; develop a communications system; make nutritious, delicious meals with canned and dried pantry items; use alternative heating sources; and entertain the kids without television or computers. Everything you need to know to survive when public services fail is covered in this essential guide to family preparedness.

My Thoughts
I found Just in Case by Kathy Harrison to be quite informative and an extremely useful tool to keep handy for when or if something does happen.

The most helpful tools for me would be the knowledge Harrison shares with us on how to stock, store and organize foods for a certain amount of time needed. Rotating these foods out to make sure that they aren’t expired is a very good idea which she explains quite well.

Knowing that we could be in a disaster for whatever reason (natural, toxics, fires, pandemic, terrorism, etc) is the perfect excuse to get this book. If the internet fails and you can’t leave your home often, this is one of the resources that will help you many times over when the unexpected happens.

* Thank you to the publisher of Just in Case, Storey Publishing for providing me with a review copy for this review.