Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: 10 Years


For better or worse.  And these last 4 years have been mighty crazy!  I couldn't have imagined what my life would look like now and I can't imagine it any other way!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tea Collection: Citizen Blue and India extra 25% off!

It's here, for three days only the Tea Collection Citizen Blue styles are finally on sale! Use code INDIA25 for 25% off any Citizen Blue or India items and free shipping over $75.

What is Citizen Blue?
A semi-annual collection that celebrates the magical spots we stop along the way to somewhere else. Rooted in rich indigo hues, Citizen Blue revisits heritage Tea styles and favorite prints from places we’ve already been and offers new designs inspired by places we’ve seen only glimpses of. 


All of the India and Citizen Blue clothing is already on sale, now take an extra 25% off mark downs!


*This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Book: Goodbye, Magnolia

Wedding photography is Maggie’s passion. The art of capturing a moment forever in time is magical to her, and she’s worked hard to become the best of the best. Week after week, she works with couples as they plan their happily ever afters, but she hasn’t been so lucky in love.

Behind the camera, it’s easy to hide from the pain and rejection of her past. The life she has made for herself is safe and predictable, until the owner of a rival photography studio sets up shop in her small town and comes to her with an unexpected proposal. Suddenly, everything she has worked so hard to build is threatened and her simple, controlled life is thrown into chaos.

As she travels the state of Michigan photographing weddings, she struggles to keep her business afloat and the wall around her heart intact. But along the way, she learns more about loyalty and love than she ever imagined.

***

Funny thing, this book started out almost exactly the same as the one I read a couple weeks ago, which was a bit odd.  But given that it's a full length novel rather than a novella it really had time to develop the characters and for me at least, this one really felt much more true to life.  It was the perfect length.

Maggie has to deal with someone coming back into her life that she essentially despised since college.  The way she sees the things he does only reinforces the views she has of him.  But is it possible he's changed?

I really truly loved this book and the way it reminded me to not judge other people by only what I can see of their actions.

My only caveat is the ending was missing what I thought should have been there (can't give anything away!), but Krista is working on a sequel and she assures me that scene is in it!  Can't Wait!

***

Read more about Krista below and find your own copy of Goodbye, Magnolia at Amazon, for Nook or iTunes.

KRISTA NOORMAN is the author of the young adult novel, The Truth About Drew, and the contemporary romance, Goodbye, Magnolia. Most of her life has been spent scribbling away in journals, honing her writing skills, while documenting her every day life. But it wasn’t until she took part in National Novel Writing Month in 2008, that she found her true calling and turned her pen (or rather her computer keyboard) to fiction.

Krista studied music education at Cornerstone University. After college, she turned to her love of photography and spent nearly a decade running her own wedding photography business. She is constantly inspired by books and movies, enjoys beautiful instagram feeds, and loves a great cup of coffee. Krista makes her home in a small town in western Michigan with her husband, Jacob, and their two children.

She writes about life, family, faith and whatever else comes to mind at bykrista.com.

Krista sent me a copy of her book to review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Water Babies!

These girls have gone from not wanting to put their faces underwater to this in 10 days!












My little swimmer babies! Their teacher has been teaching at this pool since my family moved here 23 years ago and my old neighbor, whose daughter was in Noah's class last week, said she was her teacher too, so that would be pushing 40 years! She's a pretty awesome teacher!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Book: Picture Perfect Love

When image becomes everything, it's up to love to refocus the heart.

Photographer Jenna Harrison wants every bride and groom to look picture perfect on their special day, putting her heart into every wedding to give the couple memorable images of their love. But her own heart is still broken, the unworn wedding dress hanging in her closet a reminder that relationships aren't always as perfect as they look through her camera lens. But Jenna has faith that she will find true love. Until then, she must be patient and trust in God's plan and His perfect timing.

Attorney Ashton Vance is the one that got away. When an embarrassing Photoshopped picture of put an end to his political aspirations, he blamed Jenna. So what if the photo led to his being offered a dream job and changing his life for the better? Jenna betrayed his trust, and two years later, Ashton's heart still hasn't recovered.

It was me. His younger sister's three words turn Ashton's world upside down. He must ask Jenna's forgiveness, but can he risk his heart a second time? Even if Jenna can forgive him, dare he hope for a second chance at her love?

***

This is a novella, part of a series called A Year of Weddings, each written by a different author.  This is the only one I've read, but I don't think they connect to each other.  This book is also only available as an e-book or audio book.

As a photographer, but never a wedding photographer, this book looked fun.  I'm not as familiar with the novella format so this one moved really fast for me.  I like a little more flesh and depth to my characters.

The writing was light and fun, perhaps a bit too light for the subject matter.  When you've been left at the alter of the rehearsal for your wedding I think it might take more than a few weeks of forced interaction for you to be cordial with the one who did the leaving, even after 2 years have passed.  The premise of the story is forgiveness and second chances, which I agree with, but that doesn't mean putting yourself in a place to be hurt again.

The other thing that bothered me about this story was that I'm from Washington, from the area it feels like the author was describing, but the setting of the book really felt like it should have been in the south from the style of the wedding as well as the interactions of the characters.  I had a hard time imagining it near me.

This one was a lighter-than-it-should-have-been summer read that just didn't feel real enough to me.
***

Read other reviews or purchase your own copy.

Melissa McClone has published more than thirty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She has also been nominated for Romance Writers of America's RITA® award. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house.

I received this book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hope...

Over a year ago the word for 5 Minute Friday was Joy.  I kept waiting for Hope to come up and in the craziness that is my life right now I almost missed it.

No one could ever miss my Hope though!

Still more verbal than her sister, I think they take turns getting into mischief.  In some ways it's easy for me to see their separate personalities, yet when I think about trying to explain it to someone who doesn't know them it's not so easy.  They are twins, and yet unique individuals.  I hope they will always see me treating them that way.

At 3 1/4 these girls have ALL the personality and yet they are still my little snuggle bugs.  One thing about staying here with my parents is that whoever gets up first gets to come climb in bed with me on the pull-out couch.  Hope is much better at just laying still next to me for awhile and really snuggling.  I love it!

Hope... hope was my word for the year.  And it's been hard, maybe harder this year than some others.  I'm not in my twin-haze anymore and life is so much more complicated now.  I haven't even found a frame for that word yet, but it's been ever present in the back of my mind, I've needed to call on it so much more than any other word.  It's almost a reminder to not give up.

The phrase that comes to mind tonight; Hope is an anchor.  An anchor for my soul in all the crazy stuff that comes my way.  I just pray that it's lodged firmly in solid rock to hold me steady.



Five minute Friday is hosted over at Kate's place. As always please join in or leave a comment!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Kitchen Tear Down

We're living with my long suffering parents right now because it's kind of hard to have 4 kids in a house with no kitchen. Good thing I like my frozen veggies frozen because I couldn't warm them up if I wanted to!


This is what my messy kitchen used to look like, yes, complete with awesome yellow countertops.


Cabinets removed. You find some pretty gross stuff should down the side of the stove when you can't clean it...


The reason for the new kitchen... Major water damage and dry rot.


It was more extensive than we thought, going into the wall plate and out under the main part of the floor requiring that we rip up and replace the floor. That messed up the schedule.


Everything repaired, now begins the reinstallation.


Totally empty kitchen with new flooring base.


My living room is inaccessible. Another reason why the kids can't be here!


Yesterday my job was, new paint!  Random pattern and all.

Tomorrow, the cabinets start going in, next week new floor and when we set the old countertops back on temporarily we might get to come back... Although we still won't have a functioning sink. Next up, plumbing repair.