Monday, September 9, 2019

Books are Uniquely Portable Magic (Reading Recommendations)

Thank you Stephen King for this wonderful quote! And I couldn't agree more! 
Here are my recent Contemporary Romance reading recommendations. Again, they are selections for mature audiences only! 🙈

Defying the Odds by Kele Moon

Clay is a mixed-martial arts champion fighter, a strong yet silent type with a difficult past. Melody is a struggling waitress trying to put her life back together after a difficult marriage filled with physical & emotional abuse. Their emotional & physical connection is inevitable, but Melody pushes Clay away because she doesn't want to pull him into the drama of her life, still in fear of her abusive ex-husband.  But luckily, he isn't one to give up to easily & fate steps in to make it that much harder for Melody to completely walk away from Clay.  The story is heartwarming, with moments of fear & suspense thrown in, & plenty of humor thanks to Clay two best friends. I definitely got the feels from this romance!

The Girl He Knows by Kristi Rose 

Hank has always been there for Paisley. And Paisley has always known that she could count on Hank whenever she needed him.  He was there for comfort and support when her father died, when she needed a prom date and when she needed a friend after a nasty divorce with a cheating husband.  When their friendship turns physical, she’s quick to make sure they both agree that there are no strings attached.  She doesn’t ever want to risk losing him as a friend, despite feeling a very strong attraction to him—I mean it could just be the crazy physical chemistry, right?  As a reader, it was a pleasure taking a journey with Paisley through her self discovery—rooting for her every step of the way.  

Getting Out of Hand by Erin Nicholas  

I loved the two main characters in this love story! There’s Mason Riley, the nerdy scientist who happens to be all kinds of hot.  And Adrianne Scott, the former business woman who wants nothing more than a relaxing life in the sleepy town of Sapphire Falls. Both characters are not super experienced with relationships and have never fallen in-love with someone before.  But even in the short time of meeting & knowing one another, they both know that what they have is very special.  But will being together cost Mason his life’s work and possibly affect the lives of those that need him? And can Adrianne come to grips with her fears in order to follow her shot at happiness?  It was a great journey reading this story! 

There is so much magic in reading--whatever genre you choose! 
I guess you could argue with Science, but with these conclusions, why would you want to? 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Long Beach is Home (An Ode to the West Coast City)

Thank you One Draw for this catchy song, along with the visuals, as a fantastic ode to Long Beach, CA! I've been seeing it multiple times on my Socials timelines from posters who love the city and there are many of us! The tune highlights sections of neighborhoods that have a personality all their own.

Articles about Long Beach:

"The readers’ guide to the Seven Wonders of Long Beach"--a list of places that make Long Beach, CA even more special! 

"The 18 Essential Long Beach Restaurants, Summer 2019"--delicious places to eat in Long Beach, CA  

Just a little extra Long Beach pride. LOL! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Superhero Cockroaches Fighting Food Waste

Yes, this video features some feisty cockroaches working hard to combat waste in China. I'm sharing it because it's pretty darn cool, but also because it was originally shared on Facebook followed by some super negative criticisms and scathing comments, well known to happen in the Social Media atmosphere. Don't get me wrong, my loved ones can attest to the fact that I'm not a big fan of critters & such and I'm proud of myself for even having the courage to watch this piece. But what got my attention was the reactions I received from my comment.

What I appreciated was that I received 20+ likes for the comment amidst all the other not-so-nice comments on this piece.  The reality is, yes, for some of us, dealing with unpleasant things is cringy & we may not want to deal with it or support it. The subject of cockroaches being very high on that list. However, even if you're not an environmentalist, I think it's safe to say that there's SO much waste in the world. Even if you don't think that has any direct impact on your life, having someone find ways to naturally dispose (truly dispose) of waste is generally a pretty good thing. You can tell (maybe) I'm trying to appeal to the non-ecology, possibly anti-Climate Change believers. Either way, there are things to help the earth out there and people willing to & pretty darn smart enough to come up with creative & innovative ways to do it.  They need our support.  It can be done, it IS already being done. Let's cheer for it. (Even if we're doing this 😬).

Monday, July 29, 2019

Many Favorite Moments from San Diego Comic Con 2019

We've been attending the ever-popular San Diego Comic Con for 5 years now and it seems that every year it continues to get bigger and bigger. 🙀 The crowds are massive and there are lines for most everything of interest especially since there are exclusives and other desirable gimmicks.  For the avid geek--those interested in their genres be it gaming, movies, tv, anime and what-not--all challenges and whatever suffering one may endure is all worth it. I'm fascinated by it all & I can't help but admire my lovely companions (The Huz & 2 sons) for being great planners and truly making the most of their time and allowing themselves to have some successful acquisitions. 👍
The guys went all-in in their cosplay--forming a Kingdom Hearts squad. The Youngest transformed into Vanitas, The Huz embodied Lego Sora (so much work was put into this cosplay) & the First-Born morphed into Riku. Many people appreciated their interpretations and many photos were taken.
The First-Born switched up his cosplay to a Nintendo Fighting Mii on the last day of the Con in honor of the time we spent in the Nintendo Lounge. 🎮 He really enjoyed this and got many compliments. 

One of my favorite memories of the event was the touching moments involving the Youngest who was brilliantly cosplaying Vanitas from Kingdom Hearts--wearing a long dark cloak-like outfit with a black tinted helmet that completely covered his face. Those that were aware of the character expressed appreciation for its authenticity and others just seem to react to how "scary" he was especially since he seemed to walk with a foreboding glide throughout the exhibit & panel halls. 
While he was walking, a cute boy in a wheel-chair dressed as Riku saw him and expressed excitement at seeing him. The Youngest stopped to take a picture & posed as if he were fighting him which is in keeping with the character.  The boy was so thrilled at being "attacked". 😂 
On another day, he motioned for me to stop because he spotted something (I didn't see it at first) & asked me to take a picture.  I had no idea what he was going to do, but then he proceeded to get the attention of an elderly lady in a wheel chair cosplaying as a Queen sitting on the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones. Vanitas then proceeded to kneel (bend the knee) seemingly paying the ultimate respect. 
She smiled so wide & I could tell she was extremely tickled by it. Of course, I was just so proud and touched by the choices he was making.  He's only 13 and honestly doesn't really understand the huge impact of his kindness.  Of course, as his mother, I praised him. In his normal fashion he responded with "I just thought it was a cool pose." 😏 It's ok, my baby.  Continue to think being good to people is ordinary.  I'm just proud of you, as well as The Huz & his big brother (The First-Born).  I always say life is not always perfect--there are as many downs as there are ups--and the loves of my life get on my nerves as much as they fill me with so much pride & love. 😄 But the best moments, the touching memorable moments of joy they give me makes it all worth it!

**This year's Comic Con 2019, 50th Anniversary year, was held on July 17 (Preview night) through July 21st.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Never the Villain in Your Own Story

Back a ways, I spotted a quote I will never forget.  It went something like, "You're never the villain in your own story". That quote has stayed with me & I've repeated it to various people since it struck a chord with me and I've always gotten a "Ahaaa", like it was also relatable to others.🙋  I think the deepest meaning of the quote encourages true empathy for how others feel and deal with what life throws at them. Over the years, I've encountered (and often feel subjected) to various negative-type personalities.  It's been a life journey of navigating how to react to anger, cruelty, snobbish behavior--I think the list can go on.   But what I've learned the most about human behavior is that one never wants to see themselves as the person doing the wrong to others.  Their perspective & story is always about how the OTHER person is the one to blame and how the OTHER person's character is questionable. But let's face it, even when we're the ones complaining about another person, they always have their own perspective on the situation.  And most likely, we're not the innocent party in their version of the story.

Never was this reflection better illustrated than in dealing with Someone I once knew.
(Reminds me of that song by Gotye "Someone I used to Know" 😁 ). I feel like I have so much more to say about Someone & her contribution to my life--which has blessedly ended--yielding with it much material for me to self-reflect upon and write about.  I hope that by sharing my experiences with and about her, I can also heal from the mild trauma I feel she has put on my soul. 🙇 Sounds a bit on the dramatic side, but writing has always been a form of self-therapy for me.

Once, Someone was ghosted by a friend of ours (more an acquaintance for me) and she claimed that the other person was jealous of her and couldn't handle all the successes and positives happening in her life.  I remember finding this explanation a little odd & always kept an open mind as to the real reason.  Recently, I found out that the true reason the friendship was ended was because "Someone" was always insulting the other person's son. Then Someone got into a conflict with another mutual friend of ours (this time the person is much closer to me) and Someone claimed that our friend was annoying her and not able to make decisions properly.  I also found out from our friend (with text message proof) that Someone always had an opinion about every situation & decision (cookies versus cupcakes) so it was difficult to truly make choices without her "approval".  And along the way, she was rude and insulting & really hurt our sweet friend's feelings. 😕

But she's not the villain & will never be the villain in her own eyes. And until I became the object of her rudeness and anger, I never truly thought about how negatively she contributed to my peace of mine.
I recently blocked all her posts from my Socials so I can never see what angry and heavy laden posts she makes about other people's behaviors.  And I can only imagine how much of a villain I am in her story simply because she couldn't control who I choose to allow in my life.  I will never permit anyone to tell me who I can and can't associate with. That's toxic and it's hard for me to swallow what other toxic behaviors I've allowed over the years.

But ultimately, I feel sorry for her. She is a person who seems to be hurting very deeply. She must be.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Is My Child the Strongest, the Bravest, the 'estest'?

More times than I can count, I've read parents on my Socials timelines describe their child(ren) as the strongest, smartest, bravest (one poster going as far as saying her daughter was the "strongest person I know"). But really though? A first-world teenager that has had her parents backing her up for every life journey she has ever taken is the strongest person you know?  May I suggest expanding your knowledge of remarkable people? As someone that often deliberates on phrasing and wording before I put anything down on concrete, I often cringe at these descriptions. Admittedly, I'm no stranger to complimenting my kids and expressing how proud I am of them. I think, as a parent, that's the most gratifying part-- having an excuse to say something great about our children and sharing it with anyone who will listen.

But if you really think about it, are our children really the strongest? How about those kids that have to face violence and war every day & somehow still find the will to survive & sometimes thrive? Are our kids the bravest? How about those kids who have no parents to guide them and yet they go out into the world and contribute in the most positive way without anyone supporting them or cheering them on? Are our kids the most hard-working? Some kids wake up every morning and do back breaking chores in order to feed their families. And most likely, these kids don't have parents who are posting about them on Social Media and talking about them in any kind of "est" manner.

My point is, our kids, the kids that are often mentioned on my timelines as well as my own kids, are the privileged kids.  They don't have these incredibly enormous challenges that other kids face and more often than not don't truly deserve any kind of "ests". Yes, our kids are smart and may even get straight "As". But they haven't come up with some genius mathematical equation that can potentially cure cancer. Yes, some of our kids are strong.  But they don't have to carry pounds of produce on their back and walk miles to sell it at a market in order to feed the family.

Again, there's nothing wrong with praising our kids. Do that.  It helps their self-esteem and frankly, it's just nice to hear. Some of our kids are pretty great after all.

But also, keep some of that stuff in perspective as well. Good grades are great and need to be commended.  But also, make sure you treat people kindly and not just as lip service--stop insulting, degrading, acting like you're superior to others--kindness is MORE than a word.  Accolades in sports are fantastic! But do you display sportsmanship and treat others with respect, on and off the field? Because when all is said & done, it's just a game. Some people don't consider it their life's mission to "crush their opponent" and maybe they'd rather watch a movie than go to a practice or heck, go to a school dance. Accept that & do your own thing--without malice.
Because we're all human.  We all have the potential to fail at these tasks.  But we can always get better & BE better.  Believe me, as a doting Mom & an avid Social Media user, I share many ups of parenting--the accolades, the achievements--and at the risk of being that eye-rolling humble bragger, I'm extremely proud of the things my kids have accomplished. And I'm happy for fellow parents that share their children's achievements--just don't insult and degrade someone else to elevate your child(ren) because then I'm not feeling so generous in my good feelings for you.

What I don't deliberately share are the downs, and as life would have it, there are many.  And honestly, I don't feel comfortable in sharing them either.  That's not what I want to use my Social Media for and I believe that what you share online should be just a snippet of your real life--privacy is essential to balanced living. But rest assured, every day is not perfect.  I'm now raising teenagers.  I think that sentence speaks for itself.  Two teenage sons.  Two very different personalities. And sometimes, I want to throw one of them in the ocean--not going to single one out specifically, but he knows who he is.  😵 If you think anyone's life is perfect, chances are you're wrong. I wish everyone well, but we all have our ups and downs.

My point is, my sons are amazing and they have given us many many reasons to be proud.😍 And I hope I've expressed it to them as often and as strongly as I feel it--verbally and through my Socials.  They are not, however, some over-the-top "est" except maybe at being loved by The Huz and I.  The love we have for them---THAT is what I'm most certain of.  They are the MOST (est) loved by us, by their parents.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Books are a Great Arm Work-out

I mean, c'mon, that's the kind of arm work-out I'm into. 😁 I'm actually a Kindle (e-reader) devotee, but hey, let's not split hairs. 😛 Here are my latest Contemporary Romance book recommendations. Please note that these titles are for adults only. 💥

Kiss of Moonlight (Lucani Lovers) by Stephanie Julian

Supernatural elements & magic center around the main couple, Kyle and Tamra.  He's an intense guy with an intense job in his magical world and she's recovering from something traumatic and is pretty magical in her own way. They don't waste any time pretending they're not drawn to each other.  But so much danger exists...

Phew! These two are pretty electric together.  But also pretty sweet.  I could definitely feel the love.

Good Cop by Liz Kelly  
The love triangle in this story between Brooks, Lolly & Vance had me all kinds of nervous for pretty much the entire story. I mean, someone’s bound to be hurt and the whole idea of two “friends” fighting for one girl just doesn’t sit well with me.  As a reader, I’m not sure who you’ll be rooting for: Team Brooks or Team Vance. I was Team Brooks all the way & I found myself frustrated with Lolly because I felt she was hurting him.  See? I get really into my romance novels.  LOL! Check this one out, it’s definitely a fun read set in a charming small town where everybody knows everybody and secrets hard to keep. 

A Lush Betrayal by Selena Laurence  
This is the not-so-easy love story of Joss Jamison, rock star, and Mel DiLorenzo, budding photojournalist. They develop a hot & heavy romance ignited by a strong attraction.  Other than the normal drama of rock star celebrity romances, you wouldn’t think that anything else could get in the way of two people who clearly want each other.  Except that Joss is tormented by something, a secret that could destroy not only his relationship with the love of his life, but also with his best friends. This story is definitely a page-turner involving not only hot relationships, but friendships hanging in the balance.  It’s a story that kept me on my toes!