Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Review: The Firelight Girls


An enjoyable yet poignant summer read. 
The plot centers around a girl's summer camp that was on the brink of closing but alumnus of the camp gave it their all in an attempt to revive it. I loved the characters in this novel. I loved how at times the book jumped back into when they were campers themselves, but then also jumped into present-day as they struggle with their adult problems- the death of a loved one, being stuck in a job you hate, living in a love-lost marriage. Overall, I rooted for all of the women as I read it, and I loved reading about the friendships that were forged and upheld the test of time. Forgiveness was a central theme and the descriptions of nature were vivid and the character's connection with it central to the plot. Spanning from the early 50's through 2013, I was also fascinated by what ideas and conventions changed overtime, what remained the same, and how it impacted the characters and caused them to grow. 

I was a camper, then staff of a summer camp, not unlike the one in this story, so I found it highly relatable and enjoyed the realism of the characters lives.
Although I did not necessarily agree with or relate to all the themes explored in this novel, I found it thought provoking, engaging and would recommend this book for the quality of writing. 4/5 stars.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Reader Questions Answered: Favorite Places

Another great reader question: 
When you and your husband were trucking, were there any towns that struck you as especially pretty and scenic?
I know you didn't have time to sightsee, but were there any places that stood out to you?

There were actually quite a few places that I was blown away by across the United States. Although my husband and I were not doing traditional tourist activities during the two years we spent delivering goods in a big rig, we did get to see little slices of life from all around the country which was really cool.

There are many locations around the country that impressed and inspired me. These are the top locales I would love to go back to and explore further.

Western Montana
From the western state border to around the Missoula area, Montana is pretty the area where my husband and I were most captivated by its natural beauty. Gentle mountains covered in the tallest of pine trees and dotted with lakes and rivers like crystalline gems in a crown. Whether it's the mild, verdant summers or the snow blanketed winters, big sky country holds a special allure year round. As much as I'm a beach fanatic, the mountains also hold a special place in my heart. We would probably move there if we could, although the snowy winters would take some getting used to.
I at least hope to vacation in Montana someday and would especially love to visit Glacier National Park.

Moab Utah and Arches National Park
Utah is a gorgeous state, from the mountains to the desert, and we always enjoyed what we saw there. One of the most unique natural wonders we drove right past was the beautiful stone monoliths of Arches National Park.

I would really love to hike the area and admire all the cool sites. The nearby town of Moab also looked like an amazing place to visit. It's a small city with a unique heartbeat; it has a quaint, small town vibe with lots of locally owned shops and restaurants but also has a lot of entertainment to offer, from bike tours to river rafting. I really hope I make it back here one day.

New Berlin, New York
A tiny town in the middle of nowhere is certainly not on most tourist lists of destinations, but I feel my soul calling me back to the connection I made to this place. It was amazing to see how the rural upstate New York countryside differed from the bustling big city life of NYC just an hour or two away.
Something about this little village struck me as fascinating. From the wide open farmlands to the rambling Victorian homes to the little businesses dotting the main drag, it seemed both idyllic and mysterious. I probably took more pictures of this town than any other. Everywhere I looked something intrigued me. I would love to go back there and stay in a little inn or bed and breakfast, just spending some time exploring and hearing the local lore, perhaps solving a mystery or meeting a ghost or two.

I would also like to note a few locations that while I don't necessarily feel the need to return to had some really neat manmade landmarks.

The tiny junction town of Parachute, Colorado had probably the coolest solar energy setup I've ever seen. How adorable are these sunflower solar panels?
Across the street they also had an awesome teepee shaped gift shop featuring handcrafted Native American Jewelry.

Officially the coldest place I've ever visited with temps of -22°F and windchill of -40°, is Steele, North Dakota. Despite being deathly cold, I was able to see the beauty of the place, and man do they really have a love for birds.
The dapper subject of this photo is "The World's Largest Sandhill Crane, erected in 1999 to promote bird conservation, and of course, generate tourism for an otherwise small town. The iron sculpture was created by James Miller and stands 40 ft tall and weighs 4.5 tons."

This was actually across the street from a tiny truck stop we stayed at and those are my footprints in the snow. I actually trekked right past Mr. Crane to find this adorable little birdhouse geocache.
Geocaching is one of my most favorite travel pastimes; you use your phone's GPS to locate fun little treasure boxes or "geocaches" that other people have hidden. It's like a worldwide treasure hunt; I highly recommend anyone with even the tiniest spirit of adventure give it a try. It's free to get started playing at www.geocaching.com

Also just down the interstate from Mr. Crane we saw this amazing art piece. It really puts "bird's eye view" into a whole new perspective, doesn't it?"

I hope you've enjoyed a few of my travel photos back from the "on the road" days. What are the most favorite trips you've taken and the most interesting sights you've seen. Where would you most like to visit next?

Do you have any questions you'd like me to answer? Please leave them in the comments below!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

NOTD: October Birthstone

October birthstones are Pink Tourmaline and Opal.
I started with 2 coats of Superchic Lacquer Trap Queen, which is probably the most electrically vibrant holo I own. So intense and beautiful! Then I added a coat of EDM opal topper All The Feelings. This has become my most favorite topper; it looks good with everything!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Giveaway Prize: Cute Stationary

I recently received an adorable little stationary set from an Instagram giveaway from a brand called Graphique De France. It came with a nice pen, cute heart notepad and a zippered pouch. I really enjoy girly stationary items but rarely indulge in purchasing them for myself. These are really fun and seem well made.

Do you like cute stationary items? Where do you purchase your favorite products?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Recent Wax Reviews


L3 Waxy Wonders Fruity Pebbles Mango Sorbet- Mmmmm... this really does smell like the fruity cereal with an extra touch of tropical fruit. Strong on cold; moderate throw for about 7-8 hours. Overall grade; A-. Would repurchase.

Pink Mermaid Sweet Summer- very fruity and delicious. Like a strawberry watermelon sorbet. Fairly strong throw for about 8 hours. Over grade: A. Would repurchase.

BBW Cinnamon Caramel Swirl- wonderful; smells just like the candle version. Cinnamon bakery with rich caramel sauce. Strong throw for about 10 hours. Overall grade: A+. Would repurchase.

Destination Wax Bonfire Bliss: yummy toasted marshmallows and campfire smoke. This was so good! Fairly sure for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Glitterati Melonade- a fabulous watermelon lemonade. Just the right amount of sweet and tangy. Strong throw for about 8-9 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Kitty's Konfections American Dream- cherry slush, blueberry slush, fizzy soda. Very sweet and fruity with a touch of fizz. All notes present and harmoniously blended. Fairly strong throw for about 6-7 hours. Overall grade: B+. Can't repurchase.

Starry Skies Carnival Witch- marshmallow, cotton candy, green apple, bubblegum. A fun carnival blend. Very sweet but not obnoxious. The bubblegum note is most prominent. Fairly strong throw for about 7-8 hours. Overall grade: A-. Would repurchase.

Kim's Tarts Blueberry Lemon Sugar: a great blueberry lemon bakery blend. Fairly strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A-. Would repurchase.

Vintage Chic Scents Bomb Pop Martini: another great fizzy, fruity blend. Fairly strong throw for about 7-8 hours. Overall grade: B+. Would repurchase.

The Scented Squirrel Traveling Girl- white tea, lemonade and apples. A unique and lovely blend! Light, fresh white tea with tart lemon and crisp juicy apple. Fairly strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

L3 Vanilla Pound Cake- A light vanilla cake scent. Moderate to light throw for about 6 hours. Overall grade: C. Would not repurchase.

16 Candles Cotton Candy: a yummy cotton candy, strong on cold but fairly light when melting. Overall grade: C-. Would not repurchase.

Sniff My Tarts Peppermint Swizzle Stick Pink Sugar Sticky Marshmallow- a yummy blend, all notes noticeable. Moderate throw for about 6-7 hours. Overall grade: B. Might repurchase.

Super Tarts Sand Dollar Cookies: a yummy vanilla cookie blend with a touch of spice. Moderate throw for about 7-8 hours. Overall grade: B+. Might repurchase.

Scentsationals Peppermint Vanilla Macaroon- amazing sweet peppermint vanilla blend! Strong throw for about 9 hours. Overall grade: A+. Would repurchase.

Live Love Wax Co Watermelon Cream Soda: a really great and unique blend. Sweet watermelon and lighty fizzy, creamy soda. The texture of the wax was very soft and messy but it's throw wad strong for about 10 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase.

Glitterati Amish Kitchen: smells like Rich vanilla buttercream frosting and cinnamon coffee cake; heavenly! Strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A. Would repurchase. 

L3 Yuzu Satsuma: such a bright, strong citrus blend. Fairly strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A-. Would repurchase.

Southbound Soap Co American Smoothie: smells like strawberries and blueberries in whipped cream; yum! Fairly strong throw for about 7-8 hours. Overall grade: A-. Would repurchase.

Sassy Girl Aroma Lemonade: a great true  lemonade scent. Lightly sweet and tart. Fairly strong throw for about 8 hours. Overall grade: A-. Would repurchase.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

OOTD: Rose Leggings

My new favorite leggings outfit! Running errands this morning and the leggings and tee are sooo comfy and surprisingly slimming!💕

Leggings: Lularoe 
Tee: Walmart (currently in stores)
Sandals: Target 
Bag: Payless 
Accessories: Wish.com

NOTD: OPI My Private Jet

OPI My Private Jet. It's pretty but it didn't wear very well. Put 2 coats on last night along with base and Seche TC and after running errands this morning I had huge chips or tip wear on every finger.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

OOTD: Lularoe Maxi

I love how the bold printed maxis look with black accessories! I'm 5'6, size 20, this is a 2X and is just the right length but is tight in the middle. I wouldn't wear it with a top tucked in but it's still comfortable. I tried it on as a dress too and it looks great. Not tight and falls about mid calf.



Tee: Family Clothes outlet 
Skirt: Lularoe maxi
Sandals: Target 
Bag: Payless 
Necklace: boutique 


NOTD: Purple & Coral

One of my favorite corals: SC Island Coral and Salon Perfect Purple Pop. Both 2 coats, amazing formulas.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Giveaway Prize: Glitterati

The lovely Janine over at Glitterati Wax recently reached over 6000 followers in her Facebook group and generously gave away 6 prizes of 6 chunks of wax each to 6 winners. Imagine my delight when I was selected as one of the lucky winners!

A few days later my mystery chunks arrived and I was overjoyed to see the scents were all blends I had never tried before.
Cold Sniff Thoughts:

Blackberry Crunch Cake- juicy tart blackberries with warm vanilla bakery notes. Reminds me of my favorite blackberry cobbler; yum! Fairly strong on cold.

Love Spells & Bombshells- "a luscious infusion of citrus, cherry blossom, hydrangea, apple, peach, and a hint of blondewood. A pink champagne cocktail of fresh raspberries & tart cranberries." A wonderfully fruity and perfumey blend. Similar to VS Lovespell fragrance plus added fruits. Very strong on cold.

Pink & Warm Vanilla Sugar- a heavenly blend of sweet and spicy pink sugar and rich, warm vanilla sugar. A great dupe blend for the popular perfume scents. Fairly strong on cold.

Strawberry Cotton Candy- Sweet candy strawberry and decadent cotton candy frosting. Strong on cold.

Tart Berries & White Tea- just like it sounds; a wonderful fruity herbal tea type blend. Very unique and pleasant. Strong on cold.

Tickled Pink "pink sugar, vanilla waffle cone zucchini bread." Similar to the pink and vanilla sugar but with the prominent robust zucchini bread note. Delicious! Strong on cold.

I throughly enjoyed sniffing all these scents and am so happy to have them in my collection. Since I have been slowing down on buying wax it was fun to have some new goodies come in the mail.

Do any of these scents interest you? Have you ever tried Glitterati wax? Any favorite blends?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

OOTD: Lularoe Irma & Fabulegs Capri Leggings


Tunic: Lularoe Irma
Leggings: Fabulegs 
Headband, sunglasses, earrings: wish.com
Sandals: Target 
Bag: Payless 
Necklace: Forever 21



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

NOTD: Pretty Beautiful Unlimited Unicorn Horn

A stunning purple holo with subtle iridescent flakies. I love it; very beautiful and unique. Opaque in 3 coats, good formula, easy to work with.

OOTD: Lularoe Nicole



Dress: Lularoe Nicole 
Scarf: Aeropostale 
Sandals: Walmart 
Bag: Target, thrifted 
Earrings: souvenir 
Sunglasses: wish.com


Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer Fun: Homecoming BBQ

Every year for many decades my tiny hometown has held a large barbecue homecoming event on the second Sunday of July. Almost every year since I was a toddler I've attended. It is held in our big, beautiful park and people come from miles around to indulge in slow smoked deep pit bbq beef, shredded and cooked to perfection. 
The meal also includes salad, beans and a bread roll, and other goodies are available at various concession booths. I used to help fundraise for summer camp by selling drinks and snow cones many a summer, and it was nice to see the current generation of youth doing the same. I also always stop by the baked goods tables benefiting the local Women's Club and get my customary blackberry tart, made with local, hand picked blackberries and topped with a generous dollup of whipped cream. This year I also picked up one of the fluffiest, richest brownies I've ever had, yum!

There are also a handful of charming craft booths. This year I spied booths with jewelry, tie dyed clothing, toys, wooden decor, and of course my favorite booth is my parents. My dad sells hand stamped metalwork items, such as pet tags, key chains, military dog tags, license plate frames and plaques. 

Another crowd pleaser is the classic car show. Dozens of cars are on display, all the way from vintage models of the early 1900's to sleek sports cars of more recent decades. It's always fun to walk around and look at them; some people really go all out with their paint jobs and accessories.

It was a very warm day but I was able to stay cool enough with the aid of a nice breeze, abundant shade trees, and my new cute and comfy Lularoe outfit! This is the Irma style top, but I was able to wear it for hot weather by tying the 3/4 length sleeves into a draped halter, and it paired perfectly with my Azure skirt.

It was great fun visiting with my family and also old friends I hadn't seen in years. It's a wonderful event that really brings the whole community together and a tradition I always look forward to.

Do you have any local events that you make a habit of attending? What are your favorite summer activities?

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Reader Question Answered: Favorite Thrifted Finds


Although I haven't been thrifting in several months, I still enjoy it and have amassed quite a few thrifted treasures over the years. Most of them are clothing and accessories since I don't have a lot of space for houswares and larger items.

I got this purple paisley pashmina scarf nearly free with a coupon code from gently used clothing site Thredup.com. It's so beautiful; I just adore it.

Handbags are another great item to thrift; you can usually find some really cute ones for way below retail. I've used the heck out of this bag that I got for under $10 from the local Goodwill, originally $35 Merona brand from Target.

One of my coolest higher end finds is this gorgeous vintage Dooney & Bourke handbag I got from shopgoodwillonline.com. It retails for well over $100!

I love these super comfy flats that I found at a flea market for around $3, also originally from Target, Mossimo brand.

Another thrifted Target find: these beautiful earrings I wear frequently for only $3.99.

One of my favorite thrifted clothing pieces is a black sparkly waterfall cardigan. It's a no name brand I picked up near Salt Lake City, UT, but it's very well made and I've worn it every winter for several years. I find it quite versatile and it adds a little sparkle to any outfit.

Do you enjoy thrift shopping or bargain hunting? What are your favorite spots to find good deals? Any favorite finds you're especially proud of?
Please share in the comments!