31 December 2012

What Is Your Biggest Tearjerker - Movie or Book?





So last night my mom and I watched the movie Bridges of Madison County. And boy oh boy did we cry! And ironically enough, this was right after I had asked on my blog's Facebook page what everyone's cry baby movie was. Which was also after my mom and I watched clips from Brian's Song...as well as that St. Jude's Children's Hospital Commercial.

It's been one hell of a day...

So, I thought I would throw the question out to you guys...what is your biggest cry baby movie or book?

Book? I would say as of late is the Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I read this in one day and cried very very hard at the end.

Movie-wise? Steel Magnolias will always win. Also, Neverwas makes me cry every time (I think every writer should watch this movie).

What are your cry baby movie or books?

Saying Goodbye to 2012 - A Look Back






Let's be honest, I'm happy to see 2012 end. This hasn't been an easy year, to say the least. Between losing my job in February, my laptop crashing in August, and lots of family issues, this has been an extremely challenging year.

Anyways...I'm going to let my cynical self die down for a few minutes and focus on the positives.

1) I finished my fantasy novel!!!

My biggest accomplishment this year I must say! I am so proud. No, I didn't get the chance to edit like I wanted (see note above about losing my laptop), but with my latest equipment intact, I am hoping I can change that next year.

2) Got a new job in August!

I started working again in August and I am really learning a lot in a field I enjoy. It isn't an easy economy out there and I know I am very lucky.

3) New laptop for my birthday in December!

Downside is that I lost my free wifi. So this means I have to cough up the cash to actually buy a plan somewhere. We'll see how that goes. But other than that, I am very happy with my Windows 8 laptop.

4) Finding new companies and tasty foods!

So far I have learned about so many new companies, tasty foods and drinks. I really enjoy this and I hope you guys do to. This has also been a wonderful way to share some goodies with my family and get their feedback, too.

5) New projects to explore for next year.

I have new writing goals for myself next year. From finishing my fantasy novel rewrite to putting on my big girl writing pants and submitting freelance articles to magazines (even guest blogging more!), not to mention a new novel idea that I am exploring. So I plan on being very busy next year (what else is new?).

I hope 2013 brings you wonderful good luck, new experiences, and if you cry any tears next year, let them be tears of joy. I wish all of my blog readers (both new, old, and gone away) a fabulous new year.

28 December 2012

My Secret Superpower - Flower Arranging (and a Quick How To)


Alright, I know that post title has three parts to it, but I have to brag about my latest learned skill (which I happened upon by accident).

It all happened when I received flowers from Flower’s Muse, a company that brings you flowers directly from the farm. For any order you place, they work to bring you the freshest bouquet or flower bunches they can right to your front door. If you are the more creative type, you can order the flowers in bunches and received them packed fresh in a box, ready for you muse to take over. Or if you would rather than do the arrangement love, then you receive the floral arrangement packed ready for you to place in the vase of your choosing (or for you to give to the one you love).

Not to mention they also choose farms with the best business practices (including healthcare, daycare for employee’s children, meals, and so much more). Somehow that just gives me a wonderful feeling when I know that I am contributing towards a company with these types of standards.

Anyways, I received their beautiful Hydrangea Petite Yellow flower bunches, which did not come pre-arranged.

Here is how they arrived (my before photo) -





Although I am not a pro flower arranger, I am impressed with the skills I do have (my after photo) -






Here is my simple how to when it comes to arranging these flowers -

1) These flowers were quite long and since I had so many to arrange, I wanted to make sure I chose a vase that would balance properly with the flowers. So I chose a large, clear vase to arrange them in and filled it with water (about halfway).

2) I snipped the flowers three to four inches from the bottom and cut them at an angle (this means they absorb the water better).

3) This may or may not be to the benefit of the flower, but since there were quite a lot of leaves, I also snipped those. To me, they ended up looking a little better in the vase and presented cleaner (and the spotlight was more on the yellow of the flower, to me). I did a little digging after the fact and I did confirm that you do want to at least cut the leaves that will be submerged in water.

4) The arranging part - for me, when I started to arrange them, I visualized a big puffy cloud of yellow and I think this inspired the arrangement. I placed them one at a time, and I often snipped the flower a little bit more, depending on where they ended up in the vase. And if I did a pretty good job, if I do say so myself. Even Martha Stewart herself said for flowers like hydrangeas, bunching them together in the same arrangement can have a big impact.

Unfortunately, my flowers did not last as quite as long as I anticipated. Although the flowers from Flower Muse are reported to last two weeks, these lasted about a week. I think this had more to do with me, as I was unable to pick them up from the office they were held in, until a couple of days later. I have a feeling this impacted the life of the flowers.

Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed having this arrangement in my home and it reminded me of spring (which is a nice feeling by the way). If you are looking for beautiful flowers for your home, or for an upcoming event (i.e. wedding, anyone?), Flower Muse is a wonderful choice.

Check out their website here to purchase your flowers.

Disclaimer: I received two complimentary flower bunches in exchange for my honest review.

26 December 2012

Writing Prompt (Deadline Extension)

I don't know about you, but I am immersed in the hullabaloo of the holidays, which makes it hard to squeeze in the writing time! It looks like we could all use some extra time to get our submissions in, so we are extending last week's photo reveal a for another week. I've reposted the entry below and reopened the submission link. Have fun and Happy New Year!!

*********************


Hello, friends! It's time for another dose of weekly inspiration with our Writer Wednesday Blog Hop photo reveal! My co-hostesses Nicole Pyles, Carrie Sorensen, and Tena Carr have done the most wonderful job in giving us some great prompts over the last several months! This week, they are handing me the reins for hosting! Thanks, ladies!

Here are the creations from last week's prompt. Be sure to check them out and give some love to the authors through comments!

The Photo Finals Project, by Scott Taylor

I Have A Bad Feeling About This, by Nicole Pyles

The Only Way Out, by Leanne Sype (hey, that's me!)

Now, drumroll please: badabadabadabada..........

This week's photo

BlogHopInspiration

Mandatory words:


lobster


remote control


luggage


ears


exam


Here is how this all works:


1) There will be one photo, and five words - both of those elements must be a feature in the brief story you create.
2) There is also a 500 word maximum.
3) You have until the next Wednesday to create your post.
4) When you have finished your post, come back here and link up below and let me (Or whoever your blog host is) know in the comments that you have done so!
5) We were going to tell you to not take this too seriously, but reconsidered it because we know full well that asking writers to write something means that they will take it seriously. So, take it seriously, but don't fret/panic/pass out/hyperventilate/lose sleep/run in fear over it.



Have fun!!

Oh and if you are loving the Writer Wednesday blog hop, display this button on your site:

wednesdayhopbutton

22 December 2012

Best Place to Buy A Christmas Centerpiece




I have only purchased flowers one other time and promptly a couple of days later they didn't last. Since then, I usually buy flowers from the store or local florist, thinking they would be more fresh and last longer.

Until I received these...


These flowers were beautiful and they looked just like the online photograph -

Obviously, they have a much better camera than I do.

These flowers were not only fresh, and looked beautiful, but they also lasted so long. I received these last Friday, and they still look just as beautiful seven days later. Take a look -



I know these will last until Christmas, or at least close. Which is saying a lot about their quality, because I went to a local florist last night with my mom who told me that a floral arrangement they had out might last until Christmas (which is only four days a way). These flowers are actually lasting longer than the flowers my local florist was selling.

These flowers are a striking addition to any holiday table and were the perfect size for my modestly sized table (they are about the size of a basketball, to give you a general idea).

Now, where did I receive this beautiful arrangement?

FromYouFlowers.com

By the way, if you are still looking for a holiday arrangement, as of 10:11 pm, December 21st, their website stated they still have before Christmas delivery available. (According to their website, they offer same day delivery). It looks like their prices are reduced as well right now, so this is a wonderful time to make this purchase for your holiday table (or gift!).

As far as any negatives about my experience? None that I can point out, except that I always stress out over deliveries, especially flower deliveries. So, make sure that you have someone ready to take the flowers (so you don't stress as much as I did). 

If you are the type to enjoy a beautiful floral arrangement, and are comfortable purchasing online, you must use FromYouFlowers.com. If you need to have the feeling of smelling and having that in-person, hands-on approach when you buy flowers, you may not particularly be the right person for this, but I highly recommend considering this site for buying your next arrangement. It delivers exactly as picture, fresh, long lasting, and beautiful. 

Click here to purchase your Christmas centerpiece!

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

If You Can Read This, It Means the Mayans Were Wrong




I'm actually posting this in advance (pre-apocalypse). I figure now is a good of time as any, right?

Well if you can read this...it means we survived!!!

In that case, in honor of the world not coming to an end, I thought I would share my resolutions for 2013.

1) Finish "A Light Burns at Midnight."

I haven't yet finished the typed version yet and I anticipate that I will be complete by June of 2013 (a typed version at least).

2) Get rough draft of new novel halfway done.

I have a brand new novel idea that I am pursuing and I would love a rough draft (or half of one) by the end of 2013.

...okay, I won't add lose weight to the list. That is an obvious one and mostly I just want to eat healthy.

I managed to get my resolution for 2012 (finish my first draft of my fantasy novel) and I think that I can repeat my success.

Remember, if you are making resolutions, here's a few tips to keep in mind -

1) Start small.

The smaller the goal, the more likely you'll achieve it.

2) Share it with family, friends, and blog readers.

The more people who know your goal, the most likely you are to not want to fail their expectations.

3) Be specific and devise a plan.

Don't just say you want to lose weight. What work out plan do you have in place? What specifically do you want to publish and how will you get ready?

What are your resolutions? What are your tips for New Years Resolutions? Did the world end in your area and what was it like?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

21 December 2012

How Did The World End For You?

It's almost 11 o'clock at night and I thought I would follow this prompt I found about how I think the world will end!

Well, I have an hour before it's officially not ending and I thought I would share my insight on how it would end...

Oh, and in case you are still up to...here's the button for the fun blog hop!



I thought about the various ways the world might come to an end. Zombies, a religious themed ending, Aliens, Robots...I even made sure to slap a note on my untyped fantasy novel that said, "IF WORLD ENDS AND ALIENS ARE READING THIS, PLEASE PUBLISH THIS NOVEL."

Heh heh, you never know, right?

And then I couldn't help but wonder why the Mayan's stopped at December 21, 2012.

Seriously, why was that an end? Why did we think that the world would end?

Obviously, the wine is seeping in, because none of this makes sense to me.

Instead of taking this doomsday approach, I decided to choose a different "world ending" plot (which may or may not be a cop out...which also may or may not be inspired by someone else's post about this that I read, I can't really remember).

But I think the Mayan's were telling us this - that today is the day to change things. Today is not the day to remain status quo. To sit back and watch time go by. Nor is this the time to bemoan what we've lost, missed out on, or forgotten about.

Let this day be a day of change. To embrace our new selves. Maybe the Mayan's saw us gaining a new enlightenment.

Dust off that novel and start typing away. Take out that lengthy classic you've been meaning to finish. Tighten up your laces and start walking and get healthy. Get out the trash bags and get organized. Toss your cigarettes and slap on a patch, it's time to quit smoking. Start calling long lost friends and family members.

Don't let another year go by where you regret what you haven't done.

Maybe the Mayan's knew of our tendency for people to not really listen until it's an exaggeration. Maybe they chuckled to themselves as they put that final date, or maybe they thought, "See? at some point, we will ignite change into our future."

Or hell, maybe aliens will land after all.



Put "Give to a Good Cause" On Your Wish List This Year



Have you ever wanted to give to a good cause for the holiday season?

I wanted to share with you this new, wonderful way to contribute to a charity this holiday season in a new and unique way. You can purchase life impacting gifts on behalf of a recipient  and not only will both of you have that warm fuzzy feeling inside, you will help the livelihood of someone in need.

You go to the World Vision catalog and you select a gift based on the price range you can afford. You can gift everything from clean water, to live stock to helping girls and women from around the world.

Sometimes, I worry about donating by just giving money. I'm the type of person who likes to know exactly what I'm giving and not just donating to a bank account. This site gives me the satisfaction that I am actually giving to someone with an actual gift they really really need.

And if you aren't sold on this yet, watch this video and you will want to give this holiday season -




I tagged this post with the hashtag "20acts" because Ann Curry started a movement of 20 Acts of Kindness in order to restore our faith in humanity after the horrifying tragedy in Newtown.

If you are looking to do a random kindness, this is a start. This can make all the difference in someone's world and when you donate here, you also donate to the goodness in humanity. Because it is there. Sometimes we just need a little help seeing it.




20 December 2012

The Funniest Reaction To A Speeding Ticket. Ever.


Rainy Mid-Night Snack

 I don't really drive. I'm usually the passenger in the car, but I don't care if you are the passenger or the driver, it's intimidating as all get out to get pulled over. And every time it happens, you have to resist the whole "fight speeding ticket" reaction you get when you do get one.

Recently, when I was with this friend of mine, we were driving down hill on this long slope-y, no lights, little traffic road and she happened to be going over the speed limit that day. Oblivious, at first, especially considering the guy behind us was going just as fast.

Aaand of course there was a police officer waiting in the wings watching for this very behavior (conveniently, the car behind us slowed down really quick once he spotted the apparent cop car...why we didn't notice this too, I'll never know).

While this wasn't a big huge deal type of moment, she charmed the heck out of this police officer. I was so proud of her. It happened pretty easily too, because when she rolled down the window, and he came to the window, she confessed that she knew the very reason she was being pulled over and even admitted this was a fun road to speed on. 

If I remember correctly her words were, "Alright, I know. I'm speeding. But you have to admit, this road is really fun to speed on!"

If you can believe it, the police officer laughed. Now, how many people can say that? Well, okay, he laughed about as much as you would expect a police officer to laugh in a situation like this (he mostly smiled. He was also cute.). Unfortunately, my friend got a speeding ticket anyway, it wasn't nearly as high as it might have been. Apparently he lowered the speeding ticket to as low as it could be for a speeding ticket. 

But still, it was the first time I had seen anything like it (and yes, I took notes for my own "next time").

Tell me - what was the funniest/weirdest/most memorable reaction you've seen recently to a ticket? 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for which I will receive compensation. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

19 December 2012

Writer Wednesday Writing Prompt

Leanne's hosting today! Let's see what we got!

Hello, friends! It's time for another dose of weekly inspiration with our Writer Wednesday Blog Hop photo reveal! My co-hostesses Nicole Pyles, Carrie Sorensen, and Tena Carr have done the most wonderful job in giving us some great prompts over the last several months! This week, they are handing me the reins for hosting! Thanks, ladies!

Here are the creations from last week's prompt. Be sure to check them out and give some love to the authors through comments!

The Photo Finals Project, by Scott Taylor

I Have A Bad Feeling About This, by Nicole Pyles

The Only Way Out, by Leanne Sype (hey, that's me!)

Now, drumroll please: badabadabadabada..........

This week's photo

BlogHopInspiration

Mandatory words:


lobster


remote control


luggage


ears


exam


Here is how this all works:


1) There will be one photo, and five words - both of those elements must be a feature in the brief story you create.
2) There is also a 500 word maximum.
3) You have until the next Wednesday to create your post.
4) When you have finished your post, come back here and link up below and let me (Or whoever your blog host is) know in the comments that you have done so!
5) We were going to tell you to not take this too seriously, but reconsidered it because we know full well that asking writers to write something means that they will take it seriously. So, take it seriously, but don't fret/panic/pass out/hyperventilate/lose sleep/run in fear over it.



Have fun!!

Oh and if you are loving the Writer Wednesday blog hop, display this button on your site:

wednesdayhopbutton

17 December 2012

I Have a Bad Feeling About This - A Bit of Short Fiction

In case you haven't met my newest character's Marco and Figaro, read my previous ongoing blog story entitled, "The Curse."


"I have a bad feeling about this," Marco knew these were famous last words. His goofy, and seriously off the chart, magician friend Figaro brought them to the college campus and Marco stood behind a large oak tree, waiting for the next disaster his friend would think up next.




Figaro set up the door prop on the grass and opened it up.

"Oh ye of little faith..." Figaro said, leaving the door slightly ajar.

Marco suppressed a heavy sigh. "How about the time we ended up taking two strangers back in time?"

"Ssh," Figaro join Marco behind the tree and giggled to himself. "Wait, how much did you fill the parking meter?"

Marco rolled his eyes at the question, until he realized its implication. "Why? How long are we gonna be here?"

"Ssh, ssh, look."

Marco followed Figaro's eyes to a cluster of students on what seemed like a campus tour. The crowd of parents and hopeful teenagers watched the oblivious tour guide at the front of the crowd.

"Here we have our campus park, where you can hang out with friends, try our tasty olive pizza at the food truck or...or...see a piece of..." The tour guide's right arm remained frozen in the air and directed at the mysteriously placed doorway in the middle of the open space.

Figaro snickered. "Here it comes."

Marco felt his stomach twist at Figaro's comment. He watched as the tour guide stepped closer and closer to the curious object.

"Wait! Wait!" Marco shouted. He ignored the harsh whispers from the oak tree that called out his name and smiled at the crowd. "Ha ha, sorry. I left my...my...latest project here." He took the arm of the tour guide and awkwardly shook it. "Thank you sir for monitoring my latest piece. It's about to be featured in...in...You Design Magazine, you know!"

He shut the open door and lifted the doorway off the grass as the tour guide began to explain the school's elaborate modern art program.

"Darn you, Marco!" Figaro shouted. One thing that Figaro hated the most was having his schemes interrupted. He burst out behind the tree and ran for the doorway in Marco's arms. Figaro jumped on top. Marco collapsed to the ground with the extra weight. Enraged, he shoved off the door and pushed Figaro who returned the favor.

"We can't have this type of activity happening in front of prospective students and their families!" The tour guide shouted. He joined in the scuffle and attempted to pull the two apart.

Without either of them paying attention, the doorway collapsed to the ground with the door wide open. As Marco pulled Figaro away from the tour guide who pulled at Marco, Figaro tripped - either accidental or on purpose - in the direction of the open door.

"Bibbity - bobbity- boo!" Figaro shouted. Like a flash of a camera, all three of them disappeared into the doorway, leaving a lone door prop lying flat in the middle of the park.

....to be continued with next week's writing prompt!

Want to join in? Find out about our weekly writing prompt and how you can win a month of ad's space if you join us!

15 December 2012

Do You Lose Stuff All The Time? Well, Try FoundIt!

There is a place for people like me. The type of person who loses their stuff all the time. In fact, I'm on my third (and maybe fourth) cell phone charger. I have probably lost almost all of my gloves and hats for the winter and I have stopped by buying watches because of how often they come off of my wrist (and never come back).

If you are like me, you will want to know about FoundIt!


I learned about FoundIt! and at first, I just didn't get it. And that is the main reason I wanted to review it.

And then I received the info on how exactly to sign up and what to do, and boy oh boy was this ever a service meant for people like me.

Basically how this works, is that you sign up at FoundIt.com and you purchase a $19.99 or a $24.99 membership (the main difference is how many stickers you get). After you sign up, you get stickers and tags in the mail, that you stick on various items.

Like this -




This is just the beginning by the way (and yes, I placed a sticker on my hair brush; although that sticker didn't last long, ha ha). I have it now on my laptop, cell phone, the little wallet thing that has my credit cards, my make up bag, my sunglasses and glasses case. I am terrible at losing things and this is a service I need (like how two weeks ago I lost another cell phone charger...my third one (and I NEVER got back...see? This service would have helped me if I had placed my FoundIt sticker on that charger!)).

What you see on the sticker is a little code that you activate once you get your membership activated.

So, what happens is if someone finds your stuff, they text that number, or they go online to FoundIt and report that they found your item.

The only hiccup here is that it requires the honesty out of our fellow man (and you cynics in the back can just quiet down). So, I like to think that if someone found one of these items I've slapped these stickers on, will report in and find a way to contact me.

I love the idea behind this service, I really do. And this is a service perfect me, because I lose stuff constantly.

What I plan to do, is if I do lose something, and someone reaches out to me via FoundIt, I will post and let you guys know...immediately. For now, I wait and cross my fingers that this service brings out the good in all of us.

Try this out - and in fact, if you have someone in your life that loses stuff like me, you can even gift this service. 

And I'm so proud to announce that I will be giving away a "Bomb Diggity Membership" which values at $19.99 and includes the following -

- Your own unique FoundIt! ID

- 38 FoundIt! Stickers, including 4 glasses stickers
- 4 durable plastic tags (keychain, bag tags and luggage tag)
- Machine washable and dishwasher safe
- One year Membership to FoundIt! Network
Great for active individuals and couples!

Enter using the following activities below, and make sure to leave a comment for each entry method you do and do NOT just leave one comment saying you've done them all (otherwise you only get credit for one entry!) -

REQUIRED: 

1) Leave a comment by telling me about an item you've recently lost and whether or not you found it!

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:

1) Like FoundIt! on Facebook

2) Follow FoundIt! on Twitter 

3) Follow FoundIt! on Pinterest

4) Like World of My Imagination on Facebook

5) Subscribe to my blog via email

6) Subscribe to my blog via GFC.

And at the end of the contest, I will have the chance to give a 15% discount to all of my readers. So stay tuned! If you enter, whether or not you win, I will be sure to email you directly about that discount code. 

Contest ends 12/26.

****CONTEST ENDED - VALID ENTRANT #4 -  COURTNEY PIES IS THE WINNER***

Disclaimer: I received a free membership to FoundIt! in exchange for my honest review.

14 December 2012

5 Sparrows - Tasty Hot Chocolate and Chai Tea (and a Yummy Recipe Inside)

So, not only do I like to eat chocolate, I love to drink it too.

And so I had the chance to review 5 Sparrows Hot Chocolate, and I had so much fun drinking this stuff. What I love most about this brand is the fact that it was started by two people who've worked as baristas and their love of coffee just evolved (my shout out to baristas - I tend to bend their ear way too much when I buy coffee and they are always so patient and nice). And this company was created out of their vision and I was so proud to take part in tasting this vision of theirs.

In fact, here's a photo of me actually drinking my hot chocolate:


Hey, don't judge the photography job, it was with my cell phone camera and mind you, I was attempting to take this photo with one hand.

I had the opportunity to try a sample of 5 Sparrow's White Hot Chocolate, Regular Hot Chocolate, and Spiced Chai. The great part about these three yummy mixes are sugar free and gluten free (they are sweetened with Stevia and Xyiltol (read more here).



I absolutely love the little samples I received - for my Chai Tea, I heated up Vanilla Soy Milk and added in a couple of tablespoons of the mix. It tasted pretty good! I'll be honest, though, I'm not usually a fan of Chai Tea, but I did enjoy what I made, and that says a lot, I think. 

My Chai Tea

But, most of all, my favorite of everything I received was the White Hot Chocolate. I never made anything like that before and I even invented my own little recipe using this amazingly tasty hot chocolate mix. 

I like to call it...My Black and White Hot Chocolate.

Black & White Hot Chocolate

8 Ounce Coffee Cup
Milk
Already Made Hot Coffee

Add in enough hot chocolate so that about 1 inch of the coffee cop is filled. 
Add milk to about 3/4ths of the way into the cup. 
Heat in the microwave for 1 minute.
Fill the rest with coffee.

This makes the best hot chocolate (with the added coffee, especially).

If you aren't a coffee fan, try this mix also with Vanilla Soy Milk or Vanilla Almond Milk instead (just fill the cup the whole way with milk instead of leaving room for coffee).
I could not believe how good this tasted and all of this I have to say was made at work, so my ingredients were all right in front of me and very simple (I was very proud of that, because I'm not usually this inventive with recipes!).

If you are looking for a tasty addition to Christmas morning (or evening), go to 5SparrowsBrand.com to purchase your mixes! By the way, all three of these mixes are sugar free. How awesome is that?

Disclaimer: I received a sample of each mix of hot chocolate and chai in exchange for my honest review.


12 December 2012

Weekly Writing Photo Prompt - Will You Join In?

This time I get to post the weekly prompt (and soon, I will get used to having a laptop enough to join in...I promise).  A special thank you for my co-hosts, Carrie K Sorensen, Tena Carr and Leanne Sype for having so much patience during my time of laptop-lessness.

And here's the awesome writers from last week's writing prompt! Make sure to go by and read their amazing pieces!

Snow by Randy Lindsay
The Call by Stella
John Buck Thompson by Scott Taylor

Even though rules were meant to be broken, you must follow ours (especially to be considered for our monthly contest) -


1) There will be one photo, and five words - both of those elements must be a feature in the brief story you create.
2) There is also a 500 word maximum.
3) You have until the next Wednesday to create your post.
4) When you have finished your post, come back here and link up below and let me (Or whoever your blog host is) know in the comments that you have done so!
5) We were going to tell you to not take this too seriously, but reconsidered it because we know full well that asking writers to write something means that they will take it seriously. So, take it seriously, but don't fret/panic/pass out/hyperventilate/lose sleep/run in fear over it.

And make sure to grab a blog hop button if you're loving the prompts!

writing, writers, blogs
Click and copy this code


Now, for this week's photo:


Ajar by Gavin Turk


The Five Words:

Parking Meter

Stomach

Magazine

Chart

Olive

Oh boy, I have a good feeling about this one. 

When you have you're post ready, get yourself linked up below! Get those creative engines going!

Woooo!


11 December 2012

A Scene That Won't Leave You Alone - The Birth of a Novel

Have you ever wondered how a novel came to be?

Well...

It starts with a writer and an idea that love each other very much.

Ha ha...alright, I'm kidding. And you should be glad I ended there, I almost wrote the whole post based on that little metaphor.

Anyways. For me to continue with a story idea, especially anything of a novel length, I have to feel connected to the story and idea. But more than just creating an outline, character history, and setting layout, I need to really see the story.

I need the first scene to come to me first. Is that strange?

I had that happen with my current fantasy story. I suddenly got this scene of a character running into a thick forest and that is the scene that begins Chapter Two. When I got the scene, I had something to work with.Why was she in the forest? What was she running from? Who is she? Where is everyone else? All of this came to me and eventually connected to other scenes that eventually created this novel.

And I've been toying with a novel for the last several months (and longer, in fact; this is just the first time I've started paying attention) and today I got that moment. I got the scene. It's a small scene, too. Very small in fact. But it's enough and it's real enough for me to continue from there. I have something to work with and a story I've connected to.

When do you finally embrace your next novel or writing piece? Do you plunge right in with the start of an idea? Or is there a certain thing you wait on, like I do? 


09 December 2012

Tastes Like a Truffle, But With a Crunchy Outside

Have I mentioned I like chocolate?

Well, since we have that out of the way. I had the chance to try out the chocolate from Epiphany chocolates. Epiphany chocolates was found by a chocolate lover (like me) with a soft yummy gooey choocolate-y center and a special keepsake box that comes with every purchase.

Their blog talk about the inspirations for their delicious products and I love the stories behind them as well.

Like a little kid, I absolutely love boxes and I collect them, too. Here's the absolutely gorgeous box that came with the delicious chocolates I received -


Isn't it beautiful?? And here's the inside -



And most of all, here are the chocolates - 


Let me tell you, these chocolates were delicious. Each and every one of them provided a crunchy, chocolate outside and a chocolate center. I shared these with my family and we devoured them so quickly. My personal favorite was the peppermint chocolate flavored ones. Here's a little blurb about my favorite - 

SGT PEPPERMINT

Peppermint Mocha Fudge
Beware: Visions of sugarplums may dance in your head with one taste of this cozy combo...pepperminty mocha covered in rich darkchocolate with candy cane crunch on top. You may just leap across the room to salute this sassy sergeant. 


Remember, chocolate is one of the best gifts to give, and one of the best treats to bring on Christmas. And so I urge each and every one of my chocolate fanatics to go to Epiphany Chocolate's website and check out their delicious products.  Not to mention you must follow their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest page, too.

Here is the FUN part, not only do I have a promo code to share with you, but I also have a giveaway!

Use the promo code - SPARKLE25 - on your next purchase, now through December 31st! 

But in addition to buying your chocolates, you also can enter my giveaway!  Here is how to enter:

REQUIRED:  Go to Epiphany Chocolates website and let me know which chocolate flavor is your favorite. 

Earn Extra Points:

- Like Epiphany Chocolates on Facebook.
- Follow Epiphany Chocolates on Twitter 
- Subscribe to my blog posts via email
- Follow me via GFC

For every entry method you do, leave a comment below! Remember, you get a point for each entry method, so if you only say you've done them all with one comment, you will only get one point.

Giveaway ends December 16th.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary box of chocolates in exchange for my honest review. 

***CONTEST ENDED - WINNER IS LEGITIMATE ENTRANT # 6 - ASHLEY S ****


07 December 2012

Dear Santa - Can I Get These Gifts, Please? Signed Nicole

No, no I should not be wandering on any site at all and perusing the really cool gifts.

Nope.

This is not what I should be doing. I don't have the money. This would not be the responsible, adult thing to be doing.

But I did it anyways, of course.

Aaaand, of course, you all know my possibly unhealthy fascination with contests and found out that Staples is giving away up to $2,500 worth of items off of your (a.k.a. my) wishlist.

Okay, was that you squealing with glee?

I know, I did too.




So, while I was partially thinking of myself when I put together the Play Station 3, X-Box, and Portable DVD Player, I also have brothers who would love this type of video game system, not to mention would I love to give my mom and brothers new computers for their Christmas gifts. Considering money is tight these days, winning these gifts would make my whole year. Not to mention distract me for a very, very wonderfully long time.

The really nice thing is about putting together this wishlist is that it is super fun to find out their suggestions. Once you get started you just tell them the type of person you are looking to find a gift for and they customize the wishlist just for you. How cool is that?

And how cool would it be to win this? I know it would be...beyond. Just beyond.

I'm excited, aren't you??

So, to enter into this awesome contest, click this link here to create your wishlist. And then don't forget to tweet your wishlist to enter into the giveaway!

I'm certainly crossing my fingers. And don't lose hope too quick - there will be five winners chosen from now until December 22nd! Just in time for Santa!! And this helps in preventing the bad gifting that tends to happen this time of year. Isn't it awesome to give and get what you really want?

05 December 2012

Writer Wednesday Writing Prompt

Ladies and Gentleman, this is my first post using my new laptop! Yay!!!! I'm so excited! Finally, I don't have to type on my cell phone...which is really good because I severely damaged the screen. Ha....anyways. Today, Carrie has the posting reigns!


Who won this week?

I'm going to save that for later this time. ;)

First, let's take a look at last week's story submissions.

Hard to Let Go by Heather
Home-made Business by Tena Carr
Lady by Scott Taylor
Mama's Songs by Leanne Sype

I have to say, the thought of my son and dog inspiring those stories .... haha. :) It was lovely. And I have more for you this week.

Keep an eye on the rules:

1) There will be one photo, and five words - both of those elements must be a feature in the brief story you create.
2) There is also a 500 word maximum.
3) You have until the next Wednesday to create your post.
4) When you have finished your post, come back here and link up below and let me (Or whoever your blog host is) know in the comments that you have done so!
5) We were going to tell you to not take this too seriously, but reconsidered it because we know full well that asking writers to write something means that they will take it seriously. So, take it seriously, but don't fret/panic/pass out/hyperventilate/lose sleep/run in fear over it.

The photo for this week.


animals,business,hats,cowboys,fashions,horses,men,occupations,people,ranchers,ropes,seasons,snows,western wear,winter
Microsoft Office Images


The words for this week.

Needle
Wisdom
Planet
Beach
Scandal


We haven't offered our button in a while. Feel free to grab one to share the love. :)

writing, writers, blogs

Click and copy this code


And, finally, the answer you've scrolled all the way down to see. This month's ad winner is:


Congratulations! We will display your button for the next month. If you have a button already, please send it my way. If you have a photo you would like me to use to make your button, let me know that by Friday. Otherwise I can work from scratch.

Everyone else (not to exclude Heather) get to writing. It may be your blog up to win next month's prize.

04 December 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

I am proud to announce that today is my birthday! I am 26 years old today! I didn't announce my birthday on my blog last year, but I decided to this time around, because...well, why not?

So, first, let's all have some virtual cake -

Cup Cake Stand

Aaaand a virtual martini -
Refreshing Sugar Sweet Red Strawberry Martini Drink And the virtual gift I'm sure you all chipped in to buy me -
American Muscle car

(Hey, a girl can dream can't she?)

I'm also proud to announce that I have a new laptop!! That means much more activity from me in the blogging world (I know you are all so happy about that!) This also means I can continue my rewrite of my fantasy novel. Yay! I'm not writing this post with that computer, so I'll make sure to announce when I'm actually using it.

Anyways, I hope you all have a great day, too!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

03 December 2012

If You Happen to be in San Francisco This Christmas...


Painted Ladies at Dusk




If I had won the Powerball this past week (don't lie, I know you are disappointed that you didn't win, too), I would have gone to San Francisco for this up and coming holiday. Seriously, that is my favorite city to visit, live, stop by, vacation, etc. 
 
So, since I can't afford to take that vacation this Christmas, I decided to torment myself more, by planning the vacation that I wish I could take using GoGoBot.com. GoGoBot allows you to create your dream vacation and check out other people's reviews at the same time, so you know that you are getting both a good deal and a good time.

Now, back to the vacation I wish I was taking...

First, where would I stay? 

If you have ever been to the city (or if you have never been and you want to go), you know that the best places to stay are near either Union Square or Pier 39 (yes it's a tourist trap, but come on, you know you want to see those sea lions). If I wanted to stay near Union Square in particular, the Hilton in San Francisco received a four star review and it's only $158 a night (which is not bad at all, by the way).

But, if I wanted to increase my spending just a bit (hey, I can dream, can't I?) I would stay at the Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf. This is right by the pier and it's received almost 5 stars on reviews on GoGoBot.com. Isn't that incredible? Yes, it's $204 a night, but if you want to stay by the pier and have an amazing vacation in San Francisco, this is the place to stay.
 

Oh my, okay...so I have only been to this particular restaurant a couple of times when I lived in the Bay Area. But this is one of the hidden gems in San Francisco. This restaurant is called, "Scoma's." It isn't necessarily an easy find, but it's off the wharf and it has incredible seafood. You know what? This received five star reviews on the GoGoBot.com and there is a reason for it. This is a must go restaurant for anyone who visits the city. You must go to Scoma's. Must. Go. Scoma's.

Well, where would I go while I'm there?

Okay, first - Fisherman's Wharf. I know, I know, it's extremely touristy and always very crowded, but you know what? They have Ghiradelli's Chocolate there!! I'm a sucker for chocolate, you all know that. Plus, they have a beautiful bookstore that overlooks the water and I'm more than a sucker for books.
 
 
 
And first and foremost, if you are in the city, it's an absolute must that you visit the Golden Gate Bridge. You cannot leave without seeing that amazing icon of the city (but if you decide to walk across, be prepared to be out of breath by the time you reach the other side).
 
 

Pier 39, without a doubt should be on your list as well. From the barking sea lions that draws everyone's attention to the cute little shops, it's really easy to spend your day there. Trust me, it's always super crowded, but it's definitely worth it. Plus, the performing street artists surrounding the pier are worth seeing as well.
 
 

Finally my last suggestion is Union Square. This is the ultimate in shopping experience, so make sure you bring your spending money. You can spend the whole weekend exploring this part of the city and if there is any place that makes me wish I won that lottery, it's Union Square.
 
Well, this was my dream vacation! Make sure to create yours at GoGoBot.com! Gogobot allows you to tap into the knowledge of your friends when planning a trip anywhere. You can find like-minded travelers and inspiration for your next vacation, creating easy-to-use wishlists you can return to again and again.

And when you are not in vacation mode or planning a trip, you can discover hidden gems in your own neighborhood for entertaining guests or a weekend staycation.

The best part? Every page on Gogobot is personalized. You can see reviews from your friends and people you are following at the top, which allows you to weed out the noise and fraudulent reviews that become a problem on other review sites. Check out Gogobot today!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gogobot. The opinions and text are all mine.
 

30 November 2012

Buy Coffee and Support a Good Cause

Like I’ve said, sometimes what gets me up in the morning and keeps me going in the evening to do my writing is coffee (yes I drink coffee after 5 o’clock at night!).
I recently had the opportunity to review Boca Java coffee, in three different roasts. I was so excited about this!
But first a little bit about Boca Java. It was founded in 2001 and is one of the major online retailers for coffee and tea products. Not only are they a family owned business, but I personally love their motto:
If you are going to pay for gourmet coffee, every cup should be Fresh & Phenomenal! Stop drinking stale coffee, you deserve better.
Isn’t that the truth? No longer will you drink stale coffee if you switch to Boca Java blends.
And in case you are curious, they also provide detailed information about the coffee making process itself and I have to tell you, it’s so fascinating. Read about it here.
But not only are they making sure to sell us fresh coffee, from a family owned business, they also sell “Coffee for a Cause.” By making a purchase of these charity coffees, a portion of the proceeds go directly to the cause it supports. Find out how to send coffee to the troopssupport medical and humanitarian relief to Nicaragua, and support a charity that helps those with autism.
More than I love coffee, I love a company that supports a good cause!
Now, back to what I received. I received three different coffee flavors.



Personally, I am a huge fan of dark roasts as they provide a lot of the flavor I enjoy in coffee. I really loved each of these roasts as well. The Boca Villa blendSouth Beach Rhythm, and Sumatran Sunset all added that extra special something to my mornings. Boca Java is not kidding when they say they deliver quality.
Of the blends I tried, I thoroughly enjoyed Sumatran Sunset the most, even though it was a medium roast. This says a lot about Boca Java’s quality of coffee, because most medium roasts tend to lack something to me.

So, make sure you check out this awesome coffee company, and visit their website for purchasing information! You can currently receive free shipping for all orders over $50.00, so get shopping!

Disclaimer: I received three complimentary coffee samples in exchange for my honest review.
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