Wednesday, March 22, 2017

World Water Day #safewaterforall

Since 1993, World Water Day has been observed on March 22 as a means of focusing
 attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable
management of clean water resources.



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Back in January I bought myself a limited edition Lokai bracelet. I believe everyone should have access to clean water, and have read that my sponsor child may not always have that luxury. That breaks my heart! This specific bracelet supports charity: water,
 a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. They use 100% of public donations to directly fund sustainable, community-owned water solutions in areas of greatest need. Seeing the bracelet on my wrists reminds me of Michelton's struggles of daily life and I always send an extra prayer for clean water his way.

World Water Day #WorldWaterDay #WWD2016 #safewater #cleanwater:


Compassion International has some great info on helping sponsored children have access to clean water. Here's the link. There's a video and stats about how you can help!

Monday, March 13, 2017

No Book Reviews

I had all intentions of writing up reviews for the last two books I read. But! They both were amazingly bad. Not even worthy of my time to sit here and review them.

Lunar Chronicles #4: Winter by Marissa Meyer

The Callaugh Inn in Maine by Jen McLaughlin and James Patterson


I gave them only a stared rating on GoodReads. I'll get around to writing up reviews for that... eventually.


Now on to read READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline

P.S. I'm two books ahead of schedule for my 2017 Book Challenge, so that's a plus!


Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Valentine's Day Post

My post never published on Valentine's Day. WHAT is that about?!?!?!?!


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Block Party in Queens
September 2003

Here's the story of how Steven and I met: He was working for HT in January 2003. The day I actually met him it was his "going away party" because he was leaving to go back to Louisana to work. The next day he decided to not move to Louisana and stayed working for HT. I knew his boss and she let me help around in the office because I was in college but needed money, lol. I barely talked to Steven, to be honest. I only helped out in the office for like two weeks before I thought I was better than to show up to an office after going to school for half a day #iwasacrappyteenager  ANYWAY! Fast forward to the summertime (July) and Steven was running the summer camp. I applied to be a camp counselor and got the job. So everyday I'd go to the camp and see him walking around, doing whatever it is he did all day, lol. I kept looking around for him so I could see him. Yeah, I'm that kinda stalker lol!  The girls in my group were all like "Why don't you write him love notes, and we'll give them to him!" So that happened. We'd come up with questions to ask him, the girls would run over and pass him notes. This silly man would actually write back!!  On the last day of camp (beginning of August) we started really talking. A week later he had a staff end of the year party at a restaurant, and afterwards, while walking out to the parking lot he asked me to be his girlfriend. I actually told him "I'd let him know tomorrow" because I'm a huge freakin' loser like that. I actually just got out of a three year serious relationship the month before and wanted to be sure I was in it for the right reasons.  The next day we had plans to hang out and I told him I'd be his girlfriend. He mentioned he had two dogs in the 'love notes', but I let that slip my mind because I wasn't a pet person. That was August 16, 2003.
A month and a half later I was pregnant. God is a funny guy. His perfect timing, not ours, lol!
The rest is history.

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My mom took this picture of us, after my birthday dinner date.
We were dating 2 weeks.


Okay. I'd say we are both romantics. Normally we go out on a fancy date for Valentine's Day. A few years back I decided that the kids should be involved too, because we love them and they are old enough to be well behaved children at a restaurant and to celebrate with us.

My plans for this year had gotten messed up due to a family member, BUT ANYWAY, I decided we'd all go to the movies on Sunday and see The Lego Movie. It was hilarious!  On Tuesday night, I ordered Italian food from the local pizzeria. Went home, set the table up all nice, and we had family dinner on the table when Steven walked in the door. After dinner we played board games with the kids, and then we all crashed into bed early. Yep, total snoozefest over here, haha!

Steven got me a gift certificate to get a massage at a new place that opened up by us, Raspberry Verdi (my favorite), and a reusable bag my church was selling (which I told hum numerous times I wanted, haha!)

It was the perfect holiday for our family. <3 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

NetGalley Review: Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James

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Gilded Cage on GoodReads


My Review: I was interested in reading this book mostly by the look of the cover. NetGalley gave me the go-ahead, and away I went! It did start off slow, as Book 1's normally do. There was a lot of explaining background details and things, which was sort of blah. But it absolutely got better as it went on. I was okay with the main character Luke. And I normally am a fan of the "bad guy", so call me #TeamSilyen. I'm looking forward to reading Book 2, which comes out in September 2017.  

*This book is expected to be published on February 14, 2017*


Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received a complimentary electronic book through NetGalley.com.
I was not required to write a positive review, only an honest one.
The opinions I have expressed here are my own. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Three Weeks Later - Healthier Lifestyle Update


Okay people, I need some real motivation to get outside and exercise. This weather has been awful lately (lots and lots of rain).... and I'm sure it's only gonna get worse as the winter goes on. UUGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!

Still tracking my food progress on MyFitnessPal to track my food intake and progress. Are we friends there yet? If not, check me out! 80% food, 20% exercise, am I right?  The weekend is my killer, because we normally just eat whatever (and not stick to healthy meals and snacks).

Starting weight: 185.0lbs
Last week's weight: 182.4
Current weight: 182.0



How are you doing on your healthier lifestyle goals?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Writing To My Sponsor Child


You all know about my sponsor child in Haiti. If you don't, I wrote a post about how we came to sponsor him is here. The kids and I wrote to him last back in November, responding to the letter we received from him and to wish him Merry Christmas. Now with Valentine's Day is approaching, I wanted to write Michelton a letter letting him know he is loved, thought about often and constantly prayed for by our family.

The other day I found myself reading Compassion International's blog and ended up writing him a short letter asking him all about his education. Schooling is so important to a child in poverty, so they can learn the tools they need to be successful in life and break the cycle of poverty within their family. "Please pray that God will give him more intelligence in school"-- Michelton specifically asked us to! (Michelton is only 8 years old and his project gave his mother a template sheet with questions on it to be filled out and sent to sponsors. His mother asked the questions and he responded, then she filled it in.) My children enjoy school and they'd love to hear how Michelton's doing in his studies.

I was also all over Compassion's Pinterest board, pinning like a freakin' maniac! They have SUCH great ideas, submitted by them and sponsors alike. I plan to take some of these pins and get a letter package ready to send Michelton. Just in time for Valentine's Day, woohoo!!  If you'd like to see what I pinned, come check out my Pinterest page.


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Please pray for our sponsor child. It's mean the world to him!

If God is calling you to sponsor a child, or if you'd just like more information on sponsorship or the group in general, please visit Compassion International's website. They have tons of helpful info!

God bless.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Two Weeks Later - Healthier Lifestyle Update



While I don't want to make any excuses, it snowed a lot on Saturday. The roads in my neighborhood weren't plowed the best either. So I was afraid to go walking alone at night because if I slipped and fell #disaster. Therefore, Monday and Tuesday were not exercise days. I did however, get over 12,000 steps each of those days. The rest of the week I didn't go out for a walk either, cuz #life. This week is definitely back to the grind, though! Come check out my MapMyRun profile and see my workout success!

I am still tracking all the food I eat on MyFitnessPal. I love it because you can scan bar codes of the food you eat and it imports all the nutrition quick and easy. Plus it links up to MapMyRun and my FitBit, so it keeps track of everything! I like being able to see my calorie intake, how much protein I eat, carbs, ect... so I can monitor what I need to cut out. It keeps me accountable and I need that!
P.S. I used the phrase I heard ("Eat less and move more") in a conversation I was having with my mother.

Starting weight: 185.0lbs
Last week's weight: 182.4
Current weight: 180.6




How are you doing on your healthier lifestyle goals?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I Read, Then Write Reviews

NetGalley

I joined this website in May 2014. I read titles that I am interested in (they have tons to choose from, and they are easy to find by category). Then I post a review of the book on their website. I am allowed to post the review on my blog, GoodReads and through my social media. Plus, some of the books are very newly published or are available to read before they are available to the public.... how COOL is that! Win, win for all!  I am a huge fan of this company because of the ease of finding books and getting them to my device #kindleapp #ipadmini. It's so simple and that's what people like!

For more information on the program, or if you'd like to sign up, click [here

Books I've reviewed through NetGalley: If I Were You   No In Between   The Negotiation
Yours to Uncover: ES Siren 1   Private Down Under  Play Me #1 - #5    Irresistibly Yours
Sydney Housewives #2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 Slashed  Life's A Beach  Flawed

Currently Reading with NetGalley: Gilded Cage




Back in April 2014, I signed up with Bookplex.comto be paid for my review of free books they have available for download. You must choose a book from the list they provide (which normally isn't too long but lately has been expanding), download the book to your e-reading device (no paper copies available at this time), read that book and write a review, good or bad, before the deadline date listed. They just want real, honest reviews from people. New to the site-- AVP: you buy the book through Amazon and you'll be reimbursed for the book, as well as earn an extra $1 when you get paid (through paypal). Some rules though: reviews must be posted on your blog, you have to have an Amazon account, a GoodReads account, and a Barnes & Noble account (all to post reviews on). Who doesn't have those already?  

For more information on the program, or if you'd like to sign up to be paid for reviewing books, click [here]

Books I've reviewed through Bookplex:   Severed Threads   Shattered Hearts   





I've been a member since May 2014. Pretty much the same concept of choose a book you want to read, read it, write a blog post about it, and then post your review on their website (they require a link back to your blog post when submitting your review on their website). It looks like they mail out physical books to you (but they are hard to come by since they only have so many), or you can get an ebook through download on Edelweiss *from their website- Q: Are eBooks available for review? Yes. eBooks are available through the Blogging for Books program. You will need to have an Edelweiss account set up in order to download eBooks. The Blogging for Books program works seamlessly with Edelweiss to deliver your eBooks. Requests are made through the Blogging for Books program.*  You may only read and review one book at a time through this site (it will close you off from most of the site until you submit your review). The Blogging For books website's FAQ actually has a lot of good info for bloggers, so check that out.  

For more information on the program, or if you'd like to sign up, click [here

Books I've reviewed through Blogging For Books: S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed   Shylock Is My Name



Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Show Us Your Books - January 2017

Life According to Steph






Here's what I've been reading:


Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James

GoodReads synopsis:
Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world. 

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price? 

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution. 

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?


I belong to NetGalley, a website dedicated to people who read books and write book reviews. It's free to join. I've been a member there since 2014. I am reading the e-book version that I was selected to be allowed to read early. The book doesn't come out until February 14, 2017.



The Girl on the Train

This was a popular book last year, so I thought I'd start the year off right by reading it. I blew threw it in four days. Written well and decent characters. I didn't see the end coming, so that was a plus.




Disney After Dark (Kingdom Keepers, #1)
Book 1 of the Kingdom Keepers series

I started this book, because I thought my son would like it. He has NO INTEREST in it whatsoever. But I wanted to see what the hype was all about. GoodReads synopsis is here.  And yea, I'll read a teen/YA book.... I'm in my 30's but I like to think I'm younger than that, haha!



What are you reading? Come link up and show us!