Update on Harmony’s Unexpected Adventures

xmas2015-2For those of you following Harmony’s progress since my last post in December, she had her stem cell transplant in January. She spent a little over two weeks in the hospital. The process really wreaked havoc on her body but she’s a tough girl and she hung in there. It was a long road. Thankfully, she’s back in her apartment now, resting and recovering.

If you’d like to read more first-hand progress, please visit her blog.

Thank you to everyone who has wished her well, donated for her cause, or just kept her in your thoughts. Every bit of love and support is appreciated.❤

xmas2015

 

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring  

Lilla Rose Flexi-Clips are AMAZING!

I stumbled on these unique clips at the Puyallup Fair last year. I am so thankful that Don kept me from walking right on by the booth. In my opinion, Lilla Rose Flexi-Clips are the next generation of up-do clips. They are far superior to that ugly old claw clip we’ve all been using for years. I don’t know about you, but those claws put dents in my head that give me headaches! I’ve been using flexi-clips almost every day for the last four months and I’ve never had a single day that I got a headache or an uncomfortable dent. And they are so much prettier!:-)

The clips come in various sizes. I have three – an extra-small, medium, and large. We bought the extra-small and the medium at the fair.

three clips

The small one is good for half-up hair days.

small clip

The medium one is good for the half french twist, flip up and over, ponytail sort of look. The downside is you don’t see the clip but OMG it’s so comfortable and easy to do.

medium clip

I managed to also use the medium for a full bun, sort of smooshed and crammed into the clip. I made it work but it’s wasn’t easy and I didn’t wear it that way often. For Christmas, my SIL gave me a large clip and BOOM, now I’m all set for full bun action, or messy full body days that just need a bigger clip.

Large Clip

I would say I’m all set and don’t need any more clips, but really…what girl couldn’t use more styles? I have a feeling the clips are going to be like scarves for me…I can never have too many.

There is a bit of a learning curve to using the clips, but there are lots of youtube tutorials and, I’m betting that a lot of ladies out there are even more coordinated than me and would get the hang of it pretty quickly.:-)

So, ladies…I’m here to tell you…go check out the flexi-clip at Lilla Rose! It’s worth every penny and I promise you that you will fall in love.

The hair is the richest ornament of women.
~ Martin Luther

Reading Corner – Take Me Tomorrow

take me tomorrowTake Me Tomorrow is hard to describe. My impression of it is that it is an intriguing story of a future, dystopian North America. The United States has dissolved into a fractionated world of Regions due to a war precipitated by a clairvoyant drug called tomo. Following an uprising from tomo users and supporters that results in a massacre, the Regions are created and strictly controlled by the governing body, the State. Travel and communication between Regions is rare. Punishments for any illegal activity are swift and harsh. Within these strict boundaries, curfews, and rules lives Sophia Gray and her father. Sophia exists in a Matrix-like bubble of ignorance of the ongoing undercurrent of war between citizens and the State, but her ignorance is slowly stripped away as she learns that she and her friends are right in the heart of the resistance.

The story is told from Sophia’s point of view and readers learn along with her as her perceptions of the world change. Details about the plot and the structure of world are revealed slowly through the dialogue and action surrounding Sophia. It’s a style choice that isn’t my favorite but Thompson handles it well. She unwraps the story piece by piece in a way that keeps readers guessing and turning pages for more. I wanted even more detail in some regards but I think that the lack of detail is either intentional and will be revealed in a later installment (Thompson is already working on Book 2) or it is simply a result of writing for a younger target audience.

Overall, I think Thompson does a good job of crafting a unique young adult story with relatable characters. There is a bit of romance but it’s not heavy-handed (which I appreciated) and it doesn’t detract from the main plot and action. I have personally outgrown the young adult genre but despite that I still enjoyed the story and I think that fans of the Hunger Games, Divergent, and similar stories would really enjoy it.

Unfortunately, Take Me Tomorrow isn’t currently available for purchase. I was provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review (many months ago. I’m really behind schedule!) The good news is that Thompson is working on re-releasing it, probably in conjunction with Book 2. You can keep an eye on her progress here.

A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.
~ Neil Gaiman

Reading Corner – Indie Author Debut: Backlash by T.R. Lemke

backlashFantasy fans and fellow book lovers, you simply MUST check out T.R. Lemke’s debut novella Backlash. It is well-written and intriguing. If you enjoy fantasy, supporting indie authors of any genre, or are an agent looking for the next big name, you should read Backlash. It’s a quick read, more of a novella than a full size novel so don’t expect grand world development – not yet. That’s going to come later in Lemke’s full-scale fantasy series. (Agents, seriously, someone needs to discover this author.)

Backlash is the story of a working-class young man struggling to make ends meet in a society ruled by nobility. Running his family’s business alone and attempting to support his ailing mother, Samel can barely stay ahead of his debts. One day he is approached by a stranger who offers to apprentice him to a new craft. Desperate to escape the wrath of the tax collectors and to finance proper treatment for his mother’s illness Samel accepts. He learns quickly and life begins to change for Samel. But the price of his education is far more than he could have ever imagined.

No spoilers here. You have to read it to know more. I can tell you that Lemke has a knack for storytelling. His character development is well-done. The imagery is vivid. He has a strong grasp of the martial arts and it shows through the well-crafted fight scenes. Having also read some of Lemke’s other work in progress I know that it’s set in the same world as his larger scale series and that was particularly fun for me. Regardless of that, I think that any fan of fantasy will recognize a strong new author for the genre.

Read more about Backlash and T.R. Lemke on Smashwords or connect with T.R. Lemke on Facebook.

Killing a man was easy; there were many ways to stop the machinery of man’s body.
~ Samel Dorwen, Backlash

Pet-Sitting ROCKS!

We recently went on a road trip for 12 days and decided to give pet-sitting services a try for the first time. Best. Decision. Ever.

I’ve noticed for some time now that pet-sitting has become more and more popular but I had never really considered it. We generally only go away from home for 3 or fewer days and for that amount of time we can easily leave out extra food and water and the cats are fine. Lonely maybe, but generally ok to be alone for a few days (compared to dogs.)

Twelve days was far too long to consider leaving them alone and we don’t live close enough to family to ask them to swing by. We considered asking the neighbors. We have quite a few friendly neighbors who might have been willing and able to help but in the end we thought it might be easier to pay for a guaranteed service.

I can’t tell you what a relief it was to know that someone would be stopping by on the exact days we had agreed to!  No worrying about whether the person you’ve asked as a favor might have something else more important come up, an emergency of their own, or whatnot that might prevent them from following through. If the sitter has an emergency, the service sends a back up sitter. End of story.

Lucky for me, I have a number of pet loving co-workers and I was given a referral for a local service, Leash4Lease, instead of just picking a name at random. Leash4Lease was professional, friendly, and so easy to work with. My sitter even frequently sent me text message updates and pictures to let me know the boys were doing just fine. It was such a treat to hear from her and such a blessing to not have to worry about the house or the cats. And, as an added bonus, the cats didn’t puke at all while we were gone! They usually do when we leave for short periods and leave them alone. I suspect Olli overeats and makes himself sick. I don’t know if the simple act of having someone come to the house every other day for a few minutes reduced their anxiety over being alone or if the stars simply aligned in our favor. Regardless, we were over the moon pleased with our first pet-sitting experience. A big thank you to our sitter Amanda for her kind and caring treatment of our fur babies!

2016-01-08kitties

If you’re looking for a pet-sitting service in the Kitsap County or nearby areas, I highly recommend Leash4Lease. They offer a full range of professional pet services including pet-sitting, dog walking, house-sitting, doggy sleepovers, and more! Check ‘em out.:-)

There are two means of refuge from the misery of life – music and cats.
~ Albert Schweitzer