Doing My Best to Turn My Black Thumb Green

A year ago we moved into a new-to-us house. We fell in love with the house, but the yard was in rough shape. I mean rough! I wish I had taken before shots so you could see I'm not exaggerating. The back yard is two levels. You access the lower level via a steep, curving sidewalk. My husband calls it the luge run. When we bought the house, the lower lawn had turned wild--overgrown, waist-high grass and weeds, and every flowerbed and rock wall were wild and weedy.

Last year was about cutting it all back to the basics. The lawn was a bust, so it all had to come out and new sod brought in. The rest was a different story. There were too many beautiful plants that just needed freed from the chokehold of weeds and thistles and junk.

I've never been a good gardener. Every garden I've ever planted has died. I can't remember ever harvesting something edible. But I want to and I've tried time and time again. So it is with trepidation that I've looked out over the beautiful back yard we've found lying under all the overgrown stuff.

Please don't let me kill it. Please don't let me kill it! PLEASE DON'T LET ME KILL IT!!!

I want these trees and bushes and flowers to live and thrive. I love them. I've been out weeding, loosening the hard-packed dirt that clings to the roots I'm trying to pull out. I'm climbing rock walls and hauling out wheel-barrows of evil plants that want to strangle the flowers. I've been sorer than when I worked out with a trainer, and a few times my allergies have kicked in and I've looked like a prize fighter. 

But it's coming and I'm loving it and I'm browsing the internet for new plants, flowering ground cover that keeps weeds at bay, bushes that smell lovely, grasses that will add a little color to the planters in front, herbs and vegetables that can be grown in containers on the deck.

Is it possible to turn a middle-aged black thumb green? I sure hope so.

And now, for your springtime enjoyment (but mostly mine), here are a few of the pictures I've snapped in my back yard.

A Few of My Favorite Things

It's been a while since I did a favorite things post, and since I have good news to share, this seemed like a good time to put one together.

Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

Friday evening we were invited to a special cooking class/tasting dinner with award-winning chef, John Newman. As he prepared some incredible food, he used a tool that has now shot to the top of my Christmas list. I'd never heard of this tool. It's called a Sous Vide. Have you heard of it? It's used in the best restaurants and it's amazing. He had a plastic bin sitting on the counter with the Sous Vide in it. He'd slow cooked our pork tenderloin in it and it was so tender and delicious. I'd just about given up on ever cooking perfect pork tenderloin. The great thing is, it CAN'T overcook. It can sit in the waterbath all day long and never overcook, so dinner's ready whenever you want it to be. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? There are a variety of options available online, but this one was one of the less expensive ones and it gets great reviews, so next year, give me a call, and we'll have you to dinner. We'll serve perfect pork tenderloin! (If you get one before me, I'll let you cook for me.) Read more about it and pick yours up HERE.

3D Cities Coloring Book

My kids gave me a coloring book for Christmas that has quickly become my go-to coloring book. The pictures are bold, busy, and a blast to color. I'm working my way through the book. It's called 3D Coloring - Cities. It even comes with a silly little pair of 3D glasses that actually work. But the fun part is the coloring. You can get yours HERE or simply browse through the dozens of cool, adult coloring book options.

Here's one of my masterpieces. Looks fun, huh?

Opi Nail Lacquer in Put it in Neutral

The last several years, I sorta quit wearing any nail polish and only painted my toenails during sandal months. Then a few months ago, my nails started peeling and seemed really weak. I didn't want to use the bright colors I use on my toes on my fingernails, but I wanted something that would strengthen my nails and look natural and understated. I can't remember where I read about THIS brand and color, but I decided to give it a try and I LOVE IT! The great thing is, it lasts really well, too. It's an appropriate color for any occasion and any age and my nails are so much stronger and healthier. Give it a try.

Himalayan Salt Lamp

There all kinds of websites that will tell you the benefits of a Himalayan Salt Lamp. It's all about the ions and what it does to our energy and how it's a good antidote to all our electronics that are sucking the good stuff out of our air, and on and on. I'll let you read up on all that if you want, but I'll just tell you that if all they say is true, yay! Because I have one and I love it. But here's the thing. I'd want it even if all that wasn't true, because when it comes to a beautiful, warm, nightlight, there's nothing like it. It glows just enough to make my house safe when someone needs to get up for a drink of water or whatever. It's cozy and perfect for helping create hygge in my home, which is one of the things I'm trying to do this year. If you're looking for a moderately priced one, HERE is a good option.

Rejuvenate Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Our last house didn't have wood floors. This house does and I love them. But especially during the wet, winter months, they need a little extra attention. This is my wood floor's best friend and I quite like it because it's so stinking easy. Spray THIS lightly and then go over it with a dry swiffer and your wood floors will look shiny and beautiful. It doesn't take much to get the job done. One bottle lasts a long time. Your floors and your back will love you!

Maggie's Song

Finally, my favorite thing of all today is that you can now read Maggie's Song on it's own. Two years ago, Maggie's Song appeared in the Timeless Romance Anthology: Love Letters Collection. Today it's available on its own. Don't you love the cover? I made a few little changes to it, but it's still the same story. It's a novella. You'll be able to read it in an hour or two. But hopefully you'll be satisfied. It's Savannah's favorite thing I've ever written.  Maggie Jensen is part of a trio of best friends with Lucas and Dan. Together, they own and run Wild Country Hiking Tours. When Lucas returns to the company after getting his college degree, Maggie realizes that the crush she had on him as a teenager has now blossomed into so much more. But Lucas still treats her as one of the guys, and Maggie worries that if she tells him her real feelings, their relationship will be damaged forever.  Right now it's available HERE in ebook form. The print version will be available in the next couple of weeks.

What are some of your favorite things right now?

It's February! You Know What That Means


A New Book in The Power of the Matchmaker series: 

Lani has lived in Hana, Hawaii for five years. She's learned to surf, fish, dive, and manage her grandmother's bed and breakfast. She's also learned to take one day at a time the way it should be takenrelaxed and unrushed, savoring every moment.

But, like a large wave on the brink of breaking, her life is about to crash out of control. A proposal of marriage, a conniving grandmother, a cryptic Asian woman, and a handsome guest, and suddenly everything calm begins to churn, everything clear becomes confused, and all that was normal segues into peculiar.

As Lani struggles against the current to hold her ground, she realizes that she can either continue to fight and eventually lose, or take a take a leap of faith, hold her breath, and ride the wave wherever it takes her.

What people are saying:

Loved it! A great escape and like always a lovely story that drew me in and wouldn't let go until the very end. Highly recommend! Kathy,

A very quick and beautiful read that made me want to move here and live among the locals. Maureen,


Book Review -

Several years ago, I read Driven: An Autobiography. It was the story of Larry Miller, the businessman behind the car dealerships, movie theaters, and the Utah Jazz. It was fascinating and I recommended it to so many people. When I heard about this new book about Miller, I knew I wanted to read it. I hoped I'd enjoy it as much as I had Driven, and it didn't disappoint.
Behind The Drive is divided into ninety-nine short (most are three pages), first-hand stories of the men and women who knew Larry Miller. They range from former Jazz players, business associates, childhood friends, people who Larry and his wife helped, family members and more. The stories shed light the complicated, interesting man who died too young. They tell of his competitiveness, his work ethic, his fiery temper, his athletic ability (he played professional softball), his unusual management style, his integrity, and his generosity. I read many of the stories aloud to my husband or family. There is not only a lot to be admired from the experiences shared, there is also a lot to learn. For anyone who loves Salt Lake City (me), loves the Utah Jazz (me), has managed their own business (me), or loves hearing stories of flawed people who do great things (I'd like to think someday that will be me), this is a wonderful book to read. Read it in small doses or read it as you would a novel. Either way, I can just about guarantee, you'll find things that make you laugh and inspire you.

Get your copy HERE.

First of all, Happy New Year!!!

Secondly, today is release day for Broken Things to Mend.

I have to admit, I'm super nervous. It's the first full-length novel in the Power of the Matchmaker Series, and I don't want it to fizzle and die like last night's sparklers, I've been proud of everything I've released to this point in my writing life, but this one feels different. Maybe it's the tone the story took, maybe it's the flawed and broken characters, maybe it's that it stretched me when I wrote it, maybe it's that I fell hard for the setting (seriously, Sisters, Oregon is one of the loveliest little towns), or maybe it's a combination of those. Whatever it is, I'm really proud of this book.

I hope you enjoy it! 

Celia is in desperate need of a change--a change of scenery, a change of pace, and a complete redo of all relationships. Not knowing what else to do, she opens a map, closes her eyes, and lets fate decide her future. Then she packs her meager belongings and buys a one-way ticket to a little town on the fringes of Oregon's Deschutes National Forest called Sisters. She's wanted a family for years. Will she find one in Sisters? 

What Celia doesn't plan to find is a strange Chinese woman whose meddling ways keep throwing her in the path of a handsome, but reserved, forest ranger. But no matter how kind or dependable Silas seems to be, there are some things in Celia's past that neither of them can escape, and this time, the damage might be too much to mend.

What people are saying:

"Once I picked up Broken Thing To Mend, I was gone. From the first to the last page this one was a page-turner for me." - Maureen

"I think this is White's best work yet. I couldn't put it down. Loved it!" - Anne

Get your copy here.