Category Archives: Magical Mondays

The MOST Awesome ‘Let It Go’ ever!

A friend shared this on Facebook and I had to put it up here to share with all of you. Being a huge Disney fan, this gave me chills. It’s 3:43 minutes of pure delight.

Enjoy!

Ps, I tried to get the video to show here, but for some reason you need to click over to youtube. Still, it’s worth that extra click. Happy Monday!

http://youtu.be/hjbPszSt5Pc

Slacklining Isn’t Just For Adventure Seekers

 

A few weeks ago I was doing some research for the novel I’m working on and I saw these three guys walking on what looked like a tie-down that was suspended between two trees. Being the curious sort (and really, what writer isn’t?), I asked the guys what the heck they were doing.

Slacklining.

Um, okay. Never heard of it, but it looked fun. Apparently slacklining came about from some wacky mountain climbers who weren’t satisfied climbing up the face of a mountain. No sirree, these guys had the brilliant idea to tie a nylon rope thingy between two mountain cliffs and walk across it. Crazy!

Slacklining is now so popular there are competitions all around the world. Not only do people walk across the 2″ nylon line, but they bounce on them, do flips, and basically give moms all over the world heart attacks.

Here’s the cool thing ~ slacklining isn’t just for thrill seekers. Kelly McBride, one of the guys I met, is a teacher at a private school in San Diego and they use slacklining in the classroom to help kids with special needs. I loved that! Before you panic, Coach Kelly (as his students call him) assured me when they work with the kids the line is only a few inches above thick pads. They are all about challenging the kids, but safety always comes first.

Apparently using slackling with the special needs students teaches them body awareness which helps with balance and fine motor skills. I would love to see the kid’s faces while they are slacklining ~ the huge grins of accomplishment, the focus and concentration.

Here are a few pics of Kelly and his friends Chris Mathes and Jarrod Wyss. I know it’s hard to tell in a still photo, but in the last pic, that’s Kelly walking backward on the line. I tried to get them to do some flips, but they were too shy.

Anytime someone takes an ‘off limit’ activity and adapts it so anyone, even kids with special needs, can do it, I’m a fan. I think what they are doing in the occupational therapy lab at Coach Kelly’s school is nothing short of amazing. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll see a video with one of Kelly’s students doing crazy stunts like this! I just hope their mom’s hearts can take it. This seriously makes mine sputter.

After you watch the video below, ask yourself if you would’ve thought to take that knowledge and technology then apply it to kids with special needs. I know I never would have! Living life without constraints. That’s what Coach Kelly and his teacher pals have taught me. The limits we place on ourselves are the only thing holding us back from being amazing. My hope for all of you today is that you go out there and find your own slackline, be it in the form of finishing that novel you’ve been fighting with, or asking your boss for a raise. Don’t be afraid. Be amazing.

The video is kind of long, so jump ahead to the 2:30 mark. That’s where the guy gets a little crazy. Okay, a lot crazy.

Have you ever been slacklining? What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of ‘adventure’?

Gayle Carline ~ Killing it with Humor

First off, I want to say a HUGE thank you to all of you awesome readers for helping out my daughter! She’s overwhelmed by your generosity and can’t wait to get on her bike to do some good. Not sure what I’m talking about? Check it out here. Thank you so much!

Today I’m super thrilled to have my gal pal Gayle Carline on the blog to talk about fun stuff like horses and her writing journey. That’s her with her mare Frosty in the pic. Don’t they both look gorgeous?!

I met Gayle at the Southern California Writer’s Conference and was immediately smitten. Of course, at the time she had no idea who I was, but I managed to stalk her long enough that she eventually gave in to my charms and befriended me. Little did she know that I’d drag her to porn shops for a research field trip! If we lived closer, we’d be lethal.

Gayle’s written two mystery books ~ Freezer Burn and Hit or Missus, that feature her heroine, Peri Minneopa. As well as two humor books, What Would Erma Do? and Are You There Erma? It’s Me, Gayle. Because she’s totally awesome (and it’s her 20th Anniversary), on Wednesday, May 16th, Gayle will be offering all of her books for free on Kindle! Don’t worry, I’ll remind you again on Wednesday.

Enough jibber jabber, let’s get to know Gayle a little better!

Me: Your mysteries have a very interesting main character, where did the inspiration for Peri come from?

Gayle:  Think of Peri as “Jessica Fletcher meets Murphy Brown” (the youngsters will have to Google those references). Peri came out of a joke between my friend and me. We made up Peri Menopause, Private Eye, who solves every case by crying, eating chocolate, then bitch slapping people until someone confesses. She’s sassy, she’s feisty, she says the things I’d like to say, if I wasn’t so desperate for people to like me.

Me: Peri’s totally feisty! You’re working on book three now, how many more books do you envision for Peri and her friends?

Gayle: I could easily come up with more stories of things for Peri and the crew, but I’m going to take a little break from her and write a different series after the third book. Depending upon how that one goes, I’ll probably alternate writing a book in each series. Damn, I better get busy.

Me: You’re already so busy! What with your multi-genre empire you’re building. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?

Gayle: Does sleeping count? It’s hard for me to think of ONE favorite thing. I love playing with my horses. Love going to horse shows. Love listening to my son sing. Love hanging out at a sports bar with my hubby and watching a game with him (btw, NEVER watch sports otherwise). And love-love-love hanging out with my friends and yacking.

Me: I’m all about that hanging out and yakking part! Speaking of yakking… a lot of my writer friends use music or soundtracks for inspiration, but you like movies. What are some of your favorites?

Gayle: The Thin Man series, for certain. I love their banter. Also, The Big Sleep (Bogie and Bacall), and a lot of the old comedies, like You Can’t Take It With You, My Man Godfrey, and Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy. Dialogue’s a big thing with me.

Me: I’m always so impressed you can write with a movie playing. I’d get distracted and sucked into the movie! You seem able to do many things at the same time, like branding yourself in different genres. Was this hard for you?

Gayle: Yes, sort of. When I was developing my website and my Facebook page, it took me a few tries to figure out how to introduce myself as a mystery AND humor writer. I started out a little more wacky-humorous, then over the years have calmed down into a (hopefully) more confident, serious presentation of who I am.

“Why,  yes, Gentle Readers, I’m delightfully witty and yet can give you a few dead bodies for your puzzlement.”

Me: Killing it with Humor! So, you’ve gone the indie route with a publisher and you’ve also self-pubbed, what’s your sage advice to us writers?

Gayle: My traditional publisher was a small, indie press, and required me to do a lot of the work on my own. I was responsible for my publicity, for setting up my book signings, for my marketing, etc. (I’ve been told that a big publisher wouldn’t have done much more for me as a midlist author.) So once I tried self-pubbing, I found I wasn’t doing THAT much more work. Sure, I’m working with a cover designer directly, seeking out a professional editor and beta readers, and formatting my books (I could pay for this, but as a former engineer, I know how to do it myself), but once the book hit the shelves, it wasn’t any more work than the traditionally published book.

Self-pubbing is work. You need to ensure your product is as good as you can get it. You must have either professional editing or LOTS of vetting from beta readers who don’t love you. You must hire a professional cover designer. If you think you can’t afford it, don’t self-pub. The outside packaging must make them want to look inside. If you’re shy but you want your books to be read, you’re going to have to suck it up and get out of your shell. Maybe take a public speaking class or join Toastmasters. Get used to talking to groups of people.

Me: Dang it! I have so many more great questions for you, but this post is getting long. I’ll post more questions and answers on Wednesday when I feature your super fabulous book trailer!

One last thing, okay two really. First, who does your covers?

Gayle: Joe Felipe of Market Me (www.marketme.us/) has done all my self-pubbed covers. He’s so easy to work with, and we collaborate really well. I met him when his daughter and my son were singing in the high school choir together. Networking works!

Me: And finally, if you couldn’t have coffee, what’s your favorite kind of hot drink. And remember, the answer here should be tea. What kind of tea. ;)

Gayle: Call me old school, but my favorite is Constant Comment. I buy it loose and fix a pot. Hmm, there’s none in my pantry… gotta go, see you later.

~oOo~

And she’s off! It was great having Gayle here today. Come back on Wednesday when we find out what her favorite curse word is and what she’s got coming up next. Hint: It involves her horse Snoopy.

Remember too, Wednesday is her Anniversary and she’s giving all of her books away for free! Here’s a link to her Amazon Author Page.

  • You an find her on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/gayle.carline
  • Twitter: @GayleCarline
  • Check out her website! http://gaylecarline.com/
  • Then, check out her blog! This one is her writing blog. On the edge of the chair of literature.
  • And this one is her blog where she ruminates about her life with horses. That’s My Snoopy!

High Tea for Mum

 

With Mother’s Day this Sunday, it got me thinking about something dear to my heart ~ tea. More specifically, High Tea.

High tea became a tradition in our house many, many years ago. There used to be this cute little tea shoppe in the village where you could spend hours relaxing over a pot of tea while nibbling on delicious treats. We once had a surprise birthday party for our daughter there ~ eight seven year-olds dressed up with hats, boas, and gloves. Needless to say, we had a blast, the other patrons? Probably not so much. We miss our little Ticky-Boo Tea Shoppe.

One of my favorite ways of treating my mom is to take her to high tea for her birthday orMothers’ Day. This is a picture of us celebrating her birthday at a lovely tea shoppe close to her house. It doesn’t hold the charm of Ticky-Boo, but it comes close.

If you can’t find a tea house or luxe hotel that serves high tea, you can always make it yourself at home. Last year for Mother’s Day my kids made high tea for me, which will always be one of my favorite memories. They made everything from scratch, from the scones to the fancy desserts. It was heavenly.

You might be asking yourself why all the fuss over tea? It’s just a cup of brownish liquid, right? Well, yes, but it is also so much more.

High tea, or a ‘full tea’ as some might want to call it is a meal made up of savory sandwiches, scones, and pastries. There are also ‘cream teas’ or ‘light teas’ that serve just scones and pastries, but by far our favorite here at A Cup of Tea and Sorcery is the full tea.

Usually taken in the afternoon, the tradition started back in the 17th century when women would feel peckish before dinner ~ back then they didn’t eat until 8pm or so. That’s a long time to go between lunch and dinner! Little sandwiches would be brought up to the lady and her friends, which soon turned into a social event.

Can’t find a tea shop or hotel near you that serves high tea? Not to worry! You can always make your own. There are hundreds of books out there that cover recipes, the history, traditions, and etiquette of high tea. Here are a few of my favorites, but don’t feel limited if you can’t find any books the internet is a haven of recipes and ideas.

So, you ask, what does high tea consist of?

The first course of high tea is a selection of sandwiches that range from egg salad with dill, salmon, cucumber with watercress, stilton with pear, or chicken salad. This BBC website has several that look delicious, but a quick google search will find you whatever type of sandwich you desire.

The next course is my favorite ~ scones. As with the sandwiches, you can go crazy with different recipes for scones, but I’m a traditionalist and like mine plain (no currants or seeds), with clotted cream and lemon curd. You can also have jam, whipped cream, or plain old butter for your scones. All of these items are available in your local grocer (except the clotted cream, I have to get that from a specialty store). I’ve made my own lemon curd before and find it’s easier to just buy a jar from the market.

After the scones comes the dessert course. This will be a plate filled with yummy treats like tiny eclairs, lemon bars, chocolate dipped strawberries, cake, or whatever favorite pastries you’d like to serve. Really, there is no right or wrong here! Here’s a recipe for Frosted Lemon Fairy Cakes that I have to try.

In fact, this BBC Good Food site has many recipes for all your high tea needs.

But Tameri, I hear you cry, what about the tea?

Ah, yes. The tea. We can’t have high tea without that, can we? Here again you are unlimited in your choices. You can go for a heavy, dragon oolong or keep it light with white peach tea. If you have a favorite, serve that. You can only find Lipton at the market? That will work just fine. Make sure you offer your guest a choice of milk, honey, sugar, and lemon for their tea. I like mine with a touch of honey, but sometimes I crave a little milk with my Earl Grey.

Over the years I’ve experimented with all kind of teas, loose and bagged. My favorite place to purchase tea is The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. They have a good selection and are always getting new flavors. I just bought a cherry blossom white tea that is light and delicious.

For the best brewing of black teas, I suggest steeping black tea in boiling water for three minutes, a minute and half for green or white teas with the water not quite at a boil.

Presentation is part of the fun of high tea, but if you don’t have the equipment, don’t worry! Just use what you have and get creative. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

 

So, what do you think? Will you try a high tea at some point? Maybe for Mother’s Day this weekend? What’s your favorite ‘special occasion’ meal?

To all you Moms out there ~ I hope you have a lovely Mother’s Day.

May Movie Madness!

It’s finally here! The month of May officially starts tomorrow, but we’re celebrating today in anticipation for the movie goodness May promises us.

 

First off we have The Avengers. You all know I’m a HUGE Chris Hemsworth fan (if you missed my Crush of the Month post featuring him, click here) and although the ads hype up Robert Downey Jr. a little too much for my liking, I am still crazy excited for this movie to come out! We have one of those newfangled dinner and movie theater places here, so that’s where we’re going to catch this flick opening weekend.

The next weekend (May 11th), we have Dark Shadows to keep us entertained. Johnny Depp. Need I say more?

May 18th is a little mixed. I’m not sure if I want to see Battleship or What to Expect When You’re Expecting more. Maybe neither and I’ll just go see The Avengers again!

But then we have Memorial Weekend with two outstanding choices! Moonrise Kingdom with Bruce Willis looks like just the quirky sweet type of movie I fall in love with. Plus, it’s Bruce Willis. Need I say more?

 

Of course, Bruce is competing with Will Smith for my attention that weekend. That’s right, Men In Black 3 is finally coming out! Will Smith had my heart way back in the 80’s when he was just a Fresh Prince.

I know technically this release is June, but it’s close enough to May I’m including it here. You KNOW I’m crazy excited for Snow White and the Huntsman!!! Chris Hemsworth. Again. *sigh*

 

What movies are you looking forward to this month? This summer? There are so many great ones to choose from!

I’ll leave you with a few teasers…

Snow White and the Huntsman

Moonrise Kingdom

And of course… The Avengers

The Tower of London ~ Home Sweet Prison

 

On Wednesday you can find me over at Marcia Richard’s blog where I’ll be guest posting about what makes Queen Elizabeth I sexy, smart, and from the heart. Since the Tower played a huge role in Elizabeth’s life, I thought today we could have some fun with this iconic landmark.

Ask any Londoner where you can find ‘the Tower’ and they’ll point you in the direction of the Tower of London. Fortress, home, prison, place of execution, the Tower encompasses a wide array of responsibilities.

William the Conquerer was a wily man. He built the Tower in 1066 with the express idea to dominate the people of London and destroy any ideas of rebellion they might be concocting. It worked. Only once in all of the Tower’s history has it been breached ~ by a bunch of peasants armed with nothing more than pitchforks and mallets. Most historians agree there was collusion from the Tower guards who had to let the peasants inside the grounds. Otherwise, how did they manage to get past the six gates, three with drawbridges, two portcullis, past the 150 foot moat, and through two rather impressive concentric walls? They must’ve had help!

When William built his fortress, it was the tallest structure in all of England at 90 feet tall. Imagine riding in from the countryside and all you can see is this huge white castle for miles. The closer you get, the bigger it looks. I imagine many a courtier worried over a summons to the White Tower.

 

Of course, all the prisoners were brought to the Tower from the riverside gate, commonly known as Traitor’s Gate. It is said when Princess Elizabeth was brought to the Tower she sat on the stairs and refused to enter, claiming her innocence.

Eventually they got Elizabeth to her ‘prison cell’. For a high ranking person like Elizabeth, they would stay in one of the rooms near to the Warders. This would’ve been a typical bedroom for the princess. She also had privileges including being able to walk in the gardens and import fine foods for her table.

It’s interesting to note ~ Elizabeth’s rooms overlooked the spot where, eighteen years earlier, her mother Anne Boleyn was beheaded. It was also where Lady Jane Grey was executed just a short time before Elizabeth arrived. I would imagine that was intentional on Queen Mary’s part. Talk about intimidation.

Other notable prisoners in the Tower: in 1360 King John I of France was imprisoned in the Tower while England negotiated a ransom for him. Despite being a captive, his lifestyle was incredibly lavish. Every day he ordered meats and spices for him and a rather large entourage. The negotiations ran so long the King eventually died while at the Tower. He was such a good prisoner and so well liked that they named the chapel after him.

Another notable resident was Sir Walter Raleigh, one of Elizabeth’s favorites. Raleigh upset King James I and was put under arrest for several years. He also died while a prisoner and it was only then that his family was allowed to leave the Tower. Back then, if you were held as a prisoner, your family was able to live with you.

An American was kept in the Tower in 1780 as a war spy. Henry Laurens was an American Revolutionary from South Carolina who went to England to drum up support for the Colonies. Okay, who else here thinks that was a lame idea? If he’d gone to France, maybe. But going to England to get support against England? He should’ve been thrown in the dungeons!

Luckily, Henry was traded for the Tower Constable who just happened to be a prisoner over in America.

The last prisoners kept in the Tower were twin brothers Ronnie and Reggie Kray. They were leaders of an East End gang, mobsters if you will, and about fifty years ago they occupied cells in the clock tower. They didn’t get the cushy rooms like Elizabeth and Sir Walter. Their cells were small, dark, and constantly loud from the huge ticking of the clock. After their sentencing they were moved to another prison where they eventually died of old age.

We’ll end our tour of the Tower here today. There is so much to this great building that I’m going to have to revisit it another day when we’ll talk about the Crown Jewels or possibly the Wardens and their Ravens.

Have you ever been to the Tower of London? Did you feel the presence of any ghosts that might be lurking there?

Where I Write ~ A Room Of One’s Own

“Women, then, have not had a dog’s chance of writing poetry. That is why I have laid so much stress on money and a room of one’s own.”
- Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
Have you ever wondered where your favorite author writes all those books you love? Are they sitting at the dining room table with a laptop? How about at a little coffee shop down the road? J.K. Rowling wrote much of the first Harry Potter book from a corner table in a small coffee shop where she could see Edinburgh Castle.
Not a bad view!
As many of you know, I’ve been in heavy revisions these past few weeks, meaning I spent a LOT of time in my office. My writing cave, if you will. It might not have the charm of a coffee shop, but it’s my writing heaven. It’s a room of my own. I thought today I’d share it with all of you. Perhaps the tour should start here:
This is where the magic happens. All those pictures on the back wall? Research.
I promise. ;)
You might notice a plethora of princessy type items around the office. Tiaras, magic wands, Barbies, they’re all mine. I fully believe one’s space should be filled with things that bring you joy.
And hey, they can be considered research as well. My fantasy characters need clothes, right? What better way to get a feel for period clothing than a 12 inch replica?
Tucked between inspirational toys and tiaras are mementos of my family. Like this picture of my kids when they were much younger. The joy on their faces always makes me smile. Even when the muse is not cooperating.
Of course, every writing space should include a comfy place for your furry muse to rest her weary head. There is a dog bed in the corner, which she does use, but the floor seems to do the job just as well.
Candles provide a certain calming ambience. There’s something about writing by candlelight that is delightful. Makes me feel like I’m back in the Renaissance scribbling away. As long as I don’t think about the fact that I’m actually typing and I have modern conveniences all around.
Love. Gratitude. Miracles. 
These are words by which I live my life.
Yes, those are pictures of Orlando Bloom in the background. I’ve already told you ~ research! 
In case you were wondering…
Yes, I am a seven year-old girl trapped in a middle-aged body. Still, don’t you love this little sign?
And for the final picture in our tour ~ doesn’t every writer have a pen addiction? Those pics on the wall? Research! Amidala? Just because I love her.
And of course, a little reminder of how it all should end. (The plaque on the wall says, ‘And they lived happily ever after.) Of course!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of my writing space! Where do you write? Do homework? Read a book? Do you have a favorite space or do you grab whatever place you can find? I used to write at the dining room table until our daughter moved out. As you might have guessed, I like this room a whole lot more than the table.
Oh, and for those of you curious to know… revisions went very well! I’m not down to the word count I wanted, but the book is ready for the editor. More on that when I hear back from her. Thanks for all of your love and support! Mwuah.

Music That Brings a Book to Life

Do you write to music? Do you have a soundtrack for your novel?

I do.

Not a complete soundtrack for every scene, but there are songs that have inspired scenes in my book. Take, for example, David Cook’s Come Back To Me.

I was minding my own business one day when this song came on the radio. I listened, I liked it, then BAM! An entire scene unfolded in my mind. Every little nuance, every word, the location, the emotions, all there.

Too bad I was driving my car and not near a laptop.

As soon as I could I wrote down as much as I remembered. Little did I know every time I hear the song now I imagine that whole scene exactly as I did the first time. Even now, after the scene’s been written and revised several times. It’s all there.

Has this ever happened to you? Maybe not in writing, but in life?

There are songs I hear from the 80’s that immediately take me back to whatever I was doing at the time the song touched me. Tears For Fears is a big one. Best breakup album ever.

I used to only listen to soundtracks when I write. Lately though, I’ve been adding more and more songs with words. Evanescence is amazing writing music. Same with Norah Jones. Great mood music. There are a few odd birds tossed in the mix as well. Gotye’s Somebody that I used to know and Kelly Clarkson pop up every now and then.

I’m thinking I need to add some Depeche Mode and maybe a bit of the Cure. Give that 80’s mope music a little love.

Share with us! What do you like to listen to while you’re doing what it is you do? Be it writing, cleaning, studying, riding a bike. What’s on your playlist?

If you missed it, last week I had a Slacker Monday with Gotye on the blog. Click the link to see their video ~ and scroll though the comments for links to an awesome cover by Walk Off The Earth.

I’d like to leave you with David Cook’s Come Back To Me. I get chills every time I hear this. The scene it inspired? Heart wrenching. My two main characters are ripped apart by someone else’s betrayal. You hope they can overcome it, but it’s going to be tough.

Enjoy and Happy Monday!

Slacker Monday with Gotye

Happy Monday! Ouch. That was kind of loud and after all the parties last week, I’m a little fragile.

I was going to have a kickass post on the Hunger Games today but then I decided to clean the whole house AND the garage yesterday. You’ll get today’s post on Wednesday which means I’m bumping Wednesdays Whimsy post to today. Make sense? Good!

Right now I’m loving this song by Gotye ~ Somebody That I Used To Know. The video is wonderfully artistic and the song draws me in from the very first beat.

Favorite line from the song: ‘You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness’. So true! Have you ever been broken hearted but rebuffed any efforts to pull you out of your self imposed pain? Ever have a painful break up and years later you still think of that person and wonder ‘what if’? I used to. Now that I’ve been married for a long time I wonder more of ‘what was I thinking’?!!

Here’s that promised video. So tell me, what do you think of Gotye. Do you like the guy’s version or the girl’s better?

The Gift of Friendship and a Kickass Drink

 

As you all know by now, this week marks my seventeenth anniversary of my thirtieth birthday. To celebrate, I’m inviting all my friends to hang out and enjoy the party!

I love getting gifts. It’s true, I really do, but there’s something I love more than getting them and that’s giving them. This party, while on the surface is meant to celebrate my *cough* many years of life, is also my way of giving back. Get to know some of these great people who have touched my life in more ways than I can count. If you’ve never been to their blog, check them out and you won’t be disappointed.

Enough of the mush, it’s time to party!

First up, I want to introduce you to a new friend I made on Twitter ~ his name is Brian B. Baker and he’s super cool. He’ll be manning the bar for us this week and guess what? I asked him yesterday if he could make a drink just for my birthday celebration and he said yes! Just like that, this super fab guy came up with the White Chocolate Truffle. Ooooh, yum! Doesn’t that look delish? Here’s how you make it:

White Chocolate Truffle

  • 1 Oz. Jack Daniels (I’m liking this already)
  • 1 Oz. Frangelico
  • 2 Oz. White Creme de Cacao
  • 3 Oz. Cream

Shake and strain into a martini glass that’s been laced with chocolate syrup. Super easy, super yum! Thanks Brian for getting us all in the mood to party. Follow Brian on Twitter ~ @BB_Baker and then go check out his blog.

Come on in! Grab a drink, mingle, get some nibbles. We’ve got some of my favorite Sprinkles Cupcakes. Since they’re virtual, no calories! August McLaughlin and Kate MacNicol will like that.

Barbara McDowell is spinning the tunes, that is, when she’s not out on the dance floor!

I see Jenny Hansen and Natalie Hartford are having a debate about the best Mundies. I’m partial to the elephant ones, myself. How about you?

HOLD the phone! We have a party crasher in our midst! Looks like Natalie’s Hubby came to the party and he dressed for the occasion. Let’s just say we’ll all be calling him, Mr. Sparkles by the end of the night. ;)

Myndi Shafer is here and since she’s about twenty months pregnant, she’ll be the key keeper. Hand ‘em over folks. We’ll not have any drunken posting during our party!

I need to thank Jillian Dodd, Jennifer Tanner, and Marcia Richards for the amazing decorations. These ladies know how to throw together a party. Mwuah!

Oooh, look there’s Susie Lindau and Coleen Patrick. They’re talking with Elena Aitken about, of all things, Leprechauns and extreme sports. These women are wild and tons of fun!

We’ve got a special treat for you. Piper Bayard has agreed to do a little belly dancing for us. That is, if her partner Holmes will allow it. He’s super secret, that Holmes. Has anyone actually seen him? Yeah, me either. I bet Donna Newton has. Let’s ask her!

Over by the bar, I see Carrie Spencer, the crazy cat lady, chatting with Amy Shojai. What deviousness are they’re up to? Probably something having to do with animals taking over the world.

Oooh, looks like Amber West and Tiffany A. White are having a  throw down over the best TV Drama. Hey ladies, it’s Castle. Problem solved. :)

Debra Kristi is hanging out with Rebekah Loper, Angela Wallace, Marcy Kennedy, and Lissa Clouser. I wonder what they’re talking about. Probably immortals and fantastical elements. We’ll head over there in a minute. Oh, cool! Kate Wood is joining them. She can add her vast knowledge of the Celts to the discussion.

I hear laughter and that can mean only one thing ~ Gayle Carline is in the house!

This party is hopping, but there are still a few folks who haven’t arrived yet. Oh, wait! I see Patricia Sands came with Ali Dent and Angela Orlowski-Peart. Those ladies are always dressed impeccably and are full of grace in all they do. I hope Patricia brought some of the brie she got on her trip to France. Yum, bread and cheese. Really, besides cupcakes, what more do we need?

Apparently a lot more. Bridgette Booth and Diana Murdock are loading the tables with tons of food. Kalochies, anyone? Thanks ladies! Hey, make sure you ask Diana about the awesome tattoo she got. If only I was that cool when I was younger…She’s totally my favorite badass chick.

What’s with all the guys hanging out in the corner? I see you, Gene Lempp, MJ Monaghan, David Walker, and Fabio Bueno! Get out there and chat with the ladies. They don’t bite. I think.

Nancy J. Nicholson just sailed in on her way back from the Caribbean and look, she stopped by Australia to pick up Naomi Bulger. It’s an international crowd here, today!

I just overheard Leanne Shirtliffe telling Steena Holmes and Ginger Calem the naughtiest joke. I think I’m blushing! I’ll tell you later, when all the guests have gone home and there aren’t any little ones around…

Uh, oh. Looks like Callene Rapp roped Marion Spicher into watching Full Metal Jousting with her. I wonder who Marion wants to win? My money’s on Rope. Yes, that really is his name. Looks like Louise Behiel is getting on the action. Who knew she was a jousting fan!

Out on the dance floor, Virginia Ripple is busting a move to Barbara’s awesome tunes. I see Sara from Stories and Sweet Potatoes has joined her. Those ladies can rock! Wait, is that, yes, I think it is! Nicole Basaraba and Ingrid Schaffenburg managed to get Emma Meade out there, too!

Kristy K. James and Traci Bell prefer to hang out on the comfy couch enjoying their drinks, but did you see those score cards? They’re rating the dancers. Awesome idea, ladies! I think they only have the number 10, because that’s what everyone’s gotten so far.

Lena Corazon showed up with her favorite Hugh Jackman movie. I mean, movies. HJ Marathon!!

What an amazing party! I hope you got a chance to make some new friends today. Check out their blogs, follow them on Twitter, friend them on Facebook, whatever it takes to keep this party going.

Much love, my friends.

tameri…