The Book & Cookies Tag

Howdy!

One day I realized it had been a long time since I read some blog posts of some of my favorite people, and as I scrolled through the long list I found a really fun and interesting tag about books and cookies. Marie had published this on her blog last month and I thought her answers really great and I just thought it would be a great first post of 2019!

I had to write out all of the questions on my note pad so that I could basically memorize most of them and think of the answers while lying in bed watching a really awful Rockets game! We’re not going to go there! I hope everybody enjoys this and if you decide to do it too, please let me know because I’d love to know what kind of books you picked for each cookie!


Chocolate Chip – A Classic Book That You Love Or Really Enjoyed

Unfortunately, I haven’t read a lot of Classics, even when I was in school, we rarely read anything which now is a bit of a bummer because I feel like I missed out on a lot of interesting books and lectures, but my teacher wasn’t the type to read the kind of classics I’d like to read nowadays.

However, when I was a junior I took a Novels class and we read three classics. The one I loved the most was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It was the first book we read and it’s been the one to last the longest in my mind. I could understand Victor for the fact that he was seeking attention from his father and the love of his life, by doing something that was seemingly impossible and criminal to do. In 2016, I got to learn the origins of how Mary came up with this beloved Gothic story, and I think all that did was make me fall in love with the story even harder!

Thin Mints – A Fandom That You Really Want To “Join” and/or A Hyped Up Book You Want To Read

I’ve noticed that every book I read, I’m usually one year or in some cases 10 years after its original release and you miss everything that the rest of the speedy readers of the fandom have been able to enjoy. A part of me isn’t as upset about it, but since I have found my love for the Harry Potter, Red Queen, and To All Of The Boys I’ve Loved Before books, I feel like I’ve been left out again but instead of it being the other person’s fault. This one is all me. I feel like I am apart of their fandoms, I just don’t voice it out loud very often.

Now for the hyped up book though. I’ve tried my hardest to get into Paula Hawkins’s The Girl On The Train novel and I just cannot get into it. However, if I were to decide to say “screw it” and watch the movie without picking it up again, I would probably enjoy the movie because I have been loving suspense-thriller type of films lately! It’s really hard to explain why these two sections have different results, I’ve never been able to solve the mystery.

Shortbread – An Author You Can’t Get Enough Of

This is really difficult to answer because I’ve only read a handful of books with sequels. I know that’s not exactly the question, but I guess my favorite author is Olivia Cunning.

If you want a book that is in the exotica genre but not as “degrading” as Fifty Shades, I would suggest you check out Olivia Cunning’s books. She writes about rockstars! The series that I love the most is the Sinners On Tour and I’ve always been torn between Trey and Jace being my favorite male characters. I have a soft spot for the both of them! Olivia has been working on another series/band, called Exudes End and I have read one of the novellas and I didn’t like it as much but I want to give it another try as we get to see what’s happened with Trey and his ménage à trois with Reagan and Ethan.

Somoas – An Emotional Rollercoaster

This was the easiest one of the bunch, because it’s tie between The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and Me Before You by JoJo Moyes.

I find it a little odd, although it definitely didn’t surprise me that these would be the ones I’d chose because I bawled my eyes out for the both of them. Since they discussed real disability issues, it would have an effect on me but I didn’t know how bad until I got to the stuff I have, myself, have thought about, like leaving a legacy and contemplating suicide. I wish I could say, I didn’t cry as hard while watching the films as I did reading those heartbreaking senses, but I did and I’m not ashamed to admit that it got me twice!

Oreos – A Book Whose Cover Was Better Than The Story Or Vice Versa The Story Was Better Than The Cover

Unfortunately, I am the type of person that does judge a book by its cover. However, I am still very picky with the stories no matter what the cover looks like, because I’ve seen some gorgeous front covers but the stories were not my cup of tea, like Melissa de la Cruz’s The Ring And The Crown. I thought was cover for both editions were absolutely beautiful but the actual story was a nightmare. I never finished reading it because it was such a let down for me.

The only cover that I feel like was perfect to the theme was Nikki Sixx’s photography book called This Is Gonna Hurt. The cover is very dark and mysterious; it was exactly what I wanted to see for this type of book. He tends to like a lot of different oddities, and thinks the ugliest of things are the most beautiful of all. He was trying to give you a different perspective of things and I loved it!

Peanut Butter Patties – A Book That Wasn’t What You Expected

I think we all have our expectations of what a certain is going to be like, sometimes we’re right with our assumptions and other times we’re not. I’m always in the middle of the pack when it comes to thinking about where a book is going to go, but I do try to keep an open mind as much as possible!

I had decided to read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher while the first season of the show was on Netflix. My sister had bought the book after she completed the series, which I thought was strange, so after she was through with it, I asked if I could have it next to see what all of the fuss was about and I had heard of what it dealt with and I was both curious and shocked by it. However, when I started reading it and learning about the significance of each character and what made Hannah Baker want to take her own life. I felt bad for both Hannah and Clay, he about broke my heart in half with his sweet personality, but I carried on because I wanted to know more, but once I was finished with the book I made the decision to not watch the series. The book was enough for me.

Snickerdoodles – A Book You May Never Stop Loving or Re-reading

Well, since I hardly ever re-read a book, I can’t answer the last bit, but I love a lot of books. I love my historical books–they’re my babies, but weirdly enough my beloved stories, would probably be counted as short stories or novellas? They are The Last Leaf by O Henry and The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I read both of them while I was in high school. They both have really interesting plots and I’ve never been able to forget them and I’ve been out of school for close to 10 years!

So what did you think of this tag? Have you read any of books I’ve shared with you today? Hope you all enjoy your first day of the new year too!   

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What I Love About Afternoon Tea!

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Hello!

Last October, when I stayed at my mom’s work while she recovered from her second surgery, my nana and I got to have a lot of fun together and one of the things we both got to enjoy was a theme dinner there at the nursing home.

Gail who works in the activities department explained to us that they try to have four different themes in a year. She and the other girls decorate the different dining rooms and they plan with the chefs of a meal that would go with that particular theme. The one I got to enjoy was “Serenade At The Seven Seas” or something like that. I liked it. I also loved trying the different courses, but the other ladies were a bit mixed though!

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The theme was called “My Fair Lady” and I guess the ladies in the activities department decorated the dinning rooms and made feathered hats or “bonnets” for the female residents! She took pictures and even wrote out the menu of what they served to the residents! I was going to use the one she made, but it had some spelling mistakes so I just redid it – later I realized I could have spelling mistakes on mine! Funny how they works!

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They also had a little tea party too!

According to Gail, in the film a couple of characters host a party and they decided to recreate that with the residents, so they decorated the large activity room with very pretty and colorful table clothes and had these beautiful centerpieces in the middle of them. They looked very vintage but yet modern too! They also made the ladies hats with feathers and ribbons in crafts. My nana really loved that, but as you can see apparently so did Alex!

28535342_1768924659838523_1707063689_nIn 2016, I actually wanted to have an afternoon tea themed birthday party. I had so many ideas that I wanted to do. I wanted to decorate my grandparent’s kitchen table with different fabrics, and since my birthday is like the day after Halloween, I knew my nana had a large black table liner and I thought if we put that on the table itself and laid out a red runner in the middle that way it wouldn’t look too dark and gloomy for the party!

Over the course of the last two years, I’ve actually wondered what I’d serve to this tea party if I ever had one! Since I read so many of my fellow blogger friends going to afternoon tea at different hotels or just plainly at home with their family members and/or close friends., I’ve been able to figure out what all is served, and I’ve grown to love the three teared stand of food that is laid out on the table. The first thing they give you is your tea. However, I’m like the 1% that doesn’t like coffee or tea, so I’m more interested in finding a good lemonade recipe. My mom actually made a homemade strawberry lemonade last year, where she let the strawberries sit out in the juice overnight to allow the flavors to marinate together. I’m kind of partial to anything raspberry, so whenever I see a “raspberry lemonade” on a menu at a restaurant, I instantly order it! So I’d rather have a raspberry lemonade instead.

As much as I’ve gathered, you usually start with the sandwiches, they are usually placed on the bottom and bigger tear. The traditional flavors are egg salad, smoked salmon and cumber all cut in small bites so they look more dainty, and they always have the crusts cut off! Now I look on Pinterest for other ideas to make this a little bit more casual, so I am curious about creating a sandwich or two as some kind of wrap or pinwheel–using the traditional plain tortilla or having a variation of spinach or whole wheat!

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On the second tear you had the scones, which apparently in the states we say the word completely wrong! I’d explain on how it’s really pronounced but I don’t even know how to describe it, so I apologize there.

I have actually seen quite a few of my favorite chefs make scones on their television programs, so I already know of some different kinds I’d like to try out. I also know that when you’re making them for the first time, they’re suppose to be crumbly, so there’s nothing wrong with them, that’s just how they’re meant to be! Ree Drummond created the Maple Oat Nut Scones after not being able to visit a Starbucks where she lives; they look really good! The way she described them on her show The Pioneer Woman they taste like a biscuit type of pancake, because it has a strong taste of maple syrup! However, I think I would have to keep the coffee out of it! And then there’s a Cheddar and Dill Scone recipe from Ina Garten, she’s made this with both cheddar and a Stilton, which is like a stronger blue cheese! She’s very inspired by French food and had a gourmet food store back in the day, so she’s figured out different ways to make a good savory scone!

28536475_1768924629838526_1468751189_nNow the real question is what would I do about the clotted cream and jam that they serve alongside the scones itself? I know we don’t have the traditional clotted cream or nobody makes it to that level as the British, so the next best choice to have would either be mascarpone or cream cheese! Personally, I’ve never been in jam or perseveres, so I wouldn’t necessarily put it out as an option if it was only me, but if I had a group of people, I’d probably get a small jar of strawberry or blueberry jam, but for those who want to be really adventurous they can try out the marmalade. You know, I love the smell of that stuff because it’s like oranges, but I have never tried it before and if it was put out there on the table, I probably would like to try a small dab of it.

As far as the top layer of the stand, my thoughts have differed, sometimes I think a very casual take on decorative cupcakes would work out very nicely! You could make minis so they’d fit on the tear better. However if you wanted to add a fun twist to them, like stuffing them, it wouldn’t necessarily work on the tiny ones. I’ve noticed I keep looking into French pastries. You’d think I’ve been watching too much Ina Garten lately! So the possibility of having macrons, which is something that is on my food bucket list (yes, I do have one those! I actually need to work on that soon!) and there’s the tarts or tarlets you can make, like the Mini Raspberry Tarts that Julia Baker made on her TV show! These were so cute and seemed really easy to make! If you’re a chocoholic, in which I sort of am, you need a couple of good chocolate desserts too! Truffles would be a good idea, as you can just eat it in one bite! You could dip strawberries in chocolate or make little pote de creme (puddings!) in mason jars too.

There doesn’t seem like there’s a right or wrong way to create your own afternoon tea! If you’re interested in learning and seeing what is actually served at the teas in the United Kingdom, I have compiled a list of favorite blog posts for you! I hope you have enjoyed this post!

A Candy Shop Afternoon Tea at Conrad St. James – Lux Life | Love Is In The Air at Langham London’s Valentine’s Afternoon Tea – Fresh And Fearless | Afternoon Tea at Mr. Fogg’s Gin Parlour – Little Miss Katy | Afternoon Tea at Rockcliffe Hall – This Northern Gal | Sweet Treats: Glam Rock Afternoon Tea at K West Hotel & Spa – AbsolutelyLucy

Have you ever attended an afternoon tea before? If you have, what was it about it that you loved the most? For those of you who haven’t, have you ever been tempted to create one yourself? Let me know in the comments!

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Life Lately | Where Was I?

Howdy folks!

I’m back to blogging again! I don’t really know if taking a week off is always the best thing for me, because I never truly stop writing posts. I think I make the decisions so I won’t rush into anything and schedule it just so I have something going up that day of the week.

I haven’t done a Life Lately post in so long and it’s a little weird that I got out of habit of doing those types of posts every other month because they were so therapeutic to write, but I’ve been dealing with some really personal things lately and I didn’t think they were appropriate to put up on here. I’ve told some of my online friends about what’s been going on, but they’ve always made it a safe environment for me to come clean–not saying you guys don’t or anything–so that’s the reason why I’ve been so hush-hush about everything.

I’m only going to say that my mom has had two surgeries. One was on her the right side of her neck back in June, a few weeks before Blondie and Brandon’s wedding. And recently she had her second surgery, this time it was bigger and on her stomach. Considering it took me about 12 years to be able to tell everyone the details surrounding my back surgeries, you might have to wait a while so I can get all of the information straight because I feel I have left out quite a bit of details by discussing it with friends, so I apologize if you were wanting a little more, that’s all I’m ready to say for the time being.

While my mom recovered in the hospital for the first surgery for about a day, I spent two days with my sister and brother-in-law. We made mom and dad cupcakes and Brandon and I watched two of the Christian Bale Batman films. The second surgery was a lot bigger compared to the last, so we had to find another place for me to go, because Blondie started her new job back in August, she couldn’t take a full week (or two weeks as it became later) off or Brandon for that matter.

So where was I?

I was at my mom’s work. The same place where my nana now lives. What is surprising though, is that it was my suggestion because we were literally running out of options. I remembered when she told me about a resident at her last job that stayed there every other month to give their parents a little bit of a break. My mom and I were talking one evening and I just brought it up in the middle of our conversation. I think she was more shocked than anything else that I had suggested it. Mom and dad had discussed it amongst themselves but wanted to leave it as a last resort.

So I was supposed to stay there for three days before spending the weekend with Blondie and Brandon. I was a little scared at first, because this is a BIG thing for me! I mean, I’m in my mid-20s spending time at a nursing home while my parents stay in a hospital, but I knew that I was in a place where I was watched by both professionals and my grandmother and I would be fine.

The following Tuesday, I was supposed to go home but poor dad ended up getting sick and we think it was all of the stress of mom having surgery, taking her home and then me coming home on top of that, that everything just kind of came at him all once and his body reacted in the only way it knows how basically, so I stayed there for four more extra days and I really enjoyed it. Mom had told everybody not to spoil me, but that didn’t necessarily work out well for her!

I played Bingo three times and experienced a very adorable theme dinner, called Serenade At The Seven Seas and our tables in the dining rooms were decorated with blue feathered vases (which nana and I helped put together, while listening to Josh Groban) and fish nets and life rafts all around the walls. I ate a lot of food that I don’t necessarily eat at home like Seafood Bisque and Duke Wellington (it was my favorite!) and as our desserts, we had Creme Brule, but I didn’t really like it, because I forgot it is made of custard! I had to explain to nana how it was made and then I realized how much knowledge I’ve been gaining watching all of those food shows on TV!

I had a lot of fun with nana and all of her friends on the hall she lives on. They were all very sweet ladies, not at all what you’re expecting these elderly women are supposed to be, however I will say not everyone is all sunshine and roses, but is anyone really? I really enjoyed being in everyone’s company and seeing both Uncle David, who surprised both of us! I was busy reading by the couch and I saw him walking and I raised my head to smile like I’ve been doing but when people came into that area, after he walked by I went to put my head down, my brain went, “wait…” and as that moment passed he was already over to nana, who was also busy reading the newspaper that I realized it was David. We went outside and got some pictures by his semi and he ate lunch with us! It was a nice visit. And then later, I had my own visitor. My dad’s cousin Amanda came to see me, and brought me a slushie from McDonald’s. She didn’t stay as long but it was nice to see her too!

So yeah, now I’m at home trying to figure what all I’m going to write up for the rest of November! I hoped you enjoyed this little update and I wanted to thank the ones who sent my mom positive thoughts and prayers during both surgeries! And thank you to the ones who allowed me to just vent in between both times too!

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Favorite Scents

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Howdy!

So I wanted to talk about my favorite scents today. I literally feel at times like a damn bloodhound because I smell so many things! I can literally get up in the middle of the night and smell something my dad is cooking from the kitchen through the vent. Sometimes I can come out of deep sleep because I can smell something so heavenly!

We’re not going to talk about food scents necessarily in this post, however as you will notice quickly, I have nothing against them! I do love the smell of pumpkin, apple and cinnamon in the fall! Even though I’m not into the whole pumpkin spice lattes or apple pies at Thanksgiving! The only reason why I’m perfectly fine with cinnamon in general is that it makes me think of cinnamon rolls and that’s my #1 favorite breakfast item.

My mom and sister do have their favorite baking scents though. My sister got mom into this Wild Berry Cheesecake and the first time Blondie had it going around in the apartment it wasn’t so bad because she has a big living room so it has room to breathe really, but at our house it only has the living room and kitchen, it can get very overwhelming at times! My dad can’t handle very many sweet smells so this doesn’t mix well with him and it doesn’t make me feel good either when she’s put a whole cube inside the burner. The other one that Blondie likes to use is this Brownie Pecan and it actually really good, but mom and dad absolutely hate it!

My mom had a Scentsy burner that she didn’t really use and we have one in living room, plus a couple of smelly candles – those are mostly used in case of emergencies though! This other burner is now by my window. I don’t use it a lot, but every once in a while I like to put it on and it kind of soothes me throughout the day. I actually like the fruit scents. I don’t know why I gravitate towards them so much but they’re those kind of scents that help generate cravings. I have enough cravings as it is, so different fruits are good to keep me and my stomach neutralize, plus it helps my dad as well!

One day my mom was washing my hair and she used this mango shampoo and it smelled divine! Ahh, I was seriously addicted to it. I could have done without the champagne layer it had but you could mostly smell the mangoes. And I’m not really into mangoes, I’ve only just tried them a few months ago! They’re not bad! So when I found out my parents were going to the store one afternoon I had them try and find me a mango scent to put into my burner and they find this Peach and Mango Citrus blend.  My dad was the one who found it as my mom couldn’t find anything that was just mango. Luckily, I do love peaches so it works too!

One of the most used is the Sangria scent. I really like this one! It’s not a strong scent but I don’t try to use a whole cube because I like to close my door throughout the day and since it’ll only get colder I tend to keep my window locked as well, so mom only puts a small chunk of it and it usually lasts about a week before I need to add more in the little bowl. I know it has berries in it, because a regular sangria does have berries, but it’s not over-ly berry, it’s actually kind of musky too. It’s very subtle but I don’t know if it’s just because I don’t use a lot of it at one time or if it’s just a mild scent in general.

On the day I decided to work on this post, I put up a status on my Facebook asking one of the questions I have below and I got a lot of interesting answers. I knew about the good things about lavender but I had a few people say both coconuts and peppermint. I thought that was pretty interesting too!

What are your favorite scents? Do you change with the seasons? Is there a smell that you think companies should create?

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