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TLC Tours Book Review: Forever Painless by Miranda Esmonde-White

I have been dealing with nasty chronic pain for almost 5 years now. I took an antibiotic, Cipro, that wreaked havoc on my entire body. Some days, just standing up is a chore. Other days, I feel fine. When I was offered the opportunity to review the book Forever Painless by Miranda Esmonde-White, I jumped at the chance, hoping that I might garner some new knowledge about things I can do to combat the pain in my life. 

The premise of Esmonde-White’s book is that we need to move more to combat pain using the Essentrics method. This method involves stretching and muscle conditioning. She wants doctors to pay more attention to the role chronic pain plays in health and wellness, and she wants it to become a routine part of our checkups – and one that doesn’t immediately and automatically resort to medication when it crops up. I can definitely jump aboard that ship. Prior to getting pregnant again, I was relying on the smallest dose of Motrin possible to get through the day relatively pain-free. That’s a dependency I’d rather not have. I cannot take stronger medications since I tend to be allergic to everything. 

Through the early chapters of the book, Esmonde-White talks about the root causes of chronic pain as well as the body’s built-in mechanisms for healing pain. She then talks about how a sedentary lifestyle can lead to chronic pain. Many of our modern jobs are built on sitting. She writes:

When we wake up in the morning, we usually feel a little stiff from a long night of immobility. The less we move upon waking, the stiffer we feel–but after some stretching, the stiffness can go away. 

Magnify that just-out-of-bed stiffness many times over, and you may better understand the sort of stiffness that many people chalk up to the aging process. Most people respond to this discomfort by moving less. But the less we move, the more our connective tissue solidifies, creating a chain reaction and exacerbating the problem. Remember: Pain is a message from the brain telling us that there is something dangerous happening to our body. The message of stiffness is a precursor to the pain message. (p.27)

This theory does make sense, as many times when I feel pain it is after having spent a day resting – because I felt pain! My back pain is the worst if I sleep in.  I feel like I can barely move. I also have a lot of hip pain following my last pregnancy that manifests most after I sit for a while.  

Once you’ve read through the introductory chapters, Esmonde-White introduces her readers to the exercises one can do to help combat pain. She organizes this section by area where one is having pain. This is really helpful for those who want to stick to her promise of helping you to “reclaim your life in 30 minutes a day.” You can follow her structure and focus on the areas that need to be focused on.

Overall, I’m hoping that following the guidelines in this book will help me to get on a path to being consistently pain-free. I recommend it for anyone who is looking for ways to fight back against chronic pain in low-impact ways without resorting to medications. 

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About Forever Painless

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (November 15, 2016)

End chronic pain—for good—with this practical guide from the PBS personality behind Classical Stretch and author of the New York Times bestseller Aging Backwards.

Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States. Twenty percent of American adults accept back spasms, throbbing joints, arthritis aches, and other physical pain as an inevitable consequence of aging, illness, or injury. But the human body is not meant to endure chronic pain. Miranda Esmonde-White has spent decades helping professional athletes, ballet dancers, and Olympians overcome potentially career-ending injuries and guiding MS patients and cancer survivors toward pain-free mobility. Now, in Forever Painless, she shows everyone how to heal their aching bodies and live pain free.

The root of nearly all pain is movement—or lack thereof. We need to move our bodies to refresh, nourish, and revitalize our cells. Without physical activity, our cells become stagnant and decay, accelerating the aging process and causing pain. People who suffer chronic pain often become sedentary, afraid that movement and activity will make things worse, when just the opposite is true: movement is essential to healing. In Forever Painless, Miranda provides detailed instructions for gentle exercise designed to ease discomfort in the feet and ankles, knees, hips, back, and neck—allowing anyone to live happier, healthier, and pain-free no matter their age.

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About Miranda Esmonde-White

Miranda Esmonde-White is one of America’s greatest advocates and educators on healthy aging. She is best known for her PBS fitness show Classical Stretch, which has been on the air since 1999. A former ballerina, she designed the Essentrics technique, which uses low-intensity strength and stretch exercises to relieve pain, prevent injury, and slenderize the body. Esmonde-White works with professional and Olympic athletes and celebrities, and teaches classes to thousands of students worldwide each year.

Follow Esmonde-White on Facebook.

Book Review: Carry On

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Sometimes, you want to read a book that knocks you on your feet with the story it tells. When I agreed to review Carry On, I was excited because the story sounded so good. I’ve always been a big fan of books and films that let you get to know someone – either fiction or biography – to the point where you feel that you know that person. Lisa Finn’s Carry On is one of those books. 

The only constant was the black canvas duffel bag Dartanyon carried with him, large enough to fit a child. Having worked as a detention officer in the juvenile justice system, McKinney knew what that bag meant. ‘Nobody needs to carry a bag that big unless they are carrying everything they own, to a destination unknown,’ McKinney said. Dartanyon was transient.

Kerry McKinney was a wrestling coach who wound up in one of Ohio’s most impoverished schools. When he came into the gymnasium, he learned that most of the kids were barefoot and that the team only had two pairs of shoes for seven kids. He recruited Dartanyon to be on the wrestling team due to his size, and noted his skill for learning the wrestling moves. He moved smoothly…and then…McKinney learned Dartanyon was blind.  

From the first pages, Carry On draws you in. From Torry Robinson taking over the team and meeting Leroy Sutton, a “Lower-extremity double amputee” to the piecing together of a family born of love rather than blood, this book is beautiful in its storytelling as well as the story itself. Fenn does a majestic job of showing these two phenomenal athletes and telling their stories. 

strongly recommend this book. It’s possibly the best I’ve read thus far this year.

 

Carry On coverAbout Carry On

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (August 16, 2016)

In the spirit of The Blind Side comes a deeply moving memoir about the unexpected bonds that would transform three lives.

Lisa Fenn produced human-interest features for ESPN for over a decade, but one particular story came into her life and never left. After seeing a newspaper image of two young wrestlers from one of Cleveland’s tougher public high schools, Lisa followed a hunch and flew back to her hometown to meet the boys that very day. What she found caused her spirit both to sink and to soar.

Leroy Sutton, who lost his legs in a childhood train accident, could often be found riding on the back of Dartanyon Crockett, who was legally blind and had no permanent place to call home. Initially drawn together by their handicaps, the boys soon developed a brother-like bond. When one wrestled, the other sat on the edge of the mat, and their cheerful friendship was a source of inspiration throughout the halls of their high school.

As Lisa filmed her feature about this remarkable friendship for ESPN, she grew to understand the suffering Leroy and Dartanyon had endured, and she fought for their trust and their confidence. The three formed a surprising and meaningful connection—and once the television story ended, Lisa realized she couldn’t just walk away.

Though Leroy’s and Dartanyon’s futures were limited by abject poverty, Lisa resolved to give them the chance she knew they deserved. She worked tirelessly to see them through school and athletic pursuits, broken hearts, phantom limbs, and the bewildering obstacles that, at every turn, tested their individual strengths even while strengthening the bonds between them.

More than a story of two underdogs overcoming innumerable hardships, Carry On is a touching tale of an unlikely family forged through barriers of race, class, and disability. It is a powerful memoir about grit, love, hope, and faith—and the courage to carry on, even in the most extraordinary circumstances.

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Photo by ESPN

Photo by ESPN

About Lisa Fenn

A three-time winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award and a six-time Emmy Award—winning feature producer with ESPN for thirteen years, LISA FENN interviewed every big name in sports. Today she is a sought-after public presenter, speaking on leadership, poverty, and trans-racial adoption, in addition to her Christian faith and its relevance in both her media career and her daily life. Lisa received her BA in communications from Cornell University. Her work has been featured on ESPN,Good Morning America, and World News Tonight. She continues to produce sports stories and write about the redemptive power of love. Lisa resides in Boston with her husband and two young children.

Connect with Lisa on Facebook.

Shadows of the Forest Cover Reveal

Shadows of the Forest
Emma Michaels
Publication date: November 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Everyone is dying to live in the Shadows of the Forest.
They gave me three rules to follow in exchange for my brother’s life:
1. Do not enter the West Wing;
2. Do not go outside after darkness falls; and
3. There is only one exit; The Gates.

This is what happened when I broke them…

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Author Bio:

Emma Michaels is the award winning author of the Society of Feathers series with over 15 publications under her belt. With a love for all things story-telling this bibliophile plans to take over the world one cup of coffee at a time. A rule breaker who isn’t afraid to have uncommon opinions she is an avid lover of mathematics and stand out fiction which transcends both its genre and format whether books, games, movies, or otherwise. A good story is a good story. When she isn’t online she is out dancing in the Washington rain or seeking new adventures.

Website / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Dotz

Dots
Angie M. Brashears
Publication date: October 1st 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary

This is a story about two strangers with nothing but grief in common.

Mason is great at connecting dots in other people’s life’s, but not so much in his own. His website, The F#ck it List, is all about connecting sexual requests. Matching never have I ever’s like a pair of socks. Efficiently. All in an effort to raise money for charity. That’s all he wants, to give. Why is that so hard?

Chloe’s in denial, but that’s not going to make the cancer go away. When her doctor gives her an expiration date, she can’t deny it any longer. It’s time to break the news to family and her best friend. She thought she’d have more time. There’s things she needs to say. She needs to be heard, but not by her loved ones. They’ve got enough on their plates with the diagnosis.

Two Months? Not long enough to do anything except…dig the hole.

It’s time.

This is Chloe’s story and how she copes with the end.

Just as there is a song for every occasion, Chloe has a friend for every occasion.

A pity party friend.
A truth friend.
A fixer friend.
And an end friend. Mason.

Mason and Chloe have nothing in common but grief. Two dots, floating in a sea of sorrow.

He’s lost his mother. She’s losing the fight.

When the end is near, is it too late for a new friend?

One woman’s end journey. Even when it’s time to get your affairs in order, it’s never too late for an “end” friend. Someone that will listen? Share your burden, so the family doesn’t have to. Help with the mess she’s created by keeping secrets. Be there for her best friend, a shoulder to cry on when the time comes.

It’s one thing to donate money to a cause.

What about your time, heart and soul? How much should you be expected to give?

If a stranger asked, could you be an end friend?

Goodreads / Amazon / Angie M. Brashears Pre-Order Form

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Until October 1, 2016 50% or 5.00 from each print book goes to Avon Walk for Breast Cancer!

EXCERPT:

All your weight, it falls on me. It brings me down.
Truer words have never been spoken. My family and their feelings, that’s the weight of my world on my shoulders right now. How am I supposed to tell my overprotective mother, who freaks out over a sniffle…that, I’m…dying? My brother, Ronny, out doing his job, protecting us, battling on the front lines. Is it fair to distract him from his task at hand? Maybe he gets killed, or maybe his buddy takes a bullet? Why, so I can feel better? What about dad? Thoughts of the man that stuffs a pink can of mace and rape whistle in my stocking every year, and my burden just got heavier. And last but not least, my best friend, Lola. We’ve been the odd couple since the tampon video in fourth grade. Neat as pin, she never has loose ends, never commits to anything, no tangles no mess. That’s where I come in. I’m a friggin mess. Everything I touch gets smudged. Or at least, I’ve been told that, since as far back as I can even remember leaving a mess. Possibly, Lola’s bored with her muted tones life, maybe that’s why she steps into my sunshine and rainbows. Cluttered with dust motes, dancing on sun rays, like spritely fairies. Could be. So, what happens when I tell her I’m taking the sun with me? Some days, I can’t get off this sagging futon. Between the pain, the isolation, the guilt, the secret… I just can’t. I look at the website again. The F#ck It List. A place to put your Never have I ever… and you’ll be matched with the right person for you. I’m not interested in the sexual stuff. I’m so over that, and besides, my boyfriend, well, not boyfriend, stops by twice a week and we’re compatible enough as it is. And he’s another one. I broke up with him, so I wouldn’t have to paste a smile on twice a week and pretend like my world’s not falling apart. I love him, but man, does he need a lot of coddling. I haven’t brought myself to click past the privacy screen. That’s not what I’m interested in. The thing my nurse keeps talking to me about. My chemo nurse, Courtney, whispered to me. “You need someone to talk to, get things off your chest. I know you don’t want to burden your family, Chloe, but who takes your burden?” I shrugged, not really caring one way or the other. “I’ll be dead soon, so who cares? They can bury it with me.” She smacked my hand, the one without the IV. She was the one who had to poke around for an hour to find it, so she was protecting it like gold. But her words were kind. “Just like that. Who do you get to say those things too? You’re too worried about acting normal for your chemo buddy over there.” Em’s on her phone. She hates needles. I do too. “You need someone to hear you and not your cancer, you got me?” Her eyes look so compassionate, so loving I nod. She rests her hand on top of mine. I didn’t realize I was crying. “It’s my first time, I’m still a rookie.” I blubber out. She produces a tissue box from thin air and rubs my hand. “I have a friend; grandson has a website.” She lowers her voice. “It’s like a sex something or other,” then she’s back to full volume, “but that’s just to raise money for charity. I know she said he’s always looking for people with illnesses to help. “I guess my face must look funny, because she feels the need to add, “not like murder or anything like that.” I laugh. “Honestly, I was just wondering when this nausea would start to go away.” She nods, and squeezes my hand. “It doesn’t.” Later, when I’m pumped full of poison, she presents me with a gift bag. It’s got Band-Aids and syringes all over it. “Wow, Courtney how’d you know it was my birthday?” She laughs, “Well it kind of is. It’s your Chemo-day. You’re very first. Congratulations, kiddo, you made it through. Enjoy. Inside is the softest, most luxurious cashmere blanket. Pink, with raised dots. “Very chic, Courtney. I love it!” She hugs me and wraps it around my shoulders. “For the chills,” she whispers in my ear and I nod. She reaches in the bag and takes out a box of masks. “Remember your nadir.” There’s hard candies to suck on, for when my mouths dry. And an oral bag! With a rainbow toothbrush. “Thanks so much, I would’ve never thought of any of this. On the very bottom, a free month membership to Netflix. “For when you can’t make it out, but still want to watch something.” “I’m touched, really.” I use my new blanket, to wipe away a tear. “But I’ll have to read up on the rules, I don’t know a thing about Netflix.” As I leave, in search of my chemo buddy, who I haven’t seen in the last thirty minutes, Courtney calls out to me. “Chloe, did you want me to check on that thing, Mason’s website?” I think about it. I’ve got nothing better to do. “Sure.” That was four months ago. I’ll never see her again, chemo’s done dude. I’ll miss her. But not in the add another brick to the pile way. No, I’ll miss having someone who listens with their whole self. Two dots, connected by Courtney.

 

Author Bio:

Angie M Brashears is a lover of everything books. When not writing, she’s reading anything she can get her hands on. She grew up in Southern California, and loves the mountains, hiking with her dogs, the beach, and of course, Disneyland! She loves music, and loves singing along to the radio, loud and off-key, performing for anyone unlucky enough to be in the passenger seat.

Angie loves dark and twisted, which she refers to as Dark Ever After books, but is known to read an occasional HEA story as well. When she’s not writing, she working, saving lives. A busy Trauma ER nurse for over twenty years, she gets enough reality in her life, and is always looking for a story to take her away from the harsh reality of Emergency Nursing.

If there’s football on, she sure to have a huge party going on to cheer her team on…Go Patriots!

As a new author, she’d love to hear from you!

Amazon / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Guest Post: Autumn Brunch Pairings

Fall Brunch Wine Pairings

Today, we have a guest post provided by Jeriann Watkins, blogger at dairyairhead.com. She’s talking about how to offer fall brunch wine pairings that will please all of your guests.

Summer gets a good reputation for social eating: picnics, baseball games, family reunions – these are all food-centric events that happen mostly in the summer. But fall is a wonderful time to enjoy delicious food and drinks with those you love. And what better way to do so than with brunch?

I’ve been hosting monthly brunches with several of my friends. We all take turns hosting and everyone brings tasty goodies to share. Below are some ideas for fall-themed brunches, complete with wine pairing recommendations!

Setting a Fall Tone

Fall is probably the easiest seasonal theme. The colors of the outdoors are the colors you can bring to your table, and conveniently, the seasonal produce matches the oranges and reds of the leaves on the trees. You can even dry leaves to use as decor. Mod-Podge leaves to the bottom of glass plates for some seasonal dishware that’s sure to impress. Be sure to use a thick lacquer and not to wash these dishes in the dishwasher though! My friend Rachel went above and beyond and got a wine barrel tasting table, which not only brings to mind bobbing for apples, but also provides a nice prep area for drinks!

Hearty Vegetables Make for Great Fall Brunch Wine Pairings

Autumn is not only when hearty squash and root vegetables are in season, but it’s when they taste the best. Personally, I think it’s because the best cooking methods for these vegetables involve prolonged amounts of heat, and they absorb that heat so well. Cutting into s steaming-hot sweet potato just isn’t as satisfying on a 90 degree day. Here are some of my favorite veggie-centric brunch dishes:

Autumn Hash with Sweet Potatoes and Peppers – This tasty dish goes great with a crisp white wine. That will enhance the heat from the peppers as well as contrast the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.
Brussels Sprout and Purple Potato Hash – I love Brussels Sprouts! I can’t think of a wine that wouldn’t go great with this, but I lean away from the sweeter ones here. A drier wine will highlight the saltiness and starchiness of the veggies. Gardener’s bonus: Here’s how to plant Brussels Sprouts and other veggies that pair with them for optimal autumn harvest!
Breakfast Burrito Bowl with Spiced Butternut Squash – This dish was made for sparkling wine, which in turn, was made for brunch. Whether you’re drinking it on it’s own or mixed with fruit juice, the carbonation of the sparkling wine will enhance the spices on your butternut squash. Yum!

Warm Wine?

It’s the time of year when a slight chill feels brisker than the full-on cold will in 3 months. Putting cold beverages in your body just may not seem appealing. There are great warm breakfast drinks like coffee and hot chocolate, which can be spiked with a liquor of your choice, and of course there are hot toddies, which are wonderful in the chilly weather. But what about warm wine cocktails? While it may sound strange, drinking mulled wine, which is really just spiced wine, warm is pretty traditional. Go ahead and give it a shot! Best thing is, if you don’t like it warm, this same recipe can be consumed chilled as well.

These are just a few ideas for autumn-themed brunches. Have some fall favorites of your own? Share in the comments!

Masquerade Tours Book Blast: Good Things

““ 
 
Good things come from unexpected places…
 
Magic and mayhem. Vampires and gods. Cops and werewolves. The binding thread of mysticism in the modern world and acts of kindness, small and large, random and focused. Join these ten authors as we travel through their worlds.
 
All of the author proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to the Random Acts Organization, sponsoring kindness throughout the world. This is not official Random Acts merchandise, but is a fundraising project under permission from the charity.

 

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: August 18, 2016
Charity: Random Acts of Kindness
 
 
Available in digital and print on Amazon!
 
 
Join the GOOD THINGS release day party on
happening August 18-20!
 
 
A. STAR (DIANTHA JONES)

Diantha Jones loves writing fantasy books filled with adventure, romance, and magic. She’s the author of the Oracle of Delphi series, the Mythos series, and the Djinn Order series (as A. Star). When she isn’t writing or working, she is reading or being hypnotized by Netflix. She is a serious night-owl and while everyone else is grinning in the warmth and sunlight, she’s hoping for gloominess and rain. Yeah, she’s weird like that.

 

ANGELA B. CHRYSLER

Angela B. Chrysler is a writer, logician, philosopher, and die-hard nerd who studies theology, historical linguistics, music composition, and medieval European history in New York with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm. She lives in a garden with her family and cats.

In 2014, Ms. Chrysler founded Brain to Books: the marketing promotional engine and online Encyclopedia for authors. A passionate gardener and incurable cat lover, Ms. Chrysler spends her days drinking coffee and writing beside a volume of Edgar Allan Poe who strongly influences her style to this day. When Ms. Chrysler is not writing, she enables her addictions to all things nerdy, and reads everything she can get her hands on no matter the genre. Occasionally, she finds time to mother her three children and debate with her life-long friend who she eventually married. Her writing is often compared to Tad Williams. Her influences are Edgar Allan Poe, The Phantom of the Opera, and Frankenstein.

 

J. KIM MCLEAN

Kim’ love of reading came after her mother introduced her to Tolkien and the Hobbit, followed by Lord of the Rings. She also lovingly blames her mother for her love of Science Fiction and Fantasy, thanks to being raised on Star Trek. Kim has always had a vivid imagination, but it wasn’t until she finished with graduate school (where she earned a Master’s of Science in Geology) that she found she could focus her imagination into creating her own characters and stories. Much of her writing has been for various play by email or forum role play universes, though Kim does hope this will be the first of many more stories she writes for publication.

When not writing, Kim can be found snowboarding, hiking, or doting on her furry beasts.

DARIEL RAYE

Dariel Raye is an award-winning author of powerful IR/MC (Interracial/Multi-cultural) paranormal romance and dark urban fantasy with alpha male heroes to die for and strong heroines with hearts worth winning. Her stories tell of shifters, vamps, angels, demons, and fey (the Vodouin variety). Dariel is currently writing three series: “Dark Sentinels” (wolf shifters), “Orlosian Warriors” (Vampire-like Nephilim), and “Gateway” (a crossover erotic paranormal suspense with romantic elements).

For more about Dariel, follow her blog or visit her website. She also publishes a new release newsletter. If you enjoyed this book, please post a review on review sites. You can also follow her and contact her on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

 

MIA DARIEN

Born a Connecticut Yankee in nobody’s court, Mia Darien grew up to brave snow and talk fast. She started reading when she was three and never looked back, soon frequently falling asleep with a book under her cheek. (Something she still does, though these days it?s her Nook as often as a paperback.)

At eleven, she discovered Night Mare by Piers Anthony and entered the world of grown-up fantasy fiction and it was all over from there. She started writing at fourteen, then met vampires as a teenager and the concept for what would become Adelheid was soon born. Epic fantasy remains her first love, but she enjoys writing whatever stories come to mind in any genre.

Now she loves both writing and helping her indie community with her freelancing. A geek till the end, she enjoys role-play by email games and World of Warcraft when she has the time. Married to her very own Named Man of the North, she lives with him, their mini-tank (also known as their son) and pets, who usually act more childish than the child.

 
ABIGAIL OWEN

Award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance author, Abigail Owen was born in Greeley, Colorado, and resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two adorable children who are the center of her universe.

Abigail grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. A fourth generation graduate of Texas A&M University, she attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.

 

CRYSTAL G. SMITH

Born a small town Missourian, Crystal grew up in a time where reading was used for her escape from the everyday worries of a young girl.  She then began developing ideas of how she would write a book and what she would do with her characters.  Soon, idea came to typewriter and then thankfully computers.

Her love of reading is not centered on one specific genre, but with her writing, she has a tendency to stay with the romance genre.  Whether it be modern day romance or paranormal romance, and a lot of steamy, she enjoys writing a story where characters find love in one another no matter how twisted their lives.

She has written several stories for charity to date and continues to write novellas and novels.  She is an indie author with a large imagination and even larger heart.  She is married with four children, (even though two of them have four legs).  She works full-time as a pediatric nurse and when she isn’t acting goofy with family, you can find her reading or writing.

 
KAT JAMESON

Kat Jameson has been having just plain wicked thoughts for about as long as she’s been writing, so it seemed like a very natural progression that the two would end up together. She is a woman who seems perfectly average on the outside, but believes in a great capacity for the power of love and the joy of sex and thinks constraints should be put on neither so long as everyone involved is happy. So that’s what she writes about.

 
CHRISTI RIGBY

Christi Rigby lives in Colorado with her husband and her two teen boys, rounding out the group is a bernese mountain dog and an old orange cat that can’t seem to sleep in the morning past the need for some kibble at 5 am, then returns to the bed after it has been vacated but the owners. She has written a number of short stories for publication and is working on her first book to be published. When she is not writing at a keyboard she is always writing in her mind, so to say writing is her real life over the job she holds would be a fair representation. An avid guide along the path to geekdom for her children and friends, she is a fan of comic books, any number of Science Fiction/Fantasy television shows and movies, computer and console gaming, and just about anything Scandinavian or British Isles in nature. One day she hopes that her choice to make writing her life will lead to a visit to the Isle of Man.

JESSICA NICHOLLS

Jessica Nicholls is originally from Northern Illinois. She lived in the Northwest of England for just over ten years, where she studied and had her children. Jessica still lives overseas with her husband and two school age kids. Running, reading and watching films are her favourite hobbies. She loves spirits, passionate love stories, vampires, shape shifters, mythology and almost anything historical. The most important thing for her is for a story to feel real, something to genuinely escape into. Writing the type of stories she would enjoy reading is a passion.

 

Summer and Wine Go Hand in Hand

Summer wine*This is a post from one of my advertising partners. It contains affiliate links. Should you decide to try Wine Awesomeness, I will receive a percentage of the sales at no extra cost to you. In fact, at the bottom of this post, you’ll find a link allowing you to start your journey with this wine club free of charge for the first month.*

Beat the Heat and Enjoy Some Fun in the Sun

Sunshine and lots of wine are what summer memories are made of! Whether you pour it straight out of the bottle, serve your favorite vino chilling out over ice, or shake things up with your summertime mixer of choice, wine makes every warm weather occasion special.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side of Wine

Wine Awesomeness is dedicated to creating a monthly journey, curated for adventurous souls. Not sure of the right path to take when your outdoor activities call for a drink? Need help in pairing ribs and steak with the right choice of red, or cooling down with a sparkling white or crisp rose? Forget your fear of making a wine mishap…Wine Awesomeness will help you look like a pro and dazzle your diners with your knowledge of wine wonders. Wine Awesomeness will teach you how to make the correct choice for the right meal (regardless of fish or fowl), or what’s the latest in fruity wine flavors for the sophisticated palate. You can be the guest everyone loves when you arrive for good old fashion fun with a bottle of Wine Awesomeness’ favorite vintage!

Join the Club

It’s definitely summertime and the living is easy, especially when you’re a member of the Wine Awesomeness Monthly Wine Club. Every month, the Wine Awesomeness team combs the globe to find the coolest, crave worthiest wines and ships them right to your door. This is vino you don’t see regularly, but will want to drink every day. Welcome to the world of wine the Wine Awesomeness way!

Become a member today and get your first month FREE at Wine Awesomeness!

The Solis Dress by Sofilantjes

2016-04-24 12.19.47So we’ve all had some sort of flu/cold/plague (HAH) thing this week, and I’d planned to get this post up before now.  I love this dress! Sofilantjes (you’ve seen my Liv Skirt, Otium Top, Iridis Dresses, and Brueram Dresses) has come out with this new pattern – the Solis Dress (affiliate link). There are three different versions of the dress – a circle skirt, a pleated skirt, and a pleated tunic-length skirt. Marie-claude Bélanger wrote a post on how to make a peplum top on her blog, MCB Creations

2016-04-24 12.23.30I received the pattern in exchange for honest feedback during the pattern testing process. My little gal is thin and tall, so I made the size 12 months width while blending the pattern to the size 2y length. The best part of this pattern is the little back detail you can see to the left. I decided to use a stretch lace for the T-bar accent, both to make it stand out, and to add a little something extra. 

The dress is knit, and fully lined. I used a cotton jersey to line vintage knit fabric. I found this fabric while out and about, saw it, and thought, “This is the perfect fabric for making the Sofilantjes dress!” 

It sews up pretty quickly. You do need to be comfortable sewing with knits, and it helps if you have hemmed a curve before. You can either finish with a rolled hem, a blind hem, or do what I did and use bias tape for the hem. It made the dress kind of flare out in a cute way. It took me a few hours to make the dress, including with a few interruptions from two very very cute little ones. 

It would be a great pattern to use with knit panels. It’s also nice for fabrics you want to showcase. There were some really great versions of this dress that came out during testing.  I’ve got to think of another fabric I want to use (which will probably happen when I unpack my fabric). 

After I made the dress and put it on my gal for pictures, she needed to wear it for nearly 3 days straight. I’m taking that as a sign of success. You can purchase the pattern for the dress at Sofilantjes (affiliate link) for $8.95

Be on the lookout at Ronda B. Handmade, as I will be offering the ability to order a custom version of this dress to fit your little gal soon!

In the meantime, here are more photos. 

 

We Are Homeowners!

2016-02-07 15.44.14So, remember that big news I was keeping mum about? As of last week, we are homeowners. YAY! We decided to purchase our own home after some space and maintenance problems in the place we were renting. Kids have a lot of stuff, you know…and don’t get me started on our library. I’m so excited. So, be forewarned – I’ll probably have some cool DIY type posts on here in the near future.  But now, we have plenty of room and plenty of fun projects to keep us busy. 

We’re still getting everything put away and letting the dust settle from our move, but I’m excited. I’ll have a sewing/office area, we’ll have our library, and the kids have one of those Pinterest-style under the stairs playhouse things that I’ll have to paint up real neat. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been unpacking and putting things around the house. I’ve got our formal living room mostly set up. I just need to hang a few more pictures, and we need a larger lamp for one of the tables. Eventually we want to swap out the carpet for hardwood floor, and touch up the baseboard and woodwork. I have the baby’s room unpacked as well, and now he just needs furniture. The tree in front of the house is a redbud, and it’s now in full bloom. It’s a beautiful home, and I am looking forward to spending the coming years in it! (And yes, we’ve already noted that there’s a space in our currently unfinished basement that we want to turn into a wine closet. 

I really love our home. 

Here are some photos of the house. 

So Much to Share…Soon

Chirp…Chirp…Chirp…

Yep, that’s the sound crickets make, which I know have been hanging out around here lately. I promise you, good things are coming. I have a lot of pattern tests and wines to talk about. But I’m not going to do that just yet. You should also brace yourself, because rumor has it, there will also be DIY home projects coming. There’s some big news to share. (No, I’m not pregnant again!) And I’ll share it in a couple of weeks. I have recipes I want to share as well, because food is a good thing.

Little Miss and Baby Boy are doing great. They keep me busy, but we’re finally getting into a routine here, which will make it a lot easier for me to share my thoughts and creations with you. I’m also working on a couple of big projects that I’ll talk more about soon.

I know, it’s a big cryptic blog post! To make up for it, here are some photos from the shoot I did for the guest post over at Sofilantjes on how to sew French Seams.

This is the Sofilantjes Liv Skirt paired with Patterns for Pirates’ Captain Mack Cardi.

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