Friday, November 14, 2014

DAY 1 - Kentucky Book Fair

I have been trying to get to the Kentucky Book Fair for the past three years ... it just never worked out. I was grateful Connie Crowe has remembered me for all these years and this year was once again chosen to attend and ACTUALLY COULD! 


I left the C O L D of Fort Worth ... to arrive to the C O L D of Frankfurt, KY on Thursday, November 13. I was very fortunate and had the pleasure of being driven from Louisville to Frankfort by a LIMO! I told Dan that I'm a children's author and needed to take his picture so he could appear on my blog ... he had fun posing! We even took a selfie!!!!  THANKS DAN for being a good sport and Executive Car Service and Connie for setting it all up!!!

The drive from Louisville to Frankfort took about 50 minutes and I was hungry and tired ... I arrived at the Capital Plaza hotel and looked out my hotel window and saw the Capital Bldg. For those of you who have forgotten your U.S. capitals -- Frankfort is the Capital of Kentucky!!!


 
On Friday morning, I was getting ready when all of a sudden this L O U D alarm went off -- I thought it was just in my room, until this voice comes on the P.A. and says to evacuate using the stairwell!
LO and BEHOLD ... it was the fire alarm and yes ... the Firemen came to check it out!
 I met Knox and his mom Alecia in the restaurant on Thursday night .... he is from New York and she writes Young Adult books ... they were in the room across from me and Knox was a little nervous at first ... but in the stairwell I said ... THIS FIRE DRILL is KIND OF FUN!  and he said "YAY IT IS!"
And when he got to meet the FIREMAN he was really pretty happy!
 
After that minor setback, I went and finished getting ready, had breakfast and went off to the convention center!
 
My FB Friend from Ohio ... Aileen Stewart is at this event and it was great meeting her in person!
She has the FERN VALLEY SERIES . Super cute books for kids.
 No ... she's not posing for me!  lol!!!!!!   Yes she is!
Her next book will contain recipes too!  That will be a must have for me because Miss Aileen is always whipping stuff up that looks so delicious in FB posts!!!!!
 
The children have arrived!
The Kentucky Book Fair has a children's day and children from Frankfort and surrounding areas come on Field Trips to the convention center.
They hear authors talk, ask questions and buy books!

 
 One group of students came all the way from Louisville, KY.
The kids who read 10 or more books over the summer were rewarded with being able to come
to the Book Fair!  They were so excited to look at all the books!!!!!

 
Let's see what this book is about?
Trying to decide if she wants to use her KID money on a Muffin book!
 
 Two new little MUFFIN fans!
 
 
Miss Aileen gave me my own little mini loaf of
Butterscotch Oatmeal Zucchini Bread
OMG!!!!  YUMMMMMMMMM!!!!!
 
If you are in the Frankfort, KY area, you have NOT missed the festival ... Come on out to the Frankfort Convention Center on Saturday, November 15 from 9am - 4pm
where the Kentucky Book Fair
will be open to the public!  There will be 150 authors there!
Stop by and say HI!!!!
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST!

I spent almost 1 hour yesterday in my tomato garden (2 gargantuan plants) yesterday picking ________ tomatoes ....
While picking, my eyes were seeing RED and my mind was wandering!
I decided to do a CONTEST!!!!
 
In honor of my upcoming book -- RED Goes To Kindergarten, I've decided to give away
ONE book to the person who GUESSES the number of grape tomatoes in these two NORMAL sized colanders AND
ONE book to a person who comments about their FONDEST memories of Kindergarten
(RED Goes To Kindergarten release date -- Spring/Summer 2015)
 
You can guess the number and write a memory ....
 
You must comment here on my blog!
 
HAVE FUN!
 
Winner will be chosen Tuesday, November 11 at 8:00 pm Central Time
 
 

 
And ... for your information .... some of these tomatoes are in the fridge and some are simmering on the stove for another batch of Laura's Homemade Sauce!  : )

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Introducing my Yoga ANGEL!

For the past 3 years Angel Carithers-Brownlee has been a Facebook Friend of mine who I facebook met from my illustrator friend Charla.  For 3 years I never met Angel -- but followed her journey with her Yoga studio -- Temple Road.  I knew Angel was a yoga instructor and I knew I always wanted to try yoga but was always tooooooooo scared and felt very intimidated to give it a try! I thought you had to be very flexible and young!

This past summer, I felt I was under a tremendous amout of stress working on my Texas Teacher certification, Steven going to Japan, and juggling book events. I finally got up my confidence to walk into Angel's yoga studio. I have to say ... it was one of the BEST things I have ever done!  Temple Road Yoga is a peaceful, wonderful environment and Angel is a loving, caring person and a phenomenal yoga instructor. She made me feel so welcome and took the time to help me work through some of my FEARS of yoga! Now that I'm back in school, I do yoga as much as I can at home and look forward to breaks when I can go to the Temple Road Studio!

Angel
Thank you Angel for taking the time to answer a few questions ....

Tell us about Angel -  First and foremost, I am a mama and wife.  My husband Brandyn and I have 5 children ranging in age from 14 to 22 years. The love of my family keeps me grounded through the busyness of life. I was born and raised in Arkansas, so the southern girl is always a part of me.  We have a large extended family and spend most of our free time coming together for good cooking, music and lots of laughter. Interestingly, I had the privilege of growing up in a broken home. My parents divorced when I was 1 year old.  This has proven to be one of the greatest gifts of my life! It is what I learned that love has no boundaries and there are no mistakes.


Have you done anything else besides YOGA? Oh yes! Many careers before landing on the yoga mat! Everything from Marketing Coordinator at a casino in Las Vegas to a
Cash Management analyst for an oil and gas company in Texas.  However, in every job, there was always an element of service.  Ironically, my first job at 14 was cleaning houses for several elderly ladies in our neighborhood. One of these dear souls was
grieving the loss of her beloved husband and she would ask me to stay for lunch and visit after I finished cleaning.  I could sense that she was quite lonely.  As we enjoyed our ham and cheese sandwiches, she recalled the times she and her husband shared together.  Inevitably, each time, she would break down and I could feel the heaviness of her pain. When I look back over my life so far, I feel strongly that we are born with the gifts we are here to share.

How did you get interested in yoga? Like many others, I became interested in yoga, after coming to the end of myself.  At the time, I was working a full-time job, while taking college classes at night, my youngest was 2 and we were building a home, so there was no breathing room in my schedule. I was physically, emotionally and spiritually spent and felt overwhelmed by life.  So one day on my lunch hour, I decided to try a yoga class at the YMCA. There were about 25 people in the class and I
had no idea what I was doing. Unexpectedly, when I laid down for savasana, the tears began to flow.  In an instant, yoga became "home to me" and from that moment everything began to shift.

How many years have you been a YOGI? I would say all my life, but technically practicing since 2002.

What are the best things about your job?  There are so many things that make my job wonderful!  Being a witness to someone letting go of tension in their body or mind is one of the things I love.  It is a great honor to be with another when they relax into themselves.  You can see the joy on their face and you know in some small way you are part of their journey.  It is also wonderful to see the light in someone's eyes when they overcome a limitation whether physical or emotional through yoga.

How did the idea of Temple Road come about? Temple Road came to me in a beautiful dream.  I've written about it on my website at TEMPLE ROAD YOGA

What inspires you? Courageous, open hearted people. Those who have gone through the fire and yet make the choice to stay open and move toward love.

What do you do when you are in the studio by yourself? I practice, pray and meditate. Sometimes I turn the music up really loud and stay in a posture on the floor for 20 minutes soaking in the breath and the energy of the space. Oddly enough, even when my husband and I are cleaning the studio, it is like a meditation.  There is a great deal of peace that flows through somehow.

Are there ever days you don't want to do YOGA?  No. The word yoga from the root "yuj" means to yoke.  In that sense of the word, I always want to have an experience of the Divine and I search for that everyday.  I do feel having a personal yoga practice is essential if one plans to share yoga with others on a deep level.  However, my yoga practice may look different each day.  Sometimes I may just do ball work, pranayama and meditation, while other days I may have a more active practice.  Recently, a question came across my radar during meditation - "What does love long to do through you?" so for the following week the main part of my yoga practice was putting that question
out there and seeing who showed up to receive the answer.   

Please share your favorite teaching YOGA story. Hahaha! This may not be what you had in
mind and it may be inappropriate, but (sometimes you just gotta laugh) and it is one of my favorites.  So one day in class we are working on holding cobra for an extended period of time to strengthen the back.  At one point I was noticing how gripped everyone's butt was and I had some concern for the stress around the tail bone.  So I (accidentally) said, "Okay everyone, do your best not to fire through your butt!" Laughter erupted and it was AWESOME!  
      I had to reply to this -- I feel Angel has a way to know when there is a lot of tension in the room and will say just the right thing to help everyone RELEASE that tension ... that is a GREAT story!!!

Temple Road was created to encourage and support our community, while offering a safe place for prayer, yoga and meditation. We may look different on the outside, but inside, we are all the same…sacred and loved. The practice of yoga is to help us see more clearly and ultimately, remember who we are.

Temple Road Yoga offers Yin Yoga, Chakra Based Yoga (Temple Road) and Beginner Flow. We also host "Rising Lotus" Yoga & Group Therapy for Women on the 1st & 3rd Monday of the month. A variety of workshops are held throughout the year for those who want to learn something new or deepen their practice.  For more information on classes, workshops and events visit -- TEMPLE ROAD YOGA

We are located on the west side of Fort Worth on 820N and White Settlement Rd. off  of  Expedition Drive across from The Home Depot.

Om Shanti!
xoxoxAngel

THANKS ANGEL!   I just had the pleasure of attending the Reiki & Restorative Yoga with Gong Meditation class. It was the most amazing 2 hours!  I can't believe that the GONG can sound so soothing and with the poses and breathing and Reiki I was taken to places I've never been -- it truly was a soothing and calming journey. I truly hope that Angel and Kenny will team up again -- I know I will be there!

If you've wanted to try Yoga -- give Temple Road Yoga, off White Settlement Road a try -- here is the link to their FB page Temple Road on Facebook

Kenny and his amazing instruments!!!!
 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

GONNA BUY ME A MERCURY

Well if I had money
Tell you what I'd do
I'd go downtown and buy a Mercury or two
Crazy 'bout a Mercury
Lord I'm crazy bout a Mercury
 
I'm gonna buy me a Mercury
And cruise it up and down the road


If you read my blog, you know that a few weeks back my husband googled Mercury Comet's and the Mercury Comet we owned while living in Georgia popped up and it was for sale! We loved that car and were heartbroken when we had to sell it when moving to Massachusetts. We knew the harsh weather up north would take it's toll on the Comet's paint. I've only gotten to ride in her two times since we've brought her home ... but I often sneak into the garage and look at all the cool details that cars lack these days. Here's some of my favorite intricate features of the COMET ....
The front side panel


The original hub-caps

 
The rear tail lights ... so cool!!!!!


The back windshield is amazing!!!!

The steering column ... 

The radio -- which has been updated -- there's a hidden cord to
plug in your iPhone -- or you can play 8-tracks!  lol!!!!
 
 The speedometer

The MERCURY guy on the middle of the steering wheel

The seats and middle glove box

The original engine!

The MERCURY guy on the sides near the back window (he's on both sides!)
 
I LOVE MY MERCURY!!!!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

VEGAS -- NIGHT 2


After the book festival, I was super tired and REALLY hungry! So I trudged back to the hotel, dropped off my stuff and went down to the CAFE CORTEZ and had steak and eggs ... it was soooooo good ... and was FREE because I was comped two free dinners from the hotel! I then decided to do some HIGH ROLLING ... well ... not really -- I sat down at a cute slot machine that had wolves on it ... put $20 in and in about 20 minutes had $41 and some change!  I quickly cashed out and was feeling great that I had WON in Vegas ... I was going to go walk around and take more pictures and I went outside and looked down and there was a 5 dollar bill ... I picked it up and decided to go back to this other CUTE MARTIAN slot machine and see if lady luck was still on my side .... I started playing and was UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN and UP .... about 30 minutes of playing that 5 bucks ... I had $12.76 ... I decided that BEATING VEGAS was fun ... so I cashed out! So I made about 28 dollars from my HIGH STAKES gambling!  lol!!!!
I had seen Container Park out of my hotel window and decided that it was the place I wanted to check out ... Right outside Container Park was this HUGE preying mantis. He is run by a person and his antennae are flames that truly explode once in a while ... it's CRAZY!!!!
 
Container Park was really very cool. All of the buildings are CONTAINERS and all of the decking, "grass", and tile are made from recycled materials. The stores all sell repurposed items. My favorite was the jewelry made out of grey goose bottles. Container Park was celebrating OKTOBERFEST while I was there and what better way to celebrate than with a GERMAN band.
In front of the stage is repurposed "grass" and a big play area for kids ... all over are couches and chairs for adults to listen to the music, relax, and watch their kids play.
 
One of the containers.
There were many restaurants in Container Park ... but this one had the BEST name ... I think it's the BEST name EVER for a restaurant!!!  If I hadn't already eaten -- I would have definitely eaten here!
 
I decided to give the FREEMONT STREET experience one more whirl before I packed it in.
This girl was Wowing people ... but many of those people had had LOTS to drink ...
I'm pretty sure she's sitting in a balanced chair that's hooked to her cane and the big base under her rug ... I know -- i'm a KILL JOY!
 
This guy was super talented ... he painted these paintings in about 10 minutes using spray paint!
They were really awesome and cost $40.00 ... I was tempted to buy one but didn't want to ruin it on the way home .... he was fun to watch!



 
Heart Attack Grill is another GREAT name for a restaurant ... I also love that they put a hospital gown on you to eat! I was so tempted to get a milkshake from here .... but worked so hard all summer to lose 10 pounds that I figured I'd pass!

 
AND ... if you haven't lost enough of your money already .... there are slot machines ALL over the Las Vegas airport! I was tempted to gamble my BIG winnings ... but then decided to quit while I was ahead ....
I had a great time in VEGAS
next time I'll take in a show and maybe be a bit more brave and try my hand at higher stakes gambling!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

VIVA Las Vegas Valley Book Festival

I have never been to Las Vegas ... so when I had the opportunity to attend the Vegas Valley Book Festival I felt it would be an interesting and FUN weekend! The Festival was held in Downtown Las Vegas in the historic district ... I was away from the "strip" but was near LOTS of interesting people and things! Here is VEGAS from my eyes! On the way to my hotel, the cab driver stopped in the PAWN STARS parking lot so I could take a few pictures! This was just a few blocks from my hotel.

I stayed at the El Cortez Hotel and Casino -- it was built in 1941.


I stayed on the 15th floor (which was the TOP floor) and I was in one of their high roller suites -- basically a normal room! But I had that contraption on the right ... a P H O N E!






 View from my window.

I walked down to that pink, green and white lighted area in the bottom
right of the pic above the band ... and I found this band. They were
awesome! Stayed and listened to them play for about 30 minutes.

One of my favorites from OLD TIME Las Vegas!!!!!
 
 On to Freemont Street

HOLY MOLY .... the worlds biggest big screen ... this place was totally insane!

 
SATURDAY -- OCTOBER 18, 2014
VEGAS VALLEY BOOK FESTIVAL
Cloudy skies for most of the day -- it drizzled a bit and kept the temperatures cool!

Vendors setting up
 
Here are a few of my new READERS! 
Amanda purchased A Simpler Time .... I hope she enjoys it!!!

Ty is 14 and hopes to become a writer ... he looked through The Life of Bud
and had to have it ... I just LOVE seeing young kids have a love of writing!!!
Good Luck TY!  Let me know how you like BUD!


This little cutie is Estefania and her mom purchased A Simpler Time for her.
She was very excited and couldn't wait for mom to read it to her!  ENJOY!!!

SELFIES with some FAMOUS BOOK CHARACTERS!!!!!
 Cat In the Hat

 Curious George

Clifford the BIG RED DOG!
 
Clifford endorsing the MUFFIN book!
 
I had a wonderful time at the Festival and met some wonderful people!!
Having fun, meeting new people and selling books always makes for a wonderful book festival!
Thank you for having me!!!!! 
 
MORE PICTURES OF THE REST OF MY TRIP .... Coming SOON!