Monday, December 22, 2014


This is just a short post to say hello :-)

I'll be back with a better post in a day or two about what I've been up to with my book and stuff like that. I just wanted to say hello.

Have a great day!

How Far Will You Go To Avoid the Doorknob?

Cleanliness is very important around the home and this is especially true during the winter cold and flu season. I try to do my best to keep surfaces like countertops and tables wiped down and I wipe over the doorknobs too just to be safe. When I'm really on the ball I try to keep my laptop cleaned off. Lol. I forget about my laptop sometimes to be perfectly frank. In the end though, it's all about staying healthy.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Book Spotlight: Mister Finch: Living in a Fairytale World

Creativity is an amazing thing and it comes in a variety of different forms. Some people express their creativity in bold ways and some show theirs in quieter ways, but we all can express ourselves. Then there are those people who express themselves in ways that make you think that they were surely gifted with an extraordinary skill to create beautiful things.

Mister Finch
Author & Textile Artist - Mister Finch

One of those creatively gifted people has to be Mister Finch, a wonderful textile artist who lives in Yorkshire, England. His debut book, Mister Finch: Living in a Fairytale World, published by Glitterati Incorporated, is a wonderfully whimsical trip through an enchanted world of bumblebees, toadstools, hares, and so much more.

Mister Finch - Living in a Fairytale World
Mister Finch: Living in a Fairytale World by Mister Finch copyright© 2014, 
 published by Glitterati Incorporated

This amazing book showcases the fantastic one-of-a-kind creatures that Mr. Finch creates in his Yorkshire studio. He draws his greatest inspiration from nature and British folklore and deftly incorporates fairytale elements into his work which creates this magical world where storybook characters come to life.

From Mister Finch: Living in a Fairytale World by Mister Finch copyright© 2014,  
published by Glitterati Incorporated

Throughout this delightful book, readers are treated with a glimpse into Mister Finch's wonderful studio. The vibrant photographs give us a look at his tools that he uses to create his whimsical creatures. There are brightly colored pins, buttons, and fabrics that are the tools of his trade for his sewing, but they take on a beautifully artistic aura with the turn of each page. I found myself being enthralled by the creative space which Mister Finch has created for himself. After seeing the pieces that go into making each of his lovely creatures I was even more impressed with how he pulls it all together. There is a beautiful charm to the various hares, toadstools, moths, and all of the other creatures that he creates with such unique artistic flair.

From Mister Finch: Living in a Fairytale World by Mister Finch copyright© 2014, 
 published by Glitterati Incorporated

Also throughout the book, Mister Finch gives us readers an insight into the inspiration behind his work. I love this quote from the book because I think that it does a very good job of describing what he wants to achieve with his work.

From Mister Finch: Living in a Fairytale World by Mister Finch copyright© 2014, 
 published by Glitterati Incorporated

He writes:

" I'm fascinated by wanting to create things that look like they come from somewhere else; something that has been unearthed in an attic or found in a secret hidden drawer. I want to inject a bit of old-fashioned magic back into the world. "
  From Mister Finch: Living in a Fairytale World by Mister Finch copyright© 2014, 
 published by Glitterati Incorporated

From Mister Finch: Living in a Fairytale World by Mister Finch copyright© 2014,  
published by Glitterati Incorporated

Mister Finch describes so perfectly the feeling that I came away with after reading this book. I would say that he has definitely created this other world quality with his work and I'm glad that he's bringing it into our world.

 Mister Finch: Living in a Fairytale World can be purchased here.

*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.

Friday, December 05, 2014


So this is another one of my Friday Photoshop things. It's a good way to unwind at the end of the week and this week especially with all of the harsh news from back home, we all need a little bit of this. No, we don't all need Photoshop in our lives, but we need something to give our minds a rest just for a minute. Everyone has their way of of mine is Photoshop.

This photo above kind of sums up what I plan on doing this weekend for the most part. I love trees and even in the colder months when they're bare they still are beautiful to me. It's like they're taking a break and recharging until they sprout out with new leaves again in the springtime.

I won't be recharging and hibernating all the way until spring...nope, I have things to do, mainly to finish writing my book and to keep blogging here along with many other things :-)  But for this weekend I plan on being quieter and more inward so that I can recharge and be ready to go forward with what needs to be done.

Back to this's a view of the tree behind my house. And as usual, I played around with the different effects on Photoshop and this is what emerged from my play.

I hope that everyone has a great weekend. Have a great time and be safe!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Visiting Bath Once Again

Today I thought that I'd share another one of my Instagram pics as I'm fond of doing now and then. I took this photo this past Friday in Royal Victoria Park in Bath. If you've visited me a few times here you'll know that I love going to Bath. It's probably my favorite place that I've visited here in England. I like it because the architecture is so beautiful and even though the traffic can be kind of a nightmare it's still calmer than London. I like London a lot too, but sometimes the noise can get to me. I love London for the museums, theatre, and Covent Garden, etc. It's a great place to visit, but when I want to be laid back a bit, Bath is my place :-)

Another great thing about Bath is that it's not that far away from where I live. It's in the next county, which is Somerset, but it's just over the border so it's easy to be there in a pretty short time. Also, the drive through the country in order to get there is so nice. I'm a country girl at heart...always have been and always will be :-)

I've been going to Bath for years, but this was my first time visiting Royal Victoria Park. I'm gonna have to go back when it's warmer, but getting to see it with some of the fall colors around was a treat. It was a nice way to spend the day after Thanksgiving.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Hello December



Standing Strong

As we start a new month and indeed the last month of 2014, I'm committed to standing strong. I do my best always to stand strong and live a good life, but in light of all that happened this past week with Ferguson, I feel the need to recommit myself. Like many, I'm disturbed by not just the case in Ferguson, but in the ever-growing list of others, such as twelve year old Tamir Rice, who are losing their lives at the hands of police. Some will bring up other statistics to deflect from the issue at hand. I am not here to debate any of it. There are many, many more eloquent writers who can analyze the whole thing much better than I can and the essays and articles are out there available for everyone to read. I've read dozens and I've learned so much or I've nodded my head because something has resonated with my own life experience.

I know that I'm late with this post, but this isn't a race. It's never too late to say how you feel even when you don't feel that you have the adequate words to describe your feelings. I'll just say this, the decision by the grand jury was a disappointment, but here's the thing. I'm gonna hold my head up and stand strong.

By standing strong I mean that I am going to live my life and do my part to help. I have no idea how, but I know that I'll find it. Being me and showing up as the best me that I can is a start. There is a lot of work to do, so showing up and being ready is where I will begin. My mind is in planning mode, so please forgive my vagueness. It's so cliche, but like many others I just want to help make things better.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Product Spotlight: The Hanging Lantern Company

It's getting to that time of the year again and I'm excited! Christmas is just a month away. It's such a festive time and each year I can't wait to get the decorations out. Decorating for Christmas always takes me back to my childhood and those memories include the sights and smells of that special time of year. I remember going out to gather holly and cedar to decorate the mantel and how that cedar smell to this day reminds me of Christmas. There were lights and a variety of ornaments on the tree that made it all so special. The traditions that surround Christmas are what I love. As an adult, I've carried the traditions of my upbringing with me as I've created my own traditions in my home now.

I have a variety of decorations that I spread throughout the house and it's always wonderful when I find something new to add to my decorating traditions. I've recently been introduced to a wonderful way to decorate using products from The Hanging Lantern Company.  They have all kinds of hanging pendants and table decorations that are just gorgeous! They glow from their internal lighting and cast beautiful shadows around the room and create a wonderful atmosphere.

Photo courtesy of The Hanging Lantern Company

These beautiful decorations will make your home look so festive and magical. The added feature of the illumination makes them extra special and sets just the right mood. The LED buttonlites help to create that lovely warm glow. I love the rich, warm colors of each piece and the laser cut detail is just fantastic.

The glow that's been created in my home

The decorations arrive packed flat and all you have to do is fold them at the pre-scored markings and put the various tabs through the pre-cut slots. It was simple! And I'll tell you, getting the chance to do this little bit of assembly made the experience feel like I had a hand in the creative process, in a way. It made me remember the fun of assembling the various parts of our Christmas decorations as a child so it was so satisfying. Even if you're not particularly into the assembling of things like I am, you'll still have no problem with these lovely products. There are simple instructions that guide you along the way and as I said, it's simple to do.

 Gingerbread house, Rosso Christmas tree, and favour box

Christmas Tree favour box

I'm going to love having these beautiful decorations from The Hanging Lantern Company around my house for years to come. Here's to adding new traditions to my Christmas decorating!

You can find out more about The Hanging Lantern Company here and you can see their full range of Christmas decorations here.

*Disclosure: Decoration samples were sent to me for review. All opinions are mine.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Spooky and Blurry Photos

Today is another photo day. As you know if you've been here before, I love snapping a pic from time to time. I used to mostly take photos on my point and shoot, but lately because of the convenience, I've been taking photos on the fly with my phone. I'm kinda retro in some ways so I held out on having a smart phone for a while. My camera on my "vintage" cell phone was a joke and everything and everybody came out looking kinda strange. It wasn't my questionable photo skills....ha that instance it was the phone. I still take some blurry photos...don't we all. Lol. But sometimes they come out pretty good.

The photo above is from my Instagram account. One of my new favorite hobbies is to lift photos off of my Instagram account and share them here after I've played with them a bit. I didn't do much with the one above though except add a retro frame to it like I remember from back in the 70's as a kid.

This photo is one that I took a few days ago as it was getting darker and darker. It gets dark really early here in the colder months. It's like somebody drops a big shade on things at 4:30 pm. Anyway, I was looking out and I wondered if I could snap a photo of the bottle on the windowsill in the dark. The bottle is actually blue, but because I took the photo with the bottle lined up with the street light, it turned this golden brown color. It glowed. The photo is kinda blurry, but in this case I think it adds to the picture. A friend told me that she liked it because it looked spooky. Ha ha! I'll take a compliment any way that I can get one ;-)

I hope that you enjoy looking at my retro-esque, spooky photo. Have a good day!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Really-Random-Playing With Photoshop-Badly-Friday

Hello :-)

So this is my really-random-playing with Photoshop badly-Friday photo ;-)

I've been working on my book a lot lately so I decided to take a break and let my mind wander and man did it wander. LOL. This is a picture that I took a few days ago. It turned out quite blurry and it was originally a black and white photo. Since it was blurry already I decided to play around with it a bit. I think it kinda looks like the world turned blue and you're looking through a screen door or a window screen. When I was growing up we had screens on the windows and screen doors that kept the bugs out but let the breeze in. So this is giving me a kinda trippy nostalgic memory of my childhood years of peering out the screens...and this time I'm looking out at a blue world ;-)

It's weird and I know it's not anything brilliant, but sometimes I just like to play. Play is good.

This visit into my Friday wandering mind is brought to you by me.....LOL!

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Trees In Every Season

I took this picture a couple of weeks ago-ish and I just thought that I would share it here. 

As I've mentioned before, I love fall/autumn.
 I love trees a lot and I think that they're beautiful during every season. 

 In the springtime, they're bursting out with new bright green leaves...
In the summer, they're in full greenery and offering shade from the hot sun...
In the fall, they put on a show of various colors and shed their leaves...
And in the winter, they stand leafless, but they're still so beautiful.
I often think that trees without their leaves look like beautiful, stark sculptures. They're so dramatic as their prickly branches pierce the grey skies. 
What's not to love? :-) 

Monday, November 03, 2014


Hello :-)

I wanted to share a photo of my bouquet that's been blooming out over the weekend. They are gladiolus. Aren't they just gorgeous? I picked them up at the store the other day and they're just blooming like crazy now. 

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Spotlight: Hollywood

There's that old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. It's a cliché, but it's very accurate. Sometimes a picture can say more than words ever could. I think that pictures of people are the most intriguing, because for that moment in time we get a glimpse of who they are. Usually this is achieved in photographs, but sometimes other mediums can yield the same kind of result.

Hollywood by Don Bachardy, copyright © 2014, published by Glitterati Incorporated

In the new book, Hollywood by Don Bachardy, copyright © 2014, published by Glitterati Incorporated , readers are given an opportunity to enjoy an unguarded look at some of Hollywood's biggest stars of the past and present through a beautiful series of paintings and drawings. Portrait artist Don Bachardy is a life-long Hollywood native and has moved within a community of industry moves and shakers for over five decades. He has had access to some of the legends of Hollywood and in this book he presents many of them in portraits of vibrant color or in beautiful pencil and charcoal sketches.

Patrick Swayze - From Hollywood by Don Bachardy, copyright © 2014, published by Glitterati Incorporated

Each of his subjects are eager to have the chance to sit for him as he puts their very essence down on paper. The sittings can go on for hours, but the finished product is extraordinary.

There is also a foreword by writer Armistead Maupin who also sat for Bachardy. He speaks of the experience and the intimacy that it creates between the artist and the sitter and how not much can be hidden from Bachardy's intense artistic gaze.

Teri Garr - From Hollywood by Don Bachardy, copyright © 2014, published by Glitterati Incorporated

This intriguing collection of portraits includes Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Katharine Hepburn, Mia Farrow, Bette Davis, Patrick Swayze, and many more. Each painting or drawing is signed and dated by those sitting for Bachardy, so it's a wonderful trip through time as the you see when the portraits were done. I really loved how realistic all of the portraits were as I turned page after page. Don Bachardy is a very talented man indeed. He was able to make each drawing and painting look as if they were a photograph in some ways. The detail is astonishing. He truly captured the essence of every face. Along with the movie stars depicted in the portraits there are other influential figures in Hollywood featured as well.

Katharine Hepburn - From Hollywood by Don Bachardy, copyright © 2014, published by Glitterati Incorporated

Interspersed throughout the book there are also abstract paintings by Don Bachardy that are beautiful and vibrant. They marry perfectly with the free flowing nature of the entire book. This is definitely a book that art lovers and film buffs will love, but it's also just a gorgeous work of art that many will enjoy.

Hollywood by Don Bachardy can be purchased here.

*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fall Color Overhead

Hi :) 

I wanted to share this photo that I took a couple of days ago when I was in the town centre. I was walking along, I stopped, and looked up...and saw all of this loveliness. I do love fall!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Spotlight: Kensington Gardens Treescapes

I love going to London and when I do, I have some favorite places that I enjoy visiting when I am there. One of those places is Kensington Gardens. It's truly one of the jewels of London.

Mark Zytynski's new book Kensington Gardens Treescapes is a breathtaking collection of photographs that beautifully illustrates how gorgeous the gardens are throughout every season.  Kensington Gardens is a photographer's dream with its tree-lined paths and amazing panoramic views.

Kensington Gardens has over 4,000 trees over a vast area of 240 acres of land. There are many wonderful old trees there that are strong foundations that help form the history of the gardens. Kensington Gardens is a peaceful, green space right in the heart of busy London. When you're walking within its borders you get the chance to block out the hustle and bustle of the city for a while. It is a wonderful experience.

In Kensington Gardens Treescapes, readers are given a chance to enjoy the wonderful things that the sun does year-round in the gardens. We are shown the leaves accented by the sunlight in all of their splendor. There are the tree branches which form varied shadows along the grass as they reach for the sky. One of the many things that I love are the photographs of the artistically beautiful tree trunks in winter. They stand like glorious statues of nature.

Within the book, readers are not only treated to beautiful photographs of the various trees, but also there are tree facts and notes interspersed here and there, along with maps and poetry.

This is a really lovely book that is full of vibrant photographs that make the gardens come alive for those who haven't visited yet. And for those like myself who have visited before, it's a wonderful keepsake to enjoy until we are able to visit again.

Kensington Gardens Treescapes is available at all good bookshops and online retailers, such as Amazon.

Find out more about the book here .

*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy Weekend

Taken somewhere in Wiltshire, England

Today I thought that I'd share this pic that I grabbed from my Instagram account. I posted it a couple of weeks ago, but since we're really getting into fall now, I thought that I might share it here too. Recycling is good  :-)

Fall is my favorite season by far! The colors are just breathtaking, it ushers in the festive season and you can wear sweaters and cute boots! Hee hee.

I took this picture through the windshield on a rainy Saturday two weeks ago. I loved how the raindrops made everything kind of blurred and trippy...kind of like an impressionist painting.

The leaves here seem to slowly be changing. Some places are more colorful than others, but I'm hoping that everything comes alive with color soon. When that happens I'll do my best to snap a few pictures and share them here. So watch this space! ;-)

Have a great Friday and a Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Little By Little

Today, I'm here as promised to share one of the main things that I've carried with me from the Ken Burns Q&A that I attended at the US embassy in London a few weeks ago. Well first of all, let me just say, it was an incredible experience and I'm so grateful that I was able to attend the event. It was quite the experience to get the chance to hear such a great filmmaker discuss his work in such an intimate environment. We watched excerpts from his PBS series The Roosevelts and then the actor Stanley Tucci conducted a Q&A session with Ken Burns about the series and his work. You can read my post about that here.

I loved the whole evening, but what I truly took to heart were Ken Burns' words about his creative process in making his films. He spoke about how long it takes to complete one of his documentaries. The truth is that they can take years to complete from start to finish and they are usually about big subjects. Before I heard him speak, I had thought about his many documentaries and how detailed and thorough they are, I couldn't help but think about how daunting it must have been to get started on such huge projects. That hugeness is enough to stop many of us in our tracks before we even get started. I often think of the things that I want to write or am in the process of writing and sometimes I'm wondering if I have it in me to get it all written out.

Here's the thing though. Ken Burns said something very simple that interestingly enough was similar to something that I had read somewhere a few days before. I call it the little by little thing. When he said that this is how he shows up to do his work it was a co-sign in a way to what I'd recently read. Mr. Burns said that he doesn't worry about the work. He just gets up every morning and puts his pants on one leg at a time and shows up to do the work day by day. He doesn't make himself crazy worrying about brilliant inspiration striking like a lightning bolt because it doesn't happen like that. He said that the moments of brilliance can come in the most normal moments. The day to day showing up to do the work is how the "magic" of creativity is born.

On some level, I understood this already. As I write my book, the thing to do is to sit down and just write. The words will come and the story will unfold as it is supposed to and I'm not going be scared into thinking that the things that I want to write about are out of my reach. They are my stories so I'm going to write them in the way that I know how. If some brilliant plot twist comes to me, that's great, but if not, I think that I'll still be able to tell a good story :-)

It was a pleasure to be in the presence of such a creative man like Ken Burns and seeing him at this point in my life was just the inspiration I needed in order to soldier on.

I'm no great advice giver, but if I can offer any advice to anyone as they pursue their dreams I'd simply say....keep swimming...keep going day by day! That's what I'm gonna do! :-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Slight Delay

Hey there!

So, I know that I said yesterday that I'd post today about what I gained from the Ken Burns Q&A, but I haven't been able to get it up today. I had a physical therapy appointment for my leg and I didn't get back as quickly as I thought I would. Now that I'm home, I'm beat. I apologize for not getting the post up today, but it will definitely be published tomorrow.

I thank you for your understanding :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Getting Back Into the Writing Groove

This week I'm getting back into the groove of working on my book. I've been veering off lately for one reason or another, so it's good to get back to it. I want to share more about my writing in general here on my blog, so I definitely plan to do that more. Previously I've dipped my toe into this pond of talking about my writing here and here. I've found that when I write about writing on here, it gets my mind clicking over in a much more creative way. My word nerd self shows herself. Lol! 

This is a very short post, but I just wanted to check in. In my next post I'll share something that I've taken to heart recently about writing my book. It was because of something that I heard Ken Burns say during the Q&A session that I attended a few weeks ago at the US embassy. What he said really resonated with me. It's about showing up to do the work.

I'll be back tomorrow to share more about it. I have to get my thoughts right. Sorry for the cliffhanger. I'm a little bit frazzled today. I'm having one of those days :-)

Have a good day wherever you are!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Book Spotlight: For the Love of Radio 4 - An Unofficial Companion

I've been living here in England for eight and a half years. When I arrived it was interesting to explore new television shows and the radio offerings available. One thing that I took to immediately was BBC Radio 4. In the early days I was often on my own a lot because I didn't know anyone here, so having the comforting, continuing sound of another voice in the house was great. I learned a lot about this new country that I was living in from listening every day. Over time, I've found a few favorite shows that I listen to all the time, such as Woman's Hour and Book at Bedtime.

Recently, I've had the chance to read a book called For the Love of Radio 4 - An Unofficial Companion by Caroline Hodgson. It's absolutely wonderful! It's a pure treat for regular Radio 4 listeners and it's a great source of information for those who are new listeners. The book is filled with history, fact, and figures about BBC Radio 4 and it's one of those books that you can dip into whenever you like. There isn't the pressure to read it all in one sitting, but it's enjoyable if that's what you want to do.

For the Love of Radio 4 is filled with information that covers entertainment, the arts, news, politics, and the many various subjects that are covered on Radio 4. Caroline Hodgson does a wonderful job of celebrating the best of Britain's premier spoken word station. This is a trip through the history of the key personalities and various programmes that have been broadcast on the airwaves for many years.

With Christmas coming up, this is the perfect stocking filler, especially for the Radio 4 listener on your list.

For the Love of Radio 4 is available now. You can find out more about the book and purchase it here.

*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine. 

Monday, October 06, 2014

Book Spotlight: Untouched

Untouched by Johnny Rozsa, © 2014, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated
When many of us think of the 1980s, we think of a time of excess and thrills...the dawn of MTV, Michael Jackson in his Thriller era, the era of shows like Dynasty, and many other popular culture milestones. I remember all of those things fondly and when I think of them they almost seem quaint in comparison to now and are truly of another time. I know that it's easy to look back nostalgically with rose-colored glasses so I try to look back with a bit of perspective. Still, it's interesting to take a look back and examine popular culture and how celebrity culture has changed over time.

Author & photographer: Johnny Rozsa

In Untouched by Johnny Rozsa, published by Glitterati Incorporated, the celebrity photographer presents readers with an intriguing opportunity to see celebrities as they were during the 1980s. We get to see various celebrities in the era before Photoshop and the act of smoothing away the uniqueness that they possessed. Readers get to see these stars during a time before publicists were orchestrating every little detail at photo shoots.

Above: Grace Jones - From Untouched by Johnny Rozsa, © 2014, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated

This book is a very interesting window into the world of celebrity and Rozsa captures images of many iconic stars in a less guarded state. There are photos of people such as: Hugh Grant, Halle Berry, Janet Jackson, Nicholas Cage, Rick James, Molly Ringwald, Farrah Fawcett, Grace Jones, and many, many others. There is a foreword by Susan Sarandon and it's interesting to get her perspective on working with Johnny Rozsa.

Above: Debbie Harry - From Untouched by Johnny Rozsa, © 2014, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated

One of many things that I found so interesting about the book was to think of how much the various celebrities have changed over the years. We all change and it's intriguing to think of how much each star may have changed on the inside as well as how they've changed on the inside. I think that it would be fascinating to be able to go back and somehow ask some of these celebrities what they wished for at the very beginning of their careers and contrast that with what they think about how their lives have turned out. Some of these stars are no longer with us, but it's still interesting to see a less manufactured view of the celebrities that we remember.

Above: Rick James - From Untouched by Johnny Rozsa, © 2014, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated

Above: Billy Idol - From Untouched by Johnny Rozsa, © 2014, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated

It's refreshing to see each person before photo retouching became the absolute norm. The book shows the younger faces of these various stars presented without the filter of the modern day photographs that we see in magazines and on billboards today.

Above: Jackson Five - From Untouched by Johnny Rozsa, © 2014, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated
Above: Robert Mitchum - From Untouched by Johnny Rozsa, © 2014, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated
This is not some heavily-nostalgic book that glosses over the fact that fame has always been a big thing, however, we get to see fame in a way that pays tribute to old school Hollywood glamour in a way. There of course was glitz and glamour during the 80s, but there seemed to be a bit more of a balance between those who were just coming up alongside those who were veterans of celebrity.

In Rozsa's book, there are pictures of Robert Mitchum and Eva Gabor alongside those of Christian Slater and Snoop Dogg. This is a really interesting book that gives you a chance to really study the faces of some of the people that we feel we know because of their widespread fame. We don't know them, but their faces are so familiar to us and in Rozsa's book we get to see them in a more unfiltered, organic way.

 Untouched by Johnny Rozsa can be purchased here.

*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Documentary Spotlight: Black Wings

Photo source: PBS
Recently I was given the opportunity to see a wonderful documentary called Black Wings, which features the stories of African-American men and women during the 20th century who made their mark in history and pursued their dreams of flying. They were up against many, many obstacles, but they persevered and were able to achieve a lot despite every barrier that was thrown up against them. The documentary features men and women from different places across America and does a beautiful job of weaving together the stories of those who are flying now with those who paved the way. It's a very important history lesson about a chapter of aviation history that sadly I was not taught in school. That is why I'm glad that this film exists and is being shown on television so that everyone, especially young people can get a fuller sense of the contributions of African-Americans in the field of aviation.

One thing that I found intriguing was the drive and determination that these men and women showed. It's very evident that each of them had a passion about flying that could not be squelched. I went into watching this film with some knowledge of a few of those featured, such as Bessie Coleman and the Tuskegee Airmen due to my own independent study over the years. However, there were some who I learned about for the first time and I plan to find out more about them all.
Above: Bessie Coleman - Photo source: National Air & Space Museum

Bessie Coleman was amazing. She was the first black woman to earn a pilot's license and the first black person in the world to earn an international pilot's license. No one would train her to fly in the United States, so she taught herself French, went to France, and earned her license in 1921. Her tenacity has always been inspirational to me every since I learned about her several years ago. She returned to the United States as a pilot and grew an amazing legacy that continues.

Above: Tuskegee Airmen - Photo source:

Others who are featured include the Tuskegee Airmen who played a huge role in the breaking down of barriers for African-American pilots during World War II. Their role in history, not just aviation history, was a giant step in American history. Their excellence proved a point that black people were very capable of flying and doing everything else.

Even though the Tuskegee Airmen played a major role in the eventual integration of the military, there was still a racial barrier against African-Americans flying for commercial airlines. In the documentary we are presented with the story of Marlon Green, who was denied a job even though he was well-qualified. The film follows his case that he took all the way to the Supreme Court.

Above: Jesse Brown - Photo Source: PBS

There is also the story of Jesse Brown, who was the first African-American aviator in the U.S. Navy and who served during the Korean War. He was a man of great perseverance just like all of the other men and women who were featured in Black Wings.

There is so much to learn in this great documentary. The stories that I've highlighted are just a few from the list of those in the film. This is definitely a documentary worth watching again and again. I know that I will do so, because every so often in life we all need a reminder that we must keep going in order to reach our goals.

Black Wings will be shown tonight, October 2nd on PBS America in the UK at 9pm and will be shown at various times on Friday, October 3rd through Sunday, October 5th on Sky channel 534 and Virgin Media 243.

 *Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this film for review. I received no compensation. All opinions are mine.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - heidi klein Gives Back

heidi klein, the one-stop shop for luxurious beachwear, has teamed up with Breast Cancer Care to give a 20% donation from their Rio de Janeiro collection during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.  All funds raised will help Breast Cancer Care offer support to the thousands of women waking up to the harsh reality of breast cancer every day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Television Spotlight: The Roosevelts: An Intimate History

Photo source: PBS

Last night I had the great opportunity to attend a screening and Q&A event at the US embassy in London. The screening was held in advance of the showing of  Ken Burns' The Roosevelts: An Intimate History series that will be shown here in the UK on PBS America. The Q&A session featured documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and actor Stanley Tucci. We were shown some excerpts from the 14 hour series and it made me excited to see the full series when it starts to air here on October 19th. It was so interesting to hear these two discuss the creative process in general and also how Burns does what he does.

Ken Burns is known for his exceptional documentaries and I have enjoyed many of them over the years. His films truly make history come alive. You're learning while you're being entertained. Burns' films always help me see beyond what may be written in a history book. He does a great job of making the humanity of people show through. The Roosevelts: An Intimate History looks like another excellent offering by Ken Burns and getting a chance to hear from him directly during the Q&A session was amazing. He described some of the process that he goes through in the making of each film, which can take years to complete just one.

I've always been especially interested in Eleanor Roosevelt because she has always struck me as a woman who was ahead of her time. It will be a great treat to see the full series and get a look at Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Theodore Roosevelt's lives with a much fuller examination of the lesser known details of their lives.

One thing that I love about Ken Burns' documentaries are the readings that he includes from the letters and writings of people throughout history. He gets some wonderfully talented people who use their voices to bring the voices that are now silent alive again. In The Roosevelts: An Intimate History he uses the voices of Paul Giamatti, Edward Herrmann, Meryl Streep, Patricia Clarkson, Adam Arkin, Philip Bosco, Keith Carradine, Ed Harris, John Lithgow, Carl Lumbly, and Billy Bob Thornton.

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History has already taken America by storm with much critical acclaim and popularity among viewers. When the first episode of the series premiered there recently, nine million people watched and it came in second in the ratings to football. That's a testament to the interest and to the quality of this story.

Here are some recent quotes that have been in the press about the series:

“Within the first hour, “The Roosevelts” will probably have you hooked.”
    Hank Stuever, The Washington Post, September 12, 2014

“[Ken Burns] continues to illuminate American history with extraordinary fervor.”
   Matt Roush, TV Guide, September 12, 2014

Those are only a couple of the numerous quotes, but the praise for this amazing series continues to grow. I think that when it premieres here in the UK in October it will be well-received also. I know that I'll definitely be watching!

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History will begin on Sunday, October 19th on PBS America in the UK at 8pm and every Sunday night at the same time until completion on Sky channel 534 and Virgin Media 243.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Weekend

These are my feet...well, this is a picture of my feet a few weeks ago :) Sexy huh? Not even! LOL. I was out having a walk in my favorite walking shoes. They ain't pretty, but they've carried me a lot of miles around England ;-)  Hopefully I'll be out enjoying a long walk this weekend too if it's not raining.

I'm also planning on working on my book , like I've been doing over these last few weekends. I usually work on it more on weekdays, but I still try to write a tiny bit on weekends to keep my mind clicking over. I'm trying to improve my discipline about writing regularly which is so important as I'm diving deeper into writing my book. Writing isn't a chore though. It never has been. Writing has always been a part of my life since I was a child. I've written a journal for many years. I don't write in my journal each day, but I write in it pretty regularly. These days I'm just working on developing my practice of writing something every single day even if it's just a few lines. I know that it's helping me to grow :)

I don't know what else I'll be getting up to, but whatever I do, I'm gonna do my best to enjoy! I mean, it's the weekend so YAY! ;-)

I hope that everyone out there
 has a great weekend also!

Until next time...

P.S. ~ I have a fun event in London coming up on Monday and I'll share the details next week.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Marathon Reading and Weekends

Well, here we's Friday and the weekend begins! It's been a busy week for me, but it's all good. I'm working towards my dreams. Even though I can't see any results yet I know that they'll be showing themselves soon  :-)

This is kind of a catch up post and a happy weekend post in one. The catching up part is to share that I FINALLY finished the book that I've been reading. It seems like forever that I've been trying to finish it and last night I did. Yay! I was reading The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling and I mentioned it in earlier posts here and here.  As you can see from those posts, they were both Fridays. I guess that Fridays are my book contemplation days. You can also see that those posts were a month and two months ago! LOL. I guess you could say that this book has been my summer beach read that I took to the beach and everywhere else trying to finish it. As I mentioned in one of the posts, I'm not a particularly slow reader, but I have a tendency to get distracted by other things and then I come back and read some more. I guess you could call me a bite-size reader. I don't know. Lol. Anyway, I get there in the end.

Now, as promised I'll share a few thoughts on the book. I enjoyed it. As I said, in a previous post, I'm not much of a crime fiction reader but I enjoyed the book. The book is set in London and follows the investigation of the suicide of a supermodel, who falls to her death from a balcony in the swanky Mayfair area. Her brother doubts that it was suicide, so he hires private detective Cormoran Strike to investigate. Strike travels around within the model's privileged circle of friends and associates to get to the truth about her death. It's an interesting whodunit that takes readers into the world of celebrity culture.

I liked the book, but for me it seemed to drag a bit about three quarters of the way through. Still I found it entertaining and it was well worth the read. If I had to rate it out of five stars I'd give it a three and a half.


I'm hoping to get some rest this weekend and just enjoy being  :-)  That'll probably include watching a few movies on TV, maybe having some pancakes for breakfast, and working on my book. Also, I'm going to decide on what to read next. The list is long. I have a stack right next to the bed, so I think that I'll just kick the pile and see what falls on the floor nearest my foot. I'm pretty random sometimes...what can I say!  ;-) 

Happy Weekend to Everyone!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Book Spotlight - House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana

House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana by Valorie Hart,
 published by Glitterati Incorporated,

One of my favorite things to do is to read, think, and dream about home decorating. I love thinking about new ways to make my surroundings reflect my interests and personality. I'm a firm believer that your home should be a place of comfort that celebrates your own particular viewpoint in this world. Our tastes and sense of personal style are what make us unique and having a home that reflects this is a wonderful thing.

Author: Valorie Hart

In the book, House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana by Valorie Hart, published by Glitterati Incorporated, I found numerous wonderful examples of the self-expression that some people put into their homes. This is a book with beautifully vibrant photographs of some of the most lovely houses in Louisiana.

House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana by Valorie Hart, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated, 
House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana by Valorie Hart, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated,  

I'm an avid user of Pinterest and I love to make collections of things to do with houses, especially the interiors. As I read through Valorie Hart's book, I kept thinking that every photo would be perfect to add to my online collection of photos. In looking at the beautiful homes featured in the book, I've found that one of the themes throughout is one that celebrates individuality. The colors and textures are so varied and you can see the love that these homeowners have put into creating the unique vibes of their homes.

House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana by Valorie Hart, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated, 
House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana by Valorie Hart, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated,

The author of the book, Valorie Hart, is a New Orleans-based interior designer and she draws upon her expert knowledge to guide readers through some of the most beautiful homes in Louisiana. The photographs by Sara Essex Bradley are an integral part of the book as they document each home in vivid detail. The teamwork of Hart and Bradley is brilliant. Together they have created a wonderful visual experience for readers.

The author puts it best as she writes in her introduction:

"The people in this book are you. They love their homes as you do. They love to decorate like you do...They lavish time and money on their homes like you do, and fling open their doors to friends and family, and now to you."
- Valorie Hart

House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana by Valorie Hart,
 published by Glitterati Incorporated,

House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana by Valorie Hart, 
published by Glitterati Incorporated, 

I really love that we as readers get the chance to learn about the people who live in these lovely homes. It's intriguing to hear about some of the inspiration behind the decor of each house and their stories tie back very well to the main theme of being 'house proud'. Valorie Hart also offers great advice on repurposing furniture, displaying decorative pieces, and making good use of space. There is definitely a lot to learn and to enjoy between the pages of House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana.

This is a book that I truly enjoyed and I will certainly be referring to it over and over as I map my own path to creating the home that I envision.

House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana can be purchased here.

*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.