Book Review: Flawless

Flawless (A Hostile Beauty Novel, #1)Flawless by Jan Moran

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book! The characters were wonderful and I didn’t want the story to end.

Verena Valent is the head of a skincare company that her grandmother started when she first came to America. With a proposed expansion into Asia and the bad economy Verena finds herself in a bad spot financially and trusts her fiance’ to come through with funding for her. He seems to only be involved with her to take her company away which he finally does in the end.

He was icky and I didn’t like him at all. But Lance, the chef that Velena bumps into one night after a gala she had to speak at. He cooks for her then and he is captivated by her. She has feelings for him which she eventually gives into and by the end of the book they are together.

I loved Verena’s spunk and I loved her friends. I felt the characters were really well written and I hope to read more about them! I highly recommend this book.



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Hug A Vegan Day

This morning I was listening to KRMG when the morning host, Dan Potter, mentioned that it was National Hug A Vegan Day. But then he snarked on, that you should be careful because they’re frail. And they smell funny.

KRMG Tulsa

Say what?

Admittedly, I have only been a vegan since September 1, but in the past 25 days I have seen such amazing changes in my health. And I was already a healthy person! Prior to this month, David and I had been eating a paleo diet since November of 2010. But, for me, it was unsustainable because I have a huge sweet tooth and the cookies eventually called. I also loved beer and gin and felt deprived if I couldn’t have a cocktail. 

In the past 25 days, I have had NO sugar. And guess what? It’s. Been. EASY! I’ve also had no desire to have a cocktail, I sleep better, my joints don’t hurt and I’ve been absolutely flying when I walk in the a.m. I don’t even feel like I’m walking anymore, but gliding. 

13:20 min/miles walking!

13:20 min/miles walking!

More than being just a vegan, I’ve been a high raw vegan and have had cooked food only a handful of times. The raw meals have been awesome and delicious. I’ve lost 24 pounds and I’ve never been hungry because I’m eating close to 3000 calories a day. 

I think people can get a lot out of a vegan lifestyle and I’m not saying it works for everyone but it has for me. 

Oklahoma is the 7th most obese state in the nation. Instead of gross generalizations, I believe Mr. Potter could’ve used his platform to suggest to listeners that after they hug a vegan today, maybe they can ask him about his lifestyle and the health benefits of it.

Oklahoma is the 7th most obese state in the nation

Meanwhile, I’d pit my fitness against just about anyone’s any day of the week. And I’m far from frail. So, please, if you notice me becoming frail or smelling funny, I hope you’ll tell me. In the meantime, bring on the hugs! :-)  

Book Review: A Different Me

A Different MeA Different Me by Deborah Blumenthal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a really great book about a girl who is obsessed with having her nose “done”.

Allie is 15 years old and all of her insecurities revolve around the fact that she has a bump in her nose. She wants desperately to have a nose job but hasn’t told her parents. She joins a plastic surgery forum and meets two girls who feel the same. They become good friends. After the second friend has her surgery, Allie finally talks to her parents who agree that she can also have the surgery.

While all this is going on, Allie is assigned to tutor the most popular, beautiful girl in school. An unlikely friendship is born. After Amber’s mother has some depression issues and Amber is pulled out of school, Allie is given David as a fellow student to mentor. Another unlikely friendship is born.

I love how Allie grew through these two friendships and, after seeing how she looked to other people, was able to see herself more clearly.

I think this is a well written, positive book of growth and highly recommend it! :-)



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Book Review: Broken Monsters

Broken MonstersBroken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG this was a GREAT book! I couldn’t put it down.

Really well written, creepy, grabby, I loved the stories. The book is told from four different viewpoints. It took me awhile to see how on earth they would ever intersect but they do. Beautifully.

The police discover a dead body but it’s more than just a dead body because it’s have human and half animal. The killer strikes two more times before they finally figure out who the murderer could be.

This is horror, fantasy, good. It reminds me of old Dean R. Koontz. I love the characters as they are developed and was on the edge of my chair at the end of the book when everything starts happening quickly.

Loved it! Highly recommend. I’ve never read the author’s work before but I will be checking it out.



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Book Review: All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes

All's Fair in Love and CupcakesAll’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a cute book that I really enjoyed! I will say there were a couple of times I wanted to kick Kat and Lucas in the butt but overall. loved it.

This is a cute story about a guy named Lucas who secretly loves Kat who is wasting her cupcake baking talents in her aunt’s very old fashioned cupcake bakery. Unbeknownst to her, he enters her into Cupcake Combat, a reality show. He did it to show how much he loved and supported her but belatedly finds out that if she wins, she will be moving to New York for a year to work in a famous bakery.

The story takes them through Cupcake Combat and to each other. I highly recommend this book! :-)



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Today I Entered A Pageant

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Now that I’m no longer directing, why shouldn’t I compete again? You know, just one more time?

So today, I entered a pageant. :-)

The American Beauty Pageant takes place next June in Orlando. I’ll compete in the Elite division which is for women aged 50 and over. I’m excited to lead by example and show other women that they don’t have to give up their pageant dreams just because they’ve turned 50. 

The last time I competed was in 2000. I competed for the second time in the All American Pageants, another system with multiple divisions. My sister joined me and competed in her first and only pageant. We had a lot of fun!

Before deciding which pageant to enter, I looked at all of the options I had. And there are many! I finally decided on American Beauty because my friend, Cat, competed this year and had a great time, and it has a beautiful crown. :-)

American Beauty Crown

The areas of competition are interview, fitness wear or swimsuit, and evening gown. I’m so glad I don’t have to wear a swimsuit. I just don’t think I’d feel comfortable on stage in a swimsuit at this stage in my life. I’m excited to be a competing Glammie! :-)

So now, I’m sitting tight waiting to hear if I will get the title I applied for: Elite Oklahoma. 

The pageant will take place next June in Orlando and I just can’t wait ot be on the competitive stage once more! :-)

Book Review: Jasmine Skies

Jasmine SkiesJasmine Skies by Sita Brahmachari

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this book a lot. I read in the reviews that it was a sequel but I would have never guessed that a book came before it. I didn’t feel like I was missing information or drowning in back story.

Jasmine Skies is about Mira Levinson who flies to India to meet her cousin’s family. She knows that her aunt and her mom had had a falling out many years ago and she wants to discover what happened to cause it.

Mira finds India to be exciting and interesting and she eventually learns the family secrets while finding a new best friend in her cousin and love with Janu.

I highly recommend this book. I loved the descriptions of India and the story itself. I will definitely put Artichoke Heart, the first book, on my to read list! :-)



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It’s a Dirty Life

I love this photo.

balls in bubbles

I took it yesterday after I loaded the pitching machine softballs into the soapy water to clean them. It looked so happy and it made me smile.

You see, on July 30 our new business, Athletic Mission Performance Center, burned. And there hasn’t been a lot to smile about since then. Geoff had just finished training Nikki and me. We were all talking about our plans for the rest of the day. Nikki went back to the ladies room and that’s when she discovered the fire.

It was scary but I think we handled it well. Nikki called 911 and Geoff and I moved quickly to get the HitTrax unhooked and moved to the farthest office in the building, away from the fire. I figured that we could save them if they didn’t get water damage when the fire department tried to put out the fire.

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After we had the expensive equipment moved we got out of the building. I saw two guys running towards us. I’m not even sure where they came from. They were pointing to the corner of the building. I don’t think they knew we knew it was on fire. I said we were just moving equipment and getting out. They said, “What can we move?”

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10 fire trucks came. It was pouring down rain. Our neighbors to the north told us we could hang out under their overhang. He continued to offer us anything we needed: a chair, water, the bathroom. I wanted to watch from outside, though. When he came out and asked if we wanted to see the fire from the back of the building, we took him up on it. We wove our way through their building and out their back door.

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Holy smokes! I think I could’ve gone my whole life without seeing that.

After the fire was put out we went back into the building. Although the fire damage itself was confined to the bathroom area where the vent fan had caught on fire, the fire was fueled by oil soaked insulation producing the thick black smoke that left tons of soot all over everything.

soot

The restoration company, Blackmon Mooring, was there to help us pick up the pieces. They are amazing. They are kind, compassionate, understanding and smart. They told us that the soot would eat into metal if it wasn’t taken care of immediately.

rusted pitching machine

And things sat there. We waited on the landlord, the insurance adjusters, and inspectors.

Our insurance company finally gave us the go ahead to move our things and we got to it yesterday. We needed to get all of the soot off of our things that we would be moving to the new location and so, balls in bubbles.

When I was paying rugby in Bahrain, they weren’t able to grow a grass pitch for us to play on so they made it out of sand. But, to keep the sand from blowing away, they mixed it up with oil. After every practice and game, we were covered with oil. They told me I would need to shower with dish soap to get it off. Dish soap? But it worked!

That’s why I chose to use Palmolive dish soap to clean our belongings in the Center. Not only does it cut the grease and clean surfaces easily, it’s not toxic or harsh. It was a perfect choice. As I showered last night, I wished I had brought some up to the bathroom because soap just doesn’t work as well. :-)

We made a lot of progress yesterday. It’s sad to be taking the baseball cages down when we’ve only just put them up. 

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David wins the “Dirtiest of All” award.

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Today, our goal is to get the turf off the floor. It’s going to be another hot and dirty day but I love how our family works together. We help each other out, joke to lighten the mood and we’ve grown closer through this. 

We may be down but we are definitely not out. We will be back soon and better than before. I am so thankful to Blackmon Mooring (especially Kelsey, Trent, and Armando) for their help and guidance, our neighbors who rushed to help us the day of the fire, our clients for hanging in there with us while we get back up and running, and David, Geoff and Nikki for being pretty much the most awesome people in the world. :-)

 

Softball Is Just Not Me

Now that we know we get to stay in Tulsa, I started looking for volunteer opportunities since that’s what I’m used to. While I was at Athletic Mission one night, looking at the facebook stream, I saw a request from Kendra asking for scorekeepers for the upcoming 16U Gold National that would be taking place in Broken Arrow. 

asa_nationals

Well, I’m not really too familiar with softball but since I spent so many years at the baseball field and I’m pretty smart, I figured I could learn how to do the job. I was scheduled for two games each on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 

I was really happy to learn that my first scoring partner, Bobby, had over 40 years experience in softball. I had some trouble with the app and I had to ask Codi and Kendra for help. They were awesome. Calm and friendly, they helped me figure out how to fix the problems in the Gamechanger app.

I was kind of stressed that first day, not wanting to make a mistake but I knew I could learn it.

On day two it was HOT. It was so hot. With an excessive heat warning, I was so thankful to the folks who brought me water. Well, I was thankful all three days for that! Still, it could have been worse! I had the first two games and we had great cover with usually a little bit of a breeze. Although, I will say, that my poor right elbow took the brunt of any sun I got. ;-)

IMG_7738

I worked with Kim the second day and she was great. Her daughter, who will be a senior, has been playing softball for many years and they’ve always played at Arrowhead Park as their home fields. So she kept the paper score sheets. 

I didn’t have to call Codi with as many problems and I even figured out how to substitute a courtesy runner all on my own. I felt really ready to conquer day three with hopes of not having to call Codi at all.

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Day three was the beneficiary of a small, very small, cold front but it felt awesome compared to the day before. 

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At the beginning of the first game, the umpires threw a change at us with seconds to spare. Neither Julie, my scoring partner, nor I knew what he had said and it caused me problems and I had to call Codi. Boo. I was so hoping not to have to do that. 

We got it all sorted out and continued on. At some point, Julie had some issue with the scoreboard and I looked up and realized I was missing two runs. The app is so cool and smart and I’m not sure what happened. In fact I never even looked at those numbers previously because the app makes it virtually unnecessary.

Another gal came by and deleted the game and reentered it so it would be right. I took that opportunity to go to the ladies room and when I came back, Julie’s sister told me that gal who was fixing the game was going to stay with us in case I had any  more problems and that was it. I was demoted.

I never touched the iPad with the Gamechanger app on it again.

I was given the microphone. I guess that’s good, I do the microphone well. I announced each batter as she came up to bat.

IMG_7743

Shortly after my demotion, I stumbled on one of the names and the umpire kidded me about it.

I said, “Everyone’s a critic”. 

He said, “Now you know how I feel!”

Ha! :-)

So that’s my experience at the softball field.

I would like to thank Codi SO very much for helping me with my technical difficulties.

Thanks to Bobby, Kim and Julie for being fun to hang out with, helping me, and knowing softball and the paper score keeping so well!

Thanks to all the gals who brought me water and lunch.

Thanks to Kendra who gave me the opportunity to be a part of the volunteer experience at Broken Arrow Softball. I do sincerely apologize for all the confusion I caused.

Now, onward and upwards I guess my next volunteer gig should involve a microphone. ;-)

 

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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