Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Think About You by K.S. Thomas...

...Ever since I started writing, I've kind of slacked on this blog, mainly just doing product reviews and doing quick picture recaps of fun events, holidays, and such. My author blog is where I post most of my book reviews these days but I started thinking about it and feeling guilty because I'm not sharing these awesome books I'm reading with you! So, I'm going to do my best to post book reviews here. Luckily, the first one is by an author that I absolutely LOVE and you'll probably end up seeing a lot of my reviews on her books. So here goes, I Think About You by K.S. Thomas!

One's dream can be a funny thing. A collection of random thoughts. A compilation of your deepest fears and desires. A sign? 

Most days, Marissa leaves dream interpretation to the psychologists and psychics, but when her subconscious churns out a vision of her first love so real it jars her from her sleep, she can't help but wish she knew what it meant. Or at the very least, what the lingering feelings still present long after she's awake, mean. 

Drew isn't looking for signs. Mostly, he's just trying to avoid them. Like the street sign that marks the turn to her old house. Or the stop sign at the edge of town, reminding him where he belongs and what else is out there. Her. Marissa. She's out there. But that doesn't matter anymore. 

This is a sweet story about first loves being reunited. I totally related to Marissa and the life of a mom of a toddler. I love that she put her daughter first but that didn't stop her from finding her own happiness. I loved Drew-hot, sexy country boy, what's not to like? This story makes you realize that you should speak your heart and not hide your true feelings.

Monday, January 26, 2015

My Book Signing at Hastings!!!

...Two Saturdays ago, I had my second book signing and event. It was in my hometown at Hastings. For those of you not familiar with Hastings, they are a nation-wide chain that sells books, music, DVDs, etc... I'm trying to stock pile my books for Indie Book Fest that I'll hopefully be attending with K.S. Thomas this summer. I try to order a few a month and rather than let them just sit in my basement, I have them on consignment at Hastings. When I dropped off the books in November, they asked if I wanted to do a signing and I was like, uh... yes! Check it out, here's my poster for Everybody's After Love and my books on display. 

Going into Saturday, I was worried that no one would come. I mean when I did the library event back in November, I didn't sell a single book and barely had anyone stop and talk to me (other than to be polite!). So, needless to say, I wasn't really looking forward to it...

I shocked myself at how professional my table looked! I started the day with the goal to sell three books which was ten percent...Oh and let me tell you how BOTH of the shirts I brought had stuff on them so my sister was frantically trying to spot wash/dry them for me. Thanks, Sha Sha, you're the best!
The signing had barely started and in walked a girl in sunglasses, reading the sign on the door. I laughed at her joke and then realized, "Hey, I know you!" It was my baby cousin, who is almost twenty-one, but the last time I saw her she was in high school! Her parents were with her so it was great to catch up with them. My cousin had curly hair like AR's and whenever someone mentions cutting AR's hair, I always think about my cousin so her dedication had a note about that.

Next walks in a girl I went to high school with and her sister. Surprisingly, they just happened to walk in with no idea I was there or had even wrote a book! It was great to catch up with them. Of course, I didn't think to get a pic until after they left. :( Thank you though, Kayla and sis for your support!

Then my long time friend, and always supporter whether it be moving cross country, running 42 flights of stairs, throwing a baby shower, cake hunting, or spreading the love about my books, Laura came to visit. 
My namesake's mom and sister stopped by to show their support. They're sending one to California for my namesake! She's a doctor, too, so maybe I'll pick her brain for future books.

My Girl Scout buddy, Gabe stopped by! Of course, we spent the majority of time talking about her new, sweet baby.

Mama Laura came by, too! I played soccer with her daughters back in high school. She had read Love is a Fire and commented that she couldn't believe it was me writing that. I always blush but my response is, "Hey, it's no FSOG!"

My childhood best friend's older sister (and likewise my honorary older sister) came by to get a set for both fams. She even bought one for her sweet Mimi since she was the inspiration for the Mimi in Love is a Fire. She reminded me of a prank she pulled on me in middle school, took pics, and posted in the local newspaper on my sixteenth birthday. Keep that in mind, you might be reading in that in a book some day!

And another bestie from back in the day, WAY BACK, stopped by. She's still pissed at me about Nick Garrity, but came to show her support and get some more books.

Overall, I far surpassed my goal of three books, but more than anything, it was great to see familiar faces and while it's been years since I've seen most of them, it's awesome how after all this time, they still support me. A huge thank you to those that came to see me, purchased books, and always have my back. I also have to thank those of you that reminded me of old memories that will more than likely appear in future books.

After the signing, my sister and I went out to dinner with some of her high school friends (she recently joined FB and is kindling old friendships). Dinner was a-ma-zing and to top it off, the day was finished with this little bit of heaven-Baked Alaska! I'd definitely call the day a success in my book!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Baby Hattie's Birthday Party!!!

...Today we headed over to the Faust Park Carousel for Baby Hattie's birthday party!!! AR was so excited about this, asking all day if it was time to go yet and then while we were there, asking if Baby Hattie would play with her. AR loved riding the carousel, especially the deer one (real antlers!)-Daddy is proud of her!

Cheeseburger for the camera!

AR found a new bestie with Ms. Merri! I love this smile of hers.

And she was excited to see her friend, Eleanor!

Even MORE excited for a cupcake (and fruit and Chex Mix!)

She loved watching Baby Hattie eat her cupcake and would run back to me, giving me updates!

See, I was there, too!!! Here's proof in the mirror!

Oh the warm sun on a chilly January day!

Overall, she had a blast!!! Happy birthday, Hattie!!! Thanks for letting us share in your celebration!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Time with My Girl...

...It was a nice long weekend! I had a book signing in Cape (more on that later) and then I was off on Monday with AR. Sunday we woke up at my dad's who cooked us a delicious breakfast!

My stepbro and I went from being the oldest (him) and youngest (me) to the middle kids so we snapped a pic so no one would forget about us since we're #middlekids.

Then on Monday, AR actually slept in...almost until 8! It was glorious! When she woke up, we played Candyland... I'm a little OCD to play with a two-year-old but hey, we had a good time. Then she insisted on wearing her flip flops... it was pretty nice out. Later in the day, I painted her nails and toenails. In return, she painted one of my feet...and most of the toes too!

We made a Fruit Loop birdfeeder. Despite yelling at the birds to come eat, they didn't and she was bummed, but she didn't mind polishing off the leftovers.

Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself!

After Candyland and birdfeeders, we ran a few errands. On our way home, we passed Barnes & Noble, her favorite hangout. She requested we stop "for just a little bit" and I agreed. After this video, I'm so glad we did! #lovemyAR

Sure, I get to spend most weekends with my girl, but there's just something about spending a weekday with her. Maybe because it's a special day so I try to plan more fun things for us to do. Maybe it's because I get some extra love and cuddles. Or maybe it's because I see what I'm missing out on. It's always tough to go back to work after a long weekend, but it's even harder when I've spent that free day with my girl. We make the best of it though and on Monday, we finished our day with ice cream sandwiches. It doesn't get much better than this...

Monday, January 12, 2015

#Cakehunting Quotes and the Final Cakes!!!

...We did it! We found all 250+ cakes! It was a long journey and I'm glad it's over but I will miss it. We've already found out scavenger hunts around the US that we're going to be roadtripping for. Here are some of the best #cakehunting quotes and most frequent conversations we had.

Sha: Is this photo enforced?
Me: I don't know but stop. Don't be running that in my car!
*Someone spots a cake* Do we have this one yet?
H: I am so done.
Comment made after running from the Arch to the Edward Jones Dome.
The cold never bothered me anyway!~Frozen
What number is this?
Followed by: What's the name again? How do you spell it?
AR: Cake!!! Out, Mommy!
...finish each other's sandwiches!
That's what I was going to say. ~Frozen
Haley and I singing this to each other along with the movie.
H: When are we stopping for lunch?
Me: Are you hungry?
AR: Mommy, hand!
In which I have to hold her hand from the front seat. Sweet but man oh man I hate when my hand falls asleep.
Me: The Internet isn't working.
Sha: Well it says you're connected!
Delete that picture!
Sha/H: What's that crowd of people doing over there?
Me: Um...waiting to eat.
AR: I wanna watch Froze!
I've been listening to the radio all night long!~Luke Bryan
I wanted to hear this song so H downloaded it and we listened to it on repeat. Now every time it comes on the radio, I call and leave her a voicemail of me singing it.
Me: I think I have adult cognizant dyslexia.
Sha: Me too, it must be hereditary.
This is a totally fictional disease that we self-diagnosed.
Does Angie have this one yet?
Text Lisa and ask where this one is.
What's this place? Does it have a cake?
Asked about any building/church that is big, has columns, can be seen from a block away.
No cake? Well it should have one!
What were we talking about?
Oh and so much more!!! If you didn't go #cakehunting at least once then you're missing out!

Cake #252 Franklin County Courthouse

Cake #253 Youthbridge

Cake #254
This was the protype cake.

Cake #255
This was the very last cake that was unveiled on New Year's Eve at First Night. It will be on display at the History Museum.

Cake #256
And the very last (and blurry) cake...the roaming Rocky and Bullwinkle cake!!! AR was over it at this point.

So happy 250th birthday, St. Louis! We had a great time partying with you!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cousinly Love...

...The Tuesday before New Year's was my last day off work after a week of vacation. AR and I spent the day with H and Sha. First stop Target, second stop McAllister's-yum!!! Can you FEEL the love here?

Nothing like your favorite cousin, a cosmic brownie, and a monkey before bedtime!

My sister watched AR while I went to work on New Year's Eve. The next morning, AR and H had popsicles for breakfast (AR had a sore throat, more to come on that!). AR spent the rest of the morning checking on Champ.

They all went to lunch at Chili's. This was AR after she announced she was done eating. Love the legs crossed!

The girls had a great day together (despite the first picture!). I'm so glad that we live close together so we get to hang out with them!

America's Incredible Pizza Company!!!


Fun, Food and Family America's Incredible Pizza Company is the place to find it all! Incredible Pizza Company delivers high energy and a quality experience for the entire family. After enjoying our freshly homemade buffet; enter our world famous Fair Grounds and play over 100 arcade and carnival style games. Race to the finish line while driving our go karts, get lost in a friendly game of laser tag, get a hole-in-one while playing glow golf, and spin away on the bumper cars and more! So whether you're 6 or 60, enter our fairgrounds and have an incredible time while making memories that will last a lifetime!

Get a 99 cent All-You-Can-Eat Buffet with a $15 Game Card Purchase at America's Incredible Pizza Company. Not valid with any other offer or discount. Can not be used towards a private birthday party, fundraising event or private group event. Valid at our Memphis, Springfield, St. Louis, San Antonio, and Tulsa locations only.
http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=11219&dealid=1286 @usfg

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

LEGO KIDSFEST is coming to St. Louis!!!

It's been floating around on social media that the LEGO KIDSFEST is coming to St. Louis this spring. Lately, AR is ALL about playing with her LEGO blocks so I decided I'd look into the event. After finding out more info, we are TOTALLY going because she's going to have a BLAST. I mean, it's three acres of hands-on LEGO fun! I imagine that I'll have a pretty good time too.

LEGO KIDSFEST is coming to St. Louis March 20 - 22, 2015. Here's a little bit more about the event if you're interested:

The LEGO KidsFest national tour stops at America's Center in St. Louis from March 20 - 22, 2015, for the very first time, bringing all of the creative hands-on, minds-on fun of LEGO building and experiences together in this three acre activity- and entertainment-packed family event. 

Among the many LEGO attractions, families will find: 
* LEGO Model Museum: walk among the dozens of life-sized models made from LEGO bricks 
* LEGO Ninjago: spin the way to being a Spinjitzu member 
* LEGO Mindstorms: play with programmed robots and snakes 
* LEGO Movie: help Emmet and Lucy conquer the bad guys 
* LEGO Fusion: work with real and virtual bricks in this 
* Race Ramps: build a custom car, then race it down the ramp against friends and family 
* Creation Nation: construct a creation to add to a custom map of the U.S. 
* Construction Zone: enjoy a creative build, play, and display area
* LEGO DUPLO: explore imagination through building for the younger set
* LEGO Retail: purchase LEGO merchandise and official KidsFest tour goods
* Big Brick Pile: build and have fun in a gigantic pile full of LEGO bricks for creative play and enjoyment
* Monochromatic Builds: construct buildings and more using bricks of a single color to foster group creativity
* LEGO Disney Princess: create and build a fairytale through LEGO bricks
* LEGO Friends: build for the five empowered friends from Heartlake City 

"Any family who likes to be inspired, get hands-on and have fun together won't want to miss LEGO KidsFest," said Vince Rubino, LEGO Events Manager. "We're bringing so many activities for families in the St. Louis area to test and showcase their creativity and building skills in what is sure to be a family event to remember." 

Based on sell-out attendance in previous markets, advance ticket purchase is strongly encouraged. 
Five identical sessions are available for the three-day tour stop. LEGO KidsFest tickets are $22.50 for adults and $19.50 for children and can be purchased online at http://www.legokidsfest.com  

The LEGO KidsFest 2015 tour stops include Arizona (Glendale): February 27 - March 1; Missouri (St. Louis): March 20 - 22; Tennessee (Nashville): April 17 - 19; and Texas (Austin): September 4 - 6. 

Tickets generally sell out and attendance averages 27,000 visitors at each venue. To date, more than 700,000 have enjoyed more than 35 LEGO KidsFest shows. In 2014, the tour made its first stop in Alberta, Canada, selling out a week before the show. In 2013, the LEGO KidsFest was awarded Best Proprietary Event by Event Marketer Magazine. The LEGO KidsFest is managed by BuzzEngine, an event and marketing agency. 

Doesn't that sound awesome??? Of course, AR and I would LOVE to see you all there. Well, one of MY followers will win (2) tickets to for the opening night session on Friday, March 20,  2015   (4-8:30pm).  I encourage you to LIKE and Follow LEGOKidsFest on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram for all the latest ticketing updates as this event has been selling out in prior cities. Must be 18 to enter, 1 entry per day allowed, random drawing by USFG! Winner will be randomly chosen by USFG on Friday January 23 and announced on my Blog and notified via email.

Good luck and we hope to see you there!!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

My Sick Baby...

...My poor AR was one sick baby the weekend after Christmas. It was the exact same thing she had at Thanksgiving so at least we knew what to expect. The only good thing about it was that I got lots and lots of snuggles...oh and I got the nastiness myself. I guess that's what happens when my girl and I share everything from drinks to ice cream, huh?

Doesn't she look so pitiful???

Despite feeling bad, she still helped me put away the Christmas tree (which I was worried there'd be tears but luckily, she was very helpful!).

On Christmas morning she woke up coughing. Friday we ran errands, the cough got worse, but she was still in good spirits, riding her scooter, playing in the yard with her dogs, etc... Now that I have my new smartphone, I can document EVERYTHING. Here she is on Friday night.

Saturday she was definitely feeling even WORSE and we did nothing other than lay around, watch TV and snuggle.

By Sunday, it was the all time WORST! She was miserable, running fever, and slept pretty much ALL day. I finally broke down and gave her some Children's Advil in addition to the Vick's on feet, honey, and marshmallows plus of course TLC.

Monday she was supposed to go to the zoo with her babysitter but I had to cancel. Come Monday morning, she was in rare form, bouncing off the walls. She was majorly bummed the zoo but I took her to Barnes & Noble instead (her favorite hangout).

She's still got the cough and her poor eyes looks bad, but for the most part I think she's feeling better. Eating again, no fever, etc... This week we get back into the swing of things so hopefully that'll help her feel better too. #lovemyAR #byebyesickies

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Harlem Globetrotters 2015 World Tour...

...On Friday night, AR, H, my sis, and I headed to the Harlem Globetrotters 2015 World Tour at Scottrade Center. H had been before and AR had no idea what she was in store for. All she knew was that we were headed downtown, Mommy and Sha Sha were wearing Cardinals' shirts, and she wanted to go to a Cardinal game. We tried to explain that basketball was different than baseball, but we decided to just wait and let her see for herself.

Of course, AR was most excited about the (expensive) nachos and wanted cotton candy. However, no cotton candy was enjoyed...being two is hard!

I still remember going to see the Harlem Globetrotters when I was a kid. To this day, I always thought it was a ton of fun, hilarious, and I couldn't wait to go again...even as an adult! The Globies didn't let me down. My favorite part was when they had to do an instant replay in slow motion. I was crackin' up...along with everyone else in the stadium! AR's favorite part was when the mascots came out and danced because she danced right along with them and also when the crowd was told to get louder...imagine that, a two-year-old who likes to yell! H loved all of it and didn't want to leave. If you have kids, of all ages, or are an adult looking for a fun-filled, comedic evening, definitely buy tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters if they're in your area.

*I received free tickets in exchange for my honest review/opinion.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!!!

...I hope you all had a great time ringing in 2015. For the first time since AR was born, we actually went out and did something for New Year's. Granted we were still home around ten, but hey, we were party animals until then! My sister, H, Matt, and myself met up with one of my sister's friend to go to First Night STL. They had the grand unveiling of the final cake!!! We had three left to get and mission accomplished (another post on that!). It was FREEZING walking around, but luckily, we found the City Diner where we had dinner and cupcakes from the Cup to celebrate all the cakes! Here's the G-Fam at dinner.

They had jugglers and fire people (I don't know what they're called but they like danced with fire), bands, and more! Here we are again waiting for fireworks. They had a warming tent, which was REALLY warm, with a DJ and strobe lights. OMG-AR loved this tent, she was a dancing machine!

They had two fireworks displays, one at 9 and one at midnight. When you're two, New Year's fireworks are at nine! We headed home after this, but a fun time was had by all.

Then, of course, today, we'll have our hog jowl and blackeyed peas! Happy 2015!!!