#BOAW2015 Owning Sexual Empowerment #GirlBoner Style

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Empowerment. It’s such a powerful word, right? In any aspect of life, it’s an important part of personal growth. When it comes to women and their sexuality, it’s critical and all too often denied or ignored.

Some may remember my Sacred Sexuality contribution from last year where I explored my thoughts on religion, history, and their impact on body image and sex. This year I’ll be taking it a step further and exploring owning our growth and development, sexually speaking.

Historically speaking the world, especially in western civilization, we’ve been predominantly a patriarchal society. What that has meant is that men pretty much controlled power, purse strings, and the overall quality of life that women could expect to have.

For the most part, we’ve come a long way from being traded as chattel to better enhance familial, social, and political standing. Virginity is not really currency anymore. Well, okay. There are still some places in the world where these archaic views are upheld, but overall…. you get what I’m saying. We’ve moved forward.

But have we really moved that far?

It wasn’t very long ago when I was involved in a conversation with several female friends when one friend confessed that she had never achieved orgasm. Because she was in a long term relationship, most of the women there were quick to blame her guy for not “giving” her one. But was it really his fault? I’m not saying selfish lovers don’t exist, but to have never had an orgasm before speaks to more than a lover’s prowess, doesn’t it?

Here’s my take on feminine sexual empowerment….

It’s all about ownership. Of herself. Her body. Her wants and needs. Does it mean she has to be the aggressor? Only if she wants to be. But it does mean that she’s responsible to communicate. To explore her own body and discover what feels good.

Because here’s the reality. Despite the über Doms and alpha males we read or fantasize about… You know, the psychic ones who instinctively read a woman’s mind, body, and soul and know exactly what to do to give her thigh shaking, body quaking orgasms… Most real life men require guidance. Hints. Directions. And if she doesn’t know what feels good? Or she’s unwilling or unable to communicate with them when they touch her body in ways that curls her toes (or even in ways that might turn her off), how can they ever hope to make her body sing? Or improve what skills they may already have in giving her pleasure?

Honest communication is key. So is taking responsibility for her actions. Faking an orgasm? That deprives her partner of the chance to find out what really pleases her, and her from exploring what works for them both. Saying the words candidly may be difficult at first, but the rewards far outweigh the negatives.

It all starts with trust…. And responsibility.

Because we women have gotten really good at not only holding men accountable for whether or not we experience orgasms, but more often than not, we’ve also placed the onus of making sure we’re protected on them, too. Granted, many are a little bit responsible via birth control pills and patches, but with the many variations of STDs these days that are transmitted through fluids, condoms are also necessary, especially for one time liaisons or short termed relationship.

So why is it that prophylactics often are predominantly a male responsibility? Why is it, if sex is initiated, it’s assumed that the male should come prepared? And how often do we really have the responsible health history talk before we head in that direction despite all the things we learned in health class?

Kudos to Tiffany Gaines and the young ladies from Lovability, Inc. for not only noticing the problem, but deciding to be proactive and do something about it! That’s responsible, empowered sexuality! Check out not only how they’ve owned their sexual responsibility, but how they’re working to help other women do the same!

So what about you? What things do you do to help you own your sexual empowerment? Do you struggle with it? Why do you think you do (or don’t)? Communication is key and I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts, and please check out the other Beauty of a Woman 2015 posts of female empowerment! I promise, you won’t regret it.

@LoniFlowers Reveals The Best I Never Had

One of the cool things about having author friends is getting to share in their excitement as something new comes out. So, when my friend and fellow author, Loni Flower, reached out to me to ask if I’d share her cover release on her newest book…. I jumped at the chance to lend a hand. That’s one of the coolest parts about the writing community.

So, without further ado, check out this awesome cover for her newest book! I love the colors, the grapes, the hottie on the cover…..

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So here’s a bit more about the book:

THE BEST I NEVER HAD (DeVine Winery #1)

New job, new town, new people— new life.

That’s what Olivia Langston needed. At twenty eight, she was given a rare opportunity at an internship in the rolling valleys of Crystal Falls in California wine country, far away from her small town roots in North Carolina. It was an unexpected journey she desperately needed after her ex-husband crushed her.

At DeVine Winery, she expected a fresh start in a new environment to help let go of her past. Instead, she found Daniel Black and a hell of a lot of sexual tension she wasn’t prepared for. He was gorgeous, modestly wealthy, irresistible, and just happened to be part owner of DeVine, one of the largest vineyards in the country.

If only she knew that before she kissed him her first night in town.

 

Follow Loni at:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLoniFlowers

Twitter:  @loniflowers

Website:  www.loniflowers.com

It’s Just a Hallmark Holiday, Right?

Image courtesy of cuteimage at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of cuteimage at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

The longer I’ve lived, the more I’ve grown to wonder something.

When exactly did love become a noun? Isn’t it supposed to be a verb? An action verb, at that? And if I’ve learned nothing in my years on this earth, I’ve also learned that there are two things that are not for wimps. Long termed relationships and aging. And sometimes I think aging might be easier because there’s really nothing that can be done about the passing of time except maybe make healthy choices to make that passage a bit easier.

Love, the lasting kind, takes a lot of work. It’s not all roses, hot bodies, and rampant sex despite how much I adore the books and movies that tout this message. Is some of that a part of it? Absolutely! Would they be so popular otherwise? I may not be a therapist, but here’s my take on the impact of these things:

  • Roses, candies, cards, and romantic gestures- They let your partner know that you’re thinking of them. That they’re a priority to you and that (especially if you’ve been together for longer periods of time) you aren’t taking their presence in your life for granted.
  • Hot bodies- Okay, so more often than not, this isn’t always your own or your partner’s, but rather the viewing of others for the purpose of fantasies (hopefully shared and communicated with one another to keep your relationship fresh and interesting). But if it is yours, even better! The message your sending is that you care to keep yourself in tip top shape so your partner can admire and enjoy your physique for years to come….and that you want to make sure you live a nice long life so that you can spend as much time with the people you love as humanly possible.
  • Rampant sex- So over time this may slow down from 3-5 times a day to several times a week/month. The thing about sex, though, is that it’s hugely important so that you maintain the physical and emotional connection with your partner. Listen, that hot and heavy, can’t-take-my-hands-off-of-you passion can be cyclical. But that doesn’t mean that shared comfort and vulnerability is anything to turn your nose at. That vulnerability and connection is a form of communication, too. It is a type of comfort, release, and a way of sharing your most intimate self.

Think for a second about a parent/child relationship.  When a child screws up, does a parent just walk away because it’s too hard? Do they quit caring? Do they find another child that might be “easier” to deal with? But isn’t that what we do all too often in relationships when the going gets tough?

How many times have you heard someone talk about a marriage and end with a shrug and “if it doesn’t work out, we can always get divorced?” Is that really giving a relationship a fair shake?

My heart has been aching for a few friends who’ve recently come to me, speaking about their relationships in terms of ending them. And don’t get me wrong… I’m well aware that there are plenty of things that can happen to permanently destroy a relationship. And I’ll always support my friends, regardless. But there’s so much damage done to a person’s spirit when relationships end and the connection, the trust, and the partnership are severed.

I’m lucky. My guy and I have been through ups and downs…22 years worth. Regardless of all that life has thrown at us, he’s always been my very best friend. When I’m hurting, he’s the first one to open his arms and ask if I need a hug. He cheers me on, and I do the same thing for him. He understands who I am and accepts me unconditionally, even when he doesn’t always agree with the decisions I make. But he’s always in my corner, cheering me on in the good times. Building me back up through my failures. He listens to me. Believes in my dreams. And I do the same for him.

And we talk. Even when it’s not the easiest conversation. Or when the truth hurts. We still talk. And when one of us screws up, we apologize and mean it. If one of us is still holding on to hurt or anger, we share that, too, until we’re finally able to let things go. There have been times when we’ve both fought with each other and for each other, though as we’ve grown together, the “with each other” doesn’t happen as much.

And for those of you who have wondered how he handles the racy stories I write? He grins and shrugs. Does he read them? Bits and pieces every now and then. The girl on girl action scene in Four One Night? Yeah…. LOL! His response? Low key, like him. He just nodded and said it was hot.

He’s the other part of my heart and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it’s work. Constant work. Worthwhile work. And the reward of him being such a core part of my life? Worth every sacrifice. I’ve told him that when I imagined my “dream man,” I never pictured him, but I thank God every day that he sent me everything I didn’t know I wanted and needed. Things I never dreamed of asking for past the superficial stuff.

Aren’t I lucky?

Now it’s your turn…. Share your thoughts on love. (By the way, you don’t have to agree with me or my thoughts. I’d still like to hear from you.)

I’m Not Laughing

Ever have one of those moments where someone you consider a friend says something, adds a LMAO or a Haha to the end of it and you find yourself scratching your head wondering if it’s pure ignorance, poor taste, or if they realize how they’re coming across or if maybe they’re not the person you thought they were?

So what triggered this outrage in the normally quirky, laid back Kitt?

A couple of days ago, an old friend (father to a young girl whom he adores with his whole heart) posted on his feed…. “LMAO! Ask Siri what holiday it is today. You’ll thank me later.” I wondered for a moment what holiday he was talking about until I saw this in his feed…

Gen Mut

I couldn’t understand the humor.  Maybe he hadn’t heard of the plight of young girls, usually between the ages of 5 and 10, and mostly in Africa? Did he think it was some sort of joke? But the responses that were coming in had that same “LOL” style answer, too….and my blood started to boil.

Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in other countries. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of an activist for women and a sex positive message, but I knew what happened to these young girls and it was more than I could take to watch all the laughter without saying something about the plight of these mutilated children. So I said something. Do I know if it sunk in? No. I don’t. But I did what I could there to educate, then brought up my frustration on my Facebook page.

The cool thing is, it got an open dialogue started.

For those who don’t know, Female Genital Mutilation is where young girls, usually between the ages of 5 and 10 are held down by several village women and their external privates, clit hood, clit, labia, and often the tissue at they entry of the vagina are cut off by the local midwife using an unsterilized blade and without anesthesia.

This is funny?

And the “whys” for this are even less humorous. As it turns out, one of my Facebook friends lived for an extended amount of time in Botswana, so she shared some of what she’d witnessed while she was there. The primary purpose of such brutality (and this, I already knew) is to prevent feelings of sexual arousal in their women. But it’s also more than that. They are under the misguided belief that destroying a woman’s privates will make her more desirable for marriage. That she’ll be more faithful. That it will maintain her virginity.

But my friend, Shabby, had more to share. She stated that she’d gotten to know several young ladies while living in Botswana with her husband for business, and the pain and brutality didn’t end with the mutilation. According to what she’d learned, no woman was safe from rape. The biggest targets were usually between the ages of 13-14, and that she’d seen 15 year olds pregnant. They were often beaten, left pregnant, with no alimony.

Their struggle was not what we consider a struggle here. No job, no car…. Their struggle was the rape the night before, the possibility that they now had AIDS, that their third child was on the way and they didn’t have enough money to get past the week. They had no marital prospects because maybe they weren’t deemed “desirable” enough or their last boyfriend left them the night before with no money and no way to fend for themselves, or they were robbed of their last five pula (their currency).

In fact, she said that her maid walked 5 miles to and from work daily and was robbed at least once a month and that all the women she’d gotten to know died before the age of 35. She cried every time. My heart ached.

Here my friends were, joking about something I’m pretty sure they didn’t even think truly existed because  it didn’t directly touch their lives or anyone they loved, yet on this very same planet are women hurting. Most of you know I’m all about empowerment and a sex positive message, but this goes so far beyond that! This is simple human kindness and decency.

The reality is, overall, we’re spoiled here in the States and thank God for it. But that doesn’t mean we can turn a blind eye to other people’s suffering. Or that we shouldn’t try to make the world a better place by opening ourselves up to understanding some of the hardships the rest of the world battles.

And by the way, this is impacting us here in the States, too! One of my nurse friends chimed in to tell me that the percentage of young girls in this country that this happens to is also climbing. She said that there are many Somali women who come to the hospital having been in this condition most of their lives, and when they get pregnant with baby girls, the pediatricians often know that these women are going to send their daughters out of the country to have the process done to their children. Because in their culture, this is a thing to be desired. They truly believe it’s the only way to guarantee the purity and desirability for marriage of their little ones.

Again, where is the humor in any of this?

As I was thinking about what to say, I found that lack of knowledge on the subject is actually not that uncommon….

So I guess that’s where we start, right? Educate? Share? Open the lines of communication up? From there, there are several charities and advocacy groups where one can choose to take their dedication a step or few further.

So tell me… Are you one of those people who didn’t know about this? Now that you do, what are you going to do with that knowledge?

#SharetheLove With Fangs, Wands, and Fairy Dust Love

share the love hop

My pal, Anna Cade, of Herding Cats and Burning Soup came up with the terrific idea of sharing a little love with a well deserving/favorite blog or author. I thought it was a terrific idea, so I signed up.

My biggest problem? I have so many awesome author and blogger friends. That meant I had to really dig down and think.

As I started considering things, I realized something…. It wasn’t a tough choice at all!

Let me tell you a little bit about the awesome lady I’ve chosen to share with you guys today.

I met Stephanie a couple years ago at an Authors After Dark event in Savannah. At that time I was still working on my manuscripts, so I was there strictly as a fan girl and to meet all the awesome authors and bloggers I’d been following/getting to know on Facebook and Twitter.

We were at an author party when we struck up a conversation. We found ourselves at the same table when we headed down for one of the balls held at the event, so we got to know each other better. When we got back to our homes, me to Florida, her to Maine (in the same area my best friend used to live), we found each other on Facebook and Twitter and kept in touch!

I already followed her blog, so I was thrilled when she began to follow mine back. Even more so when I put out my first book and mentioned that if anyone wanted to share their blog with me for a spot or two, that I’d be honored.

She reached out immediately!

She offered me a guest post spot on her blog! Me! This may not sound like a huge deal to you, but it was to me. Why? Because in my preferred genre there had been (at that time, and unfortunately still are) plagiarists claiming to be self published authors who had been outed for stealing the works of some very popular authors. Most of the book blogging community became very gun shy about unknown commodities, and who could blame them?

But she took a chance on me.

In fact, she was headed down to Florida and we met up for coffee to catch up and talk about what sort of post she thought might be appealing to her audience, helpful to readers, and maybe a smidge outside of her comfort zone yet right up my alley.

Well, we found it. With her approval, my alternative lifestyle post/readers glossary was born.

But her generosity didn’t stop there! She also read my books and did a review of Four One Night on her blog. I hadn’t even asked her to do it! I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.

The thing about Stephanie is she truly is a supporter of authors! ALL KINDS of authors! She doesn’t limit herself to one style or genre. She’ll do audiobooks, ebooks, physical books…. She truly does have a passion for books and it shows in her thoughtful, well written posts! She’s honest about what she likes and doesn’t like in books, and it doesn’t matter who the author is. It’s always her personal, unbiased opinion. I respect the heck out of that!

So, because she’s just amazing in general, and gives great feedback about so many subjects in particular, I’m telling you to get to know this wonderful lady!

And if who she is isn’t incentive enough? I’ve got a couple of giveaways for ya! Click on
a Rafflecopter giveaway and earn a chance to win the following.

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And, if my giveaway has simply whetted your appetite for winning? There are lots of other blogs sharing the love and giving away. Click the blue button below to see who else is participating!

Exchange of Fire and Hands On Experiences with @PADePaul

As many of you may remember from some of my experiences, including this one, research has a way of happening in all sorts of interesting settings. What I love about authors is that they also find unique and interesting ways to bring their books together as well!

Speaking of…. I get soooo excited when I have an opportunity to introduce you to new things and new people. Especially fellow authors. Have y’all met P.A. DePaul? If not, you’re about to. And if so? Stick around. She’s got some cool stuff to share with us!

Hello Kitt!!! Thank you so much for allowing me to take over today and talk about how hands-on experiences have impacted my writing! Who am I?

Are you sure you’re not psychic…. because I was soooo about to ask you that question. ;-)

So glad you asked! My name is P.A. DePaul and I’m the author of the Romantic Suspense, SBG series. Exchange of Fire, SBG #1 introduces a clandestine Black Ops team working for SweetBriar Group (AKA SBG), a corporation the rest of the world believes is an environmental company.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to gain knowledge about a topic is to experience it. Sounds reasonable, right? Common sense, really. But what if you write about a Black Ops team who run covert missions? Hmmm…now that simple sentence gets a little trickier. Enter the Writer’s Police Academy.

Oooh! I’ve heard about this. Another author friend of mine went to one this last year as well. Wonder if she was at yours? Anyway. Back to you. It sounds like things are about to get exciting!

For two years I’ve been able to attend this awesome academy (which is getting harder and harder to do since attendance is limited and its popularity is increasing). What is the Writer’s Police Academy (WPA)? Great question! To quote their website (because they define it best) “The Writer’s Police Academy offers the most hands-on, interactive and educational experience writers can find to enhance their understanding of all aspects of law enforcement and forensics. This is a one of a kind event, featuring real police, fire, and EMS training at an actual police academy. Top instructors and experts!”

Now we’re talking! While I may not need every aspect in that definition for my SBG Series, I’m able to surround myself in a world where I would normally be shut out.

Now, as I said in the opening line, gaining knowledge through experience is the best way. In WPA, they offered Hands-on training. I can’t stress how valuable this was for me. In the two years, I got to perform building searches (you know, like on TV when the police are stacked outside a residence and they burst in and begin searching the home for the suspect), use a Glock in “real-life” simulations (the gun was modified with a laser “bullet” so when I hit the screen, I didn’t actually put a hole through it <grin>), put on the bomb suit and pass their “test” (the suit is over 80 lbs and they lay you on your back and you have to stand up without help…I did it! Wasn’t pretty, but I did it!), drive an ambulance in a specialized simulator to rescue victims, sit in a surveillance plane as the instructor described all the aspects regarding aerial searches, hand-to-hand combat where I disarmed “bad guys” of their guns and knives, and a self-defense class that allowed me to yell and curse at the top of my lungs while I beat the snot out of an assailant. Whew! And this is only what I participated in. There were so many more hands-on activities I just couldn’t get to.

What did all of this mean for writing the SBG series? Everything! Before I attended WPA, I could not fully describe any of the above situations. Sure, I could technically state the Glock was black but not how it felt in my hands or how nervous I was as the real-life scenario burst up on the screen and I had seconds to react or how I had trouble releasing the magazine because my hand was too small for the grip. All of this gave me so much more perspective. It allowed me to add emotion and a deeper description to every nuance of the scene. I also never would have been able to put on a bomb suit anywhere else or truly feel how claustrophobic that suit was and how heavy! I could go on, but I think you get my meaning. Having the hands-on experiences have helped me take my scenes to the next level.

Thank you so much for taking the time to experience one of the nuances of attending the Writer’s Police Academy with me! Do you have any questions? I’ll promise to answer almost anything (I have to put “almost” in there because I know you crazy (wonderful) folks can come up with some doozies, so I want to reserve the right to make up an answer for those).

By the way, I’ve got pictures to share with you guys, too!

Ambulance simulator and real-life EMT:

kitt photo 1
Me getting “suited up” in the bomb suit:

kitt photo 2Wow! Now that’s taking your art seriously. What an exciting class to take. Now I need to find an excuse to take a class like this, too! It sounds like such a cool experience. Soooo…. you gonna share with us a hint of how you brought all this together?

If you get a chance, you really should. As for bringing everything together, how about an excerpt and teaser? Heck, I’ll even throw in a giveaway opportunity at the end!

I’m totally good with that!

Exchange of Fire Cover

Intro:

In the following excerpt, our heroine, Wraith, and our hero, Casper Grady, have just escaped an assassination attempt when they were inside Wraith’s apartment. Wraith knows she needs to disappear and has to convince Grady to join her in order to keep him safe.

A little background: Wraith (sniper of Delta Squad) faked her death after her last mission went horribly wrong in order to escape SBG (or more accurately its CEO). The CEO got wind that she’s still alive and instead of celebrating, he sent assassins after her to rectify her still breathing status.

Blurb:

Faking her death was easy, living with her past is harder, but nothing is more dangerous than falling in love…

Sandra Walsh was a deadly sniper for the Sweet Briar Group, a covert agency with assassins for hire, until her last mission went horribly wrong, accidentally killing an innocent girl. Knowing she’s a danger to her team, Sandra goes off the grid, becoming a Shade—an agent declared dead but secretly hiding among the living. She intends to honor her vow never to pull another trigger or have contact with the spy world again. Until she meets Casper Grady…

Grady is a former Marine with a troubled past and a debt to pay. His life mission has gone from protecting the nation to helping local children and their families. The moment he meets Sandra, he knows there’s more to her than meets the eye, but he can’t help but be drawn to the mysterious femme fatale. And when Sandra’s past suddenly catches up to her, Grady is determined to protect her at all costs, no matter how dark and dangerous her secrets are.

As the danger increases, so does their intense attraction. But when they’re forced to choose between each other and the people they’ve sworn to protect, their growing love might not be enough to keep them together—or alive…

Excerpt:
[Grady] “So what’s your plan?”
Just like that, the spell was broken.
“We go underground.”
“I’m assuming you don’t mean that literally.”
“Unless you know of bunker in the mountains that still has an Internet connection, no.”
“What’s so important about the Internet? You jonesing for a sale?”
“Ha. Ha. I need to jump on a message board.”
He crossed his arms; the position just served to show off his biceps. She suspected that’s why he did it so much. He leaned on the back of the couch. “And?”
“And don’t worry about it yet. I really need you to pack. I’ll raid your kitchen for nonperishables.”
He didn’t budge.
Damn. The first part of the evening she couldn’t convince him to go away. Now she couldn’t convince him to stay by her side for his own protection? What the hell? “Time is not on our side here. We gotta go.”
He dropped his arms and stalked forward. She held her ground. Just watching him move closer had her adrenaline pumping and her skin tingling in anticipation. He stopped inches away, his height looming above her. So not the time to notice how full and inviting his lips were. Nor the time to breathe in his addicting scent and instantly be ready for him.
His gaze darkened as it captured hers. He raised a hand and traced a finger down her cheek. “Since you’ve made it clear time is of the essence . . .” he said, his voice low and husky.
Her heart skipped a beat. Damn her for that statement.
“I’ll make this brief.” He leaned down until he was a breath away from her mouth.
Her lungs stopped working.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance | Goodreads | BAM | Kobo | iTunes

Giveaway:
PA is offering a tour wide giveaway of 5– $10 Amazon or B&N gift cards (winner’s choice) plus 4 e-copies of Exchange of Fire (sent via Netgalley). Just check out today’s post, leave a comment, and then fill out the giveaway widget!

Follow the Tour!

Be sure to check out all of the stops! Read fun,new content at each stop plus learn extra ways to enter the giveaway! For the main event page please visit… this page.

Author-PA DePaulAbout the Author:

P.A. DePaul is a multi-genre romance author including paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense. She originally hails from Carroll County and Baltimore County, Maryland, but also lived in Macon and Warner Robins, Georgia. She currently resides in a beautiful community just outside Philadelphia. Exchange of Fire is the first novel in the SBG series with the second novel, Shadow of Doubt, releasing April 2015

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Worlds Collide in a Winter Wonderland

The last month or so have been an adventure.

Yes, sunny Florida girl, yours truly…was sent off to the “Great White North” for three weeks between December and January for new day job training. And by GWN, I mean Syracuse, New York. Okay, so I’m a Chicago transplant to Florida. You’d think that would mean I’m used to winters, right?

Wrong!

Jaunty Hat

Winter Selfie in Jaunty Hat

I haven’t lived in a state that has winter since 1999. I didn’t really even own a “real” coat anymore. My sister had to shop for one for me up in Chicago. Because, you know, Florida sells winter coats in the dead of summer, then gets rid of the inventory. True story.

So the first week up there I realized the weather was bi-polar. I arrived to 50 degree weather. The next morning it was in the 20’s. Here’s a picture of me in my jaunty winter hat.

Yes, that’s snow in the background. Not only did the weather drop 30 degrees overnight. It also snowed…but it was a light, slushy snow and the weather was back up into the 40’s the following day. Like I said. Bipolar weather.

Wegmans

Definitely NOT a Castle

But there were some good things about not being overly cold. It enabled us to explore.

And thus my first Wegmans experience was born. Sadly, apparently it was nothing like it should be. I was told Wegmans looks like a castle and is an amazing place to shop.

As a girl who has Publix supermarkets every couple of miles, I’m not easily impressed. I was told that this particular store was a bit old and not in a great neighborhood, so not to hold anything against the franchise. It was not a “true” Wegmans experience. The store was dingy, the employees weren’t overly helpful….so I’ll trust my friends and reserve judgement. Still, a cherry popped while in New York.

Rockin the Boys

Cowboy Plane Selfie

But despite the cold, both the final game of the season and the first playoff game for my ‘Boys were going on. That meant I wore my Cowboy love quite literally all over my body.

Of course, the first person to taunt me?

The TSA agent. Before I even left Sarasota.

When hubby asked how I responded to the “Go Lions!” taunt, I told him I kept my mouth shut.

Let’s be real for a second…. No matter how much one might love their home team, how likely is a person to respond with a return taunt when the person calling you out is the TSA agent at the gate of the airport? While you’re being patted down…

Even I’m not that brave. Not after a friend of mine practically got cavity searched for forgetting she had a bottled water in her carry on luggage. Nope.

Cold Selfie

Bundled Up Selfie

But finally, January came to Syracuse…and brought me back into the cold. This time, sis had come through with a cute winter coat and hand knit scarf. By then, I’d gotten smart enough to buy boots and gloves. At home, such articles are only purchased for fashion purposes.

These were meant to keep my feet warm and dry. Utilitarian. What a novel thought, right? Well, maybe if you’re from the south.

And I discovered that gloves have come a long way! Now they have these little spots on the finger tips that allow you to work digital devices like touch screens without taking the gloves off.

Who knew?

Well, I do now. And I own a pair. A girl’s gotta stay on the cutting edge of technology, don’tcha know.

WindySnow

This is both wind and snow

I confess. I watched my weather updates on my phone like a hawk. When I started seeing sub-zero temperatures I admit it. I got a bit whiny.

And what’s with these reports telling us what it “feels like” outside? They calculate in the wind, etc. Do they really think that telling me that 0 degrees is going to feel like -14 degrees is going to encourage me to step away from the warmth of my hotel room? Eek!

Windy, Snowy Selfie

Windy, Snowy Selfie

I was just relieved that the couple of feet they forecasted didn’t come while I was there! The wind was bad enough.

You see the picture on the side? My hair was blowing sideways, and so was the snow! Yes, I found a way to keep my ears warm…. Unfortunately, I also forgot my jaunty hat at home this trip.

Just a little hint? That face is not my happy face. It’s my “damn, this is cold” face.

If it weren’t for a friend asking me to take snow pictures of myself and the weather, there’s no way I would’ve been out of doors for more than the short time it took to get from indoors to the vehicle, and back inside.

And, believe it or not, despite having not driven in snow in about 20 years, I drove in this weather. Yeah, I’m feeling pretty proud of that, too.

But none of that compared to the coolest experience of the trip, ever!

It had everything to do with this guy….

Meeting my friend, author Mark Bialczak

Meeting my friend, author Mark Bialczak

My friend, fellow author and blogger, Mark Bialczak braved the freezing cold (and I mean freezing literally) to come out to meet me for dinner. First, if you haven’t met Mark yet, you should check him out HERE. He’s a fun, engaging blogger and an all around great guy.

Syracuse guide

He remembered I love my sports, and was generous enough to bring me a copy of his book, also now a memento of my 3 week stay in Syracuse, and autograph it for me! How cool was that? He even teased me a bit about the book not being about my Cowboys!

Even better, despite the fact that the only place we’d interacted was online via our blogs, it felt like meeting an old friend. We never ran out of things to talk about. There was no awkwardness. Just a lot of good conversation and fun!

Have you ever met any friends from online? What was your experience?