Happy Hump Day, Friends!
Today is going to be a great day! Yes. Yes it is. Even though I am sleep deprived and my coffee is already half way gone (or is it half full?), it still is going to be swell. Why the sunshine (well, besides the fact that the actual sun is indeed shining)? Because last night I crossed one more thing off my 30/30 list. To you, this may seem small. To me it’s AWESOME! So, maybe my sleep deprivation is getting to me. I have put in one too many exclamation points in this first paragraph, but I am still coming down off my happy cloud that was yesterday.
What did I cross off you may ask? I put a big line through: Go to a concert. I know to a lot of you out there that this isn’t a big deal because you have gone to many concerts, but I have not. Yes, this is a fact. I am 26 and have never been to an actual concert where you go to see one band and go exclusively for them.  So, take that 30/30 list. J
What band did I go and see you may ask? Well, my good friend who is somewhat of a concert whore (can I say that on here?) forced recommended that I see the Airborne Toxic Event with her. Now, I have never heard of this band prior to her asking me, so I was hesitant to agree, but because I miss her face, I agreed. If I hated the band at least I could hang out with her, right? Well, it turns out that she was right and it was just a fantastic night. I loved the opening act (mainly because they were from Ireland and had awesome accents and were cute), and I absolutely loved The Airborne Toxic Event! Little did I know that I even knew some of the songs. The crowd was awesome, the show was very high energy, and we had arguably the best seats standing room in the house. There even came a point where we got to touch the lead singer of the band (in not a groupie stalker way either). He came through the crowd and even though I didn’t get to hold his hand like Sara, I did manage to find his sweaty armpit (hey, I took what I could get). There was a violin, a cello, so many guitars that I didn’t even know what each one did and just a great concert. Now, I have nothing to compare this to, but I feel safe to say it was a great concert and I had a blast! Now I know that I have truly been missing out and can’t wait to see what other music I can be introduced to. The lack of sleep and ringing in the ears is so worth it.

Let’s hope I can ration out these two things so I can make it through the day in a somewhat functional form:

Also, my day (well, morning by this point) was made even better when I came home to this:

Yes, my life is truly blessed and my friends are amazing! Seriously. I am just so thankful for the things I get to do and the people in my life that make it so much better.
Happy Saturday friends! The sun is shining, the birds are cold and for the first time in a long time, the heat has no need to be on in the car (and yes, I am typing this as we make our way to Mankato).  Some mornings, I wake up and breathe in the feelings of happiness and today is no different. With this being said, I am thrilled to be able to review for you today Assured Destruction by Michael F.Stewart.


Sixteen-year-old Jan Rose knows that nothing is ever truly deleted. At least, not from the hard drives she scours to create the online identities she calls the Shadownet.

Hobby? Art form? Sad, pathetic plea to garner friendship, even virtually? Sure, Jan is guilty on all counts. Maybe she’s even addicted to it. It’s an exploration. Everyone has something to hide. The Shadownet’s hard drives are Jan’s secrets. They're stolen from her family’s computer recycling business Assured Destruction. If the police found out, Jan’s family would lose their livelihood.

When the real people behind Shadownet’s hard drives endure vicious cyber attacks, Jan realizes she is responsible. She doesn’t know who is targeting these people or why but as her life collapses Jan must use all her tech savvy to bring the perpetrators to justice before she becomes the next victim.


First of all, I must start with how cleverly titled this book was. Assured Destruction could be the main theme of the book and it held steady throughout. Not only was it the name of the business where most of the plot took place, it could also be the theme of Jans’s life. Before I get too deep into the review, let me introduce you to Jan: She is a teenager struggling to make friends and make it through high school days while juggling  a job, boys, a sick mother, and social media. In short, a lot of people can relate to Jan. I think this will hit home with the YA group that the book is aimed towards and this makes the book an instant hit. While most teens don’t create alias’ from their friends hard drives and create a network in their basement (aka the ShadowNet), a lot of teens can relate to staying connected by social media.
When Jan is hacked and her life takes a turn for the worst, it is up to her and only her to get her life on the right track as friends now look at her as the enemy, her mom (and her new boyfriend) starts to distrust her and the police are on her tale for crimes that she didn’t commit. This is where Jan relies solely on herself taught ways as she tracks down the person who hacked her. Little did she know that she would uncover her own ‘assured destruction’ and stop the demolition that was sure to happen.

In all, this was a clever book and a fast read. I think it is a perfect read for today’s YA group and shows them that there can be downfalls to this thing that we call social media. This is a techy read with a cliffhanger ending.

Want to get in the loop? Purchase Assured Destruction at:



About the author:
After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.

 -Cheers friends!
TGIF Friends!
With the snow that fell yesterday along with the closings and deathly drive into work, a lot of people are sinking even further into the gloom that this season deemed ‘Sprinter’. Spring has yet to be sprung as the shovels are brought back out and I sit excitedly in front of the television as I wait for my place of employment to scroll across the screen. Well, for once it didn’t happen and I put on my big girl pants and made the drive in to work. I must send a shout out to my Pa who taught me to drive in weather such as this. I may be one of the few people at work, but here I sit. The thing is, I am not too disappointed. It’s Friday. Spring has to come eventually, I am done at noon and there are adventures on the horizon. Yes, it could be worse my friends. Hang in there. Sun will be on it way soon (hopefully).  

My walk into work this morning!

What adventures are planned this weekend? Exciting ones, that’s for sure. After work, I am headed to the great Amery Theater to get my paint on and jam to the great hits of the 90’s with Cor as we try to get the theater ready for a Spring/Summer opening. After that, we are going to finish a DIY project that we have been working on (there will be pictures to follow, but it is also a birthday present and I don’t want to ruin any surprises), and tonight I may drink some beer while making these:

Yes. These are in fact mini hamburger cookies!
Yes, that is what I consider a wild and crazy Friday night and I can’t wait. Saturday morning I am again packing up my bags as Cor and I head down to Mankato to help my sister move, hang out with the parentals and relax our evening away in the hotel room. Even though the weather may not cooperate, I am still excited to help her move and see her new house! Before we make the drive though, be sure to check out my blog Saturday morning for my next book review with Tribute books: Assured Destruction by Micheal F. Stewart.

Sunday involves a drive back home, some laundry, and we might even have time to get some gaming in! A pretty successful weekend if I may say so.

And, just because I feel the post is a bit lackluster, here is a pick me up that makes reading my post today all the more worthwhile. Enjoy friends!


Well hello there! It has been a long time, my friends. Besides my book review, it feels like it’s been ages since I last was on here. Okay, so two weeks is a long time and I apologize. Since I last posted, as mentioned, things have been quite busy. That along with a weeklong business trip to Lincoln, NE, I found my blogging time nonexistent. So, let’s play a quick game of catch up!
I am going to start with the weekend prior to last weekend (make sense?). April 6th just to clear up any confusion. J Anyways, April 6th marked my first race of spring. As you all know, spring seems to be hiding its pretty little head behind snowstorms and ice sheets. That aside, my friend and I bundled up and put on bright colors (her more so than I) and took a 3.1 mile trek around a lake in Minneapolis for the Chocoholic Frolic. I am sure a couple of you remember my excited chanter about this race. Not only was the loot amazing (there was coffee, chocolate fountains, hot chocolates, chips, music, bananas, and cookies) the atmosphere was awesome as well!. Does all this seem random? Sure does. Was it a blast despite the cold! You know it!! This race is definitely in my top 3 races I have done. If the weather was cooperating and not snowing, it would have been that much better. As far as the timing goes, I guess I am a little disappointed in myself. Being the first race of the season and not being able to train very much due to weather and being too cheap to buy a gym membership, I guess I should be happy. I do feel like I slowed my friend down a bit, but she was awesome and we just had fun! This is def a must do race every year!!

This weekend also helped me cross off another thing on my 30/30 list (well almost). My friend is big into Yoga and is looking at getting her Yoga instructor licensure (how awesome is that!). Well, Friday before the race she attempted to teach me some Yoga moves and gave me a routine to work on. I learned two things: 1. Yoga is a lot harder than I ever thought and 2. I am not very good at it. I have been trying it out at home, but don’t know if I am doing the moves quite right. It sure was fun and I hope we will be able to get together more often and she can teach me more and more. I also learned that if you aren’t sure if you’re doing a move correctly, if it hurts, you probably are. J

 After heading back home and one very hot shower to ward off the cold, Cory and I settled into a cozy night of movies, snacks, and cuddling (he is going to hate I put that J Poor guy!) Sunday wasn’t much different. I woke up to coffee in my owl mug and a fire in the fireplace. Being that we had a laid back night we both felt like doing something. It was decided that we would drive to our friends house and bust out the Catan board and have a couple of ‘cow beers’ (New Glarus Spotted Cow to be exact). Well, Sunday funday turned into SUNDAY FUNDAY as we rid their fridge of beer and transitioned from Catan to drinking games. It was an unexpected fun night out with great friends. Oh the joys of life!

Monday morning came way too soon as I packed my bags for a week away and headed to Lincoln Nebraska for a work conference. My boss and I made good time on the way there and we even saw hints of spring along the way. This included green grass and warm weather! We actually needed to turn the A/C on in the car. Blasphemy, I know! Don’t be too jealous friends, because it didn’t last long. Sun turned into rain which turned into hail which turned into snow. That aside, the training conference was actually quite fun. Never having been to one before, I didn’t know what to expect. There was a lot of information and new things to learn mixed in with just enough fun activities that the week went by in a blur. I ate the best I ever have, went to the top happy hours I have ever been to, made connections with other bookstore people, learned enough to make my brain hurt, and stayed in the one of the nicest hotels I have been to in a long time. In short, it was a great week! With the talk of the Spring winter snowstorm headed our way, we decided to make the trip back. One would think we drove cross country because we hit all the major precipitation on the way home and the last leg was a white knuckle drive, but we made it home late Thursday.

 Friday was a catch up day and not much happened and then on Saturday, I packed my bags again to head into Minneapolis for a bachelorette party. (I think someone was protesting how much I have been gone and no, it wasn’t Cory)

 Girls nights, games, drinks, and food ensued at the bachelorette’s house as people got to know each other and old friends were reunited. It was a great night filled with delightful fragranced women, laughter, drunken twins fans, dueling pianos, 3D light/dance party, cold walks and warm hugs. It is times like these that I love to look around and think how lucky I am to have such great friends with hearts of gold (Yay friends!) Sunday was filled with a delightful brunch, some much needed coffee, a snowy drive home and a nap that some would consider a full nights rest.

Yes, friends, I am one lucky gal. It was a busy couple of weeks but I wouldn’t change a thing!
As a sidenote, don't get the thought into your head that I lead an exciting life. These past two weeks have been a fluke in my boring system but it never hurts to switch it up alittle. If I am still not fooling you, feel free to join me as I hit up my towns hottest ladies night (this picture is for you Sara!)


Ahhh! Where have I been? It seems like my last post was ages ago. So much to catch you up on and so little time!!

Oh, Hello by the way. So maybe I’m not freaking out like my first sentence leads you to believe but it was no understatement either. I truly do have so much to catch up on!

My friend and I did the Chocoholic Frolic (Flippin awesome! Pictures and post to follow), I went to training in Lincoln, NE for the week and that in itself will be in a separate post (pictures and post to follow), the Spring Blizzard of 2013 happened (no pictures or post to follow. Too depressing), and at the moment I am sitting with curlers in my hair drinking coffee because in a couple of hours I have a very good friends bachelorette party tonight (no guarantee of pictures and a post to follow. ;) I feel like Carrie Bradshaw, typing away at my computer and trying to sort things out while I get ready for the evening out. Okay, so maybe I only have my cat here and I am drinking coffee instead of a martini while in sweatpants, but a gal can dream, right? With all the catch up I have on my list, I bet you are wondering why I just don’t post about all this. Well friends, today I am going to send you off with a little less crazy, but not by much. While my life had been busy these last couple of weeks, through it all I was warped into a world that was even crazier. Lo and behold friends, here is another great book and my review to go along with it!  The GracePainter,” by Mark Romang left me on the brink of my seat and my nerves on edge. Nicole from Tribute Books sent me another book that belongs on your shelf.

Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is the one reflecting back at you from inside a mirror. Matthew London can attest to this difficult truth. Ever since the former NYPD hostage negotiator changed his identity and fled New York City for the backwaters of Louisiana, regret has ruled his life.

For eight years London has lived like a hermit in a declining plantation house. Only his talent for painting Renaissance-style murals and paintings keeps the inner-demons from totally destroying him. Each day the disgraced hostage negotiator longs for a chance at redemption, never expecting it to actually happen. But then a down-on-her-luck FBI agent shows up on his doorstep one evening. It turns out Jean-Paul and Sebastian Boudreaux, two local brothers famous for lawlessness have inadvertently kidnapped a little girl.

London is quickly thrust into the starring role of a daring rescue attempt. But before he can rescue the child from the dangerous Boudreaux brothers, he first must find a way to forgive himself for a past misstep, a blunder that forever altered his once promising life. But in the Atchafalaya Basin swampland, nothing is promised. Grace cannot be purchased or earned. It can only be given

Wow! That one word about sums up my thoughts on the book. I agreed to review it, not really knowing what to expect. The synopsis sounded exciting so I thought I would give it a go. Enter murders, drug lords, a hint of romance, high speed chases, kidnapping, good guys, bad guys and everything in between. The author Mark Romang sure can write suspense. The story was fast paced and sucked you into a world so far corrupted but believable that it was hard to stop reading. The main setting was a hurricane down in the bayou of Louisiana, but I can’t help but drawn the line that as the hurricane boiled, the parallel between that and the lives of the characters could also be referred to as a hurricane.  It was a whirlwind of action that was so cleverly plotted that the 300+ pages seemed to whirl by.
There were a couple things in the story that I think abetted my thoughts. First of all, the author knows suspense. The backstories of the main characters added to my feelings of like or distaste. It was just enough of a backstory on each character to leave me wanting more and that in itself left me turning pages faster than I can read. Mark Romang sucked me in with the flashback in the very start of the book and it only went faster after that. Also, the transition from one character to the next was never confusing. You have about three or four main characters and even more supporting characters and all were important to the story, however, unlike some books, I didn’t find myself paging backwards to get clarity of who’s who.

Romang also made it hard not to cheer for the good guys and he reminded me that there is still good out in the world. Matthew and Annie were two characters with more gumption than most, yet the motive was all for the grace of good and to help others. I was always rooting for them and may or may not have fist pumped a couple of times.  How Romang wrote all of this suspense with an undertone of religion is beyond me. This could be considered a religious book, yet Romang doesn’t preach or overdo it. The book just reminds readers that there is still good out in the world and if you believe, you will be saved. When we are at our darkest place, alone, there is still light somewhere. Gabby was the one who this was most prominent in but the innocence of childhood helped her see it the brightest. Annie and Matthew took some time, but everything that happened to both of them led them to exactly where they belonged, with each other. I being a hopeless romantic loved this most. The book proved to me that even the most terrifying of evils can be defeated and conquered.


At $0.99, why wouldn’t you buy it!! The Grace Painter can be purchased at:


About the Author:
[Mark Romang] was born in 1967. Avid reader, suspense novelist, faithful husband, baffled father, factory worker, reformed head-banger, failed musician, contact sports lover, MMA enthusiast, distressed KC sports fan, Lord of the Rings geek, workout fiend, dog owner, nature lover, proud American, disgruntled voter, pistachio addict, caffeine-riddled, screw-up saved by grace, sojourner. This is me in a nutshell.
It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to. 
- "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"
 I'm definitely embracing my nerdy side by starting this blog post off with a Lord of the Rings quote. But lately, that road that goes ever on and on has been on my mind (and now I want to do an extended version Lord of the Rings marathon. Anyone want to join in?).
Movie marathon aside, it has been awhile since I last posted about the journey of marriage and why I like Cory just so damn much. Warning, this post might get mushy, but only for a sentence or two.
As you all know, I went home this past weekend and it was this past weekend that brought along the most thoughts about where Cory and I are headed. From time to time, Cory and I have both made the comments that when we're our parents age, we'll still be in love as when we are now. We look at our parents, who still have such affection for each other after all these years, and we hope that our love will be the same way. It is almost uncanny that both set of parents are still together and still so in love that we have some of the best role models. I have heard the comments that some guys make that include always treating his lady as a princess and give her everything she wants, it got me to thinking about the way I love, and the way I want to be loved.
When I think about my relationship with Cor, he treats me with that chivalry from ages past and I am so grateful for that. But when it really comes down to it, I cherish our relationship because we try to treat each other as equals. My feelings for grow each day as we talk about the past and how much we have done together and as we talk of future plans. Plus, we sure do know how to have a good time. Our interests are so very different from each other and I can say with honesty that when I pictured myself getting married, it was to an avid outdoors man not an artsy fella, but by golly, I fell in love with that artsy fella. Each day I feel thankful that he chose me. We just fit together and I am a better person (albeit more nerdy) because of him. I think the three main factors in our relationship are 1. Trust. We trust each other whole heartedly and neither one of us have a jealous factor. Seriously, if girls hit on your man, it is a compliment because guess who he is going home with? 2. Honesty. Cory has always told me the truth and I have never doubted it for a minute. Me, on the other hand, have tried lying to him on multiple occasions, but I am a very bad liar. He knows me almost too well and listens to everything I say. EVERYTHING. After multiple attempts of covering up how much I spent shopping or who fed the kitty the leftover steak, I have just given up trying to lie because I have found out it’s no use. And lastly, 3. Love and laughter (okay, so maybe it’s 3. And 4. ) Because at the end of the night, I recap my days past and my days ahead and know that I will always love this man and he will always love me,  make me laugh, make me smile and thankful, and keep me on my toes (told you it might get mushy) We know how to love greatly and have a good time no matter what life throws our way. (Seriously, you all should want to hang out with us). In essence, it's about those small gestures. I'm all about the simple smiles, and while flowers cleaning the house  and chocolates kitty coffee mugs and diamonds taking the garbage out may be nice, I cherish those smaller things that can be done on a daily basis, almost effortlessly. A squeeze of a hand, a post-it note or text message to say "I love you", cooking a favorite meal. That's the way I love and that is why I love him.

Lately I keep hearing about the 5 Love Languages. (Okay, so maybe I just found it on Google, but I didn’t know how to work in in the conversation) so I took the test. See an excerpt from their blog post below:
I’m convinced that keeping the emotional love tank full is as important to a marriage as maintaining the proper oil level in your car. Running your marriage on an empty love tank may cost you even more than trying to drive your car without oil. How do you fill the love tank of your spouse?  You find out what makes them feel loved and then to the best of your ability, you speak their “love language.” There are five love languages: words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch. One of these speaks more deeply to your spouse than the other four. Learn to speak the right love language and watch your spouse begin to smile.  When they feel loved, they are likely to reciprocate
In short, this test is one that will point out the love language that best fits your life. Here’s how I scored:
8 Acts of Service
7 Physical Touch
6 Words of Affirmation
5 Quality Time
4 Receiving Gifts
I won’t include what each one means, but here is my highest scoring result:
Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.
I would be lying is I said this wasn’t true. So maybe I am a clean freak and look at vacuuming as an act of love. Don’t judge. I must say though, that the highest score is 12 and I am pretty balanced when it comes to each category (and thank the heavens that receiving gifts was lowest. I mean, I love getting presents. Like a lot. I am glad my superficial gratifications didn’t come through on a love test.) What language of love are you?
 I think this also mean that if we ever meet in real life, prepare to take your shoes off before you enter my house and don’t be alarmed if I follow you around with a swifter or lint roller or god help us all if you eat a cookie without a napkin or plate underneath that cookie.
 This post is about love and the test was fun to take, but it also goes beyond that. I'm not the perfect wife or perfect  friend, but I try my best to show someone that I'm willing to go the extra mile for them and that, when it boils down to the end of the day, Love is all I Need and I am fortunate enough to be loved. And I am so grateful to have Cory in my life (and all of your love also. Yay for friends!) So as you take the step outside your door each and every day, be swept off your feet and enjoy life, love and laughter.
Hope you're not having a case of the Thursdays like I am and hope there's sunshine wherever you are right now!
Happy Wednesday! We made it half way through the week friends. It is once again the hump day of the week as we work to get through today and tomorrow before we celebrate the Friday feeling. Even though things are getting quieter at work, my workload seems to be stacking up. This, along with the amount of people using the word doldrums, I am beginning to think that you all need another mindless and fun post, so here you go friends. Enjoy these 23 Once in a Lifetime Shots:
1.       Nik Wallenda's Tightrope Walk Over Niagara Falls.

2.       A boy finds out what happens when you mix Diet Coke and Mentos.

3.       Six lightning strikes captured at once on Lake Michigan.

4.       A great white shark becomes airborne in Cape Town, South Africa.

5.       The moment before splashdown.

6.       A statue of Buddha captures a commercial airliner by its tail.

7.       A curious whale shark visits with a boat.

8.       Traffic stops as over 5,000 ducks cross a road in Zhejiang, China.

9.       A sloth photobombs a group of students in Costa Rica.

10.   Snowboarder Tyler Chorlton pulls off the highest of fives.

11.   The moment a huge bubble bursts in Paris, France.

12.   A European roe deer caught mid-jump.

13.   Space shuttle Discovery being launched into orbit as skydivers descend.

14.   Praying mantis takes on a bird.

15.   The dock under a wedding party gives way the moment their picture was taken.

16.   Fireworks, a comet, and a lightning strike, all in one frame.

17.   A polyphemus moth rests in a human skull.

18.   Bubble eyes!

19.   A bird makes a meal delivery.

20.   The moon rises over the Olympic games in London

21.   One lucky speeder gets a little help from a bird.

22.   A roller coaster in Seaside Heights, New Jersey becomes submerged after Hurricane Sandy destroys the pier it sat on.

23.   Baby Canada geese leave the nest for the first time.