Feb 29, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

Yoghurt and granola
Yoghurt and granola (Photo credit: fifikins)
One of my guilty pleasures has to be Greek yogurt.  I enjoy regular yogurt and it is one way that I try to get enough calcium in my diet but you give a good Greek yogurt and I am in heaven.  And the fact that it comes in so many different flavors doesn't hurt at all.  Of course the calories are definitely more then a regular one but I justify it that it is healthier then a bowl of ice cream.  Of course I only have a bowl of ice cream once in a blue moon so I am just not sure that justification really works but I try.  At least I can console myself with the fact that I am not the only one that loves this guilty pleasure.

Challenge of Music Blog Hop

Today is the reveal for the Challenge of Music by Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati Jewelry.  We were asked to pick a song that speaks to us and design a piece of jewelry with that song in mind. 

The song that I choose was ALL SUMMER LONG by Kid Rock.  This is one song that always gets me up and dancing no matter how I feel or what I am doing.  It reminds me of my youth though in my case it would be summer in Eastern Washington.  There was a park that ran along the Columbia River that was 5 miles long and I would spend complete summers there (minus the times I was working).  It was a time of freedom and innocence.
I wanted to share the chorus with you (and yes I was singing Sweet Home Alabama):

And we were trying different things
We were smoking funny things
Making love out by the lake to our favorite song
Sipping whiskey out the bottle, not thinking 'bout tomorrow
Singing Sweet home Alabama all summer long
Singing Sweet home Alabama all summer long

Because this song reminds me of my youth I wanted to make a bracelet in the style of ones that I wore when I was a teenager.  I had a lot of fun jamming to music in my studio and wire-wrapping all those dangles.  I tend to work in my studio while listening to podcasts and audio books.  I think that I am really going to have to rotate in some music days also.

I am also planning on donating this bracelet to The Global Genes Project They have a really great program where designers can make up and donate bracelets to be passed on to the mothers of children that have a rare disease.  For more info about that be sure to click on the link.

Feb 27, 2012

Book Review: Blood Passage

As the first female vampire successfully turned in 700 years, Lissa finds herself in demand by the Vampire Aristocracy. Forced into an unexpected engagement as a result, Lissa feels trapped and stifled as she continues training with her surrogate sire. When a request comes from the Grand Master of the werewolves, Weldon Harper, Lissa leaps at the opportunity to work as his bodyguard once more.

Wlodek, Head of the Vampire Council, in an effort to solidify vampire/werewolf relations, allows Lissa to provide protection for the Grand Master during his yearly travels across the U.S. The only vampire ever named Pack, Lissa is permitted to work with the Grand Master without supervision from others of her kind.

Things become complicated and then downright deadly as old enemies reemerge. Intent on exacting revenge for a failed coup against the Grand Master, rogue werewolves join with new and perilous allies. Now, Lissa must find a way not only to keep the werewolf race alive, but the vampires as well.

* * * * *

Amazon tends to give away a lot of books that are the beginnings of series in hopes of hooking the reader.  In the case of the Blood Destiny series, that hook definitely worked.  If I thought that the first book in the series was good then BLOOD PASSAGE is excellent.

Lissa is a character that I found easy to fall in love with.  She is extremely pragmatic about the happenings in her life and for the most past just adapts.  She isn’t happy with the fact that she has to become engaged so that there isn’t a lot of fighting among the male vampires and she chooses the best of the lot which is Gavin even though she doesn’t trust him at all.  She isn’t happy that she has to guard Winkler but she does it.  She makes the best of things and then makes things better with her personality and her cooking.

This particular book was rather tense with all the close calls that Lissa comes up against yet the pacing was spot on.  Ms. Suttle does a great job of balancing the danger with comedic moments.  I was rather impressed.

If I was to mark this book down at all it would be for the fact that it wouldn’t stand on its own very well.  This is a series that one has to read in order to be able to fully appreciate it.  And watch out for those cliff hanger endings.

I rate this book a 4 and it would have been higher if BLOOD PASSAGE  was more capable of being a standalone novel.

**I purchased this book thru Amazon.
Feb 26, 2012

Beautiful Things

It has really been one of those weeks where if there hadn't been any beautiful things that I would be running about pulling my hair out.  Thank goodness that there are those things that make you smile.

  1. Friends.  I would be in total trouble without friends.  My job changed how I was getting paid.  What they didn't tell me was that over a thousand dollars would be lagging two weeks.  Not a good thing to discover especially at the end of the month.  Thankfully a good friend came to my rescue and let me borrow enough to make my bills.
  2. My massage appointments have been changed to every other week so on Wednesday I was able to have just a lazy day.  It really was time to recharge my batteries.
  3. I attended a Focus Group with HBO on Friday.  It was a lot of fun and we went out to a rather nice restaurant for lunch.  I just love Sharon our HBO rep so it was a lot of fun.
Feb 25, 2012

7000 Bracelets for Hope

Today is the day that several of the top jewelry designers are showing off the bracelets that they designed to donate to the Global Genes project.  This is a great project that I have made a bracelet for but I wasn't able to join this particular blog hop.  But one of my favorite designers, Lori Anderson, did so be sure to check out the gorgeous bracelet that she made.  And not only that but she is holding a contest so be sure to pop over to her blog to find out more about the project, check out her bracelet and enter the contest.
Feb 24, 2012

Wacky Holiday

I haven't done a wacky holiday in quite a while so I decided to toss one in. 

Friday the 24th of February is the National Tortilla Chip Day.  Well that's cool.  I have to admit that I love tortilla chips and dip.  So I think that I will share some recipes for some good dips so that we all can participate in this fun holiday.


Feb 22, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

English: The roundabout located in Philipsburg...
Image via Wikipedia
I am just a tad bit late with this post.  I normally try to have it ready in advance however this week I am working six days and that had totally thrown my schedule off.  Working all these days though definitely has be dreaming of some time off and how better to combine my love of beads and my dream of going on a cruise then to go on a bead cruise?  Just listen to this:

"Join us March 3rd as we set sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida for 8 nights of beads, friends and fun!  We'll sail on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas to Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts; San Juan, Puerto Rico and the beaches of Labadee."

Doesn't that sound like a lot of fun.  I am just sad that my finances won't allow me to attend but it makes for a nice dream.  Oh and they do this every year.  For more info click here.
Feb 20, 2012

Book Review: Pazuzu's Girl

Morpho Wilson thought her life was difficult enough. Her father is Pazuzu, the Mesopotamian demon of plague and the Southwest wind. As a teenager Morpho struggles against her father, while trying to adjust to high school in a new neighborhood. The family is constantly moving in an attempt to elude Pazuzu’s murderous ex-wife, a demoness known for killing children.

Then something unique happens. A socially-impaired classmate becomes so intrigued by Morpho that he pursues her, despite the mystery surrounding her family and the danger that accompanies it.

But before their romance can grow the demoness tracks Morpho down, and now only needs an ancient artifact called the Tablet of Destiny to complete the destruction of the world. The tablet confers on its owner the ability to control the fate of everything and everyone on earth.

* * * * *
From reading the preview of PAZUZU'S GIRL, I thought that it would be a young adult book. And it is in a way. We get to meet Morpho and her boyfriend JD. They however don't experience the usual teenage issues. Instead they have to save the world from her father's nasty ex-wife.

Morpho and JD however don't appear to be the primary characters in this book. That spot actually goes to Morpho's father Pazuzu. The reader gets to meet him in both the present time and in the past thru flashbacks. We get to see just how much he has grown as a man...err demon. It is really touching just how much love has changed him.

I didn't get what I was expecting from this book but I did get so much more. I do recommend it to readers of the paranormal of all ages.  And I rate it a 4.5.

***I recieved this book from Library Thing in exchange for a review
Feb 19, 2012

Beautiful Things

This really wasn't a bad week.  Definitely just a week where nothing went particularly right or wrong.  But it is really just the small things that get a smile out of me.  This picture was taken on the Waterfront in Tacoma looking across Commencement Bay.

  •  Had our monthly Pagan Potluck last night.  It really has been a while since we didn't have one in December due to other commitments and our potluck in January was snowed out.  It's always a rushed day as I have to finish with the house and shopping but it was well worth it.  It's good to have dinner with friends and just talk. With this bunch you never know where the conversations are going to go.
  •  I was given a Christmas cactus as a housewarming gift from a friend.  As I was cleaning up from the potluck I noticed that it had two blossoms.  What a bright spark of color in February.
  • This one might sound strange for a beautiful thing but there might be light at the end of the tunnel with my elbow.  It wasn't getting better after the steroid shots so I talked to my doctor (she's a new doctor that I absolutely love) and she ordered x-rays.  Turns out that I have bone spurs on my elbow.  I am really hoping that is why it is constantly painful.  It is really messing with my jewelry.

Feb 18, 2012


Went out to dinner Wednesday  night and was disappointed.  I used to love the place but both the quality and serving sizes have gone way down.

Insurance has decided that I no longer need to have massage to help me heal from the accident.  I am making an appointment to speak to a lawyer on Wednesday.

I think that I will go into shock if we ever get busy at work again.  I am getting really accustomed to sitting at my desk & reading books and blogs.

I can’t believe that I have read or listened to 23 books already this year.

Went and had my physical yesterday.  Discussed my elbow and it was decided that I need to go to an orthopedic  surgeon as the steroids didn’t work at all last time.  

Have all these ideas for bracelets running loose in my mind that I can’t act on right now.

I need to remember to bring a journal with me so that I can get the ideas down.

Still working on learning Lightroom 3.  It looks as though it will really work for me.  I already gone thru and tagged all my photos.

I think that the universe is saying that I need a new camera.  All of a sudden I am being presented by sales for them.  Might have to get a better camera, one with more than a 4x zoom.

I am becoming addicted to lampwork beads.  Picked some up from nice ones from Blue DishBeads.They are very organic and reasonably priced.

Wish that Pin Interest was blocked at work.  For that matter I wish that I could also reach Blogger.  

Found out that the issues with my elbow might have a lot to do with the bone spurs that the x-rays found.  Have to go talk to an orthopedic surgeon.  Can we say that I am ecstatic that I have short term disability thru work.
Feb 17, 2012

Book Review: Omar the Immortal

In the exotic land of Marrakesh, scholar Omar Bakhoum joins an airship expedition into the freezing north in search of a legendary country called Ysland. There he hopes to learn the secrets of the afterlife from a lost race of sages, but howling ice storms, legions of ghosts, and a deadly samurai stand between Omar and his goal.

His journey has barely begun before the members of the expedition team begin dying of a mysterious condition, one by one. As the last remaining foreigner on board, Omar is accused of the murders and he quickly finds that an airship high above the frozen sea is a dangerous place to fight for his innocence, or his life. 

* * * * * 
This was a rather interesting novella.  But it is one that is rather hard for me to review as I am not able to solidify in my mind just what I thought.  I do know that I did enjoy and it was a good quick read.  So instead of my normal style of reviewing let me instead bring up a couple points that struck me.

On one hand it does introduce the reader to the world, in a way.  I feel however that it just barely scratches the surface as it appears that Mr. Lewis has done an excellent job of world building.  And this is a world that I am looking forward to exploring more.

The genre is one that I am beginning to like more and more.  Steampunk really hasn't been as over used as a lot of the genres so there is always something unique to each story.  OMAR THE IMMORTAL didn't delve very deeply into the machines of this time other then the airship.  Hopefully future stories in this series will.

Now we come to one of my pet peeves in a novella.  Character development.  After reading the entire tale Omar is as much a mystery as when I first started the story.  So needless to say I would liked to have had more insight into him.  I did find it to be an interesting twist that the main character was Middle Eastern rather then European.

Would I recommend this story.  Yes I would as long as the reader is just looking for a good quick read as an introduction to the series.  I rate this story a 3.3.

**I was given this book by the author thru Library Thing in exchange for a honest review.

Feb 15, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

Pier 57, Seattle, Washington.
Image via Wikipedia
My guilty pleasure this week just happens to be one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle, the Fisherman's Seafood Restaurant & Bar.  It is down on the waterfront in Miner's Landing at Pier 57.  We actually are planning on going there tonight for Valentine's Day.  Yeah I am a day behind but we both worked last night. 

I just love this place though it can be a tad spendy especially as we always tend to order the same thing.  They have a delicious dinner feast consisting of a bucket of clams, a tureen of our famous Fisherman’s chowder, fresh tossed green salad, rice pilaf, and a golden sourdough loaf.  Oh and let's not forget the main course.  We always get their crab feast which means we are served this huge platter loaded down with Alaskan King, Snow and Dungeness crab legs.  There is always so much that we end up bringing quite a bit home.  I did try to find some pictures of the feast but wasn't able to so I guess that I will have to take some when I am there.
Feb 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to my Beloved Husband

For better or worse, in sickness and in health, I fall further in love with you each day.
Feb 12, 2012

Beautiful Things

My pic today is one that I took up on Leavenworth.  We actually ended up going during Oktoberfest which was kinda funny as I had forgotten all about it.  Being there definitely brought back memories of living in Germany.  And I collected nutcrackers when I was there.  Unfortunately I lose them all in a house fire.  Wonder if I should start collecting them again.

  • Monday and Tuesday was just beautiful.  It was almost like spring was hitting early but then the rain came back.  But why the sun was around it was just wonderful.
  • I was able to spend some time in my studio yesterday.  I was able to make up a pair of earrings for the ABS Challenge and a bracelet for the Challenge of Music.   I feel refreshed and relaxed having been able to go down and play.
  • Found out last night that one of my roomies is moving out.  This is both a good and a bad thing.  I will miss him but by the same token he has been taking advantage of us by not living up to his end of the bargain as far as working on the house.  He was becoming a real source of irritation because to get him to do anything was like dealing with a teenager.  Now I just have to get him to get his stuff out.  He wants it to be a slow transition but he owes us too much money already.  Know of anyone looking for a room with bathroom?

Feb 11, 2012

Sneak Peak

The Conference of the Birds by Habiballah
Page from a manuscript of the Mantiq al-Tayr (The Language of the Birds) of Farid al-Din `Attar
 ca. 1600; Safavid Iran (Isfahan)
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, gold on paper
10 x 4 1/2 in. (25.4 x 11.4 cm)
I just love this piece of artwork and it is the inspiration for the February Art Bead Scene challenge.  I kinda knew what I wanted to make but it didn't work out.  Obviously I needed some new beads to inspire me so I went shopping on Etsy and found a new to me lampwork artist Rosemarie Hanus and her wonderful shop Spawn of Flame.  I mean look at these beads that I picked up!  How can I not be inspired.
As soon as they arrive and I make my pretty I will be sure to share it with you all. 
Feb 9, 2012

Book Review: The Department of Magic

Magic is nothing like it seems in children’s books. It’s dark and bloody and sexual – and requires its own semi-mythical branch of the US Federal Government to safeguard citizens against everpresent supernatural threats.

Join Jasmine Farah and Rocco di Angelo – a pair of wet-behind-the-ears recruits of The Department of Magic – on a nightmare gallop through a world of ghosts, spooks, vampires, and demons, and the minions of South American and Voodoo gods hell-bent on destroying all humanity in the year 2012.

Only Rock and Jazz, in the company of a ragtag team of urhobos – homeless guardians of the District of Columbia – can prevent it by resurrecting “Goddess America” in a mystical ceremony on the Fourth of July.
It’s all just a normal day on the job at The Department of Magic – where new employees entering its offices are never seen again, while mysteriously continuing to draw full salaries and benefits, sometimes for decades or even a century after.

With a magical cast of characters and a wry insider’s view of the US Federal Government, here at last is a Harry Potter for grownups.

* * * * *
Despite the deaths, murders, and various paranormal nasties that abound in THE DEPARTMENT OF MAGIC, I found it to be a fun, lighthearted read. Perhaps it is because is difficult to take the book seriously which is a good thing especially if you have trouble sleeping. This book also explains the rather strange layout of Washington DC’s streets and the fact that it has some of the better weather to be found in that part of the country.

The author, Rod Kierkegaard, Jr. does a great job of hooking the reader right in the beginning with the murder of Farah and Rocky’s employer. One just has to keep reading to find out just what they got themselves into. And what that was is a life filled with magic and far too many paranormal creepies. In fact so many that I had trouble keeping up with them all. I was pulled out of the story a few times trying to remember just what they had discovered about this or that creature.

I did enjoy the character development shown by Farah. She grows from a spoiled fashion chit that was part of the beauty queen pageant to a caring woman that can be counted on in any situation. Not that she ever grows out of using her beauty to get her own way at times. Rocky however seems to be stagnant. Possibly because he just tends to go so much with the flow that he really doesn’t have obstacles to overcome that would force him to change.

I will admit that I did have problems finishing THE DEPARTMENT OF MAGIC which is disappointing when you consider that it started out with such a bang. Instead towards the middle it really started to drag as Farah and Rocky move from one theft to another, from one disaster to another. And the ending was more of the same.

This book might appeal to readers looking for a lighthearted fast paced paranormal but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I rate it a 2. 

***I did receive this book from NetGallery for a limited time in exchange for the review.  No money exchanged hands and all opinions are my own.
Feb 8, 2012

Three Pounds of Beads

Sound and look enticing?  Then hop over to Copper Diem to enter the contest.

Guilty Pleasures

My guilty pleasure this week is tea.  Now of course that is also an everyday pleasure but this is special.  I join the Insider Club at Golden Moon Teas.  For this club the owner will choose a batch of excellent tea and share it out thru the club.  Now these are teas that don't make it to the regular marketplace as there just isn't enough of that particular harvest available. Definitely more expensive but it is a great way to check out some of the world's greatest teas.

Feb 6, 2012

Book Review: The Last Beginning

Though she's always hated being a phoenix, Sadie has to admit immortality has its advantages. She's seen and done more in the last 150 years than she'd ever dreamed of, but she can't get past the fact that Osiris has done nothing but manipulate her and her fellow phoenixes.
Or that, when her last incarnation as a phoenix comes to a fiery end, the fire slowly begins to consume her body.
Sun god Osiris is ashamed of his role as ruler of the Underworld, but he unless he can figure out how to save Sadie, that's exactly where she's going to end up. Permanently. Terrified he's going to lose her, he takes her on a hunt for The Book of the Dead, which is the only way he knows he can save her-even if it means she'll hate him forever.

* * * * *

When I requested this book I didn't realize that it was the third in a series. That however shouldn't really have mattered as all books in a series should stand find on their own. I was rather confused at the beginning of this book as it assumed that I would know characters from the previous books.

I also found that the main characters could really stand to be fleshed out more. Yes I know that Osiris really wants Sadie but what else makes him tick. We are shown that Sadie is holding a grudge against him for both recent happenings and also things that happened 150 years ago but we are told that she isn't one to stay mad at someone for that long. I really need to know more about her to be able to understand why.

This isn't a bad story and it is a quick read. It's just that I feel that it has the promise to become a really good story with a few changes.  As it is I only rate it a 3.

**I received this book free thru NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No money exchanged hands and all opinions are my own.
Feb 5, 2012

Beautiful Things

Now I am sure that not everyone would consider this pic to be a beautiful thing but I just love clouds.  Probably a good thing considering the fact that I live the Puget Sound region.  Besides it struck my fancy when I was looking for a pic to share.  I have a lot on my camera but I refuse to d/l  any of those until I get the ones that I have organized with Lightroom.  Good thing that I have a large sd card in it. 

  •  It's been utterly gorgeous weather here the last couple days.  I need some of those in the winter to help chase away the blahs and the fibro.
  • I cleaned out and organized my tea cabinet.  I gave away a huge basket full of teas so that someone else could enjoy some of my older teas.  That or the ones that just didn't sync with my tastes.  I also managed to find some of my favorite teas that I lost in the move.  I am just hoping that they aren't too stale though even if they are they will still taste good.  Just not as good.
  • Went to Imbolc last Sunday and it was truly a blessed events.  Beautiful ritual and good friends.  We had in the church were we hold the Witch's Ball.  It might seem strange to folks to have a pagan ritual in a Christian church but the space is truly sacred regardless of the religion holding the ceremony.
Feb 4, 2012

Contest: Ssh-oes

One of the things I really missed when I messed up my back was the ability to wear heels.  And I don't mean the sensible ones.  I am short so I really like the 4" heels.  Well the good news is that my back healed up enough that I can wear them but after a full day my tootsies sure are sore.  Well now a company has addressed those issues.  Be sure to stop by BLOGGING GOOD NEWS! to find out more about the shoes and a wonderful giveaway involving those shoes.

Excuse my germs

I really did have plans today.   I was going to run by the bank and then head out to a friend's house to work on a book and enjoy the group's company.  Instead I wake up with a headache and nausea.  There ought to be a law.
Feb 3, 2012

Random Thoughts

Bejeweled 2
Bejeweled 2 (Photo credit: PB-PSBear)

·         It’s totally dead at work which makes for a very long day.

·         Starting a blog calendar to make sure that I kinda plan out postings.

·         Starting working my way thru the training book I got for Lightshop.  Just on the first chapter but I am amazed at what I can do with it.  I love all the effects.  Hopefully that will improve my pics.

·         Just occurred to me that since I don’t have a big enough table for my light box and a tripod that I can kidnap the husband’s.  He has a tall one.

·         Already started planning out my entry for the ABS Challenge.  Actually thinking about 2 entries since they popped into my head.

·         If I keep entering these challenges then I will really start building up some stock to sell.

·         Sometimes I feel like I need to write everything down.  Was told of a great place that does consignment locally and I forgot to write down the name.

·         Decided that Angry Birds is not for me.  I am more a Bejeweled kinda girl.  Wonder what that says about me.

·         I HATE having to get dressed up for work but we had some bigwigs coming into today so I had to get moving early to actually apply makeup and a skirt.  Actually gauchos and boots.

·         Need to get my roommate to finish putting up the shelves in my studio.  Then I can finally stop restraining myself when I find goodies that I want to buy.

·         Bored bored bored.

·         Oh I entered another challenge.  This one based around music.  It is being hosted by Erin of Treasures Found.

·         Can’t wait to get home.  Wonder if anyone would notice if I snuck off to my studio.