Photo Blogging Challenge March 2015 theme: TWO #photoblog

March’s theme for the photo blogging challenge hosted by http://hoohaablog.com was the number 2 in celebration that it has been two years since he started this challenge.

Picture #1

When I took this picture we two of our peach trees had blossoms. I had to take a close up shot of it. I love close up shots of flowers.

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My uncle and I went to see the 2pm matinée show of the play Willy Wonka at the local community theatre. We had to take an “us-eee”. Just the two of us. It was a fun time. Of course, my uncle (unprompted by me) did his usual deuces. Peace to everyone!

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I went to a conference and I limited myself at lunch to two of these red velvet whoopie pies. Old Main Catering has done it again! The red velvet cake was so delicious with a hint of chocolate. The cream cheese frosting filling was divine! Creamy. Smooth. Sweet but not overly sweet. I wish I had taken the whole tray. My waistline is happy I only ate two though.

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I went to an oyster roast hosted by the rotary club. I took a picture of these two oysters because these were the last two before we received our next bucket. This is one event where my hubby wants to attend. He is slim and trim but can eat double his weight in oysters if you let him. Oyster knife in one hand and hot sauce in the other.

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I went bowling with friends and these are the two balls that I used. Still did not break 100. The highest score I had was 82. The lowest was 48. Both divisible by 2 :) Funny side note: we were on lane 22.

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***Bonus picture***

We went to a bacon festival (YES that is a thing http://www.americalovesbacon.com) in Columbia SC. We knew one of the vendors (Debbie from Divine Smoke for Carolina Pride) and she let us try these Bacon-Oreo cream cheese concoction that her daughter made (looks like a truffle but she called it a cookie). In the center of each is a piece of bacon. In the milk chocolate on top is bits of crunchy bacon. A very rich, decadent dessert. Delicious to the max! I told my friend that her daughter has talent. I hope she remembers me when her daughter is a fancy pastry chef somewhere!

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Taking a Spring Break- back April 1st with #AtoZChallenge

I am taking a short hiatus because I am participating in a month long challenge in April called Blogging from A to Z.
In April, I will be blogging every day except Sundays.

Each day will correspond to a letter of the alphabet. Day 1- A, Day 2- B, and so on.

I am trying to get ahead of the game and start thinking which items/books I am going to review as part of this challenge. Mostly books of course. But I am going to also try to write some of those shorter blog posts that have been knocking around in my head and I have been procrastinating to put pen to paper (yes I have to write my posts before I type them).

To learn more about the A to Z challenge, http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Guest Charlotte Ehney talks about Hissy Fit #chicklit

This guest post is by  fiction author Charlotte Ehney.

Book Review:  Hissy Fit: A Novel by Mary Kay Andrews

Keeley Murdock is about to have it all.  She is one day away from marrying the handsome and rich A.J. Jernigan. Everyone who is anyone is at her rehearsal party at the country club.  But a fateful trip down the hallway on her way to the rest room makes Keeley suspicious about what is happening on the other side of a closed door.  Keeley opens the door to discover A.J. and her maid of honor Paige in a most compromising position.  What’s a girl to do?  Throw a huge hissy fit!  And that’s just what Keeley does.  Needless to say, the wedding is off.

Keeley tries to pick up the pieces after her dream life falls apart at her fiancé’s infidelity by losing herself in her interior design business.  Trouble is, work has dropped dramatically.  Keeley suspects that the Jernigans have pressured the town folks not to do business with her.  Since the Jernigans run the local bank, just about everyone in town wants to stay on their good side.

Fortunately, the wealthy Will Mahoney steps in to distract Keeley with a huge project.  He’s purchased Mulberry Hill, an abandoned antebellum mansion, in the hopes of winning the heart of a woman he’s never actually met.  As Keeley works with Will to renovate the majestic and dilapidated Mulberry Hill, he turns out to be something of a distraction himself.

Keeley struggles to move beyond A.J.’s betrayal but it reminds her of another loss she suffered long ago – being abandoned by her mother.   Although Keeley had heard the rumors that her mother ran away with another man, she has never discussed it with her father.  Finally Keeley decides to search for the answers behind her mother’s disappearance.

Overall, I would recommend Hissy Fit: A Novel.  There are a few scenes and subplots that are over the top.

Will Mahoney is a successful businessman.  He has purchased a local plant and meticulously researches options to bring the factory back to life.  Yet, he buys an antebellum house and sinks a large fortune into renovations and furnishings all for a woman he says he’s in love with but has never met.  This doesn’t fit with the image of Will as a logical professional.

Then there is Keeley’s failure to acknowledge her emotions regarding what she learns about her mother.

Despite this, I enjoyed Hissy Fit very much.  Author Mary Kay Andrews creates perfect small town, Southern characters.  She also nails the inner workings of small town society.  Hissy Fit is definitely Southern chick lit. Hissy Fit: A Novel is an easy read with some big laughs.  After all, you’ve got to root for a woman willing to pitch a justified Hissy Fit!

charehneyCharlotte Ehney is South Carolina native. She contributes to Lakelands Parents Magazine and Greenwood Magazine. Charlotte is the author of two novels, Blood Adversaries (print and Kindle) and Family Vows(Kindle) which are available on Amazon.com.  You can find her blog, Cosmic Chaos, at www.charehney.wordpress.com.

#HotelIndigo #Boutique #ATLantahotels with stylish decor

When going to Atlanta, the biggest question can be where to stay. The last time we went to ATL, we stayed at Hotel Indigo.
Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown
683 Peachtree Street, NE Atlanta, Georgia 30308 United States

I used Hotwire (as usual) and chose a 3.5 star in Midtown Atlanta. The resulting accommodation was Hotel Indigo. This is a boutique style hotel. It is across the street from the Fox Theatre.

Location: Plus for location! Hotel Indigo is in the heart of Midtown and across the street from Fox Theatre. There were restaurants that were within walking distance but I did not check to see how far you had to walk to the shopping area.

Room décor: This is an older building so the rooms are small and the bathrooms even smaller. The room was a little cramped with the queen sized bed, desk, and dresser. The bathroom was about 5’x5’. I stretched my arms wide and could touch both walls. I am only 5 feet tall (hence my estimate). And no, I do not have abnormally long arms. If you sit on the toilet and have long legs, they might touch the sink. There is no bathtub, only a shower. Despite the size of the room, I love all its character. Our room was situated on the front side so our window overlooked Peachtree Str. The hotel was renovated in 2012 and you can tell by the sleek, colorful design. The floors are wood laminate and there is a 32-inch flat screen TV. We were comfortable in the bed, but there was little room for anything else.

Parking: In a parking garage with no valet. Parking was $25 per night. I thought that was pricey considering there was NO VALET! The garage was shared with the neighboring hotel. We could not find the elevator but I am assuming they had one…

Amenties: Free wi-fi is always a plus. The connection was good in the room. The speed was fast enough to watch NetFlix, check email and Facebook. However, there are not a lot of outlets in the room (my one pet peeve). Between my cell phone, kindle, ipad, hubby’s cell, and laptop, we need a lot of outlets to charge everything. I probably need to pack a power strip.

Pool: I do not know if they have one. I did not see one. I was not looking either. This is not really the place to go if you have children because there is not a lot of space.

Overall, I like Hotel Indigo for their stylish, modern décor and comfy beds. I could have used a couple more inches in the bathroom but it was okay. And I always seem to need more power outlets. Other than those two things, I suggest making your next stay at Hotel Indigo Atlanta.

Guest Samantha Gillespie reviews one of her fave books #YAauthor

This guest post is by Young Adult fiction author Samantha Gillespie.

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden) by Kagawa, Julie (2012) Hardcover


The Book Blurb

To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for again.

The Nitty-Gritty
Meet Allison Sekemoto (Allie), a girl who lives in a post-apocalyptic world where the Red Lung plague has wiped out most of human civilization, and those who survived have become blood cattle to the ruling vampires, to whom they give their own blood willingly in exchange for food, shelter, and protection from the rabids – humans gone mad and bloodthirsty from the plague ­– that stalk the earth in search of humans to bite.  Allie refuses to become a blood slave; she lives out in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in vampire city, where she hides from the vampires at night and scavenges for food by day.

Starving for food, Allie ventures outside the walls of the vampire city and manages to find a forgotten place with loads of canned food. Unfortunately for Allie and her friends, they are attacked by rabids, and Allie is fatally wounded. She knows that if she dies, she will come back to life as a rabid. But before that happens, a vampire finds her and gives her a choice (Interview with the Vampire, anyone?): Die as a human. Or become a vampire. Despite her loathing for the creatures of the night, Allie chooses the latter, a decision that will haunt her for the rest of the book.

After some training in the ways of the vampire, she is separated from her sire and stumbles upon a group of humans in search for the fabled place called Eden—a city without vampires. Allie joins them, passing off as a human. But spending time with the group puts Allie to the test as she struggles to cling to her humanity and fight the Hunger, which will drive her to madness if she goes too long without human blood. To further complicate things, Allie soon finds herself falling in love with a boy in the group, a boy who would kill her the moment he realizes what she really is.

The Verdict

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. This book was engaging and heart-wrenching. There was not a single thing about it that I did not like. The world building is dark, bleak, and very well-developed. I felt very connected and attached to Allie. She is one tough chick and I admired her courage and moral compass. I also loved how the author made her internal struggle so realistic, that she wasn’t always strong enough to fight her vampire nature, and that as much as she wanted to be human, she did not negate the fact that she had become a monster.

I must admit, Ms. Kawaga had me on a roller coaster ride of emotions, I laughed and cried and probably held my breath one too many times. The Immortal Rules is one of those awesome books in which I become truly invested in the characters and their story, and I just can’t get enough of them. I absolutely loved it. This is, in fact, the BEST vampire story I have ever read.

The Immortal Rules is the first book in the Blood of Eden series. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading YA fiction.

About Samantha Gillespie

Samantha Gillespie is a creative, helpless romantic who was born in Mexico, where she grew up with her family until they returned to the States at age eleven. An avid reader from a young age, Samantha finally gave into her passion for writing, making her debut with The Kingdom Within.

Samantha considered pursuing a degree in English Literature while in college but despite her family and friend’s encouragement, she opted for a more practical career in Business. Now, with the publication of her first book under her belt, she occasionally hits herself on the head for it. Samantha currently lives in Houston, TX, and besides being a sucker for romance, she has a soft spot for helpless kittens, and all things Pride & Prejudice.

THE KINGDOM WITHIN is a Young Adult fiction work by Samantha Gillespie. The book depicts the story of Meredith, a young princess who is destined into a marriage with a prince she’s never met, in order to save her Kingdom from imminent conquest. And while initially willing to do what is needed, everything changes when she is thrust into a fight for her life and love meets her from an unexpected front, causing her to question all she had prepared for, her purpose and actions.

Website:               http://www.thekingdomwithinseries.com
Facebook:              http://www.facebook.com/tkwseries
Twitter:                 http://www.twitter.com/S_Gillespie_
Book Trailer:         http://www.youtu.be/OhXVILEzHjE
Goodreads:           http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22875768-the-kingdom-within