Mandy Wrangles_2_tnUp, Up and Away (almost!). I’m going on an adventure. Well, not just me. My whole in-law family – sixteen Wrangles in one place. Eight adults and just as many children. Could be scary, but definitely fun.

 

 

hot dogsWe’ve been counting down to this big trip for years and years now; we wanted to wait until the youngest grandchild was old enough to remember the holiday of a lifetime. Problem was, we all just kept on having kids. These days, the youngest family member is almost six and the oldest nudging his late 60′s.

So where are we off to? The United States. Yep, Disneyland, New York, Vegas and Hawaii with a few more stops in between. I’ll be blogging my way around, testing plenty of iconic food, and reporting back here. I’m looking forward to the Hot Dogs (and corn dogs) in Central Park, as well as checking out the famous New York cronut. Clam Chowder in San Fransisco, tacos in San Diego.

So who’s got some tips for me? We’ll be checking out plenty of street food as well as some fine dining. What fabulous American food must I absolutely try?

 



Bel and J_Hachette Photo Book PicThe Laini Taylor event at Hachette Australia.

Joelene and I walked the 50 or so steps to the event from our hotel early and were pleasantly surprised to see we weren’t the only bloggers to turn up early. We jumped in the lift and scooted to the correct floor, and were met with a wall of awesome books, separated into colours and spelt out Read.

We were whisked away into the room where the event would be held and was greeted by Ashleigh and a handful of other wonderfully cheerful people who have quite possibly the best job in Australia. We were handed drinks, encouraged to eat up big from the snack tables (savory and lollies) and partake in the photo booth set up for the evening.

There was a book hunt around the room, which was scattered with bookshelves boasting some of Hachette’s best books on the market. There was a questionnaire to be filled out for the chance to win a lucky door prize and we all wracked our brains as to what our favourite book of all time was.

We were encouraged to tweet about the evening with the hashtag #dabdaenight and by the conclusion of the event 5 winners were picked from the room for an extra goody bag to say thank you, and our little event was trending on twitter, so the girls that won it must have been burning up their smart phones.

Before we were introduced to Laini we were given a lovely spiel about some of the newly released books from Hachette and books to watch for in the near future.

Now came Laini. The pictures on the back of her books do not do that hair colour justice. It is high vis, neon, highlighter PINK! Her dress had VW beetles on it and you know what, I think it is just perfectly wonderful. Laini is no stuffy woman to be left in a corner, though she spoke of having to escape to hotels to finish writing Dreams of Gods and Monsters, so perhaps she’s able to hide when she needs to.

There were questions from the bloggers and then the line up began for the signing. Laini even ducked away to the photo booth a couple of times with a few of the bloggers.

Joelene and Bel smThe one writer’s tip I took away from the event was to finish what you start. Laini has a big heart and a great sense of humour.

On our way out, we were handed our goodie bags  as a thank you from Hachette for attending the event, as if getting to walk the halls of Hachette and meeting Laini Taylor wasn’t already enough.

Included in the bag was Advance copies of Holly Black’s book (due later in 2014) The Darkest Part of the Forest, and Jessica Sorensen’s book, The Secret of Ella and Micha. Jessica is touted as the queen of teen romance, and as the book mark we got in with the pack states, Jessica is a New York Times Best Selling Author.

There were  other delightful things to be found in the goody bag as well. Nail polish and a tinted lip balm from Natio. A tube of Lanolips, a can of Cedel dry shampoo, and a pouch of facial wipes from Natural Organic rounded out the beauty products.

SONY DSCThen for a snack there was a box of the most delicious cookies ever from Spotted Cow Cookies in the flavour White Chocolate and Macadamia, and Jelly Belly  jellybeans had supplied us with a couple of bags of jellybeans. Om nom.  This was all topped off with a few Date a Book badges from Hachette and was all presented in a beautifully sturdy calico bag with Hachette Australia emblazoned on the front pocket. 

All in all, I adored the event and the people at Hachette were perfectly delightful. They all love their job and I would say we are all jealous of their success at one of Australia’s leading publishing houses.

Thank you for inviting us Ashleigh. We hope to be invited to attend another event soon. You and your team made a dynamic and memorable event.

Y’all are made of awesome!



forman_dayJust One Day is exactly that! It follows Allyson’s single crazy, adventurous day in Paris with a complete stranger named Willem. She meets him during a street performance while Allyson and her best friend are trying to get away from their boring Teen Tour across Europe. She doesn’t know much about him, except that he is a Dutch actor and takes parts in Shakespearean street plays.

Allyson is still disappointed about the Teen Tour cancelling their plans to Paris due to flight issues. But, having finished up the tour with her best friend, the two girls are getting ready to travel this last weekend of their trip on their own. But Allyson can’t believe her eyes when Willem is standing right next to her at the train station!

She also can’t believe her ears when Willem offers to take her to Paris, promising to have her back by the next day. And, finally, Allyson can’t believe herself when she agrees to go.

Allyson usually doesn’t do this kind of thing. Her mum practically controls her life, and has a colour-coded calendar planning out all her activities and events. Allyson has never done anything this crazy on her own…but it’s about time she does!

Allyson and Willem spend the afternoon sightseeing, eating, and roaming even the smallest streets of Paris. The two finally find a place to settle down and stay for the night, but Allyson can’t ignore the feelings that have started washing over her since the day before when she saw him perform. And throughout those hours of exploring together, those feelings have just multiplied for Allyson.

…she can only hope that he feels the same way…

But when Allyson wakes up the next morning, she wakes up alone. Willem is nowhere to be seen, and doesn’t answer when Allyson calls for him. She has no choice but to leave. She’s hurt and unsure of why Willem would take her to Paris, kiss her, and then just leave her like that.

Allyson might never truly know why…

My biggest worry about Just One Day was the layout. I had no idea how the author was going to write a whole story based simply on a single day. But, to my surprise, it didn’t work that way at all. Yes, about a third of the book is focused on the day Allyson and Willem share together, savouring the good moments. The remaining two thirds of the book speeds through the aftermath of this day.

I liked how it was organised. I was worried I would get bored quickly if the entire book took place in one day. But, in the end, we got the chance to let good parts of the story melt on our tongues while the sour parts were washed away!

Overall, I enjoyed the characters, especially Allyson! At first I didn’t understand why in the WORLD she would leave with a stranger and go to Paris for a day and night, but after meeting her mum it seemed like the obvious decision.

I don’t want to say anything about the ending, but if you plan on picking this book up soon, you have a truly AMAZING story ahead of you!



Lisa-Smith_tnMy Dad’s FAVOURITE Apple Pie Recipe. I usually like shorter and faster recipes, but the work and wait is well worth it for this AMAZING apple pie!!~Lisa Smith

 

 

apple pieIngredients:

Pie Crust:

  • 2 ½ cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 sticks of cold butter (cut into small squares)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 7 teaspoons of ice water
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Pie Filling:

  • 6-8 apples
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions:

In a blender, combine the flour, salt, and cold butter for only a few seconds at a time. The end result should look like coarse crumbs. Add in the ice water as well as the vinegar, continue to blend until the dough comes together a bit.

Pour out the mixture, divide it into two, and roll them into balls. Flatten them, wrap them in clear plastic, and allow them to cool in the refrigerator.

While your dough is cooling, starts washing, peeling, and cutting your apples into thin slices. I know this takes a bit of time, but trust me, it’s worth it! ESPECIALLY if you have someone in your family that LOVES apple pie!

Take your slices and put them into a large bowl. Add the white sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cornstarch, and lemon juice, mix well. Give it a taste, and add more cinnamon or nutmeg if you need to!

While you let your apples stand for a bit, take out your dough and roll them both flat. Put one of these flat pieces of dough into your nine inch pie pan. Make sure there are no holes and that the dough goes all the way up to the edge of your pan.

Fill your pan with your apples! Even pour the juice in the bottom of the bowl in! It’s delicious!

Add two tablespoons of butter then cover your apples with the second piece of flat dough. You’re almost done! All you have left to do is to press together the bottom and top pieces of dough, making sure that there aren’t any openings.

Take your beaten egg and brush it on top of your apple pie. Cut a few slits on the top to let the air out while baking, and throw it in the oven at 375 F for about an hour!

Allow your pie to cool, or eat it hot with a scoop of ice cream!

 

 



Urban Outfitters is a really popular online teen fashion outlet. We’re pretty impressed with their current sweater range. See what you think.

urban_sweat 1      urban 3

urban 4 urban 2

 


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