Monthly Archives: April 2014

Book Review: The Break-Up Artist

The Break-Up ArtistThe Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this book and couldn’t put it down.

Becca is a high school girl who’s best friend leaves her behind when she gets a boyfriend. This hurts her and she decides that she is going to help out other girls like herself by breaking up girlfriends and boyfriends.

With the help of her sister, who was jilted on her wedding day, Becca devises schemes to break up couples wearing a costume of a raccoon mask and graduation gown, taking payments via PayPal.

Becca is really good at this and goes along until she’s faced with having to break up with the school’s most popular golden couple, the girl who is her former best friend and the boy she left her for.

Although she’s successful, eventually she’s exposed and Becca learns a valuable lesson in friendship.

This was a really great book and I highly recommend it! 🙂

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Easter Cake Success!

A couple of years ago, I pinned a cake to my Easter board at Pinterest:

Easter Cake Inspiration

Look at the comment. 🙂 So I decided this was going to be that day and gathered what I needed. It was really easy. 

I made the chocolate layer cake in 6 inch pans because we really didn’t need that much cake and it makes it just her size. Then I made buttercream frosting and tinted it purple. Put that together, attached the Peeps all around, sprinkled Easter M&Ms on top and Voila!  My cake:

Easter Cake

I was really happy with the way it turned out and hoped the glambaby would love it, too.

We had it for brunch today and she loved it!

Glambaby Easter Cake

She wanted the Peeps off of it. She decided earlier that she likes Peeps since they are marshmallows which she loves. She then proceeded to eat the ears off of every bunny Peep she got a hold of. She liked the M&Ms that were on top of it, too. Honestly, I’m not sure if she even ate the cake part of it but I knew the way it looked made her happy and that was enough for me. 🙂


Book Review: Born Confused

Born ConfusedBorn Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a wonderful book about a teenaged girl of Indian descent coming to terms with who she is.

Dimple is 17 years old and lives in New Jersey. She doesn’t feel American with her American friends but when she goes to India, she doesn’t feel Indian either. She is confused.

She is also a really great photographer and uses photography to help her figure out who exactly she is.

This is a great story that covers the climax of the confusion in Dimple’s life and brings her out the other side. Highly recommend! 🙂

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Trophy Husband

Wow! Today David and I have been married for 35 years! That’s a very, Very, VERY long time.

uswedding 001

I think David probably deserves some kind of a large trophy (other than me, hee hee ;-)) for putting up with me for so long (would that make him a trophy husband?) but I’m going to give him this list of songs that mean something over the years. 

1. We fell in love at NTTC Corry Station. This is a place where members of all branches of the military were sent for MOS training after boot camp. Due to the average age of the residents, it earned the name Corry Junior High. We spent a lot of evenings there hanging out at the EM (Enlisted Members) Club socializing and dancing. We danced a lot to Always and Forever by Heatwave and it became our first song. 

2. Our second song, in the next decade, comes from Motley Crue. While I love all of the lyrics in this song, the line, “Let me be me all along” is particularly important to me. Even if I wasn’t the strong, confident person I am today, he was still always my biggest champion. “Knowing someday I’d grow strong” even if I made him crazy in the process. 

3. Nothing Else Matters by Metallica kind of typifies our life. “Life is ours, we live it our way.” We don’t live like other people do and you may have thought we were nuts when we decided to live in an RV in 2012 or any of the other wild and wonderful things we do. But if he wanted to go live in a box on a beach, I’d be right there beside him.  And nothing else matters. 

 4. We knew each other for around three months when we got married. “They” said it wouldn’t last, we wouldn’t make it. “They” – many of them – didn’t make it “But just look at us holding on. We’re still together still going strong” and that’s why You’re Still The One by Shania Twain is on this list. When I first heard that song I thought, holy moly, Shania Twain wrote a song about us! 

5. Nobody Does it Better by Carly Simon because, well, um, you know… the spy who loves me. 😉

6. Sister by The Nixons is about being separated. Which we are a lot. The line in this song that really does it for me is “Here we are again saying goodbye, Still we fall asleep underneath the same sky”. That thought brings me comfort when he’s so far away knowing that we look up and share the sky because half of me breathes in him.

7. Well, as you know, we now have the glambaby and we have a music CD in the car for her. When this song came on one time, David made a crack related to a particularly icky situation and now it’s an inside joke. Every time I hear this song, I laugh at the bad situation. Cool, no? 🙂

 8. I’m a big jazz fan. When I hear I Only Have Eyes For You, I think I’d like to sing that to David. But he’d probably put his hands on his ears as he ran away. 😉 In 2012, my friend Cynthia sang this song for us at a club in Tulsa. She is awesome, the song is awesome, David is awesome. I’m going to include the Ella Fitzgerald version because Ella is awesome, too. (I’m not doing very well at using other words instead of awesome, am I?)

 9. So? What ringtone do you have for your sweetie? I have Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye. The first time my phone rang like that, I was in a quiet, QUIET, clothing store. LOL! It makes me laugh every time I hear it. And it’s better than the dog barking he has for me. 😉

 10. Happy is the last song on my list. I have heard about this song for months now but never actually heard it until a few days ago. I love it. And I am clapping. We are clapping because we’re happy. I was super excited to see this song as an option at Jib Jab because it seems like a fun way to share the last song on my list. 🙂  (I cannot get this video to stay centered for the life of me. I guess it takes after me. ;-))

 So there you have it! The ten songs that remind me of our 35 year marriage. I want to wish David, the co-author of my life and the most fabulous husband a girl could ask for a very Happy Anniversary. Thank you so much for hanging out with me and not giving up when I was a crazy person. Thank you for the boys and the coffee you pour me every morning and for making me laugh. I love you beyond all reason. And that thing about living in a box on the beach above? Don’t try it, mister. 😉 





Big Shoulders Coffee: Kenya Kalilani

At CoffeeCON, I received a bag of Kenya Kalilani by Big Shoulders Coffee from Anne Reuss

Kenya Kalilani

The first thing I noticed about the coffee was that the bag smelled HEAVENLY. After it had been sitting in my car overnight, my car smelled HEAVENLY. 🙂

So I was really excited to try it. I am normally more of a dark roast fan and the bag shows it to be a medium roast and the website shows it as a light roast so  I was  a little hesitant. But how could something that smells that good be bad?

Now, I am a novice coffee reviewer. I know what I like but maybe don’t have the right words to tell you but I’m going to try. 

I decided to try the Kenya Kalilani in my new Oskar by Sowden Softbrew. I questioned the Sowden vendor at CoffeeCON about the grind and he said I should grind it medium to fine. 

I ground it. OMG. Have I mentioned how this coffee smells? Heavenly.

Then I put it into the Oskar filter basket, poured my water on top, stirred, replaced the lid and waited for four minutes.

This is a delicious cup of coffee. The flavor is amazing. I taste the sweet, the raspberry and cocoa. I don’t taste pine but, heck, maybe I want it to taste like gin? 😉

This is a cup of coffee I enjoy mid-morning when I just need one more cup and after I’ve gotten my initial four cup start to the day with a darker roast.

I totally recommend this coffee. If you can get me to give two thumbs up to a light to medium roast, it’s a good thing. 🙂

I was excited to both try the coffee and the Oskar so it was a long four minutes.

The coffee was amazing! 

Carpe-ing the Java at Cafe’ Mondo

After CoffeeCON, I drove out to where I call The Middle Of Nowhere, Illinois. I call it this because I get NO cell service there. It is my cousin’s house. 

I love to visit here and just hang out and watch her animals. This time, there was no Llily the Llama as she had passed away since my last visit. There was, however, another dog named Cosette, lots of chickens, and kitties. The day it snowed, the mini horses were playing like little kids in the pasture. I wish I could have gotten video but I was so afraid they would stop when I opened the door.


We drove to the nearest town that was bigger than 84 people which is the population of the nearest town to them, Adeline.

My cousin had to run some errands and we stopped off at Cafe’ Mondo, in Freeport, for lunch. The cafe’ is cute and I loved the coffee pot display they had on one wall.

coffee pots

Of course you know that I needed coffee and I was happy to find Tanzanian Peaberry coffee as an offering. I’d never had it before and I liked it’s smooth, nutty flavor a lot. 

The menu was nice with a lot of sandwich offerings. I chose the Colosseum Sandwich which was a grilled chicken breast, provolone cheese and tomatoes served hot on a bun. We also ordered a little piece of dessert to split that was chocolate and caramel. I don’t know the name but it was delish! 


The service was very good and friendly. If I get back to Freeport, I’ll definitely stop back at Cafe’ Mondo. It was a good choice. 🙂

Carpe-ing the java at LaBriola Bakery Cafe’

After a day of coffee, coffee, coffee at CoffeeCON, on Sunday I need to have…coffee. 🙂

When I knew I’d be in Chicago, I made plans to visit with a long time twitter friend, Jay Beaton aka @Chi_Coffee_Guy

Lauri and Jay

I was staying out in Oakbrook so a quick Google search of coffee + Oakbrook brought me to the LaBriola Bakery Cafe. Having no advance knowledge of where this place was in relationship to my hotel, I arranged to meet Jay there. And it was SO easy. Three roads in one. Cermak turned into West 22nd Street, turned into Butterfield Road and I was there. 🙂

And what a great choice I made! You see, I had also checked to see if they served Almond Croissants. They are my favorite and I have not found a real almond croissant in the state of Oklahoma yet. 

I have fond memories of almond croissants at a no name coffee shop in New Orleans. Delicious and as big as my head. This one was very close to that. 

Almond CroissantI had to window shop through the other cases, too.

IMG_6546On instagram, my friend Suzie said of this next photo, “That right there is what Heaven will look like.” I think she’s right. As long as there’s a coffee pot somewhere in the area. 🙂

LaBriola Bakery

All in all, this was a great place to visit. The food (and coffee!), service and company were all top notch. You know my main goal in being on twitter is to meet people to have coffee with and it was good to share a cup with Jay. 🙂

#CoffeeCON 2014

Last year, in May (yes, MAY!) I drove through a snow storm to get to CoffeeCON 2013 in the suburbs of Chicago. It was an awesome event where I was able to meet four twitter friends in real life (IRL) and have some fabu coffee. I also took classes and learned a lot about coffee. And got sick. Really, really sick. 

You see, with all that coffee there, I was like a kid in a candy store and I had ODd by around 11 a.m.  I was hoping to go back this year and was absolutely thrilled to be invited as a media guest. 

press pass

This year, I knew I would pace myself so I could fully enjoy the day and the coffee. And the visiting, of course.  CoffeeCON 2014 was held at the Zhou B Arts Center in Chicago. It’s on the same street, a few blocks down, from the park formerly known as Comiskey. 

Zhou B Arts Center

It’s such a cool old building which I loved almost as much as the coffee. I have this fascination and love of doors and had to take a photo of one to complete my day.

Zhou B Door

 This year, I was not too sick to try the Kopi Luwak coffee from Indonesia. If you aren’t familiar with that, in a nutshell, civets (a catlike animal) eat the coffee berries and they are processed after elimination. Sounds gross but the story behind why they originally did this is very interesting.

Kopi Luwak

 I found the coffee to have an interesting, sort of nutty taste. The little coffee cracker cookies they had at their table were delicious!


 It was fun to go around and talk to the vendors and sample their coffee. I absolutely got goosebumps when I tasted Rustico from Counter Culture and I had to take that one home. Their website describes the coffee as having a kaleidoscope of flavors and it truly does. 

Rustico by Counter Culture

I also got a Sowden Oskar pot which I haven’t tried yet but plan to this a.m. In the Sowden class, the man said it was simply the easiest way to make a good cup of coffee. I’m looking forward to that. The thing that struck me even more, though, and made me choose it over the Aeropress (which I’m sure I will get one of these days) is that it is like French press coffee, which I love, but the filter is so fine, less particulates are left in the coffee when it’s poured. I’m hoping this will help it to be coffee that David enjoys better, too.   

Sowden Class

The winner of the contest I held last week was Dwana, a long time twitter friend of mine. I was so happy I would get a chance to meet her. Our first reaction to each other, IRL, was “OMG you’re tall, too!”. 🙂 

My only regret for the day was that we didn’t take a photo together but I did make my CoffeeCON movie staring Dwana and the Aeropress.  

We were introduced to the iCup machine by iCoffee. I enjoyed the presentation we were given. The iCup will take a K-cup and turn it into a good tasting cup of coffee by steaming and aerating the grounds, extracting the Co2 before dispensing the coffee. It also plays a little Mozart!

Although I’m not a Keurig user, I’ve had coffee from one a couple of times and found it to be bitter. The coffee we tried from this machine was much tastier. A real improvement!

Of course I can’t forget about the fun coffee roasters outside. I know I talked about the heat gun lady and popcorn popper guy all year and they were there again. 

heat gun coffee roasting

The popcorn popper roaster had a new addition this year: a Weber grill. Ingenious! 

Roasting with a WeberOne of the ladies outside gave me my own little packet of green coffee beans. I’ve decided that I will make Beauty Pageant Roast by using my blow dryer and curling iron. 😉

green beansOnce again, I had a great time at CoffeeCON. Well, I actually had a better time than last year since I paced myself. Thank you, again, to Kevin Sinnott for inviting me.

There are other CoffeeCON events planned for this year in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. Check the website for further information and Carpe Java! 🙂

Book Review: The Reluctant First Lady

The Reluctant First LadyThe Reluctant First Lady by Venita Ellick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although I wanted to kick Ashley in the butt several times, I really enjoyed this book!

Ashley’s husband is elected President of the US. Although she helps him to win the election, always with him on the campaign trail, she has no plans to become First Lady if he’s elected.

When he is elected, her plans become public causing her to have probably more attention focused on her than less. Ashley doesn’t like living in a fish bowl, doesn’t like politics but realizes that her marriage may be in jeopardy if she is constantly in New York working at her museum director job while her husband is in D.C.

I would never consider not being First Lady if my husband were president so Ashley’s vantage point was different than mine but I still enjoyed this book. 🙂

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