Saturday, June 25, 2016

My Picks for Erin's Book Challenge 5.0

Since I've been having such a great time reading book for my and Mia's ABC Reads Challenge (don't forget to link up with us on Thursday!!), I decided to join in the fun with Erin.  Her challenge is a bit more specific with categories and a shorter time frame, but I thought it looked like fun.

I selected book that were already on my to read list in Goodreads. Several of them will double as ABC Reads picks. And one had already been chosen as my book club's July book.  I'm looking forward to the challenge!  Here are the selections I made in each category:

• 5 points: Freebie - The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

• 10 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “R” - Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman

• 10 points: Read a book with five words in the title - The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parssinen

• 15 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) blue cover - We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride

• 20 points: Read a book with twins as characters - The Silent Twin by Caroline Mitchell
• 20 points: Read a book made into a movie - Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

• 25 points: Read a book set in a country you have always wanted to visit - The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty (set in Australia) 

• 30 points: Read a historical fiction book - The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

• 30 points: Read a music related book - Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song by Sara Bareilles

• 35 points: Read a book originally published over 100 years ago - Persuasion by Jane Austen

I'm looking forward to getting started on Friday!  Here's hoping I can get them all read within the timeline!!
Here are the rules of the challenge:
• First and foremost, have fun. Don't stress. No one is being judged, graded, or penalized. Even if you finish only one book the entire challenge, if you enjoy it and it's an accomplishment for you, then that's awesome.
• The challenge will run from JULY 1, 2016 to OCTOBER 31, 2016. No books that are started before 12 a.m. on July 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on October 31 will count. (We live in different time zones – follow this according to your own time zone.)
• Each book must be at least 200 pages long. Audio books are fine too.
• A book can only be used for one category, and each category can only be completed once. If you want to switch the category of a book, or change the book you originally chose, no worries.
• You can read your books in any order you choose.
• Rereads can be used only once. If a book you love fits into a category, go ahead and visit it again. Read it in its entirety. But, only do this once for the challenge.
• There will be a photo album for each category with links to books chosen. Please comment on the photo for each of your books when you finish reading them. A comment can include a review, a rating, a recommendation…other readers want to hear what you thought of your choice. (if you need help with this, let me know…or there is a file attached to our group explaining what to do.)
• There will be 10 book categories with a possibility of earning 200 points. That’s 10 books in four months. For some of you, this will be a BIG challenge; for others it will be easy peasy. It’s all for fun, remember!
• Book categories will be posted June 1st to give you time to gather books in preparation.
• After the categories are posted, please post a preliminary list with books of your choice according to their categories on the facebook group page by June 15th (if possible). If you need help with a particular category or want a book suggestion, we as a community of reading enthusiasts can help each other. (Late entries will still be accepted.)
• The first three people who finish the challenge will be invited to contribute a category for the next challenge. The top 3 winners will get a small prize from me ((1st to complete 1st round; 2nd to complete 1st round; 1st to complete both rounds)! If the same person wins all categories, then I’ll move to the 2nd finisher, then 3rd, and so on. Plus, everyone who completes the challenge will gets all sorts of recognition and support!
• Lastly, have fun. Don't stress. No one is being judged, graded, or penalized. Even if you finish only one book the entire challenge, if you enjoy it and it's an accomplishment for you, then that's awesome. Wait, I’ve read that somewhere before…Good luck!

Andrea :)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

DCX World Tour!!

The soundtrack to much of my high school and college years fell into the genre of country.  And a bit of Eminem.  You know, to keep things real.  But seriously, I loved so many popular country artists during that time of transition and new opportunities.  There were so many that I kept on repeat - Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Lonestar, LeAnn Womack, Rascal Flatts, and the Dixie Chicks.

Needless to say, when I heard the Dixie Chicks were planning to go back on the road I knew I had to be there.  I have never been a big concert fan, but so many of their songs are burned into my memory because they are associated with such meaningful moments in my life.  I'll never forget singing my heart out to Wide Open Spaces as I drove to college for the first time by myself.  And I can't possibly forget the time me and my best gal pals from church decided we should make our own Goodbye, Earl music video at a sleepover one night.  Such precious memories for me.

The concert added another great memory to the list.  It was terrific.  I fell off the Dixie Chicks wagon prior to their final album so I wasn't as familiar with the songs they played from it, but otherwise I absolutely loved it.  I remembered every word to those old songs.  It all just came flooding back to me.  So many feelings and emotions washed over me as I sang from my soul with thousands of other attendees.  It was truly wonderful.

What is your most magical concert experience?

Andrea :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pour the Core

Cider is one of the most refreshing drinks on a hot summer day.  Chris and I had the opportunity to try several types when we visited a cider festival a couple weeks ago.  We didn't discover anything truly Earth shattering, but there were several new to us companies represented at the event.

We mostly sampled new flavors that some of our favorite cider companies offered.  I really liked McKenzie's Lazy Lemon and Doc's Sour Cherry.  My favorite from the whole event was a cider called Gumption from Woodchuck. So tasty!  We also really enjoyed our samples of all three Strongbow offerings - Honey, Cherry Blossom, and Gold Apple.

The festival mostly offered familiar brands of cider, but we did manage to find a few new ones that caught our attention.  I absolutely loved the pineapple flavors that two different companies - Ace in California and Austin EastCiders in Texas - provided.  The perfect mix of sweetness for me!  Chris and I both liked J.K.'s Farmhouse Summer hard cider. 

Do you enjoy cider?  What is your go to summer drink?

Andrea :)