Friday, July 6, 2012

30 Before 30 Accomplishment #3: Host a Steeped Tea Party

I'm a heavy-duty tea drinker, and ever since my sister started working in the head office of Steeped Tea, I've dreamt of having a tea party of my own. Steeped is a home party business here in Canada that's all about loose-leaf tea, tea products, and other goodies. When I added "Host a Steeped Tea Party" to my 30 Before 30 list, I was thinking of doing just that. But then, I decided to take it a bit further. . .

And I'm becoming a Steeped Tea consultant myself! I had my "starter party" a couple weeks ago with the help of a more established consultant, and soon enough I'll be helping hosts with their own parties. I'm excited to share my love of tea with the world.

Some of the sample items shown at the party.

Mismatched teacup delight!

Item #14 on my 30 Before 30 list, Host a Steeped Tea Party, is more than complete.

30 Before 30 Progress: 3 items down, 27 remaining

Sunday, June 17, 2012

30 Before 30 - Campout Music Festival COMPLETE

 I acheived #5 on my 30 Before 30 list, "Go to a campout music festival" with a trip down to Tennessee for Bonnaroo.  

The wristbands!

Check out our classy campsite (my two travelling buddies - and my car! - pictured)

Fully attired for a hot and quirky music festival day (that's me on the left).

The Other Tent, one of the stages at Bonnaroo (with a peace sign/American flag)

Diversity of artists included: Danzig Legacy (doing a Misfits set here, along with Doyle [Wolfgang Von Frankenstein] *squeals). . .

. . . and The Beach Boys on the main stage, on a warm but not-so-sunny afternoon with beach balls and beach blankets, and definitely dancing.

 Item Achieved!

Still to go on the 30 Before 30 list: 28/30

Sunday, April 29, 2012

30 Before 30 Accomplishment: #1 - Make bread

I just accomplished my first item from my 30 Before 30 list: #1 - make my own bread.

Stirring up the mixture

My cooking partner (and sister) kneading some dough.

Completed project 1 - homemade dinner rolls!

Completed project #2 - jalapeno cheddar corn bread

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reading Challenges 2012

My 2012 Reading Challenges:

What's in a Name 5 Challenge
The Goal:  Read a book with a title from each category in 2012
1. A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title: READ: The One-Block Feast: An Adventure in Food from Yard to Table by Margo True (yes, it's a stretch. . . ) 
2. A book with something you'd see in the sky in the title: READ: Cloudy with a Chance of Marriage by Kieran Kramer
3. A book with a creepy crawly in the title: READ: The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
4. A book with a type of house in the title: READ: The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes
5. A book with something you'd carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title: READ: Love Letters from the Duke by Elizabeth Boyle
6. A book with a something you'd find on a calendar in the title: READ:  We Regret to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families - Philip Gourevitch

The Alphabet Challenge (again)
Read: 21/26
A Rogue by Any Other Name - Sarah MacLean
Black Heart Loa - Adrian Phoenix
Confessions of a Little Black Dress - Elizabeth Boyle
Demon's Fall - Karalynn Lee
Enchanting Pleasures - Eloisa James
First Drop of Crimson - Jeaniene Frost
Hobbit, The - JRR Tolkien
Iron Daughter, The - Julie Kagawa
Leopard Prince, The -  Elizabeth Hoyt
Midnight - Ellen Connor
Night to Surrender, A - Tessa Dare
Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language - Patricia T O'Connor
Potent Pleasures - Eloisa James
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - Susan Cain
Raven Prince, The - Elizabeth Hoyt
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers - Renni Browne; Dave King
Touch of Darkness - Christina Dodd
Urban Food Revolution, The: Changing the Way We Feed Cities - Peter Ladner
Vampire Mine - Kerrelyn Sparks
We Regret to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families - Philip Gourevitch
Y the Last Man: Unmanned (graphic novel)
CHALLENGE: Close but no Cigar. Try again for 2013!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Books Read in 2011

This has to be one of my favourite posts to do. All about the books I read last year! I read even more this year than ever before (or at least it feels that way). Here's my genre breakdown:

  • 75 Historical romance (Regency, Georgian, Victorian, other, Gothic)
  • 34 Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance (Urban Fantasy, Paranormal romance, YA urban fantasy)
  • 9 Mysteries
  • 6 Gardening/Farming
  • 5 Travel/Guidebooks
  • 4 Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic (2 YA)
  • 4 Other Fantastical (Contemporary Fantasy, Steampunk)
  • 4 Other Non-Fic (Employment, Writing, Political, Epidemics)
  • 3 Historical Fiction (1 YA)
  • 3 Foodie Non-Fic
  • 1 Graphic Novel
148 Total

Top Ten Books/Series I Read in 2011
(in no particular order)

Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole (most recent came out in 2011) - Paranormal romance with an amazingly detailed world, and brutal matchups (of the "how will this romance EVER work?" variety). Very, very addictive.

McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Countainer by Rose Marie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey - "The Bible" for container vegetable gardeners such as myself. I credit this book for the success of my balcony garden.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - The twists, the turns, the tension, . . . the ending! If you haven't read this masterpiece (like I hadn't), even if you don't usually read mysteries, DO SO.

The Pirate Lord by Sabrina Jeffries - One of my favourite Regency romance authors has a boatload of convict women captured by pirates. Sound ridiculous? That's the part that's a true story. The rest ends up as a romance with a pirate hero who is one of my favourite across the romance genre. (Book #1 of the Lord trilogy)

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (2011) - YA urban fantasy started off a brand new trilogy with a supernatural heroine who doesn't know she's supernatural yet. Likeable characters, suspicious research facility, and so many delightful Canadianisms that pleased me. (Book #1 of the Darkness Rising trilogy - the next is out in April 2012).

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen - A re-telling of Sleeping Beauty. . . during the Holocaust. Beautiful and haunting.

Essex Sisters Series by Eloisa James - Georgian-era romances. Through the 4 books, you get really invested in the lives of the 4 Essex sisters. Eloisa James is a master at putting really heartbreaking scenarios into her books, and also at intertwining her female leads through series. But they always have a happy ending!

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews - A second foray into "The Edge" (that place between our world and the "other", magical world), with a gritty alternate Lousiania swampland and an equally gritty heroine who fights for her family and meets a semi-feral fella. This series keeps getting better. (Book #2 of The Edge series)

One Second After by William Fortschen - One second (and then days, weeks, months, and years) after an EMP above North America kills all modern technology. Chillingly realistic apocalypse, and also really engaging.

River Marked by Patricia Briggs (2011) - Another dip into Mercy Thompson's world, VW Mechanic and part-time coyote. This is a bit different in tone from the others, but the development of Mercy and Adam's relationship,  the focus on Native American mythology (like seeing Coyote), and the intricacies of the world-building made it another delight to read. (Book #6 of the Mercy Thompson series)