A fabulous treat that gets better with time
Peanut Butter Bars - a fabulous treat that gets better with time. #recipe #delish #chocolatetreats #nuttygoodness

Have you ever served yourself a treat to snack on while you read and forgotten about it while on your reading journey? That was my experience with this treat. I was having one of those days where I really needed some me time. I served myself a wonderfully generous portion of my personal take of Angela’s recipe and little did I know that I would end up with a fabulous melty treat as I let it sit for a little too long. I fell in love with this recipe. I hope you do as well.

Crust Recipe

1 Cup – Agave Nectar

2 Pinches of Salt

1 Tablespoon – Melted Coconut Oil

2 Tablespoons – Cocoa Powder

2 cups – Crispy Rice Cereal

1 Cup – Agave Nectar

*I like it sweet. I would recommend starting with 2 or 3 tablespoons and gradually increasing to taste.

Mix it together in a lined pan of your choice and freeze while you make the filling.

Peanut Butter Bars - Bars that get better with time. #delish #recipe #foodbloggers

Filling Recipe

¼ Cup – Melted Coconut Oil

1 Teaspoon – Vanilla Extract

¼ Cup – Agave Nectar

1 Cup – Peanut Butter

2 Pinches – Salt

To me there is nothing better than a treat that is both sweet and savory. Added salt fulfills my desire.

 Once thoroughly mixed, remove crust from freezer and pour your filling over crust &, once again, freeze.

Chocolate Coating Recipe

1 Teaspoon – Coconut Oil

¾ Cup – Chocolate Chips

2 Pinches – Salt

A Handful – Roasted Peanuts

Melt coconut oil then add the chocolate chips. Stir frequently until creamy.

Pour over filling.

Add 2 pinches of salt.

Sprinkle a handful of roasted peanuts.

Swivel your pan to ensure that your peanuts adhere to the chocolate.

Freeze for at least an hour, then enjoy! While this treat gets better with time, it is amazing as it’s supposed to be enjoyed which is frozen.

If you end up making this recipe, or a variation of it, pleas let me know! I would love to see pictures or hear your thoughts about your creations.

How I celebrate Day of The Dead - A Magical Holiday
How I celebrate Day Of The Dead - a magical holiday. #lbloggers #dayofthedead #diadelosmuertos #cbloggers

When I was little, I remember going to the cemetery and hopping from grave to grave. We lived in Mexico then and things were very different. The pace was slower, we all knew each other, and town celebrations were frequent and merry. Honestly, I scarcely remember why we celebrated other than that we did so what seemed like every other Sunday in our town plaza—and, it was magical.

Visiting our town’s cemetery was not uncommon for us as taking care of our grandmother’s grave and those of our close relatives was part of our Sunday ritual. With that said, I regrettably do not remember celebrating El Dia De Los Muertos specifically as celebrating our ancestry was almost an every day occurrence.  

How I celebrate Day Of The Dead - a magical holiday. #lbloggers #dayofthedead #diadelosmuertos #cbloggers
How I celebrate Day Of The Dead - a magical holiday. #lbloggers #dayofthedead #diadelosmuertos #cbloggers

My nanny, whom I lovingly called Mama Manuela, was the one that I went with on most occasions. We would spend what seemed like hours in the cemetery cleaning, talking – to each other and to our relatives. While I remember being disciplined for jumping on the graves by family members, Mama Manuela encouraged it. She would tell me that our ancestors enjoyed the company and energy we brought, and that as long as we were being respectful while playing, which I think she meant as long as I did not destroy anything, we were okay.

How I celebrate Day Of The Dead - a magical holiday. #lbloggers #dayofthedead #diadelosmuertos #cbloggers

Until a few years ago, I had honestly forgotten to celebrate or even acknowledge the holiday. Once we moved to the United States, we no longer had graves to visit or random celebrations in the plaza. It was all very different, and assimilating became a major priority for us. Now I struggle to remember important Mexican holidays and tradition as well as the proper way to speak Spanish. I tend to lean closer to Spanglish most days, which I honestly find embarrassing. I grew up knowing the language fluidly, and now I struggle to have a conversation without taking long pauses while I think about the proper way to say something. It is these circumstances that make me truly appreciate whenever opportunities to learn more about and celebrate my heritage arise. And it is these circumstances that have led us to create our own traditions. Some of our current traditions include:

·        visiting the Springs Preserve the first weekend of November, as this is when they host a big Day of the Dead celebration

·        lighting candles in honor of our ancestors

·        reading a lovely book on the topic

·        sharing an enchanting evening with family

Spending time with my family is my favorite activity as we seem to have less and less free time for each other the older we get and because we tend to always share a delicious meal, compliments of my mom.

How I celebrate Day Of The Dead - a magical holiday. #lbloggers #dayofthedead #diadelosmuertos #cbloggers

Visiting the Springs Preserve is a lot of fun and something Ryan and I have been doing for the last couple of years. If you live or visit Las Vegas the first weekend of November, I highly recommend stopping by the if at all possible. They have taken this celebration to a whole new level. Not only do they invite the community to build altars in honor of anyone they would like to recognize – I’ve seen some dedicated to Selena, to events such as the local shooting that took place on October 1st , and of course to family members–but they also have a wonderful selection of activities for kids to take part in as well as traditional and nontraditional food for everyone to try. I am a huge fan of this event and try to always attend with Ryan.

 Before our first visit, Ryan knew about the holiday but did not really understand it. As time goes by I realize he is not in the minority and that is why I wanted to write a post on the topic.

The Day Of The Dead is a day where we celebrate our ancestors; their lives; their accomplishments; their personalities. To honor them we build altars dedicated to them and fill them with some of their favorite things—bread, drink, favorite dishes, candles, flowers, garments, jewelry, etc.—and then we celebrate. We celebrate their lives with the hope that they know they are cherished and not forgotten, and we celebrate life. Our festivities include singing, dancing, parades, creating our own drink and treats while leaving their altars up in their honor overnight, or until we are ready to take it down. It is quite a special event.

I love dressing up the day of. I’m not the best at creating the traditional sugar skull makeup but I have improved year over year. Do you celebrate Day Of The Dead? How do you try to keep some of your traditions alive?

Here are a few articles I think you’ll enjoy relating to the topic:

·        Pan De Muerto Recipe

·        Bringing home the dead – anatomy of an altar

·        Stunning sugar skull makeup

P.S. This post is not sponsored. I love the Springs Preserve try to support it as much as possible as I think they add a lot to our community.

Why Poet X Is The Most Brilliant Book of 2018
Why #PoetX is the most brilliant book of 2018. #booklove #bookreview #greatbooks

Have you ever read a fictional story and totally forgotten about its fictional nature halfway through? The story sounds so familiar to you and you can relate to it given that you have experienced a lot of the story either first hand or vicariously through a close friend’s story. That was my experience while listening to the audiobook Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. This story is wonderfully vivid and heartfelt. It is written in verse and eloquently performed by the author herself.

I first heard about it while watching a video from Sam of Thoughts on Tomes. Honestly, she didn’t have to talk too much about it as the breathtaking cover entranced me, but of course she did talk about it and further convinced me that I needed to experience this book for myself. Thankfully it was available on Audible. I listened to the sample which further convinced me to get a copy now, specifically the audiobook version. I immediately used my credit for the month and listened to it – over and over and over again. It’s made me cry. It’s made me laugh. It’s made me fall in love, time and again. If you are on the fence, I hope that the following points persuade you to read it yourself.

Wonderful Writing

Initially I had reservations about how I would feel about a YA contemporary story written in verse. I thought it might be too dramatic or distracting. I was mistaken. In fact, I found it poignant, beautiful and impactful. It subtly reminded me of Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street. Each chapter adds to the story, but it does not follow a traditional chapter format. Like in Cisneros’s book there is a chapter that explains vividly the meaning of the protagonist’s name and it perfectly sets the stage for the rest of the book. Unlike Cisneros’s book, it takes place within a few pivotal months of Xiomara Batista’s life.

Smokey quartz choker for all occasions, especially when you need a little bit of solace. #smokeyquartz #handmadejewelry #healingcrystals #crystaljewelry
Why #PoetX is the most brilliant book fo 2018. #bookbloggers #booklovers #diverserbooks #yabooks (16).jpg

Amazing Performance

Something you should know about Elizabeth Acevedo is that the woman can slam. She slams like no other…that I’ve ever heard. Her words are moving but her voice is powerful. She accentuates emotions with great force and invigorates dramatic scenes to a level I know I would never be able to achieve had I read it on my own. Just listen to the Audible clip and you’ll understand what I mean. Honestly, I hope she narrates a few more books in the future, even if they are not her own. (What can I say? I am hooked.)

A kind reminder of the important role our teachers play in our lives.

“Remember, teaching is not community service…”

This is a line from one of the chapters…and it totally got me—meaning, I cried my eyes out. I think that most people become teachers because they want to make a difference, but once they get in the field they realize that the challenge is much greater than they ever expected, and as a result their passion dwindles. It happens to some but not all, and it is because of their passion and fight that many of us are touched everyday. This line reminded of a few of the wonderful teachers I’ve had in my life, and it filled me with regret as I really wish I had made more of an effort to stay in touch with them. Even today, I have a hard time staying in touch with those that are no longer a part of my daily life. Staying in touch takes effort and it involves an investment of precious time. While I understand that everyone has priorities and mine are not universal nor do they take precedence over anyone else’s, I will work on this making a bit more of an effort. If only to feed the flame that guides their fighting spirit.

Sharing a post about why #PoetX is the most brilliant book of 2018. #bookbloggers #booklove #bookish #elizabethacevedo
Why #PoetX is the most brilliant book of 2018. #booklove #bookreview #greatbooks

love – Love - LOVE

Several love stories take place within this book. They are not all heterosexual in nature. They do not all end joyously. They are not all romantic or platonic. Like the world that we live in, they are quite diverse. They exist between a young shy boy and a courageous young woman; between two young boys; between brother and sister and child and parent. These story lines were wonderful. They filled and broke my heart—especially that of child and parent. Reading about Xiomara’s thirst for answers; for clarity about what it means to be a good woman because she has no control over how others—especially men—see her or rather, lust over her. It is devastating to hear what she is called or accused of by some of her most precious relationships. I had such a hard time hearing these scenes, because I think most of my friends and I have had similar conversations.

Smokey quartz choker for all occasions, especially when you need a little bit of solace. #smokeyquartz #handmadejewelry #healingcrystals #crystaljewelry
Why #PoetX is the most brilliant book fo 2018. #bookbloggers #booklovers #diverserbooks #yabooks

Religion—challenging it & deciding for ourselves

This is a big topic in the book. Xiomara questions many aspects of what she is being taught both at church and at home. Her mom is a devout Catholic who in her youth aspired to follow the path of a nun. As a result, she pressures her family to follow the Catholic faith diligently.  

Like Xiomara, I started questioning Catholicism in my late teens. Unlike her, I was not obligated by my parents to follow the path. I started off willingly and excitedly. I became an active member of our church and slowly started seeing things differently; and slowly, I started to shy away from all of it. My experience was challenging and heartbreaking, but thankfully it did not come close to resembling Xiomara’s experience. Her experience was extremely stressful. Having to battle with inner doubt AND with a strict mother who seemed to put her down quite frequently was a challenge to get through. Her mom was not the only issue, her father while physically present was mentally absent and that really took a toll on everyone.

Body Image – dealing with it while everything and everyone around you seems to change at a hundred miles an hour

Do you remember when you first started feeling “womanly” or different? When you noticed that everything, from the way your body felt and looked to the way your interactions with your close friends and family changed? Even your relationships with best friends were changing—as if everything else wasn’t enough of a challenge. Elizabeth Acevedo articulates this painful experience touchingly. I found it heartbreaking to relive it through Xiomara’s experience. She is a young woman in a mature woman’s body who cannot help but turn heads wherever she goes, and that as unsettling as that attention is, the truth it never really goes away. Eventually you develop coping mechanisms when confronted with those uncomfortable feelings, but they take time to hone. Although, sometimes the attention is nice to receive, and that is when things become confusing and you start to question your character and values. Seriously, what is the difference between good and bad attention? Is it that there is mutual attraction? Then the question becomes—am I being easy? The answer, of course, is no. As a humans we deserve to be loved and treasured and made to feel beautiful every single day, and part of it is getting attention from those you wish to embrace physically and emotionally. Guilt should never be a factor in your love story unless you are doing something that goes against your values. Ultimately, Xiomara comes into her own and that was utterly enchanting.

In her book, Unqualified by Anna Faris, Anna talked about how angry she became during those emotional wretched years. She would challenge the status quo and dress as provocative as she could if only to prove a point—that all men were scum. I can relate, in some ways. I think my experience was a mix between bald Britney and provocative Anna. I felt alone in my journey, which lead me to make irrational conclusions about myself and others. I like to think that if the internet had been more of a presence in my life then, I would have felt less alone; however, I highly doubt it. Knowing me, I would have probably gravitated towards social media posts that relate to fashion and beauty that do not truly represent real women, and that would have been a bit worse, I imagine.

Why #PoetX is the most brilliant book of 2018. #booklove #bookreview #greatbooks (11).jpg

I am getting off topic. Point is, this book is fantastic, relatable and the audiobook is a must read. Honestly, I think this is going to be my favorite book of 2018, but there are still a few months ahead of us so I probably should not make the proclamation yet.

Please let me know if you have read this story or if you are planning on doing so. If you have already done so, what did you think? Did you read or listen or both? How did you like your reading experience?

Stories about dealing with change in the summertime
Summer And Summer Nights Edited by Stephanie Perkins - a video review and blog post. #bookbloggers #booklove #bookish #lbloggers

Summer Days and Summer Nights

Edited and with a story by Stephanie Perkins

This collection of stories set the stage for a magical summer. I read it a few weeks ago and I have not stopped thinking about it as it took me on a bit of a journey into my past.

As a teenager, I did a lot of talking and contemplating with friends. I honestly do not remember many of those conversations, but I do remember feeling like they were all very important. I remember thinking, “This may be the last time we do this…” In many cases I was right. While at the time we were incredibly close as soon as school ended we went on different paths and things changed. We changed, and we started new separate adventures. While the things we contemplated really did not turn out to be as important as we thought they were at the time, those memories continue to be important. I love them. This collection of short stories kind of reminded me of those deep conversations and mischievous evenings when we would snake out to party. All because that instance might be the last time. It was a magical time in my life and the magic of these stories took me back to those summer days and summer nights.  

Here is my short review of each story.

Summer And Summer Nights Edited by Stephanie Perkins - a video review and blog post. #bookbloggers #booklove #bookish #lbloggers

Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo

Narrated by Stina Nielsen

I have only read short stories from Leigh Bardugo. They have all been mystical and vivid and beautiful. This is no exception. I, unfortunately, did not understand this story. It was beautiful but obscure. I listened to it two times. I enjoyed them both, but I honestly do not understand the story. I think I need to read it on my own. Slowly. I work better that way sometimes.

Star Ratings

3/5 – Overall

4/5 – Narration

2/5 – Story

The End Of Love by Nina Lacour  - a video review  #bookbloggers #booklove #bookish #lbloggers

 

The End of Love by Nina LaCour

Narrated by Erin Moon.

More about this in my video review!

Star Ratings

5/5 – Overall

5/5 – Narration

5/5 – Story

 

Last Stand At The Cinegore by Libba Bray

Narrated by Christopher Gebauer.

If you’ve ever had a summer job that was filled with mischief, fun and wonderful experiences, I think you’ll love this story.

This is a spooky story about how an old cinema touches lives—especially those of its employees. Romance and adventure abound and everything sort of becomes a big mess. It’s so much fun!

Christopher Gebauer’s performance is perfect for this story. He is melancholic and subtly dramatic.

Star Ratings

4/5 - Overall

5/5 - Narration

4/5 - Story

 

Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block

Narrated by Jessica Almasy.

This story gave me pause. It followed a group of close girlfriends. They were all headed in different directions after high school and they all knew that change was inevitable. They party as if time stands still, if only for that night, and befriend a group of mysterious boys who invite them to a house party. They attend. My heart started beating quite fast at this point. I personally do not think that going to a house party with a group of young men you do not know personally is a good idea. It often leads to big trouble. Things turn out okay though. One of them enjoys a beautiful evening with a beautiful boy and finds out a bit more about herself in the process.

Jessica Almasy is one of my favorite narrators for quirky paranormal romance novels. This is the first time I hear her narrate a more serious story. She was brilliant. I honestly could not believe that I was listening to Jessica Almasy. She kind of reminded me of a younger version of Juliet Stevenson in her delivery. 

Star Ratings

5/5 – Overall

5/5 – Narration

5/5 – Story

 

In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins

Narrated by Cherise Boothe.

This was such a sweet story! I loved it so much!

Marigold is determined to save her ex-boyfriend, North, from leading a fruitless life at home. She is in her first year at university—learning, exploring and living on Ramen. She and her ex had talked about what life would be like if they went to college together and now she realizes that he needs her help to get his show on the road. Along the way, she discovers more about herself and her quest to save her ex ends up being a sweet enlightening journey.

Cherise Boothe did such a lovely job with this story. She gave both North and Marigold a lot of charisma.

Star Ratings

4/5 – Overall

5/5 – Narration

4/5 – Story

 

Souvenirs by Tim Federle

Narrated by Michael Bakkensen.

This is a story of two very different boys who are in love. One of them is older than the other hence he’ll be going off to college after the summer ends. Because everyone knows that long distance relationships do not work, they have preselected a breakup day.

I found this story to be sweet, sad and real. I think that we often give too much credence to the idea that long distance relationships do not last, but with so much technology at our fingertips what is the harm in trying? I think that sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and choose to believe the worst before it happens—but what if it does not happen. What if magic happens?

Michael Bakkensen was perfect in this book. My emotions were touched on a heightened degree as I felt as if though I were listening in on his thoughts as a friend.

Star Ratings

5/5 – Overall

5/5 – Narration

5/5 – Story

 

Inertia by Veronica Roth

Narrated by Stina Nielsen.

This story takes place in an alternate reality. I am not sure about how this world works but somehow you are able to talk to people who are about to pass, or people who are in sick and unconcious—I am not too clear. The method of communication is through a dreamlike state where you can reexperience memories with the person you are visiting. It is both a magical event and a sad experience.  

This is a dark hearty story. It talks about love, coping with grief and accepting that it is okay to take daily medication when needed.

Stina Nielsen provides the story a solemn mystical tone. Her heartfelt delivery adds beauty to the story.

Star Ratings

4/5 – Overall

5/5 – Narration

4/5 – Story

 

Love Is The Last Resort by Jon Skovron

Narrated by Christopher Gebauer.

This is a cheeky story. The tone of the narrator is that of a confidant charming boy who wants to assure you that this is not a love story, whatever you may think. While he personally doesn’t fall in love he definitely helps others along in their path towards connecting with love.

This story is full of different fun characters. It kind of reminds me of the summer-themed episodes from Saved by the Bell where the cast held summer jobs at a resort. Like in the show, the staff is as integral to the story as the guests in the hotel. I loved the tone and the story. I came away from this story feeling refreshed and so happy. 

Christopher Gebauer narrates this story with a bit of mischief and a confidant overtone. He is perfect.

Star Rating

5/5 – Overall

5/5 – Narration

5/5 – Story

 

Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert - a blog post. #bookbloggers #booklove #bookish #lbloggers (21).jpg

Good Luck And Farewell by Brandy Colbert

Narrated by Cherise Boothe.

Imagine losing your mom as a teenager. (I did not want to do so but I did, ever so slightly, and it was horrible.) Soon after a cousin steps up and becomes a mentor. Said cousin is four years older and now, a few years later, she is to move with her girlfriend to another state.  How do you cope? This is Rashida’s story.  

I was going to talk about this story as well as about The End Of Love but honestly, I would have had a hard time getting through it.

This is a beautiful and heartbreaking story. Cherise Boothe nails the tone of the story.

Star Rating

5/5 – Overall

5/5 – Narration

5/5 – Story

 

Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare

Narrated by Erin Moon.

Dark circus powered by a demon nearly overtaken by an evil genius. That is basically the premise of this story. It is magical and so-so fun! I really enjoyed the magic and randomness of this dark sweet story.

Star Rating

4/5 – Overall

5/5 – Narration

4/5 – Story

 

A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith

Narrated by Jessica Almasy.

A young girl falls in love with a random serious boy. He is focused, unsociable, handsome and autistic. He has so many wonderful qualities, which she clearly sees, and a few characteristics that can be managed but are a bit of a struggle to conform to. Will they get together? Take a guess….

Star Rating

4/5 – Overall

5/5 – Narration

4/5 – Story

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman

Narrated by Michael Bakkensen.

In this story, the world, or time, has a mind of its own. For some unknown reason, August 4th keeps on repeating itself. Mark is our main character and he seems to embrace this change of pace. He has taken up the challenge of reading through every book of interest, hence most of his time is spent in the library. On one particular day, he decides to go to the pool instead. He has been here before, but he does not really care for the sun or the pool. It is here where he notices a stunning colorful girl who is totally out of place. Not only is she out of place, but she is totally dazzling. Together they relive August 4th over and over and over again and along the way take note of all the tiny perfect things that happen throughout the day.  For example, a skater boy landing a jump after trying a number of times. Of course, there is a reason the world has taken up this stance…it is quite magical…and devastating.

I loved Michael Bakkensen’s performance. He was darling and I totally fell for him in this role.  

Star Ratings

5/5 – Overall

5/5 – Narration

5/5 – Story

Summer And Summer Nights Edited by Stephanie Perkins - a video review and blog post. #bookbloggers #booklove #bookish #lbloggers
Summer And Summer Nights Edited by Stephanie Perkins - a video review and blog post. #bookbloggers #booklove #bookish #lbloggers

What have you been up to this summer? Have you read any books that have charmed your soul?

 

Affirmations That Inspire Me.
There are always flowers for those who want to see them. #qoteoftheday #qotd #mondaymotivation #cbloggers #lbloggers #artislife

Affirmations

Empowering words?

Poetic truths?

Utter rubbish?

All of the above?

Earlier this year I came across an Instagram post from a woman I follow and admire that advised that in 2018 she hoped to see fewer affirmations. Her caption was lengthy and well thought out. She noted how she found them disingenuous and utterly gag-worthy. I understand. They can come across really silly or overly optimistic or quite judgmental at times.

There are always flowers for those who want to see them. #qoteoftheday #qotd #mondaymotivation #cbloggers #lbloggers #artislife
Glow like the stars under the midnight sky. #qotd #lbloggers #quoteoftheday #dailyquote #cbloggers #flowerlover

Having said that, I can not resist a good affirmation. When in a foul uninspired mood I can always count on my “Lovely Quotes” Pinterest board to find something that resonates. I also keep a list of quotes on my phone for quick reference as well. Words have power. When we meditate on them, we find our truths—we find our power.

Books can provide us with such power as well. Once we fall in love with a story, it is easy to reread it, make it your own and pick out some of the quotes that most speak to us.

Alas, I will not be sharing some of my favorite bookish quotes today. That post will come in the not too distant future. My objective for today’s post is to share some of my favorite affirmations. These are simple but when recited with repetition and through deep Ujjayi breaths they live within me and somehow make me feel better for it. These words are powerful and I hope they affect you with great positivity as well.   

Blossom with grace. #qotd #quoteoftheday #lbloggers #flowerlove #flowerlovers #carnations

I am enough.

Que sera, sera.

I choose love.

Blossom with grace. #qotd #quoteoftheday #lbloggers #flowerlove #flowerlovers #carnations

Adapt…adapt…adapt.

Patient. Forgiving. Kind. Love.

With patience and kindness, anything is possible.

There are always flowers for those who want to see them. #qoteoftheday #qotd #mondaymotivation #cbloggers #lbloggers #artislife

What are some of your favorite affirmations?

There are always flowers for those who want to see them. #qoteoftheday #qotd #mondaymotivation #cbloggers #lbloggers #artislife