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Archive for June, 2012

Wedding Do’s and Don’ts with Catherine Bybee

Thursday Thirteen

I have a special guest today – New York Times and USA Today bestselling writer Catherine Bybee. Catherine is celebrating her new release Married by Monday, book two in her Weekday Bride series, and I’m thrilled to have her here to visit. Over to Catherine and her wedding advice…

13 Wedding Do’s and Don’ts

1. If money is tight, invite only people you plan on being friends with on your 10th wedding anniversary.

2. Don’t get married at a county office with bullet proof glass separating you from the person signing the paper.

3. Have who you want standing up with you…not who your family ‘thinks’ are the right people.

4. Don’t compromise. It’s your day.

5. Don’t get drunk.

6. Brides: Wear a button up shirt when getting your hair and makeup done, easy to get out of before getting into your dress.

7. Take a moment throughout your wedding day to run down everything that has happened…Helps you remember everything long after the day is only a picture.

8. Don’t have a full mass if you’re 8 months pregnant…people laugh at that shit.

9. Pick a wedding day away from other holidays…no need to group in all the presents for the rest of your life!

10. Grooms: Send flowers to your bride the morning of your wedding. Let her know she has made you the luckiest man in the world.

11. Don’t put your wedding on a credit card.

12. Put your maid of honor or best man to work. Have them watch out for ‘Great Aunt Drinks A lot’, or the clock so you don’t miss your flight. They can party after all the work is done.

13. Take a look at #4 – Use what I have here only if it works for you and throw away the rest.

Oh…one more thing…make sure you’re truly in love with the one you’re saying ‘I Do’ to… Unless he offered you millions of dollars for a one year contract…then WTF, do what you want!

Do you have any wedding advice to add?

clip_image002Carter Billings:

Sandy blond hair and Hollywood good looks, Carter Billings could have any woman he wants. However, when he makes his bid for the Governor’s seat in the state of California, he needs to settle down and become a family man. Eliza, the woman he secretly adores, embodies the perfect amount of spice and passion to suit his marital needs, but she’s not interested in becoming Mrs. Billings. She can’t even stand to be in the same room with him.

Eliza Havens:

It’s much easier to drive Carter away than to give into desire. Matching couples is how she earns a living, but getting married isn’t an option. The secrets she carries are too dangerous to entangle anyone else. When her hidden identity and past threaten her future, she’s left with little choice. Carter is quick to offer solutions to both their problems, but saying yes could mean endangering the man she’s growing to love.

Author of New York Times Bestseller, Wife by Wednesday presents, Book Two in the Weekday Bride Series

Purchase Married by Monday – Barnes & Noble / Amazon / Smashwords

New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Catherine Bybee has been addicted to romance since her teens. After spending a decade of her life working as an RN in urban emergency rooms, Catherine is now dedicated to writing happily-ever-afters for the world to love. Catherine is married and raising two sons in Southern California.

She loves hearing from her readers so feel free to visit her at:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter

Shop Until You Drop!

For some people shopping is a sport. Others, like me, don’t find the past time as much fun. Battling with crowds—forget about it! There’s a few exceptions to my dislike of shopping. I can shop for books for hours, and I enjoy exploring markets, especially when they’re involved with travel.

I thought I’d share a few market photos with you today.

Zimbabwe - Bartering for Avocados

It’s always fun bartering for goods. This is me bartering for avocados for lunch.

 

India - Cochin

A vegetable stall in Cochin, India. People are always so friendly.

 

India - Jeypur

Stalls selling fabric, also in India

 

India - Mysore

Some stalls are colorful and full of mysterious things, India.

 

Nukualofa, Tonga

You can buy fans in Tonga.

 

Pakistan - Quetta

Or fabric from a tailor in Pakistan.

 

Do you like shopping? What is your favorite thing to shop for?

Keep on Truckin’

One of the things that sticks in my mind about India and Pakistan is the large number of trucks, all highly decorated, honking their horns nonstop. At times the horns are deafening. No one seems to pay attention to them, but I remember the racket with fondness. All that noise and confusion. The photos below were all taken in Pakistan.

Pakistan - convoy

We were part of this convoy of trucks, driving through Pakistan. From memory we all came to a halt because one of the trucks was overloaded and fell off the road.

 

Pakistan - Quetta

An overloaded truck!

Pakistan - Quetta

Trucks have to go around pedestrians…

Pakistan - Quetta

And lots of other obstructions. Perhaps that’s why they toot their horns.

 

Pakistan - Shelley & slingshot

And finally, here’s a shot of me and a group of Pakistani boys. I’m trying out their slingshot. Notice the boy right behind me. He has no faith in my abilities!

The One About Afternoon Tea

Thursday Thirteen

Recently my husband took me to a traditional afternoon tea at Cornwell Park in Central Auckland. It’s always fun setting aside the jeans for something a little dressier and enjoying the occasion. Our afternoon tea inspired my TT this week.

Thirteen Things About Afternoon Tea

1. We had our afternoon tea at the Cornwall Park Restaurant. They’ve been selling refreshments and cups of tea since 1908.

Cornwall Park Restaurant

2. Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have invented afternoon tea. At the time most people ate two meals during the day—breakfast and dinner, which was taken late in the evening (around 8 pm). The Duchess started to have light refreshments and a pot of tea in the afternoon. She invited friends to join her and took the habit with her when she returned to London. Other women liked the habit so much, they started to follow suit. Afternoon tea was born.

Cornwell Park, Afternoon Tea

3. A traditional afternoon tea consists of scones (usually still warm from the oven) served with jam and cream, a selection of sandwiches (usually egg, ham, salmon, cucumber) and finished with a selection of delicious cakes. This is all washed down with lots of cups of tea.

Afternoon Tea selection

4. Tea was first drunk in China and it’s said that Catherine of Braganza, the consort of Charles II first introduced tea to England.

5. The British government placed taxes on tea, which meant smugglers played a big part in bringing tea into the country. They found that churches were excellent places to hide their smuggled goods.

Lapsang Souchong tea

6. I chose Lapsang Souchong tea, which has a very smoky taste, while Mr. Munro chose Nepal Masala Chai tea with cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

7. No one knows where scones originated, but they’ve always been associated with England, Scotland and Ireland. It’s thought that they most likely came from Scotland.

8. Our scones came served with whipped cream and raspberry jam. Personally, I prefer them with clotted cream. Yum!

9. Clotted cream is thick cream, which is obtained by heating milk slowly and allowing it to cool. The cream content rises to the top in coagulated lumps. It’s decadent and delicious and not exactly good for you Who me?

10. John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich is associated with the sandwich. He loved to gamble and didn’t want to leave his game. He ordered his valet to bring him meat placed between two slices of bread. Other men called for meals the same as Sandwich.

11. We had egg, salmon and ham sandwiches, but most British afternoon teas have cucumber sandwiches. Here’s a link to two versions of a cucumber sandwich that look delicious.

12. Cakes. Yummy cakes in small bite sized pieces. We had chocolate cake, lemon meringue pie, sticky date, lemon friands, a flourless nut cake. Chocolate eclairs are also a good addition. Just saying!

13. My favorite place to have afternoon tea is the Ritz in Picadilly, London. It takes place in the Palm Court, and there’s a dress code. No jeans allowed. This is something that must be booked ahead of time—weeks ahead—but it’s well worth it with relaxing piano music and very attentive waiters. Here’s the menu for the Ritz afternoon tea.  I highly recommend this experience if you’re ever in London.

Are you a fan of afternoon tea? Do you have a favorite afternoon tea spot?

World Travel and a Takeover

Shelley is a little busy and I have offered to blog today.

Be patient, I’m a virgin blogger.

Recently I’ve been scanning our old print travel photos to digital. Trying to condense them as well, since there are thousands. A very time consuming but rewarding exercise. It’s like going back in time, reliving all those experiences. Some pics made me cringe, 7 months traveling through Africa – what were we thinking? An adventure, definitely NOT a holiday.

Traveling 3 months across the Middle East after Suddam had invaded Kuwait – we were two of the foolhardy few, great time, no other tourists getting in the way of that unforgettable shot [photo not gun].

Actually, saying that the photos are old is not a good description as that also relates to us! I can’t speak for Shelley but I don’t feel old, because I’m not. (Shelley says she’s not old either!!)

I was chatting to a lady last week who had visited Petra in Jordan [Indiana Jones fame]. She showed me a photo of her in front of the treasury, should I say she was in front of hundreds of other tourists on a day excursion from a cruise ship.

Here’s our photo: Spot the tourists – there aren’t any!

Treasury, Petra, Jordan

Some of the most rewarding photos I have taken captured Shelley at a height of excitement. One was after a flight over Victoria Falls:

 Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Another seeing Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda:

Gorilla Hunting, Rwanda Gorilla, Rwanda

This one was taken in a Lobster shack out of Bar Harbor, Maine. To be fair, I was more excited at the thought of eating it!

Lobster, Bar Harbor, Maine

 

Bora Bora, Tahiti helmet dive:

Shelley, Bora Bora, Tahiti Shelley, surrounded by fish, Bora Bora

 

Don’t worry, Shelley will return tomorrow.