Friday, August 30, 2013

Front Porch- Finished!

Every time I have a room "completed" in my new house, I'll post pictures of it. I don't know if I even have "before" pictures of the porch but it was white and that was it. And while some people think it's a waste to decorate a porch- I disagree. This porch is the door we use 100% of the time and it's the first impression of the people who live there. When you come into my house I want you to know these things:

1. I am organized and tidy.
2. I am funny.
3. I like colorful things and color doesn't scare me.

So behold... my front porch. And TWO Pinterest projects!

A few months ago, I saw THIS POST through Pinterest and knew immediately that this would be the focal point of my new front porch. Anyone who knows me in real life knows I say this phrase a lot. I should try to not say it as much but fuck off.

The only issues I ran into is that the letters in the instructions weren't available anywhere near me. The letters at Michaels were kind of kid like, and so that left me with Hobby Lobby where I paid $1.69 per letter. There are a lot of letters in this phrase, so this already wasn't a cheap project. The letters are wood, so I ended up using acrylic paint to paint them teal. THEN, I used a dry foam brush and painted white over it so it didn't look so plain.

And of course, attached them with the velcro command strips. Oh yes, and painted the walls what turned out to be piss yellow.

 The level of awesome here is pretty high considering you can see this from the driveway.
 Then I really, really, really wanted a chevron ceiling. So I also bought a template from Hobby Lobby and every single website was like, "This is so easy!". No. No it is not and they are lying bitches.

You know who you are.
I struggled for twenty minutes taping this on and in the end, deciding twenty minutes per stencil and this is not worth it. Cute and adorable- it doesn't matter. So I ended up using teal paint and painted the ceiling teal and then did the white brush strokes over it. And put a new light fixture in.


The porch had a built in bench already there but it was kind of ugly and it needed a cushion. I priced one out and at $104 I decided I need to figure out a far cheaper option. Then I found THIS online and it said easy. And unlike the chevron ceiling, this actually was easy.
 Hobby Lobby had rolls of foam on sale so I bought one for $30 minus my 40% coupon. Matt had a piece of board and I glued the foam onto the board using spray adhesive. Why use a board? Because my cushion is just going to sit on top of the bench, AND I need something hard to staple the fabric into. I suppose you could try to just wrap the foam in fabric but that seemed far more labor intensive so I decided against it.
 THEN I found fabric on clearance that had teal and  piss yellow and some other colors that match the brown trim. Even better? It's kind of plastic vinyl, so I could wipe off snow/water/mud from it. Score. So I wrapped my fabric on my foam and board and stapled. Easy peasy.
So as you come into the porch this window is to your left. I found some flameless candles that match and I like green plants and these two fake ones were on clearance. Win.
My bench! With Batman sitting on it because it's squishy and in the sunshine. Oh yes, and I bought some pillows because they too were on clearance at Target.

So there's my front porch, 100% done. On the links I provided are complete instructions on the original websites in case these look like something you might want to do. The bench cushion was actually far easier than I thought it was going to be and I've already determined I'm going to do something similar in the other porch. Eventually.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Etched in Sand

I swear to you this is it for book reviews for the week. Tomorrow I'll be back with a Pinterest project I didn't suck at (two of them!) and how chevron is hard. The suspense!

Etched in Sand - Regina Calcaterra
Etched In Sand
In this story of perseverance in the face of adversity, Regina Calcaterra recounts her childhood in foster care and on the streets—and how she and her savvy crew of homeless siblings managed to survive years of homelessness, abandonment, and abuse.
Regina Calcaterra’s emotionally powerful memoir reveals how she endured a series of foster homes and intermittent homelessness in the shadow of the Hamptons, and how she rose above her past while fighting to keep her brother and three sisters together.
Beautifully written and heartbreakingly honest, Etched in Sand is an unforgettable reminder that regardless of social status, the American dream is still within reach for those who have the desire and the determination to succeed.
I don't know where to start this review other than to say this isn't a book for the faint of heart. As a parent myself, there were parts of this book that were really hard for me to digest because I don't know how a person could care so little for their child, let alone five children. I really struggled through parts of this book because you want to think that things can't get any worse but you know that they will and they do. And it really just affirms my personal belief that you shouldn't be allowed to just have kids. It's been proven that just because you can doesn't mean you should
The story is basically the story of Regina and her siblings who have a mother who isn't just neglectful, but she's also abusive in her moments of actually being there, and these five kids are forced to become mini adults almost immediately. Whether it's trying to make every stop a home, searching for loose change, stealing food and other items to get by, and parenting each other- it's heartbreaking. What makes it worse is that you  hope that child protective services would intervene but the kids don't want that because there is real danger in the foster care system. And you periodically hear news stories of foster care gone wrong but Regina's story highlights that it is a much larger problem than we maybe recognize. 
Some of the passages about the abuse her and her siblings sustained... horrifying. I mean, I can't even imagine the level of rage a person must have to do such things to a child. There are no words and quite frankly, it's a miracle they got out of it alive. I mean, to do the abuse their mother did, what was to stop her from going totally over the edge? 
The best part about this book is Regina and her overall triumph over her childhood. We all know a few people who have had a horrible childhood but instead of rising above it and recognizing that the past is the past, they dwell. Their entire lives are held back because it's all they can focus on. They lose perspective of what they could still be, the life they could still have, the good that is out there. Regina doesn't let her past get the best of her, instead she pursued her education and became a successful adult, a productive citizen, a beacon to others who are currently in a horrible situation. 
I absolutely loved this book, though it was difficult to read and I did cry in a few spots. I don't even know Regina, but I am absolutely proud of her and just... there are no words. Check out her Twitter, Facebook, or website to learn more about her and her book. 

Monday, August 26, 2013


I have heard so many things about this book, good and bad, and it's been on my wish list for a long time. Then when I had forgotten my book at home when I went on vacation to Florida- I finally picked it up at the airport. It was this or one one I had already read. It was like destiny was telling me now was the time to read the book.

And it's taken me so long. The entire summer in fact. It's not that it wasn't good, it's just heavy. It has taken me a few days to compress it, think about it, roll it around in my head, and then read a little more.

Wild - Cheryl Strayed
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone. 
Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

You can read the comments section of the reviews on Goodreads and see you'll get people who really love the book and people who are more of the "she's a grossly ill-prepared brat who hikes along and gets special help on the trail and she's basically a whore" group. Now, while I see the point about her getting "special treatment" along the trail, and how perhaps this isn't the trip to take if you know next to nothing about hiking and self survival skills, and I don't condone reckless sex and drug use. 

But at the end of the day? I got it. It's about the inner struggle she has with life and what she is supposed to do after her mother dies untimely of cancer. And I maybe wouldn't have really gotten this even a month ago, but after hearing about what my own mother is facing- it was like the light bulb came on and I just got it. Because a 20-something year old girl needs her mother. Hell, even at 31 I need my mom. There are things in life that we need our moms for and those who don't have a mother have hardships that they maybe don't even know they are having because they don't know the difference. I have had my mom with me when I got married, when I had kids, when I struggled my way through adulthood, and it's not enough. It's like a rite of passage for daughters is watching their mother age and going through that with her to prepare ourselves. 

I also have to admit that part of me wanted to have the guts to do this. I'd really like to have the balls to pack up what things I could into a backpack and just hike my ass along the Pacific Crest Trail and just get through it. Be bad ass, hopefully not lose any toenails, and accomplish something that most men can't even do. 

The moment of the book that sealed the deal for me? Was towards the end- when the anger of her mother's death basically comes to a head: 

"It was wrong. It was so relentlessly awful that my mother had been taken from me. I couldn't even hate her properly. I didn't get to grow up and pull away from her and bitch about her with my friends and confront her about the things I wished she'd done differently and then get older and understand that she had done the best she could and realize that what she had done was pretty damn good and take her fully into my arms again. Her death had obliterated that. It had obliterated me. It had cut me short at the very height of my youthful arrogance. It had forced me to instantly grow up and forgive her every motherly fault at the same time that it kept me forever a child, my life both ended and begun in that premature place where we'd left off. She was my mother, but I was motherless. I was trapped by her but utterly alone. She would always be the empty bowl that no one could fill. I'd have to fill it myself again and again and again. 

Fuck her, I chanted as I marched on over the next few miles,  my pace quickened by my rage, but soon I slowed and stopped to sit on a boulder.  A gathering of low flowers grew at my feet, their barely pink petals edging the rocks. Crocus, I thought, the name coming into m mind because my mother had given it to me. These same flowers grew in the dirt where I'd spread her ashes. I reached out and touched the petals of one, feeling my anger drain out of my body. 

By the time I rose and started walking again, I didn't begrudge my mother a thing. The truth was, in spite of all that, she'd been a spectacular mom. I knew it as I was growing up. I knew it in the days that she was dying. I knew it now. And I knew that was something. That it was a lot. I had plenty of friends who had moms who-no matter how long they lived- would never give them the all encompassing love my mother had given me. My mother considered that love her greatest achievement. It was what she banked on when she understood that she really was going to die and die soon, the thing that made it just barely okay for her to leave me and Karen and Leif behind." 

And I just got it. It hit me to my core because no matter what happens with my own mom, I know she loved me. I know she knows I love her. And when we were little she used to tell my brother and I that it's "one for all, and all for one" and I thought I knew what that meant. But I didn't really until now. When we were little she gave everything she had to us and in the end, it's our job to give everything we have to her. 

So while I don't necessarily agree with Cheryl losing her shit, divorcing a really great guy, and then having reckless sex and abusing drugs... I get it. We all grieve differently, that's for sure, but I get it. I understand how she felt about her mom because I feel the same way about mine.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Grossest plumbing discovery EVER.

Before you read this, you have to read the original toilet post to fully understand what I'm up against in the house when it comes to the toilet situation up in here.

The downstairs toilet with the gross bowl... you all gave me GREAT suggestions. I braved it and lifted the tank lid to see what exactly was happening in there. Lots of you mentioned maybe draining the tank, cleaning it all out, and then refilling it to see if maybe that was the issue and save me the cost of buying a new toilet.

Oh well I almost threw up.

Why? Oh because a little thing like MOLD is all up in there. And it's not like I can just clean it because as it turns out, the tank is something called an insulated tank whereas there is like Styrofoam lining it so it doesn't sweat or something. Bitches I have a moldy toilet. I can't clean Styrofoam! That's like trying to reuse those cheapy Styrofoam coolers after your potato salad falls over in it.

You just don't do it- it's wrong.

So instead of dealing with the issue, I put the tank lid back on and told Matt maybe he should clean it and see what happens.

That was a week ago. It hasn't been clean. Maybe he made the discovery as well and we're too broke to just go buy a new toilet.

Oh but we have to because last week I am fairly confident I solved the mystery of toilet #2 which is upstairs- the weird leaking one. I mentioned that the toilet is still leaking, which caused me to slip and fall on my ass and proceed to pee my pajamas once Stumpy fell into the toilet. And I've been (maybe literally) yelling at Matt to fix this shit because A) I hate mopping, B) it's gross, C) even grosser when the animals lick up the water and D) it could be causing a huge problem and I'm not trying to have a ceiling collapse into my office because of toilet water.

He remains stumped.

Until last week when I made the grossest discovery ever. You see, my discovery came when I sat on the toilet and it became clear that this water? Is coming from a crack in the bowl. It's either that, or there is a crack somewhere so that the water in the bowl is what comes out of the toilet.

Gee Sara, how did you figure that out? That seems pretty specific.

Well last week I had my period. And men of the world won't understand this, but ladies with an obscenely, and absolutely unnecessary, heavy period will turn the entire bowl red with period and pee. It's disgusting and I wouldn't even talk about it but it's pertinent to my discovery. So after I pee for awhile and my bladder once again feels glorious, I look down and see that my bathroom floor? Has a red puddle. A very dark red puddle. So like any scientist would do, I flushed the toilet, then sat back down again- and the red puddle got bigger, and a little lighter, because oh hello- I just pushed clean water into the mix.

See? I'm kind of like a legit scientist.

I clearly had to share this discovery with Matt who said I was being gross and that means we need a new toilet.

Here's hoping there is a really good buy one/get one deal soon.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Light it up. And wear a tutu for good measure.

Don't worry lambies, I'm still here. Things aren't totally in the shit hole over here. I've been trying to keep going with my normal everyday life, as fucked up as it sometimes can be, because it's all I've really got. So on Saturday I ran the Neon Run with my fellow dance mom and friend, Andrea.

And let me just say, we were the hottest Doodlebops there.

 The challenge was to be illuminated because obviously it's a Neon Run, at night, on the lake walk. I decided that I would wear the glow things they gave us AND I would spend $20 on a Fila shirt that was supposed to glow in the dark. I laid that bitch in the sunlight ALL DAY and it did not glow. Do I look like I have illuminated boobs? No. No I don't because Fila are a bunch of dirty liars.

I borrowed my sister in law's bright pink socks, wore my neon laced running shoes, borrowed a giant purple and blue tutu from Connie and then snagged a blue wig from Andrea. Which didn't work super well with my ponytail but who cares. The fact you can see my actual hair adds to the whole "I'm a mess who can't dress herself" theme.
 And then we walked it. We knew we weren't going to win any prizes for being the fastest, but who cares. We looked like weirdos and we got to chat the entire time which is really great and it was nice to do something that didn't let me sit at home and worry.
 We only saw one official homeless person, no muggers, and no abductions happened. Though towards the end that path was pretty dark so I was worried but it ended up being the turn around point. We kept getting compliments on our outfit so we decided to stick around for the prizes, which best costume was one of them. Know who beat us?

A couple of skinny bitches with leopard print leggings and lace neon leotards.

Next year? Oh next year it is ON.
Here is a shot that the owners of Canal Park Brewery took of Andrea and I with some other random people who did the 5K as well. You see how we stood out? Because we're awesome. I'm definitely doing it next year and I think next year we will have more notice so we'll have a bigger group of ladies. It was a ton of fun, though!

Oh yes, so I got home around 1am and then had to get up at 7 am to get ready for another 5K. Which turned out to be a terrible idea. Back to back 5K's when you aren't a good runner, have no stamina for a 5K, and have almost no sleep and are slightly dehydrated?

Poor choice.

I wanted to do it because it was literally a block from my house, it was the first annual, and it was a block party all raising money to feed the hungry in our town. I mean, even if I died- my $15 went to a good cause and as a bonus, maybe my organs could have been donated.

 Matt and the kids came down with me and they were going to wait for me to finish. Honestly, I had been averaging about 40 minutes for 3.1 miles and that was straight walking, so I thought for sure that's what I'd be coming in at.
 And I started strong. I think I ran for the first full mile and felt alright. But then I started going slower, I started cramping up, my knee hurt, then my hip started popping in and out and I had to walk. Then I thought, no big deal. I'll walk for a bit and then run a little bit- if I just do a combination, I'll be fine. But every time I ran it hurt and I felt like I wanted to cheat and turn around. Then I thought, maybe I'll just call Matt to come freaking get me because this sucks and holy crap, but 1.5 miles I was so tired. Like I had expended everything I had. By the time we hit that half way mark I was dead last and over it. Like, legit over it.

But then the guy at the turn around was so damn optimistic, so I figured screw it. I'm just walking this bitch. By mile 2 I really hated it and wanted to go home. Out of nowhere I got so overwhelmed about my mom, and my stress level in general, fed up with being chunky, and I was overly warm, so I started to cry. And there was turn around guy who clearly was waiting for me to hurry so he could pick up the barricades. But he kept telling me he'd follow me and that all I had to do was finish. Poor guy probably thought I was nuts.

By the time I turned and was on the last half mile I was just so mad at myself for sucking so bad and to be honest, I just wanted to shower and go to bed.
 Then my kids started running towards me on the sidewalk. And I thought dammit. I can't give up right in front of my kids. They don't care I'm chunky, or slow, or nonathletic, or dead freaking last. They are just happy to see me and that I'm actually in a race.
 So we finished together.
But most importantly? I finished. I was sweaty, sore, and tired. I was embarrassed to be last but more proud that I finished when I thought about giving it up. And this is the first, and probably only time, I'll ever repeat a Pinterest weightloss mantra because they are crap. Even though I was dead last, I did more than the fat asses who slept in that day.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Toilets versus Sara

I think I've mentioned before how much I love the movie The Money Pit. I really do. I love the enthusiasm of the young couple, and the fake sadness of the owner saying goodbye. I love how they start one project and have everything around it go to shit.

I kind of feel like that right now.

Not that things are drastic or falling apart. But because it has literally be one thing after another. I know that part of buying a new home is that you discover random odds and ends that need to be updated and/or repaired. I know this but when it happens it's always like, come on now. Really? You're just going to start leaking for no fucking reason right now?!

We actually have three bathrooms in our house, one on each floor. So far, and most surprisingly, the basement toilet is awesome, though we never use it.

The toilet on the main floor is bizarre. If you don't clean the bowl for two days, you see this:

 God I'm embarrassed to even show this. But I don't know what it is. It's hard to clean- like you have to scrub this bitch with your bowl brush. So far, my best guess is that it's sand and/or sediment in the water that settles? Which is disturbing since oh hey- this shares the plumbing with the kitchen. I've tried cleaners, I've tried the things you hook on your tank that make the water blue, nothing. You can get the bowl clean and it will stay that way for a max of two days and then this. And the longer you let it sit- the darker and grosser it gets. I will give you a $1 if you can tell me what the mother fuck is causing this AND how to fix it.

Next up? Upstairs bathroom, which is right above my scrapbook room. Now- this stain was not here when we moved in. Trust me- I would have noticed it. It's kind of big.
 But what alarmed me is that shortly after we moved in, and came back on vacation I noticed weird ass puddles on the bathroom floor. At first I thought it was pee, but then it didn't smell like pee. So Matt replaced the things that connect the tank to the bowl since they were cracked and he saw water coming from that. Curiously, the stain is directly under the toilet and along the left side. Obviously you can see this.

Fast forward to the next weekend when oh yippee- it is leaking again. So we take yet another trip to Menards and he decides we're getting a new wax ring. We get that and some new bolts because Matt said the others ones were iffy and since we're taking everything apart, why not.
Well.... as it turns out it's a larger project. The wood that the toilet is actually screwed to? Rotted. Then I hear, "Holy shit, Sara! The toilet in this house might actually fall through the ceiling!". Not awesome to hear, but ironic considering when we bought our old house, the seller tells us (after we sign papers) that the toilet had fallen through the ceiling. We never found evidence of that, but surprise, surprise- we get that here. But the mystery here is that there is no other leaking around or under it. WEIRD. The ceiling of my scrapbook room? A good foot, possibly two from the floor of the bathroom. WEIRD, but nice. Matt has no idea what the fuck is actually leaking. We also know how much Matt enjoys plumbing. (Seriously, click that link. It's just as funny now as it was then.) So he is thoroughly confused. He changes all of the parts where leaking could happen, puts the toilet back on (and finishes painting the wall, yay!), but does not caulk it. Just in case.

And we're good for a week. Then bam- on Saturday I stepped in a god damn puddle. Right in front of the toilet. So I don't know what is going on. Do we just say goodbye toilet and buy a fancy new one? What else could be wrong with the damn thing. The other alarming thing is that Matt is freakishly good at house stuff. He can make and fix almost anything just by looking at it. The fact that even he is confused and not sure what's wrong worries me.

So again, if you have a suggestion- I am all ears because I am sick of stepping in water when I'm not fully awake.

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

That time where I did a photo wall like a boss.

The fun thing about being in a new house is that I have a canvas in which to do some of the Pinterest projects I've been obsessively pinning for no real reason. There comes a point in time where you have to have a serious conversation with yourself and decide to either do some projects or shut this shit down because you will waste your life away pinning for no reason.

I don't want to be a pinner with no point, dammit.

So I have vowed that I am actually going to make a real effort in doing projects, cooking recipes, and trying to look somewhat styled and put together. And the first thing I wanted to do (other than paint) was to do something with the upstairs landing.
 See how naked and blah it is? I don't like naked and blah home spaces. It's just a fact. So I decided to continue the really great gray color I have downstairs to the upstairs. Not just because it would look nice but yet again Home Depot tells me I need double the paint that I actually need so I had a spare gallon. Oy. So we painted the walls gray and that's a start. But then I thought- I am going to do a photo wall. But I can't afford actual frames because the ones I like are expensive. So I sat on that for a few days UNTIL. I find the most amazing canvas art at Hobby Lobby. Instant love, even at $30. I liked the words, I liked the font, I liked the colors, everything about this was love and I thought hell yes- this is what I'm going to do and I'm going to carry these colors in other areas of the house because I love them so.
 So what I did was buy a bunch of cheap wood frames at Michaels. They are $1 a piece but they don't come with glass so if you're fine with that, get these. In bulk. LOVE. I know from scrapbooking that things in 3 look best so I went with nine frames and three paints that would match my art. Now, the teal color is not in the art, but my bathroom is now teal (that's another post) so I thought- WIN because the wall will tie in with the bathroom. So I painted two coats of acrylic paint (all $1 per bottle) with foam brushes (.39 a piece). THEN I thought, hmm.... too blah. So I decide to bust out some white acrylic paint I had and with a dry foam brush I kind of gave it a whitewashed/distressed look to all of them. It's imperfect, but I like them.
 Then since I had the art hanging on my wall and was too lazy to go get it, I used one of my 12x12 paper boxes to be my pretend art and I moved frames around until I liked what I had. Then I had to find pictures. Which turned out to be a nightmare because I don't have that many vertical pictures, apparently? I need to take more of those.
 Once I got my pictures printed, I put them in the frames and made sure I liked my arrangement.

THEN I had to get them on the wall. First I tried nails, only to discover that shockingly, there are no studs in that wall. Like, at all. I don't want to know why there are no studs and while this is alarming, I had to think of a better solution. Which reminded me of something I used for my front porch project (blog post soon).

I have bought over 20 packages of these things in the last month. No, I am not joking. Command strips that are velcro are probably the best thing ever invented. I love them a lot. I feel like buying them just in case because I love them that much.
And BAM. Finished product. I bought the dresser from a friend and I was going to paint it but then thought no, I like the black. I'm going to buy a different basket that's a little more functional though. Then I got the vase and tulips on clearance at Michaels. But doesn't it look awesome?
It looks kind of amazing at the top of my stairs.

So that's one of my Pinterest projects conquered. I cannot WAIT to show you my front porch. I have a few finishing touches to add but it's coming along nicely.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Prophecy's Child

Just calm the fuck down, I am not pregnant. I've got enough stress in my life, there is no baby #3 coming. Instead this is the highly anticipated second novel in the series of Brenda Dyer's Prophecy Series. I have read and reviewed the first one and LOVED IT. Then I've had her on my GoodReads alerts for awhile so I knew it was coming and then I got a really great email from her saying she remembered my first review (which is awesome) and wanted to know if I wanted to review the second one.

Which, YES, OBVIOUSLY. I finished this in a day because I absolutely love these books and where they are going. They are basically a paranormal romance and it's everything you want out of either genre except she's mashed them together and it's perfect.

Prophecy's Child

His secret will shatter her world.
Katherine Colby’s life splintered ten years ago when her lover suddenly vanished, leaving her with more than a broken heart. But when Kal unexpectedly makes an appearance, her safe, dependable existence is shattered once more. Drawn into Kal’s deadly world of vampires and demons, she must now put aside her hurt and anger and learn to trust him. Can she forgive past deceptions and find the courage to love again? Or will she turn away the one man who owns her heart and soul?
Her secret will change his life.

Powerful, and lethal, Kal is a vampire warrior, sworn to protect humans from demons. Loving Katherine too much to pull her into his dangerous world, Kal deserted her, believing his decision was best for them both. But not even time could assuage his yearning for the woman who has captured his heart. As fate tosses them together once again, Kal must fight to win Katherine’s trust and forgiveness before evil separates them forever. But is he ready to become the man she needs him to be? Or will he lose the one woman he can’t live without?

I remember when I read the first book, Love's Prophecy, I knew that Kal would be the next book. I just knew it. Then I was even happier when I realized that Kal was the next warrior to get a book. 

Basically this is the story of Kal and Katherine. They had a relationship for a few months ten years ago and just as it was coming to a major turning point for them, Kal essentially disappeared. He thought he was doing the best for Katherine; however, Katherine is forced to endure a pregnancy, birth, and the first ten years of their son's life alone, wondering what had happened to Kal. Then fate somehow brings them together and they are forced to be honest with each other... all the while a really fucked up demon lusts after Katherine and threatens the safety of all three of them. 

I absolutely loved this book. The best part of Brenda's characters is that though they have their faults, at no point are you annoyed with them. You know how someone romance novels have a female lead that is a pretty vile, unrealistic bitch who repeatedly tries to sabotage every effort the male lead makes? That does not happen here. Sure, Katherine is pissed off and reluctant to trust but it is fully understandable. But Kal tries so hard and it just pulls at you.  You root for these two and yes. I loved it. A lot. 

And now I'm eagerly awaiting the third book. Is Black next? Because it's either Black or Ace but I'm hoping for Black. (Think of me, Brenda!) This book is available at Amazon HERE or on Smashwords HERE

Dirty Girls Do It Best. Obviously.

Well, the good news is that I did not die during my 5K mud/obstacle run on Saturday. The bad news is that I have seen more vaginas, nipples and ass cracks that I ever thought I would in my life, all in the short span of twenty minutes.

I'm talking about the Dirty Girl Mud Run. Which was hands down, the most fun run I have ever done and I had legs apart, the best group of ladies to run it with. I'm kind of glad it was just us four because we were a good group and it was hilarious. And quite frankly, I don't know if I would have made it without Cassandra telling me to get my ass moving or Connie helping me down obstacles so I didn't bust my ass and have to ride in the medic trailer.

And I have pictures, mostly before/afters, only because Matt refused to walk the trail and fully document everything that happened. I'm working on his show pony skills still. Apparently.

I will say though? This was super organized. We parked in a massive hay field. Chopped down hay fields are not walking friendly and I sliced up my ankles. That was not awesome. We then got on the bus and it took us to the actual race area.
And then they had the check in area blatantly obvious. I have no idea why my arm is just randomly out, but I was texting to see where the other girls were. At check in you get your number and you then go to check your bags and shit. Which is why Matt was there so he took mine. Then you go get your shirt. We were wave 13, which was at 11:00 a.m., but once we realized that oh hey- they aren't checking you at any point here, we decided to go at 10:30. That wave looked kind of empty so we went for it figuring if nothing else, we'd be done a little sooner.
Pre race/before picture of us.
We thought the course safety sign was interesting. Nowhere on the run did I see color flags, but I also wasn't looking. I was trying to not die.
Oh, and before the race they had a zumba warm up. Which yay.
I like me some zumba.
And bam! Time to start!
So the first obstacle is called the Barn Burner. Essentially you climb up this giant inflatable thing, and bounce on your ass all the way down. What you don't want to happen is have a super huge person bounce next to you because they will toss your ass. Let's just say there was a point where I not only got stuck in between two sections, but I landed hard on my ass at the bottom. Way to go chunky girl.

Obstacle 2 was the Get A Grip. It was the first of a few rope ones and you climb up a rope wall and ring the bell. That was far harder than I thought because I am not good at ropes. Then the way down was a bit tricky as well.

Utopian Tubes was third and that was where you got muddy and wet for the first time. Warning: the mud smells horrible and it is cold. You will army crawl through it and no amount of training can prepare you for running in sopping wet shoes and socks.

Get Over Yourself- 8 foot wall. Enough said. Thank god Connie was there because she helped me navigate the way down. I didn't want to look down but I also am only 5'3 so my foot did not just land on a step, I needed help finding it. Thankfully for Connie, I did not bust my ass here.

This is us after the first three obstacles. not super dirty, but we also had no idea what was ahead.

PMS. ooh yuck. You run through a mud pit. Also not awesome because by this point, we had kind of dried off and I wasn't feeling as disgusting.

The Monkey. This is the only obstacle I really thought I would skip. I've seen a few YouTube videos of people doing it, I've seen other bloggers talk about it, but it doesn't matter because it is hard. At least for me. And when I climbed up to mount the thing, which is a rope climb except it's horizontal, I looked at Renee who also looked unsure and flat out told her if she wanted to skip it I would skip it with her. But then Connie is flying across it, and Cassandra is going through it telling me to just fucking do it already and I thought you know what? If drunk and hungover 20somethings can do this shit on that Road Rules/Real World Challenge show, then by god I can do this sober. My strategy ended up being to go sideways. I went sideways and dragged my ass. And I made it. I am 99% sure that this obstacle alone is why my back, shoulder blades and arms were sore the next two days.

Amaze Yourself. This is basically a bungee rope maze. What you also cannot prepare for is the sensation of having a bungee slap you in the face or the vagina. That hurts. There is no other way to describe being slapped in the vagina with a bungee.

Dirty Dancing: Hands down, the most fun obstacle. You climb up a HUGE inflatable slide which has water running down it so you will fly down it. A word of advice: close your eyes and your mouth. Also? Try to turn sideways. What happened to me is that I did not turn sideways so my feet hit the bottom and it propelled me forward and I fell almost on my face in a mud pit. Because oh yes, there is a mud pit at the end. I had mud in my ears, nose, mouth, and eyes. We're what? 4 days out from the race and still in the morning I have dirt in the corners of my eyes. Thank god for Renee having a dry spot on her shirt and thank god she is not weirded out by me rubbing my face on her shirt. (Thanks, Renee. I feel closer to you already.)

You Go Girl. This is like high stepping through tires, but it's inflatable. Beware- this is not for short people. Some of us flew through it, others (*cough* ME *cough*) went slower because my legs don't lift that high and I very much did not want to fall on my face. Like the girl behind me. So glad I wasn't here. Dang.

Down & Dirty: What is different about this army crawl through mud is that unlike the first one? This one had a tarp over it. So if you are claustrophobic in any way, this one might be tough. I'm not one to get freaked out but the small space combined with the foul smell of the mud, and trying to not get kicked in the face made this is really hard. I also tried not to kick the person ahead of me. But the mud is also not beach sand, it's like dirt. With rocks and random shit in it so you will scuff up your knees, elbows, hands, etc.

H20MG: This is basically you climbing into a garbage dumpster, walking through waist deep mud and then climbing out.

Runaway Bride: At this point, there were more and more spectators watching because we were getting to the end, but no Matt. This one apparently changes with each venue and you can tell it's like random extra obstacles they have. We climbed over two smallish board things, under a really low bar and something else. I was so winded and just didn't want to make an ass out of myself at the end.

The very last one doesn't have a name, but it's a huge mud pit you army crawl through while people watch.
Pre mud pit.
During mud pit.
More mud pit.

Fortunately, Matt did not get a picture of me when my tank top and bra were hanging down from the weight of the mud and I pretty much flashed the marines handing out water.
Our trek to the shower tents.
No showers before our post picture!
I was covered. It was in my hair, my ears, my nose, basically every crevice and hole in my body. And yes- I mean every hole.

The real treat are the showers. Nothing could have prepared me for what I have now dubbed the Tent of Horrors. I'm not going to lie, I am not a prude by any means, but I did kind of expect a little privacy. Not a communal tent with hoses. You shower off with hoses that are pumping out freezing water. I put my bag of clean clothes in the middle, only dry area on the floor, and I stood in horror.

Almost everyone was stark naked.

Now I don't like to be dirty either but I also know that nobody wants to see me and my post two kids self. My boobs sag, I have an inner tube around me, and I have a badonkey donk. So instead, I was stubborn and thinking I could just clean myself off clothes on. So Renee and Cassandra got to a hose first so Connie and I stood there waiting for a hose behind two women would were taking their sweet ass time.

And the look on Connie's face as these women are bending over and flashing their stuff is, to this day, hilarious. I will grow old with dementia and I will remember the look on her face. What I also won't forget is the one woman's nipples. I cannot emphasize how cold this water was because it was freezing and she looked like she had pacifiers on her chest. You could not help but stare because my nipples surely do not do that.

But the most horrifying thing? Is that they were washing their vaginas with the hose and the water splashing off their vaginas hit us in the face. And I may have yelled, "OHMYGOD" and while my mouth was open, water went into it.

I am pretty sure I swallowed vagina back splash.

It was disgusting. I was horrified.

Then I got my turn at the hose. I quickly realized washing off with hose water is kind of a joke. I also then decided to fuck it all and I took of my tank top, leaving my bra on. I did not clean my boob area well enough and that turned out to suck later on. I tried my best to get my legs as clean as I could but it's really a futile effort. I'm always torn between getting a job done or hurrying up to deal with the consequences because there was a line of people behind me. I hate being that asshole holding everyone up. So I basically said fuck it.

It was then that I realized I had forgotten a towel. My amazing packing skills failed me. I had to use a sweatshirt. I also decided I could not walk in wet workout pants so I changed into my cotton skirt and got the hell out of there without looking at anything. Eyes to the ground, people.

Outside, mud and water started coming from places and running down my leg so I effectively looked like I had a case of the runs and it was coming down my leg. I don't think I have ever felt so gross in my life. I also decided that riding home 2 1/2 hours in wet underwear was not going to happen, so I did what any girl would do.

Change my underwear next to the merchandise tent. I did have an awkward moment where I started laughing for no reason, while leaning on Matt, holding my filthy underwear. Thankfully I was able to get my shit together before I fell over and look like a drunk with my underwear pulled down.

I'm sure Matt, Cassandra, Renee and Connie were appreciative of this as well.

We didn't hang around because we were all tired and I had a long drive home, so we got on the bus to head home. Once back in the parking lot, we walked so far to the car. I had no idea we had parked that far down. But I decided I was going to go braless on the way home because I was sunburned on my shoulders and neck and it was rubbing. So I get in the car and proceed to take of my bra when I hear a sickening "plop" noise.

Oh yes, because this is why you spend more time rinsing your boob area- otherwise mud will plop in your car. And your car will smell foul from the mud. Life lesson, folks. Life lesson.

So overall? I had a blast. I really did. I thought I would hate it. I thought I would skip an obstacle, but I didn't. It's certainly not my best 5K time (about 90 minutes), but considering I took my time over obstacles so I wouldn't fall and hurt myself and there was a line at some of them so we had to wait for our turn, I feel like this was a good time. I'm proud of myself. I felt like I did a good job and so did the other girls. And I'm not kidding, this would be hard to do alone. If I didn't have those three ladies with me, I would have tossed in the towel and threw deuces because it was hard.

Am I signing up for next year? Absolutely. My advice is to go with friends, wear shoes that are worn down to nothing because they will be ruined (you can donate them at the end), and wear clothing that is as tight to you as possible. Anything less will hang from the weight of mud and you will flash spectators. And be prepared for the showers.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Take Me Now

Oh lambies. I'm on a such a roll with fun romance novels and here's another one to add to your list. You all need to catch up to me. Seriously- I'm whipping through books like a maniac.

Take Me Now - Faith Sullivan

How do you survive the internship from hell?

Don't fall in love.

Ivy thought being a reporter-in-training at the Independent Gazette would be her dream summer job. Little did she know, interviewing Eric, a landscaper with a heart of gold, would derail her plans. It turns out Ivy's boss, Lauren, has been eying his chiseled physique for quite some time.

But at twenty-four, Eric already has a tragic past, one that he is still reeling from. Even though his ordeal turned him into some sort of local celebrity, it's been a while since he's shared his bed with anyone. When he comes to Ivy's rescue out of the blue, it's not long before the two of them start seeing each other behind Lauren's back. When they get caught, Ivy's journey toward a college degree is jeopardized and her relationship with Eric is severely put to the test.

Career versus love? In the end, a shocking turn of events provides Ivy with a revelation she never saw coming.

First of all, SEQUEL. I'm going to keep chanting SEQUEL until I get my hands on one because this book left me with a, "WHAT?!". Cliff hanger endings can be so hit or miss and I feel like if you're going to do one, leave it so the reader isn't sitting there fuming angry. I was not fuming angry, more like giddy excited for people who aren't even real. Because that's how I get. I get emotionally invested and boom- it's like these are friends. 


I think it's evident that I loved this book. Ivy is your classic college student who just wants to get her life right and make the right choices and she's willing to sit through what is literally the internship from hell. She's a little unsure of herself in the guy department and rightfully so because the guy she's be infatuated with for years, Will, is kind of a huge douchebag. He's that guy that you know is terrible for your friend but she keeps going back for the abuse and there's no reason why. So she has Will to contend with since he's shown up in town. She also has her best friend for years, Ryan, who likes her but she doesn't see it because hello, he's best friend Ryan who is basically like her brother minus the fact he is 3 years younger than her. Then she has dreamboat Eric with a really crappy past with the death of his fiance/love of his life. 

Ivy is stuck navigating through all three guys and their actual intentions, all the while dealing with Ryan's sister who is her internship supervisor, and who clearly hates her. Mostly because as it turns out, she really wants in Eric's pants for all of the wrong reasons. This book flip flops points of view and it's down well so you aren't like, "Wait, who is this now? Dammit, now I have to look back.", it's really well done. And the ending? Just when you think things are settling down and all is well, something happens with an article of clothing and it all goes to shit. Only to come back for a cliff hanger ending. 

I finished this book in one afternoon because it was that good and I couldn't stop reading. I cannot wait for the sequel. SEQUEL. So excited for the sequel. 

Faith has a great blog with all of her other books on there and she gives you some great additional background information about the books, characters, etc. Please check that out. Also, this book is available on Amazon for REALLY inexpensive, so if you are looking for a quick read, this is a good one without breaking the bank.