Category Archives: Art

An Author’s Life for me

For those of you who do not know, I am the author of the award-winning novel, Runway Dreams: A Black & White Affair. My first book was published by Black Rose Writing in March of 2018. The sequel came out the following year in June of 2019 and the third installment will be arriving this year. I am also working on a fourth book which is outside of the Runway Dreams series.

Life as an author is not as easy as some people think. Most often a published book does not mean instant success. You must work hard to hone your skills and improve. Sometimes the road an author must travel is wrought with trial and error. I consider myself quite lucky, because my books are selling, and while I know the first installment is not perfect, I also know the second and third are better stories and hugely improved. As long as I keep improving and people continue to read my stories, I consider myself to be successful.

If you have a story to tell, don’t give up. Keep working at it. Keep believing in yourself. You will get to your goal eventually, providing you never stop believing in yourself. When I wrote Runway Dreams: A Black & White Affair, I told myself it would be published. I was picked up by one of the very first publishers I sent the book to. I know that is not the norm, but perhaps it plays to the power of positivity?

Authors need supportive people in their lives. They run on creativity and coffee, as well as cat companionship, but if you are a human friend, be supportive and let them know you are in their corner. It’s not easy to finish a full-length novel, and it sure as heck is not easy to find a publisher. Once they do, they will remember your confidence in them and possibly give you a nod in their published novel.

For the authors you love to read, remember to review their books on Goodreads and Amazon. This is important for sales. Try not to be a jerk. We know our books are not meant for everyone, but your dislike is no excuse for poor behavior. I honestly do not review a book if I have to rate it below a three. A three means it is okay but could use improvement. If it’s below a three, I probably do not have much good to say. I don’t want to drag them down further when others might love the story. We want the right audience to find us, as well as our author friends.

If you are into humorous stories about love and deceit and you like to read about rich and famous characters who come to the realization that there is more to life than the bubble they were previously living in, you should checkout: Runway Dreams: A Black & White Affair. If you have read my first book, then the second is an absolute must.

Please find the links to my books below, and remember, never give up on your dreams and be nice to your dreamer friends.

https://www.amazon.com/Runway-Dreams-Black-White-Affair-ebook-dp-B07B9QXYL5

Out Of The Woods & Into Your Heart

So, I will be the first to admit, I love wine. This past November we visited Cable, Wisconsin for a mini getaway for our five-year-anniversary. We researched the area to find some fun places to visit and I was quite pleased to find Out of the Woods Winery, which is located thirty minutes away in Hayward, Wisconsin. As a side note, I would like to apologize for how long it has taken me to write this post. I had surgery right after our visit and life has been a bit crazy.

Neal and I walked into this establishment looking for some good wine and we got so much more. We were first greeted by Dan, who is one of the owners, along with his father and brother. He took his place behind the bar and poured us our tastings. Not only does he have wine, but also cider. We chose to taste a mixture of 7 wines and ciders.

We tasted:

  • L1: Spring Lake Sauvignon – quite dry and not my favorite, but if you love dry white wine, this might be for you.
  • L2: Tiger Cat Riesling – Great flavor. The perfect combo of sweet and slightly dry. We decided to take this bottle home and put it aside for our anniversary next year.
  • D2: Noval Black Port – I loved this wine! It has a taste of dark chocolate covered cherries. It’s sweet but not too sweet. My husband wasn’t as into it as I was, so I didn’t buy a bottle, but will definitely go back for a glass next time we are in town.
  • C2: Nektar Zombie Killer – This cider has a prominent honey flavor and is the perfect mix of sweet and tart. It was my favorite cider.
  • C3: Rekorderling Strawberry Lime – This is their most popular cider. You can taste both strawberry and lime. It’s sweet but not in an overpowering way.
  • C5: Wyders Dry Pear – This cider has a very light flavor and is too light for me. Dan tells us that it’s great mixed with the Belgian Saison.
  • C6: The Cider Farm Belgian Saison – Tastes like black licorice. The flavor is soft, but on the metallic floral end. I am not a fan of floral flavors, so this doesn’t cut it for me.
  • C5 & C6: Wyders Dry Pear & The Cider Farm Belgian Saison – Definitely cut the wild flavor of the Saison, but isn’t something I would go out of my way for. Simply not my thing.

After we completed our tasting, Dan offered to let us try some items he was debating on carrying. We were delighted to give our thoughts.

Bonus Tasting:

  • Omme Gang Brewery: Rose Cider – Definitely dry and a little bitter, but it would make a nice refreshing gluten-free choice. I would drink it on a hot summer day. I say it’s a keeper.
  • Wild Tonic Hard Jun Kombucha – Nice flavor. It’s sweet and unlike what I expected from a Kombucha. It would compete well with the ciders and it’s a healthy alternative.
  • SKOL Red (from Chateau St. Croix Winery) – This is a decent table wine, very flavorful. It smells like strawberries and has a tartness to it. I would definitely drink it if it was in stock.

Dan is charismatic, to say the least. He was able to explain each wine and cider. He told us the history of the winery. He explained how he keeps art displayed regularly throughout the winery because his late mother was an artist and a local farmer recommended hanging art. He told us, “If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.”

As we tasted our way through the list of wines and ciders, we were able to listen to live music provided by John. He sings and plays acoustic as well as harmonica, each Saturday. He stayed longer than normal, simply because he felt like it. The atmosphere is cozy and relaxed. You can’t help but feel as if you have become part of the family. As I look out the window, I see Dan’s father and his brother Jess, stringing Christmas lights. We couldn’t have asked for a more memorable experience. Out of the Woods Winery has truly captured our hearts.

For more information on Out of the Woods Winery, please visit: https://www.outofthewoodswinery.com/

Vacationing The Summer Away In Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Summer is in full bloom and vacations are upon us. Living in the Midwest you never know what the weather is going to be. It could be hotter than Hades, or it could be cold and rainy. You might have humidity that makes you want to cry, or you could end up with a day that feels like fall is moving in. Take heart in knowing that you can escape the madness by adventuring to either coast, or leaving the country completely.

If you are looking for a great summer destination with beautiful weather and great scenery, in the month of July, allow me to recommend Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Steamboat is a great location for your summer vacay, because this city has a little bit of everything. You will be surrounded by great hiking territory and a quaint downtown area that has lots of great food options as well as shops.

There are tons of lodging options in Steamboat. You can choose a hotel, a condo, or look to VRBO, which is what my family did on our vacation. We managed to rent a five bedroom home overlooking the mountains, on the outskirts of town. This particular location was beautiful and felt like home away from home. We had a hot tub, a horseshoe pit, a grill, and large open living spaces. Check out VRBO.com, sometimes they give last minute deals to fill their rentals.

If you plan a trip to Steamboat, and you like rodeos, you should check out their Pro Rodeo Series. They host a special rodeo event on the 4th of July. My family had a blast, and it was a fairly inexpensive and entertaining way to spend an evening.

Other fun things to do while in Steamboat are as follows: The alpine slide, gondola rides, bike trails, fishing, tubing, kayaking and canoeing, climbing, zip lining, the water park, and the hot springs. If you like the outdoors, you will find plenty to do in and around this town; there are many more options than what I named above.

While we were out hiking in July we did see quite a few wild flowers. There are nearby hikes that include waterfall destinations. If you don’t feel like hiking, there are also some scenic drives that will provide you with some great views and photographs.

While I have only visited Steamboat once, just thinking back to our last trip there makes me want to return. The feel of the town is small, but also clean and crisp. You can breathe in that mountain air and enjoy the river running along the edge of town. The feeling is serene.

For more information on Steamboat Springs, please visit: http://www.steamboatchamber.com/discover-steamboat

http://www.steamboatchamber.com/discover-steamboat/western/rodeo

 

Get Your Groupon On!

Whenever I am getting ready for a trip, or I need a night out for dinner, or a massage to relax, there is one place I look to without fail. That place is Groupon. I am sure that many of my readers will recall hearing me speak of Groupon in the past. Groupon is a site where you can get goods and services, as well as vacation packages, for a fraction of their original cost.

Groupon is located all over the US; some cities have caught on more quickly than others. My home town for instance, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has some Groupons available, but not enough to make me happy at this point. Places like Las Vegas, however, have all sorts of Groupon services and items to choose from.

To use Groupon, all you have to do is add the app to your phone, or go to their website: www.groupon.com. You then type in the location you are interested in, and voila, all sorts of things will pop up. One thing to note is that most goods can be ordered no matter your location, but the voucher will say if it has any stipulations.

When we go to Las Vegas or anywhere on vacation, I always check to see if there are deals on hotel rooms, restaurants, or things to do. Most often we will find several restaurant options. Something important to understand is that most likely the business providing the offer is only making a quarter of what they normally would on the service or item they are offering. Groupon gets the other quarter of the price, because the price is half of what it would normally be. With this in mind, please tip well if you are going to dinner, or to get a massage, etc.

If you purchase a Groupon, always make sure you keep the expiration date in mind. You want to make sure your voucher is good during the dates you are traveling before you purchase it. If your voucher expires, however, you can still use the amount you originally paid, toward the service.

For the business owner who is looking to use Groupon, there are things you should keep in mind. The purpose of Groupon is to help businesses bring in new clientele, however, depending on whom you are and what you offer, most often the people who buy Groupons do not return. They are simply looking for a deal and providing you with fast cash, though it is a fraction of what you would normally make on your provided service. If you are a massage therapist, this could be great for you. If you are a Reiki Practitioner, like me, and people don’t necessarily know what Reiki is, this will bring in some clients, but not necessarily the amount you would hope for.

As a business on the selling end of Groupon, I have had a lot of frustrations with the company. They wouldn’t give me what I wanted in my advertisement; they didn’t like to return my calls or emails. I requested a different account manager and never had my request met, and then suddenly my account manager was gone from the company and I was never told about a replacement. I am not saying this will be your experience, I am sure others have had great experiences; mine just didn’t go how I had pictured.

If you are dealing with Groupon as a client who has an issue, they are pretty great. They tend to rectify issues quite quickly. Usually if there is a problem with the Groupon, they will refund your money. Sometimes they will give you a credit. I have never been let down by the final outcome of my request for remedying an issue with a business.

If you love online shopping and deals, check out Groupon. They can save the average person quite a bit of money on a daily basis, especially if you are open to trying new things. Just be careful, Groupon can become a little addicting when you start receiving discount codes on a regular basis.

For more information on Groupon, please visit: https://www.groupon.com/

 

Downtown Tattoo And Eric Ayala For An Exceptional Experience

As someone who has a love for art, it was only a matter of time before I got my first tattoo. It took me forever to decide what I wanted, where I wanted it, and that I genuinely would be happy upon following through with applying permanent art to my body. While all of these questions ran through my mind, one thing was never an issue; who would be applying that piece of art.

I now have four tattoos, all of which I completely love. The same tattoo artist has applied every single one of them and I could not be happier with the experiences I have had. The artist I always choose is, Eric Ayala, of Downtown Tattoo, located at 1106 E. Fremont Street.

While I have my own artistic side, Eric has been wonderful in collaborating with me to come up with the right tattoo to fit my personality. He is a traditional tattoo artist, but he always listens to what his clients are looking for and modifies things as needed. If given complete creative liberties, he will design you something exceptional; I have never been disappointed in his work.

Eric is a great artist for first time tattoo clients, or anyone looking to get a large intricate tattoo. He has a light hand so that the pain is less and things heal more quickly. He is also a very quick and smooth tattoo artist. To give an example: knee tattoos can be extremely painful, but Eric is so skilled that I know of one occurrence where the patron was able to sit through the outline of the entire tattoo without as much as a single break. I’m not saying you won’t have pain, but he helps lessen the sting a little, and he has a happy, shining personality, on top of it all.

If you are looking for a great tattoo artist, Eric Ayala is wonderful, I definitely recommend him. I also recommend the shop he works out of. Downtown tattoo is clean and has a vast variety of artwork to look at. I am sure any one of the artists at this location would love to help you create your first or next piece of unique body art. I know that I will continue to return to, Downtown Tattoo, for all of my tattoo adventures.

For more information on Downtown Tattoo, please visit: http://downtowntattoo.vegas/