Writing Prompt #238: “Imagination Plantation: European Vacation”

I was nominated for this writing challenge by Kristian, the lovely author of Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table. Thanks, Kristian, for nominating me!

Here’s the link to Kristian’s post, where I was nominated:

The challenge, Imagination Plantation, was originally created by Nova, the amazing author of Nova’s Namaste 365 Online.


4 Simple Rules:

Write me a short paragraph about what’s happening in this image.

Create a pingback to this image.

Tag three bloggers.

Reuse this same image 🙂 Let’s see how many stories can come from the same one.


Kristin shivered as the plane landed. As she turned off her iPod and listened to the final announcements of the flight attendants, she felt her right hand being gently squeezed. It was comforting.

“K? Are you okay?”

She smiled, squeezing his hand back.

“Yeah. I think so. My stomach always drops when planes land.”

Brennan smiled, hardly believing they had just landed in Germany. Their first time overseas.

As Brennan stroked her hand, Kristin’s thoughts drifted toward the cities and towns they would be exploring for the next 10 days. She was always nervous during plane trips, but for some reason, she was incredibly nervous about this trip. It was odd – She hadn’t felt this nervous around Brennan since the very beginning of their Camp experience. That was years ago.

She started to relax as their Uber left the Munich airport and headed toward the German countryside. The weather was absolutely beautiful, very unseasonable for the middle of August.

Brennan noticed Kristin had drifted off, her head laying on his shoulder. He smiled as his lips grazed her forehead. He caught a glimpse of a sleepy smile.

He took in the sights. It was about a 30-mile drive from the airport. There were so many trees – Far more than he’d ever seen in Texas. The amount of foliage and nature was rivaling Camp in Maine, and that was hard to top. He was in awe the entire drive. There were rivers, bridges, cathedrals, and stunning architecture. It was almost overwhelming. He was a little sad Kristin was missing this, but he thought it better she sleep. They had the next 10 days to take in everything. Germany was just the beginning.

The Uber driver easily navigated the steep, gravel-lined hill toward their first stop. Brennan’s smile grew wider. He remembered how excited, positively giddy Kristin was when she’d found it on Airbnb. It looked like a castle in the photos. And, in real life, unfolding before Brennan’s eyes, it was true.

“Hey, Kristin … Sweetheart?”

She groaned slightly, yawned, and opened her eyes.

“Yes, Brennan? What is it?”

He kissed her forehead, and then brushed her lips.

“Welcome to your castle, darling. Let’s start our European vacation.”


Nominations


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #84: The Wanderlust Tag

The Wanderlust Tag

Thanks, Sara, for tagging me!

Here’s the link to Sara’s post, where I was tagged:


The Rules

  • Mention the creator of the tag and link back to original post [Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight]
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Answer the 10 questions below using any genre
  • Tag 5+ friends

Secrets and Lies | A book set in a sleepy small town

Bonfire

Bonfire, Krysten Ritter

I felt as if I was dropped head-first into Barrens, Indiana, and experiencing everything in this small town with the main character.

Salt and Sand | A book with a beachside community

The Runaway Maryellen

The Runaway: A Maryellen MysteryAlison Hart

Maryellen’s world is set in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Here There Be Dragons | A book with a voyage on the high seas

The Woman in Cabin 10 - Amazon

The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware

This book is primarily set on an inaugural voyage, so this one definitely qualifies.

Tread Lightly | A book set down in a murky river or a jungle

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Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

I was assigned to read this in my senior year of high school. This was one book that creeped me out for a good while, long after I finished reading it.

Frozen Wastes | A book with a frostbitten atmosphere

319498

Christmas After All: The Great Depression Diary of Minnie Swift, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1932, Kathryn Lasky

Reading the fictional account of Minnie and her family during The Great Depression in 1932 made me shiver, in more ways than one.

The Boonies | A book with rough or isolated terrain

hunger-games-cover

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

District 12 is definitely rough and isolated. So are many other places in Panem.

Hinterlands and Cowboys | A book with a Western-esque setting

Image result for brokeback mountain book

Brokeback Mountain, Annie Proulx

Set in the Wyoming mountains, this is one of a handful of books I think of when I imagine the American West.

Look Lively | A book across sweeping desert sands

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Under a Painted Sky, Stacey Lee

I haven’t read this book, but I really want to.

Wild and Untamed | A book set in the heart of the woods

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Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson

If you haven’t read this book, it’s a good one. It’s an emotional coming-of-age story, but this book made my imagination run wild. I turned the city park behind my house into my own Terabithia for years afterward, creating stories in my notebooks.

Wildest Dreams | A whimsical book shrouded in magic

Fallible Justice, Laura Laakso

I received this book as an ARC (My first-ever ARC!) from the publisher last year. This book is a fresh perspective on magic, the paranormal, and mystery. I’m so excited this book is part of a paranormal investigation series!


Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #83: 30 Interesting Questions

30 Interesting Questions

Image Credit: The Bibliophagist

Sara at The Bibliophagist did another wonderful tag, so I thought I would participate as well!

Here’s the link to Sara’s post:


1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

My mom calls me LB. My dad calls me Hot Shot. My gym teachers typically called me by my maiden name, Stricker.

The one thing I really don’t like is when people call me “Laura.” I’ve never gone by Laura – Always Laura Beth, or LB. Thankfully, many people are gracious when I lightly correct them, and ask them to call me either of those.

2. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?

I don’t normally doodle. However, when I do, it’s normally hearts, stars, flowers, or smiley faces.

3. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I toss and turn. Sometimes, I do write in my journal or on scrap paper next to my bed. However, most of the time, my writing is illegible or doesn’t make any sense the next day!

4. Do people consider you to be talkative or quiet?

Talkative, hands down.

5. What makes you cry?

I don’t cry as much anymore. When my anxiety gets really overwhelming, however, crying is one of the easiest stress relievers for me. I’m also a sap for romantic movies. I’ve shed many tears in theaters with different movies – Most recently, Captain Marvel (No spoilers, though).

6. What is your biggest pet peeve?

General rudeness. I totally understand if someone is having a bad day, or they may be overwhelmed, but being nice and apologizing goes a LONG way.

7. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

Only when I’m in the bathroom.

8. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

Great question!

I’m sure I’m not alone, but I totally thought Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood were real places I could go and visit someday. I knew Sesame Street was in New York, and I was pretty sure Mister Rogers was in Pittsburgh, back then.

Image result for sesame street set

Image result for mister rogers neighborhood set

9. What is the guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?

Certain TV shows and movies. That’s about it.

10. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?

Probably my parents. My mom is already known as “The Card Lady,” where she always remembers everyone’s special days – Birthdays, anniversaries, other milestones – and always send cards in advance. Even random “Thinking of You” cards and emails, too.

11. How often do you read the newspaper? Which sections?

I used to read The Virginian-Pilot cover to cover, starting in middle school. Now, Al and I don’t subscribe to it. If anything, we skim a few articles per week from Pilot Online on Facebook.

12. Which animal scares you the most?

I love animals, so I’m not truly scared of any type. I’m not crazy about snakes and poisonous spiders, though.

13. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage with it?

Definitely avoid. I really don’t like it. For years, I would tend to run away and hide if there was conflict going on, even at friends’ houses. I’m much less afraid now, but I still dodge it if I can.

14. What is the most recent compliment you’ve received?

One of my company “customers” recently told my supervisor: “She is my go-to person for questions, is always helpful, and makes my job easier.”

15. What question are you tired of hearing?

“When are you and Al going to have kids?”

16. What is the strangest thing you have eaten?

I tried a chicken heart once, at this cool Brazilian steakhouse called Tucano’s.

17. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends?

Thanks to Facebook and WordPress, I have many acquaintances now. And it’s wonderful! In terms of true friends, I can count about 10 total.

18. Do you have a catchphrase?

“Awesome!” or “Excellent!”

19. What’s your all-time favorite town or city? Why?

New York City – Specifically Manhattan. It’s where I was born. My parents took me back to Mount Sinai Hospital to visit the doctors and nurses who took care of me in the NICU every single year until I was 16. My high school orchestra played at Carnegie Hall when I was 18. The last time I visited was in December 2010. I’m so excited to take Al for the very first time this fall! I’m long overdue for a visit.

Image result for new york city

Image result for mount sinai hospital

20. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

I wouldn’t change it. Laura Beth comes from Laura Bethany Powers, my great-grandmother.

21. When was the last time you lied?

It’s been a long time. Lying is not okay in my book.

22. What’s something that amazes you?

The beauty of this Earth.

23. Would you rather be the first person to explore a planet or be the inventor of a drug that cures a deadly disease?

Explore a planet!

24. What is your favorite amateur activity?

Pastel painting!

25. What was your first thought when you got up this morning?

“Our dogs are ridiculous, but they’re ours!”

26. What is your favorite song (at least at the moment)?

“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift.

Image result for shake it off

27. List someone you know and describe them in five words.

Al is a tall, handsome, funny, dedicated husband.

28. You can select one person from history and have them truthfully answer one question. Who would you select and what would the question be?

I have no clue.

29. Which celebrity or artist do you resemble the most?

During my college internship, one of the guys thought I looked like Jennifer Carpenter, who played Dexter’s sister, Debra. I’m pretty sure he said it as a form of flattery, because I think he had a crush on me.

Image result for jennifer carpenter

30. What do you want me to know?

We’re not going anywhere for July 4th this year. Why? We’ll be binge-watching every single second of Stranger Things Season 3. Check out the kick-ass, brand-new trailer!

Image result for stranger things season 3


Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #155: “North Island, New Zealand” (Reblogged)

I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love lighthouses. I’ve had the opportunity to visit and climb several of them on the East Coast – Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. One of my dreams is to visit every lighthouse in the United States, and climb as many as I can. That’s no small feat!

For Christmas 2017, my sister-in-law Savy bought me this incredible book, Lighthouses of America. I love it! I plan to review it here on the blog soon.

For now, though, I’ll be admiring this photo of North Island in New Zealand. And thinking about the next lighthouse in my vicinity that I can visit and climb.

Do you like lighthouses? Where do you dream of traveling and exploring?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

North Island, New Zealand

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Getting Personal #151: “The Drain House, Drain, Oregon” (Reblogged)

Image Credit: Just Wunderlust

I love sharing inspiring posts from Just Wunderlust. The photos are incredible!

I’ve been thinking of Oregon a lot recently. Mainly because my best friend, Melissa, and another friend, Brittany, live there. But, I’m in awe of the beauty of the state. This photo is no exception.

Seeing the mist and the trees behind this house makes me think of the story I wrote and illustrated in fifth grade. I called it “Electro Girl,” and I set it in the forests/mountains of Oregon. It’s definitely writing from my 10-year-old self, but seeing this photo makes me think of that story. Also, that story was recognized as a Young Authors book, and going to the ceremony and reception that year was where I got to know and love Melissa!

The colors of the house make me smile, too. It looks like a doll’s house.

I did some research, and learned that Drain is located in Douglas County, in the southwestern part of the state. The last population count, in 2017, was 1,169. The town is named after town founder and politician Charles J. Drain. It’s a prominent example of Queen Anne style architecture. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 12, 1978.


What do you see when you look at this photo? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Have a great week!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

The Drain House, Drain, Oregon

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Getting Personal #131: “Spiral Staircase, Law Library, Munich, Germany” (Reblogged)

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you have had a good day so far. It’s almost the weekend!

As I prepare for my own busy weekend, and the end of July next week (It’s not possible!), I wanted to share this post from Just Wunderlust. Spiral staircases are, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful and mesmerizing pieces of architecture. And, this photo is from a law library? Swoon!

Have a great weekend! And make sure pick up a book. I’m working my way through my first-ever ARC!!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

Jada Cook
Spiral Staircase, Law Library, Munich, Germany

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Awesome Authors #16: Chris Van Allsburg

Chris Van Allsburg

Image Credit: Quotefancy

Chris Van Allsburg was practically a household name when I was younger. He has created some of the most beautifully illustrated books I have ever seen. Our future kids will definitely know about him, too.

Born in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, in June 1949. Van Allsburg has an older sister. His parents moved a few times between East Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids. After graduation, he attended the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Michigan, where the art school was located at the time. After graduating in 1972, he went on to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he obtained a master’s degree in sculpture in 1975. He opened a studio. Struggling with time in the studio, he started to sketch his ideas and designs at home. His wife thought his drawings would be good for children’s books. His first book, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, was published in 1979.

He resides in Providence, Rhode Island, with his wife, Lisa. They have two daughters, Sophia and Anna. Van Allsburg converted to Judaism, which is Lisa’s faith.

He has received several awards, including two Caldecott Medals for U.S. picture book illustration. He was the 1986 U.S. nominee for the biennial, international Hans Christain Andersen Award, the highest international recognition for those who create children’s books. In April 2012, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from his alma mater, the University of Michigan.


The Polar Express (1985)

CM polar express.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

My parents have had a copy of this book since before I was born. It was a Christmas tradition for years to read the book and/or listen to the story on cassette tape. We even had a collector’s set with the book, cassette tape, and a silver bell. If you haven’t read it, you should.

Also, the movie adaptation (2004) is wonderful. We went to see it in theaters, likely the weekend it was released. We love Josh Groban in our house, so we also got the soundtrack and DVD. It’s a thing.

Jumanji (1981)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’m pretty sure I first read this book through either the Chittum Elementary School library, or the Russell Memorial Library. I remember the Reading Rainbow episode, too.

Like The Polar Express, the movie adaptation (1995) is awesome, with Robin Williams and a cast of characters. I think I saw it on TV first. It’s one of my favorite movies that will never get old. We also saw the sequel (2017) in theaters, and it was pretty good, too. We miss you, Robin. There was also a TV series that ran from 1996 to 1999.

The Wreck of the Zephyr (1983)

The Wreck of the Zephyr.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

This is one book that I hadn’t heard of! I need to see if the local library has it.

Zathura (2002)

Zathura book cover.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

This is one instance where I saw the movie adaptation (2005) before I read the book. It’s always fun to think about and dream about space. We actually watched the movie again recently – It’s really well-done. Plus, it’s fun to see several actors when they first got their start in the film industry.


What about you? Have you read or seen any of Chris Van Allsburg’s work?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂