Adventure Time: Newport News & Williamsburg, VA Edition (Greyhounds, Colonial Williamsburg, and Romantic Escape Package)

Al and I had a great weekend! We got to meet and greet some greyhounds, and then spent some time at The Williamsburg Winery!

We went to a meet-and-greet with Old Dominion Greyhound Adoption. This was their first meet-and-greet at the Care-A-Lot in Newport News. There were nine greyhounds there, with their owners, along with the Director of the group. Everyone was so nice and friendly! The dogs were incredibly sweet. We went home with an application, and are excited to start this process!

After the greyhound meet-and-greet, we went to Colonial Williamsburg for lunch. The Trellis Bar & Grill is a really nice restaurant, right in the heart of Merchants Square.

We enjoyed a hearty lunch – Al had “The Burger” and I got their tortellini.

I love the unique touches, from their birdcage lanterns, to their cute salt and pepper grinders.. Their water comes in epic bottles!

We weren’t quite full after our entrees, but we decided to spring for dessert and their signature mock-tails. For dessert, I chose their Flourless Chocolate Torte, and Al had their Burnt Sugar ice cream. Al had the “Moscow Pony” mock-tail, and I had their “No-Jito” mock-tail. They were awesome!

After lunch, we ventured 12 minutes away to The Williamsburg Winery. Al won a very generous gift card at his company Christmas party in December, which allowed us this experience!

We chose the Romantic Winter Escape Hotel Package:

  • One Night in a Tradition room, with king-sized bed and wood-burning fireplace*

  • A Tour and Wine Tasting for two at the Williamsburg Winery, including a tour of the barrel cellar and a tasting of seven wines

  • Bottle of Williamsburg Winery wine

  • Artisanal chocolates

  • $100 Dinner Voucher for Café Provençal

  • European-style Continental Breakfast for two including croissants, pastries, fresh fruit and more

We got to the winery around 4:00. We checked in around 4:15, which gave us just enough time to unload the car before the 4:30 tour and tasting.

These are the giant oak barrels where the wine is stored!

Barrels of wine in the cellar.

This is the “reserve cellar,” where a more extensive tour and tasting is held.

The shelves hold different vintages of wine, dating back to the late 1980s.

These are the three concrete eggs that hold the white wines.

Once the barrels are past their prime (Their life span is about 10 years), they are sold to private collectors, or used as trash cans in places like Colonial Williamsburg.

The tour and tasting were fabulous. Our guide, Stephanie, was incredibly knowledgeable and awesome! We tasted several different wines. It was really nice and relaxing!

The view from our hotel window. That’s the winery in the distance.

Our room at Wedmore Place was the “Brittany.” I felt like we were in Europe! The bed was incredibly comfortable. I wanted to take the mattress home!

I got to wear my new LuLaRoe Maxi!

Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes.

Filet Mignon.

Poached Apple Tart.

Pumpkin Cheesecake.

We had an amazing dinner at Cafe Provençal, which was located in the lower level of the hotel. Everything was divine! Al got the Caramelized Onion Soup (no photo), and the Filet Mignon. I had their delicious Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes, along with a glass of their A Midsummer Night’s White.

For dessert, Al got the Pumpkin Cheesecake, and I had the Poached Apple Tart.

There were exquisite pieces of furniture, like this, throughout!

The courtyard.

Our complimentary bottle of merlot, wine glasses, and artisanal chocolates!

Part of the package was a bottle of wine of our choice, wine glasses, and artisanal chocolates! We took it home. With our complimentary tour glasses, we have four new wine glasses at home!

On Sunday morning, we ate breakfast at the cafe. It was a lavish feast, with fresh fruit, strong coffee, assorted croissants, and quiche! We took our time, and checked out about an hour later. We went back to reality quickly – Getting gas, grocery shopping, getting ready for the new work week.

It was a much-needed mini-getaway. A piece of Europe is only 45 minutes away!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂


Getting Personal #107: My Skin & Makeup Routines (Part 4)

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

Here are the links to my original posts:


As much as I love LUSH Handmade Products, the store at MacArthur Mall was closed for a bit while they moved into a bigger space. It was disappointing.

In the meantime, I capitalized on the products that Young Living Essential Oils offer. Since I’m enrolled in their Essential Rewards (ER) program, I earn points for everything that I buy.

Here are some of the Young Living products I’ve been using recently:

I’m loving these two, so far! I only need a tiny bit of each. I’m using the Scrub every few days, but I use the cream every morning after my shower. It smells like the beach!

I love the smell of Morning Start – Peppermint, lemongrass, rosemary, and juniper. Several people have hugged me at church and asked what perfume I’m wearing. When I said it’s body gel, they were all shocked! I can’t wait to try Sensation soon!

I’m looking forward to the day when I’m able to snag just one container of the Orange Blossom Facial Wash. It must be popular – It’s been out of stock for months!

Now that the bigger LUSH store is finally open, here are a few of the things on my wish list:


I love Savvy Minerals by Young Living!

The brushes are so soft, and they’re labeled!

I think I need some different eyeshadows. I love the eyeliner, though!

These are my Before & After photos from yesterday:

Personally, I like the Jet Setter eyeliner the best! I definitely want to experiment with different eyeshadows and blushes. The brush set is AWESOME!


I love that I tried making my own homemade deodorant, but I had one strange side effect. My armpits would not stop itching! It felt like they were sunburned all the time. Finally, I reached out to April, my friend and Young Living independent distributor, for help. She thought it could be the baking soda – Too much of it can cause a skin reaction.

So, I ditched the homemade stuff and started trying the cake deodorant that Young Living makes. It smells amazing!

I got Al to start using it, too! I’m excited to try Meadow Mist when I finish the first cake. It’s lasted a good while!

So far, I’ve only used the Mountain Mint one. It smells awesome, and I’ve noticed that I’m sweating less. Plus, no more itching or burning!


I started with Young Living’s Lavender Mint daily shampoo and conditioner, which I liked. I plan to use more of that during the summer, since lavender is a good mosquito repellent!

Once I finished the bottles of Lavender Mint, I started using the Copaiba Vanilla shampoo and conditioner. These are definite winners for me, and I intend to keep buying them!

I also have the Lavender Volume shampoo and conditioner on deck.

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 🙂

Commentary #64: “This Small Norwegian Town Turns Abandoned Buildings Into Bookstores”

Geeky Book Snob

Image Credit: Geeky Book Snob

I saw this post from Read Voraciously on February 28th.

Here’s the link to Read Voraciously’s original post:

And, here’s the link to the Reader’s Digest article:

I knew I wanted to write about this before I finished the Reader’s Digest article. How cool is this?

There are approximately 2.5 miles of books in the village of Mundal, part of Fjaerland, Norway. Northeast of Bergen, it looks like an absolutely beautiful area to live and visit!


Image Credit: Alamy

Knowing me, and my love of books, I don’t think I would want to leave! But, the bokbyen (“booktown”) is only open for business from May to mid-September.

But, fear not! The online side is open year-round.

I would love to at least see the stunning glaciers. And then, read a book next to them.

For more information, check out these sources:

What about you? Have you ever visited a booktown?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #56: “Chances and Changes: My Journey with Molly”

Chances and Changes

Image Credit: Amazon

If you haven’t already, I recommend reading the Book Reviews on the first two volumes of Molly’s BeForever collection:

I really like the Journey Books that American Girl is producing. They offer readers the chance to connect with the historical characters via a modern girl character, and everyone learns something valuable along the way.

I mentioned my love of Camp Gowonagin in my previous Book Review, so I was thrilled when I first learned Molly’s Journey Book would be primarily set at camp. It had me dreaming of my own summer camp experiences, but those were in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This was 1945 – Very different!

I won’t give away a lot of detail, but I appreciated the lessons about friendship, teamwork, cooperation, courage, bravery, and helping others. I also learned a different series of facts about World War II – Something I never knew existed in the United States during this time. I really liked that American Girl took this and worked hard to educate readers about it. Kudos!

Reading this book made me wish there was a time portal in the book. Although summer camp back then was very much structured like the military, I think I would have loved it!

I’ve heard of “adult summer camps” in different states – Maybe it’s time that I sign up for one.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #55: “Stars, Stripes, and Surprises: A Molly Classic 2”

Stars Stripes and Surprises

Image Credit: Amazon

If you haven’t already, I recommend first reading my Book Review of Molly’s Classic Volume 1:

Volume 2 covers the other three books in Molly’s original Classic Series:

  • Happy Birthday, Molly!
  • Molly Saves The Day
  • Changes for Molly

This volume starts in the spring of 1944. Molly is excited to celebrate her birthday. Her family also receives some exciting news – A girl, Emily, is coming all the way from London, England, to live with her aunt. When Emily’s aunt falls ill, Mrs. McIntire offers to help out. Molly is happy – A girl her own age! After a few stumbles and culture shock, Molly and Emily become friends and celebrate their birthdays together. There’s also a few birthday surprises!

As school lets out, Molly, Linda, and Susan head to Camp Gowonagin for two weeks! I remember loving this story in particular as a kid, and made up countless stories about summer camps!

Along the way, the girls learn many things, including the camp’s hallmark event of Color War. They end up on different teams, so who will win?

The final chapters breeze through the fall, winter, and find Molly in the spring of 1945. The war is coming to an end, and everyone in town is putting on the “Hurray for the U.S.A.!” show. Molly’s family receives an exciting telegram from Dad – He’s being reassigned to the local Veterans Hospital and coming home for good! Yay! Molly really wants to be Miss Victory, the tap dancer with the big solo in the show. But, she wants to transform her stick-straight hair into big, beautiful curls before the show. Her sister, Jill, is happy to help. Will everything work out the way Molly hopes it will? And, will Dad arrive in time to see the show?

Like Volume 1, I miss the original illustrations. But, the writing is so vivid, I feel like I’m beside Molly the whole time!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #106: March Goals

march goals

Image Credit: East Willow Grove

Hello, March! It’s lovely to see you arrive. I’ve started to see the daffodils bloom, and buds on the trees!

Here are my goals for the month of March:

  1. Work at least one hour on my Lady Lounge every weekend.
  2. See A Wrinkle In Time.
  3. See Ready Player One.
  4. Attend a meet-and-greet with Old Dominion Greyhound Adoption.
  5. Update the Household Bills spreadsheet by the end of the month.
  6. Prepare for my P.E.O. officer transition.
  7. Make chocolate mousse for the office.
  8. Make at least one thrift store donation run.
  9. Continue to make progress with my 2012 NaNoWriMo endeavor.

Here’s the breakdown:

Work at least one hour on my Lady Lounge every weekend.

  • As I mentioned in my February Goals Recap, I simply didn’t have the time or make the time last month. I’m determined to make some sort of progress now!

See A Wrinkle In Time.

  • This comes out early in the month. I’ve read the book several times. The cast and cinematography look AMAZING!

See Ready Player One.

  • This movie’s trailer intrigued me from the beginning. Al is reading the book that the movie is based on now, but I’m excited to see it. Plus, it’s Spielberg!

Attend a meet-and-greet with Old Dominion Greyhound Adoption.

  • We are looking forward to this! Al has done a ton of research over the last several months, and we’ve determined that a greyhound is likely the best breed for our house and current working situations, etc. It’s exciting to think about!
  • This is the first big step in a lengthy process, but we’re excited that we found this local place that specializes in greyhounds!

Update the Household Bills spreadsheet by the end of the month.

  • When Al and I bought our house, I started an Excel spreadsheet which is a space where we can log and track all of our expenses and discretionary spending.
  • I did a massive update at the end of February, and we’re finally caught up after getting buried in receipts.
  • My goal is to make this a monthly priority!

Prepare for my P.E.O. officer transition.

  • I have been nominated to be my P.E.O. chapter’s next Treasurer. This is a completely new role for me, but I’m excited to have been nominated.
  • If elected, I will be making my transition from Recording Secretary to Treasurer soon.
  • It’s a great opportunity, and a resume booster, too.

Make chocolate mousse for the office.

  • Now that Chris has completed the Disney Marathon, it’s time to celebrate!

Make at least one thrift store donation run.

  • Al cleaned out his closet, and filled two big trash bags full of clothes to donate. Yay!
  • I also have a few clothing items, books, and DVDs to give away. I may give some of the books and DVDs to the local library.

Continue to make progress with my 2012 NaNoWriMo endeavor.

  • I’ve been feeling the itch to start writing / working on this again. I’m hoping to write at least 500 more words this month, if not more!

Do you have any goals for the month of March? I’d love to hear about them!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #105: February Goals Recap

Planning Inspired

Image Credit: Planning Inspired

February seemed like a really long month, for once. It was mostly good, but a bit wild and crazy. The recent spring-like temperatures have me very excited that it’s almost March!

Here’s the link to my February Goals post:


Here we go!

  1. Host my first P.E.O. meeting. — Accomplished!
  2. Get back to a regular cleaning schedule. — Semi-Achieved.
  3. Work at least one hour on my Lady Lounge every weekend. — Did not accomplish.
  4. Donate blood. — Accomplished!
  5. Use my diffuser more often. — Accomplished!
  6. Send another box of clothes to Darby’s Dresses. — Semi-Achieved.
  7. See Black Panther. — Accomplished!
  8. Wear my contact lenses every day this month. — Accomplished!
  9. Write in my journal at least once a week. — Did not accomplish.
  10. Read at least two books. — Accomplished!
  11. Explore options for essential oil storage. — Accomplished!

Here’s the breakdown:

Host my first P.E.O. meeting. — Accomplished!

  • Hosting my first P.E.O. meeting went as smoothly as it could have. We did have some excitement the night before (of course, Murphy’s Law!) when Al discovered a stream of water coming out of the crown molding in our dining room! After some “exploratory surgery” between Al and my dad late Friday night, we discovered the drain pipe from our bathtub was definitely leaking – An old cast iron pipe, probably original to the house (50+ years old). Luckily, my dad was able to drain the rest of the water and stop the leak!
  • The meeting went along as scheduled on Saturday morning. Thirteen lovely women shared coffee, refreshments, and good company. It felt good to open up our house to visitors other than our immediate families!

Get back to a regular cleaning schedule. — Semi-Achieved.

  • I did more spot cleaning this month, like wiping down certain areas while in the kitchen, laundry room, etc.
  • We bought an AWESOME Shark DuoClean vacuum cleaner to keep in our downstairs closet. It was a hefty price tag (Over $300), but seriously, this vacuum cleaner is worth it! It works on all surfaces – Wood floors, tile, and carpet. I’m actually excited about vacuuming now!
  • Al and I worked together this past week to do a massive deep clean – Stuff we hadn’t touched in months. We got all the dust and junk out of our bedroom – Under our bed, and I used the Swiffer dry and wet cloths on the bathroom floor while the rug was in the wash. As long as we mark dusting more often on the calendar, it will be more manageable and less time-consuming.

Work at least one hour on my Lady Lounge every weekend. — Did not accomplish.

  • This schedule didn’t work this month. I moved a few things around, but wasn’t able to invest the time that I wanted to.

Donate blood. — Accomplished!

  • My iron was high enough, on the first stick!
  • I’m now one pint away from six gallons (48 pints) donated!

Use my diffuser more often. — Accomplished!

  • I diffused the sample “Gratitude” blend that April made for me, and “Raven” twice. The house smelled amazing!

Send another box of clothes to Darby’s Dresses. — Semi-Achieved.

  • I have the box filled to the brim – I just need to mail it!
  • Also, Darby recently created a new Facebook group, solely dedicated to her boutique items that she sells – Check it out! It’s called Darby’s Dresses Boutique.

See Black Panther. — Accomplished!

  • We saw the movie with our friends Mike and Shana on Sunday, February 18th. It was a really good movie – I think it’s one of the best that Disney/Marvel have produced.
  • Getting excited for Avengers: Infinity War to be released on May 4th!

Wear my contact lenses every day this month. — Accomplished!

  • This was a super easy goal, and I’m glad that I overcame my laziness!
  • I even started wearing makeup nearly every day, too!

Write in my journal at least once a week. — Did not accomplish.

  • This literally got buried!

Read at least two books. — Accomplished!

Explore options for essential oil storage. — Accomplished!

  • Thanks to Ariel at Writing Radiation, she led me to Amazon to find this beauty of an essential oil storage solution: Essential Oil Wooden Box.
  • I love it! I had forgotten how many oil bottles that I needed to store. But, I still have room to spare. This things holds 68 bottles!

Final Thoughts:

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to seven out of 11 goals: I’ll take it!
  • The two goals that were Semi-Achieved: Just a few more steps, and I can mark them as complete. It feels good!.
  • The two goals that I did not accomplish: I simply didn’t have the time, or make the time this month.


What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of February?

Come back tomorrow to see my March Goals!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂