Friday, January 30, 2015

Oh Hey, Friday Fav January Posts

I absolutely cannot believe that the end of January is here! I know I'm not the only one, but it's just going by so fast and before you know it my 30 Before 30 will be over and I'll be sharing my 40 Before 40. OMG I cannot even think about that right now, moving on.


Here's a recap of what My Little HEA was up to this month.

1. I shared some of my writing, which even though I do that on the reg here with posts I hadn't shared any of my fiction and I was definitely timid.

2. I ordered a selfie stick and posted all of the tech things I want and then Kylea shared more things I need on my list!

3. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter finally made a full appearance instead of just a teaser!


4. I went to my first crop/crafting weekend in Florida and it. was. awesome! Dear Mom, when are we going back?

5. Hanging out with YOU! I participated in two giveaways and found several new friends. I also managed to clean out my Bloglovin' feed...by hitting the reset button, lol.

This weekend the pirates invade Tampa Bay for Gasparilla! S and I are getting our first experience and going all out. We're doing the parade and whatever is happening downtown, not venturing into Ybor for the night parade but hanging out in our hotel room and hoping to catch the fireworks!

Then of course there's the Super Bowl party at church that I still need to figure out what I'm taking. Nichole shared a few recipes I'm eyeing, especially the Oreo cookie balls!

What are your plans for the weekend? Did you have a favorite post YOU wrote this month? Share it with me so I don't miss it!


Linking up for Oh Hey, Friday with these fabulous ladies - September FARM and The Farmer’s Wife. Linking up High Five for Friday with Bright on a Budget, Coffee with Caitlin, Cup of Tea, and Della Devoted!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Let's Play MASH


I don't know if this was a frequent playground or break time game where you came from, but small town Kansas we were always dreaming about where we might end up some day and MASH was the perfect way to showcase your plans.

I made my lists and then I used Random.org to choose my number between 1 and 10, because let's be honest I don't have time to count to 99 a dozen times.

Since I have a terrible memory, I found this little how to to follow. I also decided to throw in ONE choice I wouldn't want to keep it fun. Kind of like how you would have a friend choose someone for you.

Where I'll Live
1. Mansion
2. Attic
3. Shack
4. House

Significant Other Name
1. Tim
2. Tyler
3. Jesse
4. Edward
5. Brad

Career Path
1. Blogger
2. Designer
3. SAHM
4. Teacher

Vehicle
1. Land Rover
2. Mustang
3. Mazda
4. Audi

Vehicle Color
1. Grey
2. Black
3. White
4. Pink

City/Location
1. NYC
2. Florida
3. London
4. Kansas

Number of Children
1. 0
2. 1
3. 2
4. 8

Of course I would end up with eight kids and living in an ATTIC! It's a stylish attic, but still!


Oh, but don't worry I'm driving that grey Audi I always wanted and married to country star Tyler Farr, or it could be that guy I went to high school or college with named Tyler. I was careful not to mention last names.


I'm a teacher, hopefully at a private school in Florida. Who am I kidding, I'm probably homeschooling my eight children while we're on the road with the band! When we're not on the road, we call Florida home. At least I got one thing right, right?


Now it's YOUR turn!!



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Confessions, Lately

Making Melissa

I feel like I haven't done one of these since Kennedy was president and I wasn't even alive then.

J and I started sharing library cards, we even set up a joint email for this. My library doesn't have near the options hers has.

I woke up with killer nausea and if you know me, I'm not a puker so I just grin and bare it. I got to work thinking I had stuff that HAD to be done. Nope, just one thing and I'm sure it could have waited a day. Oh well, I'm here.

I hate calling in sick. They really don't mind because I get my stuff done, but it's kind of a hassle. Can I just be a no show and nobody cares?

I've been drinking lemon in my water ever since Nadine was pushing it last week and I'm loving it.


I'm going to sneak Kylea's Think About it Thursday questions into this post, watch me.

My name is Heather and it's not something that comes with a nick name. I was called "Hey" in high school because it rhymed with J and K. First letters of other girls in our special group. "H" just doesn't have any kind of ring to it unless it's followed by H...EA.

Sometimes I go by Heather Dawn, and I really like how that flows. Good job mom, and all of the other people that used that combo for their girls.

I get up every morning so I can get my day done and sit down with a good book. That and my back hurts if I lay in bed for too long. Trust, I've tried it.

I don't have a favorite vlogger, but I love watching foundation and makeup tutorials on Youtube. Book Youtubers are a little annoying with their voices. Who talks like that!?

Favorite book is and may always be Twilight. I don't care if you make fun of me. I'm probably not interested in even trying your favorite.

I have watched documentaries. They were mostly food or history.

I support a local food bank with $$, and any other things that comes through the church as long as it doesn't involve me dealing with little kids.

Three words I would use to describe myself: Snarky, Smiley, Homebody

I love when people tag you when you win. Especially random people. I'm sure I've won something and not known about it, but the awesome people like Helene and this other random person one time let people know with that little @ sign. It really is the best.

Design work has been killer this week, but that happens with deadlines.

After S moves about 5 hours away I will need to find some new friends in the area. I have a couple from church all older with kids and man friends. No other single people left, girls specifically. Luckily she is just a car ride away unlike all of the other friends that have moved.

I think I'm going to live at home longer so I can pay off my last credit card, have a bigger down payment just in case I find something to buy and still buy all the things I want, lol.

I sound like a bird when I hiccup.

I was obsessed with serial killers when I was in college.

This Friday almost all of the people in my area of the office are off, those are the best Fridays. It's quiet and I can focus to get things done.

I'm chopping off my hair at the end of February. I would have done it sooner, but that's the earliest she could get me in and I trust no one.

I'm obsessed with buying makeup and can't wait to use my Ulta 20% off coupon even though I'll be breaking my Spending Freeze to do it.

I also broke my spending freeze to buy a selfie stick. No shame.

I'm excited to see the Fifty Shades movie with some girlfriends on Valentine's Day.

It's my moms birthday today, so we're celebrating with gifts and food tonight!

I'm almost done with the month of no coffee, no eating out and no spending. So close in fact I'm trying to count back to see when I "technically" started, lol.

I'm not going to make my dietbet because I couldn't stop eating all the food the last few days so you know what that means?! I have three weeks before the next one ends to find my willpower and stop eating all the things.

I don't know why I tried to give up sweets for a month. That was not a good idea.

I cleaned out my Bloglovin before I left work Friday and I'm already at 174. It's giving me anxiety.

I'm trying to decide if I should get Disney or Universal season passes so S and I can meetup in the middle for fun times. I want Disney, but Universal would be cheaper.

This is the longest confessional in the history of HEA confessions.

Do you have anything you need to get off your chest?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: Surrender by Violetta Rand

Surrender by Violetta Rand

Synopsis:Welcome to the Devil’s Den, a Texas strip club where the air is heavy with desire—and sometimes dreams come true.

Ever since her mother kicked her out, twenty-year-old Robyn Gonzalez has been working the poles at the Devil’s Den, saving up to finish college and travel the world. With only her wits and her gorgeous body to rely on, Robyn has learned to be independent—fiercely independent. She’s never been tempted to let a man distract her from her dreams . . . until she meets the dead-sexy Garrick Dempsey.

The club’s new head of security, Garrick had walked away from a career as a mechanical engineer to return to his roots in Corpus Christi. He hadn’t planned on getting to know someone like Robyn, with her sinfully sweet combination of vulnerability and strength, at the Devil’s Den. She acts tough, but only because she’s been hurt. Soon Garrick knows he will do anything to win Robyn’s trust. And if that means surrendering to the red-hot chemistry between them, all the better.


Amazon | BN | Kobo | iTunes

Review

You may not know this about me, but I have a bit of an obsession for things that are frowned upon in most of society. The bad boys make my heart throb and the girls leading lives that I can only imagine astound me.

As soon as I saw the words Abbi Glines and strip club I was instantly curious and would have been one-clicking if it wasn't available to review on Netgalley first!

I really liked Robyn, the female lead because she had been dealt some pretty terrible cards and was making the best of her situation across multiple platforms. Following her dreams and doing what she needed to do to get there. She was also a no-nonsense girl when it came to her job. She was there for one thing only, a paycheck and if someone crossed that line she didn't wait around for the rules to be enforced, she made her own.

Enter the knight in shining armor that she wasn't even looking for and though I was skeptical it didn't take long for Garrick to make not only Robyn, but myself smitten. He's your typical Alpha male and even though he comes with money, he's not gaudy about it. He's tough, being the bouncer at her new club, but he's also MIT smart too. Tough and smart, a winning combination in my book.

A couple of things stopped this from being a perfect, five star read.

One, the sex scenes were a little choppy at times. I checked to see if Rand was a new author because of this, she's not. I'm not much of a viking fan, but if you are you might check out her other books.

Two, it seemed every time we heard about Robyn's mother there was another notch in her belt that made her the way she was. This is the lady with 99 problems and being a bitch ain't one. Sure, people run deep but it wouldn't surprise me if we find out more reasons why Mrs. Gonzalez is the way she is in the second book, Seduction, that revolves around Robyn's sister.

Both of those were able to be overlooked because I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the story, especially the chemistry between Robyn and not only Garrick, but her friend Macey too.

I'm excited for the other books to come out in this series based around the Devil's Den Strip Club, so look for the following release dates.

Surrender - 1/27/15
Seduction - 3/17/15
Sin - 5/12/15

Are you a reader? Check out my other book reviews here.



I was provided with a copy of Surrender in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Freakin' Weekend

This weekend didn't consist of a lot, but I did get some things done!!

Friday, after I got in some steps by walking around Target (best way to get those steps in is shopping!) it was a whole lot of reading. I was approved for THREE books on Netgalley and flew through one of them, yay!

This is what the rest of the weekend looked like.


1. I'm in the process of deep cleaning my room, and one of those spots that definitely needed to be done was my desk + drawer.
2. Here's the final product, so excited to have this done! I still have that dreaded pile of clothes I hate putting on away!
3. While I was walking about Target I found another one of these for my sister!!
4. Tried out an egg drop soup recipe. Might have cooked the eggs too long but it was still delish and an easy go-to meal.
5. Tried to eat healthy, no carb as much as I could this weekend starting with taco salad on Friday night and leftovers the rest of the weekend.
6. BLT + Cheese sandwiches are the bomb around here.
7. Worked on a new Wednesday night series at church.
8. Finished the first of my travel frames! I didn't account for the frame apparently and the letters touch the black part. What do you think, should I get them reprinted with a thin white border or remember it for next time?
9. The book I mentioned earlier had a recipe for brownies at the end that I tried out and it was oh so super chocolatey and yummy!

Today I'm running some errands, working on design stuff and continuing to binge watch Gossip Girl in the background.

How was your weekend?


Linking up for weekending with B Loved Boston and Champagne and Suburbs.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Favs Tech Lust Edition

It's Friiiiiday and I couldn't be more excited to go into a 3-day weekend. After hearing Kerry talk about her lists, I remembered how much I used to get done when I made them so I'm planning on making mine today!

Being on this spending freeze is no longer easy. The first two weeks, I really didn't have a problem and had lots of money in the bank ready to be put toward my credit card in one HUGE chunk. Then, I had my weekend away which I had given myself a break from said spending freeze and those buy all the things gates magically opened up. I've managed to reign them in, but Monday did get away from me a little bit.

These are the five things I've been lusting after and wanting to put on my TBB (to be bought) light. Some may make it into my house while others are really just strictly wants. When I was putting this list together I quickly realized all of them have something to do with technology and all but one have something to do with cameras OMG how crazy is that?

1// WHAT TO SAY TO YOUR FRIEND WHO GOT A SELFIE STICK…

OMG I need one of these, I mean even Vogue is talking about it! When I was at Harry Potter World, there were so many people using them. More than I had ever seen in one place and I've been thinking about investing in once ever since. I just don't know which one to get. Anybody have good suggestions?





2// THE GLAMOROUS FITBIT ACCESSORY NOT ACTUALLY USED TO WORK OUT IN

I have been lusting over this bracelet/Fitbit holder since it came out last year BUT the reviews are so mixed with how well it holds up for the price and I don't really need it since I don't have to dress up for work.


3//HOW NOT TO LOOK LIKE A PALE VAMPIRE IN PHONE CAMERA PICS

This phone camera flash that Biana shared about on Monday looks perfect since I NEVER use the flash on my phone anyway, so I am putting it on my TBB (to be bought) list for February! Although it would be good to have for Gasparilla I'm sure!


4// GETTING YOUR PICS FROM CAMERA TO PHONE? ABRA CADABRA

Surprise, surprise another item for taking pictures. You would think I was a blogger or something. After Amanda mentioned this I couldn't believe I never thought to look one of these up. I should probably start using my big camera again before I invest in something like this.


5// I NEED A DIVA LIGHT LIKE I NEED THE NEXT SEASON OF GOSSIP GIRL

As in I don't as much as I would love it. I want one of these because I've seen it's what some of the Youtube makeup tutorial girls use and even though I don't make videos all that often I'd like to be making many more.


What are some of your favs from this week?! Anything you're lusting after?


Linking up for Oh Hey, Friday with these fabulous ladies - September FARM and The Farmer’s Wife. Linking up High Five for Friday with Bright on a Budget, Coffee with Caitlin, Cup of Tea, and Della Devoted!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Principal's Office

Many years ago when my life very much revolved around Fanfiction, there was a challenge of sorts to write daily and each day a prompt would be shared to get your thoughts flowing.

Sometimes it was a picture, other times a word, phrase or song. One time it was even to Youtube a specific word and write based off a video you found. I kept all of the ones I wrote and thought I'd share one with you.


Word Prompt: Enemy

Word Count: 502


I opened the door to the school office and saw Mrs. Kelly waiting behind the counter. Her face lit up as soon as she recognized me.

"Julie, it's so good to see you," she said sweetly.

"You too, I just wish it was under different circumstances," I said as I glanced back and saw my daughter sitting in the principal's office. Mrs. Kelly laughed as he came out and ushered me off into his office.

"Mrs. Carmichael, nice to see you," he greeted me as I took a seat next to my daughter.

"You too, but we really should stop meeting like this," I joked as I watched my daughter roll her eyes.

"Mom," she groaned.

"So," I said as I clapped my hands together and laid them in my lap. "What seems to be the problem this time?"

We'd been in the principal's office last week and another time just before that. For some reason my daughter Alexis had been having difficulties making friends since we moved to Beaufort. Thomas had put in for a transfer here so that we'd be closer to his parents.

"Alexis, would you like to tell your mother, or shall I?" he asked as he leaned forward in his chair. She made no effort to address me so he continued. "Look, Alexis, I'm not the enemy here. I'm not even your father right now, I'm your principal and your mother and I would like to know why you're acting out."

"I hate it here," she groaned.

"I'm quite aware of that, but we're not leaving. We're not moving back home and the sooner you accept that you will be graduating from Beaufort High, the sooner I think you'll find life a little more enjoyable." Thomas looked at me as I nodded for him to continue on to her sentencing.

She would receive a punishment here for the prank she pulled and then we'd discipline her at home this evening.

"You'll have detention for the rest of the week. Let me make this clear. Next time, it will be a suspension, which means no musical theater. Do you understand me?"

"Yes," she sighed.

"Yes what?" he asked as he walked around the front of his desk and grabbed my hand.

"Yes, dad."

"Thank you, you may go back to class while I have a chat with your mother," he released her, but waited until she was out and the door was shut before he leaned down and kissed me on the lips.

"Did you think I was too rough on her?" he asked as he sat in her recently vacated seat.

"No," I snorted. It had been weird the first time Alexis had been in here with us. Thomas had called me to let me know that she had been sent to his office and to be prepared to remain professional for at least the beginning of our meeting with the principal.

"So," he said as he looked down. "You'll give her the grounding at home?"


They were referred to as WitFit prompts if you'd like to read more about them. This is mostly quickly/unedited, and most of the time completed within an hour so forgive any errors.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wizarding World of Harry Potter in a Day

It's finally here. The ONE post I know all of you Potterheads are going to love. As I've shared a couple of times on this blog I did Wizarding World(s) of Harry Potter in one day when my sister was in town over the Holidays.

Unfortunately due to the time we went, we were unable to purchase the fast passes. Had we been able to, we would have purchased them to make our experience just a smidge better.

This is a LONG post with a lot of pictures, so I hope you enjoy it!


Tip: See all those people that have backpacks? Take a cue from them. Bring a backpack for all of the stuff you'll but if you're a fan and a shopper. If you feel like lugging your shoes in your backpack, I have a friend that does Disney a lot and swears by switching between flip flops and tennies half way through the day to trick your feet into thinking they're resting even though you only changed shoes.

Most of the rides in WWoHP have lockers you can use while you're on the ride to store your things.

We started our day off just after the gates open at 8:00 am by entering the front gates of Universal Studios. Almost immediately, we headed way back in the park to where Diagon Alley is. You enter Diagon Alley by going near the London Underground.


The Leaky Cauldron is just to the left as you walk in, but I'll talk more about that later. The first glance in Diagon Alley is very overwhelming, even to someone that has only seen the movies and knows very little about the world. You are literally immersed into the world of Harry Potter. From what I've been told by diehard fans, Universal did a fabulous job of recreating the experience of the books and movies.


You can't miss the fire breathing dragon sitting on top of Gringotts Bank for two reasons. One, that's probably where you're heading since it's one of the longest lines in the park and the first place we were going. Two, you can "feel" the heat from the fire every time it goes off if you're standing near it.


Gringotts isn't just a ride, it's an experience. After you've waited in line (it took us about 1.5 hours from start to finish) you get to walk through Gringotts and see the tellers hard at work. Then there's a 3D show you walk through before you get on an elevator "ride" that takes you to the actual Escape from Gringotts Ride. My mom stood in line with us for the whole thing, so she was thrilled she got to experience even just a little bit of a ride before getting out of line and waiting on us.

Tip: One of the things we did while waiting in line was take quizzes like Which Hogwarts House Do You Belong In? Of course I also had a book I was reading through and luckily I had received a portable charger for Christmas and this thing was a lifesaver!


You will have to stand in line outside for a little bit, and the day gets hotter so it makes it more appealing to do this ride first thing. They have done a very good job keeping the heat away though, kind of creating an outdoor air conditioner and a lot of shade in Diagon Alley.




You're not allowed to have anything not in pockets on the ride, so this was the only shot I could get on the actual ride before I put my phone away, but I was glad to get a little something.


Right after we got off the ride, our first stop after browsing that ride's shop was the Fountain of Fair Fortune for a Butterbeer! *claps* The regular price of a Butterbeer is $5 I think, but if you buy the souvenir cup for $13 you'll also get $0.99 refills of soda and tea throughout the parks. We knew we were planning on staying all day, so the drinks would be worth it and wanted to also have another thing to bring home.

Tip: If you don't have a backpack, your backpack is too full or bag large enough for your souvenir glass, bring one of the stretchy no-kink hair ties and loop it through the handle then around your wrist.


FYI - You are allowed to bring water and drinks into the park in your hand as long as they're not in glass containers.

You can get other things besides Butterbeer through out the WWoHP, including alcoholic beverages if you're of age.

The frozen butterbeer comes with a straw, which was right up my alley.


There are other places you can purchase butterbeer, including The Leaky Cauldron where we ate lunch and the Hopping Pot.



I didn't get a picture of the outside of a sign, just the menu because we wanted to decide what we were eating as we were walking through the park, lol. We ended up sharing the fish and chips and the kids macaroni and cheese. So yummy, and plenty of food!

Of course no trip is complete without the Ollivanders wand shop, but we didn't do that. I had asked my sister if she was interested in a wand, which runs about $50 and she said she would rather have a wand pen so I ordered this one off Amazon.

I will say that if I had a child that was gaga for HP I would have wanted to get them a wand there. They give you a map and have a lot of places you can stop with your wand to cast your spells.




They have a fake Owl Post in Diagon Alley, but you MUST visit the functioning Owl Post in Hogsmeade so you can get your postcards stamped with the seal. You can purchase stamps at your local post office outside the parks that are Harry Potter commemorative stamps and not marked up.

Knockturn Alley was dark, obviously so I didn't take a lot of pictures but I managed to get one shot of the talking heads.


The last thing we really did besides walk through more shops was rest for a while by the Knight Bus. It's a great photo op and listening to the driver and the talking head is quite entertaining too.




One of the things I was really looking forward to was getting the chance to ride on Hogwarts Express AND also being taken to the other WWoHP park, Hogsmeade inside of Islands of Adventure. Genius. Now, you MUST have a park-to-park pass for the SAME DAY in order to ride the train. Many people are turned away from riding this ride because they didn't have the proper ticket.


Throughout the line they have plenty more things to look at and take pictures of. Most are things seen in the movie, like the perfume advertisement.



We ended up having to wait about 45 minutes to ride the train over to the other park at about 3:45. When my brother and his GF got to the parks, they started at Hogsmeade and rode the train to Diagon Alley with no wait.


I shared this on Instagram because it was one of the coolest things. There's a spot when you're walking through the line that it appears as if you're walking through the wall like they do in the books/movies.

Random people I don't know but they've found platform 9 3/4!! #HarryPotter

A photo posted by Heather (@mylittlehea) on



This is what the actual wall you walk through looks like. Nothing special. I kind of wish I would have waited to take a picture of my mom and sis walking through the wall but there's always next time if we go again.


Finally you get to the train!!




They play videos through the windows outside and the windows that show into the hall. Complete with sound and everything. The images they show you inside the train through the "windows" are different depending on which park you're riding to and from.


When you step off the train into Hogsmeade they'll direct you through the gates and it'll be much more crowded and less shaded than Diagon Alley was. There are two rides over here, but since we didn't have the fast passes we couldn't ride all of them and experience other parts of the park like the Macys Parade so we opted not to do them. We're also more shopping people than riders when we're in amusement parks, anybody else?







Of course there are a couple of places that we had to visit, like the bathroom where you can hear Myrtle moaning.


Honey Dukes where you can buy all different kinds or overpriced candy, but it's so worth it to get a chocolate frog.



I couldn't leave without getting a shot in a quintessential London phone booth. Especially since the ones in London when A and I tried to get shots were not photo op worthy.



Even though I'm not an uber fan / Potterhead, I had such a great time exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and am very appreciative of Universal Studios for putting together such a great experience.

For general tips about the park, including parking check out my Beginners Guide to Universal specifically at the Holidays.

Have you been to Harry Potter World or have a desire to go?