Archives for July 2014

Anniversary trip


Well hello my friends. I have been away too long. First I went away with Leao for our anniversary and then I went on a girl’s weekend with my sister. Then this past weekend, I spent with my niece and nephew that are visiting from Florida.  So I am grateful for all the fun but happy to be home again.  So now, I am trying to find a routine. The boys have one week of camp left and then they spend the month of August with me. So I have compiled a list of things I want to do with them and also coming up with a good routine so I can sqeeze in a few hours of work each day. I will let you know how that

Anyway, I thought I would share a few pictures from our anniversary trip to Martha’s Vineyard. We stayed for 4 days and the weather was perfect with warm temperatures with an amazing sea breeze.  We rented a Jeep and explored the island. fishing-villageGrowing up I used to spend time staying with family friends in Oak Bluffs but never really explored the whole island. But this time, we were able to take our time and find new places.  We went to visit the oldest fishing village on the island, we checked out several beaches.

gayheadWe went to see Gay Head lighthouse and the beautiful cliffs.

sunsetThe view from our balcony was amazing. We could see the ocean and watch the ferries come and go. We even had a great view of all the shops. I liked watching the town wake up each morning. First the delivery trucks would slowly arrive, then you would see people walking their dogs and slowly you would see the shop owners flipping over their signs from closed to open.

beachesWhen we first got the rental we drove around to scope out the beaches to figure out which we would visit first. It was fun and I was surprised to find easy parking right off the road and next to the beach.


We had fun trying different places each night for dinner.  It was fun being able to sit and have a meal that we could have conversation without having to fuss with the boys.

sconeWe went to a great dinner for breakfast and if you ignore the big hunk of butter on the side, this homemade blueberry scone rocked my world. It was so amazing, I wanted to order one to go.

I am going to make a mini album of our adventure and will share when I complete it.

Have a blessed day!


Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan


Title: Unspoken
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Copyright: September 11, 2012
Genre: fiction
Format: ebook

Synopsis (from publisher):

A modern, magical twist on the Gothic Romance and Girl Detective genres, this book will appeal to fans of both Beautiful Creatures and the Mortal Instruments series. Reviewers have praised the take-charge heroine and the spellbinding romance.

Bound together. Worlds apart.

Kami Glass is in love with someone she’s never met—a boy she’s talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. Her life seems to be in order, until disturbing events begin to occur. There has been screaming in the woods and the manor overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. . . . The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. Now Kami can see that the town she has known and loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets—and a murderer. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is real, and definitely and deliciously dangerous.

My Review:

I just finished this book today so I thought it would be good to write a review while it’s fresh in my mind. I first heard about this book on booktube and the girl reviewing it said it was really good and so I took a chance and found it on my Overdrive account via my library. I especially like getting books on there that I don’t feel like investing the money but curious about the content.

First, I loved the characters. There is something special to me about detective novels (remember Nancy Drew?) and I like the idea of the main character forming a team of reporters out of our friends to research the history of the town they live in to find out what hidden secrets might exist for the school newspaper.  I was never on my school’s newspaper but think it must have been fun. Kami, the main character was a strong female character so it made it more pleasurable a read.

Second, I definitely found the idea of her “imaginary” friend she talked to in her head possibly being real a fun concept. It makes for a very sweet connection for a foundation for romance.  I also found that there was good character development in this book. I found myself enjoying the unique nuances of each of the main characters.  Her friend Angela, for one, made me laugh out loud when reading her dialogue with people.

Finally, I really enjoyed this book and found it easy to get into.  I have now put my name on the wait list to read book two which is called, “Untold” and in September a third book will come out. So I am reading it at the right time.

I gave this book 4 butterflies.


Well I am off to go dive into another book. This summer has already proved to be a great read for me!

Have a blessed day and happy reading!


Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald



Title: Veil of Roses
Author: Laura Fitgerald
Copyright: December 26, 2006
Genre: fiction
Format: paperback

Synopsis (from publisher):

This compelling debut follows one spirited young woman from the confines of Iran to the intoxicating freedom of America—where she discovers not only an enticing new country but the roots of her own independence. . . .

Tamila Soroush wanted it all. But in the Islamic Republic of Iran, dreams are a dangerous thing for a girl. Knowing they can never come true, Tami abandons them. . . . Until her twenty-fifth birthday, when her parents give her a one-way ticket to America, hoping she will “go and wake up her luck.” If they have their way, Tami will never return to Iran . . . which means she has three months to find a husband in America. Three months before  she’s sent back for good.

From her first Victoria’s Secret bra to her first ride on a motor scooter to her first country line-dance, Tami drinks in the freedom of an American girl. Inspired to pursue her passion for photography, she even captures her adventures on film. But looming over her is the fact that she must find an Iranian-born husband before her visa expires. To complicate matters, her friendship with Ike, a young American man, has grown stronger. And it is becoming harder for Tami to ignore the forbidden feelings she has for him.

It’s in her English as a second language classes that Tami finds a support system. With the encouragement of headstrong Eva, loyal Nadia, and Agata and Josef, who are carving out a love story of their own, perhaps Tami can keep dreaming—and find a way to stay in America.

My Review:

Ok, so I am a sucker for pretty shoes and a book cover with shoes and the pretty colors caught my eye when I was at my local library with my boys.  So I picked up this book and then read the back of the book. I never read anything by this author and I also haven’t read much about Iran. So I checked it out. I didn’t look it up online on my phone to see reviews, I just took it out on impulse.

I got home and I read some pretty mean reviews. Some people were critical about the author who is non-Iranian, writing about an aspect of Iranian women’s experience.  I understand, being a minority myself, I find that I am more critical of people writing about the African American experience. But I didn’t let this detour me because I knew this is one aspect and one perspective, it is not the whole and I think that is the best way to approach such writings.

I enjoyed the book. It was about a girl who’s family was forced to stay in Iran and the oldest daughter immigrated back to the US. The family made it possible for Tami to travel to the US to stay with her sister to find a husband so she could stay in the US. Some of the cultural blunders included (like the Starbucks incident) in the  book were fun to read and it was fun to read the many characters along Tami’s journey.

I found myself routing for a certain outcome while reading the book so it kept me reading. I also tried reading the book without judgement of the Iranian ways. I knew this book was a work of fiction and received it in that way.

I gave this book 3 butterflies:


Smoothies Express


Last summer my friend Tamiko inspired me to start drinking smoothies. She recommended a book and there began a love affair between me, my blender and all the veggies I could find.  I drank smoothies in the past but they were only fruit based.  So I started making green smoothies for Leao and I everyday.  Many days we had one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  We did this pretty consistently this year but my recent anniversary trip with Leao  (pictures to come soon), reigniited my desire to incorporate even more smoothies. I went to a place on Martha’s Vineyard who incorporated all organic ingredients in their smoothies and I knew I had been missing out on many fruits. So I went on Pinterest and found a great link to a site that this lady that filled a bunch of freezer bags with a bunch of smoothies for quick access later. I loved the idea so I ran out to Trader Joes and picked up all my ingredients and freezer bags.  The good thing is that many of the ingredients is used in each smoothie so I didn’t have to buy a whole bunch of different things.


The next thing I did was write the name and recipe of the smoothie on each bag. Now I do admit this takes a bit of time. I ended up making a batch of 18 smoothies.  But the reason you write the recipe on each is so that you know what final thing to add when you throw it in the blender.  Because almond milk, flaxseed, almond butter and ice are the only ingredients I held off until time to make the smoothies.  So next time I might just write the name of the smoothie on each bag and then type up a master list of the recipes to look up what I need to add.


Now I have 18 smoothies sitting in the freezer that Leao and I can drop into the blender and in minutes have a yummy smoothie and they are all under  200 calories.  One thing I have enjoyed in this year of my smoothie journey is I enjoy looking at all the fruits and vegetables before they go into the blender and think how hard it would be to eat all those vegetables and fruits in a day. But the magic happens in the blender and they go down so nice.  It’s the guaranteed thing I do for myself daily.  I think having quick access to variety will help me continue to maintain daily smoothies for Leao and I.


I keep going to look at them in the freezer. I am going to find a good day of the week to regularly make my batches.  The best part is they are so inexpensive when you make them like this.

So please check out this site, All thing Katie Marie and see if you might want to give it a try. You will be happy you did.

Have a blessed day!



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