Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ladies of the Canyon by Lesley Poling-Kempes

I am looking forward to this read. I expect her writing will be excellent as always.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Guest Post by Kristy Woodson Harvey, Author of Dear Carolina ... @kristywharvey

“Characters with rich, complicated lives…
beautifully shows how a family comes to be.”
New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas
 (about Dear Carolina)

For several weeks, I have been sharing the news about the soon to release book Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey. If you read my review of her book, you'll know I was head over heels about the story and her writing. You can only guess how delighted I was that she agreed to write a guest post for Whiskey Tales even with her crazy, busy schedule. So, without any further introduction let's hear from Kristy.
Kristy Woodson Harvey
     One of the most nerve-racking things about putting your book out into the
world is wondering if people are going to “get it.” You worked for months on this
manuscript, and you’ve put so much of your heart and soul into it, and now you’re
launching it into the world. That wondering if people will get it is, probably in a
larger sense, connected to that paramount question: Are people going to like it? (I’m
a bit of a people pleaser, so I always have that question in mind!)
     Maria was one of the first people to review Dear Carolina, and, when I saw
that her post was live, my heart dropped into my stomach. I felt those nervous
butterflies and a surge of adrenaline.  This, after almost two years of writing, editing
and waiting for publication, was the moment of truth.
     Then I clicked on the link. And then I started reading. I realized quickly that
she had enjoyed the book, which, of course, was a tremendous relief. Because your
editor and the other people at the publishing house can like it all they want to, but,
until it’s in the world, that fear is going to be there that it isn’t going to resonate with
     But, as I continued reading, I realized that Maria not only liked the book but
that she also got it. 
     You see, I don’t write in chronological order. Quite frankly, I don’t write in
any order at all! I write what pops into my head, usually the most emotionally
wrought scenes of the book, and then I puzzle piece it together in the ways that
make the most sense. 
     The very first scene of Dear Carolina that I wrote was the one where Jodi is
sitting on the beach, trying to come to terms with this decision that she has to make.
And the very first lines I wrote of Dear Carolina were the ones that Maria picked out:
“I don’t know the theory of relativity or the speed of light or any of that other math.
But I knew right well, watching the moon rise over the water that night that, no
matter what them smart scholars say, love is the hardest equation.”

For me, those two lines are the heart of the book, its emotional core. Because
this story isn’t just a story about two mothers and their daughter; it’s a story about
the ways we create our families. It’s a story about how we meet our partners in life
and the best friends that are there for us no matter what. Dear Carolina is a book
about love, in any form, and, no matter what relationship that love pertains to, it
isn’t always of the sweet, sticky, Hallmark-card variety. It tends to get tricky from
time to time.
     Which leads into the other essential line that Maria also chose to use in her
review: “You can never have too many people who love you.”
It may be one of the simplest lines in the book, and, on its own, it doesn’t
seem like much. But, today especially, I think it’s an important thing to remember.
With blended families and stepparents and grandparents, in some families there can
be a huge number of people vying for the attention of you, your spouse, or especially
your child. But, as Khaki reminds us, even if it can be complicated, all that means is
that more people love us. And, while the details might be complex, at its core, it’s
really just more love.
     Thank you so much for loving this book, Maria, for championing it, and, most
of all, for “getting it.” I’ll never forget the relief I felt when I clicked on that link and
realized that, no matter what happened, someone out there felt as connected to Dear 
Carolina as I did! Thank you so much for having me today and allowing me to share
with your wonderful readers. It was a privilege!
~~~ # ~~~

Kristy, Thank you for the gracious compliment. I am incredibly excited to learn you are working on your second book due out April 2016, and I am looking forward to another great read.

"Southern to the bone and full of engaging characters,
 Dear Carolina is a strikingly beautiful story of love and sacrifice. 
Kristy Woodson Harvey’s debut novel captures your heart 
and doesn’t let go; her keen insights into a mother’s love 
will stay with you long after the last page."
--Kim Boykin, author of Palmetto Moon

"Kristy Woodson Harvey holds a degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s in English from East Carolina University. She writes about interior design and loves connecting with readers. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three-year-old son. Dear Carolina is her first novel."

"Dear Carolina is like the Southern women within it’s pages 
and those who will love this book, sweet as sweet tea on the outside 
and strong as steel on the inside. The dialect of the south 
is so entwined in these pages the reader is  
transported to a place where women and children
 are treasured and family rules all. Kristy Harvey is a natural."
Ann Garvin, Author of On Maggie’s Watch and The Dog Year

You can learn more about Kristy and her work as an Author and a Designer by visiting her website where you can also pre-order Dear Carolina that is set to release May 5, 2015. As well, all the usual places including Barnes & Noble and Amazon, but if you are so inclined, I suggest purchasing at and supporting a local independent bookstore in your neighborhood.

Read my review of Kristy's book here!

You can connect with Kristy on Facebook at and Twitter at @kristywharvey

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 5th, 2015 by Berkley
ISBN 0425279987 (ISBN13: 9780425279984)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

What's new in this growing TBR

Pretty soon, my mailbox should be exploding with new books just in time for the warmer days to appear. I don't know about you, but I'm still looking around corners for some lemonade and popsicle warmth. Spring is certainly taking it's time this year.

A few of the books will be coming with a lagniappe, a small gift for pre-ordering. How thoughtful and yes, a nice marketing strategy! I find pre-ordering to be very convenient so for me a small gift is a gracious addition. And since I like to see favorite authors when they are in my neck of the woods, I know that many times pre-ordering will give the publisher that push that sets an author on tour. How about you, do you pre-order books or wait until they are available for purchase?

Seems my first book arrival should be here soon. Everything is looking pretty peachy, I'd say!

Available April 21

"Where is Kent Heyward? The twenty-three-year-old heiress from one of Charleston’s oldest families vanished a month ago. When her father hires private investigator Liz Talbot, Liz suspects the most difficult part of her job will be convincing the patriarch his daughter tired of his overbearing nature and left town. That’s what the Charleston Police Department believes. 

But behind the garden walls South of Broad, family secrets pop up like weeds in the azaleas. The neighbors recollect violent arguments between Rivers and her parents. Eccentric twin uncles and a gaggle of cousins covet the family fortune. And the lingering spirit of a Civil-War-era debutante may know something if Colleen, Liz’s dead best friend, can get her to talk.

Liz juggles her case, the partner she’s in love with, and the family she adores. But the closer she gets to what has become of Rivers, the closer Liz dances to her own grave."


"The New York Times bestselling author of A Long Time Gonenow explores a Southern family’s buried history, which will change the life of the woman who unearths it, secret by shattering secret." 

"It has been two years since the death of Merritt Heyward’s husband, Cal, when she receives unexpected news—Cal’s family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by Cal’s reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt.

Charting the course of an uncertain life—and feeling guilt from her husband’s tragic death—Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal’s unspoken-of past reside among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt’s, will change and define her as she navigates her new life—a new life complicated by the arrival of her too young stepmother and ten-year-old half-brother.

Soon, in this house of strangers, Merritt is forced into unraveling the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Low Country."


"Greer Hennessy is a struggling movie location scout. Her last location shoot ended in disaster when a film crew destroyed property on an avocado grove. And Greer ended up with the blame.

Now Greer has been given one more chance—a shot at finding the perfect undiscovered beach town for a big budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town. There’s one motel, a marina, a long stretch of pristine beach and an old fishing pier with a community casino—which will be perfect for the film’s climax—when the bad guys blow it up in an all-out assault on the townspeople.

Greer slips into town and is ecstatic to find the last unspoilt patch of the Florida gulf coast. She takes a room at the only motel in town, and starts working her charm. However, she finds a formidable obstacle in the town mayor, Eben Thinadeaux. Eben is a born-again environmentalist who’s seen huge damage done to the town by a huge paper company. The bay has only recently been re-born, a fishing industry has sprung up, and Eben has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. The only problem is that he finds Greer way too attractive for his own good, and knows that her motivation is in direct conflict with his.

Will true love find a foothold in this small beach town before it’s too late and disaster strikes?  Told with Mary Kay Andrews inimitable wit and charm, Beach Town is this year’s summer beach read!"

Book Three of the LOWCOUNTRY SUMMER TRILOGY -- out May 19

Book Three of the LOWCOUNTRY SUMMER TRILOGY -- out May 19

"In the powerful and heartwarming conclusion to her bestsellingLowcountry Summer trilogy, New York Times author Mary Alice Monroe brings her readers back to the charm and sultry beauty of Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, to reveal how the pull of family bonds and true love is as strong and steady as the tides."

"It is summer’s end and Sea Breeze, the family’s beloved estate on Sullivan’s Island, must be sold. It is an emotional time of transition as Mamaw and the three sisters each must face loss and find a new place in the world.

Harper, the youngest sister, arrived at Sea Breeze intending to stay only a weekend, but a rift with her wealthy, influential mother left her without direction or a home. During this remarkable summer, free from her mother’s tyranny and with the help of her half sisters, Harper discovered her talents and independent spirit. 

But summer is ending, and the fate of Sea Breeze hinges on Harper’s courage to decide the course of her own life. To do so she must release her insecurities and recognize her newfound strengths. She must accept love fully into her life—the love of Mamaw, Carson, and Dora, the love of Sea Breeze and the lowcountry, and most of all, the love of a Wounded Warrior who has claimed her heart."

"The third book in Mary Alice Monroe’s trilogy that brims with “stories that touch the mind and heart of her readers” (Huffington Post)The Summer’s End follows three half sisters bound by love for their grandmother and the timeless beauty and traditions of the lowcountry."

Of course I can't forget to suggest a few others that I've read that just tug at my heartstrings since the writing and the stories are so beautiful. I think you'll love these two books:

Due out on May 5th. Read my review here.
You can learn more about Kristy and her work as an Author and a Designer by visiting her website where you can also pre-order Dear Carolina - See more at: 

Available now. Read my review here.
All of Amy's books can be purchased directly from her website where all books are signed by her - See more at: 

All of these books can be found on the authors website or at all the usual places including Barnes & Noble and Amazon, but if you are so inclined, I suggest purchasing at and supporting a local independent bookstore in your neighborhood. 

What books are in your 'to be read' stack?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Happy birthday Barbara Kingsolver

“She kept swimming out into life because she hadn't yet found a rock to stand on.”

― Barbara KingsolverAnimal Dreams


“There is no point treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, 'There now, hang on, you'll get over it.' Sadness is more or less like a head cold- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.” 

― Barbara KingsolverThe Bean Trees

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sweetgrass Lowcountry Weddings by Charmayne

Lovely, refreshing, and visually stunning are just a few of the descriptions a Charleston Lowcountry wedding evokes. It's a gracious location rich in tradition, perfect for that very special day and, of course, holds the allure of that sweet, slow, southern feel of the sea island culture.

A popular trend for the past few years that does not appear to be going away anytime soon has been to add a bit of unique, local flair to your wedding with Sweetgrass Baskets. Include locally crafted, handmade Sweetgrass Baskets to your tables, and as lovely favors for your guests to keep. Delightful as a ring bearer tray, flower girl basket or as beautiful holders for your table flowers, sweetgrass baskets make for an authentic Lowcountry experience and cherished remembrance.

Handmade Sweetgrass Palmetto Roses by Charmayne Nezz Art LLC
"Tradition holds that during the War Between the States, 
Southern Ladies would give their true love a palmetto rose 
to keep them safe from harm and like her love for him, was everlasting. 
Today the Palmetto Rose is still a keepsake symbolizing everlasting love."

Charmayne Nesbitt is one of the very talented "basket ladies" who has been sewing baskets in the Lowcountry tradition, preserving the history and educating about the art of sweetgrass basketry. Since she sewed her very first basket, Charmayne has honed her craft and has become sought after for her careful detail and polished finish of her work.

Photo: Handmade Old Fashioned Sweetgrass Basket by Charmayne Nezz Art LLC
Charmayne will help you to set the right mood with her wedding packages including table baskets, flower holders, Palmetto Roses, and wedding keepsakes. Of course, she will be happy to work with you to customize the perfect package for your special day!

"Also called the Everlasting Rose or the Charleston Love Rose, 
the Sweetgrass Palmetto Rose makes a lovely and lasting bouquet 
and adorned on the groom and groomsmen, they are fabulous boutonnieres."

Photo: Handmade wedding favor by Charmayne Nezz Art LLC
"Coiled basketry is one of the oldest African crafts in America, 
appearing in South Carolina during the late 17th century." 

Each of Charmayne's pieces is made by her hand with all the care and love that comes with preserving a piece of history.

Photo: Handmade by Charmayne Nezz Art LLC

For inquiries/orders, please call 843-412-0567 or 843-336-4383 or email Charmayne at and visit her website at .

Handmade with care requires time, and some orders may require a 30-60 day notice.

You can visit her basket stand in Mount Pleasant located at the intersection of 2966 Hwy 17 N. and Muhlenbergia Drive. (Front entrance to Gregorie Ferry Landing Apartments)

Photo: Nezz Art LLC

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Anne Neilson Fine Art

I just spent two cups of morning coffee looking at the very beautiful artwork of Anne Neilson of Anne Neilson Fine Art in Charlotte. I think that's a morning well spent. We all love pretty don't we?

This image belongs to and is of Anne Neilson's original artwork called "A Greater Joy."
For more information, click to go to her website

She shares her inspirations and stories that create her art. This image is of the cover of Strokes of Compassion.
This image belongs to and is of Anne Neilson's art book called "Strokes of Compassion." 
For more information, click to go to her website
She has several gorgeous art books and is making beautiful journals which will be due out very soon but can be pre-ordered on her website. She has four different images, but this one is my favorite.

This image belongs to and is of Anne Neilson's art journal called "Light of My Presence Journal."
For more information, click to go to her website 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Garden Inspirations by Charlotte Moss

This book because we all love pretty gardens and pretty books.

Expected publication: April 28th, 2015 by Rizzoli (first published April 14th, 2015)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Let's make this recipe for what seems to be a delightfully refreshing cocktail from the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits



1  1/2 cups Tequila
1 cup citrus juice (mixture of freshly squeezed lime, orange, lemon & tangerine juices)
3/4 cup (or more) soda water
Ice cubes

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher and stir.
2.  Pour into cocktail glasses and serve over ice.

Photo from

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey ... @kristywharvey #BookReview

Dear Carolina is an ambitious first book for a young Author indeed, and a book well done. Two mothers different by circumstance, holding space for each other with similar heart, one a biological mother, the other the adoptive mother each tell a love story to their child. This young author has written a story of families coming together in support of each other; it's a story of pain, heartbreak, renewals and love. Written in beautiful southern voice, it is lyrical.

"You can never have too many people who love you." 
~Khaki from Dear Carolina by @kristywharvey 

There have been times when I've been asked to read an advance copy and give an honest review but find myself uninterested in the story or writing. In those rare times, I'll simply decline to publish the review; this time was quite different. Immediately taken with this story from the very first few pages, I found myself wishing I could keep reading instead of working.

 The strength of the women, the richness of the characters traveling this story is beautiful, and it's lovely and it's brave. It is a book well worth reading for the writing and the story.

"But I knew right well, 
watching the moon rise that night, 
that no matter what them smart scholars say, 
love is the hardest equation." 
~Jodi from Dear Carolina by @kristywharvey 

I enjoyed Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey. I'd recommend to anyone who believes family doesn't just mean blood relations. Tweet this

About the Author
"Kristy Woodson Harvey holds a degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s in English from East Carolina University. She writes about interior design and loves connecting with readers. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three-year-old son. Dear Carolina is her first novel."

There's more
You can learn more about Kristy and her work as an Author and a Designer by visiting her website where you can also pre-order Dear Carolina that is set to release May 5, 2015. As well, all the usual places including Barnes & Noble and Amazon, but if you are so inclined, I suggest purchasing at and supporting a local independent bookstore in your neighborhood.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Get it now!

Follow this blog by adding your email address to the entry in the right column where it says "Get Beach Walking in the Desert delivered to your Inbox!" I will never see your email address. It will only be used to send you an email each time I post a new blog.

Whiskey Tales, South x southwest 
reading, writing, and lifestyle. 
Get it in your inbox! ...
Help me get the word out and
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Friday, February 27, 2015

Cowgirl Dirt cosmetics has a new product ... #MakeUp

Cowgirl Dirt cosmetics has a new product ... It's Under Eye Highlight Concealer, and it neutralizes the dark area under your eye while highlighting the eye at the same time ... and it's on SALE today! Check it out under concealers at

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Warby Parker ... Fashion Eyeglasses and Do Good Philanthropy

I don't typically write about fashion items, but I do like to write about companies I think are doing something important and are moving beyond the traditional business models.

Warby Parker is a designer eyewear company that has created an alternative to the dominant higher priced eyewear company.

According to Warby Parker's website "The eyewear industry is dominated by a single company that has been able to keep prices artificially high while reaping huge profits from consumers who have no other options."

I wish I had learned this before I picked up my newest prescription glasses. A lower price and lofty ambition would have swayed me to consider their designs.

They have also created a business model that includes giving back to those in need. I like when companies try.

They say, "Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15% of the world’s population cannot effectively learn or work. To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need."

Well, I like that idea, and I am commending their work. Not only is it good for those in need but it's just good business to push the companies name out to the public as a leader. Their Do Good program is a good thing! Watch the video too, you'll learn why this outreach builds economies. It's short but powerful. Seven hundred million people the world over have limited or no access to glasses.

You should check out their blog too. They write about writing like this post about "five-word memoir titles", parades, parties, books, and music ... I like that!! I do and I like it because they aren't hawking their wares in every post. In a world that is increasingly commercialized and where intense competition forces businesses to constantly be in sales mode, it's refreshing to see something different such as this older post about the musician Beck. They are sharing a bit of their soul. Yes, it leads to sales but at least your happy getting there. It's real business, and it's fun.

Now take a look for yourself at the great looking prescription eyewear, starting at just $95.00 and take advantage of their Home Try-On program.

They've got a lot going on!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Review of Out With the Tide by Lola Faye Arnold ... @arnold_lola

I just finished the last page of Out With the Tide by a new author Lola Faye Arnold. I picked up this book because I liked the title and the cover art, a book set in parts of South Carolina familiar to me. The place a story resides in is important to me and I was pleased with the author's choices. I was also pleasantly surprised when one of her characters, though only with a brief part hailed from Albuquerque, New Mexico, another place familiar to me.

I don't often use the word nice when writing about a book I've read, but I will, in this case, it was a nice story.  Wordy and perhaps a bit overdone, it was nice; it was sweet ... until the end, when I was caught off guard. You see I didn't expect much from the ending because I found the middle of the book to be drawn out with just too many words and no clear understanding of where the story was going or why I should be interested.  There were elements I would have wanted to know more about such as the main character's capacity for the supernatural and there were other elements such as the constant mind talk that I could not have cared less about but only because there was too much of it. I skimmed through large sections of the book sticking with it just to see how it played out and if there would be a point.  I wanted to like this book.

It was the end that told the story and perhaps will be the beginning of a sequel for this author to pursue. That one last chapter made reading the book worthwhile and gave me the impression that this author might be one to watch.

Follow the author at @arnold_lola and on Goodreads. Out with the Tide can be purchased on Amazon

Friday, February 20, 2015

Where dreams go ...

She ran down the steps and out to the front yard. She knew he would come to her eventually. She looked every way to see where he was, maybe he went 'round back, maybe he wanted to play hide and seek. Hopefully, he had brought a surprise for her and maybe today would be the day that she got to spend time with him.  Maybe today she would sit in his lap and he would tell her how much he loved her and when he would be home forever. She thought she saw him. He was wearing a trench coat and a hat and he brought a friend who was dressed just the same.

But it wasn't him; these men looked somber. She saw her mama open the front door and talk to the men. She didn't feel good when she saw her mama touch her throat and look over at where she was standing. She could tell mama was sad and so she ran, ran all the way around the side of the house, behind the swing set and further into the bushes that led to her secret hiding spot and she cried. She cried because she knew. She cried because she would have to live in a world where Daddy's didn't come home, where men in trench coats came and took dreams away.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Getting caught up

I wrote several book chapters this weekend and last night so please forgive my lack of posting the Monday Mull and What’s for Dinner.

I'm putting the work into showing up on the page but will do my best to continue to post to this blog as well.  I was on a roll and really accomplished much more than I thought I would. I still don’t have a title, but I know it will present itself when the time is right. I’ll keep you updated.

I'll have a review up in the next week or so on my current read and I have a post planned for my good friend in Florida who is not only a published author, but who also runs a not for profit where she works with therapy horses. I’m so proud to know her and the work she does for those who have challenges.

Let’s see, I should be receiving Kristy Woodson Harvey’s new book Dear Carolina in the next week or so to read and review and let’s not forget that Karen White has her newest book, The Sound of Glass being released May 12th. Set in Beaufort, SC I am sure this will be deeply felt lowcountry story of family secrets revealed. Also, Laura Childs has a new Tea Shop Murder Mystery out on May 5th titled Ming Tea Murder. I'm looking forward to reading what mischief Theo and Drayton are getting into.  

That should wrap it up for now, I'm heading back to the page.

Image from

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Perfection of an Imperfect Life

I think I remember a few things from my earliest years when we all lived in a second floor walk-up apartment on a huge street across from a huge post office that had the most amazing length of steps up to the front doors that shined a gold patina.  I remember being small sitting in a big rocking chair in my parent’s room at the back of the house, warm from the heat of the air coming through the open window that looked out on what I thought was the biggest and most beautiful tree in the world. Even as a small girl, I just couldn’t reconcile looking out the front windows of the house and seeing a busy street with cars and a constant barrage of students walking from the subway station to the high school where they were students and the view from the back of the house of the biggest and most beautiful tree.  I liked the back of the house better.
On that day as I remember I watched dust particles float in a stream of sunshine that cascaded through the leaves of my tree. I was convinced that those floaters were angels coming to talk with me about the adventures I’d take and the places I’d go. My sisters and brothers were older than me so I spent a lot of time by myself while my mother  worked, or napped or read or did anything that would have meant not being involved with me right then and there but that’s how mothers were in those days they say. My imagination became my best friend right and I conjured Susan, my imaginary friend.  All the adults would say I had a great imagination but no one really wanted me to imagine. I found that out later when for the mere attention of family I stuffed that imagination right down my throat. I would start all my sentences with ‘imagine if’ until one day while walking down the street to buy some penny candies at Minnie’s, my sister told me to stop saying that ‘cause what you imagine can’t come true and I couldn’t hang around her and her friends if I was always imagining ‘cause I was embarrassing her.  So I stopped. I stopped sharing my imagination and I started living for others, and sometimes I got angry at my sister for handing me the tool that I used to start construction on my own personal mini prison where  I kept my ideas and my dreams and my visions all to myself.
Eventually I built the walls and stairwells that led to several floors of extra rooms, hidden rooms and yea, shameful rooms of my prison. It no longer just contained my hidden imagination, my creativity, my desire to vision the story. It eventually contained every imperfection of my life.  Thus was my world of many years. There was the settling for a career that suited my family followed by a multitude of unfulfilled jobs, failed relationships, failed marriages, an inability to settle myself and all of those imperfections finding a special place in the many rooms in my prison.
 I heard said life is a circle, we just keep running around that quarter mile and it ends up being that everything that you start out being is everything that you will eventually be anyway, and the imperfections are only pretty little gems that give you a good shine kinda like the gold patina that was on the doors to the huge library across from my childhood home. It’s even okay to build prisons, we all do in one way or another ‘cause truly we all become imperfect once we forget who we were meant to be but we can remember again, we can put the for sale sign on that prison real estate, and just keep the shine.

Then I imagined that it was perfectly acceptable to be imperfect so I was.

Photo from

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What's for Dinner - Mississippi Pot Roast

Mississippi Pot Roast

1  2-3lb beef roast
1  packet of dry Ranch dressing mix
1  packet of dry Au Jus mix
1  stick of butter 
4-6  Peperonchini peppers (basically a whole banana pepper or mild pepper out of the jar)

Place roast in crock pot. Dump everything on top. Put on lid and let cook for 6-8 hours on low. DO NOT ADD WATER. 

A hearty dinner with a side of mashed garlic potatoes and a loaded fresh salad.

Photo from

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday Mull

On Friday I had an unexpected conversation with my ‘boss’ who seems to only look for the negative.  I’m pretty sure he just doesn’t like me. That’s the impression I’ve had since I first met him. I’m just too old to tolerate the nonsense that goes on in corporations. They are like giant high schools chuck full of all the famous characters from those days including the jocks, the cheerleaders, the cool kids, the nerds, and the bullies. You can guess where my boss fits.  In a bare short time I will be eligible for social security if it’s still around and I can’t imagine myself listening to the prattle of a man half my age that has no people skills whatsoever until the time I could retire. It’s time for me to move on … I just need to figure out where to go. Focus … Focus!

I watched the super bowl on Sunday at my sister’s home; well I munched on the goodies, flitted about, chatted with the ladies and was basically bored by the actual game being played. I did love that Budweiser commercial with the Clydesdale's. Just not a sports fan.

The snow came again Sunday night into Monday and this time with a vengeance. Awake in the dark of morning as usual, I took Cody dog out for his constitutional. The snow reached his stomach. He wasn’t pleased and neither was I.

Schools were closed and my boy spent just about all of the day moving snow. First he worked on our driveway, walkway and area around the post box. He then proceeded to help the woman across the road. He was exhausted when in mid afternoon he was still moving snow and the flakes started to fall again. It’s still very messy out there and I doubt it will be any better tomorrow.

I can’t wait for the cold and snow to be gone. I’m much more a sun and fun type. I didn’t bother checking but I would imagine Punxsutawney Phil proclaimed another six weeks of winter. I did however light candles for Imbolc (St. Brigid’s Day or Candlemas) to mark the season’s change of light. Meanwhile I’ll keep dreaming of seashells and flip flops, sun and sand.

It’s a night to stay at home in comfort and warmth with a good book or blog, maybe I’ll write a bit more, maybe I’ll just pray for focus.

© Beachwalkermari 2015

E-Readers vs. Print Books - Which is the better choice?

I just read an interesting article about the efficiency of an E-Reader vs. a Print Book and although I like to think of myself as doing my best to be careful of the environment I had never thought about which method of reading is more eco-friendly.

I have books in both forms and generally, if it is a book written by a favorite author, I will purchase the print book. Often with favorite authors I like to have a signed copy. If it is a new author or one that I don't read the works of very often, I will purchase it through my Kindle.

How do you like to read? Take a moment to review the info-graphic below and you can read the full article by Custom Made on their blog. Share your thoughts in the comments.

P.S I did a bit of reading about Custom Made because I hadn't heard of them before and I found that one of the things they stand for is quite dear to my heart; U.S Made Goods. "Custom Made wants to bring craftspeople to shoppers, betting on consumer interest for U.S. made goods built by trade professionals."  I like companies that want to 'change the rules!'

Friday, January 30, 2015

Jackson's Pond, Texas by Teddy Jones

I wasn’t expecting much from this book, I had never heard of the author and hadn’t seen any reviews for it but I was quite surprised at the pleasantness of the writing and the sweetness of the story. Told through the viewpoint of the various characters, we follow Willa from a young girl through to her twilight years and we learn how a life well lived could be in this Texas town where the pond is a metaphor for Willa’s aging.

I read this book on a Kindle so I didn’t have the book in hand to easily chart my progress and except for seeing the percentage read, wasn’t acknowledging how quickly I was moving through the story. When I unknowingly reached the last chapter I felt a momentum building in the story, something very specific but I don’t want to add what could be a spoiler so I won’t elaborate and I was anxious to see where it was going and then I unknowingly reached the last page and boom, it was over. I was so surprised I actually went back through the Kindle, a tedious affair, and re-read the last chapter wanting to know if I had missed something. I guess I did miss something because it was indeed the end and I didn’t get it. It was sudden and unexpected.

I really did think this was a delightful story and would recommend it to others simply because it is a delightful story with likeable characters and filled with honest feelings but also because perhaps you’ll see what I missed and enjoy it all the more.

Teddy Jones is the author of five other books including her latest Well Tended released in 2014. Teddy's books can be purchased at Amazon and at all the usual places including B&N, however I hope you will support small business and shop a local independent bookstore such as Blue Bicycle in Charleston, Bookwork’s in Albuquerque  or one right in your neighborhood. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What's for dinner .... New Mexico Frito Pie

From the New Mexico Beef Council recipe file. This is a favorite New Mexico meal, very yummy. This is made with New Mexico red chile which if you've never used it before will find it simple enough to make but you may or may not be able to find the dry ingredient in a store near you so you can order it online at Diaz FarmsMade in New Mexico or Chimayo Chile Bros.. I like Chimayo Dried Red Chile best. I had never heard of Frito Pie before I lived in New Mexico but I quickly became a fan. You'll find that kids will love it too. 
If you aren't familiar with New Mexican Cuisine, read this wiki.
New Mexico Frito Pie

Serves 8 people

2 cup(s) pinto beans, picked through and rinsed
6 cup(s) water
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1 pound(s) ground beef (96% lean)
1 small onion
1 large clove garlic chopped
2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
16 ounce(s) Red Chile puree (see recipe here)
16 ounce(s) can of beef broth
2 tablespoon(s) flour
2 tablespoon(s) butter
Side dish
Bag of Fritos (or crushed corn chips)
diced tomato
shredded lettuce
shredded cheese

Beans: In a Crock Pot add 6 cups of water, salt and beans. Cook beans on high for approximately 6 hours.

1. When beans are almost done, heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onions and garlic.
2. Saute’ until onions are clear.
3. Heat butter and flour until browned, combine with onions and garlic. Add 
chile and broth. Let simmer for ~20 minutes.
4. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat add ground beef; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into small crumbles and stirring occasionally. Pour off drippings and add to chile mixture and let continue to simmer.
5. When the beans are done add the chile mixture.
6. To serve, sprinkle Fritos in the bottom of a bowl, add chile beans, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and shredded cheese and Enjoy!