Book Review: Prime Deception

prime deceptionI just got back from a trip to Texas and have a book to report on!  I like to take advantage of the time I spend in the air, so for my travels I chose to read Prime Deception by Carys Jones.  I was actually contacted by the author to read the book and write about what my thoughts were.  So here is what I thought about Prime Deception (spoilers ahead):

The book is all about uncovering the details of the alleged suicide of Ms. Lorna Thomas.  A young and beautiful intern that is drawn to the power and charisma of the Deputy Prime Minister who engages in a forbidden affair with him.  The affair is eventually broken off and months later, Lorna is found dead, apparently by her own will she has driven herself into a tree.  With the news of the his mistress’s death the Deputy Prime Minister is shaken to his core.  Could she really have killed herself?  Is it his fault?  Did he really know her as a person?  He is left with so many questions and is wrecked with grief and guilt.

I would normally not give away so much of the book but its hard to review without giving some details away.  For me this book was ok.  It is more of a romance novel than a mystery thriller.  I did spend a lot of time when I was reading the book, deciding who I thought would have killed Lorna if it wasn’t suicide (which I never really thought it was). I was compelled to keep reading for two reasons: I wanted to know who killed Lorna and I wanted to learn more about a secondary character, Laurie, Lorna’s twin sister.

This character was important to me particularly because I have a twin sister who I love very much and feel that she is very much a part of what makes me, me.  She truly completes me.  Without her I wouldn’t be the same.  Therefore when Lorna’s twin, Laurie, shows up looking for answers I can totally relate to how hard that it would be to lose your twin sister.  When you are a twin you share almost all your special moments together which links you in a way different from other siblings.  If Laurie was not in the book I am not completely sure I would have finished the book, but if you like harlequin romance this book may be for you.  I personally wish that it would have focused more on mystery than romance, as the beginning of the book is pretty compelling.  So there you have it.  That’s the deets on Prime Deception.

That Time I Danced at an Indian Wedding

Where do I begin?  Let’s see here…

One of my best friends (who is Indian) recently got married to her Greek love.  It totally was a BIG FAT INDIAN GREEK wedding.  I was a bridesmaid and truly I have never been more honored or excited to be a part of a wedding.  Learning all the different cultures and getting to participate in so many things really made the experience special for me, not to mention, getting to spend time with all my besties.

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Me and the Bride!

I got to get tatted up with the bride(mehndi)  and learned that in some cultures it is tradition for the bride to have the groom’s name hidden in their henna, on the wedding day the husband will find his name, hidden among the beautiful, intricate, designs.  In another Indian tradition the single women have their henna drawn on from the same tube as the bride, this is supposed to help them find a good husband.

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My mehndi
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The Bride and Groom at the Mehndi! Look how happy they are!
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Can you find the groom’s name?

I had so much fun at the mehndi!  It was probably the coolest thing I’ve got to do for a pre-wedding festivity.  I was so paranoid I was going to mess by mehndi up that I barely slept the night I got it done (I was told that it is darker and has better color the longer you keep it on)!

Another thing that was very new to me was performing an Indian dance at the wedding reception.  You can view it below.  I look a hot mess but I tried my best and had a lot of fun (but at the time I had mono so I think I did pretty well considering).

 More Pics!

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Before the Greek Gala
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The Barat
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The Barat. The Groom making his way to the wedding ceremony.
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After the ceremony!


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Before the Reception. Isn’t the bride gorgeous!
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At the reception. We all had on Indian clothes for the wedding reception! They were so beautiful and they were all supplied by one of my besties!

 

A beach trip with baby

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Recently, my husband played a soccer tournament in Virginia Beach. This meant bringing out little one to the beach with us. Traveling to the beach, with a baby, is SUPER DIFFERENT than when it was just you and your significant other. Prepare yourself and you will have a FABULOUS weekend like we did! And don’t worry, there will be more pictures at the end!

Here are some tips I learned alone the way…

  • Re-evaluate what your expectations are for the trip. If you expect to sun bathe and read book while listening to the ocean, you’re gonna be miserable. Your baby is gonna need you attention ALL DAY LONG. This isn’t a bad thing, it just may not be what you are used to. He may or may not like the sand. He may love water at home but then think the ocean water is too cold. You have to just roll with. He may try to eat sand or seashells. My little one absolutely WOULD NOT put his feet on the sand, even though he can walk. He would crawl in it but if you tried to walk him over to the sand, holding onto his hands, he would pull both feet up and just hang like a monkey from a branch of a tree. He also frequently changed his mind on if he wanted to play in the sand, water, or on mommy’s lap. But it was amazing to sit back and watch him take everything in.
  • Baby powder helps get rid of the wet sand that’s hard to brush off, but don’t let your baby inhale it!
  • Remember your baby will need a nap! You may want to cool off to in the room so it isn’t a bad time to take a break.
  • Lather on your sunscreen! No one like being sun burnt. And it is SO MUCH HARDER to take care of a little one when you’re not 100%. I used California Baby sunscreen since it doesn’t contain chemicals for Landon and applied in 30 minutes before we went out if the sun.  We were lucky and no one got burnt!
  • Figure out shade for your baby! We got a shaded pool that he cool splash around in. At nap time we even tried pouring the water out and laying down towels so he could take a nap there. Unfortunately, he never falls asleep in anything other than a crib, pack n play, or car seat. He squirms around like crazy when its nap time. A umbrella would work to. For our set up, we had a battery powered pump to inflate and deflate our pool. We would use a sand bucket to get water from the ocean for him to splash in and let him pour it into the pool at his own pace. This worked wonderfully and he played all day (for the most part)
  • Come to terms that your nights may end much earlier. We had my sister come with us to help, but felt guilty leaving her by herself in the room (while Landon slept)…so our nights out ended around 8pm. Such a big change!
  • Stay at a hotel or place ON THE BEACH.  You will be packing so much stuff with you, you are gonna want to be close.  Some of our essentials swim diapers, wipes, snacks, bath toys, large sand bucket, sippy cup, sunscreen, our baby pool (to provide fun and shade), towels, neat sheet, bottled water, and our inflater/deflater.
  • When in doubt of how to entertain your baby, DIG A HOLE.  Yeah, it’s that simple.  Bring a bucket of water up.  Instant entertainment for the young ones!
  • Get a beach bag and make your husband carry a backpack.  You are going to need help to carry all your baby essentials.
  • Consider water shoes.  Think about being the parent, you may have gradually stroll across HOT, HOT, HOT sand.
  • If your baby has never been in sand, maybe try a sand box out before you go to the beach.  You’ll know what to expect then.

That’s all the tips, I have!  What do you guys do to make things easier?

Here’s the photos I promised:

The ocean and all the Fields
The ocean and all the Fields
My twin sister looking GOOD :)
My twin sister looking GOOD 🙂
Finding Shade in the Hot Sun
Finding Shade in the Hot Sun

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Playing while daddy was scoring soccer goals.
Playing while daddy was scoring soccer goals.
When at the beach why not get twin tattoos that only last a week....
When at the beach why not get twin tattoos that only last a week….

 

Our family at dinner
Our little family at dinner
Twin Love

 

After a nap
After a nap
Hanging with Dad
Hanging with Dad
My Sand Soccer Champion
My Sand Soccer Champion
Co-ed winners
Co-ed winners

 

 

A Bachelorette weekend in Las Vegas

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Recently, I went to Vegas for a close friend of mine’s bachelorette party. It was a great weekend! We finally had time to catch up and party like we pledging a sorority again, lol. The trip started off a little rocky with our flight to Vegas being delayed 4 hours due to weather. However, for the most part, everyone was pretty chipper. It felt like a total party plane. There was a group of guys clearly going for a bachelor party and they drank at every opportunity. Vegas was a lot of FUN but I definitely can tell I am getting older. I actually lost my voice before I even got off the plane! This led everyone in Vegas to think I partied like a rock star every night and that out of the group I was the party animal. So not true!

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Anyways, since we were there for a bachelorette party we of course did pool parties, clubbing, etc. We also attracted a lot of attention wherever we went by having our bachelorette wear a sash wherever we went. This was a good thing because it led to free drinks and VIP treatment. Who doesn’t want a bachelorette to have a good time? NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT WEAR 15 PIECES OF BACHELORETTE MEMORABILIA AT ONCE. Keep it tasteful, you want to say I’m here to have fun…NOT I’m a billboard of male genitalia. Even if you are a big group of girls coming for a bachelorette party, do not expect to get in to places free. We didn’t pay any cover the whole weekend but we had some very resourceful girls planning our trip and they did their homework weeks before Vegas.

The Bellagio Water Show
The Bellagio Water Show

How to get in free?

Talk to promoters BEFORE you get to Vegas! This will ensure you have lots of places you can go and not pay any cover. In Vegas, most places charge women cover. You can find promoters online through twitter, facebook, or even instagram (search #vegas or #whateverclubyouwanttogoto). Promoters can get you on the guest list so you don’t have to wait in the main line and don’t have to pay. The only downside is you usually have to get to clubs early. But many places make up for that too, with an open bar for women during the earlier hours. If you don’t meet promoters ahead of time, you will run into them on the strip or in hotels. The advantage of talking to them before Vegas is you can make sure you are working with a GOOD promoter that is getting you into the HOTTEST clubs.

The girls before TAO
The girls before TAO

How to manage expenses with a large group?

When you are with a big group sometimes its hard to keep track of who-you-owe-what; between hotels, meals where the restaurant doesn’t split the check, cabs, etc. For this problem, we used a new app for iPhones called Splitwise. It is amazing at tracking all the expenses and then helping you settle everything at the end. Seriously, if you have an iPhone and travel in groups GET.IT.NOW!

Other Advice?

  • Buy a case of water and leave it in your hotel room. You will want in when you’re feeling the effects of the night before.
  • Don’t expect to go to bed before 5am. The casinos in Vegas pump oxygen into the casino to help keep people awake and spending money. This is great in the fact that you will not feel tired, really at all. But much later that day you will realize you haven’t slept in so many hours your math is failing you. Not good if you do any gambling.
  • I highly recommend TAO Nightclub at the Venetian. A lot of fun, and just upscale in general. Plus they have women in bathtubs as you walk in and women in these boxes inside the doors that is just HOT.
  • Gamble a little while in Vegas, maybe only a few dollars at the penny slots. The casinos in Vegas are something you can’t find anywhere else.
  • Don’t expect casinos to be smoke-free. I know most states have laws for restaurants and other public places to be smoke free. Therefore, I was surprised to be around people smoking. I just didn’t think about how different places have different laws.
  • CVS on the strip had cheaper liquor than the ABC store. While there stock up snacks. Trust me you’re gonna want them and much cheaper there!
  • If you are staying on the strip, stay at a hotel that has a night club you’re interested in going to. This eliminates cab fare for a night.
  • Expect to walk a lot, I suggest staying in the middle of the strip. It should save your feet some.
  • Go out and enjoy all the different shows! They are free and fun!
  • Food is expensive everywhere, so be prepared to spend money, even at cheaper establishments.

If you have other questions let me know! What are some of your ways to save money on trips?

A Mother’s Day weekend retreat

Mother's Day

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day and what this mom needed more than anything was a BREAK! And I’m not even a little bit scared to admit it. Judge me all you want, being a mom is T-O-U-G-H. Night feedings that seem to be never-ending, diaper changes that feel like wrestling matches, extra laundry, having your day dictated by nap times, suctioning tiny noses that don’t want to be suctioned (so gross, by the way), are just some challenges moms face. On the other hand, I never felt true joy until I held my baby boy in my arms. I thought I had but I was completely wrong. I love him so much and he inspires me to be a better person. I swear something changes when you become a mom, it’s like the whole world shifts, and you finally realize what matters most: FAMILY. Not that I didn’t know it before, it just I would get stressed about things that in the grand scheme of things don’t matter at all.

Unfortunately, my husband and I don’t live close to family so date night kind of died when Landon was born. We probably should find a regular baby sitter, but it’s just so scary to leave your baby with someone you don’t really know. I had a terrible time letting him go to daycare, but the people there are great. The first step is just hard I guess. Soon, I will be adding that to my to-do list.

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Luckily, for Mother’s Day my husband arranged for friends of ours, who have two kids of their own, to watch Landon overnight so we could finally have a night together. It was the first time that we have had a night to ourselves in 11 months! He surprised me by taking me to the Ritz-Carlton for a night. It was just what I needed. From the moment I walked through the door, I just seemed to relax. How could you not with the soft classical music playing and it being so pretty everywhere you looked? I don’t think I have ever seen so many chandeliers in my life. They were everywhere in the lobby, hallways, elevator….

When we got to the lobby they had cute Mother’s Day cookies, lemon and lime infused water, and apples for the guests. There was also bottle water everywhere. The room was every girl’s dream! There was a big fluffy bed, a soaking tub, walk-in shower, a vanity outside the bathroom so I had a perfect place to sit and get all dolled up. I know this may not seem over-the-top amazing to you but when getting to take a shower daily is a luxury, this was phenomenal.

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For dinner we went to Wildfire and treated ourselves to cocktails, calamari, and filet. We didn’t have any room for dessert, but when we got back to our room our turn down service left us chocolates on our bed. I would gotten a picture of that too BUT it was gone before that even crossed my mind. Oh my, I do love chocolate! Which reminds me of how sweet my husband is, he had ordered us chocolate strawberries via room service for when we arrived.

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Ladies, I think I’ve got a keeper. We followed up our amazing night with room service for breakfast, which didn’t disappoint. Then we packed up our stuff to go pick up my little cutie pie. It was an amazing weekend and I was very pleased with our stay at the Ritz.

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P.S. Some of the pictures would have been better, but I didn’t want to look like a creeper or someone who had never been in a hotel before.