Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Leek Confit

It's always great to have some simple homemade items that you can add to dishes. Leek confit is one of those items that is easy to make and keep on hand. This simple mixture can be added to mashed potatoes to give them a different flavor, or it can be used as a garnish for meat dishes. And the great thing about it is you can freeze it, and use the confit later on.

Here's What You Need

3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons olive oil
12 cups sliced leeks
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Here's What You Do

Heat your butter and olive oil in a skillet. Stir in your leeks and salt. Stir occasionally until the leeks are wilted. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes. Then store it in an airtight container.



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Corporate Citizen Review

I've had the opportunity to read several of the books in the Roma Series by Gabriel Valjan. Corporate Citizen is the fifth book in the series. And here's what I think of the book.

The Story

Bianca and her friends return to Boston to help an old friend. In this book she finds a new ally. Her new ally understands her past. And he has events that he requires he assistance with. In this book Bianca learns more about the Rendition group she works for. And she finds that she really doesn't want to work for the group any longer. But getting away from the group may be harder than she thinks.

What I Think

In the past I haven't been fans of serial books, but recently they have become more appealing to me. And as I read this book, I realized that it was like visiting with old friends. Throughout this series, the books have made me feel like I am visiting the location of the story. And this continues in this book. I love that his writing is so descriptive.

Who Should Read This Book

It's obvious if you have read other books in this series, you should read this one. If you like conspiracy stories you will probably like this book. And you don't have to read the entire series in order to enjoy this book. The story can stand alone.

The Author

You can learn more about Gabriel and his books by visiting his website.

Disclaimer

I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Giveaway



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DIY Hairbow Barrette

If you read my post last week Thrifty Finds, you know that I found some great items at the thrift store. And I absolutely love upcycled items. So here is the first of the items that are being upcycled from that thrift store trip.
I found this pretty little girls dress. I loved the fabric. So the first thing I did was take off the bow. And of course I thought this would make a great barrette.

Here's What You Need

Hot Glue Gun
Hair Clips
Hot Glue
Wax Paper

Here's What You Do

Put a piece of wax paper between your clip. Next take your glue gun and glue that bow on your clip. It's so simple, and well it cost under a dollar.

So make sure you stay tuned for more thrifty finds, and upcycled art.




Monday, November 28, 2016

Dreaming Sophia

Melissa Muldoon has a new book called Dreaming Sophia. I was so fortunate to be able to do a review of this book.

The Story

We all have dreams. And we all know that sometimes we need something to happen in order for us to truly move us toward those dreams. Sophia faces a tragedy, and then she begins slowly moving toward her dreams. She slowly moves from Southern California to the Italy. Along the way, she meets people that encourage her dreams.

What I Think

I enjoyed this book. The main reason I enjoyed this book is that it reminded me that dreams don't come true over night. I love how Sophia moves toward what she really dreams of. It's a process. And she grows along the way. She becomes the person she dreamt of being. I liked Sophia, and her courage to move ahead in life.

The Author

Melissa is the author of Dreaming Sophia.

The Giveaway



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My Christmas Wishlist 2016

So the Christmas shopping season is in full swing. And yes, I am putting together a list of items that I really want for Christmas this year. Some of them are fun, and some are practical. But if you want to send me gifts these would be totally awesome!

For some reason the feather craze has caught on with me. So I really want this comb. It's perfect, and hair items are always good for me.
I am going to be so ready for the colonization of Mars.
I so need a fox necklace to go along with that fox shirt that I bought a couple of months ago. I love the shirt and I get so many compliments on it.
Doesn't every cat person want more cat stuff?

This will go so well with that cute little dress I bought!

So this is the beginning of my list check back next week for more items that I want.





Sunday, November 27, 2016

Feeling Blue

So the other day when I went thrifting, it seems like I was really looking at blue items. It is my favorite color so it made total sense. I decided to do some photos of blue.
Let me know which picture you like the best.






Saturday, November 26, 2016

This Week I Am Thankful For

This week has reminded me that I need to be sure to let others know what it is that I am thankful. Life is so full of so many things that are wonderful. Here are a few of the things that I am thankful for this week.

Thrift Stores

Yeah, I love them. And my house is all cluttered because I love them so much, but hey I spend way less than most people on some of my thrifting addiction. And it's good for the environment. And my cat loves all the items I bring home.  Anyway, I can redecorate my house on way less than most people.

Blue

I absolutely love the color blue. It doesn't matter what shade of blue it is I always pick out something blue. All of the other colors in the rainbow, I like, but just not as much as blue.

Good Girls Revolt

I love this show. If you guys haven't seen it, you should. It's all about the ladies that worked at News of the Week in the seventies. They portray the ladies who filed a lawsuit and won because they were not allowed to move up in the news organization. The show is interesting, and I love the clothes. It is a blast from the past. And well I often forget how these ladies made life a lot easier for me.

Hair Chalk

One of my goals for the month was to get some hair chalk. I did it, and I absolutely love hair chalk. I can test out different colors in my hair. Splat is so cheap and so easy to use. I love all of the colors available. And I love that it isn't permanent. If I don't like it, it washed away the next day.



Friday, November 25, 2016

Banana Waffles

Oh, breakfast is that most important meal of the day. And we all love waffles, don't we? So why not try and make them a little more healthy.

Here's What You Need

Waffle mix
banana slices
honey
almond butter
granola
yogurt

Here's What You Do

Mix up the waffle mix as the box directs. And then put the mix in your waffle iron. Next come the toppings. Put some of the almond butter on your waffle. Follow it up with a couple of teaspoons of granola. Then arrange your banana slices. Drizzle it with honey, and top it off with a dab of yogurt.



Thursday, November 24, 2016

Those Thrifty Finds of The Week

Somehow I've been managing to fit in some extra creative time recently. It feels great. But the ideas just seem to flow right now. Even though I have to purchase a lot of items at the craft store. You know paint etc. I have found that along with my desire to create found art. Upcycled and recycled art are things I am enjoying too. So here are a few of my thrifty finds for the week.
I loved the pink fabric in this little girls dress. And it gave me an idea for some cute additions to a stuffed animals. And I got the fabric for less than a $1. Score!
A few weeks ago I did a post called Finding Some Creative Inspiration. In that I visited a local gallery to find some ideas. I also thought that I need to look around at some simple ideas. I saw this pillow case with an oriental pattern printed in it. I liked the pattern. And I plan to incorporate some of it into some of the doodles, artwork, and who knows what in my life. That's a lot for less than a $1.
Okay, so I found a snowman felt tree skirt. I loved that it has loads of blues in it. And well I really wanted the head on the Barbie doll for a project. Both were less than a $1.
I wasn't sure what I would do with tinker toys. But I knew they were a find! I love them.
I've always found that children's books are full of great illustrations. I've taught myself how to draw a few different animals from the pictures I've found in children's books. I am no great artist, but it's an inexpensive way to learn how to draw. 3 for $1.
So I've wanted to add some things to my art journal pages I've started working on. These rubber stamps are just something I could add. $3 for the set I am so lucky.







Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Music List For The Day



Black and White Thunderbird by The Delicates

Carry On by Norah Jones

Lady Blue by Leon Russell

Don't Bother Me by Scott and Charlene's Wedding


Sister by Angel Olsen

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Starting A Cottage Food Business

So you want to make a little extra money. And you know you are the best cook in the neighborhood. You absolutely know that if you could just sell some of that food to others they would be hooked.
You think that you should sell the items that you are making. You want to start a cottage food business.

What Is A Cottage Food Business?

The definition of a cottage business is a system for making products to sell in which people work in their homes and use their own equipment.

Check The Laws

Each state has different laws that govern cottage food businesses. They range from easy to complicated. The laws also tell where the foods can be sold, and they even dictate how much you can earn. So make sure you do your homework. The website www.Forrager.com has loads of information.

What You Can Sell

Most states allow for you to sell nonhazardous high acid foods. This includes preserves, pickles and salsas. And most states allow for low moisture baked goods that don't require refrigeration. So this allows all of those master bakers to get a start with their business.

Who Can Buy?

You can sell to the direct public, and in some states you can sell products through indirect or wholesale channels. So you could go to a local restaurant or food cooperative to peddle your goods for you.

Making Money

Like I said earlier, there are caps on the amount of money you can make with you cottage food business. It varies from $5,000 to $45,000. Once you've hit those limits you can continue making your food items, but you just have to look at commercial setting to produce your food.


The Breedling and The City in The Garden

Have you ever made a choice that really changed your life? That's what the book The Breedling and the City in the Garden is all about.

The Story

Bartholomew is a soul catcher. This means that he is obedient, and he must remain neutral. But one day he is faced with a choice that changes his life. He reveals an ancient secret. And there are consequences for revealing this secret. He is imprisoned. But Bartholomew is a clever guy, and after years he is able to escape to 1930's Chicago.

In Chicago he meets Charlie, an orphan who is surviving on the streets of a depressed city. He continues his mission that caused him so much trouble.

What I Think

I really liked the combination of history and magic in this book. I think that the book leans a little more toward the history part, but I believe this is the first book in a series. So I think things will develop further in the next book. I really like that the book is set in Chicago. It's probably my favorite city in the country so it appealed to me. I wouldn't classify the book as steampunk, but the combination of magic and history did remind me a little of this world.

Who Should Read This Book

If you are a fan of historical fiction, then you will probably like this book. The writer brings alive the city in the 1930's. But if you are looking for a book that is simply fantasy based you may be a little disappointed. It does have magic in the book, but I felt like it focused more on the historical aspect of the story. Maybe because it is the first in the story arc.

The Author

Kimberlee Ann Bastian lives in Minnesota. She is the author of The Element Odyssey series.

Disclaimer

I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway





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Monday, November 21, 2016

Killer In The Band

Lauren Carr has a new book in her series, Lovers In Crime. The book is Killer In The Band.

The Story

This book features JJ. He has moved in with a woman who is twice his age. She has a mystery that she wants solved, and she goes to JJ's step mom to help her. When she was in college she managed a band, but the lead singer was called. Thirty years later she decides to take advantage of the opportunity to solve the murder.

What I Think

I really enjoy reading Lauren's books because they are love stories that aren't explicit. She focuses in on the story going on. I found it enjoyable that this book focused in on a band. I am a huge music fan, and this made the story more interesting to me. It does help to have read some of the other books in this series in order to get more from it, but it's not absolutely necessary. The characters are all interesting, and the book is well written.

Who Should Read This

If you are fans of Lauren's other books you will certainly enjoy this book. If you are a fan of mysteries with a romantic base to them this book is for you. And if you are a music lover who enjoys mysteries you will enjoy this book.

The Author

Lauren is the author of numerous books, including the Mac Faraday series.

Disclaimer

I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, but the opinions are all mine.

Giveaway






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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Paper Snowflakes

This time of year paper snowflakes are really popular. It's a cheap activity for kids, and they make great Christmas decorations. But in many countries it is actually a popular and beautiful folk art.

In Germany it is called scherenschnitte. In Poland it is called wycananri. And in Japan it's called kirigami. All of them have one meaning cut paper.

Papercutting is an art and craft done by people all around the world. From the traditional and intricate designs favored by those in Germany and Switzerland to the bright "papel picado" banners of Mexico to beautiful Japanese and Chinese designs to colorful Polish birds and flowers, cut paper designs have been done for centuries.

Paper has been around for ages. And scissors have been around since Roman times.

People really started to use cut paper as a design because they couldn't afford fine paintings.

So how do you start? It's simple!

Here's What You Need

Scissors with a very fine point
Craft knife
Protective pad of newspaper
ruler, pencil, eraser
paper to cut: tissue, origami papers
background papers
mats and frames
white glue

Hints For Papercutting

Start with easy patterns. That means nothing to intricate.

If you want to mat and frame you work, it is much cheaper to begin with a standard mat and frame, then design your work to go in it.

Do not use gummed papers and some recycled papers may be difficult.

When cutting, try to move the paper more than the scissors..

For interior areas, pierce the paper with the point of the scissors, an exacto knife or even a needle.

When gluing it down, flatten your design first, even iron it lightly, then tack it to the background paper with several dots of glue. You can fill in with the toothpick and more glue as needed.

Do not rub.

And most importantly, use your imagination.







Saturday, November 19, 2016

Five Tips To Beating Those Winter Blues

The days are getting shorter, and you can't help noticing it is dark around five o'clock at night recently. And some people get those winter blues when this happens. It can be an extreme problem. Those winter blues have a medical term called Season Affective Disorder. There are a few things you can do to help yourself out when those blues start out.

Hydrate

Keep in mind that our heating systems dry out the air inside our homes. That means even though you aren't sweating, you still need fluids. The right balance of fluids helps keep our energy level stable.

Sleep

If you are like me, you just want to sleep a little longer when it's dark and dreary day. It's okay to take more naps, and sleep a little later when you have time. It's natural. And it can help you feel more rested and less stressed out. Sleep is a natural healer. Keep in mind, you should go overboard. Sleeping twelve hours every day is probably a little too much.

Sunshine

Photographers are always talking about natural light. The natural sunshine is best for lighting. In life sunshine can help you beat the blues. It doesn't matter if it is summer or winter, I always feel more energetic on bright sunny days. But the truth is just daylight of any kind can make you feel a little better in the winter. And direct contact with that light is the best.

Vitamin D

I was surprised when I visited the doctor recently, and he informed me that he likes to add a vitamin d test to all of his lab tests. He stated that it is a key factor in SAD (seasonal affective disorder). He stated that it is one of the easiest ways to treat a lot of illnesses that is often overlooked. Here's a side note many insurance companies don't pay for the addition of this to lab work. The right levels of vitamin d in your body really does help combat the winter blues. It's cheap. It's easy. And science shows that it works.

Walk

The movement is great for you. And if you can move around outdoors, you have killed two birds with one stone. Walk during lunch breaks, or earlier in the day if possible.



Friday, November 18, 2016

The Blessings of Unity

We've all seen the statistics. A little over 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Those are big numbers I think. So I thought a review of a book on  marriage might be a good idea. The book is The Blessings of Unity by Richard T. Case.

The Book

As the title suggests this book focuses in on the importance of unity in a marriage. The author talks about selfishness in marriages. He offers advice on working together, and informs readers that they need to have unity with God in order to have true unity in their marriage.

What I Think

I believe that this book is good for individuals who are already married. It shows individuals how they can strengthen their marriage. And there is a unity quiz that could see if you're pointed in the right direction. This book would also be valuable to those who are engaged or involved in a serious relationship. It's important to start off on the same page. And this book encourages readers to unify for success in their marriage.

The Author

Richard T. Case is the author of several books. You can download a free copy of his book Unshakeable through his website.

Turning To Stone

The fourth book in the Roma Series is Turning To Stone. Here is what this book brings to the series of books.

The Book

In this book Alabaster ventures to the city of Naples under the name of Bianca. She continues her work investigating financial crimes. But this time the threat comes from Camorra, the crime syndicate in Naples. Old characters from the previous books return, and a few new ones are introduced.

What I Think

As with the other books in the Roma Series, I really enjoy the authors description of the location. I know if I ever have the chance to visit Italy, I want to visit Naples. And part of that is due to what I read in this book. I really like that Bianca is a smart character. And I love the conspiracy that runs through the story. And of course I love the twists and turns of this novel. And I have to admit that the author picked a fabulous cover. That picture is just awesome!

Who Will Enjoy This Book

If you have read the other books in the Roma Series, you will enjoy this book. The story continues, but enough new characters are introduced to make it interesting. If you are a fan of conspiracy thriller books you really should look into this series, you will probably enjoy it.

The Author

Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma Series.

Disclaimer

I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, but the opinions expressed are all mine.

Giveaway





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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Homemade Skittle Lipgloss

Yes, the holidays will be here really soon. And well there are tons of those little stocking stuffers we all need to give away.  Skittle lipgloss is so easy to make, and if you have done many do it yourself projects you probably already have around your house.

Here's What You Need

a container for your gloss
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 crayon broken in half
3 skittles

Here's What You Do

Take a small pot and boil some water. Put your coconut oil, crayon and your skittles into a little bowl. Place the bowl into the boiling water. Allow the items to melt in the bowl. Take the bowl and pour the contents into the tin. Allow it to cool. And now you have a lip gloss that tastes just like skittles.



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Suddenly, It All Made Sense

I used to wonder how some things happened. Like I used to wonder why is it that some of the young men in my neighborhood wear their pants with the waist band half way down their legs.

I used to wonder why the staff at the local grocery store can encourage you to use the self check out lane when you have an entire cart of groceries. But if someone has two items the staff can suddenly go to a register and ring them up so they can get through the line quicker.

I used to wonder why is it that there are some people I work with that can just stand and talk all day. They never seem to really do anything, but if other individuals do that management seems to tell them they need to get to work.

I used to wonder how some individuals get elected to office. They just don't seem to have any sense. They just don't seem like they have their act together. They seem to say whatever pops into their head.

Then suddenly, the other day it all made sense to me. You see I saw the results of the election.
And I realized everyone has just gone mad!


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Why Being A Blessing To Others Helps You Become More Successful

Today I'm lucky I have a guest post by the author Tim Carthon. He is the author of the book Screw You, which you can learn more about after you read his fantastic post.

Being selfless is one of the most selfish things one can do.

Stay with me here.

I’d been saying this for a while, and several years ago I saw 2x NBA® Champion and now award-winning sports commentator Kenny Smith say the same thing on the award-winning TNT® show ‘Inside the NBA®.’

I just looked at the television and smiled.

You see, personally doing something positive for another (without your primary purpose for doing so
being about possibly receiving something in return) is one of the most beautiful things a human can do.

And that beauty manifests itself in extended moments of euphoria for the giver, which can become
addictive. So one has to ask themselves:

“Am I being selfless for them, or selfless for the euphoric feeling I get from it?”
When I think about success, I see it on two different levels: Business and life, and selflessness plays a
part in both.

Take the question I asked above; a question that, on a personal level, is steeped in depth.
Unfortunately, in business, the answer to that question is much less nuanced.

Businesses, specifically larger ones, show their supposed selflessness through charitable giving.
However, these companies will give to charities in hopes of:

1.) Saving on their taxes through charitable contribution tax write-offs.
2.) Getting some good PR out of it, which can potentially boost sales and, thereby, investment.

Well isn’t that selfless of them? (Do I even need to say, “Hashtag ‘sarcasm’”?).

There is a chapter in my new startup business infrastructure book, SCREW YOU! Startup Business Tips to Destroy Doubt, Especially Inside You (Tips 1-20), where I talk about how greatness is a combination of what’s in your heart and how your business can be branded.

The first thing (heart) helps people, which, in turn, spreads the positive word about you, which helps
builds the second thing (business branding). However...

...there is a hope that those acts breed a particular monetary result, and, to me, reaching success is,
ironically, a different business model.

In my model of success, acts of selflessness in and out of the office, as well as spirituality, are just as
important as your business’ bottom line. And when doing a selfless act isn’t focused on whether or not you will get something in return for it, the act itself fills you with something that money cannot buy: A Why Being a Blessing to Others Helps You Become Successful
By Tim Carthon, Startup Business Infrastructure Specialist
feeling of your very existence, as simply a sentient being, making a positive difference in someone else’s life.

So, as you can see, success equals more than corporate profits. Success equals a combination of
spiritual, personal, and financial peace and happiness, and you can’t get that from a profit-heavy
spreadsheet alone.

Regardless, whether or not you bless someone else due primarily to inherent selflessness or selfishness, the positivity from that blessing can inevitably aid in your achievement in both business and overall success in life itself.

So go out there right now and start blessing people in full Oprah Winfrey style...
“YOU get a blessing. YOU get a blessing. EVERYBODY gets a blessing!”
...and watch the success in your life spiritually, personally, and financially positively manifest and grow.




How many times in your life have you been dissuaded from following your entrepreneurial dreams due to either fear of failure (be that fear from yourself or others) or doubt due to the unknown?

Startup business infrastructure specialist Tim Carthon’s new book, SCREW YOU! Startup Business Tips to Destroy Doubt, Especially Inside You (Tips 1-20); the first in his new 5-part business tips book series, gives you streamlined, powerful tips for pivotal decision points that can make all the difference in your business and its startup outcomes.

SCREW YOU! is the quintessential ‘Break glass in case of a fear and doubt emergency’ business tips book for aspiring entrepreneurs; bringing energy to your warrior and light to the unknown so that you can tell fear and doubt “SCREW YOU!” and never let either of them rule your lives again.




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Cherry Beef With Winter Squash

So you want something that tastes a little different from the regular. You want a little adventure in your meal. And of course it would be nice if it had a healthy side to it. Cherry Beef With Winter Squash is perfect.

Here's What You Need

12 oz frozen cherries
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded diced
1 large sweet onion sliced
1/2 cup tart cherries
1 pound of stew beef
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons apple butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup of cherry juice

Here's What You Do

Place the frozen cherries, squash, onion, and dried cherries on the bottom of a slow cooker. Then place beef cubes on top of this. Next combine your tomatoes, apple butter, and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix this well. And then place the mixture on top of  your beef. Then cook in your slow cooker on high four to five hours. You know it's finished when the beef is cooked through, and the squash is tender.


Monday, November 14, 2016

It's Just So Senseless

There was recently a tragedy that happened to someone I know. Her son was murdered. When I first heard about it, I was only told that this woman's son had died. I knew her children when I was younger. So I wondered which of her children died. I found out it was her son. And I pictured him in my mind. I didn't know what he looked like before he died. I just remembered him as a child.

Then came the next question, how did it happen? I was told he was murdered. I was shocked. The first image that came to my mind was a random robbery with a gun. That seemed to be what people thought. But what we knew was it wasn't a random shooting. It was someone who knew him. Something about a stepson, but we weren't sure if it was his stepson or his step brother. But we still thought he had been shot.

While, I am still not sure of all of the details. I just couldn't ask the woman when I saw her. I didn't want to force her to relive what happened. But the one thing I learned from her it wasn't a gun that the weapon that killed her son. He was bludgeoned to death. At that time I thought about all of the people who have told me guns don't kill people, people kill people. And I had to agree with them. And when the young man's mother said it's just so senseless, I had to agree with her.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

That Other Cat

This Captain blogging today.
I am a good and charitable feline. I do not mind when my pet human shares with other felines. I am pleased that she feeds Mr. Picky Pants on a regular basis. Every feline deserves a good meal. And I do not mind if she spends a little time with him. After all, we felines do a good chin rub occasionally. But today, as I was looking through some of the pictures my pet has taken, I was surprised. I found this picture.
My human has photographed another feline. It is not at our home. What is this? Is she giving the other felines attention? And can should I be concerned about this? Other felines, please let me know what you think of this.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Places I Used To Visit

I was driving around the other day, and I saw a movie theatre I used to frequent. I used to go the movies every week. I really enjoyed going to the movies. I drove past this theatre, and I realized that all of the theatres I used to spend time at no longer exist. The buildings may still be there, but the theatres don't exist. Here are a few shots of the buildings I used to visit.