Book Review: A Shoe Addict’s Christmas

A Shoe Addict's ChristmasA Shoe Addict’s Christmas by Beth Harbison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! I’m a big Beth Harbison fan but not normally a Christmas book fan but I’m glad I read this one. It was so cute!

Noelle works for an upscale apartment story and finds herself unexpectedly locked in during a snow storm on Christmas eve. She’d been so busy working that she didn’t realize that snow had started falling heavily and that the store had closed and everyone had gone home. After checking in with her boss and assuring him she’d stay safely there all night, she settles in. She shops and as she’s trying on a nightgown to wear for the night, she hears a loud crash.

When she goes into the shoe storage room, she finds an old woman, Charlie, who claims to be her guardian angel. Noelle is suspicious but over the course of the night, Charlie takes her through her past to see where she could have made choices that would have been happier.

This story is cute and like A Christmas Carol. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a sweet, holiday read. 🙂

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Book Review: The Wangs vs The World

The Wangs vs. the WorldThe Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this book! Funny, crazy, loveable.

The Wangs are a rather disfunctional, rich Chinese family living in LA. Charles, the dad, has made his fortune in cosmetics but made bad business decisions and ends up losing everything but his family. His wife Barbra, oldest daughter, Saina, youngest daughter, Grace, and son, Andrew.

Saina, is an adult, a respected artist that has had some business troubles of her own and has moved to an out of the way town in New York. When he realizes everything is gone, Charles loads up Barbra, Andrew and Grace and they head on a cross country trip to get to Saina’s house.

Ultimately, Charles has plans to regain family land in China that was taken over by the Communists. Charles grew up in Taiwain and has never set eyes on the land but feels it’s his destiny.

What follows is a madcap adventure of the four, and sometimes three, of them driving across the USA. In the end, after all of their troubles, the family draws close.

This is a fun book and I’d have finished it way earlier but I had trouble getting a copy in a format that I could easily read. Excellent book! Highly recommend. 🙂

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Crossing Off #58

If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I have a goals list. One of the things I added to my goals list was to meet my twitter friend, Mariam Kobras. I added that goal a few years ago and yesterday, I crossed #58 off my list!

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I’ve been so looking forward to meeting Mariam for a long time. We’ve been tweeting for around 8 years. We were trying to figure it out yesterday, but it’s been a long time. She is on a trip around the US and she is staying with another twitter friend, Sharon, in Fort Worth for this week. We planned to meet in Ardmore, OK, (sort of a halfway point) along with Nita, who I met for the first time when she came to see me at the Listen To Your Mother Show. 

We met at 2 Frogs Bar and Grill which is a really cool place. They sometimes have live music and there is a lot of rock memorabilia on the walls. I ordered a salad to eat but we did order dessert. Ever since I saw the menu, I was obsessed with the idea that they had cotton candy on it. I’ve never been to a restaurant that serves cotton candy. 

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We were not disappointed! It was so huge and we laughed so hard at it. Even though we didn’t really eat it, it was worth whatever I paid for it just for the entertainment value. 

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It was so awesome to have lunch with these ladies. To finally meet Mariam and Sharon and to see Nita again. For me, this is the very best part of social media. When you finally get to meet people IRL and you get to skip past all the awkward “getting to know you” stuff because you already know them really well. 🙂

The People in Your Neighborhood

We’ve been driving around Belize City and David has been having trouble with the one way streets. To be fair, some of the markings aren’t so good. As he was getting ready to turn into another wrong way, a man stopped us and motioned that it was the wrong way.

He motioned for us to roll our window down, which I did. He started to tell me who he was. “I’m Prince Charles Perez. Google me!”

When we got back to the wifi, I did and lo and behold, there he was! 
 

He’s an amateur historian and it appears that a lot of people run into him and he will share his knowledge about Belize. I asked a local friend about him and he said, “oh yes, one of the smartest guys out there”. 

Such a colorful, friendly guy. I’m glad we ran into him. 🙂

Miss Belize Universe Pageant

We found out we were going to Belize and they told us that the day after we arrived was a national holiday. I took to Google to find out what the holiday was and found that after almost ten years, they were once again holding a Miss Belize Universe Pageant!

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Of course, I wanted to go. David talked to the people there and they secured tickets for us. I think this was a good idea because at the pageant they mentioned they had sold out quickly.

It was fun to attend a pageant in another country. The entertainment was awesome. There were no artists I’d ever seen but everyone else in the building seemed to be very familiar with them and their works. 

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It was the standard Miss Universe preliminary pageant including an opening number, 

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Swimsuit competition.

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Evening gown competition. 

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And onstage questions.

In addition, each girl had to create a national costume based on the theme Made in Belize. This was my favorite part of the pageant as the costumes were amazing! I thought it was cool that, not only did the contestant win the prize, the prize was also awarded to the costume designer. 

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It was really, really hot in the PAC  (they are going to be getting an air conditioner upgrade soon, I understand) but other than that, I really enjoyed seeing Rebecca Rath of Dandriga crowned Miss Belize Universe 2016.

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I picked her as the winner  from the opening number. She just lit up the stage. I look forward to watching her at Miss Universe!

 

Book Review: Pancakes in Paris

Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in FrancePancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France by Craig Carlson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a cool book. It was fun to watch Craig find himself. It was also awesome to see his persistence to follow through on an idea he knew would be a really great one, all in another country.

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McDazzle Fun Ball

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One of the lovely women I met at the Mrs. International Pageant was Aquillia “Q” Vang, Mrs. Nevada. I learned that her platform is Ronald McDonald House Charities, a cause she is very personally connected with. 

Q has been to many different Ronald McDonald Houses to fix a meal or help out in any way. She told me she was coming to Tulsa to help out at the McDazzle Fun Ball and asked if I’d like to help out. What a great idea!

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One of the things you learn while competing at Mrs. International is that each contestant has a cause they are connected to. But to actually come along with a sister queen to share in that was an opportunity I was honored to be a part of. 

I connect with Lindsay at the local Ronald McDonald House and she showed me around and gave me the low down on how the process works for people who stay with them. Although I live very close to the house and drive by it almost every day, I never really understood exactly how it worked. Very impressive!

It was so fun to help out at the ball. We started out at the door, greeting people as they arrived. Once inside, Q visited with the guests and directed them to the check in table. 

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After we greeted all the attendees, we joined the party in the ballroom and watched the live auction. It was a great night and a lot of money was raised for the Tulsa Ronald McDonald House.

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But the best part of the whole night for me was the honor of being there with Q as she supported her platform of Ronald McDonald House Charities. Thank you, Q! It was an awesome night. 🙂

Half Clown

Back in ‘April, I did an appearance with Fire Marshall Tom in the Safety Zone at the Adkar Shrine Circus. As well as being fire marshall, Tom also serves as Huffy the Clown, an educational clown. So it wasn’t strange that all the clowns at the circus stopped by to talk to Tom while we were there.

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The more I interacted with these fabulous folks, the more I thought, “these are my people” and “I need to be a clown”. At that time, we were tentatively supposed to move overseas so I told Tom that I would let him know once I knew for sure. 

At the Mrs. International Pageant a few months later, we each had to introduce ourselves at Orientation. Each table of contestants received a different question and we then had 30 seconds to answer it. The question for our table was “What is one item on your bucket list?” 

Well, I don’t have a bucket list but I do have a Goals list and at any one time there are over 100 items on it. I was the fourth person in line. While I waited I was trying to think what one thing on that list would be at all interesting to my sister contestants and pageant staff. Then it came to me:

Glammie the Clown!

I was happy with my idea and waited for my turn. I told them how my granddaughter already calls me Glammie so I want to take it a step further to become a clown of the same name. I told them that my big, wide clown shoes would be my favorite shoes ever. (I didn’t know how true this would be prior to wearing 5″ heels for 11 hours a day!) Glammie the Clown was very well received and over the course of the following week, many of the other girls told me how awesome they thought it was.

Now, I’ve been back from the pageant for a month or so and I realize that I need to get moving on this clown thing. I finally connected with the Gentle Jesters group last Tuesday and was able to go to their monthly meeting that night. They gave me all kinds of great tips and told me how it works. They had an event yesterday and told me I could come as a clown or come to observe. sickle_cell

Since I have no  clown items, I said I’d come to observe. I made my way to The Supporters of Families with Sickle Cell Disease Back to School Bash where I essentially served as a clown intern or clown in training. I learned how to make balloons into dogs and swords. Then I was thrown into face painting. 

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I’d watch Lucy paint several faces and I just wasn’t sure I could do it. So I asked the first little boy, what he wanted me to paint on his face. He said, “A lion.” OMG how do you paint a lion? So I kind of winged it and when I was finished, I handed him the mirror and he got the biggest smile on his face. It was so awesome! I’m glad that Lucy made me paint faces because I was pretty sure I couldn’t do it and it turns out, I was wrong. 🙂

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I’m so excited to be a full clown. Glammie the Clown will be making her debut on September 10 and the Claremore Community Center. Stay tuned!

 

Book Review: One Less Problem Without You

One Less Problem Without You: A NovelOne Less Problem Without You: A Novel by Beth Harbison

I love Beth Harbison’s books and was very much looking forward to reading this one. It was good! A little different than her normal chick lit, a little darker.

Prinny, Chelsea and Diana are three women who are involved with the nasty Leif. What a horrible person he was. Leif was Prinny’s half brother who hated her just for being born and never stopped his whole life. Diana was Leif’s wife whom he betrayed and abused. Chelsea, who knew Leif as Lee, was also abused by him.

Prinny has a metaphysical shop where she sells crystals and gives readings. Leif is constantly trying to get her inheritance away from her but, fortunately, her lawyer Alex looks out for her. Prinny falls in love with her lawyer who is initially married. She brings him all manner of new ideas just so she can spend time with him. She had just made arrangements to expand her shop when Diana came to ask if she could stay there. She knew it was the one place Leif wouldn’t look for her and she had decided to finally leave him. Diana is excellent at making herbal teas and that is how they decide to expand the shop. Chelsea works at the shop, too, giving readings while she tries to become and actress.

This is a good book that draws you right in and that you won’t want to put down!

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Book Review: From The Sideline

From the Sideline (Wake Up Call, #2)From the Sideline by Amy Avanzino
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a really good book. Given my work with concussion safety, I was a little nervous to read it, especially when I got to the part where Zachary got hurt.

Zachary is a ten year old who keeps to himself. After an abusive marriage, his mom Autumn throws his dad out and Zachary misses having a dad. He decides he wants to play football. Autumn is not real enthusiastic. She knows the dangers of concussion and doesn’t want her only child to be hurt. But she sees a real change in him so she lets him play.

Zachary eventually becomes “Zeke the Freak” loved by fans and his teammates alike. He grows and blossoms in his role on the team. Autumn starts getting into the whole football mom thing. She begs Zachary’s dad to come watch him play. Then Zachary gets hurt and that’s the week his dad comes to see him play. His dad acts like a complete jerk but Zachary sees him for what he really is and lets him go.

Autumn eventually realizes that Joaquin, who had been a mentor to Zachary, is good for both of them. This is a heartwarming story of growth. I give it two thumbs up!

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