Apart at the Seams Book Tour

I recently read  Apart at the Seams by  Melissa Ford  and agreed to participate in a book tour.  I enjoyed reading the book as it was about an independent woman named Arianna. On the surface she was independent and had a great life ahead. She was a budding fashion artist, a single mother, and recently decided to invite her boyfriend Ethan to move into her apartment.  Of course,  life has a way of providing roadblocks and choices. Arianna through all her experiences learns what is important to her in both career and relationships.

After Arianna is initially rejected by Francesca (her supervisor), she wrestles with the idea of telling her co-worker and friend, Rachel about it. But then she confesses to herself that by revealing the criticism she may also be revealing a weakness about herself

“But if I tell Rachel about the conversation, then I’ll have to admit I don’t have a clue and that maybe, just maybe, I believe that there’s some truth in Francesca’s fears.”

Is this unique to women?

I think the feeling of being perceived as weak if she tells Rachel or Tabitha is unique to women.  I  think men have a tendency not to take the criticism as an attack on them. Their thought process goes more to back to the drawing board.

I definitely was able to identify with Arianna. I was a new manager and had a plan for changing my staffing pattern. I presented it my superior and it was rejected and I was told my idea would not work and was not one that fit in the hospital plan. I like Arianna never told anyone because I was afraid I would be seen in a bad light. In my career, I have seen other females keep silent for the same reason but not talk about it until years later.

A constant theme in the book is whether Arianna’s relationship with Noah is appropriate. Arianna wants to believe their friendship is acceptable because she desperately needs someone who understands the pressure of producing creatively. Rachel seems to believe her relationship with Noah is unacceptable, possibly even bordering on an emotional affair. How do you judge Arianna’s friendship with Noah? Would you be comfortable in engaging in a similar friendship yourself ?

I do not see anything wrong with having friends of the opposite sex. Throughout my life I have had male friends even when I was dating and married. We went to have coffee or go to a restaurant. I think this is the way it began for Arianna and she even told Ethan about her meeting Noah for coffee.  It did change into an emotional affair when she began to text Noah, go to the office for fittings and continue to want to see him after the clothing design was over. I think she tried to convince herself nothing was happening but the jewelry store incident opened her eyes.

If I was in a relationship I would not have been comfortable with a similar male friendship. The texting and feeling like a teenager with a crush, withholding information from Ethan about her and Noah would have definitely made me think I needed to cut the relationship between myself and the male friend.

Were you rooting for things to improve for Arianna and Ethan’s relationship? 

I wavered during the book. At first, I saw Ethan as someone who was immature and not responsible. He didn’t take the job that paid the most money but rather one that fit his hours and creativity. I started to root for them when I saw his support of Arianna and her first fashion design. I thought his support of her through her mother’s illness was great. As I read the cliché “opposites attract” described Arianna and Ethan. I thought once they started talking they realized that they were meant for each other. I found myself truly rooting for them once Arianna came clean about her relationship with Noah and truly hoped she had not ruined what she had with Ethan.  Arianna, Beckett and Ethan belonged together.

Please continue to the next leg of this book tour by visiting the main list at LavenderLuz.com.

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Gratitude List #26

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it” – William Arthur Ward

This week has flown by with so much to do and so little time to do it. I am going on a 10 day vacation so it has been making lists and checking them twice. I have tried to make sure all on the home-front is done so no surprises crop up while I am away.

My Gratitude List (in no particular order)

  • looking forward to gather with family members I have not seen in many years. Excitement does not begin to capture my emotion.
  • Thankful I have a daughter and son-in-law and son and daughter-in-law who graciously take time out of their busy schedules to look after things while I am away.
  • Having fun with my granddaughter each weekend-who knew that Bubble Guppies and Tinkerbell could be so interesting.
  • Having great co-workers willing to step in and allow me to go on vacation without fear of coming back to stacks of work.
  • Finally having computer and WiFi living in harmony and working. It was nice to not spend part of the weekend troubleshooting.
  • Another week of great weather and running the fan at night instead of the air conditioning.
  • Getting another 12 miles in this week running.

What was on your gratitude list this week?

 

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Zucchini Boats

I was given some zucchini by a neighbor. This recipe is based on one I found on Iowa Girl Eats Blog.  Since it was not your typical August day of  heat and humidity, I decided to try this recipe this weekend. It is a very easy but tasty dish.

Ingredients

2 zucchini Note: Make sure to choose same size zucchini
Olive Oil
1 pound ground meat (I chose ground turkey)
4 cups marinara sauce
1/4 fresh basil,chopped
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a combination of cheddar and mozzarella)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Place a cooling rack on top of a baking pan lined with foil. Mist with oil.
3. Slice zucchini in half lengthwise.
4. Scoop out seeds and make a well in the center of zucchini
5. Brush both sides of the zucchini with olive oil
6. Place cut side down on the cooling rack and place in oven for 20 minutes (depending on size of your zucchini-less time for a smaller zucchini)

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7. While zucchini are baking brown the ground meat and basil. Add the 1/2 the marinara sauce and heat.
8. Remove zucchini from oven and flip cut-side up
9. Fill zucchini with meat mixture and put remaining sauce over zucchini. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven.
10 Turn broiler on and top the zucchini boats with cheese and place under broiler until cheese melted (and a little crisp on edges)

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These are kid approved as I had my granddaughter over (one very picky eater) and she ate an entire filled zucchini half herself.  The recipe should serve 4 people

 

 

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Gratitude List #25

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but live by them.” John F Kennedy

I just made a comment on another gratitude list that this has been a roller coaster of emotions on many fronts this week. In the national and international world,  there were so many events causing sadness to all of us.  In my personal world I had many positive days which helped get through the week.

My Gratitude List (in no particular order)

  • Seeing grass springing up from my planting efforts last weekend. I may need to plant more in the spring but my efforts were not in vain.
  • Signed up to run the Lemiuex 6.6 k race in October. I have been making great strides in getting back to distance running and the incline trainer has certainly helped
  • Being able to spend another weekend of mornings on the deck. While it was in the 60’s on Saturday, the morning sun on the deck made it a wonderful.
  • Spending another weekend with my granddaughter. It was so much fun to play catch, do chalk art on the sidewalk and hear the world from a 4 year old’s perspective.
  • Eating my first of the season ripe tomato. Nothing beats the taste of a vine ripened tomato.
  • Counting my blessings in having all of my needs met and then some.

What is on your gratitude list this week?

 

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Gratitude List #24

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and that world”- John Milton

It seems this week has been beset with little detours this week. Instead of dwelling on the negative I was able to see the positive and get through the week with a smile.

My gratitude list (in no particular order)

  • My modem finally saw a better day this week. My internet connection this week was fair. I finally was able to get my cable service upgraded including a new modem. The best part was securing a substantial reduction in my cable bill even with the new equipment.
  • The area where the pine tree was cut down finally has grass planted. I had a few people tell me it would take a year before I could plant grass due to the acidic soil. I did find a few articles that gave me some ideas. I worked in potting soil with the soil and then planted a grass that was guaranteed to grow in any soil. Time will tell if it works. I have to say it was a great workout.
  • Kibbles has been having problems getting up and down the stairs. I took her to the vet and they could find no conclusive diagnosis except for maybe early arthritis. Her vet gave me some medication but also suggested Fish Oil. I decided to try the Fish Oil first and 2 days later she was back to her normal jumping self. Who knew something so simple would do the trick.
  • Had a stomach bug yesterday but thankfully feel much better today. Sometimes our bodies tell us rest is as important as exercise.
  • Enjoying another girls night out with my daughter. It is great to have a best friend as well as an awesome daughter.
  • Counting the days until my Arizona vacation. I get to see my cousins who I haven’t seen in some time. My cousin, Virginia,  who also blogs over at Beyond Cinderella has graciously invited me into her home. I cannot wait to see all my family.
  • Another weekend of having coffee and this week also breakfast on my deck.

What is on your Gratitude List this week.

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Gratitude List #23

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”  – Zig Ziglar

Another week has passed all too quickly. This week our weather was much more like late September rather than late July. It was pleasant running and sleeping weather.

My Gratitude List (in no particular order)

  • Finally being able to run when I have time. Recently purchased an Incline Trainer and it can be used as a treadmill. Now I am able to run no matter what the weather and it allows me to catch up on my Netflix shows.
  • Having an easy 2 weeks at work. This affords me the time to get caught up on paperwork and my continuing education credits.
  • Signed up for another photography course starting in mid September. This course is a continuation of my last course allowing me to expand my knowledge of photography.
  • Light work days allows me to leave a little early or on time. I was able to get another room organized.  This week, I saved the storage room for last.  I should have some more things to give to charity next week.
  • Finally having the pine tree cut down and removed from my front yard. I found some who was willing to do it for a reasonable price and doing an excellent job. The amount of yard space gained is amazing. I will have to plant grass this week but by next year the yard will look much better.
  • Again this week being able to use my deck at night. The breeze and privacy are amazing. It helps me relax at the end of the day.
  • For a very special visitor this weekend. I am now an authority on Tinkerbell and friends. Dancing and singing were the order of Saturday night.

Jiale Saturday night

She is so much fun and I want some of her energy.

What is on your gratitude list this week?

 

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Cheesy Zucchini Bake

I like summer for many reasons and in my top ten are locally grown zucchini. Tonight I needed something quick and tasty. I came up with the cheesy zucchini bake.

Ingredients

8 small zucchini
1 tsp olive oil
2 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
3/4 cup of shredded cheese (I chose Mexican blend)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning.
2 cups of pasta sauce

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. Cut zucchini into medium slices ( I cut the slices in half)
  3. Grease the bottom of the casserole dish with the olive oil
  4. Place the cut zucchini into casserole dish . Add basil and Italian seasoning and stir
  5. Place 1/4 cup of cheese into casserole and stir.
  6. Add one cup of pasta sauce and mix all ingredients
  7. Cook in oven for 20 minutes
  8. Pull from oven, stir add the 1/2 cup of cheese and pasta sauce
  9. Bake in oven for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve. This makes 4 servings. Enjoy

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Gratitude List #22

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude” -A.A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh

The time since coming back from vacation hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. Real life is never truly that way. Nothing bad or earth-shattering has happened but a case of the Negative Nelly crept its way into my head.  This week was busy and I had writers block.

Last night at church I was sitting there when suddenly thoughts of the good things in my life came flooding into my mind.  It was like a cloud had been lifted. The smiles were genuine and I saw the smiles returned.

My Gratitude List (in no particular order)

  • I am very lucky to work in a job that allows me to interact with many people during my day. There is never a day that goes that I do not gain some wisdom from the patients I see.
  • I love my job. I truly enjoy being a nurse practitioner.  It is a dream job while having its peaks and valleys I cannot imagine another profession that I would enjoy more.
  • Living in an area that is close to the city to enjoy all it has to offer but also near horse farms, llamas and chicken. I can go 3 miles and walk in the park or practice my photography skills there.
  • Having a family that is close and supportive. My daughter calls almost daily and my son tonight came over not only to visit but to help me put my incline trainer together and take out my garbage.
  • Being fortunate enough to have good health.
  • I live in a good neighborhood and have great neighbors on both sides of me. We all help each other.
  • Having friends that like to keep active and get together for laughter and fun.
  • Again feeling positive and understanding we may not always get what we want but we do have what we need

What is on your gratitude list this week?

 

 

 

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Gratitude List #21

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Melody Beattie

This week seemed to go so quickly. This may have been with the week starting with me on vacation. I could certainly get used to 3 day work weeks. It was a rainy Saturday but still a nice weekend

My Gratitude List (in no particular order)

  • Having great co-workers to cover so I was able to come back to work without my desk overflowing with paper work
  • For a great daughter who comes over and takes care of Kibbles and my house. I certainly appreciate her taking time out of her life to help.
  • Even though it is July it has been wonderful to open the windows, feel the breeze and keep the air conditioning off.
  • Sitting on my deck and having the time to unwind after work and having my coffee there on the weekends.
  • Barbecuing on my new grill
  • Weekly visits by my son and granddaughter to brighten my week
  • The wonderful farmers market where I can go and purchase local  fresh fruits and vegetables for the entire week .
  • For all my readers and their support

What are you thankful for this week?

 

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A Quick Trip to Unplug

The past 2 years I have taken a few days to unplug from the daily routine and go to see nature at its best. This year was no exception. I went to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia again this year. Some friends and I get together camp, hike and see the sights of nature.

The first thing that struck me was about 5 miles into the park. It was about 5:30 p.m. and there are many overlooks but at one particular overlook the sun was shining and you could see each ray coming on various parts of the mountain side. Unfortunately the picture did not turn out well to share but the picture in my mind will remain for some time to come. The sight of the whole scene was one of the reasons I return each year.

The first night, there was a brief storm. Seeing the thunder and lightning move across the mountains provides a great Mother Nature Firework show. It was brief in the area we were staying but the show could be seen miles away.

The next morning we went on a nature hike. The hike was about 5 1/2 miles round trip but it was a challenge. I have a tendency to think my legs are in shape but when you get uneven ground, gravel and hills it shows you exercise doesn’t really prepare you for true hiking. Many of the people we met were hiking through which means they may be taking the Appalachian Trail through the park (approximately 110 mile hike) or start in Georgia and try to end in Maine (a 2180 mile hike). I am always in awe when I meet them.

The trail consisted of many beautiful sights

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You have to wonder how a random patch of morning glories survived.

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Miles of green.

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Rocks with their own set of lichen, an algae that grows. There are warnings on the trail not to disturb theses as they help the area maintain a symbiotic relationship.

Finally we reached our destination (and yes a couple of times I asked are we there yet?) The climb was definitely worth it.

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You can actually see 3 different cities but as you can tell it was foggy so the view was limited.

Driving to the campstore to pick up some ice,  we saw a rattlesnake in the middle of the road. Didn’t get a picture as it was on a windy road. When you go on the trails they always warn you of rattlesnakes around the rocks but we always thought it was just a myth.

One of the great sites of the trip was this.

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This was the only picture I could take with his face showing. Otherwise he was much too busy eating dinner. He was on the hillside by the main road and had an audience for his meal. This bear is probably approximately 1 1/2 to 2 years of age.

I only stayed for 2 days but feel relaxed and like I have been away for a week. I hope I can do it again next year.

 

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