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Monday, February 26, 2018

Review: Wiliam Wilde and the Necrosed

William Wilde and the Necrosed (The Chronicles of William Wilde)William Wilde and the Necrosed by Davis Ashura
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Full disclosure: I was given a copy of the ebook in exchange for a review.

Now for my thoughts.

Mr. Ashura is the master of a slow burn. In the first book of his prior series (a wicked good read, by the way), and also in this one, there is what seems to be a long buildup before any true “action”. But don’t let that discourage you - think of it like the lit fuse of a stick of dynamite. Mr. Ashura uses the time to craft his worlds and to get you invested into his characters while the fire travels along the fuse, and then BOOM. The action explodes and off you go on a wild ride with the characters you’ve grown to love. And then it doesn’t let up.

William Wilde is a spectacularly fun read, and I truly enjoyed diving into his world. Once I started the book, I had a pretty hard time putting it back down. (*shakes a proverbial fist at the author for causing my lack of sleep*). I just had to know what would happen next! It’s incredibly well balanced, melding action, adventure, magic and even a plethora of geeky references that made me grin or chuckle on more than one occasion.

I cannot wait to see where this series will go - the stage is now set, and I’m excited about what lies ahead for these new characters (and a few familiar, if different, ones).

If anyone needs me, I’ll be over here impatiently waiting for June, and the next book.

View all my reviews

Purchase William Wilde and the Necrosed on Amazon!
(Note: I am making no money/etc off this link. I'm simply including it so you can purchase the book if you desire.)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Goodbye, Hello

Back in March, I had to say goodbye to my sweet little dog, Pepper. She had been sick and hurting for a long time, and it was ultimately for the best, but that hardly made it easy. 

We had spent nearly fourteen years together, after all. Years.

Years of seeing that sweet face looking at me all sad from the bathtub on bath day.

Years spent playing together and giggling at her silly antics. 


Years of car rides, people watching, and Pop-Tart thievery.



 I wouldn't trade those years for anything. 
She was such a special part of our family, and I still miss her. I mean, you can hardly spend fourteen years together like that and not feel that way.

I missed having a furry little companion around to share life (and Pop-Tarts) with.So, a few months after saying goodbye to sweet Pepper, I began toying with the idea of adopting another dog. It wasn't that I wanted to replace Pepper, because I knew that wasn't possible. And I knew I didn't want to buy one from a store or breeder. I wanted to adopt. 

I downloaded the Petfinder app onto my phone, and every so often would browse to see if any of the dogs there caught my interest. There were a few that I liked, but none really seemed to be 'the' dog. 

Then I found this.

Needless to say, I was pretty intrigued. I contacted the rescue group, and after jumping a few hoops and quite a bit of legwork on my end, we went to meet the little furball. She had just had surgery, and so she was a bit out of it, but I fell in love with her immediately.

The day we met her, we were informed that over FIFTY applications had been put in for her...but they kept coming back to ours. The rescue workers told us that if we wanted her, she was ours, but she would have to stay with them a bit longer to recover/etc. 

But the longer we spent there with her, and the more we talked, they decided we could take her home that day! 

I think they realized that it was meant to be.

We've had her for a few months now, and it's been so much fun learning her personality. She's super cuddly and loving, and has fit in so well its almost scary!

She's young enough that she's still very playful, and she loves when I bring her new toys.

She's even okay with posing for pictures now and again.

And now I have a new little face to look at me forlornly from the bathtub, too.

She even lets me do this. XD
(Her shirt says "I give free kisses", which is oh so very true!)

To prevent confusion at the vet's office with their computer system, we have officially dubbed her "Pepper Mint". I think it suits her well.

Here's hoping for many wonderful years together, Pepper Mint. I'm excited about spending them with you.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

On Tuesdays, We Listen to Retro Blissed!

Hold on to your hats, folks, cause I'm about to blow your mind. 

Did you know that there is a WEEKLY holiday that you're missing out on?
That's right. I said a WEEKLY. HOLIDAY. 

What holiday is this, you ask? (I'm so glad you asked.)

Retro Blissed Day! And it happens every Tuesday! Isn't that amazing?!

Okay, okay,  this is a review post. For a podcast. That releases new episodes on Tuesdays. And the podcast is called Retro Blissed. So...Tuesdays = Retro Blissed Day...yeah. With me so far? Good.  So, all jokes aside (maybe), let me tell you a bit about Retro Blissed. 

Retro Blissed is a weekly retro video game podcast, hosted by these two folks right here. 
L-R: Johnny Townsend and Trevor Franklin
 All photos belong to Retro Blissed, and are used with permission.

Now, in the terms of full disclosure, one of the hosts, Johnny, is a friend of mine. He and his buddy Trevor (who I sort of consider a friend too? I dunno if that's weird or not. MOVING ON.) started this podcast because of their love of retro games/gaming. They typically review one game per week, and rate them based on graphics, music, game play, and controls. And let me tell you, if they don't like a game, you're definitely going to know it. Not that they're brutal in their ratings, by any means, but they try to give a fair and honest opinion for the games they cover.

And they absolutely love the Bubsy series. Seriously. XD

See, their expressions perfectly capture their feelings on the Bubsy series.
The show has a main feature called the Bliss Quiz, where the hosts try to stump each other with questions that are related to the game or "theme" of the show. My personal favorite are the questions involving eBay, which you simply have to hear to understand. Occasionally, the show will have special guests or feature different games (like Top Five lists). 

So now that you know a little bit about the show, and what all it entails, why did I feel it necessary to write a post reviewing it? Am I doing it solely to plug my friend? Nope. I'm writing this because I truly, honestly enjoy the show, and I think there are more folks out there that would enjoy it also. And now let me explain why.

Some of my most distinct childhood memories directly involve games, and more specifically, games from the era this podcast focuses on. I remember playing Nintendo and Super Nintendo with my older brother when we were kids, and how exciting it was to finally beat that pesky level, or to somehow manage to defeat the big bad boss battle, whether it was just from sheer dumb luck, determination, actual skill or some crazy combination of them all. Listening to this show brings back all those memories, and it's just fun.

And to be perfectly honest, the world needs a little more fun right about now.

I typically listen to the show on my commute to and from work, and more often than not I catch myself laughing my head off at the increasingly silly opening skits and the wacky games. While listening to one of the most recent episodes (in which the guys reviewed Donkey Kong Country), I realized I had been sitting and listening with the biggest smile on my face. It wasn't that the hosts were making constant jokes, or really even trying to evoke that kind of reaction, but there was just so much genuine enthusiasm and happiness in the presentation and discussion, that it carried over to me. Which, in my opinion, is pretty darn cool.

That's ultimately why I like the show - the guys' enthusiasm is so infectious, and you can hear how much they're enjoying what they're doing (even if it ends up being a terrible game).

So, if you're like me, and enjoy retro games and gaming, or just simply podcasts in general, give Retro Blissed a listen. I promise you won't regret it.

You can find Retro Blissed on iTunes, Stitcher and the BICBP - Radio Network (which is also home to some other great podcasts, just so you're aware!).

You can also follow and/or interact with the show on Facebook and Instagram.

Be sure to come back and let me know in the comments if you enjoyed the show! Also, do you have a favorite podcast? Tell me about it in the comments!

Happy Retro Blissed Day, y'all! :)

Monday, July 31, 2017

DIY Refreshing Face Mist

A few months ago, I ventured into the world of essential oils. I ordered a starter kit from Young Living, and have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the oils and all that they can do.

One of my favorite things has been incorporating the oils into my skincare routine. I've used lemon and lime essential oils in my DIY Makeup Remover - Lemon is considered to be a good astringent, and lime is said to remove dead skin cells.*

*(Please note, I'm not a dermatologist or anything, so anything I say is from my own research and information available online.)

I've also recently gotten addicted to facial mists - they're quick, refreshing, and kind of fun! And since I'm trying to use my oils and natural ingredients as much as possible, I decided to try to make my own face mist. I've made a couple different blends, but this is probably my favorite one so far. I typically use it twice a day (morning and night).

You will need:
- Witch Hazel
- Peppermint essential oil
- Lemon essential oil
-Small spray bottle

Note on the spray bottle: Glass is generally best for essential oils, but according to what I've read, certain plastics are okay. Just make sure you do your homework on what you're buying! :)

Witch hazel is a good natural toner (I've used it for months in that capacity, and LOVE it), lemon, as mentioned above, is a good astringent and peppermint is a good antibacterial, as well as being cooling/refreshing on your skin.
(I've even found that peppermint is a good acne spot treatment, but that's a story for another time...)

Let's get started!

First, add the essential oils to the spray bottle. I used about 8-10 drops of each oil for this mix. You can use more or less depending on your personal tastes. Peppermint oil can be pretty intense, so you may prefer to use less.

 Once you've added the oils, fill the bottle the rest of the way with witch hazel.

Don't overfill! Make sure you leave enough room for the lid and pump! 
(I forgot this the first time I made the spray. Oops?)

Shake it well to combine everything...and you're DONE.
Wasn't that amazingly easy? 
(Be sure to give the bottle a good shake before each use, too!)

And that's it! Now you have your very own refreshing face mist, made with just THREE ingredients! 
Now spritz it on your face (close your eyes!!), and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite essential oil, or DIY skincare routine? Let me know in the comments! I'd love to hear about it! :)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Pelican's Snoballs

For some time now, the buzz among my family and friends (both online and in real life) has been about Pelican's Snoballs. Everyone who has tried one says they're amazing. And since the weather here in good ol' North Carolina has started to reach peak heat/humidity levels, I was definitely intrigued. 

What IS a Pelican Snoball, you ask?

It's shaved ice. According to the website - it is New Orleans style shaved ice. I had no idea such a thing existed! Since there were so many people talking about it, I figured it had to be worth trying out. 

So I searched out the closest one, and headed out. 

I didn't get a photo of the building itself, but they're pretty easy to spot. They're light blue with pink accents. Trust me, they stand out.
They boast 100 flavors, and the list is pretty extensive. There's even some questionable flavors - like dill pickle and toothpaste (ewwww.) 

According to the menu, you can add cream to any flavor to make 'sno cream'. I was tempted to try it, but decided to go with a regular one first.

The menu had a color guide as well, showing what color the syrup would be. I'm not sure why, unless it was for allergen reasons?

At this location, you placed your order at the window, paid and then your snoball would be passed through the next window once it was made. All of this after standing in line, of course. We were there around 7:30-8pm, and there were probably 15-20 folks around. 

I ordered a regular sized snoball, which was $3, and chose cream soda flavor. My brother chose french vanilla. We like to live on the edge.

I was definitely impressed with the size! It was actually a little hard to eat at first because some of the ice would shift and nearly fall. Once you made a dent in it, so to speak, it wasn't so bad. 

The ice is very, very finely shaved. It's almost a powder consistency. Other types of shaved ice I've had have been 'sharper', and it jabs at your mouth when you eat it. This would almost melt as soon as it hit your tongue. 
And it tastes AMAZING
Seriously, it was fantastic. It tasted just like a cream soda, and the syrup/flavoring was consistent through the entire snoball. That was a plus too, since some types of shaved ice simply fill the cup with ice and dump the flavor on top, so by the time you reach the bottom, its just ice. This was NOT like that at all. 

I may or may not have already made a return trip (okay, I totally did), and realized that you can mix up to two flavors with no additional charge. On my second trip, I combined butterscotch and cream soda to make a "butterbeer" flavor. 
And I loved it. 

I'll definitely be going back, because I saw SO many other flavors that I want to try. 
Do you have a Pelican's where you live? If so, what's your favorite flavor? Let me know in the comments! 
(Also, this post is not sponsored in any way by Pelican's Snoballs.)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Kawaii Kitty Face Bag

Apparently, when it comes to bags, I am super picky. All I want is something cute and functional that won't make my bank account cry. Is that so much to ask?!

Recently, I went on the search for a new bag, and was sorely disappointed with my options. I saw several I liked but none just seemed to be "the" bag.

I love cross body bags, and I like them to be big enough and have enough pockets to carry my stuff without being too cramped, but something TOO big.

Maybe I am just that picky. >.<

I ended up purchasing a plain black canvas bag from Walmart, and decided I would add my own flair to it, with paint or whatever struck my fancy.

Here's the original bag.

Who puts brown accents on a black bag?! Why Walmart why?!

After some debate, I decided I wanted to put a kawaii kitty face on my bag. I did some Google-fu to get some inspiration, and went to work.

I used a white crayon to sketch out the face I wanted (which was very forgiving!). I was able to erase and re-draw the lines a few times without making a mess on the bag's fabric.

I chose this paint to draw the main outline of the face.

I will DEFINITELY be buying this again! It was so easy to work with, and the color was great!

A few in-progress shots. 

I am super proud of this free handed heart. Just so you know.

For the nose and heart I used some Tulip brand fabric paint I had on hand. I mixed red and white until I got the shade I wanted and went with it.

Technically I could have stopped here, but those darn brown accents bugged me so much!

So I made a second trip to Michaels, where I had seen leather/vinyl paint. I got a bottle in a gunmetal color, and went to work on those accents.

I did them in stages, painting one side, letting it dry and then doing the other on the zipper pulls and such. More time consuming but it worked well.

Another in-progress shot.

And the final result! The accents look SO much better after being painted, don't you think?

I am incredibly pleased with how it turned out. I've been using it for several weeks now, and the paint is holding up beautifully.

Have you ever painted or modified a bag to suit you? Tell me about it in the comments!

Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cleveland Rocks! (and is wet!)

 I flew up to Cleveland a few weeks ago to spend some time with a friend, see the sights, and visit Cedar Point. 

This photo pretty much sums up the trip.
Yes, that would be me holding my shoes underneath the hand dryers in a bathroom, in an attempt to dry them off. Fortunately, there are no photos of me holding my Pikachu socks under the dryer before this. 

Seriously, y'all. SO. MUCH. RAIN. What gives, Ohio?!

Okay, okay, it's not fair to blame Ohio, is it? But really. I flew up on a Wednesday, and that was the ONLY day of my trip that there was no rain. 

Despite this, it was an amazing trip! Because of the rain, we ended up doing a few things that were unplanned, and re-working some things on the fly. More on this later. 

This post is going to be pretty photo-heavy, so be warned. I may do some separate posts later focusing on specific places/restaurants/etc, but for now, here's just a brief overview. :)

First view of Cleveland! I was really impressed with how pretty the city was - in my opinion, it was a very clean city, very open and airy. And big.

A view of Lake Erie behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I was a fan of the lake at this point.

Outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This was my first visit here, and I already want to go back. There was so much to see! 

 This was probably my favorite section of the whole place. I could have spent so much time here. 

 THE drums....*sighs*. 

We had made plans to visit Westside Market on Thursday, but found out the night before that it is closed on Thursdays. Gah! This is why you read websites and stuff very carefully. So we decided to go to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History instead. It wasn't something we planned on doing originally, but it ended up being a fun way to spend the morning!

 I even made a new friend! 

We then went to see the house from A Christmas Story. It was pretty random, but interesting? It's just a house in the middle of a quiet neighborhood. It's so weird, you drive along and its just random houses and them BOOM. Christmas Story House and museum. And then the neighborhood continues. I wonder how the other residents feel about it, actually.

The worker at the museum recommended a few 'rainy day' activities for us. He recommended driving through Playhouse Square, where they have the largest outdoor chandelier in the world. It actually took us a couple tries to find it, but it was pretty neat!

Please ignore the rain splotches on all these photos. >.<

Cleveland had some really cool architecture. I would love to visit again in nicer weather to see more of it up close.

 One of the unplanned things we did was visit Lakeview Cemetery. Visiting a cemetery may sound odd, but it ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip. 

One of the main 'attractions' (that sounds so wrong), was the Garfield Memorial.

It's dedicated to President Garfield, who is actually laid to rest inside the memorial with his wife. The inside of the memorial is gorgeous with lots of mosaic/tile work, and a beautiful statue of Garfield. 

Unfortunately, taking these photos and looking around sent my head spinning (yay, vertigo!), and so I didn't venture down to the crypt to see the President. Maybe next time. 

The cemetery also has a memorial to the Rockefeller family, who are buried there. 

 There are several 'famous' people buried in Lakeview. One of whom is Eliot Ness (who I demanded we find, because he was an epic man, for a lot of reasons).

There was much more to the cemetery, but for length's sake, I'll save it for another time. :)

Friday was the day we planned to go to Cedar Point. 

Aaaaaaaaaand it rained. Horribly.

I was no longer a fan of Lake Erie after a venture down Cedar Point road (so much flooding, massive waves crashing over the road/cars, general scariness..)

We ended up staying only a short time at the park because it was wet, cold and miserable. 

However, it ended up working out okay, because we were able to visit Westside Market! 

I LOVED the market. There were so many great stalls with various foods, and I ate sooo much. This was where I used the hand dryers to dry off my shoes and socks, so I'm pretty fond of the place for that as well. 

But the food was the main draw.

And that's pretty much it. It was just a short trip, but I feel like we packed a good amount of adventures into the time we had.  And while a lot of the things didn't go exactly as planned, we ended up visiting some places that were well worth the while. So that just goes to prove that even if your plans don't work out, you can still find ways to have fun! 

As I said, I plan to do a few more detailed posts later on about a few of the locations we visited (like the Cemetery!), and the restaurants too, so be on the lookout for those in the very near future! 

One last photo, because I love how clouds look from above. 

Until next time! :)