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Podcasts & Pinterest

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 1.01.50 PMPodcasts are my newest addiction. Oh my goodness. I get in my pickup to go to town, and the first thing I have to do is pull up my podcast app so I can start the latest episode.

Serial is the first podcast I have tried, and I'm hooked. Hook. Line. And Sinker. Hooked! Let me tell you a little bit about the podcast and the current story.

Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, and is hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story – a true story – over the course of an entire season. Each season, we'll follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. And we won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it's important to listen to the episodes in order, starting with Episode 1.(taken from the Serial website)

"It's Baltimore, 1999. Hae Min Lee, a popular high-school senior, disappears after school one day. Six weeks later detectives arrest her classmate and ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, for her murder. He says he's innocent – though he can't exactly remember what he was doing on that January afternoon. But someone can. A classmate at Woodlawn High School says she knows where Adnan was. The trouble is, she’s nowhere to be found." (taken from the Serial website)

If you like reading mysteries and/or watching shows like NCIS, Criminal Minds, etc. then you will be hooked too.

Since I am new to the whole podcast scenario, I am looking for new ones to listen to. Do you have any suggestions?

Now, you might be wondering why this is titled Podcasts & Pinterest. Some of you might have already guessed, but Pinterest is another addiction of mine.  A friend of mine, who is not a Pinterest fanatic like myself, says she can find everything on Google that she can find on Pinterest. I think she can, but it will take her longer than it would if she were on Pinterest. Just my two cents. Plus, I like all the photos. 🙂

Anywho, if I have some free time to sit down at my computer, I like to peruse Pinterest and listen to my Podcasts.

Read Eat & Be Yappy book club

Read, Eat & Be Yappy Book Club


Have I told you about the book club I belong to?

We call it Read, Eat, & Be Yappy.

We read just about every genre out there, I did say just about, so not all. But we do shake things up occasionally.  Let me see if I can think of some of the books we have read.

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Divergent Series

The Giver Quartet

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

I've Got Your Number by Sophia Kinsella

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Selection Series

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Actually, I could be wrong, but I think this is our whole list. We love to read, and we love to talk about what we read.

Right now we are reading:

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

Many of us have seen the movie several times, but most of the time the books are always better than the movie. We are banking on that with this one too.

You are more than welcome to chime in about any of the books I've listed, I'd love to hear your thoughts on them.

Are you in a book club? Do you have any book suggestions for our book club? Let's chat! See you in the comments!

Book Reviews

Messy Beautiful Love – Book Review

MessyBeautifulLove.coverBook Description:

Messy Beautiful Love delivers an incredible testimony of grace that offers hope for today’s marriages and a spark for rekindling love.

Love gets messy. 

Financial problems, sickness, aging parents, a chronically unhappy spouse . . . trials will inevitably come that threaten your marriage. No matter how long you’ve been married or how strong your relationship is, sooner or later you are going to have a mess to clean up.

Messy Beautiful Love is about cleaning up messes God’s way, exchanging your ideas for His, and being prepared for both the best and the worst that marriage has to offer. 

When you surrender your relationship to God, then and only then will you experience the blessing of marriage as He intended. This is the blessing of obedience.

Messy Beautiful Love is an invitation to that obedience. The cynical world says marriages don’t last, but God knows better. Tune out the world and tune in to Him. When you do that, a beautiful marriage is not only possible, it’s inevitable.


Most fairy tales end with… they lived happily ever after.  But have you noticed that none of the fairy tales every go back to revisit the happy couple later to see just how happily ever after they lived? I don't think so.

Have you ever wondered why you don't hear that about real couples? Is it because we are not perfect people, and we don't all wear rose-colored glasses? Married people are not happy 24/7/365, we aren't made that way. Let me speak for myself here, I am usually a happy person, but I can be upset, mad, sad, or even a little witchy. (We don't say that other word in our house.)

I love the way Darlene Schacht shows us that even imperfect people can have a good, even great marriage.  She points out that God should be the center of every marriage, and that marriage should be founded on mutual love and respect.

I really don't want to give anything away here, but I will say that Mrs. Schacht starts this book by sharing a story that could've ended her marriage. It is a story that most of us wouldn't admit to anyone, but she wrote about it to help all of us.

Are you married?  If so, you need to read this book! Yes, you! 

While I read this book, I smiled and laughed. I also felt empathy and sympathy. I could relate to many things, and I bet you will too.

If you read this book, please share with me your thoughts!

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for providing me with a free ecopy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Reviews

Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney – Review

Hellofromgillespies-smallBook Description:

It's time for the annual holiday letter from the Gillespie family…. 

New from the author of The House of Memories
For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth….
The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.
Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when Angela is taken away from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways…


First of all, I have to admit that I am one that gets drawn to a book by just looking at the cover. It's probably not the best way to pick books, but it is one of the ways I do.  Just so you know, I have read books with kind of boring book covers too, but I am more likely to pick up a book if it has a nice cover. With all of that being said, I really liked this cover because it seemed so inviting.

Let's get to the review.

Besides the cover, the blurb about this book was very intriguing. We all have that one friend that does a letter every year to update us on their goings on, and I for one enjoy them. I've even written one or two of them over the years. So, when I read that Angela Gillespie wrote everything that was on her mind instead of the regular sugar-coated news, my curiosity got the best of me.

The story is a quick and enjoyable read. It goes in several different directions, which kept me on the fence about several characters. By the end, I had laughed out loud, cringed, and sympathized with each character. I will say that there was a bit of repetitiveness in one area, but by the end of the book I understood why. It did play a part in everything, but it did seem to drag on. All in all, I was very pleased.

This is the first book I've read by Monica McInerney, and I must say that I do plan on reading more of her work. I enjoyed this book so much that I recommended that our book club read it, which we did.

I hope you read it, and let me hear your thoughts!



January 8, 1992


ButchjulieFirst of all, let me just say that this is not a current photo, but it is the most recent photo taken on McD and me. I thought it would be nice to post a photo of us together today, since it is our 23rd Anniversary. This was the most recent I could find.  I didn't feel like dragging out the one where we are both bald. Maybe another time.

January 8, 1992

I will never forget that day. It was our wedding day!

Most of you probably remember your dress, flowers, bridesmaids, receptions, etc. But I remember none of that. Well, let's be honest, I didn't have any of that. Out of all that, I had one bridesmaid. But I bet I had one thing that you ladies didn't, Influenza.

I walked down the aisle wearing Rockies, a cardigan sweater over a white turtle neck, and lace-up Justin Ropers. Swoon worthy, I'm telling ya! McD wore a navy shirt that matched my sweater. Our best man and the preacher are the only ones that wore suit jackets.

I said I walked down the aisle, but really I was leaning on my daddy the whole way. There wasn't any slow or flowy movement down that aisle. I was whispering hurry, let's get this over with so I can lay down.

Yes, yes I was.

After my daddy handed me off to McD, I started leaning on him. I tried not to cough, and I was super glad that the vomitting hadn't started.

We were pronounced husband and wife, and all I wanted to do was get in bed. And not like that! I took TheraFlu, which did not help by the way, and I repeated asked McD not to touch me. It wasn't the great wedding night most girls dream of.

Some people say it was a bad omen, but here it is twenty-three years later and I am still leaning on him. He has been with me through some pretty rough times, and we come out stronger each time.

Thanks for always letting me lean on you, McD! I love you forever!

Book Reviews

Gone Girl – Book Review

Gone_GirlBook Description:

Marriage can be a real killer.    

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.    

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?    

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?   

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.


This is the hardest book to review. The. Hardest. I can't tell you any more that what is written in the book description, because I try really hard not to include spoilers. 

I can honestly say, that I've never read a book that I loved and hated.

I realize that I am kind of late to the Gone Girl party, but I did get it read before I watched the movie. So I felt like I accomplished my goal. I downloaded it a long, long time ago. Several friends had recommended it, and I really thought I would dive right into it. Then the next day (not really, but time does fly, you know) I saw the movie preview and started thinking about reading it again. Then one day a friend wanted to read it, and then see the movie. So we made a date for the movie, and HAD to read the book.

When I finally started reading the book, I was just like almost everyone else. I was sucked into the story, and hated to put the book down. I was told it was a physcological thriller, that would be true. I was told that it was twisted, that too, would be true. I was not told about the ending. If someone would have been so kind to tell me about the ending, I might not have even read Gone Girl.  All I will tell you about the ending is that it is wrong! So, so wrong! I don't think I've ever read a book that the ending literally made me mad. Mad enough that McD knew something was wrong, and asked me about it. I'm sure he had no idea what he was getting into when I had to explain the whole story, and then how it ended.

I have a friend that seems to take endings like these in stride. She says that in real life we rarely see the fairy tale endings, and this ending just seemed realistic to her. I see her point, and that did help my frame of mind, some.

I won't tell you what happens at the end, but I will tell you that I really, really liked this book. Well, until the ending, but I am okay with it now. This is a must read book if you like to keep wondering where the plot will take you. Well done, Gillian Flynn.

Now, about the movie. I will say that I didn't like the movie. I don't know if it was because I did read the book first, and there was absolutely zero suspense for me. Or if it was because it was just so slow!

Those are my two cents on Gone Girl. What are yours?


Flooded with Memories


Moon1_7256So, what does this photo have to do with me being flooded with memories?

Let me tell you.

This afternoon I sat down to write a little blog post about who knows what, seriously I don't remember, and I started looking at photos I've taken throughout the years. I looked up and realized that I had been going through the photos for hours. I take a lot of photos, and haven't looked at them in ages.

I saw photos of my Rottweiler, Hoss, who passed away several years ago. There were photos of Abby when she was a little puppy, Mia when she was a young dog, and Pepper when she first came to us. There were photos of grandkids, family, friends, and even strangers that had no idea I was taking their photo. There were photos of flowers, fish, birds, frogs, spiders, and snakes. (I am truly an equal opportunity photographer.) There were photos from my mission trip to Honduras, and all of the people I met there. There were holiday photos, silly photos, and blog photos.  And there were lots of photos of the moon and some beautiful sunsets.

Photo, after photo, after photo grabbed my attention. The moon photo just happens to be one of my favorite. It is one of those that I really can't believe that I took. But I did, I promise.  It's one of those photos that makes me want to pick up my camera again, and get back to taking some more photos so I will have something to look at several years down the road. Something to bring back all those memories.

I realized that as I was going through all these photos that I rarely take photos of anything bad that is happening in our lives. I was flooded with good memories today.  I look forward to sharing more memories with you guys!


PinTested – The Best Fruit Dip Ever

Yesterday, I was co-hostess to a wedding shower.  I keep wanting to call it a bridal shower, but the groom was there too, so that just doesn't sound right. It's kinda funny how the grooms are attending these showers these days. There's no way my husband would've attended our shower, you know…twenty-plus years ago. It wasn't cool!

I was asked to bring fruit, and I was happy to do so but I thought it needed a little something to go with it. Like I needed a reason to get on Pinterest. (Hi, my name is Julie and I am addicted to Pinterest.) I found this little gem of a recipe, tossed it together in a matter of minutes, threw it in the fridge and started getting the fruit ready.

It was a hit! A couple of people even took cupfuls of it home, minus the fruit. One person said that might just be her dinner. Now, I have to make a confession. I never tried it. It smelled good, but it's really not my kind of thing. I like my fruit plain, just sayin'.  When you read this recipe you will see that it makes a pretty good amount. There's 32 oz. of yogurt, 8 oz of cool whip, and a box of vanilla pudding mix.  There's a lot of this goodness, and I came home with about a 1/4 of a cup.  See, a total hit!

The original recipe is HERE at Layers of Happiness. (Love this blog, you must check it out!)

Here's where I made my dip a little different, and no one ever noticed. I told you how much I came home with.  I used sugar-free cool whip, sugar-free vanilla pudding mix, and fat-free greek yogurt (Oikos).

Give it a try, stop by Layers of Happiness to say Hi, and tell them that Julie from ACRanch sent ya!