Friday, October 31, 2008

Whitney Awards Benefit Auction

Taking a short break from news about the new store to tell you about something else that's totally cool!

The Whitney Awards Benefit Auction. Starting tomorrow, November 1st, and running through the end of the month, they will offer books signed by some of your favorite LDS authors plus gifts, clothing, editing services, artwork, jewelry, crafts, chocolate, collector items, and much, much more! Including an Urban Botanic warmer with the Thanksgiving Oil, donated by moi (which will go up the second week—I'll remind you).

New items will be added daily through November 18, so check back often!

All goods and services have been donated; the proceeds go directly to the Whitney Academy to help promote excellence in literature by LDS authors. For more information about the Whitney Awards, please visit our website: www.whitneyawards.com

Monday, October 27, 2008

Good Deals? Of Course!

Jeri asked:
I love ticket to ride! I need to buy two more games (family gifts) for Christmas. On the grand opening day, will I be able to get a good deal? I can get it on Amazon for $38. (free shipping) Let me know. If it's a better deal - I'll come visit.
We'll have some fantabulous deals. I can't quote you a price right now because we're busy stocking the shelves and entering things into the computer to get ready for the Grand Opening on November 15th.

But I can tell you this. A few days before the opening, I'll be posting a coupon here that you can print off and bring to the store that will give you 25% off any one item.

We'll also be having some Free Drawings for toy and book packages, several valued at over $300!

That alone is worth the trip!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

THE Coolest New Store on the Block

Announcing the Grand Opening of





Saturday, November 15th

9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

661 W State, Pleasant Grove, UT


This is the new book/toy/game store where I am now officially employed. I got a look at some of the toys and games we're going to have in the store and I was Blown. A. Way. (Yes, I purposely misspelled that for emphasis.)


This is going to be the coolest store around. We will have a book section that will feature mostly LDS titles, but also some national best sellers, as well. It will carry LDS music and DVDs, too.


Then the toy section—forget about Wal-Mart, Target, and even Toys R Us. These toys are amazing! Science kits, board games, educational games, card games, building kits, and more—products for toddlers to adults. 95% of this stuff I've never seen before and I wanted to play all of them!


Starting tomorrow, I will be posting information on some of the products we'll be carrying—just to get you drooling.


Mark you calendars now because, trust me, you are not going to want to miss the Grand Opening! We're going to have author signings and % off coupons and drawings for free stuff and candy tasting and lots of fun stuff. It will definitely be worth you time to drop in and see us—and start your Christmas shopping. (Bring your list. I'll be there all day to help you find THE perfect gift.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

10 Things You Can't Do When You Work for Someone Else

After spending a depressing year and a half doing nearly nothing but watching Law and Order re-runs and eating nouggies, I have finally reached the point where I'm bored out of my mind. . . and I accepted a job offer. I will be working at a new bookstore opening about 5 minutes away from my house. Grand Opening is November 8th and I'll have more to say about that later.

This will be a new adventure for me. It's been a long time since I worked for someone else. When I left the interview (which was really good for my ego, what with all the begging me to come work for them), I felt really excited. Then this morning, reality hit as I realized all the things I'm going to be giving up.

  1. No more going back to bed with a good book on cold, blustery days.

  2. No more working on MY time line—which sometimes started at 6:00 a.m. (if I woke up early) or as late as midnight (if I couldn't sleep).

  3. No more taking a two hour nap in the middle of the day.

  4. No more blaming gas on the dog.

  5. No more spinning around in my chair and singing show tunes at the top of my lungs as a way to clear my head.

  6. No more spontaneous road trips.

  7. No more reading blogs or playing Spider Solitaire in the middle of the work day.

  8. No more wearing the same outfit two three days in a row.

  9. No more wearing mismatched clothes because they happen to be the only things that are clean.

  10. No more working in my PJs and fuzzy pink piggy slippers.

Nope. No more of that.

Instead, I have to be proper and professional at all times. (That's me, to the right. Well, it could be if I were blond, with long hair, and 20 years younger.)



And I have to remember to brush my teeth before I head off to work in the mornings.



This should be interesting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

So cute you could eat them!

I got tagged by Megan earlier this month—a photo tag. Post the fourth picture in the fourth folder of your pictures folder. Okay. . .


It took me a minute to figure this one out but I believe it's Baby Shrek's feet. Aren't they the cutest little toes you've every seen?

Now I tag: Sandra, Suan and Jessica.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

If you ever eat sugar free goodies, READ THIS!

It's freezing cold and snowing! And I'm going back to bed with a book but I had to take a minute to blog about something soooo exciting.

This is especially for people who eat sugar free/no sugar added baked goods and who live in the vicinity of Macey's grocery store at 931 W State Rd, Pleasant Grove, UT. The rest of you are welcome to read too, but you'll have to find your own source for these goodies.

There is a company called Hill & Valley that makes the most delicious goodies—cakes, cookies, brownies, pies and muffins. I'm drooling just thinking about them.

They have a white cake with white frosting that tastes just like wedding cake. Oh my gosh! Yum!!

They also have a yummy turtle brownie that is just To. Die. For.

And pies, oh the pies, in nearly every flavor you can think of—I love the pumpkin and the chocolate and the coconut, and. . .

Here's the thing with Hill & Valley —many sugar free/no sugar added products don't quite give you that full flavory flavor and they give you a bit of a bitter aftertaste. If you've been off sugar for 10+ years, like I have, you put up with it just so you can have something approximating sweetness. But these—these Hill & Valley products—are so yummy that my kids will even eat them. Happily. The only problem with that is that because they like them too, I have to share. Bummer.

But anyway. I used to do most of my grocery shopping at Wal-Mart because they have the largest variety of sugar free products in one spot (including seasonal goodies), and since I'm there for the goodies, I might as well get everything else I need because I hate shopping. But lately, WM has cut back on the Hill & Valley baked goods. I've complained about that but they don't care. Apparently they know what I should like better than I do.

Today, I went in to the Macey's grocery store in PG for the deli ham that I like and also for Wheatables (why Wal-Mart doesn't carry Wheatables is beyond me). While I was there, I strolled the aisles to get a few other things I needed. And—lo and behold—I stumbled upon a display of Hill & Valley products! I picked out a white cake (see the image? I bought that exact cake) and some chocolate cupcakes.

Then I went over to the bakery to talk to the manager. I wanted to tell her how pleased I was with their addition of these items.
The manager said that Hill & Valley had sent them to a meeting of bakery managers yesterday and they'd gotten overlooked.

When she asked corporate what to do with these scrumptious goodies, they'd told her to throw them out. (WHAT?!!? I just about burst into tears over the thought of that!)

But, clever woman that she is, she put them out yesterday afternoon—just to see if they'd sell. She asked me lots of questions about what I liked about them, which of the products I'd tried, what I didn't like, etc. Then she said that if they sold well, she'd try to continue to stock them. (Just in case they don't, I went back to the display and added a chocolate cake and some apple walnut muffins to my basket. They freeze fine and are just as yummy later.)

So, now I need your help, dear beloved bloggy community. I'm on my knees, begging you please, please, please. . . If you live near the Pleasant Grove Macey's, and you ever eat sugar free desserts, GO BUY SOME OF THESE GOODIES NOW!!!

I don't care if it's cold and snowy. Get yourself out of bed and go get some before they're gone. And while you're there, go tell them in the bakery that you are so happy to see these products in their store. You can also tell them I told you about them if you want (but that's not so important).


Now playing on my iPod: Sugar, Sugar by The Archies


What are you doing still reading this blog? You should already be on your way to Macey's.

Go.

Now.


*This is not a paid advertisement. I have not received any compensation whatsoever for doing this. This is just my one woman campaign to get these absolutely delicious treats as a permanent product in my local grocery store.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Must See TV and a Few Don't Bothers

With the introduction of the new fall TV season almost over, I've decided go ahead and post opinions on a few of the shows, although some of my favs, like Lost (season premiere Feb 2009?) and a few interesting new ones, like Leverage (December, TNT, ) and Joss Whedon's Dollhouse (January, Fox, Mondays) have their premieres later this season.

First, you'll notice these are all dramas. That's what I like to watch. You'll have to go elsewhere for commentary on comedies and reality tv.

Great New Shows:
Fringe (FOX, Tuesday)—My favorite new show of the season. We're already several episodes into it, but you can watch past episodes online and catchup. Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is an FBI special agent who is assigned to the "weird" cases (think X Files, only science, not supernatural). In the original episode, Olivia and fellow agent & boyfriend are called to investigate an international flight landing in Boston where everyone on board is dead. Her boyfriend is exposed and to save him, she must get help from Dr. Bishop (John Noble), a scientist who's been in a mental hospital for 17 years. Her only access to him is through his son, Peter (Joshua Jackson). Homeland Security is involved, as is a multi-million dollar company led by a creepy woman, who is involved in weird science experiments—including bionic limbs, cloning, reanimation of the dead, mind control, etc.

Intriguing plot lines, lots of action and suspense, well acted (although I do get tired of Dr. Bishop's droning), and enough mystery that it hooked me from the first.

The Mentalist (CBS, Tuesday)—Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is a consultant with the CBI (California Bureau of Investigation—is this real?). Jane "has a remarkable track record for solving serious crimes by using his razor sharp skills of observation. Within the Bureau, Jane is notorious for his blatant lack of protocol and his semi-celebrity past as a psychic medium, whose paranormal abilities he now admits he feigned." Jane has a love/hate relationship with his boss, Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) who needs him on her team, but who is irritated with his inability to follow protocol.

I like Baker's portrayal of Jane, but Tunney is a little too stiff. Hopefully they'll work into a better flow together. This show has potential but it also could very easily go over the top and become too violent for my tastes.


Don't Bother:
Knight Rider (NBC, Wednesday)—Premise: Absolutely the coolest car ever created, KITT is equipped with an "AI" (artificial intelligence) that is capable of hacking almost any system. Its weapons systems match that of a jet fighter, and its body is capable of actually transforming into other vehicles and using sophisticated holographic imagery to elude villains.

Easily the lamest remake I've seen. Even lamer than Bionic Woman. Poor acting, ridiculous plot (and I'm not talking about the car, which was the best part of the show).

Eleventh Hour (CBS, Thursday)—Premise: Dr. Jacob Hood (Rufus Sewell), a brilliant biophysicist and special science advisor to the government, as he investigates scientific crises and oddities. His passion and crusade is to protect the substance of science from those with nefarious motives. He is called in at the eleventh hour and he represents the last line of defense. Special Agent Rachel Young (Marley Shelton) is the FBI officer assigned to watch Hood’s back.

I was really hoping this one would be good, but it's not. The acting is bad. There's no chemistry between Sewell and Shelton. It was contrived and overly preachy.

Raising the Bar (TNT, Monday)—Premise: Follow the lives of young lawyers who work on opposite sides – the public defender’s office and the district attorney’s office – as well as those who sit in judgment on their cases.

This one has some good actors in it. I like Jane Kaczmarek and Gloria Reuben but the characters are just silly. I can't decide whether this show is meant to be tongue-in-cheek or if it's dead serious. Either way, it doesn't work for me.



Returning Favs (best first):
Bones (Fox, Wednesday)—Brennan (Emily Deschanel), a forensic anthropologist, and Booth (David Boreanaz), FBI, work together to solve murders. She's a genius, he's got the street smarts. I love the interplay between Deschanel and Boreanaz. The entire cast is great. Do you remember Boreanaz from Angel? You'd never know it was the same actor!

Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles (Fox, Monday)—Not as well acted as it could be, I'm still fascinated by this show about a group of freedom fighters trying to stop the creation of Skynet, which will create cyborgs who will threaten mankind with extinction. My fav: Cameron, the "good" Terminator, played by Summer Glau.

Grey's Anatomy (ABC, Thursday) and Private Practice (ABC, Wednesday)—my two guilty pleasures. I'm embarassed that I like them, but I do. I've even created fragrances for some of the characters.

Heroes (NBC, Monday)—Although I've really liked this show in the past, it sort of feels like it's spinning out of control. I hope they pull it back together.

ER (NBC, Thursday)—Last season for the doctors. Although I've been a fan for the entire series, I can't say I'll miss it. It was great, but it's run its course.

CSI: Miami (CBS, Monday)—My favorite of the CSIs, I hope they finally get Eric and Calleigh together this year. And it would be great if Horatio could find a nice woman to settle down with. CSI LV—I'm getting tired of that one. CSI NY—never really liked it.

House (Fox, Tuesday)—Another guilty pleasure. I hate House, and the train-wreck-about-to-happen that he is, and yet, I can't pull myself away.

If I had to narrow it down to the top three shows that I MUST SEE each week, it would be: Fringe, Bones and Grey's Anatomy.

And I must say I'm very much looking forward to Leverage, starring Timothy Hutton. I love Hutton in everything I've seen him in. It also has Christian Kane who was so good in Angel. I like the premise—a bunch of bad guys who act as modern day Robin Hoods.

I'm also looking forward to Doll House. As a big Buffy and Angel fan, I always check out Joss Whedon's new projects. This one is starring Eliza Dushku (who was great as Faith in Buffy) and Amy Acker (who played Fred in Angel). The "Dolls" have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas, including memory, muscle memory, skills, and language, for different assignments. They're then hired out for particular jobs, crimes, fantasies, and occasional good deeds.

And there ya go.

Now playing on my iPod: Life's a Show/Give Me Something to Sing About from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the Musical)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

My old car

My family has a tradition of giving each other our cars. I like that.

So after my dad gave me his Jeep for one butterscotch pie (a Jeep which I absolutely love, love, love and which I named Cordelia —thanks for the name, Melanie G ), I needed to do something with my old car.

While I was contemplating the possibilities, my nephew's car died unexpectedly. So I sold my old car to my sister for two pedicures—one for me and one for Megan, who helped me deliver it to their house.

Michael, my nephew, tried it out and liked it. He has now made it his own:


I think it looks kind of cool.


Now playing on my iPod: Let the Good Times Roll by The Cars

Friday, October 03, 2008

Purse-aholics, get your fix here!

Handbag Planet is giving away a free handbag every hour for 24 hours on October 15, 2008 ,the day they launch their website. Go here to sign up. The bags are really, really awesome. They have a huge selection and variety of styles and colors.

I entered to win this one. It's totally me, isn't it?



Go enter to win one.

Her Good Name by Josi S. Kilpack


I got Her Good Name by Josi Kilpack a couple of weeks ago but I had to wait to read it because other less important stuff like cooking and cleaning and working my day job kept getting in the way. I started it a few days ago and then stayed up until 2:00 a.m. this morning to finish it. That right there should tell ya sumthin'.

Here's the promo on the book:

Chrissy is having an identity crisis. As a single woman and convert to the Church, she has always managed to find her place in life—at least until someone else begins using her credit cards, her bank account, and, most important, her name. Now the real Chrissy must prove her innocence against a growing pile of collection notices and unpaid bills. But with no job, no money, a warrant for her arrest, and a closet full of high-heeled shoes, a girl can only get so far. When Chrissy meets Micah Heet, the other half of a blind date gone bad, the two discover they are facing the same battle and join forces to find the perpetrators. Little do they know that the small semblance of life they have left will be put on the line in the process.

I really liked this book for so many reasons. First, I liked Chrissy. She's Latino and I think it's about time we got a little color in our LDS fiction. She's also pretty feisty. She doesn't let white-boy Micah control the relationship, even though she has a strong attraction to him. She also doesn't let her lecherous boss get away with anything. There's some romance, but not too much. It didn't make me want to poke my eyes out with a fork.

The suspense of the identity theft was amazing. Even though the chapters are very short, I just couldn't stop reading last night. This poor woman's credit and reputation was put through the wringer. Chrissy quits her job thinking she has $5000 in the bank to tide her over to the next job and she has an excellent credit rating. By the time the woman who has stolen her identity is done with her, Chrissy is over $90,000 in debt, her bank account has been wiped out, and she's been arrested and forced to spend the night in jail. But Chrissy doesn't give up or give in. She fights back and turns the tables, going after the woman who stole her identity and ruined her life! Not the wisest decision in real life, but it made for great reading.

As I read this, I kept thinking, "This could be me! Someone could do this to me!" It was frightening. Especially since we have our mortgage with Countrywide, whose employee sold our info to multiple sources. So far we're okay and Countrywide is paying for a two year monitoring service on my husband's credit. But not mine—even though both our names are on the mortgage. I'm thinking of using one of the services recommended at the back of Josi's book for me, even if I have to pay for it.

But back to the book—one caution. The bad guy, or rather, the bad woman, really is bad. Josi lets us see into her motivation and her thoughts enough that we understand why she does what she does, but this woman? She is just bad to the core. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say that she is not above killing innocent people in really horrendous ways to get what she wants.

There's a side story with Chrissy's sister that doesn't get fully resolved. She makes the right choice in the end but we don't know if there will be any fall out. Also, we're left hanging at the beginning of Chrissy and Micah's relationship. We're led to assume that everything will end up happily ever after, but there are some issues they'll need to work out. I'm okay with that because that's the mushy stuff I don't like to read about.

I give Her Good Name 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to everyone who enjoys a light suspense, with a couple of PG-rated violent scenes.

You can read a couple of chapters here. And you can buy it online at Deseret Book or at Amazon.

Fall Into Reading 2008


I'm late getting my Fall Into Reading 2008 book list up. Once again, this challenge is hosted by Katrina over on Callapidder Days.

For this challenge, I'm starting with just a few titles, then adding to the list as I go along. I'd like to read 12 books during the challenge. I've read the first one already. (wahoo!) As I finish them, I'll post a review and link to it.

Hope you all will come join me in this reading challenge. If you need a blog to participate, you can use this one. Just send me your lists and reviews and I'll get them posted and linked for you.

1. Her Good Name — Josie S. Kilpack (4 stars)

2. Peace Like a River — Leif Enger

3.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Catchin Up with Stuff

I haven't blogged a lot in September because I've been busy CLEANING and ORGANIZING. More details later, but for now, let's just say that I am the proud owner of a clean and functional office and shipping area. Yea for me!

I want to let you know about a couple of things:

BIAM (aka Book in a Month). There are two going on right now, starting today, but it's not too late to join in either of them. I'm participating in both. No, that does not mean I'm doing double the writing (although that would be nice). I'm just logging in both places and getting double the support and love. If you're interested, you can join me at one or both.

  • LatterdayAuthors BIAM: You need register here. Then PM me and I'll add you to the group. We're taking a virtual tour of Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Set your own goals and write as much as you can. Check in daily and post your word counts.

  • Tristi's Challenges: Go here. Create a post on your blog about the challenge. Link back to Trisit's site. Set your own goals and write, write, write. Check in at Tristi's place and report your word count.


Fall Into Reading. This actually started on Sept. 22nd, but it's not too late to join. I've already started reading for it, but I need to get my list posted. This is really fun and unlike some other people you know (and hopefully forgive), Katrina is spot on about awarding the promised prizes for her contest. For details, go here.

Summer Reading Thing Prize Awards. Winners are as follows:


Please send me your mailing address and I'll get those out to you. Even if you've sent me your address before, please send it again because I've misfiled my document with that info. Also, when you send your snail mail address, make sure you tell me both your screen name and your real name so that I'll make the connection.

**About the winners. After deleting commenters who hadn't participated in the the Summer Reading Thing, I had more prizes than commenters. (My fault for being a slacker.) So I went back to the sign up list and used the randomizer to fill in winners for the extras.