Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hot Diggity DOG!

I've talked about my brood of animals before, right? If not, here's a refresher course.

The Star of our Blog, Jane Austen
Frisket the Dragon Slayer
Henry
Tris
Well, we've had a reasonably quiet house of pets so far. Occasionally Henry gets into it with Jane or Frisket, or Tris gets into it with Henry or Frisket. We have pretty low key pets. Frisket's the oldest at eleven years young, and Henry is the youngest, at five.

Until Now.

This last weekend, my sister got a call from our aunt in Kansas City. One of her coworkers had recently moved and couldn't keep his dog. It's a crying shame, and part of the reason I'm against Home Owners Associations (HOA). They're blaming a size and breed instead of factors that are beyond the dog's control (abusive, negelctful owners, perhaps?). This dog is half of what my sister has always wanted in a dog: English Bull Dog. The other half is a Beagle, and he's now my sister's little man.

Bosom Buddies

We have a kennel out on the side of the house from when we had two other dogs a few years back (may they rest in peace), where he's been spending his days, and he sleeps in my sister's room. Sadly, it's been super hot this week, so Oliver (That's his name) has spent mornings in the kennel and afternoons in his crate. He gets three walks a day, one of which is with Frisket, and can do one trick: Sit.

He'll learn to swim if we let him
It's been an adjustment, but he's just such a sweetheart, and keeping him on a schedule has helped him calm down a LOT. He knows that after his walk, he eats and spends time in his kennel, and spends time with the family in the evening (or at least he will, once we completely figure out the schedule).

Parched Puppy
We're also taking him to the Wabash Trail on weekends for an extra long walk, and to work on our endurance so we won't be winded when we go on our cruise in February.

It was the funniest thing on Saturday, though. My sister and I went to the pet store to get some toys for Oliver, one of which was a dragon. When we came home, she showed it to mom, who squeaked it, and Frisket went NUTS. We are talking fifty shades of cray cray here, and he was so bummed when he couldn't play with the dragon. After church on Sunday, I bought him his own dragon, which he's been shredding ever since. The squeaker didn't last the evening, and I've been the favorite person ever since.

The boy likes his squeaky toys.
It's been a good couple of days, getting to know Oliver. The cats still don't like him (obviously), and Frisket is still trying to prove he's the Alpha dog here. There's been some snarl action going on, but nothing else. Oliver just wants to play, but I think Frisket is the canine Nick Miller.

Anyway, time to get to bed. Be sure to check out my latest reviews on Blogger Girl and Fifty Ways to Leave Your Husband, both written by writer friends of mine. They're so good!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fifty Ways to Leave Your HusbandFifty Ways to Leave Your Husband by K.C. Wilder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was just coming off a chick lit high of reading Blogger Girl by fellow author, Meredith Schorr when I was looking for another book to devour, and this one came into view.
I wasn't sure what to think at first, because typically books about women in their late 30's/early 40's don't really connect with me (I'm 27), but I found protagonist Eve Woolcot to be very likeable, and personable. And I could relate to going on vacation with your girlfriends, too. Best trips ever! But what happened to Eve this time around is that her partner in crime, Tamara, of the foul mouths (typically I can't stand swearing, but as a character trait, it seemed to be a great contrast to Eve's more conservative nature) was unable to attend. Instead of turning around to go home to her most likely cheating husband, she decided a few days with a few books sounded great. It was here that she met Finn, who changed her world for the better.
For the first several chapters, I really had no idea where author K.C. Wilder was going, but after the first real obstacle hit Eve (antidepressant detox fail!), there was most definitely a flow and I couldn't stop reading! I love it when characters who are meek in personality get some back bone. It's so cathartic for me, as a reader, and that's one of the great things about well-written books: They let you sneak along for the ride, almost like a spy. Parts of the book (which Wilder admits in her author bio) were extremely graphic. Not for the faint of heart, but overall, I absolutely love this book.

View all my reviews

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ivan Mihaljevic and Side Effects

What I look for in music that I enjoy is creative themes and instrument uses. I can actually pick out bits of pieces in music that I love and memorize because I think they're so creative. I used to listen to Movie Soundtracks for the purpose of finding music that wasn't too popular because it had amazing moments.

Now Ivan Mihaljevic and Side Effects, is a group I've never heard of, like the last group I covered,  Barclay & Ichinose, and if all music that comes out of Europe is like this, then Europe is where it's at music-wise.


Source


The song I listened to the most is off their newest album, CounterClockwise, and called Driving Force. Take a listen:

I like the build up of the plucked guitar, into the driving electric guitar and drums. The lead singer, Ivan, has a great baritone and his words are clearly sung (something I appreciate), which is great when the message of the song in particular is as follows:

Our dreams are a driving force
Of our passion, only source
They should be in command of our life's course
If you don't have a goal in front of you
From my humble point of view
You feel depressed 'cause there's nothing to do

Anyone who knows me knows how I value aspirations and dreams, as they give you a reason to do something. I think it's something that all artists can get behind because if artists didn't have dreams, we wouldn't be doing what we're doing. That's the whole message behind "Driving Force." I much prefer songs with messages that are clearly defined, and that's a big reason (aside from their musical brilliance) that I can get behind it. 

I couldn't tell if the other two band members, Marko Karacic Karo (Bass) and Alen Frljak (drums) were also singing when the vocals broke up into parts, but the harmonies are amazing and interesting. If it's Ivan singing his own harmony, that's pretty epic, too. Sometimes that's the only way to get great blending.

About halfway through the song, the entire rhythm changed, and it was a bit more swingy, with a 6/8 beat, which feels like indecision of people without dreams to me (there I go, reading into music again), but with a beat like 1-2-3...4-5-6, it sounds like someone is making a decision, but backtracking, over and over again. In my experince with people without dreams (or at least without BIG dreams), this is exactly how they are: Indecisive and stuck where they are. Talk about fabulous musical painting!

I always get apprehensive when new music is recommended to me, because I'm afraid I won't like it. This is twice now that I've enjoyed what has been suggested to me. Maybe this is the world saying I need to try new things. Maybe I need to open up my musical repetoire again (I had a HUGE music collection in college!), and stop listening to the same six CDs that are in my car. 

I really can't recommend this group enough. They need to be internationally known. I hope I can help bring them to America!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Blogger GirlBlogger Girl by Meredith Schorr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kim Strong is a girl that I think I'd be friends with. She reminded me a LOT of myself. Working to get by, despite being bored to tears at my job, and kind of drifting along, not allowing anything to change. She also can hold a grudge, much like me, and cherishes her closest friends above all else, again like me. Seriously. This book was like reading a what if I'd actually moved to New York after college like I had planned.
This was a really fun story. I enjoyed the dialogue, the misadventures, and the complete change that Kim went through. I feel that's the mark of a good story: How the main character changes over the course of the entire story. How they grow, how their opinions change when given new information.
Kim's high school nemesis wrote a book, and it was a book that everyone had so far adored. Kim, a well-known chick lit blogger is reluctant to read it, as she had so many bad memories of this Queen Bee from high school. We've all been there, I'm sure. We always hope our high school enemies end up penniless in the street (Just me? Moving on...). With the push of her new boyfriend, Nicholas, and the pestering of her sister, Erin (who is obsessed with this person), she reads the book and much to her chagrin, she likes it.
This is where it really started to hit home. This is where it really started to click with me, and that's what I love about certain books: When I find the main character completely similar to where I am in life, and I learn something new about myself, as well. Bravo.
I really enjoyed this book. If I like I book, it doesn't take me long to read it. This one took me a few days (which is normal for me. I work a LOT), but I found myself picking it up every chance I got. That's definitely the mark of a good book in my opinion.
I did receive this book as an ARC, but the opinions are completely my own.

View all my reviews

Saturday, August 10, 2013

How I Made Over $42,000 in 1 Month Selling My Kindle eBooksHow I Made Over $42,000 in 1 Month Selling My Kindle eBooks by Cheryl Kaye Tardif
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was fortunate enough to get this book while it was on promotion awhile back, and I devoured it. I've read several books on marketing for indie authors, as I AM an indie author with dreams of making writing my full-time job. When I went to college for Creative Writing, they never taught us the business side of writing, or HOW we can make money as professional authors. It was frustrating, being told to get the Publishers Guide. There had to be a better way to be a writer, and be a professional writer.

This book unlocked so many hidden doors for me. There are so many options for marketing in this book, and Ms. Tardif laid them out in such a concise manner that I got really excited to continue my book series just so I could start on the writing. She made it sound...dare I say it? Fun!

Almost immediately after finishing this book, I started to put her tips into practice. I joined the writing networks she suggested, I made several professional acquaintances. My Facebook and Twitter followers have grown so much because of this. I haven't seen any additional sales due to KDP, but that's partly my own fault, as I only have one book available right now. But I'm working hard to finish the second two books in my series so I can see where these steps will take me.

Written by Rebekah Martin author of Sugar and Spies

View all my reviews

Monday, August 5, 2013

Wedding Weekend!

"When my roommate came through the door, I thought it was you, pulling a Golden Girls finale and coming back for a final goodbye!" The blogger's best friend, and short twin texted.

Self-portraits are awkward. Much like us.

"I'd have to say her for two reasons," The blogger's sister and traveling companion answered their cousin when asked who was more attractive, the cousin or his wife. "A, she's not related to me, which is a trait I always find attractive in a person, and B, she's got Boobs!" The cousin couldn't argue either point, and a memorable moment was made.

The Cousin's Daughter, and Adorable Flower Girl
"I never want to get in a car again," She said in a most ridiculous manner, as if she never would get in a moving vehicle again.

Nebraska Cornfields. Check out that sky!

"I want to see you again later this week," The chiropractor added as the blogger stood up from the adjustment table. "Your back is a mess!"

Colorado Mountains: Meteorological Irony
These are a few memorable moments from my weekend with my family out in Colorado Springs (And after, considering the visit to the chiro, which holy cow! I feel better!

Last week, my family was lamenting how sad we were that none of us could make it to my cousin, Andrew's wedding this last weekend. I'd paid all my bills for my paycheck, checked my bank balance, and decided I could afford the gas to get there as long as I could impose on the generosity of my aunt and uncle (who are two of the most generous people in the history of ever). My mom then decided that my sister had to come with, as it would be the first time all six of my grandpa's grandchildren would be together (when we were little, the youngest hadn't been born yet).

The drive was long, and my sister and I stopped off in Centennial, Colorado, to see my best friend, Lauren, who took us to Cafe Rio, a restaurant that was a cross between Qdoba and Pepperjax. I got the Salmon Taco specials, and Lauren also convinced us to try their Mint Limeade. It was so refreshing after an eight hour car trip. On our way out, we also sampled their horchata, and a shot cup of it was just enough. It was heavy, but that little cup was perfectly delicious.

Afterward, we headed down to Monument, where the rehearsal dinner, and later the wedding, was going to take place. It was a beautiful hotel, and the wedding was taking place in the back under a gazebo. There was a great view. My sister and I had a great time catching up with our cousin, Ann, who'd come up from Florida, leaving her husband and their two sons at home. We also caught up with the aforementioned generous aunt. Aside from being tired and nursing a headache from lack of sleep and a long drive, I enjoyed myself.
(L-R) Ann, Andrew, Kiri, Weston, Julie, Me
This picture was supposed to just be us, but Andrew and his son, Wes, photobombed us. Goofballs. :-)

Britney, the lovely Bride, and my uncle Jim (Her father-in-law)
The next morning, I don't know if it was the time change (Central to Mountain), or not sleeping well, but I was up at 6:30. I left my sister to sleep and went to the sitting room downstairs to read, but spent some time with my cousin's children, Wes and Shay, who were watching TeenNick.
I could get used to this view. For seriously.
When my sister got up, we made breakfast for everyone before heading over to my cousin, Joe's house, where Ann was staying, to get ready and wait for Grandpa to come pick up his girls.

Makeup is Serious Business.
Ann was funny. She's a coffee fanatic, much like me. On our way to the wedding, we were turning onto the street where the venue was and we saw a coffee shop, so we stopped. I thought Ann was going to drive over a curb to get coffee. My kind of person. ;-) But we had a nice date with grandpa. My grandpa's adorable. He seems like a tough old-school kind of guy, but give him the option to get a frou frou coffee drink, and he'll get it.
Photo by Ann
The wedding, itself, was beautiful. There were tons of stormy clouds everywhere, and it was sprinkling a lot, but when it came time for the actual wedding, it was sunny and peaceful. I think that's a good sign.

Andrew and Britney
Andrew has two children, and Britney is such a good stepmom to them. Her family welcomed them with open arms (and even us, who we'd probably not see again). Wes and Shay are two very lucky children. And some of the most polite, articulate and imaginative that I've ever met. I love seeing and talking to children like that. Gives me hope that the world isn't going to end.

The joining of two families.
Playing off their name, the wedding favors were Pez dispensers. My sister got a C3PO (that I had to steal back from a kid who stole it from underneath my sister's sweater), and I got a Goofy, which I gave to my daddy, as he loves Goofy. The cake topper were these two fun dispensers. I think these are amazing, and need to stay on display in their house. Seriously.

Viva Creative Wedding Choices!
One of the best parts of the wedding, though, was getting to see my grandfather surrounded by all of his grandchildren. It was heartwarming, and I love being his granddaughter (youngest granddaughter, I might add. LOL). He's such a sweet old man. He had to say goodbye to his longtime companion/pet, Bobby, today, but the poor puppy was old and had been sick for a long time. At least he's got a lot of people who love him to comfort him (wish I could be there for him).

Back L-R: Andrew, Joe, Danny, Ann
Front: L-R: Me, Grandpa, Kiri
On Sunday, my sister and I made the long (and I mean LONG) drive back home, by way of our mother's hometown, St. Francis, KS, to visit our grandparents' grave. It was a long drive that was completely out of our way (any by that I mean it made a longer drive than actually getting to Colorado), but it was a good drive. We had Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as read by Stephen Fry for the trip (love it!), and it was nice to zone out and focus on another world.

We haven't been to Sainty in almost ten years. Not since we lost our beloved grandmother in January 2004.

Winifred Lippert
February 23, 1928-January 1, 2004

Jackob Lippert
December 4, 1915-August 2, 1986
I cried, I admit. With seeing pictures of my paternal grandmother (who died less than a year after this one) at my aunt's house, and returning to a church holding so many memories, crying was gonna happen. As we were leaving the cemetery, happy memories came through, like Roman Candle Fights, and playing baseball in the yard (and grandma getting a homerun!). It was good to be back.

I was so glad to be home last night, in my own bed, cuddling my own cat. Jane wasn't happy I left her, but she was happy to have me back, as she's kept in view of me the entire time I've been home.

Welcome to the family, Britney, we're completely insane a lot of the time, but we're glad to have you with us.

All That Matters Now (Finding Neverland)

I've been a MASSIVE Peter Pan  fan since I can remember. Disney , Mary Martin version, I loved  this story. I actually have several memo...