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! 

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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:

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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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