Saturday, April 28, 2012

Paying It Forward, Winner Style!

I recently had the chance to announce the winner of my Grand Opening Giveaway, Jill Jonsson! Jill won a travel prize pack that included a $50 gas gift card - something that everyone could use right now with gas prices being so high.

So I was very touched to receive a message from Jill stating she would like to pay it forward and allow me to use my prizes towards my Operation Relax mission of helping low-income families and couples go on vacations and honeymoons!! Isn't that wonderful? It really helped restore my faith in others, especially after dealing with having our car stolen last week.

In honor of her giving nature, I'd love it if all of you could take a brief moment or two and stop by Jill's Facebook page: and/or head over to her Etsy shop at: and leave a comment here with what your favorite item in her shop is! :) I already know mine - Jill was one of my featured Booksy artists with her fantastic Fairy Bookstore!!

Thank you Jill for your incredible generosity, and I can't wait until I get to send my first low-income family or couple on the vacation of a lifetime! :) 
If any of you would like to know more of what I do, please visit to read more, and visit my website at to book your next vacation and 10% of what I earn will go directly towards sending others on vacation!! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recommended Read - Upside by Bradley R.E.Wright

Upside: Surprising Good News about the State of Our WorldUpside: Surprising Good News about the State of Our World by Bradley R.E. Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While it often reads more like a scholarly journal than a book, this book does present some interesting data to suggest areas of good in our overly pessimistic world. It touches on myths and realities and explains its stance on both. There is a decidedly conservative Christian slant to most of the topics, but still has a lot to offer people of other beliefs. Some of the references seem a bit dubious but most seem to have a scholarly background. A good read for someone looking to refute the idea that the world is getting worse.

View all my reviews

Recommended Read - The Zarder by Sara Jo Easton

The ZarderThe Zarder by Sara Jo Easton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a magical land where dragons are in charge and humans live to serve, a small band of dragons and the humans they love band together to try to overthrow their evil ruler. The characters are likeable, and I found the story interesting. There was even a twist at the end that I didn't see coming! My only criticism is that even though there was a short list of some of the character's names at the back of the book, it was still very confusing to keep all of the characters straight since many of them had similar names.

View all my reviews

Booksy - The End is in Sight

My giveaway has ended, and despite an incredible run of bad luck (including deaths in the family, a car getting stolen, a layoff, and a car accident) I'm trying to remain positive that the end of all this crazy is in sight! :) Hopefully soon things will be getting back to "normal" crazy rather than "crazy" crazy.

Sight made me think of glasses - plenty of us who read wear them, and it just makes us even more nerd-tastic!

First, you gotta start off with some killer frames - I love this rhinestone cat eye frame and since blue is my favorite color, this vintage periwinkle frame as well. If you just want an easy pair to take on the go, I was personally blown away by these iCandy frames that come wrapped up like candy and are temporary fixes when you need reading glasses on the go!

To keep track of your glasses, how about using this fun blue butterfly magnetic holder? I can't help love this adorkable sock money glasses case, either. There's also a fantastic bookmark that doubles as a glasses holder.  Or you can stick with a more traditional but very beautiful eyeglass chain. My most favorite option, though, is this hilarious wall-mounted glasses holder in the shape of a nose and mouth!

Speaking of wall, if you want to jazz up a room with a little book-nerd oriented glasses art, I love these old antique reading glasses that have corroded the glass to create a pretty stain-glass effect. This tongue-in-cheek print titled "reading glasses" also had me giggling and would look excellent in my living room (might have to purchase it later on down the road!). Another fun piece of art is titled "Clarkius Kentodes" and is a "framed pair of superhero glasses". Classic!

 With all of these fun options, I think we can safely say that it is becoming much cooler to wear glasses! ;) 

And the winner is...

Jill Jonsson! :) Congrats to Jill - she wins an awesome travel prize pack that includes a $50 gas gift card, a custom passport cover by Destination Handmade, and a travel bingo game by The Event Agenda!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated - I was so happy to have received over 800 entries into my contest! I really appreciate everyone who voted for me and I welcome all my new followers. You all rock my world - and I plan to host another giveaway sometime next month!

Monday, April 23, 2012


Don't forget: this is the last day to enter my GRAND OPENING GIVEAWAY, where you could win a travel prize pack that includes a $50 gas gift card,a custom passport cover by Destination Handmade, and a travel bingo game by The Event Agenda!

Good luck!

Independent Book Blogger Awards
Vote for this blog for the Independent Book Blogger Awards!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Having a bad week (almost 2)

Have you ever had one of those days/weeks/months? Well, I've been having that the last two weeks! As you  might have noticed, I was gone from my blog for a week that I had planned to be very busy participating in two excellent blog hops. Well, my husband's grandfather had passed away, and as a way to support his mother and his grandmother we agreed to travel via car all the way down to Florida and back with only a couple of days stay in Florida for the funeral.
Of course, we hadn't planned on the sister in law coming along with her three young children. Tempers flew, one of the kids was sick, and frankly it was just a miserable trip all around, compounded by the fact that the guy who was manning the front desk of the hotel in Florida was a total jerk. It cost us quite a bit of money we didn't have, which added to the stress.
In the meantime, my own grandfather has been in hospice, and as we were driving back he took a turn for the worse. He now has failing kidneys along with a failing heart, and the doctors are estimating that since he isn't eating he will be gone in a day or two.
Now this morning I got a call from my husband that his car was stolen when he stopped by the gas station near his work to pick up breakfast. All we had was liability insurance because it was an older car with a bit of body damage. But it ran, and frankly we can't afford anything else! So now we are down a car, and the police are dragging their feet and saying it's going to take a week for them to get the report filed.
Needless to say, I'm a bit cranky and heartbroken at the moment, and wondering how we are going to make it through all of this with what little sanity we have left.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Small Blogs Big Dreams Blog Hop and GIVEAWAYS!

I was recently approached by the lovely writer for the Walking on Bookshelves blog to participate in a fun blog hop, and of course I couldn't turn her down! :)

This blog hop is very special because it contains blogs with a smaller amount of followers who are looking to boost their numbers - and EVERY blog participating is hosting a giveaway!! I highly recommend you visit each blog and enter their giveaways - it gives you a whole lot of chances to WIN! Just click below to participate and find a list of wonderful blogs to visit after you enter my GRAND OPENING GIVEAWAY below, where you could win a travel prize pack that includes a $50 gas gift card,a custom passport cover by Destination Handmade, and a travel bingo game by The Event Agenda!

Good luck!

Independent Book Blogger Awards

Vote for this blog for the Independent Book Blogger Awards!


Support veterans and tell the time - it's a win-win!

I'm always a fan of sharing great projects on sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, and the one I'm sharing today really touched me personally since my husband is a US Army veteran, his father is a US Air Force Veteran, and his grandfather who just passed away (we just got back from traveling to Florida and back for the funeral) was a US Army veteran as well.

The project is for Caliber Watch Company, who creates fantastic watches and provides support for the Disable Veterans Watchmakers Initiative. All of the details can be found by clicking on the widget below. The prizes for this particular project require a little higher bids, but it is definitely worthwhile if you can do it! I donated $1 towards this worthy cause - can you match my dollar or outbid it?

Also, don't forget to stop by my Grand Opening Giveaway - you still have time to vote for me and earn entries towards a travel prize pack that includes a $50 gas gift card, a custom passport cover by Destination Handmade, and a travel bingo game by The Event Agenda!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


So, not only am I doing an amazing Grand Opening Giveaway (see my post on the left from Monday April 9th - it's worth entering!) but I also had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the SocialPunk blog tour, celebrating the release of Monica Leonelle's latest book SocialPunk!
About Monica: Monica Leonelle is a well-known digital media strategist and the author of three novels. She blogs at Prose on Fire ( and shares her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors through her Free Writer Toolkit (
About SocialPunk: Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.
My Review: SocialpunkSocialpunk by Monica Leonelle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again, Monica Leonelle doesn't disappoint! This story has all the great elements you would expect - action, romance, a futuristic dystopian society - and I couldn't put it down. The characters are interesting, and described in a way that allows you to easily visualize them in your mind. The society described hasn't been done before, which was refreshing.
I loved Silver Smoke by this same author, and this series is definitely of the same high caliber! The only thing that stops it from being 5 stars is the few editing errors, which caused "hiccups" in my reading. But overall this is a great read and I highly recommend it! I look forward to the next book in the series!

View all my reviews
Here's an excerpt: A woman with long purple eyelashes, who kind of reminded Ima of a butterfly, brushed by Ima with tattooed art entirely covering both her arms. One of the tattoos started out as a young boy who grew just a little older with each second, until he looked like a man. To Ima’s amazement, the tattoo played like a home video.

Ima looked at Vaughn for explanation. “How—?”

“Pixel skin-grafts,” Vaughn whispered into ima’s ear. “Some people do their entire bodies in them. Doesn’t do much in terms of protection, but lets you change your outfit on a Clout.”
Sound great? It really is!! I was already a fan of this author, and plan to continue to read her works. :) In celebration of the release of her book, she is doing an AMAZING giveaway - and since you know me, you get to participate as well! Just complete entries on the Rafflecopter form by clicking here (I was going to put it below but it didn't want to behave!) to get your name in to win a bunch of fabulous prizes. Also, don't forget to visit the other bloggers who are participating in this great blog hop - you can find them all listed at . Thanks, and good luck! :)

We have another sponsor for the Grand Opening Giveaway!

As I mentioned in my last post, I was so proud and excited to offer a new prize from one of my Booksy shops, Destination Handmade . She is allowing the winner to choose any passport cover from her shop, up to a $15 value!! It's a great deal! I added two extra ways to earn entries by visiting her links! :)

Now I am proud to announce an additional sponsor: The Event Agenda ! She has offered the winner a version of her Road Trip Bingo to the winner of this giveaway. So, there are two more ways to earn entries through her links as well!

I apologize for my radio silence (or more accurately, blog silence) during this last week, but unfortunately we had a death in the family and had to travel out of town for the funeral. It was a long week, but I'm happy to be back!

Thank you to everyone who has entered so far, and good luck! :) Head on over to my Grand Opening Giveaway post to take advantage of these two new options to enter!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Booksy Shops are the GREATEST!!

After notifying my wonderful Booksy shops that I was nominated for the Independent Book Blogger Award through Goodreads last night, I awakened to an inbox CHOCK FULL of support! :) All the encouragement and votes really made my morning!

If you haven't had a chance, or if you are new to my blog, please take a moment to go to my Booksy page and check out the wonderful features! Booksy is a segment where I explore Etsy items that would make great gifts for the book lover in your life (even if you have to buy them for yourself).

Also, I'm happy to announce that Destination Handmade has offered to add to my travel prize package - she is allowing the winner to choose any passport cover from her shop, up to a $15 value!! It's a great deal! As such, I've added a couple of extra ways that you can win to the entries. Just click here to go to my giveaway page.

Happy entering, and thank you to all my lovely Booksy shops!

Monday, April 9, 2012


As I've mentioned in my last couple of posts, this weekend saw the launch of my brand new travel agency! Operation Relax can be found at and has the goal of making your travel dreams come true while donating 10% of earnings towards a fund to send low-income families and couples on vacations and honeymoons. It's a win-win situation!!

Meanwhile, I'm also happy to announce that I am a nominee for the Independent Book Bloggers Award! The first round involves YOUR votes - if I get enough votes, I advance to the second round for a chance to win a trip to New York with passes to Book Expo America!

Independent Book Blogger Awards

Vote for this blog for the Independent Book Blogger Awards!


To celebrate both big occasions, I will be giving away a travel prize pack valued at $100 that includes a $50 gas gift card!! :) All you need to do is enter below - several of the options allow for daily entry - from April 10th until April 23rd! U.S. residents only at this time, sorry. Good luck and happy entering! As they would say in The Hunger Games, "May the odds be ever in your favor!"

Booksy - Let's Get Away

In honor of the grand opening of my travel agency, Operation Relax - and the AWESOME giveaway that will be taking place here starting tomorrow - today's Booksy explores gifts for the bookworm who loves to travel!

You definitely don't want to go anywhere without a first aid kit. This one is cute and functional!
If you need to bring a passport, you might want to consider covering it to keep it from getting wet, damaged, etc. Check out this Confucius quote passport cover.

Keep track of your travels with this compact expandable travel journal, which has everything from pages to pockets and can be filled with your trip of choice!

Every vacation needs a great bag - something not too heavy that can be filled with your souvenirs or daily snacks. I think this personalized backpack tote fits the bill.
Before you'll leave, you can look forward to your trip by counting down the days with this fun countdown blocks set.
Flights can cause headaches, so once you reach your hotel room you can take a break with this soothing aromatherapy eye pillow.
If you're traveling by car instead and your kids are driving you nuts, help to fill the time by playing some travel bingo.
Keep track of your destinations with this handy cork world map, or if you want to keep them closer to you daily, this beautiful journey bracelet.

Reading books naturally opens up the world the reader, describing new places and cultures. If the reader is adventurous, he or she may dream of visiting the places described within the books (assuming, of course, that the place is actually of this world). But even if the reader can't travel, there are a lot of great gift ideas!

You could picture yourself on vacation with this reflective mosaic mirror.
If you want to learn about a new culture, you could read a Cambodia handmade magazine.
Surrounding yourself with unique maps can also make you feel a bit of travel (without the flight fatigue) - I love this sheet music world map and this tube (subway) system world map.

Finally, it never hurts to save up for future travel, even if you can't afford to go right now. Make your saving fun with this cute map piggy bank!

Bon Voyage! :)


Recommended Read - The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautifully written and poignant look at the not-so-distant past of segregated America. The characters are wonderful and the situations are mostly believable. The hype around this book was definitely true - it's a fantastic read!

View all my reviews

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Say Hello to Operation Relax!

As if I didn't already have enough on my plate (because let's be honest, working two part time jobs and going to school for a Master's degree full time while running this beautiful blog is a lot of work!), I finally took the plunge yesterday and completed the steps to take my newest business live online!

For all the details, please come visit my business blog:

Thanks, and stay tuned for a HUGE GIVEAWAY related to this big news!! :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Booksy - Writing Right

If there's one thing I've heard over and over from authors, they always say to write and then write some more and never stop writing! Of course, it's often easier said than done - let's face it, I'm happy if I am able to chip out enough time to work on my in-progress books about once per week between my two jobs and going to school full time... ;)

Writing is the inspiration for today's Booksy - these items are sure to keep you writing (or at least looking good while you write)! Usually I target only readers, but remember - without writers, there would be nothing to read.

Writer's block can be a big problem for any writer, but Etsy has lots of great solutions! Check out this unique wooden paperweight, or these fun inspiration dice. Ladies might enjoy wearing this word bracelet, and everyone is sure to enjoy this high-concept desk kit (I think I'm putting it on my Christmas list!).

 If a drink is more your style, you could use these funky Scrabble coasters or write yourself a note on this glass beer stein while you jot notes in Ernest Hemingway quote journal.

 Maybe you need to reach back into your youth and take a creative brain break while utilizing kids writing kits, such as this write me a pirate story set or these cute picture story sets. You could use one of these brightly colored duct tape flower pens to help brighten up your story while you write!

Sometimes it can help to surround yourself with prompts and places of creativity. I especially like this NaNoWriMo inspired print and this typewriter domino magnet. Or if you need something a little more literal to allow you to jot when you need to jot, I think these chalkboard bubbles decals and this tongue-in-cheek "wall" provide the perfect spot!

Finally, you may want to arm yourself with certain materials at all times. I think this writer ACEO print would make an excellent business card, and these funky Pog earrings (remember Pogs? Wow I feel old) make a statement. Then you can put on this speak freely write candidly read endlessly tshirt and lovely dictionary definition bracelet and load up your reusable writable tote bag with a notebook and pens and hit the town for inspiration!

Happy Writing! :)