I noticed over the last year or so that I really love fictional detectives and their stories. It isn’t just the whodunit part of the story I enjoy but the way these characters are and how they function in the world. While I could list a lot of my favorites, I will leave this post my top two.


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Kate Beckett came into my life through a book but wasn’t really book to start. It’s hard to explain… Let’s just say Richard Castle is a fictional crime novelist and the brilliant minds at ABC published the books shown in the show in real life for sale.

After reading the book (and trying to understand the whole author isn’t real thing) “Castle”  became my all time favorite show. Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic, is a force. She is fearless, powerful, intuitive, perceptive of even the tiniest of details, a justice-seeker while being feminine, playful and beautiful.

As a fiction character, she is a personal hero of mine. Despite the many times she has almost gotten herself killed when seeking justice for her mother’s murder, she never ever lets anyone see her sweat. She stands firmly on her two feet and speaks with confidence even when she is terrified and her voice is shaking. She is respected by everyone she comes into contact with and gives the same respect to those back. She stops at nothing to do the right thing but the beauty of  her character is that is there are moments that her desire for justice gets the best of her and she almost does the way wrong thing. But she is able to bring herself back to reality. Or leave a little piece of fear behind in those who wish to instill fear in her. Stana Katic gave life to this woman and here is one of my most favorite scenes that shows every aspect of what I wrote:


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I discovered “Poirot” only about a year ago. I hadn’t read anything by Agatha Christie except “And Then There Were None…” Granted, the series staring David Suchet began its 25 year run back when I was a toddler. So when this name “Poirot” kept popping up I decided to check it out.

I freaking adore Poirot.

What I love most is the selfless dedication he has for others. Although he is very particular about details many of us over look, he has a passion and desire for true justice. What I notice as I go through the series (The books are next!) is that he has set aside the “traditional” life of being, say, a husband or father. He, instead, dedicates his life to others. While he takes himself way too seriously at times, he has a heart of gold. What I like about him most is the way he gives to others and expects nothing in return…but maybe quiet, to use your little gray sells, and clean up after yourself.


It has been quite a while since I last posted and I have several ideas for posts to come over the next few days. I plan to be more consistent with posting and content. Lots of reading updates, of course.

But first, something completely different.

I was inspired to write this post after seeing on Twitter a series of “attacks” on women I follow on You Tube. They create mostly beauty and fashion content. I’m not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, most of my outfits consist of jeans and basic tops with sneakers or at work dress pants and a nice top and the same boring (usually unseasonable) shoes. But I find these woman fascinating and aspiring. I watch to be inspired to up my fashion game, as it were, not to bring their game down.

Which leads me to the title of this post: Social Media Influencers and You.

When I was a teenager back in the 90s and early 2000s, social media did not exist. Oh, it was such a beautiful time. This isn’t to say that the Media wasn’t prime with standards or “influencers.” Back then they were simply spokes models. I remember when Jennifer Love Hewitt was the spokes model for Neutrogena. I bought so much Neutrogena and to me it was Luxury to buy a Neutrogena shampoo or lipstick that Jennifer Love Hewitt wore in a magazine shot from Cosmo or desiring that Hanes teeshirt just to match with a long red skirt (I’d never have the nerve to wear the red skirt but I wanted it!) With my Neutrogena shampoo and lipstick (I never quite made it to that Hanes teeshirt) I felt special knowing I was on par with Ms. Jennifer. Because SHE was (and still is, quite frankly) the most beautiful girl, in all the movies, all my guy friends thought she was hot, and so on and on.

Then came Britney Spears, Jennifer Aniston, and before all of them Cindy Crawford made me think if only I drank Pepsi instead of Coke….

Cut to today. Social media has extended its manicured nails and / or talons across the whole planet, gripping us all so tightly that celebrities – who were once unreachable except if you found their PO box in the latest issue of Teen Bop – are accessible. What is more, there are a lot of very talented people who are celebrities in their own right due to the number of followers across these social platforms. It isn’t an accident as these people all have one thing in common: they sure know how to market and create a brand. And some even are college educated in this field.

In my opinion, these so-called influencers are the newest spokes models for me. At the age of 32 I am still a sucker for an endorsement (or “sponsored”) item.  At heart, I am still that little teenager who wants to be like all the pretty girls. Brands now have a wider net to cast as people today fast forward through commercials and no longer subscribe to magazines. Brands have to get creative and find their market. That market are the men and women creating content online. Not all brands have pockets deep enough to pay a Jennifer Aniston, but maybe, just maybe, they can get this beautiful internet girl to try their product and talk about it. Hell, maybe we’ll even ask for a campaign. These campaigns are no different than commercials on TV; the only real difference is the people creating, editing, producing, (what else!) the campaign are the people in campaigns.

So what does that mean? These brands expect Quality. It used to be people discussed a product in a sit-and-chat video, but the internet has evolved. I can only assume no brand wants people to take half-assed shots on a cell phone or a poorly edited video. Brands hire these men and women and expect a return on their investment.

I’ve read comments that You Tubers, et. al. are not/should not try to be up to standard with the likes of Vogue’s content, but why the hell not?! I don’t know about you but seeing half-dead/strung out ads for Dior or overly fake tanned shiny lipped chick on a beach doesn’t make me want to buy a $100 lipstick. With the demand for Quality these brands expect, these 21st century spokes models need to bring on people to create that quality if they themselves cannot. And the better content they can produce, the more they are hired, the more brands are exposed, the more products sell. That is the bottom line.

Of course, there are some people out there who will create a video for sandpaper toilet paper, but not all are like this. I’ve come across many who insist on only talking about brands or products they actually like and it is pretty damn easy to sniff out the fake ones if you just open your eyes and ears a little. But the ones creating content that is true to their style or lifestyle are those we need to not attack. I’m not saying we need to attack the sandpaper toilet paper pushers either. I am simply stating that there is a brand new sales market for brands and they have tapped into this resource. Some allow it to go to their heads, but many MANY do not. For these people, to up their quality and content game with hired photographers or editors is not a crime and should be encouraged! As long as you can tell they are staying true to themselves in other parts of their posts, you can simply skip the ones that say “ad” in the title, which is something I do personally. If it is titled something that doesn’t interest me, I don’t watch. If I start to watch a video and suspect it is sponsored I scan the description box to confirm. If it does appear sponsored and doesn’t state it in the description box but it gives me an uneasy feeling I move on to another video, or I keep watching because, hey, that dress does look nice and I kind of want it…but I don’t wear dresses…but I’ll keep watching.

As non-influencers we have a choice: to engage or not.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve felt icky watching something and thought of something to say to them. But truly, why rain on someone’s parade? Why be cruel for the sake of being cruel? The internet is FILLED with content I prefer to see so I go there instead.

As for influencers: there has been a lot of back and forth. I don’t follow or even know many but I see the utter nastiness among those who create. It is as if they feel like their territory is threatened and if they do not bring this person down they will lose EVERY follower, every brand support, every dollar they worked for. The internet is a big place and there’s room for everyone and their way of doing “it” just like there is  a huge planet and different ways people choose to live. Right or wrong, like it or not, that is just how it is. By attacking fellow influencers you are hurting your own brand and content, not the person you are attacking.

Blogs, videos, Instagram photos, Tweets, are simply this: For Entertainment Purposes Only.

If it is your job too create online content, you are providing a source of entertainment. If you are a viewer, is it to escape the brutal reality in which we live and are exposed to 24-7. There is enough unnecessary hate and violence in this world… we don’t need to bring hate and violence to a woman or man who tapped into a new industry, gained exposure from hard work and LOTS of patience. You may disagree with how they do their business, but handle your own business and conduct yourself professionally: brands and your viewers are watching.

I’ll leave you with this thought: If your favorite brand (whatever it is) starting to attack another brand that sold a similar product (one you like, know, or not) in a ruthless and petty way, which brand would you continue to support? Or which brand would you BEGIN to support?

That is all.


Where I live we have “Sneaks the Cat” as the local library system’s mascot for summer reading for children. I still have a soft spot for Sneaks as it reminds me of summer vacations long, long gone. But as an adult reader, I still set plans for reading in the summer. It is not an official plan like you see on some blogs where I have a list of themes, authors or genre. Instead, it is that time of year where I up my reading game.

I have been quite ambitious this year with setting a Goodreads reading goal of 50 books. [let’s be friends!] So far I am at 12 books marked as read. Not a solid foundation but good enough. Sadly, I am a bit of a slow reader and I am on the hunt for tips and tricks on how to read faster without sacrificing pleasure or quality.

Like the first half of the year. my summer reading list contains heavy topics and high page counts:



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The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

I approach the fourth and final book of Ferrante’s Neaopolitan Novels and I must admit, I am saving it for the long plane ride to California from my home state of Maryland. I’ve devoured this series and will have a full dedicated post once I finish.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

This book has a lot of buzz around it which usually makes me cautious. After hearing many a podcasters say how great this is, I had to get it. (Side noteBarnes and Noble (local location) had it on sale for 20% off, plus my 10% discount, plus a 20% off coupon and I got myself a deal! (2 books purchased that day for less than what this hardcover would have cost full price.))

I am on page 200 and it is really great. It is not a typical novel and it takes a bit to get used to the structure (which reminds me of a play) but the way in which Saunders uses the structure to tell a story is unlike anything I have read. I look forward to finishing it and writing about it soon!

The [Unofficial]Summer TBR*

Everything on this list!

Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy

Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

*subject to change 😉

What are you reading this summer?

to my favorite yoga pants.

I was inspired to ditch these much loved, much adored, much used yoga pants by Kacy Paide of The Inspired Office. Her series on minimalism goes through a items one by one and explains why it is time to part ways. If she can part with 31 items, I can too.

I am not someone who has a tough time tossing things.  In fact, in 2016 I got all of my keepsakes down to a single box. [Read about it here!] Where my issue is when something has to be replaced when I feel like what I have is good enough. And replacing something you love so much is a challenge. Each time I’ve tried, I’ve talked myself out of the purchase because the pants could see just one more day…or one more week. OK, another month.

Last night, I made the executive decision my yoga pants must move on and I from them.


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It started a few months ago. The in seam started to separate and I sewed them up. I’m not a great sewer so it is not sightly. These pants have been splattered with vacuum cleaner dust. They have had face wash dropped on them. Toothpaste, dog slobber, and I am sure some coffee has made its way on to the fabric at some point. They have been washed and washed and washed. I love them and keep them because they are so soft and so comfortable! They are well-worn to say the least.

Last night my husband noticed the poor sew-job on the inseam. He pointed to the exposed loops – yes loopS – and laughed. Then, last night, I went to pump out some of my face wash and a huge spray of it squirted right onto them. It is a gel cleanser so it got right in. I wiped them down with a wet rag in an attempt to salvage them for the night, but alas…. I decided it was time.

So goodbye, discontinued Victoria’s Secret classic yoga pant. We’ve spent a lot of good times together and a lot more messy times. It is time for us to part ways. Thanks for the memories….

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[image from: Anubhuti retreat center]

Last Saturday, I experienced something I had wanted to do for a long time: a silent retreat.

A lot of silent retreats are entire weekends, but with my own personal anxieties I knew only a few hours would work best for me and get the results I was looking for. Back in October I took a 8-week Mindfulness / Stress Reduction course. Built into that course was one free silent retreat where all of the lessons were combined into a span of 6 hours.

To be honest, I almost talked myself out of it. My personal (irrational) fear of being away from home almost made me send a cancelation e-mail to the retreat director. I fought against it and drove the 25 minutes to the yoga studio. When I walked in, the instructor told me she was so happy to see me again. Although we would not be talking once the 6 hours began and I was in a room full of strangers, I felt comfort in the company of a familiar face.

The entire day, as it was explained, was about us. Spending time with ourselves and if someone did not smile at us today or look us in the eye, it was not personal; we were all there, quite simply, to be alone.

And from there, we did several guided meditations, walking meditations, light yoga and yoga nidra. We also had 1 hour for lunch where not a single person took out their cell phones to scroll through social media, no one made a phone call, no one took out a book or magazine. We ate in silence, scattered around the studio and some of us (myself included) sat outside. After I ate, I took a 30 minute walk around the area.


I didn’t have an enlightening experience where I suddenly knew my life purpose or heard an inner voice tell me something life-changing. Instead I learned that I have complete control over my experience at any given moment.

I am lucky enough to live the kind of life where I can leave a place when I am uncomfortable, jump in my car and drive home. I learned that my anxiety can no longer control me like I believe most of the time. In fact, I have control over my anxiety because in any given moment I have a choice: to stay or to go. And whatever choice leads to reduced anxiety (obviously within reason), I will do it.

I felt the exact moment when my anxiety sparked: At 5:15pm.  We were in the middle of Yoga Nidra. After dozing for a few minutes, I woke up in a cold sweat and a state of panic. Before I even realized it, I was already planning my escape.  Fear took over and the sense of being trapped consumed me. (I am not a huge fan of Yoga Nidra, therefore, looking back on this it is no surprise the anxiety hit when it did.)

I realized completely that when that anxiety pang hits, it hits and hits hard. I am no longer a 31-year old woman but an 8 year old stuck on a Girl Scout weekend trip, stuck with a partner who is annoying and annoys everyone else.  Or a 9 year old on yet another Girl Scout weekend where I am being made fun of for having a stomach ache and taking up too much time in the only bathroom. I am the 5 year old who wants to brave staying overnight in West Virginia with her grandparents only to wake up at 1 am wanting to be home with mom and dad.

I learned that as an adult I am in complete control of my enviornment, whether to stay or to go. I don’t need to ask permission or call someone and beg for a ride home. So, after Yoga Nidra ended and the instructor announced a quick 10 minute break, I grabbed my yoga mat and meditation pillow and headed out, leaving the last half hour of the retreat behind without regret or permission.