Friday, October 3, 2014

In Which I Was On TV!

You see, I happen to work at the wonderful Rock Ranch, located in The Rock, Georgia. Every autumn they have Fall Family Fun Days each Saturday from late September all the way through November, and each has a theme - for example, this week is Lumberjack day and there will be college teams from all over the southeast competing at lumberjackesque events like chopping trees, sawing beams, and log "burling" in the lake.

Now, why did that make me get on TV?

This year, the enormous corn maze is celebrating "75 years of Oz" (it's the 75th anniversary of the movie!) and the entire maze is shaped like this:

I know. Complicated-looking! And I have to memorize the whole thing because... I'm working in it! Part of the time I'll be a corn cop, helping folks find their way out of the maze if they need a little aid. But part of the time...

I'm dressing up as Glinda!

That dress must weigh ten pounds, but it's my favorite of all the costumes. :D ANYway, all the characters from the movie (but not the wicked witch) are represented by a great cast of Rock Ranch staff, including me. Kids (and parents!) will be able to meet-n-greet us and get their pictures taken.

It's going to be fun! I couldn't be there last Saturday, as I was in a very special wedding bridesmaid-ing, but this week I am stoked to be gallivanting around as Glinda. :D

Last week, myself and Hannah (Dorothy) and Tyler (The Scarecrow) and our events manager, communications director, AND my awesome mama (super-duper assistant extraordinare) all drove up to Atlanta. Whilst there, we stopped by 104.7 The Fish radio station and did a quick radio spot and got a photo with the DJ!

THEN... we went here.

CBS. As in, an actual TV station. (that's Adam, our awesome events manager, behind me)...

Click Here to watch the segment. Unfortunately there's also a bit about a haunted house, but it's over rather quickly. :P I had no idea what to expect when we went in, but it ended up that we didn't have to say anything at all, just smile and wave. There was another short bit where we stood at another table with pumpkins on it and waved goodbye at the very end of the hour and Parker surprised us by asking "So where is the tin man?" And I told her "He rusted over." XD Haha! We didn't have microphones on though.

Being at a real TV station was fascinating. The actual broadcast room was a lot smaller than I had thought, with different desks and areas in one room with several HUGE cameras in the middle that swiveled. One of the behind-the-scenes gals told me that my hair was fantastic and asked if I had any hair secrets to share on how to get it so long and gorgeous. :D (short answer: I don't. Don't blow-dry, don't dye, and don't flat-iron. I curl it once in a great while though.)

 Us waving goodbye. :D

And a scarecrow selfie! :)

After the live TV bit was over, Sue from Field Trips with Sue interviewed Adam more about the Rock Ranch, for her own website.

Then after that we got lost about four times on our way to a certain chick-fil-a (actually walked into the wrong one fully decked out in costume - that was hilariously awkward) we finally made it, ate some tasty salads that the staff served us on the house, and then took our picture with all the customers and handed out coupons in the drive-through. Most of those customers had never even heard of the Rock Ranch.

Just me that day, in a top I found on More on that amazing website later. :D

Mama and I made it back home at around 8:00 that night, worn out! But it was so much fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat. :D Maybe I will, we'll have to see! :)

Until then, if you live in Georgia and are looking for some great family fun this fall, come by the Rock Ranch ( and see me at the Corn Maze! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

In Which I Was a (Barefoot) Bridesmaid

My sweet friends!

Life has been full for me this past month! One of the most wonderful events was the wedding of my dear friend, McKenzie. I could not be happier for her and was incredibly blessed to be part of her special day. 

In the craziness of it all, I didn't take many pictures (or even bring my 'real' camera!) so a few of these are snatched from facebook and uploaded from my iPhone, just so you know. ;) 

 Mason jars, twinkle lights, burlap, lace, candles, and some of the fluffiest baby's breath I've ever seen combined to make a DARLING reception at the bride's home, Pecan Pastures.

But I'm getting ahead of myself!

Ohhhhh, this picture. Every girl deserves to be the most beautiful woman in the world on her wedding day, and just look at her... wow. The pre-wedding bridal shoot was done by Kaitlyn Wright (whose pictures are fall-out-of-your-chair STUNNING, in my opinion).

Three of the nine bridesmaids, the bride's sisters and cousin (middle) - such gorgeous girls! 
It was a pleasure to create the jewelry for all the bridesmaids - more pictures later, in another post! 

The ceremony was held in this graceful old church - aren't the columns striking?! :) 

Hey there! (Haha - this picture makes me think of the scene in National Treasure 2 when Nicolas Cage is peeking over a huge bouquet at Abigail in an elevator in Buckingham Palace) 

Ok, this is possibly the most makeup I have ever worn in my life, but it was a special occasion and there was lots of photography involved. The very precious Beka Lavender touched up my face for me and even managed to leave my eyeshadow job (that I'd done myself) alone! She's amazing! :)

Katie!! She's too sweet, and I am so happy to have met her through this experience of bridesmaiding together. ;) 

Doesn't this puff of adorableness, otherwise known as the flower girl, just make you melt? She was towed down the aisle in a little wagon by the ring bearer, as she's still a baby. AWWW.

I could NOT have done this without the support and encouragement (and WOWZA hairstyling help) from my awesome mother. And doesn't she look beautiful in her pink dress? I was flabbergasted when we found that for her at a thrift store for $8, practically brand-new... score!! :D

And I couldn't believe it when I heard from my sweet online friend Courtney that she would be driving four hours to attend the wedding!! She and the bride have been penpals for ages. It was amazing to finally meet her in person!!
So many cute handmade signs at the reception! The bride's family worked so hard to get everything done, and they did a stellar job! 

Such loveliness! Under the pecan trees, on the green grass, tents and satin-draped chairs and sweet tea and lemonade and wedding cake! Not to mention a table heaped with southern goodies like cheese straws, toasted pecans, and chicken salad-stuffed crescent rolls. 
My first photo with the bride - and the groom photobombed it spectacularly. I CRACKED UP when I saw this picture. She's got herself a keeper, for sure. ;) I am so glad Daniel found McKenzie, they make a perfect pair!

:D They're married!

If Daniel and McKenzie have a marriage anything like my own parents, then they will be blessed indeed. :D I'm so glad my Daddy and one of my brothers could come to the wedding, as it was the first time I'd ever been a bridesmaid. :)
And yes. All of the bridesmaids were barefoot. *shrug* Not my thing for sure, but I'd do just about anything for McKenzie, and it was what she wanted! I was just happy the dresses were floor-length! Something about going shoeless in church was so strange! ;)

Stay tuned for more posts, I'm writing one as soon as I hit publish on this one, because a couple of days ago........ I was on TV. :)

Monday, September 15, 2014


Hello, you wonderful people!

I have some delightful news. (I've been on vacation, so it got slightly delayed.) BUT. ASHBURN IS FINALLY ON AMAZON.COM!!!!! The paperback copy is $14.99, and it's beautiful, glossy, and 326 pages. I love it. :)

Buy it here!! 
And please don't get it from the alternate sellers, I don't receive as much royalties through them. 
But wait! If you'd like a signed copy, pay me directly through paypal (simply go to your paypal account and send a payment of $15 to and I'll order a copy, sign it, and ship it to you. Be sure to include your name and address in a note to the 'seller', or comment on this post. :) (I've enabled comment moderation and won't publish it).

The kindle version IS in the works, and I'll be sure to tell you when it's live. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

At last, my novel has a face!

Hey readers!

I know I'm going about this all backwards and that I should have a bunch of fellow bloggers release this at the same time with lots of pomp and fanfare and confetti, but since the rules are more like 'guidelines' - I have something VERY SPECIAL to show you.

Drum roll please....


The cover for my novel, ASHBURN. 
I designed it myself. 
(comments, thoughts... do you like it?!? I DO!)

Release date coming soon! I'll be in the final editing process for the next few weeks, but I am self-publishing this book to Kindle and CreateSpace on Amazon in paperback form. After a lot of procrastination, the time has come to share it with the world!

If you are a fellow blogger and are interested in an interview or a review copy of my book, (Or want to splash my pretty book cover on your blog or website!)... please let me know. I would greatly appreciate any support and help to spread the word about this exciting story. :)

Also, I'm pretty sure I want to hang out a shingle as a graphic designer and start doing book covers and other projects for real, live customers. More info on that coming soon as well. :)

Delightedly yours,

Thursday, July 3, 2014

"I've Got a Lov-e-ly Bunch of Co-co-nuts..."

SO, this eating healthier thing? PIECE OF CAKE! *cough* I mean, not cake... chicken. Ha. Cake is most definitely off-limits for a while.

The hardest part is over... the decision to start. That's always the biggie for me, and the rest is all downhill from there.

I've been reading this fabulous book called "I Want What SHE'S Having" which has been extremely encouraging. I'm pretty sure the authors are secular but aside from that, the book was loaded with great advice about motivation, figuring out what works for you, and basic common-sense health facts, although they never come right out and say what diet plan is the best. The whole point is to do whatever works for YOUUU, and stick to it. (And no, I was not provided a review copy, I just mentioned it because I liked it!)

So here was day 3 of my new lifestyle:

In the morning I woke up hungry, so I snacked on 5 cashews/almonds as I made breakfast for everybody.

I also drank a HUGE glass of water, something I try to do right after I wake up and hop on the bathroom scale. It helps rejuvenate and refresh your system and get things going! :)

Breakfast for moi was scrambled eggs, (which I eat for breakfast 99.99% of the time) a nectarine - my one fruit for the day, a cheese stick - cheddar and mozzarella combined, and a couple of pecan halves sprinkled with seasonings. {forgot to get a photo}

Went for a 6-lap powerwalk/sprint up and down our very long gravel driveway and finished sweating but triumphant! Booyah!

Mid-morning snack:
About 10 walnut pieces, with a little dollop of cottage cheese sprinkled with garlic powder, salt, onion powder and a touch of paprika. If you haven't guessed by now you'll quickly discover that I looooove my spices. :) Flavors, baby!! :D

Lunch was this delectable concoction: {also pictured at top of post to entice newsfeed readers}
I call it "Chicken Dijon Salad", featuring: romaine lettuce (half that bowl is lettuce, all the pretty stuff is just on top) chunks of cooked chicken (leftovers, ya'll) black and green olives, diced tomatoes, pickles (you can leave those out, I just happen to adore pickles) a couple of cashews and almonds, and a cheese stick cut up into little pieces.
Over this I drizzled Dijon Vinaigrette dressing that I whipped up following a recipe I spied in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I was hesitant to try it as it honestly looked horrible (probably the fault of the extra virgin olive oil I used, being a very deep green color) and smelt rather awful, but after gingerly applying it to my salad and taking my first bite, I was relieved to find it very tasty and zingy. Yum. :)

How I made Dijon Vinaigrette: (FYI, I halved the recipe as I wasn't sure I'd like it)

Whisk together...

  • Half a Tablespoon of Dijon mustard (original recipe was 1 Tablespoon)
  • Half of 3/4 cup olive oil (which I guessed to be just under half a cup)
  • and 1/8 cup vinegar.

Easy-peasy. Seriously. :)

Mid-afternoon found me with mid-level hunger grumblies again (low-level ones I just ignore and drink some more water... and of course high-level ones mean it's a mealtime) so......

Mid-afternoon snack:
I told you I had a secret for eating celery sticks! I HATE raw celery, or I should say hated, although in soups I liked it. I discovered that if you spread a dab of cream cheese in the hollow of a celery stick and sprinkle it with spices (I used garlic, onion, and paprika, and if you want to get fancy, some cumin and cayenne make a kickin' addition) and VOILA - I love it. Creamy, cool, and crunchy. Perfect summer snack.

I used to think cream cheese was a guilty pleasure, but actually the bread and crackers I was eating it on were more to blame for any resulting weight gain. :P Although I still wouldn't recommend eating it every five minutes. :D

I splurged and had my one carb for the day... a couple of our homemade french fries, fried in sunflower oil in our own CoolDaddy fryer. Accompanying them is a perfectly-grilled venison burger that is made with meat that my own daddy brought home after a hunting trip with friends. (Pretty cool.) Also tomatoes, pickles, carrots, and some cheddar to round it out.

Funny thing, once you stop eating sugar, your taste buds can sense every delicate nuance of your food. Unencumbered by the lightning-strike effects of super-sweet sugar, they are no longer dazed, but on high alert. I can taste that lettuce, those carrots, that meat. And it's so good. :D

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Importance of Being Healthy

Hey readers!

I did that thing. You know. When I let so much "LIFE" stack up in the pile of things-to-be-blogged-about that... I don't know where to start, so I semi-unconsciously decide not to blog. Oops. :)

But guess what? I'm doing a new thing. Well, not new, but slightly different. You see, since I'm to be a bridesmaid later this summer, I really want to look good in my lonnnng green dress. Which means I need to drop a few pounds (or at least transfer them from fat into lean muscle!) so I've altered a few things in my lifestyle.

For example, this was dinner:
"Pizza" Salad!
Featuring: Romaine and Iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, organic pepperoni, freshly grated mozzerella, pickles, olives both black and green, pecans and macadamia chips for crunch, and a very light sprinkle of olive oil, white vinegar, basil, oregano, and parmesan. 
I didn't follow a recipe, I just threw stuff together that I know tastes good. :D I do that a lot with salads, and it's a good thing I already like them, so it's no chore to eat one. Maybe I'll do a "salad series" and share what I create with you. :)

So what am I eating?

Basically, I am not eating any refined sugar whatsoever, even in a condiment like ketchup or peanut butter. I'm also trying not to eat more than one kind of fruit per day, as there is a large amount of naturally occurring fructose in it. I'm turning down the volume of how many carbs I consume (e.g. one carb a day instead of one with each meal AND snack) and instead adding more healthy fats to my diet.

Some great sources of healthy fats are: olives, nuts - especially macadamia and pecan, cheese, butter, and other non-sugary dairy. When your body burns fat as fuel, it's like a slow and even flame of burning logs, instead of the sharp UP-and-DOWN spikes of sugar and carbs (which actually convert almost instantly to sugar)... that are more like the flickering snap of a wad of paper or twigs.

I am trying not to eat more than one serving daily of: Bread, Pasta, Potatoes, Rice, or other grains. I am also trying to eat lots and LOTS of veggies. That is a bit of a challenge for me, because besides salads, I don't really enjoy vegetables. I did discover a secret to eating celery sticks which I shall share in a later post.

There's more info in this article if you're interested in a bit of research. :) You know, when you think about it, on average the general population DOES consume a scary amount of sugar and carbohydrates and thinks nothing of it. Not that I've gone off the deep *cough-paleo-cough* end, but moderation in all things, y'know? :)

Take care and stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Bit of {Dazzle}

Hey readers!

Aha! Another post from moi! This looks promising, no? :D I even have a picture in this post from a real live camera and not an iPhone, for once. :) 

I had the very great privilege of designing and creating customized earrings for the wedding I'm in that takes place in September, and I was SO THRILLED with the results. 
By the way, the bride, my dear darling friend McKenzie, is the girl who inspired me to start blogging in the first place after I read her blog, Pecan Pastures, back in 2008. Zounds. It's been forever and an age. :D

The other earrings are a secret surprise for the other bridesmaids, but since I have already seen mine... so can you! :D

I. am. in. LOOOOOVE with them. Oh joy and jubilation. I can't wait to post a picture of them on me, they flatter my oval face and make my green eyes glitter. EEK! I liked the "ombre" wave effect of light-to-dark on the crystal dangles so much that I knew I wanted to do it for mine. I'm a little proud of the fact that this pair is "very" handmade... I created the loopy link hanging horizontally in the middle out of an extra-long headpin.

*happy sigh*

Friday, June 13, 2014

Still Alive! {GHEA Convention 2014}

My lovely readers! Wish I could give you all a big hug and tell you how sorry I am for abandoning you (without notice, shame on me!) for the past few months!

{I would have blogged this post sooner, but we've had intermittent internet outages in the past week - very irksome, indeed! :P}

But I had an awfully good reason for my lack of blogging. I was swimming in beads, making hundreds of jewelry pieces to sell in my 10-foot-by-10-foot booth in the exhibit hall at the 2014 GHEA (Georgia Home Educators Association) in Atlanta.

So, because I've got lots of pictures, here's a blog post full of them! :)

We all arrived midafternoon in Atlanta and set up our booths in the vendor hall, working like a well-oiled machine. Practice makes perfect! I think this is the 5th year I've done it. :)

We checked into our hotel and crashed for about an hour - I took a catnap, knowing I would appreciate the extra rest, as I never sleep very well in hotel beds. I'm too used to my own. :)

Then we hit the mall! The boys went to the LEGO store - stunning the employees when they picked up the LEGO club magazine lying there and showed them their interview, having competed in the prestigious by-invitation-only Iron Builder contest. Pretty cool. I's extremely proud of 'em. :)

I went to Bath and Body works......... and they had just released some delectable summery scents, so I grabbed a few in travel-size bottles, which were on a special sale, and some Europe-inspired fragrances that were 50% off. :) I love that place too much. :D

Then all five of our family went to Bass Pro shop, and I ended up finding a pair of running shoes on sale in a brand that I know fits my feet best. (Yay! Motivation to exercise! I've already run nearly 4 miles in them and they're great!) :) I also had a crazy desire to get some of this pirate-themed hot sauce, but resisted. Confession: I love spicy food, and these were too hilarious. Look...

While we were there, I noticed that a scuba diver was cleaning the fish tank! They are in the center of the picture, that shiny tube is their air tank.

Back at the hotel, laden with our goods from the mall, we crashed again and ate dinner - tacos with all the fixin's that we packed in the cooler. We always bring a cooler on trips, and it saves so much time and money, plus we get to eat our favorite fresh foods, which are better for you anyway! :)

These are the lamps in the hotel lobby. It was a pretty place, which made up for the fact that they didn't serve breakfast. *sigh* If they'd had free breakfast, that would have been one of the best hotel stays EVER. :)
 (The next evening we were there, we'd packed venison burgers and had them with all their fixin's. Mine was so good I did that silly thing where you take a picture of your food that nobody wants to see anyway... so here it is)

So! Bright and early the next morning, we started selling stuff. Many of my customers from years before came by early, saying they'd come to me first to make sure they didn't miss out! It was very gratifying. :) And I was glad they did that, because it's true, pieces start moving and by the end of the 2nd day my selection is much more limited as the amount of jewelry decreases. Even though I bring a TON. :)

Hello! :) I really loved the outfit I put together for the first day. Aqua summery-print top with mint shrug, white flowy skirt, and white jewelry. :)

My booth! I was thrilled with how it looked this year. The addition of a chevron tablecloth (and finding my favorite tie-dye knit hot pink tablecloths) really made it POP. :) 

This is the necklace table, holding mostly pendants on chains and some pretty necklace and earring sets, as well as the floral cuff bracelets and the flower rings. I had to keep refilling the busts as they emptied when necklaces sold! 

GAHHHH I love these. MMM! I delight in making each one unique and perfect with tiny, special detail. 
The headbands were popular again this year! And I actually met a few girls who were wearing headbands they had bought from me LAST year! Too awesome. I get such a kick out of seeing people wearing my creations and loving them. :)

Half of the necklace racks... It's funny to look at these now and think "Oh, yep, that one sold, and that one, and that one....etc." :) 

The other half. All so pretty, all so different! :) I try to come up with something for every lady's style. NOT an easy task.

The beaded wire bracelets. A whole bunch of these sold too! 
 I tried to keep my prices ridiculously low this year to just get the jewelry to move... and it went! Things flew off the displays at a wild pace and I had many people telling me I should be charging more... I simply smiled, knowing that the more pieces I sold at a lower price, the better profit I was making. :)

My strategy worked, by the way. I topped last year's total by about a hundred dollars. YAY! Thank you, Lord!!! :)
I had some super-cute gift bags this year to give people when they purchased jewelry from me, which many of the women found absolutely charming. :D Hey, I'm all about shoppers having a delightful experience. :) I found them here on etsy. :)

Meeting fantastic people is seriously the best thing about these conventions. I made sure to get a photo with the amazing Mirriam, who is a fellow writer! Mirriam snagged some Celtic Knot-style chandelier earrings while she was at my booth. :) I also got to meet Katelyn S, one of my most faithful blog commenters!! It was so much fun socializing with her and her two sisters, who all bought lots of jewelry from me. Katelyn, if you're reading this, drop me a comment with your email address! We should get together sometime! :D

My poor feets. They got so sore and tired by the end of the convention! I don't know why, but standing in one small space all day long is torture on the soles of my feet. 
This is the chandelier earring rack. (On day 2, see the missing gaps?) There were 96 pairs of these, alone. I think I had around 500 pairs of earrings, total. 
 It was so cozy to get home and remember that I'd cleaned my room before I left, and hung twinkle-lights just because... which I quickly plugged in and smiled at.

 Yup. Definitely adds much-needed glimmer and sparkle. :) All the better to play chess (my brothers, not me) and to crochet, while gazing at.
I love my room. :)

Ohhh! Before I forget, here's a shout-out to the Virginia Soaps and Scents company, whose home-crafted soap I buy annually in great quantities so as to last all year long. It smells AMAZING, and is gently cleansing. And I've heard it's great for skin issues like acne and eczema! 
 The last great effort once I got home was to ship off a few custom-altered pieces of jewelry, and to put the remaining fresh stock into my stand in the shop on the square, the Rescue Me Marketplace. It looks smashing now! :D

I looooove it. Praying for great sales there this month and all summer.

Honestly, I thought that necklace was surely going to be snapped up by some book-loving homeschooler. I may end up just keeping it myself yet... Let me know if you want to buy it for $23.00 plus shipping. :D

And how fun is this "Chile-Pepper" necklace in bold, zesty shades of cherry, cayenne, olive, lime, and pink? 
I'm gearing up to sell my jewelry online (Don't all faint at once, now) so stay tuned for updates on that and more blog posts throughout this summer!