Tag #60: Ultimate Book Tag

The Ultimate Book Tag

Image Credit: Found on Fiction No Chaser

Fiction No Chaser is awesome! I stumbled upon Teagan and Jess’s blog a while back, and I’m loving their book reviews. Check them out!

Here’s the link to their post:


The Questions

Do you get sick while reading in the car?

  • Nope. While I’m not driving, I love reading on road trips!

Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

  • I was hooked by Sharon M. Draper from the beginning. She has this way of making predominantly African-American and people of color characters jump off the page. I’ve read nearly everything that’s she published.

Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.

  • Harry Potter wins. Every. Single. Time.
  • Point #1: Harry Potter was the first series that got me remotely interested in the fantasy genre.
  • Point #2: Twilight is not my thing. I tried. But, I’ve read, devoured every single page of Harry Potter.
  • Point #3: I donated my Twilight books long ago. I will never donate my Harry Potter collection.

Do you carry a book bag? If so, what’s in it (besides books …)?

  • My current Vera Bradley purse is big enough to carry a book, so that works. That’s one of my main policies for purses / bags – At least one book has to fit in it.

Do you smell your books?

  • I have. But, I don’t make a habit of it.

Books with or without little illustrations?

  • I love illustrations. That’s one thing I didn’t like when American Girl launched their BeForever series in 2014. The style of the books changed so that they became solid chapter books, and lost the beautiful illustrations that captivated the imagination. I will keep the older, six series books for myself and my future children because the illustrations are timeless.

What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood?

  • We almost had to pay a $25 fine for the local library to replace a beautifully illustrated, hardcover children’s book. Right before the deadline to pay, we finally found the book. It was under my parents’ bed. I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea to put it there. From then on, library books were restricted to my bedroom, or in a bag in the car.

What is the thinnest book on your shelf?

  • Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, by Dr. Seuss. It was a graduation gift with a beautiful inscription.

What is the thickest book on your shelf?

  • 11/22/63, by Stephen King.

Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?

  • I’ve been writing in journals and creating stories since I was 8-years-old. I decided that I wanted to be a writer when I was 10. I’m getting closer to that goal every day – My goal is to finish my current WIP for the first round of editing by December 31, 2018. I want to reach at least 50,000 words.

When did you get into reading?

  • Probably in the womb. My parents and grandparents read to me constantly.

What is your favorite classic book?

In school what was your best subject?

  • English was my absolute favorite. I didn’t always like the books that were assigned, but I certainly gained a greater appreciation for literature over the years. The lively discussions we had in my high school classes are some of my fondest memories.

If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated…what would you do?

  • Say thank you, and accept it.

What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or The Hunger Games?

  • I can’t answer this question. I don’t know of one!

What is a bad habit that you always do (besides rambling) while filming?

  • I don’t do many videos, but I struggle with what to do with my hands. I talk with my hands, so gesturing is something where I have control issues.

What is your favorite word?

  • Awesome.

Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb?

  • Likely all of the above, but nerd shines brightly.

Vampires or Fairies? Why?

  • Fairies. I love Tinkerbell! And vampires have never been my thing.

Shapeshifters or Angels?

  • Ooooh. I like both, but angels win for me. I rely on my faith quite a bit.

Spirits or Werewolves?

  • Spirits – Such as, A Christmas Carol.

Zombies or Vampires?

  • Given the choice, I’d go with vampires. Zombies are gross, and I would very likely get eaten, or turned into one within minutes. Yuck!

Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?

  • Forbidden love, hands down. I don’t even want to write love triangles in my works, let alone read them.

AND FINALLY: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

  • Both. Mixing action and romance is never bad.

Tag – You’re It!


This was an awesome tag! Really interesting questions!

What would your answers be?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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Commentary #75: “The war on drugs failed. It’s time for a war on abuse.”

Honor Blackman

Image Credit: AZ Quotes

The headline grabbed me instantly. It spoke to me.

Here’s the link to the opinion that CNN published on their website on Friday, June 15, 2018:


Full disclosure: This was published under CNN’s Opinion section.

CNN also published this Editor’s Note at the top of the page: Natalie Schreyer is a reporter at the Fuller Project for International Reporting, a nonprofit news organization that covers issues impacting women and girls globally. She is working on “Abused in America,” a Fuller Project initiative to cover domestic violence in the United States. Jessica Klein is a journalist and co-author of the book “Abetting Batterers: What Police, Prosecutors, and Courts Aren’t Doing to Protect America’s Women.” The views expressed here are solely those of the authors.


I read this opinion. And then I re-read it. It stuck with me all weekend long. It’s still with me as I finish writing this post.

The comparisons that Schreyer and Klein make are staggering. After reading it several times, it makes complete sense to me.

Sure, I’m definitely biased here. I am a domestic violence survivor. I am an abuse survivor. Neither of these are ever okay. I’ve read several powerful memoirs and accounts of survivors (Tornado Warning), and stories of those who tragically lost their lives (If I Am Missing Or Dead: A Sister’s Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation) over the years. I don’t want to read new ones, if I’m being perfectly honest.

There must be harsher punishments for habitual offenders. The opening story for this opinion both broke my heart and made my blood boil – An alleged abuser has never been convicted of a crime, despite 160 encounters with police in 15 years. Quick math – That’s an average of 11 encounters per year. That’s too many.

One encounter is too many.

It took way too long for the current stalking laws to be enacted, and even now, those laws aren’t necessarily the same in every one of the 50 states (although it absolutely should be). The problem here is there’s a lack of consistency. The power is usually left up to the states, and that’s where many problems lie. Where you live is a huge factor, and it absolutely shouldn’t be that way!

But, what about all these non-violent offenders, in prison for decades on drug charges?

I could write a proverbial book. What the Nixon administration started in 1971 was a so-called “war” that will never be won. Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush kept fueling the fire. I myself was in the D.A.R.E. program in fifth grade. I vowed to never smoke cigarettes after watching my grandmother, my dad’s mom. She lived with emphysema for more than 20 years. She also had COPD, and was on oxygen since I was a child.

Now, in 2018, our country has been facing the “opioid crisis” for several years. Like the authors argue, “addicts who need medical treatment more than criminal punishment,” is so true. And, sadly, not likely to happen. There is a lack of investment in mental health treatment and addiction treatment. Addicts need resources such as medical intervention, quality treatment facilities, quality therapy and/or counseling, and continued support for as long as necessary to keep them sober, stable, and functional.

Why? We have more people in prison for drug possession than mental health treatment facilities. These men and women (not all, mind you), unfortunately, re-offend and get sent back to prison because they can’t get a good, steady job after being released. Struggling to support themselves and their families, they turn to what they’ve known as their source of income. And they’re stuck in this vicious cycle that doesn’t seem to end.

When I think of an “addict,” I think of someone involved with drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, or crack. The harder, more dangerous drugs.

To think of how many people (many are people of color, too) are in jail or prison for non-violent marijuana offenses makes me incredibly angry. I’ve been supportive of the interest to legalize / de-criminalize marijuana. But, that’s another story altogether.

There needs to be far more accountability on the domestic violence and abuser side, however. The authors pointed to a fascinating report from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, which focused on High Point, North Carolina. When the focus was shifted toward cracking down on intimate partner violence, the number of intimate partner murders dropped from 17 (between 2004-2011) to just one (between 2012-2014).

Numbers are powerful. Seventeen murders dropped to one? Wow.

As I mentioned earlier, the current stalking laws took way too long to pass. Now, there really should be domestic violence courts in every state. The script should be flipped – Turn the thousands of drug courts (3,100 quoted in the opinion) into domestic violence courts. Problem solved? Maybe.

I’m not saying to get rid of drug courts altogether. What I’m saying is to shift the balance. Shift the balance of the number of courts, and maybe that will also shift the balance of power.

I certainly don’t have all the answers. I just feel strongly about the issues presented in this opinion. I hope more is done for all victims of domestic violence and abuse. No one deserves to go through the horror, shame, and terror. And this includes women, men, and children. There’s a lot of focus on women, but men and children are abused and violated every single day.


For more information, check out these resources. Many of these were also cited in the opinion.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Adventures #2: Discovering Evernote

Evernote

Image Credit: Evernote

Welcome back! Thanks to everyone who read my first post in this new Writing Adventures series that I’ve started. I really appreciate all the support and encouragement, so far!

Here’s the link to my previous post:


Today’s post is about a new tool that I’ve learned about, called Evernote. I was intrigued from the very beginning, and I wanted to try it out and see how it worked.

I first learned about Evernote from my friend, Madison (Madi) Grace.

Here’s the link to her post:


I love their motto / tagline:

Get organized. Work smarter. Remember everything.

Yes, please! I love it!

I took some time on Saturday, June 16th (yes, the same day this post was published!) to sign up for Evernote and start playing with it. About 10 minutes in, I love it. I really do. This is a game-changer for me.

My first notebook has the tentative title of my WIP, “Experiences From Camp.”

I’ll load my chapters in from Microsoft Word slowly, piece by piece, but for now I just wrote myself some reminders, and where I started with this whole thing!

Here’s what my notebook looks like right now:

“Experiences From Camp”

  • I started this during NaNoWriMo 2012, which was my first-ever NaNoWriMo. I wrote around 10,000 words by the end of that month.
  • In March, I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo for the very first time, thanks to Madi’s encouragement.
  • During Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018, I exceeded my goal and won Camp! My goal was 20,000 new words. On April 30th, I surpassed my goal with approximately 20,256 new words! Yippee!
  • June 2018 monthly goal: Write 1,000 new words.
  • Sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo July 2018 before the end of the month.
  • Set my Camp NaNoWriMo goal before the end of the month.
  • Current word count: 34,130 words.

I also plan on using Evernote’s handy Note templates for creative writing projects.

I’m excited to keep playing around with Evernote. I love it already. Thanks again, Madi, for your awesome post!

Come back in about a month for the next Writing Adventures post!


What about you?

Have you used Evernote?

Are you writing anything special?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #127: My Skin & Makeup Routines (Part 5)

Lush

Image Credit: LUSH UK

I’m trying some new things, so it’s time to write another Skin & Makeup Routine post!

Here are the links to my original posts:


Skin

I’m continuing my normal routine with a combo of my standard LUSH and Young Living products, but I wanted to share some new things I’ve purchased since my last post.

I took the Wolfberry Eye Cream with me on my recent trip to Blacksburg, and I love it!

Karma Kream is my new favorite body lotion. It’s perfect for right after I shave my legs!

These are three face masks that I received for free during my last trip to LUSH, which was at the end of April. If you redeem five empty and clean pots, you get a free face mask of your choice! Since I had 16 empty and clean pots, they gave me all three at once.

Since the last update, I started supporting a friend’s business with Rodan + Fields. I started with their Lash Boost. I’ve been using it for nearly two months. In just seven weeks, I’ve seen a massive difference! My eyelashes are fuller, darker, and I’ve lost less of them. I also don’t wear a lot of mascara anymore!

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Using Lash Boost is super simple! It’s the same concept as eyeliner on your lids. Once a day, swipe, swipe, and done!

I also took the quiz called “Finding Your Regimen” with their Solution Tool. Since skin cancer is very prevalent in my family, and I have the “fair skin curse,” I wanted to see what this said. After all, Rodan + Fields are two dermatologists!

My personalized recommendation was Reverse Lightening. So, I ordered it. Granted, I haven’t had a chance to start using it yet, since it’s a new regimen from what my skin has been used to. Hopefully I can start it over this weekend!

 

In addition, a while back I saw that Young Living offered something called the Bon Voyage Travel Pack. I added to my monthly order, and I’m so glad I did. This was wonderful to have during my flight to Florida – No issues with the TSA!

The travel pack includes:

  • Thieves® AromaBright Toothpaste
  • Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier
  • Thieves Dental Floss
  • Thieves Fresh Essence Plus Mouthwash
  • Young Living Toothbrush
  • Lavender Shampoo
  • Lavender Conditioner
  • Cinnamint Lip Balm
  • Morning Start™ Bath & Shower Gel
  • Genesis™ Hand & Body Lotion
  • ART® Light Moisturizer

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Here’s my updated LUSH wish list:


Makeup

I’m loving my Savvy Minerals. I don’t have any recent photos, but I recently used Essential Rewards (ER) to purchase a bigger variety of the eyeshadow offerings. More photos to come!

Here is the list of eyeshadow that I currently have:

  • Best Kept Secret
  • Diffused
  • Determined
  • Envy
  • Freedom
  • Inspired
  • Overboard
  • Spoiled
  • Unscripted
  • Jet Setter (eyeliner)
  • MultiTasker

I use either Jet Setter or MultiTasker on almost a daily basis! I’m excited to experiment with the different colors that I now have, too.

 


Hair

As much as I love Young Living’s shampoos and conditioners, it just wasn’t working out. Products with essential oils don’t mix well with hair that gets oily and greasy easily. I donated my unopened products to my church’s food pantry, which collects toiletries as well.

At the new LUSH store, I found their “Big” shampoo and solid conditioner. These were game-changers for me!

I also love their Sea Spray Hair Mist!

Everything I have reminds me of the beach!


What about you?

Do you have a certain skin routine? What about makeup?

Have you tried any homemade recipes related to skin or makeup?

Check back in a few months – I’ll likely have another update post to share!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #59: Sage Advice From Ancient Times

Ancient Times

Image Credit: StatusMind.com

I found this really interesting tag from Kim. She writes at Over The Andes. Check out her blog! I think you’ll like it.

Here’s the link to Kim’s original post:


The Rules:

  • Choose the author or philosopher (it should be one from the Ancient Time). Don’t know anyone? Google it. It shouldn’t be so hard.
  • Choose 3 quotes of this author/philosopher. The country of origin – doesn’t matter (Egypt, Greece…Italy). Add any info or explanation if you like.
  • Share those quotes and nominate 3 to 6 people; Ops, that’s not obligatory.
  • The title for the post? Choose something cool.

My Choice

I chose Lao Tzu, the honorary title of Li Er, from ancient China. Lao Tzu means “Old Master.” As a saint or deity, he is known by multiple names (Lao Jun, Lao Dan). He is credited with founding Daoism.

Source: Lao Tzu Biography


Quotes

“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.”


Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #58: The “All About The Reading” Tag

All About The Reading Tag

Image Credit: YouTube

Thrice Read! Happy two-year anniversary, by the way! Thanks for publishing so many awesome tags!

Here’s the link to their original post:


What do you look for most when you pick up a book?

A) A beautiful writing style
B) A character driven story
C) A plot driven story

Honestly, I’m picking C. The plot has to hook me from the get-go.

What are your pet peeves in books?

  1. Multiple POVs that are poorly executed.
  2. Characters that diminish their self-worth to attract the love interest.
  3. I agree with Thrice Read – Using / having pregnancy as a conflict? No, thanks!
  4. Most love triangles. They don’t typically end well in real life, so I don’t really want to see it play out in a book. Next!

If you could print one quote on your wall, which one would it be?

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

~ Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Which genre would you like to explore more?

Science fiction. I want to re-read Ender’s Game, and then finally read more of Card’s books. Then, we’ll see what happens from there!

I also want to try my hand with Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch.

Was there ever a movie adaptation you liked better than the book?

The Notebook (2004) was one of the best adaptations.

However, no movie adaptation will likely top a book, for me. Books will always win.

If one of your favorite books would be adapted or get a new adaptation, which book would it be and which role would you like to play?

I would love to see a modern retelling of The Great Gatsby. I think I’d like to play a female version of Nick Carraway – How’s that for turning something on its head?

A hyped book you wouldn’t recommend at all?

As much as I want to say Fifty Shades of Grey, I didn’t get past the first few pages before I completely stopped. I will never read any of them, ever. So, technically, they don’t count.

So, I’ll go with Twilight. Initially, I though it was an intriguing series, but I never truly bought into the vampire side. This is also coming from someone who was basically forced to watch the first two movies while in college. I haven’t seen any of the others.

A book that highly influenced your life and way of thinking?

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card.

Double points for using the same answer twice!

Are you a fan of re-reading books, do you do it often?

Yes.

I re-read The Great Gatsby and To Kill A Mockingbird every year.

Which book title could easily be the title of your life?

Eat, Pray, Love (I’m horrible with questions like this!)

Which book should be required reading for everyone?

I don’t like to use the term “required reading,” but here’s my list of my recommended books (in no particular order):

  • Dear Mr. Henshaw, Beverly Cleary
  • Holes, Louis Sachar
  • Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie
  • Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
  • To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
  • The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank
  • Looking for Alaska, John Green

What would you recommend for required reading? Why?

Thanks for another great tag!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Adventure Time: Blacksburg, VA Edition (P.E.O. Virginia State Convention 2018)

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This is my first-ever P.E.O. State Convention post!

What is P.E.O.?

  • From P.E.O. International: P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization where women CELEBRATE the advancement of women; EDUCATE women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans, and stewardship of Cottey College and MOTIVATE women to achieve their highest aspirations.
  • Motto: Women helping women reach for the stars
  • There are 230,000 members throughout the United States and Canada
  • More information: https://www.peointernational.org/

This was at least my fourth Virginia State Convention. I have been to Convention in Roanoke, at least twice in Richmond, and this year was in Blacksburg, at The Inn at Virginia Tech.

I was one of two delegates. Each chapter – There are 76 chapters in Virginia – are asked to send at least two delegates to Convention every year. I was thrilled to be a delegate with Darcy, a newly-initiated sister into our chapter. We are from Chapter L, based in Norfolk.

Convention was held from June 1-3, 2018. Come along for the ride!


Friday, June 1st

Darcy and I left my house around 8:30 a.m. for the long drive. It was roughly 440 miles from Hampton Roads. I wanted to make sure we got there before 4:30 p.m., where I was supposed to be in rehearsal for one of the convention workshops.

Thankfully, we didn’t have a lot of traffic. We arrived around 2:00 p.m., and the hotel was already buzzing with activity! We checked in, and then went toward Virginia Tech’s campus in search of food, and to stretch our legs.

We discovered downtown Blacksburg, and we stopped at Bottom of the Stairs (BOTS, for short). They weren’t busy, and the food was delicious!

My Slider Trio – Chicken, pulled pork, and their “veggie BBQ,” which was pulled jackfruit. Yummy!

After our early dinner, we took a Lyft back to The Inn. My workshop rehearsal was successful, and we were able to relax for a bit before the evening activities began.

I was part of the Friday night membership workshop, which was stylized as a live radio show from “WPEO.” It was a blast! I was “selected” as a Region 3 contestant, where I was a panelist with Ibani, a sister from Chapter AS in Richmond.

The Convention theme was “Catch The Waves To Better Futures.” Our outgoing President, Sherry Arendt, lives right on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, so she brought “the ocean to the Alleghenies.”

After our evening workshops, Darcy and I spent several hours with the Franc 7’s group. Franc Rhodes was one of the seven founding sisters in 1869, and she was the youngest of the group. So, Franc 7’s are the women who are under 40-years-old. We had 21 Franc 7’s present during Convention, which was awesome! We pushed couches and chairs together, and enjoyed a nice, productive, unscripted conversation. Darcy and I hit the hay around 11:00 p.m.


Saturday, June 2nd

Saturday is easily the busiest and longest day. Breakfast usually starts around 7:00 a.m., and the day ends with the Saturday Night Banquet at 10:00 p.m.!

The P.E.O. flower is the marguerite, a flower much like a daisy. When I saw this dress for sale in the Darby’s Dresses Facebook group, I knew I had to have it!

One of the highlights of Convention is honoring our Golden Girls – Women who are celebrating 50 years of membership in P.E.O.! We had one sister that we celebrated this year – Our current chapter president, Jeanne Brody. She was initiated into a New Jersey chapter in 1968.

The handmade gold centerpieces!

The Golden Girls luncheon was fabulous. Ethel Muter, the State Organizer, did an amazing job with the presentation. In addition to displaying the 29 Golden Girls, their photos, and fun facts, she also did a ton of research on things happening during these ladies’ initiation dates in 1968!

One of Sherry’s challenges for the past year was using our special sand castle bucket for collecting spare change and fundraising ideas. All 76 chapters decorated their buckets, and proudly displayed them for all to see!

$2,000 in one fundraiser!

On Saturday afternoon, there were a few hours between the end of the day’s Convention business and the Saturday Night Banquet. Darcy and I walked around campus, and enjoyed the Duck Pond area.

On Saturday night, there’s a great banquet. There are project speakers who thank the P.E.O. chapter or chapters that helped nominate or sponsor them, and all of them are incredibly inspirational and humble.

We had dinner, and then an awesome trio played beach music. Imagine around 200 women dancing for two hours!


There are six International projects:

The state / Commonwealth of Virginia has two state projects:

Convention also has what’s called a “Projects Room,” where attendees can learn more about the projects, and see the recipients from the last year.


Sunday, June 3rd

I wanted to get as many photos as I could!

The sign outside the Projects Room.

The photos below showcase our seven founders, who started P.E.O. at Iowa Wesleyan College on January 21, 1869.

P.E.O. is celebrating its sesquicentennial – 150th anniversary – in 2019!

The year 2019 is also a P.E.O. International Convention year – So the 150th celebration will be held where it all began – Des Moines, Iowa. I’m already saving my money for next September!

I love this handmade quilt that showcases all 76 chapters, and where they are in Virginia.

Sunday morning is always a whirlwind. There are just a few hours to finish the Convention business, install the new State Officers, and say goodbye!

P.E.O. also takes time to remember sisters who have died, or passed on to “Chapter Eternal” every year. This year was particularly emotional. There were 69 sisters who passed away, including two Past State Presidents (PSPs).

Tragically, one of those deaths was the accidental death of Liz Jackson, who was the sitting State Secretary. I met her when my church was host to one of the Reciprocity Rallies (Reciprocity is a group of chapters based on geographic location – There are many throughout the state) in September 2017. Sadly, she fell off a balcony in February 2018, and never recovered.

After the Time of Remembrance, Convention business was concluded for the weekend. The new State Officers were installed. Our new State President is Rhesa Janice, from Chpater AZ, Herndon.

The 70th Annual Virginia State Convention will be held in Richmond, Virginia in 2019. The year 2019 will be an exciting one for P.E.O.!

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Rhesa’s theme is “Value The Past, Vision The Future.”


I hope you enjoyed my post about P.E.O. and the annual Virginia State Convention!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂