Mental Dumbbells – August 2012

Truth be told I read a lot of books this month, but I’m not going to share them all right now. I’m currently working on starting my own business, and redesigning the CMD website, both of which are new ventures to me. So in turn, I’ve been reading dozens of books about WordPress, web design, and small businesses. I think it will probably be a good idea to do a separate post with my thoughts on those books at a later date.

When I take those out of the mix, I finished 3 books this month. 


Turn to Me (Kathleen Turner Series)

Last month I read the first book of this series, No Turning Back. I liked the story so I followed up with the second (the third is coming out in December). The author did a good job of picking up where the first book left off. There is plenty of action right up front and the story builds on the love triangle to the point where I can’t wait to read the third book. I’m rooting for the other guy. 


72 Hours (A Thriller)

This was a surprise winner. I borrowed it from someone else who I believe got it for free via the site I shard in this post. The premise is a man on death row tells the world that he’ll pay millions to whoever kills a specific woman. As you can imagine, everybody comes after her. It was an interesting concept for a story and well told. LOTS of action and it draws you in from page one. I think I finished this book in one afternoon.


To Be A Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5-K Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place)

Running does not come easy for me, it never has. Lately the idea of running at all has been…blah, but I have a half marathon in 6 weeks so I’m trying to boost my motivation. I picked this book up on a whim while I was walking past the sports aisle at the bookstore. Overall I really liked this book. the author was entertaining and I loved some of the life lessons mixed in with his stories. It didn’t fully inspire me to get those running shoes back on, but in reality, that’s something I have to do for myself. 


Refreshing A Feature Art Wall

Happy Thursday! I hope everyone’s week is going well.


Even though I moved inland 2 years ago, it still amazes me how quickly the weather can change out here. When I lived in Orange County, weather was mild. Now I live an hour inland, and today we went from 100 degrees, hot and sunny to a severe thunderstorm warning. A cloud has literally unzipped over my house. I love the rain so I don’t mind much, but the wind has been causing a bit of havoc and I’ve never heard thunder this loud. Before I realized that the storm had hit, wind caused my blinds to knock over a vase, shattering glass all over my kitchen and living room. Needless to say we’re stuck indoors so it was time to tackle a project that’s been on my list for a while.

[We’re also intermittently losing power so I’m not sure when this post will go up, but hopefully it does post on Thursday. If not, then ummm…HAPPY FRIDAY!]

Months ago I bought a set of numbered art prints from the same person who created the calendar I used in the Letterpress Journal. The artist was doing a deal where you got one print free if you bought two. Since I wanted the the set of three anyway, I went for it. The prints came from France, and with shipping, I think they cost me about $120. Certainly not cheap, but I loved them so much, it was well worth every cent.


After spending quite a bit of time staring at blank walls around the house, I decided this little alcove would be the perfect place. This oil painting is pretty, but it just wasn’t working for me.

Custom Art Wall

However, the space is perfect for displaying art since it has a built in lighting. Just imagine I swapped out that ugly yellow lighting for  a pretty chandelier in the near future.

Custom Art Wall

Before I show you the after shots, let’s take a side step. My first job was at Aaron Brothers (an art supply and framing store) as a sales person. I worked there throughout high school and college and over time transitioned to certified framer and later to a key holder. Looking back it has been my favorite job to date, but that’s not really the point. The point is that I cannot bring myself to pay for framing since I know how to do it myself. I’m referring to the matting in particular which can get ridiculously expensive.

Tip: I also know that their penny sales are always in January and July, so if you need multiple frames, pick them up during that sale where you can get the 2nd frame for just a penny. In addition to the three fames for this project, I picked up three more for other projects, and the grand total was just under $100. 6 large frames for $16 each is a great deal when they all were marked at about $40+ each before the sale.

Custom Art Wall

To mat them myself I picked up a 2 full size mat boards, in Ash, from their framing department for $28. For less than $30 I was able to mat all three prints and I’m left with enough scrap for quite a few more prints.

Tip: You can have their framing department cut down the boards to any size you want, usually for free. I had them cut me 3 pieces of 20×28 from the 2 boards which saved me time (and space since full size boards would be a tight fit in my little car). In most cases they will cut them down for you for free; however, if they do charge you, it shouldn’t be anymore than $.25 a cut which is still a good deal.

Tip: ALWAYS take the scrap/extra, if they don’t give it to you, ask for it. If you’re paying for the whole board, you should get the whole board, regardless of what they cut for you. Unless it’s just sliver sized pieces, you can use them for a variety of things at home.

Custom Art Wall

I didn’t take any pictures of the matting process, but if anyone thinks it would be helpful, I’d be happy to write up a tutorial. I have the Logan Model 301-S Compact Mat Cutter at home, which is a good model to do small scale matting. It’s inexpensive and easy to use.

Tip: Clamp the mat cutter to the table using inexpensive hardware store clamps to keep it from shifting while you are cutting. If you have a very steady hand you can buy a Hand Held Mat Cutter and use a ruler to cut the mat. Unfortunately, my hand isn’t steady enough to use this method, but others have success with it.

Custom Art Wall

Once the art was matted and framed, the last step was to get it up on the wall. Turns out that wall is really tall and my ladder is not, so it took a little creative thinking to get up high enough, but it worked. I won’t show you what I rigged up, since it was a ‘don’t try this at home kids’ trick, and I don’t want to give my mom a heart attack.

Custom Art Wall

*I fixed the wrinkling you see in the below picture.

Custom Art Wall

So much better than the oil painting.

Next up, I plan to paint the wall behind the art a shade of grey and replace the recessed canned lighting with a pendant or chandelier. 

Custom Art Wall



*Mat Cutter links are affiliates.

I’m Feeling Inspired – Back To School Photos

When I was little we took a picture every school year out by a tree near our garage. They were simple but cute, and are a great memory. I plan to do something similar once I have kids since it’s so great to have a yearly photo journal as the little ones grow up. These days, parents are getting fancy, and I’ve seen some adorable (and clever) photos around Pinterest for back to school.

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Did you take pictures every year? Do you have anything fun planned for your kids this year?


Here are some of my favorites…


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Life Lesson – Up At Dawn

Good Morning All!

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I am, without a doubt, a night owl. I don’t like getting up early and when I do, I often feel groggy. Sure, I get a lot done, but the entire time I’m being productive in the early hours, I’m dreaming about taking a nap or going back to bed. I’ve also learned that sleep is incredibly important to me, so I try very hard to get between 7 and 8 hours each night.

However, when I recently took over new projects at work I quickly became overwhelmed. I’d get up at 7:30 and grab some food, take care of the pup and sit down to work. I’d find myself sitting in this same spot for the next 9+ hours, with a little break here and there for food. One downside of working from home is the vanishing line between work and life. It’s too easy to grab food from the kitchen and eat it back at my desk, and so on. After work, I’d feel rushed to get out the door to walk the dog, find sometime for myself to relax, eat dinner, and still get a workout in somewhere before going to bed.

So a few weeks back I had a revelation that if I shifted my work day by just one hour, I could get more done in the morning and not feel sleep deprived. After a little time to transition into the new plan, I have started getting up at about 6:45 each morning (without an alarm!), taking my dog for a long walk, finishing my workout, eating breakfast and grabbing a quick shower. All before I sit down to start work at 9am.

My usual schedule was to work from 8-5pm. However, starting work at 9am works so much better for me since my boss works late hours and is more likely to call me at 5pm rather than 8am. I also end the work day much less stressed (about life at least) than before. Now at about 6pm I try to shut down my computer for the night and I won’t have to run out the door with the dog since had his long walk in the morning. I can actually take more time to cook a healthy dinner, read a book, work on house projects, or run errands.

How I transitioned to getting up earlier.

  • Change slowly – For the course of a few weeks, I started going to bed earlier. Sometimes I would read if I wasn’t quite tired enough, but most of the time I was out like a light shortly after my head hit the pillow. I think we’re all so trained to do more all the time, that we don’t really realize how tired we are. My alarm is now set at 7am everyday, but I often wake up before it goes off which is a nice way to start the day. Don’t try to change your sleep pattern in one night or you’ll crash at some point, hard. Take a week or two to make the change and it will seem much easier to stick with long term.
  • Workout in the morning –  Even if it’s only 30 minutes, it’s amazing how much of a boost it gives you throughout the day. Not to mention the fact that there’s no stress about fitting in your workout when life gets busier as the day goes on.
  • Relax a little  – One thing I miss when I’m stressed is a relaxing morning routine. Find a favorite routine and really enjoy it each morning. Maybe it’s sitting in the backyard with a cup of coffee and the newspaper, or perhaps you prefer to stay cuddled up in bed with a cup of hot chocolate and a full blog reader. Whatever the case may be, find something you love and learn to enjoy the quite moments in the morning.
  • Get Ready – This step is really more targeted to those that work from home. My office is right down the hall from my bedroom which is both convenient and annoying. On the bad days, I find that I often get up and go straight to work, yes, in my PJs sometimes. The simple act of getting dressed, showered, and putting some makeup on, makes a huge difference to how I feel going into my work day. Being more presentable makes me feel more in control and I find I’ve had a better day when I put in the effort.
  • Eat Breakfast – Start your day off right, enough said.


Does it always work? As with all things in life, everything has it’s ups and downs. Case in point, I started the above portion of the post a few weeks ago and I’ve slipped lately. Work has eaten more and more time from my life so it’s been harder to get up in the morning. Especially when coworkers think that 7am is an appropriate time for conference call (once in a while is fine, but please not everyday). However, when I stick to the plan, it does work amazingly well. So a goal over my upcoming vacation is to get back into a healthier schedule that isn’t so dependent on work hours.


On a side note:

A few people have asked where I’m going on vacation. Truth is, I’m not going anywhere. It’s more of a stay-cation of sorts. I just need to mentally unwind and decompress, so aside from a few visits to family or friends, I’ll be home. I have a few projects lined up and I hope to be posting throughout the week. I decided against spending the money to go somewhere, when I know that I really just need to shut down the work computer for a while and get my sanity back.



Any early birds out there? What are your tips to start the day off right?

A Few Of My Favorite Things This Weekend

I’ve been staring at the screen all day trying to put this past weekend into words. However, my brain stopped working when I was forced into an early morning work call today, so nothing witty is coming to mind. So I’ll simply say that I LOVED this past weekend.

We’ll just zoom past work on Friday, because that is most certainly not awesome…but the project I worked on that night was incredibly awesome. I finally got around to cutting the mats for some art I bought a while back. I’ll do a separate post on these, but all three pieces are different and BEAUTIFUL. I went with a neutral dark grey mat to set off the colors. I can’t wait to show you the finished art wall. 

Thank you little puppy for the photo-bomb. I swear, that camera comes out and he just parks his butt right in frame.

Saturday involved a trip down to San Diego to pick up my 5K bib and drinks at a Mexican Restaurant. That Strawberry Margarita was delicious, as were the 3 bowls of chips we ate…ahem…before dinner. Carb loading at it’s finest.

Even though I had my phone in my hand for the entire 5K, I took a grand total of 0 pictures. I was too busy talking to my friend who did the 5K with me. For those keeping tally, that means I get to cross something off the 30 in 30 list. I’ve officially finished a 5K with a friend! Although I was a little bummed that we didn’t get medals, but I suppose the chocolate milk and coconut water was an acceptable replacement.

The rest of my Sunday was spent chatting with my friend and shopping with my mom. By the way, GAP has some really cute workout gear right now (and it’s 30% off online through 8/21/2012).

I picked up this top in pink, but hurry since it looks like they are selling out fast online.


I also picked up a Zoku Quick Pop Maker and Zoku Tool set . Both were on super clearance at JC Penny’s, and by super clearance I mean 50% off.



I spent the night at my parents house this weekend since it was closer to the 5K, and they could look after my dog while I was gone. Aside from getting to see them, there was the added bonus that they have air conditioning since mine is broken (in both my house and car). My puppy thoroughly enjoyed the visit, probably because he didn’t have to sit in front of a fan with a frozen towel on his head like he does at my house.

Today it’s back to the daily grind, but I’m on countdown. Four more days until I get a week off of work! It worked out for me to finally take a vacation. It’s great timing since I haven’t had one for about 9 months and I’m completely burned out. I can’t wait to sleep in and turn off the work phone.


What did you do this weekend?



*Zoku links are affiliates.

How to Use Art as a Headboard [Spare Bedroom Update]

Who’s ready for a  Spare Bedroom update?[FINALLY, right?]

Last time I shared this room, I had installed the moulding and it had been painted. I’m still deciding on the upper wall color so in the meantime I turned my focus to the headboard and bedding.

Spare Bedroom Headboard Before_1

To save money on the redesign, I decided to use a piece of art as the headboard. I bought this geometric panel years ago at Pier One for about $70. Since moving into the house, it hasn’t had a home and has been sitting behind a chair on the first floor.

My apologies in advance for some of the color differences in the pictures. Some were taken with daylight, and the others were taken at night during installation.

Spare Bedroom Headboard Hardware_4

The panel is beautiful so I wanted to use it in a fun way somewhere in the house; as a headboard seemed like the perfect choice. In my last place, it was hanging on the wall so hanging wire had already been installed. However, in time, the wire had loosened and I ended up with a little problem after setting up the hardware.

Hmmm…this was not going to work.

Spare Bedroom Headboard Hardware_3

So I ran past the store and picked up some D rings instead. For something this heavy, D-rings are recommended anyway so this solved a few problems and ensures that the headboard is completely stable.

Spare Bedroom Headboard Hardware_7

Problem #2 – How do you remove these blasted hooks without damaging the wall? If there installed correctly, you shouldn’t be able to just pull them from the wall. There also isn’t an easy way to get the claw end of a hammer under the hook without damaging the wall or moulding. The bargain hunter in me also wanted to save the hook for future use.

Spare Bedroom Headboard Hardware_2

Enter my trusty little screwdriver. Slide the screwdriver into the space near the nail.

Spare Bedroom Headboard Hardware_5

Now you have a spot to sue the claw of the hammer to gently loosen the nail from the wall.

Spare Bedroom Headboard Hardware_6

Now that the nail is lifted up by the screwdriver/hammer method, you should be able to gently pull it from the wall with minimal damage to the both the wall and hanging hardware.

Spare Bedroom Headboard Hardware_8

Then hang it using the new D-Ring hardware.

Whew! That’s better.

Spare Bedroom Headboard_3

I’ll share more about ht bedding later as the colors are still being finalized. Right now it’s white & grey with a softly patterned sheet. The orange and green pillows will likely move to another room, but I LOVE the headboard. I hadn’t originally planned on a black headboard, but for now, it’s perfect and looks great with the white walls and new moulding.

Spare Bedroom Headboard_1


It’s just another reason to think outside the box…errr…headboard. Any type of art has the potential of creating an amazing ambiance. Just a few tips when using art has a headboard:

    • Raise the art slightly higher than a traditional headboard would hang, for several reasons.
      • Oil from the hair and or skin has a tendency to discolor fabric headboards which could also happen if you use a fabric or canvas based art.
      • If using framed art with glass, make sure it’s high enough that you won’t be leaning against it while reading in bed, or in a  spot that could be easily hit.
    • And in ALL cases, be sure it’s secured safely and strongly to the wall. The last thing you want is to be woken up by a falling headboard. Ouch!


Some inspiration:

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Via, Via, Via, Via, Via, Via, Via

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bites

The temps have been in the 100’s lately, apparently I made the ‘good weather’ comment too soon. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do when I’m in the process of melting, is heat up the kitchen. However, I have felt like eating ice cream…but really, when is a bad time for ice cream?

This seemed like the perfect time to try out a recipe I’ve been drooling over since last month. Bakerella created these easy Brownie Sundae Bon Bons which were great inspiration for my take on a tropical ice cream bites. 

One of my absolute favorite candy bars is the Mounds bar. Dark chocolate surrounding gooey coconut…yeah, it’s heaven I tell you. So I paired dark chocolate with Coconut ice cream for a delicious ice cream version.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bites

I found the Peanut Butter candy molds at Michaels for a few bucks and to my complete surprise, SO Coconut Milk makes a Coconut Ice Cream! This was the first time I’ve had coconut milk ice cream and it was amazingly delicious. Creamy coconut ice cream with pieces of shredded coconut. The dark chocolate candy wafers are sold at the craft store for a couple of dollars. They have dozens of colors and a variety of flavors to choose from.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bites

Heaven in the ice cream aisle.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bites

The peanut butter mold was my personal choice, but you can use whichever style you like. Just make sure it’s deep enough to hold some ice cream in the center. Some of the candy molds are rather flat and wouldn’t work as well.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bites

To make the application easier, I used a plastic squirt bottle I had on hand (bought at Cost Plus) and filled it with the candy wafers. In 30 second intervals, I microwaved the chocolate (in the bottle) until melted.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bites

Working one cup at a time, I coated each mold with chocolate. I found that applying a ring around the top of the ring made application easier. Tap the mold slightly and the chocolate will coat the sides, then I could add a bit more at the bottom to cover any blank spaces. This part of the process isn’t as long as it sounds. The melted chocolate will coat the mold rather quickly. The hardest part of this entire process is at the end, waiting for the finished candy to set.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bites

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bites

Pop the molds in the freezer for a few minutes to set the chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bites

Fill each cup with about 1/2 teaspoon of ice cream. It helps if the ice cream is slightly melted.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bites

Freeze the molds again for a few minutes to set the ice cream then add a thin layer of chocolate to the top and pop them back in the freezer. It’s best to let them set for at least 30 minutes before serving so the ice cream is completely solid.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bites

Delicious bites of creamy coconut goodness.


Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bites

CSA Box Pickup

I have sadly skipped a few weeks of CSA posts; usually because my camera never seemed to be handy when I was shoving things in the fridge putting things away. This week I made sure to have my camera nearby…and charged…since I knew there was something special in the delivery.


Now is probably the best time to mention that I’ve made a difficult decision to suspend my CSA pickup for a short while. While I’m trying to actively lose weight, I’m sticking to certain foods which don’t always fall in line with what I get in the box. If I had a little more time to try new recipes more often, it wouldn’t be an issue. All the CSA goodies are incredibly healthy and delicious, but I find myself not eating them fast enough lately to justify the cost. My hope to to take a short break and pick back up with the box in a few months. So, this will likely be the last CSA pick up for a while. However, I do plan to continue using my farmer market to purchase healthy food. I’m sold on the fact that the fruits/veggies coming from my local Farmer’s Market is far superior to my big box grocery store so I plan to continue using them as a resource.


This week was full of great stuff like tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, chard, basil…

CSA Box_1

and green beans.

CSA Box_2

Wait, what’s that you see?

Hello Lovely Watermelon!

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That sucker was HEAVY, probably a good 5-7 lbs. Turns out it was also a little different than the classic watermelon.


Yellow Watermelon

I had never seen a yellow watermelon, but it had the same great watermelon taste, just a little milder.

Yellow Watermelon

It was a big haul this week. However, here lies the problem. I had to pick up this CSA box, throw it in the fridge and then run to my parents house for a birthday celebration. The next morning I pulled out the lettuce to package it up properly so it would last the week and it was ALL wilted already. I had to throw out 2 heads of lettuce, a bunch of chard, and basil. Half my box was in the trash within 24 hours. Bummer.

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Aside from the fruits and veggies, I will miss the handmade bouquets they create for me to accompany my pickup. There is a part of me that feels so special when they start building the bouquet when they see me.

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Although, Trader Joe’s has some amazing flowers too…so all is not lost.

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Seriously beautiful mums from TJs this past weekend. 

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DIY Dark Wood Laundry Drying Rack

A few months back I bought a carved wood hook (from HomeGoods, surprise surprise) that I thought was perfect for the laundry room. I loved the dark wood next to the painting, but it had limited functionality. I could only hand a few things on it, and I need more space to air dry some delicate items.

It also kept falling off the wall, but that was really more my fault than the hooks.

DIY Laundry Dryer Rack

I still think it’s beautiful so it’s being moved somewhere else in the house (not sure where yet).

DIY Laundry Dryer Rack

So down came the hook and I started brainstorming other options. l thought of grouping some single hooks in some sort of pattern on the wall, or a shelf that could at least provide some additional ‘counter’ space.

DIY Laundry Dryer Rack

Then I saw the genius DIY post over at Centsational Girl for a dryer rack and the light bulb went on above my head. Actually it more like I swiped the light bulb that formed over her head (but whatever). That would be perfect to replace the wobbly hooks and add some additional functionality to the laundry room.

I picked up a 2’ x 2’ piece of plywood which fit the space perfectly, no need to cut it down. I also picked up 2 pieces of 1 x 3 boards and some 3/8 inch dowels.

DIY Laundry Dryer Rack

I followed the steps in Kate’s post with the exception of the finish, and I used chain instead of brackets for the sides. It took a few days to build and stain the entire piece since I worked on it in small chunks of time in between work and other projects, but it could be easily built in an afternoon.

DIY Laundry Dryer Rack

Drilling the dowel holes was the fun part. Who ever thought I’d have such fun with power tools.

DIY Laundry Dryer Rack

DIY Laundry Dryer Rack

I used Rustoleum Kona for the finish, which is essentially the ORB of the stain world. To create the darker finish color, I didn’t wipe off the stain. I apply it in thin even coats and let it dry. I then applied a few thin coats of Satin Poly to protect it since damp clothes will be laying directly on the wood. 

DIY Laundry Dryer Rack

Just like Kate, I used a sash lock on the top to secure the piece when not in use. The knobs are from some old IKEA furniture which I’m thinking of painting a light aqua color, but for now the dark iron color works well.

DIY Laundry Dryer Rack

I LOVE this thing! Especially since it was fairly inexpensive. All the supplies cost me less than $20 since i had the stain, knobs, and tools already.

DIY Laundry Dryer Rack

It almost blends into the wall as a piece of art which is yet another reason why it ROCKS.

DIY Laundry Dryer Rack

Mental Dumbbells – July 2012

It has been absolutely beautiful out lately. I captured this amazing sunset on Friday night while I was out walking my pup. He was unimpressed with my Instagraming skills, but I showed him anyway.


On Saturday I was up early to pick up my CSA box and run some errands before heading over to my parents house to celebrate my Mom’s birthday. We went out to dinner at Outback then we went and wandered around the Wild Animal Park. She has a yearly pass which allows her and a guest free parking and entry. We had to check out little Monroe who is 1 year old and apparently enjoyed jumping on his mom’s head while we were there. Who knew little gorillas were so fun.


Itty Bitty Bat-Eared Fox is about 6 weeks old and still living in the nursery…sooo adorable!


We also got to see a lioness up close, which was amazing. Unfortunately my phone was dying and I couldn’t get any good pics of her.

Otherwise I’ve been working (too much), reading (not enough), and running. I’m down about 40 lbs and getting ready to run my first ‘official’ 5k in 12-ish years later this month. I say official because my standard workout these days is about 4-5 mile jog/walk so technically I’m doing a 5K all the time, but this will be the first one since 2000 that has been part of an official event.

I’ll be back this week to catch up on a few home DIY projects and this weeks CSA haul…but first let’s recap last month’s reading. This month I read 5 books which bring the 30 in 30 tally up to 20. Only 30 more to go before my birthday in May!


What have you guys read lately? Anything worth sharing?


Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)

I’ve been more than slightly obsessed with Paris since I was in high school. I took French in College and dreamed about the day that I would get to visit. I’ve had a few chances and still haven’t been which is a sad fact. It’s probably why I love these types of books. I really enjoy reading the true story of a young woman offered a chance to move from New York to Paris (for work) and her adventures along the way. Most of the adventures are all about sweets and chocolate. What could be better? If you’re visiting Paris soon, it also has a whole list of resources for the best places to enjoy delicious desserts.




No Turning Back

This one was actually a recommendation from my mom. We both have Kindles and keep an eye on the Free Kindle Books Blog. If you use the kindle software, you should follow that blog because he posts dozens of free books a day. This book has been featured for free a few times. In my opinion, this story was incredibly similar to the Shades of Grey series, except this had far less sex. If you enjoyed the story hidden in between the sex scenes in the Grey series, then I would expect you would like this too. It has a great mix of humor and action.



The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors and Readers, and Set Your Novel Up For Success

Yet another book about writing. Any inspired writer wants to know how to get their manuscript noticed by Agents/Editors. This outlined exactly what should be included and the first 50 pages and gave me lots of inspiration that I hadn’t seen in other books. The author does talk about his other books a few times (which gets a little annoying), but otherwise it’s been a great resource direct from the source.



Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Book 2)

Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three of the Fifty Shades Trilogy

So apparently you can’t just read just one of these books. However, since I was a little torn after the first one, I waited to hear from others if these were any good, then borrowed the books.  I liked the second book the best since there was much more story and action (although not at all lacking on the steamy scenes). By the third book the sex scenes were getting boring since they were busier than rabbits. However, I loved the ending of the trilogy.

There is an epilogue for the last book that provides a few extra chapters where you get to learn more about Christian.  The very last one tells you of the couple’s first meeting from Christian’s point of view. I really hated where this chapter was placed in the trilogy. I loved Christian at the end of the 3rd book, but then reading about that first meeting was a reminder about how much of an ASS he was. I didn’t need to end the trilogy with that image of him in my head. Just a warning if you haven’t read it yet.