Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday Randomness...Stress, ugh.

The topic for this week’s Wednesday blog is what I do to relax when I’m stressed. I kind of laughed when I saw this topic because people who know me know that I am pretty much a huge ball of stress most of the time. I do manage to keep it bottled up quite a bit, but that doesn’t help. I have tried different things over the years to relieve my stress and so far, none of them have stuck. But, let’s see what I’ve at least attempted.

Yoga. Yup, I tried it. I liked yoga, but I didn’t find it particularly de-stressing. I was always worried about not being able to do the poses or people judging me for being too overweight to wear yoga pants in public, so it wasn’t a relaxing experience for the most part. It did help with my flexibility though.

Meditation/relaxation techniques. This did not work at all. I seem to have a very hard time quieting my mind; I spent most of the meditation time worrying that I couldn’t quiet my mind, so that made the whole process even harder.

Massages. I’ve tried getting massages a few times over the years. And I do like them, but the relaxation I experience at the time ends as soon as I walk out the door.

Gardening. A couple of years ago, I planted my first vegetable garden. It has gone all right, for someone who has always had a black thumb. I get a ton of tomatoes every year, but haven’t found my stride with other veggies yet. And, while I like trying to grow my own food, I don’t find it relaxing. I’m always worrying about why some plants aren’t growing and not weeding enough and are they getting enough sun/water.

In case you haven’t caught on yet, I can pretty much take anything that should be enjoyable and/or relaxing and turn it into a stressful situation. It’s my personality; I’ve always been this way. There are a couple things I can do that sort of help, but I still walk away feeling some level of stress.

Reading. I love to read, it’s really my favorite pastime. But it’s not as relaxing as it should be. I get too caught up in things emotionally, or spend too much time worrying about the tasks I *should* be doing while I’m reading.

Exercise. The ultimate de-stressor. All those endorphins are supposed to make you happy. All I do is worry that I’m not doing right, that I’m being judged for being too overweight (if I’m out in public), or that I basically just suck if I miss a day in my schedule. It’s good for the half hour/45 minutes that I’m exercising, but then things start up again in my mind.

What it comes down to is I’m basically always stressed and worry most of the time. I’m too tightly wound for my own good. Even writing this post made me anxious because I can’t really answer the question posed. So, if anyone has any other good stress relieving suggestions, let me know!

Check the blogs of the other Wednesday ladies to see how they de-stress:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wednesday Randomness...My Dream Yard!

Today's Wednesday Randomness blog is about our dream yards. This blog was a lot fun because I got to search for pictures (and maybe I did some of that at work...shhhhhhhh), but I seriously had to reign myself in.

When I picture my backyard, I see an English garden. And let's be honest, I see myself in the cottage, too. I love the wildness of an English garden.

And in that yard/garden, I would need to have an extremely comfortable place to relax, read, and drink tea. Something like the bench below, but full of big, squishy pillows.

That bench would need to be nestled under an arbor covered with plants and vining flowers.

 Next to my arbor I would really like to have a fountain. The water sounds would just add to the relaxation aura of the whole space.

The last item of my dream yard would be a fantastic vegetable garden. Something where I could grow all my vegetables for the whole summer.

Of course, along with all this I would also need to have a gardener to tend to it, because while I have managed to grow tomatoes and impatiens in recent years, that's the extent of my ability. And let's be fair, those grow themselves, really. 

Check the blogs of the ladies below to see their dream yards:
Bronwyn Green
Jess Jarman
Kellie St. James
Kris Norris
Jenny Trout

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

These are a Few of My Favorite Things...Books Edition!

Time for Wednesday Randomness again and the topic this week is one dear to me. Books! It’s going to be tough to keep this from becoming a ten page blog, but I’m going to try to keep it to just my absolute faves. 

Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) - This is probably my all time favorite book. I can't count the number of times I've read it and I'm sure I will read it again and again in the years to come.

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) - My AP English teacher in high school turned me on to this author. She was such a super fan, I remember she had an apron she would wear during class with Jane Austen's picture on it. She wore it everyday during this unit.

The Mummy (Anne Rice) – This was a standalone book and is not like most of her other works (that I’ve read). That’s all I’m going to say, except READ IT.

The Eyes of the Dragon (Stephen King) – This was originally a fairytale type story he wrote for his kid(s). It has two princes, an evil magician, and a daring escape. 

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) – Awesome in every way possible. Enough said. 

To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) - A large part of my family comes from the deep south so I always like to read books with that kind of setting, they feel familiar.

The Amelia Peabody Series (Elizabeth Peters) – This is a series that takes place from the late 1800’s up through the early 1920’s about an English family of Egyptologists. They are mysteries and are wonderfully written. The author actually studied Egyptology and the books include real people as minor characters (i.e. Howard Carter who discovered King Tut’s tomb), so they are loaded with tons of information about Egypt. 

These are all a bit older, but I do read current stuff, too! Here are a couple of my new favorites. 

Blackbirds (it’s a series, actually) (Chuck Wendig) - These books are edgy and intriguing. If you’re not familiar with Chuck Wendig, his language is colorful and inventive. It always makes me think of that quote from A Christmas Story. It’s something like, the Old Man worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium, a master. I mean this as a compliment to the author; his writing is original and turbulent.

The Vampire Academy Series (Richelle Mead) – Vampires, sure. Been there, done that. (Don’t get me wrong, I love vampires.) But this is a bit of a new twist with natural born vampires and made vampires and the world they inhabit. Richelle Mead’s writing is fantastic and the six book series is well paced all the way through. She has an additional series focusing on one of the somewhat minor characters introduced halfway through the first series. I haven’t read those yet but I’ve heard they are even better than the originals. 

Okay, I'm going to stop there or this list would really get out of control.

Check out some of the favorite books of my fellow bloggers! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

If Ever I Would Leave You Cover Reveal!

Today, authors Bronwyn Green, Jessica Jarman, and Jenny Trout unveil the cover of their upcoming anthology:

If Ever I Would Leave You
(July, 2014)

Keep reading for a chance to win an Arthurian-themed DVD prize pack or a $25 Amazon gift card!

Bronwyn Green

A year after Tabby Nolan's sister vanished from the Lake Michigan shore with her boyfriend, Liam, Tabby visits the spot where the two were last seen-- and finds herself pulled into the crumbling world of Avalon.

Since his disappearance, Liam has been trapped in the mythical land, with no link to the world he knew. Now, their shared memories of Tabby's missing sister are all they can cling to as Avalon dies around them.

But Tabby doesn't want to be a replacement for her sister, and her growing attachment to Liam feels like a betrayal. As Avalon fades around them, Liam and Tabby must rely on each other-- or be lost with the ancient kingdom forever.

Albion’s Circle: The Deepest Cut
Jessica Jarman

For nineteen years, Anna has been plagued by dreams of lives lived only in legend. Finally free from the family that believed her hopeless and worthless, she’s ready to start her life over—alone.

When Anna meets an enigmatic stranger claiming to be the legendary wizard Merlin, she is forced to question the very reality she’s struggled to accept. With the mythic figures from her dreams intruding on her waking life, Anna learns that she’s been reborn to fight an ancient evil alongside King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

Caught in an ages old conflict, Anna is the key to stopping a dark magic that will destroy the world—and Merlin wants to make sure that this time, Anna isn’t alone.

A Choice Fit For A Queen
Jenny Trout
writing as
Abigail Barnette

For perpetual overachiever Madison Lane, a summer studying Arthurian mythology in the Welsh countryside with professor Thomas Evans is a dream come true, and the adventure of a lifetime.

Of course, the enormous crush Madison developed on the professor after a semester of his lectures at U of M has absolutely nothing to do with her desire to learn more about the enduring legend of Camelot. At least, that’s what she’s telling her parents.

When Madison meets fellow student Rhys Crewe, sparks fly, throwing her plans for wild fling with Professor Evans completely out of whack—as do her unexpectedly complicated feelings for Thomas. With tales of Arthur and Lancelot haunting her every waking moment, Madison has to make the most difficult choice of her life.

Jessica Jarman is an author, blogger, and rather obsessive fangirl. Having grown up in Upper Michigan and currently living in Minnesota, she is a Midwestern girl through and through. And wouldn’t have it any other way.

When Jessica isn't working to get words on the page, she passes the time with her amazing husband and four children, attempting to be crafty (and failing miserably), squeeing uncontrollably over her favorite shows or curling up with a good book. 

Bronwyn Green is an author, blogger and compulsive crafter. She lives Michigan with her husband, two sons and three somewhat psychotic cats. When not frantically writing, she can be found helping in her youngest son’s classroom or binge-watching Netflix while working on her latest craft project.

Abigail Barnette (Jenny Trout) is a writer, blogger, and funny person. She has written award winning and bestselling erotic romance as Abigail Barnette. Writing as Jennifer Armintrout, she made the USA Today bestseller list with Blood Ties Book One: The Turning. Her novel American Vampire was named one of the top ten horror novels of 2011 by Booklist Magazine Online. She is a proud Michigander, mother of two, and wife to the only person alive capable of spending extended periods of time with her without wanting to strangle her. Visit her on twitter (@Jenny_Trout) or at her blog,
a Rafflecopter giveaway