U is for Unwritten

Unwritten

How much time do you spend living in the past? Reminiscing over past memories. Dwelling on past victories….or sometimes mistakes.

While it’s true that it’s our past experiences that often shape how we view the world, it’s also true that focusing attention there can cause you to miss your present; your life. Believe it or not, it’s easy to be so busy looking back that you miss the entire beautiful view in front of you. You’re facing the wrong way!

Stand in your present.

Take a good look around.

Where do you want your life to be? What path would you like to follow? You have choices! You may not be able to change the past because it’s already over and done, but the future?

Well that’s all yours to write! Where do you want it to take you? What’s the first step you’re going to take to get you there? Because only you have the ability to write this story and it’s outcome.

Want that happy ending? What are you willing to do to create it?

L is for Lust

LustEver noticed that Lust is always treated like the red headed stepchild to Love?

Why is that?

In my opinion, lust has a very definite purpose. It’s a bit animalistic. Instinctive. It’s often steeped in attraction and leads the way to deeper interests. It’s sexual awareness at its best, and sometimes, at its worst.

Lust can be the early stages of passion that lead to love. Lust often suspends fear and enhances the need to bring on a sense of fantasy and adventure, sexually speaking.

Lust causes the quickie in the closet or the raunchy explorations in the stealth of a darkened movie theater. In fact, I’d say that even after years of being with the same partner it’s possible to fan the flames of lust, drawing out the adventurous natures of lovers…causing them to try something outside of their normal wheelhouses.

Conversely, it can also be the beginning of unhealthier aspects like obsession. To be fair, though, this usually happens if the person experiencing these feelings is already unstable. It’s what lowers their sense of caution. Sometimes it hides their moral compasses and causes people to consider doing dangerous and unhealthy things. Obsessions. No sense of boundaries. You get my drift.

At the end of the day, you’re the only one who can decide if you’re in control or your lust is controlling you….  How has lust manifested itself in your life? Share!

H is for Happiness

Happiness

IF.

I truly believe it’s one of the most dangerous words in the human language.

If I had more money… If I had a better job… If insert name here loved me… If I had taken that other path instead…

How many times have you heard people lament their lack of joy in their lives with that little word? If.

It’s tough to live in the now; to see the good things that are happening all around you when your energy is spent focusing on what you don’t have or envying the good fortune of others.

What we often neglect to realize is that every day we make a choice. To see the good in things and people. Or not. To believe in the best in people. To live in the moment. To recognize the things in life that are worth holding on to, believing in, and fighting for….and then doing it.

That’s part of the discovery of all the worthwhile things in life.

What brings you happiness? For me it’s the simple things. A song. An unexpected word of appreciation. A hug. Jokes. Beauty of nature painted across the sky, or in the sway of the leaves, a gentle breeze caressing my cheek. Playing in the rain. Time spent with friend or family (by the way, pets fall into this category).

That’s happiness….and it makes me the wealthiest woman in the world.

What things bring you happiness?

F is for Flirting and Fantasies

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I was voted class flirt for three years straight.

What was funny is that, although there were definitely times I was flirting, most of what they perceived as such was simply a matter of my being friendly combined with my naturally tactile nature. What was stranger to me was that the guys and girls I knew, when they did flirt, were so in-your-face-blatant that it wasn’t so much flirting as a proposition.

I finally figured that maybe I got the title simply because I was more successful. What they never learned with the artistry in both subtlety and sincerity. They never realized that often the most dramatically effective parts of flirting happened with no words at all. It’s amazing what great eye contact can do when coupled with a come hither smile. Total strangers will stop what they’re doing to come over and say hello. Like this scene from Don Juan DeMarco…. He was well on his way to seduction long before he laid his hand on hers.

The other thing often taken for granted was how stimulating an intelligent conversation with subtle hints of innuendo and warm, smiling, and constant contact could be to the desire to know someone better. The success is not limited to gender, appearance, or outright propositions, but rather the enjoyment of the flirt’s company and their ability to stimulate your imagination.

Which leads to fantasies. As odd as I found it that most people’s idea of flirting was over the top, and more in line with outright invitation, the complete opposite was true when it came to sexual fantasies and their fulfillment. It was okay to practically proposition someone, but to share the naughty little tidbits that drove their masturbatory motions left them practically mute!

Is it possible to be both ridiculously sexualized and practically puritanical?

Here’s the thing about fantasies…. Once you’ve caught the interest of some deserving person, there’s no harm or shame in sharing fantasies. In fact, it feeds a relationship; keeps things fresh. And just because you’re sharing fantasies doesn’t mean you have to fulfill them all. In fact, I’d hazard there are some that will never be acted upon, but the talking about it will be what fuels your hungers.

On the flip side, if you’re unwilling to discuss what revs your engine, should you really be surprised if sex stagnates? Becomes predictable? Boring? Do you know how damaging that can be for a relationship?

So I guess what I’m saying is this… To draw attention, use subtlety interspersed with candid, honest connection. Once in a relationship, practice honesty. Lower barriers and reveal your true self. If they don’t like what they see, better to know it quickly and move on. They’re not worthy. But you’ll never know if you don’t try….

D is for Doggie Dramatics

Isn’t it funny how two individuals from the same family can be incredibly different from one another? My sister and I are that way, but it doesn’t prevent us from being super close.

Isabella is the older one, Ryka is the baby.

Isabella is the older one, Ryka is the baby.

My dogs, though not biologically related, are the same way. They may be the same breed (shiba inu), they look close enough to be family, but that’s where their similarities end.  My older shiba, Izzy, is known as black and tan because she’s got that beautiful red with black tips all over. The younger one, Ryka, is sesame.

Izzy shortly after coming home

Izzy shortly after coming home

I received Izzy as a Christmas gift from my hubby after wanting a dog for years. Something about her feisty, playful nature spoke to him. It was evident with her brains and stubbornness once he got her home that she  definitely took after her mom. Surprisingly, she was also quite social, viewing all the young kids in the neighborhood as fellow puppies to play with.

Sadly, we hadn’t even had her more than a couple of weeks when she was attacked on our front yard by a the neighbor across the street’s dog. Izzy was not even 5 lbs, yet, and the dog who attacked was an over 50 lb. German Shepherd/Chow mix and a bit unstable. Fortunately, hubby is fast and was blessed with fast reflexes. He was able to yank her away and limit the damage to the minimum….fat, fur, and skin. It required 2 surgeries to the side of her face, but she was stoic. She bore up really well, and when she was healed enough to go back outside, she went straight to the spot on the yard where she’d been hurt, sat straight and tall and stared across the street at the neighbor’s house as if to send the message that this was her yard, and she would not be scared.

Izzy today

Izzy today, a bit majestic

Izzy is strong, silent, and smart. She was potty trained within a day or two and learned most of her tricks within a couple hours. When she goes to the vet, she’ll sit stoically while they administer her shots. Not a sound. She doesn’t feel the need to prove she’s an alpha. She just quietly takes the lead most of the time.

Ryka with hubby on adoption day

Ryka with hubby on adoption day

And then there’s Ryka. She’s my little diva. My drama queen. I say she inherits that from her dad. He disagrees. Apparently he thinks she gets it from me.

The first time Izzy’s regular vet saw Ryka (though they go to the same practice, they each had different doctors), she was completely surprised. She’d been used to Izzy’s calm, collectedness. Although I warned them from experience that Ryka tended to be a bit of an actress, she didn’t quite get what I meant until she tried to administer shots.

As I held her still on the table so the doc could administer shots, she started squawking and yelling like someone was trying to kill her. The doc hadn’t even touched her with the needle yet. She jumped back for a second and laughed. She realized I was not at all kidding about how different the two sisters were.

Ryka these days

Ryka these days

Where Izzy is naturally dominant and doesn’t feel the need to exert her power, Ryka’s like the power hungry guy with little big man syndrome. If Izzy is laying down, she feels the need to stand over her head. If Izzy is getting attention, she nudges her out of the way to claim it all for herself. Heck, she tries to establish dominance by standing over my feet every time I get to bed. Yeah. I have to remind her on a regular basis that I’m the Alpha mama.

Hamming it up for the camera

Hamming it up for the camera

What’s hilarious is that despite Ryka’s craving for being recognized as the queen bee, the slightest sign that she’s in trouble or she gets scared and she runs to hide…. behind Izzy. I have to hand it to both girls, though. Despite the fact that they’re both under 30 lbs., if they sense a threat to me, they’ll take it on, regardless of size. When an 80 lb. unleashed dog bum rushed us one day, little Ryka jumped in front of me and started growling the nastiest sound I’d ever heard her make. Izzy was even more dangerous because she got extremely quiet, all her muscles at attention, and her fur standing on end. It was fortunate that the other dog obeyed when I told him to go away. It could’ve been a very bad scene.

Do you have pet antic stories to share? Are you a dog or cat person? A Rattie? Not an animal lover? I’d love to hear from you!

BTW, for this Easter holiday, I have great deals going on for my books! Three For All is FREE this weekend, and Four One Night is on sale for $.99!

Comments about Three For All:

“Sexy fun! Kitt Crescendo’s debut novella takes readers on a thrilling, sensual journey many women yearn for, yet few are bold enough to admit. The tantalizing prose and erotic twists will turn you on, keep you there and leave you famished for more.

Kudos to Crescendo for writing a strong, feminine, sex-loving leading lady! We need more stories like these. ” -August McLaughlin

“This story will heat up your winter chill right now! Admit it, you’ve had this fantasy. You have a boyfriend, but you’ve always been a bit curious about your male best friend. The three of you are inseparable, so what if your friend and boyfriend decided to let you live out your fantasy? There’s nothing worse than badly written erotica, and you won’t find a trace of that here. You’ll feel like you’re there, so plan some alone-time! The only reason I’m giving this four stars is because I also read Four One Night, and I like it even better, and wanted to balance the scales to be able to give it a full five stars. If I could give this one 4.9999999 stars, I would.” -Ripley Gold

Comments about Four One Night:

“Holy damp panties!! Just when I thought things couldn’t get any hotter, Kitt Crescendo kicks it up 10 notches and proves me wrong!!” -Tish Delanoy

“This was one SERIOUSLY HOT FANTASY RIDE!!!!! Not only did it explore M/F/M/F, it dipped its toe into the mysterious waters of M/M/F/F and F/M/M/F! And to “top” things off, Author Kitt Crescendo even throws in a little taste of D/s play with an unusual twist (I won’t spoil that for you.) As she did in Three For All (Wild Side Book 1), Ms. Crescendo manages to take the challenging short story format and gives us a complete fantasy story. The pacing is perfect and the characters are interesting and unique; no easy task in a work of this length. Kudos to you, Ms. Crescendo! You’ve managed to create a second “Lelo worthy” story in this series and I can’t wait for the next installment!” -Boomer Sooner

#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.

#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.

AmazonOR

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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

 

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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?

Gone Gaga for the Winter

I’m not normally a Gaga fan, but I do love playful, jazzy music….and she did a fabulous job with the legendary Tony Bennett.

I’m getting ready to head back up to the winter wonderland that is Syracuse, NY…. so I guess I thought the song was appropriate.

By the way, don’t forget to check out the Christmas Wonder Hop if you haven’t yet. My post is linked up right here, but you can get to the other participants by clicking the picture of the hop on the right.

Also, Natasha Blackthorne has been hosting a Facebook party this whole weekend and it’s filled with giveaways. I take over hosting duties this evening at 9pm. Click HERE to join her White Hot Christmas party!