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Book Review: Trusting Grace

This kind of felt like I was reading a Disney movie from the 1970s set in the Old West. Think The Apple Dumpling Gang or Hot Lead and Cold Feet. This book didn’t take me back to the time period it was supposed to be set in, mainly because the dialogue simply didn’t fit.



The publisher’s blurb:

All of her life, Grace Bidwell has longed for a loving husband and children, but now the chances of her dreams coming true are looking slim. Widowed and caring for her elderly father, she struggles to maintain her late husband’s ranch, until she places an ad for a hired hand.

Robert Frasier arrives in town with three pitiful, bedraggled children who have nothing but the tattered clothes on their backs and a load of hurt, pride, and anger. Believing this is divine intervention in her life, Grace welcomes them with open arms. As feelings grow between her and Robert, Grace will have to convince him that she is a woman who can be trusted with his heart.

Readers will be swept away into 1860s Montana’s lush Gallatin Valley, nestled among towering mountains and proud pines, in this emotional conclusion to the Virtues and Vices of the Old West series

What I thought:  Continue reading “Book Review: Trusting Grace”

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Where I Am, Pt. 1

After a pause of much longer than I anticipated – sorry, everyone! – here I am again. I initially took a break because I’d been considering upgrading my site and using a different theme. That will probably still happen, but not right away.

Then the US Presidential election happened, and no matter my feelings on that itself, I was, and continue to be, amazed and disgusted by the way people have thought it acceptable to speak to and treat one another. Especially amongst those who were friends or family. My mother and grandmother would have lined people up for spankings and to wash mouths out with soap!

Am I being a prude? Good lord, no. The cesspool places like Facebook have become (or how much larger that’s grown, since there was always a bit of cesspool to it before) is ridiculous.

It made me really want to sound off, and the only place I had to do that was my blog. I didn’t want to turn this into a huge political blog, so I just stepped farther away.

I’m back. 🙂

The rest, coming up!

Not wearing it properly, but this is a sailor’s hat like in “Horatio Hornblower”.


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Book Review: The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

I am already a happy reader of Julie Klassen’s books. They are easy to read, but not “simple”. Lots of character interaction. And she does thorough research into time periods and places. Nothing can pull me out of my reading bliss faster than a glaring historical inaccuracy. (Like a drone in the Middle Ages…)


The publisher’s blurb:

First Series from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen!

The lifeblood of the Wiltshire village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. But when the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant owner. Jane has no notion of how to run a business. However, with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must find a way to bring new life to the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to find her place in the world. As she and Jane work together, they form a measure of trust, and Thora’s wounded heart begins to heal. When she encounters two men from her past, she sees them–and her future–in a different light.

With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane employs innovative methods to turn the inn around, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place. Will her efforts be enough to save The Bell? And will Thora embrace the possibility of a second chance at love?

What I thought of the book:

First off, I was thrilled to find out Julie Klassen is embarking on a series. Opening a book and meeting with characters who feel like old friends is great. In this book, Klassen has already introduced a number of people we’re sure to learn more about as time goes on.

This story was a little on the slow side, but that wasn’t a problem where I was concerned – it was like taking your time to get to know people. The village of Ivy Hill came alive with her words, and Klassen made it so you would want to seek out this inn if you were of a mind to do so.

The romance isn’t quite what I had expected, which made it all the more wonderful. And so many possibilities for future unions, too! Jane Bell, the young widow whose late husband surprised everyone by leaving the family inn to her, is a likable character – though there are a few times I wanted to bop her on the head for something or other. Her mother-in-law, Thora Bell, whose family originally owned the inn, comes across at first as a thoroughly unlikeable woman – but only for a small bit. The reader begins to know her better and understand her and her strengths… and weaknesses. Is her younger son as wonderful as he seems? Or is he a complete cad? And why does he want Jane to pass the ownership of the failing Bell Inn over to him so badly?

It’s an interesting ride to see how these people deal  with a bank threatening to foreclose on the inn, money and items mysteriously disappearing, and mistakes from the past that come back to haunt.


**I was sent this copy from Bethany House in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**

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Okay, so it’s not my giveaway, but it’s my friend Deb’s giveaway. I’ve known the woman for years and never knew she had a blog! How sucky am I about that?

Yeah, I know – almost as sucky as I am about having not posted in so long. Believe me, the post about that is forthcoming. I’m sorry!


Deb’s blog is called The Fancy Stamper and as I said, she’s having a giveaway. The address is: and her rules are simple – just leave a comment on her blog under that post and you’re entered. It’s a Blogspot blog, so Google will make you create an account if you don’t already have one, but that’s kind of the PITA way of things anymore, isn’t it?

So what’s she giving away? A really cool stamp set called “Tasty Trucks” that are just too adorable. And… you can’t buy these. Not now, not later.  They are going to be part of a Sale-A-Bration promo through March 31, 2017, for anyone purchasing $50.00 or more in merchandise from Stampin’ Up.

Gooo! Check out her blog and comment to enter! 🙂  Show Deb some love. 🙂

Posted in Product Reviews, subscriptions, Uncategorized

Fortune Cookie Soap! Halloween!


Over the past year or so I’ve bought a few items from Fortune Cookie Soap, and I have loved all of what I’ve received! In case you’ve not heard of the company yet, Fortune Cookie Soap is on a mission to “provide safe unique bath & body products to the world”. They forgot to add how completely fun and adorable their products are, too!

Last week, the Halloween box came in the mail. I waited and waited to open it because I’d planned on doing a YouTube video about it. Unfortunately, I still have tons of U-Haul and FedEx boxes all over the place, with half-filled plastic tubs serving as sorting bins. (Yeah, the results of my California-Clean-Out-The-Storage trip. More on that later!) I got tired of waiting to dive into the box, so I said heck with it. And here’s the post!


How cool is this? And with a Tootsie Roll, even! So what is all of this, you ask?

Continue reading “Fortune Cookie Soap! Halloween!”

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Product Review: Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum

So so happy to have been asked to try out a new serum from Valentia!

When I began reading about these products and the people who make them, I knew I wanted to try them. All natural and organic ingredients, the company is owned by women and managed by women, those are total pluses.

Photo from their Amazon page - click to see!
Photo from their Amazon page – click to see!

First off, what the brand itself says about this product:

Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum – A transformative retinol serum that fights wrinkles and provides hydration,
for visibly smoother, rejuvenated skin.

This Retinol Serum Will:
– Diminishes wrinkles
– Stimulates collagen
– Improves skin tone
– Manages breakouts
– Conditions skin

Specially selected ingredients work together to achieve optimum results.
– Retinol (Vitamin A): Works at the cellular level to stop winkles, manage breakouts, and evens out skin discoloration.
– Vitamin C: Guards skin against environmental free-radicals to prevent premature aging.
– Vitamin E: Provides intense hydration to diminish the drying effects of retinol.
– Squalane: Derived for pure olive oil to soften and condition delicate skin.

Directions for using Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum:
As natural ingredients may separate, shake lightly before use. Apply nightly to cleansed face and
décolleté, before moisturizer. For optimal results combine with our Night Revive Retinol Cream.

and Experience the BENEFITS for yourself.

Now, how did I like it?

Ever since I discovered serums I have been crazy-mad about them! I’ve tried a lot of different ones, seeing which ones seemed to work the best with my skin and personal chemistry, and which ones were really just a bunch of hype. (There’s a few, unfortunately!) So so happy to report that Valentia’s Night Revive Retinol Serum isn’t one of those bogus ones – way far from it! It is soothing, moisturizing, and works quite well with both Valentia’s Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer as well as some of the great K-beauty products I use. I’ve definitely added this to my beauty routine. If you are worrying about expense, please don’t! Remember: taking care of your skin at any age is of utmost importance. And now that this serum is on HUGE sale, plus it only takes the smallest amount to glide all over your face and neck… go for it! Believe me, it’s a great investment in yourself and the health of your skin.

This is really some great stuff, and it’s even on sale for $35.00 (from the regular price of $59.99) on Amazon. For other amazing items in Valentia’s line, go look at their website, check out their Facebook page, and peruse their wonderful Instagram account.

I’ve reviewed other items of theirs, too!

  1. Skin Detoxifying Clay Mask
  2. Clear Lift Revitalizing Serum
  3. Royal Rose Hydrating Serum
  4. Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer

Valentia sent me this product in exchange for my honest review.

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My July Favorites!

Since my birthday is almost here, I guess I’d better do my favorites post for last month – so I don’t have that to think about!

My favorite lip product:

Bunny Tarte Texas Toast 2

Grav3yardgirl’s Tarteist Lip Paint in Texas Toast! I am loving it. To me, it looks a lot like Tarte’s TBT color, but I haven’t held them against each other to compare. I love how it wears, love the color, and really wish it was still stocked. Glad I got it when it was out!

My favorite nail polish:

Leighton Denny

It’s not actually nail polish, but a “miracle mist speed drying spray” by Leighton Denny. I received this in a Glossybox and honestly thought meh, it’s not going to do anything but sit all oily on top of my nails. Boy, was I wrong! I loveloveLOVE this stuff! It’s a thin spray of silicone, and it comes out of the can like you’re spraying an air duster on your nails – completely cold and crackly! But it totally works and keeps your nails smudge-safe.

My favorite scent:


Warm Kitten! I know, I know… this isn’t a wearable scent (unless you go around with a warm kitten around your neck all day). Truth is, I really didn’t have a favorite scent to wear this past month, but I did love burying my face in Valla’s warm fur. Do I get a pass?

My favorite app on my phone:



Yasssss, I do Pokémon GO. It’s fun, I love wandering around looking for Pokéstops and little monsters, and I can play this with Hims, too! It’s funny – each time we go out and about Poké-hunting, we see people from about 25 on up playing. I’ve seen two kids so far – no, three. There was one a few days ago walking the path towards a stop. But mostly it’s been people in their late 30s on up, even a lady in her mid-70s walking around and getting balls and such. So if you haven’t downloaded this game because you thought it was just the kids, go grab it! You won’t be alone, believe me!


And please – you gotta love the safety admonitions on the game. They even pop up now with a screen you have to interact with to make sure you are a passenger when the game senses you are going too fast!



My favorite munchie:



Mmmmm, red grapes. Love them warm (yes, warm), chilled, frozen, or room temperature! Great healthy snack anytime, and totally not messy. Unless you step on them, or sit on them. Then…

Favorite thing to watch on television:




Another older series, this time from HBO. Hims and I are currently binge-watching this (along with Stargate:SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis) for probably the third time – it’s that good. The series follows the fictional characters Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, two soldiers whose lives are intertwined with such figures as Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Octavian (Augustus Caesar), and Cleopatra. Well-written and beautifully filmed, if you have any interest at all in this time period, you should check out the series – both seasons have been on DVD and BluRay for a few years, which means you can probably find them for cheap on Amazon!

My favorite thing at Trader Joe’s:

TJ Shooting Stars

Dood – they have like Pop-Rocks on them! Well, the Trader Joe’s version of Pop-Rocks. Not too sweet, so you focus more on the fun sizzling and popping going on inside your mouth! Love these silly things!

What else should I add to my monthly favorites list? Anyone have any suggestions?