Book Review: The Hatmaker’s Heart

The Hatmaker's HeartThe Hatmaker’s Heart by Carla Stewart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a good story! I loved this book. I love the time it was set in. I loved reading about the fashions and the events of the day.

Nell was a wonderful character and I loved watching her grow strong in the book. I could sense her excitement as she designed hats and brought them to life. I love being so involved in a story like that.

I detested Oscar Fields. What a jerk. I’m glad Nell finally got enough courage to tell him where to get off. I’m happy she winds up with the love of her life AND her hats.

If you like a deeply involved story that you can get lost in, this is one for you. Two thumbs up. :-)

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Book Review: Fit to be Dead

Fit to be Dead (Aggie Mundeen Mystery, #1)Fit to be Dead by Nancy G. West

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a lot of fun. Aggie has retired from working at a bank and has moved to San Antonio where she continues to write her Dear Aggie column about growing old gracefully.

She feels like it’s time for her to walk the walk so she joins a gym and happens upon a girl in the pool who is blue. She pulls her out and the girl is revived only to be hit and killed by a car the following day.

Now Aggie can’t stop trying to figure out who did it, nearly getting killed in the process.

The book is funny and suspenseful and since this is a series, I look forward to reading the next books. :-)

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Natural Sore Throat Cure

The other morning, I woke up and my throat was sore. Not like a typical sore throat but at the top. It was at the top and it felt like it was choking me. Since I don’t have tonsils, I suspected that my uvula was irritated. The uvula is the thing that hangs at the back of your throat and stops food from going into the nasal cavity when you swallow.

So…swollen uvula. Probably cause? Mouth breathing.

Oh mouth breathing. I knew you would get me into trouble one of these days. 

I don’t just hang around mouth breathing in my every day activities but I do breathe through my mouth when I sleep and also when I exercise.

I’ve been trying really hard to train myself to breathe correctly for most of my adult life. When exercising, it’s a challenge. Especially when I’m walking or running faster. When I’m sleeping? Even a bigger challenge since I’m not awake to tell myself to stop it. ;-)

Anyway, my normal treatment for a sore throat is apple cider vinegar. I don’t run to the doctor and get antibiotics because they disrupt my gut flora and leave me a mess. I know that God can do better. But when I drank the apple cider vinegar a couple of times, it didn’t seem to be making any difference. It was just making my stomach hurt.

So back to google I went. And I came up with this tasty recipe:

  • 1 tbs raw honey
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic

All things I had in my refrigerator and cabinet. 

Another article warned, you’re going to need more than this so quadruple the recipe. Which I did. 1/4 cup of raw honey, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, and 16 or a few more garlic cloves which I pressed through the garlic press. 

Garlic is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral, so anything that may be causing the sore throat the garlic, along with the cayenne and the honey coating the area, will take care of the problem.


I mixed it all together and ate a teaspoon of it every half hour for about five times before I went to bed. I didn’t drink anything until 30 minutes after I had the last teaspoon to make sure it got to my throat. 

When I woke up the next morning, my throat felt so much better! I probably smelled like a garlic breathing dragon but I didn’t care. It worked! 

I hope if you get a sore throat you will give this more natural remedy a try. It’s actually not so hard to swallow! :-)

Book Review: Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek

I really wish I could remember how I heard about this book but I can’t. As soon as I learned of it, I placed a request for it at the Tulsa Public Library who had it on order. 


This is an amazing book. I laughed, I cried, I truly enjoyed the book which is probably written for middle school kids. More amazingly, it was written BY a middle school kid.

Maya Van Wagenen decided to document her eighth grade year as she followed along an old book her dad gave to her. He had picked up Betty Cornell’s Teenage Guide to Popularity thinking it might turn out to be an interesting piece of Americana. Eventually, he decided to give it to Maya thinking she might find it amusing. With the encouragement of her mother, Maya decided to “do” the book through her eight grade year and document the results. 

Maya is clearly smart as a whip and an excellent writer for someone of any age. But she had never been popular and decided this would be a good experiment to see what makes someone popular and if she could achieve popularity.

She arranged the book in order of difficulty taking one chapter a month and putting the advice into action. I particularly love Maya’s insight on posture. Everything we do at Athletic Mission is based upon a foundation of proper posture. In the past several years, I’ve notice and often commented on how pageant gals ruin their whole look in evening gown by not standing up straight. Let’s face it, over all (no matter the circumstances) someone who stands tall, with great posture just appears more confident. 

I did a google search this morning to find out a little more about Maya (mostly because I just couldn’t believe she is only 15) and I came across this interview where she talks about the book and movie deal she has.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun read. If you have teenagers, this is a great book for them to read. I loved it and look forward to seeing where Maya goes in life. :-)


Book Review: The Competition

The Competition (Rachel Knight, #4)The Competition by Marcia Clark

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another awesome book by Marcia Clark. I read her third book first, then went back and read the first two. All of them are excellent but this one might be my favorite.

A story about high school kids who shoot up a high school and their “competition” to be the best mass murders ever, beating out the Columbine shooters et al, had me on the edge of my seat.

It’s a great story with many unexpected twists and turns. In the end Rachel Knight and Bailey Keller get their man, but not the way they would have liked to.

I highly recommend this book and can’t wait for the next. As a side note, reading Marcia Clark’s books always make me want to drink a martini. This is not a bad thing. ;-)

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Book Review: Rich Kids of Instagram

Rich Kids of Instagram: A NovelRich Kids of Instagram: A Novel by The Creator of Rich Kids of Instagram

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book. Before I read it, I wasn’t aware that Rich Kids of Instagram is a blog but I have gone to visit it since getting the book to read.

It’s a fun, fast read that goes through the lives of six rich kids and their desire to “make it”. They have no problems like the sorts that you and I might have because of their uber wealth and I found myself laughing at their predicaments.

If you’re looking for some fun in a book, I highly recommend this one. :-)

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Book Review: The City

The CityThe City by Dean Koontz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent! The first time I read a book by Dean Koontz was probably 25 years ago. I had nothing to read and my brother offered me a book. I looked at it and said, “No, I don’t think so” because it wasn’t what I usually read. He told me to trust him and give it a go and I became a HUGE Dean Koontz fan.

This book is not like any of those books and it kind of threw me at first. Koontz’s previous books were scary, terrifying, gripping. This book is gripping in a whole different way.

I loved the characters, the story itself and the way it’s told. I saw a review on Goodreads where the reviewer said he thought the book would have received better reviews if it had been written under a pseudonym. And he may be right because this book is just so different from what you’d be expecting if you’d read a lot of Koontz’s other books.

The story is told from the eyes of Jonah, a 9 year old boy when it started, but he is recalling it as a grown 57 year old man. Jonah wants to be a piano man like his Grandpa Teddy. It’s all he thinks about and he has quite a gift for the piano. He becomes friends with Malcom who is equally gifted on the saxophone.

Through the course of events that happen in the building where he lives, Jonah begins to solve murders that have taken place, that he saw in a dream. He gets this insight from a woman he calls Pearl who says she IS the City.

If you are a Dean Koontz fan, go into this with an open mind and I’m sure you will love this book as much as I did. I could not put it down and highly recommend it! :-)

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Book Review: Love Lies and Lemon Cake

Love, Lies and Lemon CakeLove, Lies and Lemon Cake by Sue Watson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book! Faye was stuck in a loveless marriage, made more apparent now that her daughter was off to university. She’d worked at the beauty salon since her daughter was six and had ended up staying way longer than she thought.

She was getting frustrated with her husbands lack of love and involvement in her marriage. One day on her way to work, she wandered into the deli and started talking with Dan, the owners Australian nephew.

Eventually, Faye grows strong enough to leave her husband and begin a relationship with Dan, crossing of items she’d put on her life list.

This is a wonderful book of growth. I loved watching Faye grow and change and become more confident throughout the book. I love that Dan loved her. Two thumbs up! :-)

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Rock Show!

Monday we took the glambaby to see her first rock show – Sugar Free All Stars!


I’ve been twitter friends with @SFAS for a long time and got to see them the first time a couple of years ago when the glambaby was only a couple of months old. I couldn’t wait for her to be old enough to go to the show and when I found out they were playing at the Hardesty Library this week, I was beyond excited.

The Sugar Free All Stars are music, dancing and flat out fun! 

Before the show started, the glambaby wanted to be on the stage. Well of course she did. ;-) When they finally started playing, she was very interested.


And very interested in watching the other little kids dancing and jumping around. But when they had us marching, she only tapped her toe. It was like she had gotten shy. 


Eventually, I picked her up and danced around with her until it seemed like she had fallen asleep at which point I handed her off to Pop Pop. But he said she wasn’t sleeping.

She put her sunglasses on and was observing. It was a really funny reaction but he said she enjoyed the show.


Now that we’ve been once, I hope that when we go the next time, she’ll just get into it like the other kids. And me. :-)


If you get a chance to see the Sugar Free All Stars do not let it pass! You must go and have a blast. Like a big explosion. :-)

We’re Not Moving!


So after nine months, and suggestions around the world, we have learned that we are not moving!

As you may know, we moved into our house in Tulsa in October. And we have still unpacked very few boxes in all that time. Why? Because shortly after that, David entered discussions about a new position. Of course, I didn’t know this and decided that now that we had moved, I really needed to figure out what to do with my life.


After having moved and enjoyed the moving process, I thought being a Realtor would be fun but my Realtor (who is one of the very best in the state, probably in world!) is a hard working woman. I think that to be an awesome Realtor, you need to be completely dedicated and I just wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t want to travel with David if a Fiji, Malaysia, etc. opportunity came up. So, I thought that maybe staging houses would be fun.

My friend, Lisa, is a home stager in Oklahoma City and she told me about a workshop she puts on that is three hours long. She said it would give me an inexpensive idea of what staging is and if it’s what I really want to do so I signed up for the workshop.

The class began at 9 a.m. By 10:30, a.m. I knew this is what I wanted to do. I could “see” the things she was talking about and thought it would be a lot of fun for me.

At 1:09 p.m. David called.

“We’re moving,” he said. 

“Where?” I asked.



Wow. I knew I wanted to flip a house some day but I didn’t think it was going to be THIS house. 

They told him we’d be going to one of four regions: Northeast Asia, Middle East Asia, Sub Sahara Africa or the Mediterranean.

Given his experience, we were sure we were going to the Middle East or Africa. Until a few weeks later when they told us we were going to Madrid. Spain? Really? Okay, cool. We visited Balboa, Spain back in 2011 and it was an awesome trip in a fabu country and I could see living there. It’s not a far trip, only around 7 hours from Chicago, and certainly more appealing to anyone who would want to visit us than Riyadh.


So we wrapped our heads around the fact we were going to Madrid.

The first thing I thought of is, who do I follow on twitter from Madrid? No one. Amazing. My main goal on twitter is to have friends all around the world so I can have someone to share coffee with no matter where we travel.

At the time, my friend Gini was preparing to release her book Spin Sucks and I’d been selected as an ambassador to help her promote it.

There is a group of 100 of us and we hang out in facebook. It was here that I realized that Corina was in Madrid! I private messaged her and told her we were moving to Madrid and she said that it would be nice to meet over coffee. Yay! All of a sudden I was happier about going to Madrid. 

Then we learned that another division was interested in having David work with them. They wanted to make a North American position for him but if that didn’t work, we’d be going to Riyadh. 

Ha! It’s all back to Saudi. 

I didn’t want to get overly excited about the possibility of staying here. I mean, with a new house and fabu glambaby close by, I just didn’t want to jinx it. I figured if I got too excited about staying, I’d end up in the middle of a Saudi desert in my custom abaya and 140 degree temperatures. 


So we waited. And the boxes remained packed. And the popcorn remained on the ceilings. We waited.

I didn’t really tell too many people because we had planned to move to Saudi in 2011 and some really fabu friends gave me an awesome going away party. And then we didn’t go. They were all so great and understanding when we learned we weren’t moving after all but I felt stupid. So I mostly kept this one to myself. 


I’m glad I did!

We finally learned that we get to stay in Tulsa! David will be working from here! We were sitting in a restaurant when we learned the news and I’m sure the people there thought I was crazy as I happy danced in my chair.


I’m sort of sad we won’t be going to Madrid because it truly does look like an awesome place. But I do know that I’ll visit there one day. And we’ll have coffee then, Corina, okay? :-)

But I’m so happy to be staying here. Close to Geoff, Nikki and the glambaby. In this house that we have so many plans for turning into a home. 

Now to unpack those boxes…