Category Archives: SIL

A rainy day in Fort Myers…

Yesterday, I drove down to Fort Myers with my SIL Jenna for a book launch party at Barnes & Noble. Jenna blogs over at Making The Grade and wanted to meet author Trish Doller whose YA book Something Like Normal just came out. You can read about Trish and her book at her website Trish Writes Books.

Because I have to, I took a picture going over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. I don’t know when I started doing it, but every time I drive over it, I have to take a picture. Weird? Maybe. But no two pictures are ever the same. It was a wet and rainy drive all the way down.


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Poor Jenna didn’t feel good when we arrived and I felt so bad for her! Finally, after some food she felt better. We met up with Jenna’s book-blogging friends Sarah and Shanon, and Olivia who doesn’t blog. Smile After an early dinner at Applebee’s, we braved the rain and headed over to Barnes & Noble for the book launch party.


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I did not know that Trish actually worked at the B&N that her book launch party was at. How cool is that? She was really nice and I enjoyed listening to her talk about her book (which I can’t wait to read!) and about her writing process, her family, and more. She has a great sense of humor.


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After she talked about her book and answered questions, she signed books. I bought one (of course!) and had it signed. Thank you Trish! It was great meeting you!


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Trish’s daughter made cupcakes which were color coordinated to the book. They were SO good. I wish I would have gotten a picture of the inside – they were marble with the same color as the icing. I love that Trish had her husband, daughter, and mom there with her.


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During the party, it was announced that the tropical depression was now Tropical Storm Debby. That was definitely going to make for an interesting drive home!


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The drive home ended up not being too bad. Despite the rain, we actually made it home faster than it took to drive down. It’s not often that I am on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge at night, so this was a fun picture to take…


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It was a fun day! Jenna and I make great road-trip companions and I enjoy tagging along with her on these book adventures and meeting new author’s and people. Thanks Jenna!


Blog Love: Making The Grade

Tuesday = Blog Love!! I hope you are enjoying these posts as much as I enjoy writing them. It is a treat to share my favorites with you.

This week’s blog is written by my fabulous sister-in-law Jenna. Okay, so I may be a little biased here, but it really is a great blog! She reviews YA Lit books and puts her all into this site. She is a true book lover and she is always reading. After starting her blog just earlier this year, she already has a very strong following, found herself “trending” on Twitter one evening during a giveaway, and is in contact with my publishing companies. She recently just switched to self-hosting her site and she is also now doing vlogs. If you have any interest in YA Lit (I do, who cares that I’m 40!), I highly recommend that you check out her blog.

So, this week’s blog love goes to… Making The Grade.

There are many things I love about this site, one of them being that it’s written by my sister-in-law. She posts every day. It is all very current and she hosts many giveaways. Her site is easy to read and very visually appealing. Have you checked it out yet? What are you waiting for?! Smile

And so it begins…

This morning was the first official training walk for the 2012 Susan G. Komen 3-Day. Last year, my fabulous sister-in-law Jenna walked 60 miles in 3 days in the fight against breast cancer. I was honored to participate in the training walks with her and cheered her and the team, Thanks For The Mammories, on all 3 days.

It is because of Jenna and Thanks For The Mammories that I decided to be a part of the 3-Day this year. I will crewing with Jenna. I am so happy to be a part of the 3-Day family and look forward to offering support to the walkers as they hit the pavement in October. As the training walks get longer, we will be support and help out however we can. During the 3-Day in October, Jenna and I will be driving a sweep van and we have many fun ideas to make it memorable and special for the walkers. I already know that Jenna and I make a great team and we will have a great time with this. I am so happy to share this with her and know that we are both a part of something wonderful and we can – and will – make a difference.

It was so great to do it all again this morning. There were 34 of us there! We met at the Safety Harbor Resort & Spa and walked 5 miles. I know Jenna and I were both very excited about it. After our walk, we went to Paradise Restaurant – the perfect place for a delicious breakfast after walking.

If you have a minute, could you please check out my personal page for the 3-Day? I would be so appreciative of any donations made towards my personal goal of $500.

And of course, I took a few photos this morning. I hope to document as much of this experience as possible and hope you’ll follow along!

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Jenna and I, the dynamic duo!

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Carol, our fearless leader!

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Thanks For The Mammories 2012

A Relaxing Saturday

I apologize for my lack of posts the last few days. I’ve been busy and it just carried over into blog-land. I hate it when that happens, but such is life. Today, however, made up for me being so busy the last few days. I had a very relaxing Saturday.

I started off the morning getting a massage. I cannot stress how much I needed a massage. My shoulders were so tight, there’s no doubt that I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. I had a gift certificate to Massage Studio in Tampa and I enjoyed every minute of it. If you like, you can read my full review of it on Yelp. You can find it here: While you’re here, if you are a regular on Yelp, be sure to add me as a friend! 🙂


After my massage, I went up to Barnes & Noble in Carrollwood for a book signing event for Colleen Houck. Actually, it was the second signing I went to as I saw her in Clearwater last night as well. Thanks to my SIL for inviting me! Colleen Houck is the wonderful author of the YA series Tiger’s Curse, Tiger’s Quest, Tiger’s Voyage, and the upcoming Tiger’s Destiny. I have read the first in the series and completed my collection today with the second and third and had them signed by Colleen. If you haven’t checked out this series, you need to. Visit Colleen Houck’s site here . Or you can also read about her and the series on my SIL’s fantastic YA Lit Review blog, Making The Grade. You can find her here:

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After the signing, I headed home and was hit with a killer sinus headache. The drive from Tampa to Clearwater was the longest ever. All I wanted was to get home, crawl in bed, and hope that a nap would help it. I slept almost 2 hours and when I woke up, my headache was a little better. I’m not going anywhere else today so I hope that it does not get any worse and even better would be for it to GO AWAY!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

A funny story about this morning’s walk…

Yesterday, my SIL Jenna texted me and asked if I wanted to walk this morning, a “training” walk with the fabulous ladies of Thanks For The Mammories, the 3-Day team we are a part of. I said YES!!! It had been far to long since we joined in a walk with them, plus I hadn’t seen Jenna in a bit so it would be a perfect Saturday morning.I got there a few minutes early and took a picture of the pretty sunset coming up over Tampa Bay. Then Jenna arrived. And no one else did. We sat there for a few minutes and then checked the email. OOPS! The walk is tomorrow, Sunday. NOT TODAY!! Ha! Ha! It was pretty amusing. But we walked anyway. The plan was 5 miles and that’s exactly what we did.

Despite the humidity and the sidewalks still torn up from construction, it was a very nice walk. It’s always nice to catch-up with Jenna and have girl time! We walked 5 miles and ended it with a delicious breakfast at Paradise Restaurant. I had French toast, eggs over easy, bacon, and a glass of ice water with lemon. It was de-lish!

While we were at Paradise, we also ran into our friend Debbie who walked last year. We had just been talking about her, saying how we missed her and need to catch up with her. We walked in the restaurant, and there she was, having breakfast with her husband.

So, we got a great walk in AND have a funny story to tell about it. Good times! We missed seeing all the other ladies, but we’ll see them soon, I’m sure.

Sunrise over Tampa Bay

Doesn’t the water look so peaceful?

5 miles done!

Fountain in Safety Harbor

So pretty!

Book Love

I love to read. I have always loved to read. I love fiction and true stories. I love funny books, serious books, sad books, books about dogs, and everything in between. And despite the fact that I am 40 years old, I really enjoy YA Lit (yound adult). Like the rest of the world, I read the entire Twilight series (and of course I’ve seen all the movies and I am awaiting the final one) and I am 2 books into the Hunger Games series. Recently, I have read 4 books that I think are worthy of a blog post – and a plug for my SIL and her amazing YA Lit review blog that she started just a few months ago.


If you click on each book cover, it will take you to my SIL’s blog site for the review or more info on these books. Reviewing books is not my strong point, other than to tell you that I very much enjoyed each one of these books and had a hard time putting them down. My SIL does an AMAZING job with her book reviews, so I will leave that to her. Her blog offers not only reviews but giveaways and a new post every day. You will not be disappointed. Click the button below to visit her blog and ENJOY! Be sure to follow her on Twitter and Facebook…

Thoughts on Thursday: Cancer

I’ve waited to post about this because I wanted good news to post. It has been a long 5 weeks,  but finally, we have some good news and some closure.

At the end of February, my mom found out she had endometrial cancer. After having a biopsy and waiting 2 long weeks for the results, they told her she had a grade one tumor. There are three grades, grade one being the least bad of all. This was the hope we were hanging on to. One symptom sent her to the doctor for a check-up. Had she ignored that one symptom, she would have never known she had a tumor almost 4 inches in size. A normal annual check-up would not have found this type of cancer. To me, this is TERRIFYING.

A week after her diagnosis, she met with an oncologist who scheduled surgery for her just two weeks later. This was all moving very fast. My Aunt Darlene in California (one of many fabulous relatives!!) offered to come out to be here the week of her surgery and we could not have been more happy for the extra support. Throughout all of this, we had so many people supporting my mom from all over, it was very heart-warming, and if more family had been able to come, we know they would have.

Two weeks ago yesterday, my mom went in for surgery. Her first surgery ever in her 61 years. They were able to do it laparoscopically, with 5 small incisions. The plan was to remove lymph nodes only if they felt it necessary at that time. She did extremely well during the surgery. The surgeon explained that they also removed some lymph nodes to have them tested and it would be two weeks to find out if it had spread or not.

She has spent the last two weeks recovering amazingly well. She did not overdo anything, she napped when she needed to, took her pain pills sparingly and only if absolutely needed, and she endured the once-a-day shots from both my aunt and I in her belly to prevent blood clots.

By the end of the last week, just over a week post-surgery, she was back to walking in the afternoons, 1 to 2 miles. Everyone has been so impressed with how fast she has recovered.

Finally, yesterday was her post-op appointment with the surgeon, to find out if the cancer had spread or not. Of all days to wait for this news, it was also my dad’s birthday. We visited the cemetery at Bay Pines VA in the morning, worked for a few hours, and then finally it was time for her appointment. I, of course, was right by her side because there is no other place in the world I could have been at that moment.

The doctor, a very direct man, walked in the room with a smile on his face and said “I have some good news for you. Your lymph nodes came back clear and you do NOT need any further treatment.”  Both my mom and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Her cancer was stage 1, with a tumor approximately 4 inches in size. The doctor, like everyone else, was extremely impressed by her recovery. She will go back in 4 weeks for another follow-up.

Cancer affects everyone. My dad had bladder cancer, my grandmother had breast cancer, my aunt had breast cancer, and now my mom has had endometrial cancer. It’s very easy to sit here and tell everyone to be proactive and do not ignore any little symptom that you feel isn’t right. Some cancers are genetic and some are not. Regardless, it can happen to everyone. I spent many months last year with my sister-in-law over the course of her training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day and I heard first hand stories of how cancer had affected so many lives. None of us are immune to it. We have to be proactive.

I am so relieved and  thankful that my mom is well. After losing my dad 16 months ago, the thought of something happening to my mom was terrifying. I kept strong throughout the last 5 weeks, both for my mom and my family, but I am not afraid to admit now that I was scared. Hearing the good news yesterday was the best thing and it made my day. I now know more than ever that my dad is indeed watching over us and I am positive he had a little something with yesterday’s good news.

I love you, Mommy and I am so glad you did not ignore what you knew was not right, and you did what you had to do to be well. You are stronger than you know and you are cancer-free!!

Thoughts on Thursday

I missed blogging yesterday but I just didn’t have it in me. I was so freaking tired when I got home after what was a very long and busy day. I made dinner, did some laundry, took care of the pups, and then I sat down to start a new book that I’ve been wanting to read. What am I reading, you ask? Starters by Lissa Price. It’s a YA Lit book, highly recommended by my sister-in-law. So, I have to read it! And while you’re at it, you should totally check out my SIL’s fabulous YA Llit review blog over at

I have decided to do another #7daychip. I have to quit my Starbucks habit. I. HAVE. TO. First of all, it’s expensive. Second of all, I think it is just that, a habit. I love it and I will miss it, but I have just gotten so used to having it morning after morning that I am used to the process of it. It has to stop. Today was day one of Operation No Starbucks. If I can go without it for 7 days, I can proudly claim my #7daychip acknowledgement. Not familiar with #7daychip? Check it out!! Go to and read all about it!

I haven’t been to WW in 2 weeks now. I didn’t go this morning, I used the time to go and have some lab work done.  Part of the lab work was to get on the scale. I am very happy to report that after 2 weeks of not going to WW, my weight this morning, on a different scale, was the exact same weight that it was the last time I weighed in. This is amazing to me. Some might look at it as two weeks behind on my weight loss, sitting in the same spot as before. I choose to look at it as two weeks of maintaining when there has been every reason (and then some) for me to gain. So go me! I am also happy to report that I have AMAZING blood pressure. It was 99/53. I always expect it to be higher given my stress levels. The lab tech was quite impressed.

Tomorrow is Friday again – YES!! This weekend I have got to do some major housecleaning. Seriously. We live in a pig sty. I also have to get my butt back out and running. Sooooo, here are my goals for this weekend:

  • Run this weekend – would love to get out both days for at least 3 miles
  • Major housecleaning – bedroom, bathroom, and living room are priority
  • Read, read, read, and then read some more
  • Stock up on fruits and veggies for the week
  • And the biggest goal of all will be to NOT have Starbucks over the weekend. This will be a huge challenge, we’ll have to see if I am up for it.

Susan G. Komen 3-Day

Last year, my sister-in-law Jenna walked the Susan G. Komen 3-Day here in Tampa Bay. Knowing that I LOVE to walk, she invited me to join in her training walks on the weekend. I knew I would have the pleasure of her company during those walks, but I had the added bonus of meeting a group of FABULOUS women!!

Thanks For The Mammories 2011

It’s amazing how you can get to know people just once a week, walking mile after mile. Debbie, Vickie, Abbie, and Carol, just to name a handful, were all WONDERFUL to me and made me feel very much included even though I wasn’t participating in the 3-Day. As the weeks went on and the walks got longer, it was all the more important for me to be there with them as they walked and got ready. I so enjoyed it, every mile.

A favorite picture of Jenna and I

The weekend of the 3-Day, I went to the opening ceremony, helped Jenna set up her tent that evening, cheered her on on the second day, and went to closing ceremony on the third day. It was such an amazing event and I was impressed by the bonds that all the participants formed.

This year I will be crewing with Jenna and I am so excited. I am officially a member of Thanks For The Mammories and I look forward to seeing them soon and particiapting with Jenna and all of them this October!

Wait, what?

Good grief, Charlie Brown. Has it really been over a week, almost 2 actually, since I last updated my blog? I’ve meant to update it several times but for some reason I have not. Chalk it off to the funkiness I have been in, I guess.

My last post was about evil bloated woman where I gained 3.4 pounds. &^%#%@ Yea, 3.4 lbs.. Mind you, no one forced the food down my throat or twisted my arm to eat whatever bad foods I ate that I probably should not have. But when evil bloated woman is here, I have NO self control. NONE. Really, I don’t.

Moving past the 3.4 lb. gain, the next day I walked 13 miles with my fabulous sister-in-law. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy those walks? The high that I feel when done with that kind of walk should keep me going for a great start to the week leading up to the next weigh-in. But not last week. I didn’t walk the Sunday after. And not that Monday. I did do a strength training work out (which, by the way, I felt for days). On Tuesday I walked 3.11 miles. I wanted to run, but my legs could not would not do it. Regardless, I walked it and got it done. On Wednesday, I did nothing. Nada. Same on Thursday. Thursday is normally a no workout day anyhow, but the guilt was there since I skipped the day before. When I walked into WW on Friday, I had no idea what the scale would say. Whatever it said, though, I would have to own it. I am the one who decided to not workout when I could have, or to eat whatever it was I should not have. Amazingly, I was down 1 pound. Honestly, I think the pound I lost was the fact that evil bloated woman was finally gone, at least until she rears her ugly head again in a few weeks.

That 1.0 lb. loss gave me a little jump start,. I was happy. I was even happier when my sister-in-law and I walked 14 miles on Saturday. That is nothing to sneeze at, my friends. It was a HARD walk this week. It was hot and humid and when we were done, my feet (especially my right foot) was screaming at me. My SIL had to stop at mile 12 due to blisters on her feet. It was brutal. But we gave it our best. I burned ALOT of calories, 1239 calories to be exact. Again, this should have kept me going into this week.

Where did this funk come from? Why I am so blah this past week and not really caring about what food choices I make? It’s irritating, and to be quite honest, scary. I don’t want to give up, I don’t want to quit, but I feel like something else is controlling me.

I got home yesterday and should have walked. It was raining so I didn’t. I should have gone on the treadmill, but I didn’t. I got home today, no rain, a little bit of a breeze – I should have walked. But I didn’t. WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH ME??

Someone needs to give me a virtual slap or something. I don’t know what needs to happen, but I have got to snap out of this funkiness. I don’t want to be tired and blah and just whatever. I don’t. I want to be that girl who comes home, changes quickly, and runs out the front door and knocks out 3.11 miles as quickly as I can. I want to walk back in the house, dripping with sweat, and post what I did, and enjoy the rest of my evening knowing I busted my butt.

If anyone can help me find that girl that does those things, I’ll be eternally grateful. I’m really not sure where she is this week. I need her.