Hello my party people! I know, I KNOW! It's been a hot minute since there's been a post here and for that I am sorry! But I'm here today with some of my bookish buddies to share some amazing holiday reads with you!
All I Want For Christmas is a.....
Sheriff in On Christmas Avenue by Ginny Baird
Ginny Baird seems to know Christmas, and Hallmark has her number. If you don’t believe me, check out her other series- Christmas Town and Holiday Brides. If you love cheesy, sappy-sweet romances, this is the book for you. In On Christmas Avenue, Evan, the county sheriff, knows that businesses are struggling in the small town of Clark Creek. But unlike the mayor—who happens to be his mother—he doesn’t think that hiring a “Christmas Consultant,” will help, especially when this Christmas Consultant proposes a holiday parade that seems likely to overwhelm his staff and leave the town in even more debt. Mary is sure the parade is going to be a superb fundraiser. She’s going to make sure of it, overcoming every obstacle, including those put in place by the stubborn sheriff. But in the middle of her planning, the unexpected happens: she and Evan begin to see one another in a different light. With his realistic viewpoint, especially contrasted to the outlandish Mary, I definitely relate a little more to Evan the sheriff. Full of figurative language and extra sap, On Christmas Avenue will bring you miracles and a sheriff with a bow!
Lawyer in Christmas in the Scottish Highlands by Donna Ashcroft
An overworked school teacher, a cynical divorce lawyer and a lonely grandmother are the main characters in this fun Scottish highland Christmas tale. When Edina is injured by Belle in her bike in the snow Belle moves in to take care of her elderly neighbor much to the chagrin of Edina’s grandson Jack with whom she’s just come into contact with. Belle’s constant goodwill makes Jack suspicious but as time goes on her goodness starts to break through his shell. But when Edina’s Christmas list to Santa includes him reconnecting with his estranged mother Jack doesn’t want anything to do with our dogooder Belle. Yet the attraction seems to be irresistible.
A sweet story and quick read. The relationships are well developed and has just enough heat with all the heart attached.
Cowboy in Cowboy’s Christmas Past by Jackson and North
Looking for a book with a little more grit? Cowboy’s Christmas Past is perfect for John Wayne film-lovers. After his mother’s death, Beau Taylor returned from college to care for his baby sister. He left behind his dream of becoming a cinematographer and his girlfriend Amelia to help on his family’s ranch. Beau never thought he’d see her again. Amelia followed her dreams and became a big movie star. But ten years later she shows up in town to shoot a western (a remake of The Searchers (1956) with Amelia a sEvelyn Edwards; John Wayne played Ethan Edwards in the original), and their worlds collide after Beau’s ranch is selected as the perfect filming location. Amelia can make audiences believe she’s in love, yet the only time she’s ever truly fallen for a man was with the smoldering Beau. With Beau’s attraction to Amelia growing, it might also be the perfect setting for a Christmas romance. If you’re looking for a Christmas book with cowboys, horses, and a small western town, you’ll love this gift!
Robot in Created for Christmas by Joynell Schultz
This is a story that has a ton of family Christmas traditions, nerdy superhero references, and of course some robot romance (as well as other romance). There is also a small little mystery that is involved but frankly it's not really as big of a deal as the romance. It has a nerdy soft man character and a robot who is also a soft man with a lesson on how it is better to have companionship with people that appreciate who you are rather than who you create. If you’re looking for something new and unique as well as a short novella check this out!
Mythical Being (vampire werewolf etc) Walking in a Witchy Wonderland by Juliette Cross
An anthology of witchy Christmas tales that have a perfect amount of spice and holiday cheer! My only thing is I didn’t know they were sequels to other books so occasionally I felt a bit lost BUT overall fun stories and perfect for the season!
Writer in Write before Christmas by Julie Hammerle
This is one of those novels to me that combines the fans of Spoiler Alert and any of the baking romances out there. It has the small town Hallmarkeqsue Christmas traditions, an older more closed down romance, and a ton of writer insights such as word count, what happens to the author once they sell the movie rights to their book, etc. With that aspect, I really enjoyed what it brought to the table. I also appreciated that it shows a leading lady creating her own second chance after divorcing her first husband of 20something years controlling their life and that she didn't submit to the second love right away either. The only thing that I was not a fan of for this particular book is that some of the technology/ influencer careers on social media could date the book later. Overall though, this book is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it.
Bookstore Employee in The Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Liese
If you’re a bookworm, then this is the holiday romance for you. I’ve never been someone who actively chooses to read holiday romances, but this is now my favourite holiday romance and nobody can convince me otherwise. Jonathan Frost is boyfriend goals. This guy is the most thoughtful guy I have ever come across in a romance story. Hands down. Gabby and Jonathan actually have productive and respectful conversations about their feelings and I love that. Also the steam. Oh gosh. I never knew holding hands could be so sensual. This book is also filled to the brim with holiday cheer and it’s set in a bookstore, so it’s already a perfect addition to any bookworm’s holiday TBR. I honestly couldn’t recommend this book enough, as my mouth hurt from smiling throughout the entire book. Gabby and Jonathan just couldn’t be more perfect for each other and I want to reread this book already, just so I can experience their relationship again. This book is also an own voices story with an autistic MC and type 1 diabetes rep.
Musician in A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli
Have you ever made a spontaneous decision that ended up changing your life? After losing her job and living her life trying to be the perfect Indian daughter, the MC Niki makes the spontaneous decision to fly to Mumbai for her best friend’s wedding. Once there, she meets bass guitarist Sam at a Diwali celebration and thus begins the whirlwind of what she believes is just a fling. However, someone begins catching feelings and you can check out the book to see how everything turns out. If you’ve had a secret dream to date a member of a band at any point in your life, you’ll want to check out this book! ...Don’t read it if you’re hungry though, because the numerous mentions of Indian food will keep you drooling until the end.
Scrooge in A Little Christmas Christmas Spirit by Sheila Roberts
This is a heartwarming story about gruffy, Scrooge-like Mr. Stanley opening his heart after the death of his wife Carol. Lexie Bell and her son Brock move in next door to Stanley and he slowly begins to spend more time with them and growing to love Brock as his own grandson. He initially wants to ignore them and keep to his own business, but Carol appears to him as a ghost and insists he needs to stop being a Scrooge. This isn’t a romance between Lexie and Stanley, but there are lots of flashbacks to Stanley’s relationship with Carol. These flashbacks are so sweet and you’ll wish you had a Manly Stanley in your life, if you don’t already have one. He’s a gruff man with a heart of gold and always does anything to make Carol happy. There’s also a dog in this book, so it’s already a great read. If you’re looking for a heartwarming and extremely emotional Christmas story, this is it!
More often than not we hear about the evils of social media, or that there's just more bad than good.
Well I'm here to attest to the absolute goodness that exists BECAUSE of social media, blogging, and networking. And no, not for profits (though for some that is a huge blessing as well).
I am here to show you some of my dearest friends. All of them I've met through blogging or social media. And THEY are the good in the world.
I attended an event recently that talked about the positive force of righteous women. And how powerful we can be. As women I know we can sometimes be more harsh with ourselves and others than needs to be. A lot of us are self conscious about something or other. BUT we are also the caretakers, the peacemakers, the fighters, the drive behind some amazing things.
I have become such a better person after getting to know these amazing women (and more) in MY life. I sat with a few of them at this event recently as we also talked about the upcoming Light The World campaign for Christmas. The Savior taught us how to be compassionate, serving, loving, and above all to think of others before ourselves. All of these women have taught me something that helped these values become a part of me.
These friends of mine have shown me how to become a better mother, wife, writer, influencer, and human being.
There IS some good in social media. If I hadn't started blogging in 2008 I never would have met these amazing ladies and learned so much about myself. I've learned to stand up for things even if they aren't popular. I've learned to be myself no matter what. I've learned empathy and compassion
for those who experience different trials than my own. "The world needs righteous women" - I couldn't agree more and these are some of the most exemplary ones I know.
Remember when I talked about reading my journal the other night? And how I was reminiscing about everything?
Well I also re-read about my little Annika that I lost 4 years ago. Now no, she wasn't MY child but I had kinda adopted her in a way so that she was my little buddy.
Isn't she the cutest thing on the planet? Annika had been born with a hole in her heart, and the doctors said she wouldn't live very long. But she lived 3 fun-filled and crazy years ;)
She was crazy, outgoing, giggly, full of life and love for everyone (even my brother Nick).
My heart broke completely the day I got the news that she passed. But I know God needed her home. ;)
And then earlier this year I lost another little buddy:
I posted about Ethan a couple times. He was another super energetic crazy kid that I loved ;) He always wanted to know what game we were gonna play. Last year when his family came to visit me, he dragged me onto Splash Mountain so many times hahahaha and I'm not a huge fan of that ride but I went for Ethan.
He passed at the end of March and again I know God needed him home too.
And the weird thing? Annika and Ethan would have been the same age if Annika had lived. I find that hard to believe that it's only a coincidence ;)
As painful as it was to lose both of them, I firmly believe with all my heart that He called both of them home early for a reason and to fulfill a need. First to train their soon-to-be new baby siblings ;) And then to fulfill some higher calling that I don't know yet.
I don't know why this came into my mind to write, but possibly it'll help someone else? I still hold both of them very near and dear to my heart and can't wait to see them again ;)
Ok so this week has been really really rough. I still hadn't heard whether I had a job at the school next year, my husband's finals were stressing both of us out, and then to top the cake: my Disney Store is closing within 60 days........I can't even describe how devastated I am. When they said the words: "The company has chosen to shut this store down" my tears just would not stop. (which was really not good cuz I had an interview that day too) Now some of you might think this is a little overboard but let me explain why this sucks.
My Disney Store cast is my family. We have been together for over 4 years now (some of them have been there longer) and we are super close. What kills me even more is that the company didn't give us any place to go. There's a new store opening in a couple weeks and they filled all those positions before they closed us down. So literally, we have nowhere to go. Including my managers. Like I said, it's been really rough.
My wonderful loving husband has caught many a tear from me this past few days. He has told me not to worry, that we'll be fine. I just hope we really are, cuz Disney was supposed to help us pay our bills over the summer, but now obviously we need to figure something else out. I've applied to a ton of places for anything and only had one bite. But even that bite meant 6 other applicants for one position. NO idea if I'll get that one.
I'm sad that Mickey will no longer be my boss.... that my "family" will be separated, but I refuse to lose them forever. Cyndi has volunteered to be a "Fairy Godmother" to my future children, Laura is gonna introduce them to Supernatural (she's the resident expert) and we will find ways to get together.
I love them all so much and they have touched my life forever and always ;)
And we will get through this. We'll stand together as they close the doors to our store, to that chapter of our lives and as we move on to another one ;)
Ok so I have a talented friend out in South Africa named Chantelle.
She's a brilliant artist and just plain hilarious! When I worked at Disneyland, she drew a picture of me based on a picture I took at Disneyland:
And her rendition:
Isn't it awesome!? I love it!
So as Andrew and I were getting ready to get married, I asked Chantelle if she would be willing to do a drawing of us that we could put up in our house. She was more than happy to do it! This is the picture I gave her:
We took this at my birthday dinner. I told her that my hair was shorter now but that was the only difference, and so here's the finished product:
I absolutely love it! I'm gonna print it out on something nice and hang it up! I love displaying things from my friends in my home! Of course I'll post picutres later of it hanging up ;)
Oh and check out Chantelle's DevianArt page! It's amazing and I love her work!
Thank you so much C!
So Andrew and I had Melissa and Devin over for dinner last week as our first real "dinner party". The following are pictures of our cute table if I do say so myself ;) And my apartment was super clean! And I wanted to prove it hahahahaha
I fell in love with the Family Proclamation that was given to us from some awesome people in Andrew's home ward and our wedding pictures just totally compliment it. (Don't worry, I have another frame for the other side, I just have to attach the hangers to the frame itself)
BTW, dinner was stroganoff that Andrew made and it was delish! It was a super fun night and we really enjoyed having the Garcias over ;) I look forward to having more friends over ;)
(this would be the part where y'all start telling me when you wanna come over and chill with us ;) )
So I've been here for 2 months and I can't believe it's been that long! Holy dang.....wow. So here's a little sampling of what's happened over the last 2 months:
-My roomies and I hosted a Nacho Libre nacho night
which was a huge success!
-We took over 500 PhotoPass pictures and bought a CD with our 50% off
before it expired ;)
-got to see a couple friends that came to the park
-got to meet Nicholas Cage and he told me to have a good day ;)
(called me by name too!)
-saw Kevin Jonas and his wife in Downtown Disney and waved
-trying to get over a cold
-trying to stay dry in this ever changing weather of rain in CA.
-got a letter from Andrew mailed to my actual address ;)
-got a package from my family ;)
-attended free pancake night at IHOP with friends.
-rode Space Mountain with the lights on!
-had a cast exclusive interview with Mickey at his house
-sucked at grocery bingo
-celebrated the Chinese New Year with homemade Chinese food
made by our CP Chinese friends ;)
-listened to Carson Jr High sing at Carnation Plaza
-started a "quotes poster" for the silly things we say while we're here
(example: "Stop stroking it Sam it's a PLATE!"- me)
Those are just a few of the things we've done ;) We go to Disneyland all the time for free! That pretty much trumps everything not gonna lie ;)
Here are just a few pictures of the past couple days at the Happiest Place on Earth
Splash Mountain for the first time ever and Morgan made me sit in front and almost die! We fooled around in ToonTown before they closed it down for fireworks and rode Pirates and Haunted Mansion. More to come as we keep on this journey here!
Here you will find love, magic, bookworm favorites, Disney tips, and a family on their journey to Happy Ever After!