Chinese New Year 2016!

Yesterday began the Chinese Year of the¬†Monkey. Are you a monkey? Don’t know your Chinese Zodiac animal – click here to find out. I’m a dragon ūüôā Dragons are witty, intelligent and lively but lean toward arrogant and impatient. They are also sensitive, ambitious and romantic.

Chinese New Year

I want to wish everyone a prosperous and happy new year!

Over the past two years I’ve written¬†several posts around Chinese subjects.

Here are a sample:

 

 

 

 

Here are some interesting Chinese blogs I follow:

 

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I have always loved martial arts and romance novels. In 2015 my debut novel, Hong Kong Treasure, was published.

Hong Kong Treasure

A deadly Philippines typhoon stole Annie’s memory.

Now, can a handsome Chinese stranger save her

from the danger she has forgotten?

Excerpt:

Leyte Province in the Philippines. Her running steps echoed from the walls. Would he catch her? It meant white slavery if he did. Slamming open the kitchen door, she burst out of the hotel despite the typhoon ravaging the eastern coast. The destructive winds and rains were buffered in the alleyway behind the hotel, but she still had to fight for each step away from the man she knew was just behind her.

Without warning, massive walls of water rushed into the alley from both ends. The sixteen-foot wave scooped her up and battered her against the buildings. When the storm surge receded, she lay bruised and unconscious beneath a mass of water-logged debris.

To read more, click Romance by D Dominik Wickles

So what are your goals for 2016?

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Another Blogiversary!

I can’t believe it’s been two years since I started this blog. Where did the time go? Somewhere between working, writing my books, raising my family and connecting with my online friends a whole year has flown by.

celebration brownie

Over the last year…

My 6 most popular posts were:

Weekly Photo Challenge: My Happy Place

Birds, birds and more birds at the National Aviary

Getting Wet at Niagara Falls

Challenge Accepted!

First Cats in China

What Could Be Better Than Cats With Your Tea

 

My Aggie in her Disney box.

My Aggie in her Disney box.

Most of my views are from these 6 countries:

United States

Philippines

Germany

United Kingdom

Canada

Australia

 

globe

I want to thank all my loyal followers, especially these 6 who thrill me with their comments:

Marj Mallon – kyrosmagica.wordpress.com

Christy Birmingham – http://poeticparfait.com/

Hairball Express –¬†https://hairballexpress.wordpress.com/

Ann M. Filutze –¬†https://www.facebook.com/ann.filutze

Crazy Chinese Family –¬†http://crazychinesefamily.com/

Another Day 2 Paradise –¬†https://anotherday2paradise.wordpress.com/

 

In the Spring of 2015 my debut, international romance novel, Hong Kong Treasure, was released!

Hong Kong Treasure book cover

A deadly Philippines typhoon stole Annie’s memory. Now, can a handsome Chinese stranger save her from the danger she has forgotten?

To read an excerpt, click here.

To purchase it in paperback or ebook format, click Amazon.

 

Besides my regular posts every 2nd & 4th Tuesday, I began my Friday Fun Posts. Each Friday I post a funny video, a photo asking for a caption or a humorous joke or photo to get you through to the weekend.

To see a sample of my Friday Fun Posts, click here to read last Friday’s post.

I’ve also begun frequently¬†posting the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. Each week the WordPress Daily Post issues a photo challenge theme.

To see a sample of the weekly photo challenge, click here.

All in all, it’s been a wonderful year and I’d like to share the good fortune with you. Write a comment below and leave a link to your blog so we can share in your good fortune.

…And here’s to another year of blogging!

 

Whirlwind Weekend in Philly: Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I spent a whirlwind weekend in Philadelphia. It was part research for my next book and part vacation trip.

To read part 1 of this trip, which includes Philadelphia’s Free Library, the Rocky Steps and a tour of the Eastern State Penitentiary, click here.

I love the gargoyles over the door!

I love the gargoyles over the door!

After touring the Eastern State Penitentiary, we hopped onto the purple Phlash Bus. This bus travels around tourist & historical places in Center City, Philadelphia. It’s $2 for a single ride or $5 for an all day pass. We picked it up outside the prison and bought all day passes, figuring this would save us a few steps as we made our way around the city. www.phillyphlash.com

 

IMG_2706

We rode the bus to the Reading Terminal Market, one of the biggest and oldest market in America, opening February 23, 1892. It stretches between 11th & 12th street and Filbert & Arch streets. We saw produce markets, meat markets, seafood markets, and cheese, nut and baked goods stores with craft and cookware vendors scattered between them. So much for the eye to take in, my mind was reeling.

Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market

I bought some In-Flu-ential tea at the Herbiary which is a blend of elderberry, hibiscus flowers and thyme to help my sinuses. (Check out her website here.) For lunch,¬†my husband had a Kamikaze Philly Cheesesteak sandwich (Pepper Jack cheese & hot peppers) from Carmen’s Famous Hoagies & Cheesesteaks. He said it was delicious and spicy, which I could tell by his watering eyes ūüôā I chose a Naked Veggie Burrito from the 12th Street Cantina. If you’re wondering what a naked burrito is, it is everything that goes into a burrito but in a bowl rather than a¬†wrap. Great for people avoiding or eliminating wheat.

You can read all about the Reading Terminal Market here. Be sure to check out the History page. Very interesting!

Leaving through the doors to Arch Street we headed east a few blocks to Chinatown!

Chinatown Friendship Gate

Chinatown Friendship Gate

Friendship Gate Up close

Friendship Gate Up close

Loved this gate!

IMG_2690-compressed

Architecture still present of a more prosperous era.

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There was even these cool dragons next to a parking lot. Love dragons!

I shopped at a few different shops to pick up T-shirts, Buddhas, fans and a nice parasol for my book fair table display. ( My first book, Hong Kong Treasure, is set in Hong Kong & China.)

Reluctantly leaving Chinatown, we walked 7 0r 8¬†blocks over to the Liberty Bell Center. Unfortunately, by this time it was after 5 pm and the guard at the door told us they were on winter hours so they closed at 5. So, my husband missed seeing the Liberty Bell ūüė¶ Guess we will have to make another trip back.

Liberty Bell - morgue, compressed

We hopped on the Phlash bus which drove us back over to our hotel, the Sheraton Center City¬†Hotel. After depositing our, or more accurately my packages, in our room we went down and asked our favorite concierge, John, for a restaurant recommendation for some place close. My hips and legs were reminding me I’m not twenty any more. He sent us to Con Murphy’s Irish Pub two blocks from the hotel. I ordered a large salad and my husband had the bacon wrapped, meatloaf dinner with fries instead of mashed potatoes because I was hungry for french fries ūüôā The food was delicious. We weren’t brave enough to sit outside, but those that were, huddled around the heater set up.

Sunday morning we had a leisurely breakfast in our room then we headed back home. I so wish we could have stayed a couple more days. There was so much more to see! But work schedules would not permit it.

On the way home, up on top of the mountains, it was trying to snow but I ignored it. Winter comes entirely too fast for me.

IMG_2701

However, I couldn’t ignore the snow around Oil City and Titusville.

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Luckily when we got home to North East, the snow was gone. They had a slight covering that morning but it soon melted.

Have you traveled to the City of Brotherly Love? What was your favorite part?

 

 

 

Lucky 13 or Not So Lucky? That is the Question

It’s October, time for pumpkins, apple cider and ghost stories. Piercing screams, ghostly mists, black cats and the number 13 are all part of what I call “the spooky season.” But like the beautiful, black cat maybe poor number 13 is getting a bad rep for nothing. Is 13 lucky or not so lucky? That is our question today.

unlucky 13 - morgue

Okay, get out your notebooks out there will be a brief history lesson on Friday the 13th. And I do mean brief ūüôā

Friday the 13th can be traced all the way back to Rome where the number 13 was always associated with misfortune and death. Christian beliefs state that Judas, who later betrays Jesus, was the 13th person at the Last Supper. Then Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

Last Supper

That’s it for the history lesson. I told you it would be brief ūüôā

Now, what else dooms the number 13 as unlucky?

  • There are 13 witches in a coven.¬†witch ghost - morgue
  • It’s considered unlucky to have 13 guests at your dinner table.
  • Many high-rise buildings avoid the 13th floor.elevator buttons no 13th floor
  • Many people believe Apollo 13 was a doomed mission.
  • 13 on Tarot cards symbolizes death.¬†Tarot cards

So what do you think? Is 13 just another number? Or something more sinister? Do you hide out on Friday the 13th waiting for Saturday the 14th or do you use it as an easy excuse for anything that may go wrong on that day?

Let’s hear it…

Friday Fun #8 Cats & Boxes

This Friday’s fun is a video showing cats and their love for cardboard boxes.

Our Aggie Girl (short for Miss Agatha Christie) loves her boxes…

Aggie in her box

but I didn’t realize that even big cats love boxes.

(video courtesy of http://www.youtube.com – Big Cat Rescue)

 

Which big cat did you think was the best?

Did you miss last Friday’s Fun Post? If so, click here.

6 Nontraditional Places to Have a Romantic Wedding

I had my wedding traditionally in a large church with a long aisle but more and more these days people are branching out with wedding venues. Although the possibilities are unlimited, this blog post and my time is not ūüôā So we will look at 6 nontraditional places to have your romantic wedding.

engagement ring

1. The Beach –¬†I love the beach; the sand, the sun, the waves, the messy sea gulls (well, maybe not them). Weddings on a beach can be very romantic and have lost that wild hippie label. You can make it formal with a full bridal party and chairs¬†or more relaxed with just close family and friends in beach wear. ¬†My friend’s son got married on a beach in Virginia and they used large rocks to outline a circle in which the ceremony was performed at sunset. What could be more romantic than that? (If you are having it on a public beach be sure to check any rules/ordinances that may apply.)

wedding at the beach

2. A Fire Station –¬†Say what?! This is basically any job or hobby related venue. If the groom is a fireman, you could have the wedding at the station or take a truck or two to an offsite venue. I’ve seen weddings where the bride and groom stand under an archway made by the extended ladders of two firetrucks decorated with ribbons and flowers. It can be very romantic for someone who puts their life on the line to help others. This can also include¬†police, plane jumpers, musicians or military themed weddings.

wedding at fire station

3. State Parks –¬†If you are like me and love to camp and hike in the state parks then this wedding venue is for you. A few years ago we camped at Letchworth State Park in New York (beautiful park! a must-see) and they had 3 weddings in that weekend. Taking your vows with a backdrop of trees, trails, waterfalls or scenic views can be romantic indeed. A few things to remember, your guest will probably have to pay the day rates of the park, many parks are alcohol free and there may be some restrictions on fires and decorations so check with the park office.

wedding at a state park

Letchworth State Park

(This is one of the three waterfalls at Letchworth State Park.)

4. Botanical Gardens –¬†What could be more romantic than love and flowers? Garden weddings often have a picturesque fountain, glass-walled atrium, lily ponds or landscaped pathways to make your wedding photos beautiful and uniquely yours. Not only will you have flowers in your bouquets but all around you (do watch out for bees).

wedding at a botanical garden

5. In a Barn –¬†Were you born in a barn? Well, maybe you were or maybe you just love the farm life or horses. A wedding could be a lot of fun in a barn setting, especially the dancing:) My niece had a country-themed wedding where she and the bridal party wore cowboy boots. Maybe the bride could arrive on a beautiful stallion or the whole wedding party could arrive in a horse-drawn carriage decked out with flowers and bows.

wedding in a barn

6. Winery –¬†If you are big wine tasters or like me live in an area conducive to grape growing you may consider having your wedding at a winery. Many wineries are in old, historic buildings which along with the vineyards would make very romantic photo memories. You could arrange for wine tasting and tours at the reception.

winery

Wherever you decide to hold your wedding, know that outdoor venues are subject to the weather. Perhaps you will want to arrange an alternative rain option just in case ūüôā Your wedding guests will tend to be less accommodating when soaking¬†wet. Although a little rain during your wedding day symbolizes wealth and good fortune, so don’t stress it, if it happens.

If I ever decided to renew my wedding vows, I would most likely choose a state park or botanical gardens.

Which would you pick? Or if you had a nontraditional wedding venue, where was it? I’d love to hear about it!

Check out some of my other posts involving weddings:

Crazy, funny marriage proposal

Would you wear a wedding pantsuit?

6 Feng Shui tips to make your wedding lucky

Friday Fun #5

Wow, another Friday already. Time for some fun.

Here ‘s another photo that begs a caption.

Male jumping

 

As soon as I saw this photo I thought “I just saved a bunch of money by switching to Geico!” (See what television does to us?)

Hopefully you guys can be a little more creative than I was ūüôā Give it a try.

(To see last week’s Friday Fun post click here)