Writing Prompt #159: “The Alphabet Post Challenge”

the alphabet post challenge

I saw this post on Kristian’s blog, Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table! I wasn’t tagged for it, but I wanted to do this because it looked like so much fun. I could see how much fun Kristian had with it. Her enthusiasm is contagious!

Here’s the link to Kristian’s post:


Guidelines

The post was created by Stuart of Stuart of Something to Stu Over

Acknowledge the blogger that challenged you.

Display the challenge photo or create your own. 

Link back to this post so I can read yours. 

Create one post or multiple posts, using a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet and share your thoughts on the word you chose and how it can be applied to our lives.

Be creative and have fun!

Nominate 5 -7  bloggers to participate.


Here we go!

A is for Al.

This was a no-brainer for me. Al is not only my husband. He’s an amazing friend, brother, son, secret-keeper, dog dad, and so much more. I love you, baby!

B is for Big Bird.

Those of you who know me well, and see me on Facebook, know that Big Bird is one of my all-time favorite characters. Sesame Street is one of the only shows that I have watched for forever. I had not one, not two, but THREE stuffed Big Birds when I was a kid. They were small, medium, and large. The small one was handmade by someone in my family, either my grandmother or my aunt. The medium one was bought for me at our local mall, I think at the KB Toys? The large one had a pull string that made him talk. There are many family photos where one of them makes an appearance. He was my “lovey” for so long. I think Mom and Dad still have at least one of them at their house. I sincerely hope that’s the case, anyway!

C is for Church.

I was raised in an incredible United Methodist church. I have so many memories from there – Sunday School, Confirmation class, youth group, volunteering, starting our blood drives, mission trips, retreats, communications committee, the media team, and more. I also married Al in the beautiful sanctuary on November 14, 2015.

D is for Dolls.

I grew up with Barbie dolls, and then a Bitty Baby. When I was nine, I received my special American Girl of Today doll for Christmas, whom I named Stephanie. Now, 21 years later, I have six American Girl dolls, including Stephanie. Al’s dad designed and hand-built this amazing display case, wardrobe, and double-sided shoe rack. I love it so much, and it’s in the perfect place in my Lady Lounge.

E is for Enthusiasm.

I’ve typically been described as enthusiastic, energetic, and excitable. All three of these personality traits go hand-in-hand!

F is for Forrest Gump.

This is one of my all-time favorite movies! If it’s on TV, I usually end up watching it until it ends. Tom Hanks became one of my favorite actors because of this movie, and Gary Sinise is top-notch as Lieutenant Dan. I know my interest in 20th century American history started because of this movie, too. It’s celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2019, and I would love to go see it on the big screen.

G is for Glee.

Glee is one of my all-time favorite TV shows. I fell in love from the pilot episode in 2009. I own almost all of the albums. If I’m having a rough day, I know I can pop one in my CD player in the car, and singing along helps lift my mood. Also, I used their cover of Taylor Swift’s “Mine” to serenade Al during our rehearsal dinner in 2015.

H is for High-Fives.

I love giving, and receiving, high-fives!

I is for Ice Cream.

Ice cream is one of my loves. I don’t eat as much as it any more, but you can count on it being in the freezer during the summertime, and for any birthday celebrations. My favorite is chocolate chip cookie dough. Yum!

J is for Josh Groban.

My family fell in love with Josh Groban early in his career. My mom and I have seen him perform live twice in Norfolk, and I would love to see him perform again. Also, he’s quite the comedian, with several guest spots on late-night talk shows.

K is for Kermit the Frog.

Like Big Bird, Kermit is one of my favorite Muppets. When I was 15, my Florida friend Megan and I went to a fun game/arcade place called GameWorks in Miami. Together, we gathered enough tickets to get matching stuffed Kermits, and leopard-print plush mirrors that were flower-shaped. Also, Jim Henson was a genius, and many of us miss him. He was taken from this world too soon, dying as a result of pneumonia in 1990.

L is for Libraries.

Libraries are amazing. I’m been a proud card-carrier since I was four years old. I can’t wait to show Al the main branch of the New York Public Library when we go visit New York this summer.

M is for Michael Buble.

Another one of my favorite singers!

N is for New York.

I was born at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. It’s right across the street from Central Park. Because of my premature birth, one of the things the nurses told my parents was that they wanted to see these kids, graduates of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) do well and thrive. So, my parents took me back to the hospital every summer until I was 16.

We lived on Governors Island for two years, and then moved to Virginia. I have so many wonderful memories of New York. Seeing several shows, the World Trade Center before 9/11, all the sights and sounds, THE FOOD, the architecture, the subway, and more.

Central Park is one of my favorite places! Also, my Great-Aunt Sherri lives in the Tribeca/Soho area, and happens to live about a block and a half from the firehouse that was the Ghostbusters headquarters!

One of the coolest experiences was playing at Carnegie Hall with my high school orchestra in my senior year. The head nurse from Mount Sinai’s NICU, Doris, came to the performance with my parents, and brought me flowers. The orchestra also got to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Winter Garden Theatre. It was a ton of hard work – We prepared for nearly 18 months – but so incredibly worth it.

O is for Oreo.

I love Oreos! One of the best things my Grandma Grace taught me was that Oreos taste better when they’re frozen!

P is for The Polar Express.

The Polar Express has always been one of my favorite books. My parents have a gift set which includes the hardcover book, an audio cassette of the book reading, and a bell.

Also, the movie adaptation (2004) is one of my favorite Christmas movies.

Q is for Queen.

I discovered Queen’s music in high school. After football games, they would play “We Are The Champions.”

Their Live Aid performance (1985) is on YouTube, and it’s one of the most spectacular music performances EVER.

It wasn’t until Al and I were dating that I first watched Wayne’s World (1992) and their epic rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

If you haven’t seen Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), GO SEE IT. It’s one of the best movies that I’ve seen in the last several years. It’s also one of those movies that should be seen on the big screen. I can’t wait to get it on DVD.

Also, Rami Malek did an awesome interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air. I was captivated!

R is for Reading.

I started devouring books as soon as I could. I know my parents and relatives read to me, too, since there are several photos of that.

Reading is one of my true passions. I love books, libraries, collecting books, and more. I love writing Book Reviews here on the blog. Also, I’ve been writing a fun Awesome Authors series, where I research different authors, their lives, and their books.

S is for Swings.

As a kid, I loved the swings at the playground.

Many of my dreams have portrayed some sort of swing – Tire swings, playground swings, porch swings, rope swings over water, and more.

That feeling like you’re flying while on a swing is indescribable.

T is for Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift is magic. I love her voice, her presence, and her dedication to charity and her fans!

U is for “Uptown Girl.”

Billy Joel is another one of my favorite singers! This song, while not the first one I remember hearing, is one that I love. And it’s so catchy! I’ve practically memorized all the lyrics.

V is for Viola.

I played the viola for eight years, starting in fifth grade. We had the choice between the recorder in our music teacher’s class, Mrs. Brennan, or strings. I had taken piano lessons for several years, and just did not want to play the recorder! I originally wanted to play the violin, but the viola was a good compromise. It looks like a bigger violin, but has the strings of a cello.

Orchestra was one of my fondest memories of middle school and high school. Sixth grade, with Mrs. Glasco, at Western Branch Middle School was big and loud. For seventh grade, my house/neighborhood was part of the transition to the brand-new Jolliff Middle School. Jolliff’s orchestra class, with Mrs. Rice, in seventh and eighth grade was pretty small – I think there were only four violas, maybe six tops.

I was in orchestra class when I found out that I had been accepted into the brand-spanking-new International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Oscar Smith High School. I was the only student from my district, Western Branch, to attend the program when I started at OSHS in the fall of 2003. I started in the Concert Orchestra with Ms. Kringel (Yes, that’s really her name!), and then moved up to the Chamber Orchestra when I was a sophomore. As I mentioned in my New York entry, we had the ultimate trip of a lifetime when we were selected to perform at Carnegie Hall in the spring of 2007. I can’t think of a much better way to cap off my SENIOR YEAR of high school than that!

W is for Writing.

Writing has been one of my passions since I was in elementary school. I would fill journals, notebooks, and tons of loose-leaf paper with short stories and doodles about everything, but mainly stories about my Barbie dolls, and then my one American Girl doll, whom I named Stephanie.

As part of the “Young Authors” program in elementary school, kids had the opportunity to write and illustrate their own spiral-bound book. When I was in fifth grade, I called my story “Electro Girl,” and it was a simple friendship story about a girl and her new friend, a robot, set in the forests of Oregon. “Electro Girl” was selected as an honorable mention in the program, and I was able to attend the special ceremony with my parents and other kids from around the city. That ceremony is where my friendship with my best friend, Melissa, started to bloom!

I’m pretty sure I still have my copy of “Electro Girl” (I hope so), and my treasured dark blue three-ring binder with all of my childhood short stories. It’s covered with stickers from the doctor’s office, from craft stores, and birthday parties. I threw away many of the journals and notebooks as a teenager, and I’m so mad now that I did!

Fast-forward to January 2019. I’ve completed four National Novel Writing Months (NaNoWriMo), two Camp NaNoWriMo sessions, and began drafts of four novels. On New Year’s Eve, I hit a HUGE milestone. I crossed the 50,000-word mark on my first NaNoWriMo attempt, which I started in 2012. I made so much progress on this baby in 2018 alone. I’m almost finished, but I’m struggling with the ending!

Next up: Making headway with my 2013 WIP.

Also, I have this little blog of mine as a huge part of my life. Thank you to all my readers and followers thus far. I appreciate every one of you!

X is for Xeno.

I love Nick and Savy’s dog, Xeno! He has so much energy, and he always makes us laugh.

Y is for You!

Thank YOU for supporting this little blog of mine for many years. I appreciate every follower, like, comment, tag, and more!

Z is for Zebra Cakes.

I love nearly everything with a Little Debbie label, except for Oatmeal Cream Pies! Zebra Cakes, however, have always been delicious, and funky-looking!


Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #68: Disney Princess Hair Book Tag

disney princesses

Image Credit: The Washington Post

I wasn’t tagged for this one, but I love Jenna at Bookmark Your Thoughts so much! Her enthusiasm for this tag was contagious!

Here’s the link to Jenna’s post:


The Rules

  1. Link back to Kyera’s original post on Kyera’s Library and Mandy’s post on Book Princess Reviews so they can see all your answers! Be sure to do this via pingback, we don’t get notified if you just tag our URLs.
  2. Thank the person(s) who tagged you… show the community some love!
  3. Obviously, come up with your own wonderful answers!
  4. Don’t forget to tag others to keep the tag going!

Best Hair Accessory

Favorite book sidekick

Princess: The red ribbon in Snow White’s hair.

Book: Ron Weasley from Harry Potter.

Biggest Hair Change

Plot twist that totally caught you off guard

Princess: Anna’s streaks from Frozen.

Book: The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins. So crazy!

Prettiest Up-Do / Bun

A book or author with the most elegant prose

Princess: Princess Tiana! I love the The Princess and The Frog. So elegant and gorgeous!

Book: To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. I was assigned to read this book during the summer before ninth grade, and I fell in love. It’s one of several books that I strive to re-read every year.

Most Bounce / Body

Book that bounces between multiple time periods

Princess: Ariel, hands down! So beautiful.

Book: I haven’t read it yet, but Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, immediately comes to mind.

Most Intricate Braid

Favorite plot with multiple story-lines that are woven together

Princess: Elsa!

Book: I got nothing!

Short & Sweet

A book that’s short and sweet

Princess: Mulan! One of my favorite princesses of all-time.

Book: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is another book that I typically re-read every year.

Nicest Half-Up / Half-Down

A book / character that you had a lot of ups and downs with

Princess: Belle! I love Beauty and the Beast!

Book: Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling. Such a good book, but it was also the end of the epic series that defined a good portion of my childhood and my life!

Medium & Manageable

The last book you felt right in the middle about

Princess: I’m running out of princesses! I think Moana is the best pick for this one.

Book: Small Town, by Lawrence Block. A good read, but also long, heavy, and graphic. I gave it 3 1/2 stars in my review.

Best Bangs

Eye-catching cover

Princess: Ariel!

Book: Caraval, by Stephanie Garber. I don’t normally pick books based on cover, but the minute I saw it, I need I wanted to read it. It’s going back on my TBR soon!

Long & Loose

Longest book you read this year

Princess: Merida!

Book: I honestly can’t answer this question. I don’t normally pay attention to the length of books.

Best Pony

A book that swings from POV to POV

Princess: Jasmine! I wanted hair like hers for years.

Book: Allegiant, by Veronica Roth. Many know my disgust with this book. I have trouble reading books with multiple POVs thanks to this one.

Stunningly Straight

A book that made you want to dive straight into the sequel

Princess: Pocahontas! Absolutely gorgeous!

Book: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. This book captivated me. I think I had all three books in my possession when I finished this one. If I hadn’t, I think I would have gone straight to the store to pick up Catching Fire the minute I finished the first one. If you haven’t read the trilogy, DO IT!

Enviable Curls

A book with twists and turns

Princess: Aurora.

Book: The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware. Holy moly! This was such a good book! It kept me on the edge the entire time. What a ride!

Hair Closest to Your Own

A book that you strongly connected to

Princess: Rapunzel’s hair after it’s cut off. I felt this way when I decided to cut my hair to its current length. I’d grown my hair out from 2013 through 2017, and I’m glad I did since my wedding hairstyle came out beautifully in 2015. But, after a while, the length was frustrating and I really started to not like it. It took FOREVER to blow dry! I decided to cut it off, and I’ve never looked back. I know Al was sad, but I’ve loved the compliments I’ve gotten with my current style. Plus, blow drying is a cinch now!

Book: This is one of the toughest questions. But, I think the proper answer, at this moment, is Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond, by Lilly Ledbetter. I greatly enjoy human interest stories, and especially ones written by women. As a woman, and someone who is very much aware of the wage gap, I try to learn more about it. Reading Ledbetter’s story was so encouraging and inspiring to me. This book will remain on my bookshelf forever.


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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Adventure Time: Norfolk, VA Edition (Round 6 – An Evening with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox)

Al and I discovered Postmodern Jukebox (PMJ) on YouTube within the last year. When we found out they were touring and coming to Norfolk, we bought tickets in April!

Sadly, Al wasn’t able to go because the concert date conflicted with his recent work trip to Mexico. So, we invited our 13-year-old niece, Mia, to be my date. It was awesome!!

The ensemble told everyone up front that photos and videos were definitely allowed, which was amazing!

This was the set before the concert started. The curtain was gorgeous!

There was such a vintage theme. I took pictures mainly because of all of the costume changes!

This woman. Holy cow! So soulful, and beautiful. She reminded me so much of Aretha Franklin!

All of the different dresses!

One of the singers, and the resident tap dancer!

The beginning of their rendition of “Africa.”

The whole band! Every single one of them was awesome!

They were singing and dancing to “Umbrella.” So colorful!

The trombonist’s last night on tour was in Norfolk. He was awesome!

The tap dancer! I love this action shot!

She sang a fabulous version of “Time After Time.” It brought the house down!

It was such a wonderful experience! If they come to your city/town, it’s completely worth the money!


For more information, check out these links and videos:

There’s so many more on YouTube!


Have you heard of Postmodern Jukebox?

If you have, do you have a favorite version / rendition of theirs?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #147: “The winter is coming, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites, Italy” (Reblogged)

I love sharing Just Wunderlust’s photos often. No matter what photo it is, each one evokes emotion or some sort of connection. Sometimes, seeing these photos spark a daydream, or even a potential writing prompt.

Seeing this photo today made me think of several things, aside from the obvious, “Oh, wow, that’s absolutely gorgeous!”

I started thinking of the road that leads to this area. The characters that live there, both real and fictional. It reminded me a little bit of Beauty and the Beast, but my imagination ran a little wild earlier today. I love it when that happens, especially when everyday life and the normal routine can become so repetitive and dull.

The fog looks so ominous around the beautiful mountains, kissed by early snow.

What are their winters like?

Do tourists come?

Do the children enjoy the snow, the winter?

I’m sure it’s cold, but undoubtedly beautiful.

Italy is such a beautiful country, from what I’ve heard. I hope to be able to visit, someday.

As the fall weather is finally starting to settle in, here in southeastern Virginia, I’m enjoying the crisp air, the changing of the leaves, and the coming holidays. We’ll blink and Thanksgiving will be here in a flash. But, I do love one good snow every year – It turns the whole world white and beautiful!

What’s your favorite season? Why do you love it?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

The winter is coming, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites, Italy

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Awesome Authors #17: Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks

Image Credit: NewInBooks

Nicholas Sparks was my absolute go-to for romance novels for a long time. I own nearly every one of his books, and he was a defining author for me for several years.

In fact, I did my college senior thesis on his books. I studied the perceptions of love and romance from female readers. I would like to eventually publish it!

Born on New Year’s Eve 1965, Sparks was the second of three children. The family moved frequently while his father was pursuing graduate studies in Minnesota and California. Eventually, they settled in California after his father became a professor. On a track and field scholarship, Sparks majored in business finance at Notre Dame.

He married Cathy Cote in 1989, and they have had five children, three sons and twin daughters. He started writing in his early college years. His first publication was as a co-author in 1990. The book was titled Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding.

While selling pharmaceuticals in the early 1990s, Sparks wrote The Notebook. Literary agent Theresa Parks offered to represent him after finding it in her agency’s slush pile and liking it. She secured a $1 million advance from Time Warner Book Group in 1995. After its publication in October 1996, it made the New York Times best-seller list in its first week.

He lives in New Bern, North Carolina, where he donated $9 million to New Bern High School for an all-weather tartan track. He and his wife amicably separated in 2015, and subsequently divorced.

As of October 2018, he has published 22 books. He has published one book nearly every year since 1996, with two books being released in 2003, as well as 2005. Eleven books have been New York Times best-sellers. His most recent book is Every Breath.


A Walk to Remember (1999)

A Walk to Remember (Hardcover).jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I honestly can’t remember if this was truly the first Sparks book I read. But, I loved it, and the movie adaptation (2002) was very good. It was also incorporated into some of our Sunday School classes and youth group activities.

The Notebook (1996)

The Notebook Cover.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I think I read this after the movie adaptation (2004) came out, but this is one of Sparks’s books that I treasure and re-read frequently. The movie adaptation is one of the best that’s ever been made, hands down.

Nights in Rodanthe (2002)

Nights in Rodanthe.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I felt a special connection with this book, since Rodanthe, North Carolina, is only about two hours south of where I live!

I wanted to love the movie adaptation (2008) so badly, especially since I’ve visited the house that’s featured in it multiple times, but it wasn’t that great.

Safe Haven (2010)

Safe Haven Cover.png

Image Credit: Wikipedia

This book was a hard read for me. I myself was a part of an abusive relationship for several years, and this book brought back several memories. Thankfully, by the time I actually read it, I was several years into dating Al.

I’m pretty sure we watched the movie adaptation (2013) together. I liked it a lot, despite the subject matter.

The Last Song (2009)

Image result for the last song book

Image Credit: Goodreads

I waited for what seemed like FOREVER to get my hands on a copy of this from the library! I devoured it on a car trip either to or from Florida.

Most people hated / loathed the movie adaptation (2010), but I liked it.


What about you? Have you read or seen any of Nicholas Sparks’ work?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂