Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas y'all! I hope you have a blessed day to spend with loved ones!

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Good Afternoon to all my readers!

First, I would like to apologize for my absence on Pines and Peaches. I am going to try my best to get back on a regular posting schedule, now that sickness and hospital visits are in the past.

I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season thus far! Thanksgiving was a wonderful, if busy time for us.

Holidays are a great time to get together with family, regroup from the events of the past year, and plan for the new year. What traditions do you and your family have that make this season magical?

For me, I always spend Christmas Eve re-reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, while enjoying a mug of hot chocolate by the fireplace.

It just isn't Christmas without A Christmas Carol. My mom loves to watch It's A Wonderful Life, and some people enjoy picking out a new tree.

I hope you all have a very safe and Merry Christmas!

God bless us, everyone!!!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Black Cat Awareness and Adoptions

Did you know that black cats are less likely than any other coat pattern to get adopted? It continually amazes me that this ridiculous superstition has prevailed for so long. Black cats are just as loving, precious, and wonderful as any other cat, and equally deserving of a forever home. So many people miss out the opportunity to have a tiny house panther, just because they are stuck in the Middles Ages, still believing that black cats are witches in disguise or cause bad luck.

Allow me to introduce my black cat, Merlin. We adopted Merlin from the local shelter a little over a year ago, and he has rocked our world. He was about 5 weeks old (we believe his mother was killed, resulting in a litter of teeny tiny kittens being left alone in the world :( ), and he was so, so sick. When we got this little guy, he had a respiratory infection and gunky eyes, plus we had to bottle feed him while he adjusted to eating normal kitten chow.

We had to get up and give him his meds every six hours and bottle feed him. BTW if you have never bottle-fed a kitten, it is literally the most adorable thing in the world. We honestly weren’t sure if the little guy would make it. Happily, he pulled through and is now a healthy, energetic member of our family now.

A healthy Merlin :)

Some of Merlin’s hobbies include:
Sitting like a human
Watching TV
Flopping on people’s feet
Chasing the red dot
Playing video games
Playing with his siblings
Taking long naps

Sitting like a little human.

Can I play too?

Merlin and Sherlock

As you can see, his list does not include “stealing souls” or “summoning demons” or anything of the other things black cats are typically accused of doing. Merlin is a wonderful addition to our family, and I am so happy I looked beyond the superstition and adopted my very own tiny house panther.

When it comes time to add another fur baby to your family, please consider adopting a black cat. Save a life, adopt!

Thank you for reading. Be sure to enter your email address to get the latest updates from Pines and Peaches!

Monday, October 02, 2017

Happy October!!!

Happy October!!! Normally, I post a motivational quote each Monday, but for the month of October, I am going to post a quote from my favorite horror writers each Monday. Today's quote is from Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall Bucket List

It is no secret to my family and friends. I adore fall. This is my favorite season, the one I spend the rest of my year waiting impatiently for. Walks through the crisp autumn air, crunching on fallen leaves, then going home to snuggle with a blanket and a spooky book... Heavenly! Every year, I try to plan out a few things I want to accomplish before the end of the season, a seasonal bucket list if you will. I'm going to share this year's Fall Bucket List with y'all, and hopefully, inspire you to make some fun plans to enjoy Fall 2017!

This fall, I am going to:

1. Take a trip to the mountains (and share the pictures with my lovely readers!).

2. Read a spooky book (or three). It's time to make a dent in that stack of Stephen King books I have.

3. Drink hot chocolate (ok, this one is easy, but it truly is one of my favorite things).

4. Have a bonfire! Make some fall memories with friends.

5. Go for a walk. To me, fall is the most beautiful season with the colorful leaves and amazing weather.

6. Visit a haunted house. Every October, the haunted houses start popping up everywhere. Definitely on my list is Gates of Misery in Rome, GA. Last year, they offered two different attractions, a maze and a haunted house. Both were great!

7. Carve a pumpkin. This year, I'm definitely making a jack-o-lantern for the porch instead of buying one.

8. Throw a Halloween party! Halloween is just so much fun! I love the costumes, the candy, and the decorations.

9. Buy new candles. Bath and Body Works releases all my favorite candles this time of year! Pumpkin Spice, Apple Pie... I'll take two of each. :)

10. Try a new recipe- Fall edition. Maybe a new apple pie recipe, or pumpkin pie recipe. Perhaps I'll finally try my hand at candy making, and have it at my Halloween party. Whatever I find, I will be sure to post the results on here for you guys to see!

What about you? Does anyone else make a seasonal bucket list? If so, what are your plans for Fall 2017? Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments section, I'd love to hear what some of my readers are doing!

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Motivation

This quote brings bittersweet feelings to the surface. On one hand, it brings to mind those "fair weather" friends who have vanished during my life and those who were only my friend until they found someone better. On the bright side, it teaches me to appreciate the few true friends who have stuck by my side through it all, dark days and sunny days both. I hope I always remember to express gratitude for these wonderful people who are always there when I need a shoulder to cry on! 

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday Motivation- September 11th

I love this quote! Sometimes I focus too hard on getting to a certain point in life, or on achieving one goal. I have to constantly remind myself to slow down and enjoy the day. Life is not just about our achievements, but about the little moments. :) 

Thank you for reading! Please remember to keep those in the Southeastern US in your thoughts and prayers as Hurricane Irma moves in. 

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Best Mascara Ever!

A few years ago, I was having serious trouble finding a good mascara. I had tried all the drugstore brands, and while some were a little better than others, none were great. Some were really terrible. One kind even made my eyelashes so brittle, they kept breaking off! Trust me, regrowing eyelashes is NOT a fun process. It takes forever. 

I went out to the local mall and talked to the esthetician to find recommendations. She suggested I try using Estee Lauder's mascara. Suspecting she was just trying to make a sale, but desperate to find something that would not kill my eyelashes, I decided to give it a shot. I have been using this mascara ever since! It has a vitamin complex that conditions your lashes, leaving them soft and strong, so no worries about damage causing breakage. Since I started using this mascara, I haven't had trouble with brittle eyelashes, and I have received several compliments about my eye makeup. This brand adds great length and volume to your lashes, giving it a "false lash" look without being too much. 

I use the Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Regular, but it also comes in waterproof. I have included a link for each. If you are looking for a nourishing, smudge-free mascara, give this a try! 

Thank y'all for reading! Remember to enter your email address in the box to the left to get updates from Pines and Peaches!

Note: this post contains affiliate links. 

Monday, September 04, 2017

Author Interview- Allie Early

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview the beautiful and talented local author, Allie Early, about her first book Breaking Free. I read this book in one sitting, and would definitely recommend it to others, especially fans of YA  dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner series. 

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be an author? 

A: I've always loved books. When I was younger, I wrote short stories and would make little books out of cardboard and paper. I've always wanted to create a book. During school, I realized writing was my strength, it definitely wasn't math or science *laughs*. My first year of college was a huge step for me. I had a dream, this vivid and realistic dream. When I woke up, I realized this would make a good book and wrote down everything I could remember. 

Q: So the idea for this book came from a dream?

A: Yes, it was such a realistic dream, and when I was writing it down, it just floated onto the page. It was funny, Will Smith was the main character. Obviously, I had to make some adjustments to the details, but yes, the idea originated in a dream. Also, in the dream, Justin was a father who was trapped behind the Wall with his son. I felt that it was a stretch to put a little boy in prison, plus I wanted to focus on the main character. 

Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers? 

A: Yes, write what you love. You are always going to have people who like and who don't like your work, but in the end, it is your work. Your book is your piece of art. If you love it, go for it! Never let the critics take away from your book. 

Q: What is your writing process? How do you overcome the dreaded writer's block? 
A: While writing Breaking Free, I wrote EVERY DAY! It was hard. It took lots of motivation and dedication. I would spend hours at my computer, and sometimes, I would just stare at it. If I found myself getting stuck, I would go for a walk. Hiking is one of my favorite pastimes; I just find being in nature so refreshing. Sometimes I would listen to classical music for inspiration. Another thing I noticed is some authors inspired me to write more. Reading great authors like Alexandre Dumas and F. Scott Fitzgerald really helped me get inspired to keep writing. 

Q: Are any of your characters based on real people? 

A: Yes, actually. I based Pastor Barrios on the pastors I've had in the past. Some of the characters physical attributes are based off characters from movies or books. They are a conglomerate of different characters I like. 

Q: What was the hardest scene to write?

A: I know some authors like to lay out the whole story before they begin writing. I do not I just wrote from start to finish and let the story grow organically. If I reached a place where I was stuck, I would go for walks or listen to classical music. When I was about three-fourths of the way through the book, there was a scene when one of the characters was killed. This is a big "wow" moment in the book, and it was hard to figure out where I wanted to take the story after that. I was really stuck, trying to figure out where to go from there. I took a week off writing and went away to the seaside. I spent a week on the beach, not thinking about the book at all. When I came back, I felt refreshed and ready to write again. I was able to finish the book easily after this time away. 

Q: When can we expect your next book? Will there be a sequel?
A: Not in the near future. I do love to write, but I am focused on finishing college and getting my career started right now. I do hope to write another book, but it will be a few years. 

Q: How did you design the book cover? Was it self-designed or did you hire an artist?
A: I designed the cover using Amazon CreateSpace, a partner publisher. I really wanted the cover to be symbolic and give an idea of the symbolism in the book. The sun is a central symbol in the book, as well as the ocean. The ocean symbolized freedom and happiness, as you see when Justin reminisces about his happiest times being while he was sailing. The sunset represents Justin's sunset or the ending of his known way of life. The colors, navy and orange, go along with this sun and ocean theme. I grappled with the cover for about a week, because I really wanted it to fit with the book. I didn't' want to use random pictures and colors. 

Q: One last question, and it's a tough one. What is your favorite book (or books)? 
A: *laughs* Oh boy, that is hard. Well, I have so many favorites, but I'll give you my top two. I love the Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It is so dramatic and intense! It's my favorite action-filled book. My favorite feel-good book is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I love it! 

I hope y'all enjoyed reading Allie's interview as much as I enjoyed interviewing her. She is a lovely, sweet person and I wish her the best in her future endeavors! 

If you would like to read Allie's book, check it out at this link:

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. 

Monday Motivation- September 4th

Another Monday! And it's the first Monday of the month!!! Here we set out on the adventure of another week. This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite series (Lord of the Rings, of course). This is my mantra as a traveler. :) Onward to Autumn and all the fun times ahead! 

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Off the Shelf- The Right Questions

Welcome to the first edition of "Off the Shelf." At least once a month, I am going to post about a book I found inspiring and encouraging. A few years ago, I went into a personal and spiritual slump that was extremely difficult to pull out of. It took many long talks with family and friends, many prayers, lots of inspiring books, and the determination to turn things around before life started to get better. Now that I'm on the other side of this difficult time, I hope that I can suggest things that will help others to overcome as well! 

This month I read The Right Questions by Debbie Ford. The author presents a series of ten questions to really help you delve deeper into your personality and get to the root cause of one's unhappiness. These questions are designed to give you a better understanding of who you are, what you really want in life, and what you need to change to achieve your goals. Each chapter contains a different question, such as "will this choice propel me toward an inspiring future or will it keep me stuck in the past?" While this may seem an obvious question, we all have times where we make decisions that do keep us stuck in the past, without consciously thinking about it. Rich in thoughtful analysis of why we make the decisions we do, even at the expense of our deepest desires, as well as use of case examples, this book is a wonderful tool to help you get back on track. I love the concept of the "inner flame" and how each decision we make either adds to or diminishes this internal flame. 

I hope others enjoy this inspiring book as much as I do! This book has really helped me think about the choices in my life in a new light. 

Thank you for reading! Be sure to enter your e-mail in the box to the left to get updates from Pines and Peaches! 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday Motivation

I love this quote! It helps me remember that even my mistakes are opportunities for learning. Instead of beating myself up for messing up, I need to accept it, learn from it, and never give up!

Thank y'all for reading! 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Product Review- Rodan & Fields Eye Cream

Welcome to my first product review! At least once or twice a month, I am going to talk about a product that I absolutely love and I think you will too! 

Recently, I bought some Rodan & Fields Eye Cream from a sweet lady at work who sells their products. This is the best stuff! I have tried over-the-counter stuff, Avon, Mary Kay, etc. None of them are in the same category as this. I have only been using this about two or three weeks now, and I am already getting comments from other people about how I look more rested. The dark circles and puffiness around my eyes have improved so much in only a few weeks time. This eye cream is a little pricey ($58) but it is well worth it. This jar is supposed to last about six months, so it lasts a while. A little bit goes a LONG way. I love this product, and can't wait to try some of their facials and other cosmetic supplies. 

Thank y'all for reading! Be sure to enter your email at the left to get updates from Pines and Peaches! 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Five Ways to Find More Reading Time

I love to read! It is my all-time favorite hobby, just ask anyone who knows me. When I talk books to others, the comment I hear most often is "I just don't have time to read." We've all been there. Life gets hectic, finals are looming, mandatory overtime at work, kids are sick, and on and on.  The list of things that can come between us and books is endless. As we are heading into fall (meaning here come the holidays!), things are about to get crazy for us all! Here are five ways I manage to squeeze in as much reading time as possible, even during the crazy times. :)

1. During the Commute- Listen to audiobooks! This was a lifesaver during college when I was swamped with homework, studying for tests, working, tutoring, and then more homework! My favorite audiobook was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (narrated by Dan Stevens, aka Matthew from Downton Abbey) and The Once and Future King by T. H. White. 

2. Exercise - Hit the books while you hit the gym! I like to prop an e-book up on the front of the treadmill or elliptical. Obviously, if you are walking outdoors or riding a bike, you should probably opt for an audiobook and earbuds. 

3. Arrive early- Get to work ten minutes early, and read in the parking lot (but don't lose track of time and be late!). I often try to leave a little early to catch a few extra pages before clocking in!

4. Download Kindle and/or Nook apps- I have both on my phone and I use them all the time. In a waiting room? Read until you are called back. Waiting for the bus? Read until the bus shows up. Also while you ride the bus. Long line? Distract yourself by reading on your phone. I read three books in Disney World last year, just by using the long waits as an opportunity to read. All your friends cruising social media on their phones? Read while they cruise Facebook. Really, the possibilities are endless here. Trade Candy Crush in for books. It's a swap you will never regret lol. 

5. Lunch breaks-Take a book with you (or use one of the apps in the last bullet point) and read on lunch. I work close to a lovely park by a river, so weather-permitting, I will grab some fast-food and read in the park during my lunch break. If you don't have a lunch date, take a book and read while waiting for your food. If your lunch date is boring, read the entire time JK JK. I have been known to pack a lunch, then go eat in my car and read. Lunch times provide a nice, solid hour of extra book time! 

I hope that some of these ideas will help you get a little bit more book time. Happy reading!

Thank y'all for reading! Be sure to enter your email address to get all the new updates from Pines and Peaches! 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday Motivation

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes! I recently swapped careers, despite well-meant advice to the contrary, because I knew I was in the wrong place for me. Sometimes, we just know that we are on the wrong path and we have to take steps to get back on the right trail! I am so thankful and happy that after much prayer and many, many job applications, I am finally right where I need to be. This quote was my mantra while I was struggling to change career paths, and I hope it brings some hope and inspiration to some of my readers.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Summer 2017 Wrap-Up

The kids are back in school, which means the summer is officially at its end. I hope you all had a wonderful summer, I know I did! Summer 2017 was great for me, as it provided me several opportunities to travel and spend time with family. Here are a few of my summer adventures: 

Memorial Day in Milledgeville, GA
I met up with my beautiful cousins for a girl's trip over Memorial Day Weekend! We toured the campus of Georgia College (stunning campus, makes me wanna go back to school!), then we headed over to Andalusia, the home of Flannery O'Connor. This breath-taking farmhouse was converted into a museum and gift shop. The farm also has a few hiking trails, barns, and a flock of peacocks! We had a lovely time!
Lovely old barn at Andalusia. 

Georgia College, home of the Bobcats!
We wrapped up our weekend with a visit to the spooky, abandoned Central State Hospital. Closed in the early 90s, there are over 200 buildings just sitting there, empty and decaying. Why haven't the paranormal shows checked this place out? It definitely looks and feels haunted! Check out these creepy photos:

Entrance to Central State Hospital. This is where former patients would be checked in. 

Grayton Beach, FL
In June, I went with my husband and his family to Grayton Beach. Located between Panama City Beach and Destin, this beach is the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. There are tons of shops nearby (heads up, they are pricey), as well as several food trucks. Bike rentals are available, and there are plenty of sidewalks to ride on! The highlight of our trip was eating at Hurricane Oyster Bar, which we visited twice! The Crab Cake Po'Boy was to DIE FOR! We also made a trip to Eden Gardens State Park, which is a beautiful park located on the beach about 15 or 20 minutes from where we were staying. Overall, I still like Panama City best, but this was a great beach if you are looking for a smaller place to stay. 

Callaway Gardens
For my final summer trip, my mom and I went to Callaway Gardens at the end of July. If you have never been to Callaway Gardens, you have missed out on a treat! There are over 10 miles of walking and biking trails, zip lines, shows, gift shops, restaurants, and more. We caught the "Birds of Prey" show, which was fantastic. Then, we rented bikes and rode on the trails for about three and a half hours, and STILL didn't visit everything! I can't wait to go back and hope to make a return trip in the fall. While you are there, be sure to check out the Butterfly Garden and eat at The Country Kitchen located inside the Callaway Gardens Country Store! 

Thank y'all for reading! Be sure to follow me to get updates on all my newest adventures by entering your email address in the box located on the left! :)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Welcome to Pines and Peaches!

Welcome to my new blog! This blog will be all about inspiration, happiness, and living in North GA. I live in Northwest GA with my husband and our many pets. My favorite hobbies are traveling, reading, writing, and playing with my fur babies.  I decided to start a blog as an outlet for my love of writing! (and it gives me an excuse to talk about the things I love!) One thing I love is to bring a bit of joy to someone else's day! Smiles are free and make a world of difference! Expect lots of feel-good posts about travel, pets, books, and more! Glad to have you as a reader!