Wednesday, March 20, 2019

10 Ways to Reduce Stress or Die Trying

Hello everyone!
Every time I go to the doctor I hear the same thing--no matter what I go there for-- Are You Stressed?
To which I want to respond with a blank stare and a flat "Do you even know me?"
But I usually just say yeah.
For the past several months I've been dealing with some hormone issues, and have been doing a treatment for them, but without any noticeable results, so I googled some natural ways I can help alongside my treatment.
What I found was to take Vitamin C...check.
Take Vitamin D...check.
Take Iron...check.
Take Omega 3s...double check.
And then there it was down at the bottom of the list.
Reduce Stress.

After my initial stressful outburst I decided to give it a try and see what I can do to reduce my stress. Now, I'm no doctor, so please don't take this as gospel.
1. Start the morning off right.
Hit snooze at least eight times. Every time you hit it you're releasing more stress. Take a hot shower. The steam melts away stress as well as your skin.
Feed your bottle lamb. He's happy to see you, and you can't be stressed with a little tail wager like that.
Crawl back into the house and wrap up into a burrito, because you thought you had a fever and chills, but when you took your temperature you were actually legitimately cold. Hypochondriacs don't have stress. They diagnose it and fend it off before it can strike.  
2. Get a good scream session in.
Don't like scream at someone. Apparently being screamed at causes some people stress.Who knew?But a good scream into the void, or your pillow should do the trick. Just get it all out.  
3. Cry it out.
If screaming doesn't work, there's always the cry session to fall back on. I often tell Jarod that I just need to cry and then I'll feel better. He thinks I'm crazy, but hey, at least crazy isn't stressed.  
4. Have a good diet.
This is an excellent time of year to start a good diet. Saint Patrick's Day ushers in so many green colored options--like Mountain Dew cheesecake, and Mountain Dew brownies. Both of which will give you a heart attack, but you'll die happy not stressed, so its a winning situation.
There's also an abundance of Easter candy to be had. Anything that's pastel colored has to reduce stress, I'm certain. Happy colors.
You can also try to make your favorite meals in gluten and dairy free ways, and enjoy their cardboard texture and papery taste without the stress of worrying about your food allergies.
5. Be careful of what you take in.
It's hard to be stress free if the entertainment you're partaking in causes stress. The last book I read had a remarkably happy ending, and it only took me 336 pages of worrying everyone was going to die to get to it.
Having a toddler around helps, because you only watch happy movies. Over and over and over again. Nothing says stress free like watching Pooh Bear for six weeks, and then suddenly switching over to your own childhood favorite. It brings back memories, watching that beloved Disney film play out for the twelfth time in 24 hours.
If you've got your ABCs and 123s down pat and want to move on from Sesame Street, Netflix has you covered. I turned on The Walking Dead yesterday just wanting to watch some mindless zombies walk around grumbling, and was greeted by a lovely episode involving a town full of cannibals.
It made me really appreciate my life. No one is trying to eat me. At least that's one stress I can check off the list.
6. Spend time with friends.
It will take you six months to plan an afternoon trip, and you'll have to save up money for twice that long, but once you finally make it out the door, having rescheduled nine times, it will all be worth it and the stress will just roll off your shoulders.
Or maybe you could forget planning a fun trip and just help someone out. Maybe your husband's aunt has a bull sale coming up and your whole state got flooded and hit with a monster blizzard in the same day. Maybe there's a boatload of work to be done. Dive in and help out. Never mind that everything is different this year and no one knows what to do, and the whole situation is out of control. Just sit back and do your best. You've got a boat in the shed. You can always ferry people across the yard to the barn.
7. Go out and enjoy the weather.
Getting outside is an excellent way to lose some stress. Go out when its -27F. You won't be able to feel the stress at all. Or your toes.
If cold isn't really your thing, wait for some more spring-like weather. You could head out and enjoy your state's first inland hurricane. Or travel a couple hours and get caught in a snowdrift as tall as your house.
Wait a few days and you'll be able to venture out into more rain, and watch without stress as the ruts in the driveway get deeper, and the river keeps on rising.
The outdoors is a wonderful place.
8. Enjoy your hobbies.
You gotta take some time out to have fun. Write a story. Especially one where the story world should be vivid, the characters need purpose, and you don't actually know where the plot is going. Takes all the stress right out of it.
Listen to music, or play it. Happy, upbeat stuff. Nothing that involves screaming, guitar solos, or has a tune that puts you in mind of the drums of war.
Dream about gardening in that plot that is knee deep in mud and has a tree laying in the middle of it.
Enjoy the little things.
9. Get good sleep.
Don't send your husband off to bed because he's so tired he can't stand up and then stay awake with the toddler. Especially not if you're going to realize and hour later that the kid has been asleep in your lap for a while and you somehow went from looking at home décor on Pinterest to weird animal skeletons people have stumbled upon in the woods. It's especially helpful to start your sleep wellness journey during daylight savings time.
10. Just don't be stressed.
It's pretty simple. Just don't do it. Every doctor, chiropractor, and google article has been trying to tell you. Listen to them. Throw away anything that brings you stress. It'll be worth it.
When you're sitting in your nice padded room, with no nasty food, edgy movies, or conflicting schedules, you will look back on all the things that used to stress you and smile, because you've arrived.
I hope this helps someone, or at least gives them a good laugh.
Because laughing is the opposite of stress, and we don't want stress.
Stress causes low hormones, and low hormones cause headaches, and headaches cause stress.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Sky In The Deep book review

Hi guys! 

So I’ve decided that February was generally awful and best to be forgotten, so I’m just going to skip doing a monthly update on it and move on. I’ll tell you what I’m up to at the end of March. 

Until then, I want to review Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young.

Here’s Goodreads’ take on it. 

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating. 

If that doesn’t sound fantastic then I’m not sure we can be friends anymore ... just kidding. But seriously. 

This book gets a five star rating from me. I devoured it in two days, and have fallen in love with the cover. It says Breathe Fire, guys. How cool is that? It’s pretty much become my new motto. 

The characters were fantastic. Eelyn is such a boss, but I didn’t find her overly macho or masculine. I guess that might be due to the fact that she’s not special. By that I mean, all the women in the clans are warriors. The men don’t look at any of them and think “wow, they’re a warrior.” All of them are, so it doesn’t draw unnecessary attention. Eelyn makes mistakes and carries guilt, and sometimes she does reckless things, but then she learns from them, and I greatly appreciated that. 

Fiske is hands down my favorite, which will come as no surprise to anyone. This book just broke stereotypes left and right. To start with you think Fiske is going to be the dark, brooding type, but then we meet his mom and little brother and he’s just such a sweetheart to them, and even amidst capturing Eelyn he’s still looking out for her, even if it’s an odd way of doing it. His brotherhood with Evelyn’s brother Iri is perfect and really opens the door for all the character development that takes place throughout the rest of the book. No one would survive without Fiske and Iri, essentially. 

The characters are all so different and colorful. Evelyn’s dad, her fighting partner, Iri’s love interest, and Fiske’s little brother and mom. They bring in the perfect blend of gentleness, strength, sass, silliness, and wisdom. 

The story itself is breathtaking. It’s a relatively small book, but I was completely immersed in the story world and culture. Eelyn’s world is fictional, but it felt so real. Like it could have just been hidden away in the hills in Europe somewhere. 
The pacing is great, with all kinds of action interspersed with just enough calm times to not get overwhelming. 
There were so many great themes and topics in there as well. Family, forgiveness, and general humanity. I hesitate to say racism, because this book was definitely not a soap box. It was a just a great story. But both clans do learn that they’re all just people—the same. 

A note on content. This was a pretty clean book, in my opinion. Given that it’s not really a Christian book, and it’s about warring clans, I thought it might be pretty rough, and was pleasantly disappointed. 
This is about Vikings, so there is plenty of violence. I didn’t find it overly gory, but I already know I have a higher violence threshold than some people, so just keep that in mind. For the most part, the violence takes place in intense battles where everything is happening too quick to really describe it, but there is one instance of torture where things get a little more descriptive. 
While she’s captured an guy tries to hit on Eelyn, and when she refuses he takes her shirt and ties her to a tree to freeze to death, but nothing else happens. 
Later in the book there’s a spot where Fiske takes off Eelyn’s shirt, and then the chapter ends. So it’s implied things happened, but nothing is shown or talked about. 
And lastly, there is talk of the clans’ gods, and various prayer rituals they have. I didn’t pay it too much mind, but someone else might not like that, so just know it’s in there. 

So that about covers it. I thought it was an excellent book, and I can’t wait for the stand-alone that is coming out about one of the side characters. 

Have you read Sky In The Deep yet?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Hey Soul, We're Gonna Be Happy

Hi guys.
Gonna go deep today, so buckle up.
Mid January I had pretty much had it. There has been some ongoing family drama that I won't get into, but just know it has been going on a long time, with multiple attempts at resolving it that have gotten nowhere. Because of all that I was sad, angry, and generally deeply bitter.
I was very raw about it, to the point where even a casual mention of the person's involved would send me into a complete brooding rage for the rest of the day.
I'm sure I was an absolute stinking pleasure to live with.
Such a pleasure that I got sick of myself even.
I was tired of being angry. I remember telling Jarod one afternoon that I'd tried. I'd tried talking it out and just letting go of the anger, tried talking to people like my pastor, and tried pouring out all those frustrations to God, but nothing was working.
I don't remember the exact words he said, but it was something along the lines of
Quit trying.
And something just clicked in my little pea brain.
I had tried.
But I don't have that kind of power.
So I pulled out my poor neglected Bible. Gonna be honest here guys, my prayer life is pretty good. I pray a lot throughout the day. But my Bible gets left in the weeds way too often.
I found a notebook and a nice pen (essential) and started thumbing through the pages.
I never know where to read in the Bible.
But I turned to Psalms because I thought--
David was about as human as it gets. He had a temper, he had struggles, and he had enemies. He hit some of the lowest lows.
He also had the highest highs, and was a man after God's own heart.
So since January 24th I've been reading a few Psalms first thing in the morning and writing down any thing that really stuck out at me. And it didn't take me long to notice a trend.
David always did the same thing when he started feeling down.
David wasn't afraid to express his emotions, no matter how raw.
David always left those emotions at the feet of God and left happy and rejoicing.
I wanted that last part. Happy and rejoicing.
I wanted Henry to always see a smile on Mommy's face, and Jarod to come home to someone that is a delight to be around.
So I set out looking for how to get that happiness.
And you know, it's pretty simple.
You just do it.
Trust God, ask him for that joy, and purpose in your heart to be joyful.
And here I thought it was rocket science.
Here's some of the verses I found that really stuck out to me. I don't know if any of you struggle with anger like I do, or depression, moodiness, bitterness, discontent. But I found hope in these verses, and maybe someone else will too.
Psalm 1:1-2
Blessed (I heard a pastor one time say that when the Bible says blessed you can substitute happy) is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law does he meditate day and night.
How refreshing to know that I don't have to go seeking to the far reaches of the earth. My delight is in God's word (sitting right on my table) and that will cause me to be Blessed (happy).
Psalm 4:7a
Thou hast put gladness in my heart,
God put it there. David didn't have to go chasing after it in his own power.
Psalm 5:11
But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful.
Be joyful, guys! Trust in God. He's the one who defends us. I don't have to defend myself, or wonder what I did to deserve bad treatment. He's on it. I can praise him and be happy.
Psalm 13.
I'm not going to type this one all out, so go read it. But I love this one.
It starts out sad, and honestly, almost a little whiney. There's some self pitying going on here.
And Maddie said, Amen! I can totally relate to that. That's me.
But David doesn't stay in that mood.
No, it takes about four verses, and then he trusts in God. And that trust turns into singing and rejoicing. Because God has blessed him. I want to be able to be in a tough situation (mine's not even that tough compared to what David had going on--people chasing him, wanting to kill him) and look through the bad and see God has blessed me.
Psalm 16:8-9
I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth:my flesh also shall rest in hope.
I'm not even gonna pretend that I set the Lord always before me, but I want to. I've been in my Bible almost every single day sine January 25th, and I'm so much happier. Not a giddy, silly happiness. Just a calm, contentment. And it's nice. I mentioned a few posts ago that I wasn't sleeping, and I'm 100% sure it had to do with my attitude. But that's gone away lately, along with the nightmares, and it's been great.
Psalm 19:8a
The statues of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart:
This Bible is right, and my day goes way better when I start it out in his Word. As the stay at home mom, my attitude kind of dictates the household. I'm the captain of the ship as it were. (Or maybe the first-mate. Jarod's captain, and while he's away I'm left in charge.) If my attitude is right, Henry's is way more apt to be good, and Jarod can come home to a peaceful household full of rejoicing hearts.
Psalm 28:7
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him
Psalm 31:7a
I will be glad and rejoice in they mercy:
God has given us so much mercy, and here David just up and said I will be glad. Not I want to be, or I wish I was. He purposed in his heart to do it.
Psalm 37:4&8
Delight theyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
Those sound like choices to me. Do delight in the Lord. Be completely happy in your place with him.  Do stop being angry. Abandon wrath. Don't wish for it. Don't wait for it. Get it done.
 Psalm 39:1
I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
I don't know about you, but when someone hurts me or makes me mad, my first instinct is to mouth off and let them know they didn't get to me.
In my family we call it 'The Morrow Way' but it's actually a really bad way. And I know I said at the beginning that I don't have the power to control my reactions, but that was only the half truth. I don't have the power in myself to control those things. But we see all through Psalms how David took his troubles and reactions to them to God, and then, in God's power, he was able to say I'm going to watch my mouth, I'm going to be happy, I'm going to stop being angry. I want to be able to stand with my enemies and smile and control my tongue.
Kill them with kindness.
Normally I just focus on the kill part of that, because it makes me feel better. Like even when I'm being nice, I'm getting back at them. But I don't want to be that way. I want to just focus on the kindness part.
Psalm 57:7-8
My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltry and harp: I myself will awake early.
I've been trying to wake up early and get my Bible reading done before anyone else, so I can start off my day fixed on God and already in the mood to praise him, so I'm ready when the craziness of life sets in.
Psalm 59
This is another long one that I'm not going to type all the way out, but if you read it you'll notice that David has some detailed, violent descriptions about the people who are after him, and some very violent prayers to God about dealing with them. And then after all the bloody poetry, he comes back around to praising God, because he is our defense.
And I took away that it's ok to have emotions. Even violent bloody ones. I'm sure David wasn't calmly calling down destruction on his enemies, with a bright happy smile. I'm sure there was passion and emotion going on. Sometimes I think I have to clean up my emotions before I can take them to God. That he can't see me upset, and angry, and a hot mess. But God made my emotions. He didn't make me to bottle up and boil inside. He made them to be brought to him, so that he could be our calming refuge and bring us back around to a state of mind that can joyfully worship and praise him.
Psalm 63:5
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
Psalm 65:4
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in they courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of they house, even of they holy temple.
Psalm 68:19
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the god of our salvation. Selah.
He loads us with benefits every day, guys.
Psalm 71:8
Let my mouth be filled with they praise and with they honour all the day.
We can pray to God and ask him to fill us with that joyful praising spirit.
I saved the best for last. I love this verse. It's found in Psalm 42:5 and 43:5, so David must have liked it too.
It says in chapter 42: Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.  
And in 43: Why are thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Guys, he literally asked his soul why it was upset and discontent, and told it to buck up, because he was still praising God. I want that attitude. I want to be able to tell my own soul to cheer up and praise the God who made it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Within These Lines Book Review

Hello guys!
Today I’m doing a book review for Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill. I received an ARC copy, and let me just say, I could barely set it down. I was cooking while reading this book. It is amazing.

Now, before I go too crazy gushing, this is what it is about according to Goodreads.
Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family in 1941 is everything it “should be” until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find a way to be together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Taichi and his family are forced to give up their farm and move to an internment camp.

Degrading treatment makes life at Manzanar Relocation Center difficult. Taichi’s only connection to the outside world are treasured letters from Evalina. Feeling that the only action she can take to help Taichi is to speak out on behalf of all Japanese Americans, Evalina becomes increasingly vocal at school and at home. Meanwhile, inside Manzanar, fighting between different Japanese-American factions arises. Taichi begins to doubt he will ever leave the camp alive.

With tensions running high and their freedom on the line, Evalina and Taichi must hold true to their values and believe in their love to make a way back to each other against unbelievable odds.

Doesn’t that sound good?? And it’s even better in reality. Now for my review.

Five stars. Hands down. 

The characters: The characters were all so vivid and unique and I loved them. Taichi is gentle and sensitive, and completely opposite of what my favorite male leads usually are, but goodness did I love him. He’s got such a calm strength hidden inside him, and his love for Evalina is priceless. 

Evalina is a perfect spitfire, and I love how her Italian heritage ties into the story. Especially early on when she is scared to speak out against injustice because of what people would associate with her last name.

The secondary characters are great as well. Diego is a favorite and not gonna lie, I just about had a heart attack on account of him, but I survived. Taichi’s sister also rates high on my beloved characters list.
They were all so good. 

The story: The whole entire story is pretty much quotable. There were so many good lines and concepts woven into the story, as evidenced by all the graphics included with this post.
The story was sweet and heart wrenching, and nerve wracking all at once. I didn’t know what was going to happen, who was going to be ok, or how it was all going to turn out.
But the theme. You guys, the theme. There is such a huge underlying message in this book. Not to say it was preachy or anything, but definitely impactful. There is so much truth in this book that could be applied to how people react to situations in our country today. I knew the Japanese people were relocated during the war, but I didn’t know the extent of the injustice, and I'm sure the reality was even more drastic than what fit in the pages of this book. It was terrible, and I think everyone needs to read this and then go brush up on their history and take it to heart. 
The hook line for this book is Brave enough to care, and bold enough to act.
And I think that’s just perfect.

Also, if this review has served to get you properly hyped up to read it, Within these Lines releases March 5th, and there are goodies available to anyone who preorders.
Here’s the details.

Preorder before March 5th and receive 
A digital poster inspired by the theme of the book, “Be Brave Enough To Care, And Bold Enough To Act”
A Behind The Book story by Stephanie Morrill about how the idea was formed and what was going on as she wrote it.
A Readers Discussion guide you can use with your book club.
A personal video message from Stephanie. 

To receive the bonus items, just email a proof of purchase to!

So go on! Get a copy of it! I just saw the hard cover version on Facebook and it’s gorgeous. #hardcoversforthewin
Promo Images  By Blink

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A Heart-Shaped Box of OTPs Tag

Hi guys!
So I stumbled on this chocolate covered romantic linkup and since it’s still February, I thought it would be fun.
Check here to see the other posts in the linkup.
The object of the game is to select an OTP (one true pairing—those characters you love to ship together) to represent each type of chocolate in a box of valentine’s candies. They can be from books, movies, TV shows, whatever. Sound fun? Alright. Here we go.

1. Original Chocolate Heart - The OTP that started it all
Here we run into the problem of I’ve always been a hopeless romantic so I don’t remember which was the first. But I would guess Peter Pan and Wendy.

2. Dark Chocolate - The OTP with the most drama
They’re all very dramatic, but gonna go with Will Herondale and Tessa Gray from the Infernal Devices for this one. Tessa is fine, but Will brings enough drama to the relationship for both of them—if not more. He is, after all, cursed.

3. Caramel Filled - The OTP that's simple and sweet
Robin Hood and Maid Marian. I’m partial to the Disney version, but really any of them will do. Their story isn’t simple, but their love is. They aren’t fighting each other, or squabbling all the time. They just love each other and that’s that.

4. Raspberry Chocolate - The forbidden-love OTP
Murtagh and Nasuada from The Inheritance Cycle. Not gonna lie, I hated this pairing through most of the series, but then toward the end of the last book I warmed up to the idea. As long as he loves her from a distance.

5. White Chocolate - The odd OTP you still somehow manage to love
Mir and Eva from Monster. This one is just a little odd because there is so much Mir doesn’t know, so Eva has to balance out being his mom/teacher/girlfriend, but oh they do it so well.

6. Peanut Butter Chocolate - The OTP everybody and their sisters ship
Bellamy and Clarke from The 100. Why don’t they just kiss already???

7. Cherry-Filled - The OTP that you fear no one knows about
Charlie and Monroe from Revolution. I know she’s like half his age, but it was there. You cannot convince me otherwise. And by golly, they would have ruled the world.

8. Chocolate with Almonds - The fun and nutty OTP
Not gonna lie, I shipped Alice with Hatter like crazy. But alas.

9. Chocolate with Coconut - The OTP who came from different backgrounds
Katara and Zuko from Avatar the Last Airbender. Why are my OTPs destined for failure??

10. Mint Chocolate - The OTP you'll love until you die
I really truly hate mint chocolate, so this category bugs me, but Eelyn and Fiske. They are perfection. Absolute perfection. Which I'll get into more in a week or so when I review this baby.

Extra Large Box of Chocolates

11. Orange Creme - The OTP you never expected to love
Daryl and Carol from The Walking Dead.
12. Salted Caramel - The OTP who worked the most on their relationship
Taichi and Evalina from Between these Lines. (It's available for pre-order now, by the way, and you get perks) Boy did they work. And it was gorgeous.

13. Chocolate Covered Raisins - The young OTP you know will work out one day
Mike and 11 from Stranger Things (Viewer discretion advised). They were the only teeny boppers I could think of that I’ve ever shipped.

14. Chocolate Jalapeño - The OTP that can't be together but you ship it anyways
Gale and Katniss from The Hunger Games. It should have been, man. Should have been.

15. Ferrero Rocher - The best dressed/best looking OTP
Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows. Their looks could kill, but they look mighty fine.

16. Chocolate Covered Coffee Bean - The energetic OTP that keeps you on your toes
Piper and Mariano from The Lost Girl of Astor Street. Piper just goes from one thing to the next and he takes it all in stride.

17. Chocolate Dipped Strawberry - The OTP that's just absolutely adorable
Kili and Tauriel from the movie Hobbit. He’s got the spunk of a ten foot dwarf.

18. Chocolate with Nougat - The OTP full of fluff and nonsense
I...I don’t read fluff. I don’t watch nonsense. My OTPs are all drenched in blood...Larry and Barbara Manatee

19. Chocolate with Walnuts - The OTP with the bumpiest relationship
Damon and Elena from The Vampire Diaries.
 Bumps seem like an understatement, but yeah. They had some bumps.

20. Chocolate Butterscotch - The OTP with the best banter
Tris and Four from Divergent. They kill me. So does their author, coincidentally.
Who is your favorite OTP? Do they actually get together? Do they live??
I want to hear!


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Five Ways to Rock Valentine's Day

Hi guys!
Growing up, Valentine's Day was always a big deal. Us kids would work on our homemade valentines for weeks ahead, specially tailoring them to each member of the family. We had some crazy designs, let me tell ya. Pop ups, 3-D, cut outs. Mom and Dad always got us candy, and it was great.
Then for a few years when I was a teenager, Valentine's Day sucked. No boyfriend, and all that.
Then me and Jarod had our first date (on Valentine's Day--which he didn't realize) and got married and suddenly Valentine's Day took on a whole new meaning. We tried to get away on actual dates the first couple years. Which didn't happen. Jarod is the only married person on the ranch, and I think sometimes everyone else forgets that I need to spend time with him too, lol. Obviously I spend time with him as much as I can while he's working, but sometimes it just doesn't pan out with Henry, plus, sometimes a person needs something more romantic than chasing cows on a 4-wheeler.
So last year we beat the system. My mom took Henry all day for us and I went out with Jarod. We worked a lot, but then later in the afternoon we just disappeared for a few hours. We stopped and got ice cream at Subway, then just took off driving. We didn't go anywhere, or see anything great, but just being away with the two of us was the best.
This year I'm taking charge of the day and I've got a nice couple hours planned, and it should be great. So, without further ado, here's my tips on how to enjoy Valentine's Day, be you a single pringle, or an old married couple.
1. Shut off the phone.
Like, totally off. Pull the SIM card if you have to. Break it in half. You only want good distractions today. (Like the next season on Netflix, or an unexpected kiss) There is nothing worse than just sitting down to watch a movie, all snuggled up on the couch, and then the phone rings. You want to see me come unglued, get me comfy and then call.
2. It's all about the food.
No matter your relationship status, you cannot go wrong with food. And Valentine's Day is about love. So find food that makes you feel loved. I feel loved when I don't have to cook a gigantic meal. So get the popcorn, the fruit and dip, salami and cheese. Easy, yummy, comfort food. Granted, I am going to make a nice supper tomorrow, but it's something we both love, that is super easy to make. I can just pop it in the oven and curl up while it does its thing.
3. Drinks.
Can't have food without drinks. Which is why my fridge is full of Code Red Mountain Dew. Red, because it's Valentine's Day.
4. Entertainment.
Whether it's just you, or two, you can't just sit on the couch all night eating popcorn. Well...I mean you could. But something to go along with is better. Grab a good book, turn on Netflix. OR buy a box of popcorn with a free Redbox coupon on it and get a rental. That's what I'm doing. It doesn't even have to be a romantic movie. I'd take Jason Bourne over most romances any day. There's a kiss in there somewhere. That's romantic.
5. Defend that time.
If you have a special someone, this is important. Healthy families need some quality time spent together for no other reason than to be together. Not to work. Not to go shopping. Just. For. Fun, Carve that time out for one another. Violently if need be. The only reason Jarod shouldn't be home tomorrow evening is if something is on fire. And frankly, he's no fireman, so even then I'm a little skeptical.
So there you have it! What do you do for Valentine's Day? Do you have any fun plans for tomorrow? What are you reading or watching?

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Fawkes- Book Review

Remember, remember the fifth of November.
Hi guys! I finished Fawkes by Nadine Brandes two days ago, so here is my official thoughts on it.

What Goodreads has to say:
Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.
What I have to say:
I really liked this book. While I'm no stranger to historical fiction, historical fantasy was new to me. I can't think of any other book I've read that took real events and put a magical spin on them. It was very cool.
While I don't actually know a lot about the real Gunpowder Plot, the historical and fantasy aspects seemed to meld together really well.
Emma was fantastic, and took me totally by surprise. I knew something was up with her from the first time she walked onto the page, but had no idea what.
All of the characters were wrapped in mystery. I was really drawn in by all the plotters, trying to figure out what was making each of them tick. Guy Fawkes especially intrigued me, and I loved how delightfully creepy and passionate he was.

White Light was hilarious, and I loved all the parts where it spoke.
Really, my only complaint, and the reason I gave it four stars, is Thomas. I had a really hard time connecting with him for about half of the book. He seemed a little whiney to me (which granted, as I read on, I think he was supposed to be that way). He did eventually shape up, and turned into a character I could really root for, so I definitely didn't hate him, and by the end of the book he was pretty boss, I just wish it hadn't taken quite so long.
All in all though, definitely worth the read. It is 100% clean, and a really neat twist on real events.
 Have you read Fawkes yet? What did you think?