Penny's Passion

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

What We've Been Watching

Hello there.  Welcome to Thinking Out Loud Thursday.  I'm having a hard time believing that we're already approaching the end of the week!  Today for Thinking Out  Loud Thursday I thought I'd share some of the things we've been watching ~

Last weekend on our date night, Eric and I saw the new Downton Abbey movie.  We both thought it was lovely.  Not too heavy, but just enough to make it meaningful.  Have you seen it?  I'd see it again.


Stanley Tucci's second season of Searching for Italy started and we love it!  It makes us long to return to Italy, roam around and eat all the food.  


We binged the series Candy.  It was slow at times, but we couldn't look away at the same time.  Jessica Biel does a great job and the story is so bizarre.


It's hockey playoff time!  We've been glued to the television watching our beloved St. Louis Blues in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs.  We are so hopeful for a repeat of the 2019 season when our team hoisted the cup! 


What's been on your watch lists?  We could use some recommendations for our next binge-watch.

Now it's your turn.  What are you thinking out loud?  Link up and share!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop - May 25, 2022

 Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop 4

Welcome to the third Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop of May 2022! Do you believe that we are coming up on Memorial Day? Oh, the time does fly!

Well, we are really glad that you came by to party with us this week. Here you will find inspiration from dozens of bloggers including recipes, home DIY, gardening, decor, family fun, traveling, fitness, and so much more.

A friendly reminder to our guests that as a courtesy to the hosts, we ask that you follow every host on at least one social media channel.  If you are a blogger, then be sure to link up below. You may be our next feature!

Before we get this party started, let's meet the hosts and check out this week's featured favorites.

Meet The Hosts
Blog Link Up Party

Please follow the hosts on at least 1 social media channel!

  1. Ahna - HAMMERS N HUGS | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  2. Anne & AnnMarie - SIMPLY 2 MOMS | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  3. Angela - THE SHORT ORDER COOK | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  4. Bev - ECLECTIC RED BARN | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  5. Cindy - SIMPLE STEPS FOR LIVING LIFE | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  6. Christin - MY HOMIER HOME | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  7. Emily - LeCULTIVATEUR | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  8. Jana - HARVESTING HOME | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  9. Penny - PENNY’S PASSION | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  10. Sinea - DUCKS ‘N A ROW | FB | IG | PINTEREST | TWITTER
  11. Tammy - MY LIFE ABUNDANT | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  12. Tara - STILETTOS AND SHIPLAP | IG | PINTEREST
Top Viewed

 Old fashioned flowers

Old Fashioned Flowers on a Sunday by Thrifting Wonderland

 Very Popular

colorful scene rock painting

Painting Rocks is Fun and They Make Great GIfts from Ducks 'n a Row

Thrifty plant stand ideas DIY

Thrifty DIY Plant Stand Ideas by My Life Abundant

 Life at the Lake

At The Lake from Life in Kentucky

Lilac Basket Centerpiece

Lilac Basket Centerpiece by Common Ground

Editor's Pick

summer chore chart printable

Summer Chore Chart Printables for Kids from Lamberts Lately

Be sure to grab our Specially Featured graphic below if your post was featured this week, and hyperlink it to this post on your blog or sidebar. We love showing you off!
wonderful wednesday blog hop
Let's Get This Party Started
  • Please follow all hosts on AT LEAST 1 of their social channels.
  • Add as many family-friendly posts as you would like to. NO Etsy shops, adult sites, or blog parties, please.
  • Visit others. Caring is sharing. Like, comment, and pin posts.
  • Party entries appear in REVERSE. This way your entries will be seen no matter when you arrive.
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Let's Party!

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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Five on Friday - May 20, 2022

Can you believe it's Friday already?  Holy smokes - this week flew by!  It's already time for Five on Friday ~

1.  Downton Abbey - A New Era
Today's an exciting day for Downton Abbey fans because their new movie is being released!  Downton Abbey - A New Era is the much-anticipated return of the family and staff we fell in love with when the show debuted in 2010.  In this movie, they go on a grand journey to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess' newly inherited villa.  I can't wait to see it!  As a matter of fact, we've already bought our tickets.


2.  Taco Bell Mexican Pizza
It was a sad day in November of 2020 when Taco Bell made the call to pull the Mexican Pizza from their menu.  Well, it's time to get happy because Taco Bell is bringing it back!  As of Thursday, you should be able to once again order a Mexican Pizza.  Best decision they've made in a long time!  We will definitely be swinging by their drive-through to get one this weekend.


3.  Candy
Last weekend we binged the entire limited series of Hulu's "Candy".  Have you seen it?  Jessica Biel plays the real-life character Candy Montgomery, who was from Texas and committed an unbelievable murder in the late 1970s.  Jessica's real-life husband, Justin Timberlake, is also in it.  We didn't even recognize him.  It wasn't until the next day when I was reading some stuff about the show that I learned Justin was in it!  If you're looking for something to watch, I would recommend this one.

We are huge fans of The Office!  I can't wait to hear what Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly) and Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin) have to say in their new book, The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There.  This might be one I listen to because it's read by Jenna and Angela.  Here's the summary from Amazon ~
An intimate, behind-the-scenes, richly illustrated celebration of beloved The Office co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey’s friendship, and an insiders' view of Pam Beesly, Angela Martin, and the iconic TV show. Featuring many of their never-before-seen photos.

Receptionist Pam Beesly and accountant Angela Martin had very little in common when they toiled together at Scranton’s Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. But, in reality, the two bonded in their very first days on set and, over the nine seasons of the series’ run, built a friendship that transcended the show and continues to this day. Sharing everything from what it was like in the early days as the show struggled to gain traction, to walking their first red carpet—plus exclusive stories on the making of milestone episodes and how their lives changed when they became moms—The Office BFFs is full of the same warm and friendly tone Jenna and Angela have brought to their Office Ladies podcast.

5.  Happy graduation...


Have a fabulous weekend!  Our date night plans include seeing the Downton Abbey movie.  We are also going to my parents to finally celebrate Mother's Day.  See you back next week!

In Case You Missed It

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

What I've Been Reading

It's time for another Thinking Out Loud Thursday where I share something I'm thinking out loud about and invite you to link up and do the same.  Today I'm sharing what I've been reading!

I always love having a few "real" paper books around, especially to take on vacation.  As much as I love my Kindle, I still love holding a book in my hands.  The Last Thing He Told Me was one of four I purchased last year for my vacation to Alabama.  I didn't get to it then and proceeded to carry it with me on trips to Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Florida, and then back to Alabama.  It's really made the rounds!  


My rating:  4 out of 5
This story held my interest and there were spots where I didn't want to stop reading.  The story mainly was believable and I did grow to love most of the characters.  The daughter, however, made me a bit crazy!  I would never have had as much patience as the stepmom Hannah did!  

Amazon Summary:
Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they’re also building a new future—one neither of them could have anticipated.

With its breakneck pacing, dizzying plot twists, and evocative family drama, The Last Thing He Told Me is a riveting mystery, certain to shock you with its final, heartbreaking turn.
Next up was a Kinde Unlimited freebie.  I had heard good things about Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe so I downloaded it for vacation.


My rating:  3.5 out of 5
A cute little story that was great to read on vacation.  Sometimes it was a bit predictable, but the author did throw in a couple twists I didn't see coming.  

Amazon Summary:
Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café.

It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about.

As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.
The next book was one I actually listened to.  Sometimes I have a hard time listening to books, but The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was a great listen!  


My rating:  4.5 out of 5
Evelyn Hugo was so intriguing that I had a hard time putting this one down.  The unpredictability made it so enticing!

Amazon summary:
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jump-start her career.

Summoned to Evelyn's Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late '80s and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn's life unfolds - revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love - Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn's story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique's own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid's signature talent for "creating complex, likable characters" (Real Simple), this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means - and what it takes - to face the truth.
Hardly ever do I finish four books in a month's time, but thanks to us being at the beach for a week I managed it this past month.  The fourth book was one for a book club I'm in.  This month was a classic read and the book chosen was Catcher in the Rye.   


My rating:  2 out of 5
Somehow I had managed to make it through high school and college without reading this classic.  If it hadn't been for the fact that I would be leading the book discussion at book club, I'm not sure I would have finished.  Does anybody love this one?  If so, I'd really like to hear the reasons.  Maybe I missed something.

Amazon summary:
Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger's New Yorker stories--particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme With Love and Squalor--will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is full of children. The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield.

Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.
Now it's your turn - what are you thinking out loud about today?  Link up and share!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop - May 18, 2022

 Spring Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop

Here you will find inspiration from dozens of bloggers including recipes, home DIY, gardening, decor, family fun, traveling, fitness, and so much more.

A friendly reminder to our guests that as a courtesy to the hosts, we ask that you follow every host on at least one social media channel.

If you are a blogger, then be sure to link up below. You may be our next feature!

Before we get this party started, let's meet the hosts and check out this week's featured favorites.

Meet The Hosts
Blog Link Up Party

Please follow the hosts on at least 1 social media channel!

  1. Ahna - HAMMERS N HUGS | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  2. Anne & AnnMarie - SIMPLY 2 MOMS | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  3. Bev - ECLECTIC RED BARN | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  4. Cindy - SIMPLE STEPS FOR LIVING LIFE | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  5. Christin - MY HOMIER HOME | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  6. Emily - LeCULTIVATEUR | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  7. Jana - HARVESTING HOME | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  8. Penny - PENNY’S PASSION | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  9. Sinea - DUCKS ‘N A ROW | FB | IG | PINTEREST | TWITTER
  10. Tammy - MY LIFE ABUNDANT | FB | IG | PINTEREST
  11. Tara - STILETTOS AND SHIPLAP | IG | PINTEREST
Top Viewed

Easter clearance deals

Easter Clearance Part 2 from My Thrift Store Addiction

Very Popular

Aged Potting and Pots

Beautiful DIY Vintage and Aged Potting and Pots Ideas from My Life Abundant

No Bake Pies

Vintage No-Bake Million Dollar Pie Recipe from Flour On My Face

Easy front door projects for summer

Easy Front Door DIY Projects for Summer from Blue Sky At Home

Editor's Picks

Custard cake recipe

Easy Custard Cake Recipe by Fat Dad Foodie

Be sure to grab our Specially Featured graphic below if your post was featured this week, and hyperlink it to this post on your blog or sidebar. We love showing you off!

wonderful wednesday blog hop
Let's Get This Party Started
  • Please follow all hosts on AT LEAST 1 of their social channels.
  • Add as many family-friendly posts as you would like to. NO Etsy shops, adult sites, or blog parties please.
  • Visit others. Caring is sharing. Like, comment, and pin posts.
  • Party entries appear in REVERSE. This way your entries will be seen no matter when you arrive.
  • Please TWEET our party and invite others to join.

Let's Party!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Five on Friday - May 13, 2022

What a week!  I'm so looking forward to having a couple days to regroup so I can take a run at the work week again.  Let's start the weekend off with my five ~

1.  National Apple Pie Day
Not that I need a reason to eat apple pie, but if you do today is your day.  It's National Apple Pie Day!  If making one isn't your thing, call a bakery and order one up.  You can't let this national day pass you by without celebrating it!


You can always count on Jennifer Weiner to give you a great summer read, and this summer is no different.  Her newest book, The Summer Place, was released this week and it's going straight on my TBR list.  Here's the summary from Amazon ~
When her twenty-two-year-old stepdaughter announces her engagement to her pandemic boyfriend, Sarah Danhauser is shocked. But the wheels are in motion. Headstrong Ruby has already set a date (just three months away!) and spoken to her beloved safta, Sarah’s mother Veronica, about having the wedding at the family’s beach house in Cape Cod. Sarah might be worried, but Veronica is thrilled to be bringing the family together one last time before putting the big house on the market.

But the road to a wedding day usually comes with a few bumps. Ruby has always known exactly what she wants, but as the wedding date approaches, she finds herself grappling with the wounds left by the mother who walked out when she was a baby. Veronica ends up facing unexpected news, thanks to her meddling sister, and must revisit the choices she made long ago, when she was a bestselling novelist with a different life. Sarah’s twin brother, Sam, is recovering from a terrible loss, and confronting big questions about who he is—questions he hopes to resolve during his stay on the Cape. Sarah’s husband, Eli, who’s been inexplicably distant during the pandemic, confronts the consequences of a long ago lapse from his typical good-guy behavior. And Sarah, frustrated by her husband, concerned about her stepdaughter, and worn out by challenges of life during quarantine, faces the alluring reappearance of someone from her past and a life that could have been.

When the wedding day arrives, lovers are revealed as their true selves, misunderstandings take on a life of their own, and secrets come to light. There are confrontations and revelations that will touch each member of the extended family, ensuring that nothing will ever be the same.

From “the undisputed boss of the beach read” (The New York Times), The Summer Place is a testament to family in all its messy glory; a story about what we sacrifice and how we forgive. Enthralling, witty, big-hearted, and sharply observed, this is Jennifer Weiner’s love letter to the Outer Cape and the power of home, the way our lives are enriched by the people we call family, and the endless ways love can surprise us.

3.  Trader Joe's Fancy Cheese Crunchies
On our last trip to Trader Joe's, we picked up a bag of fancy cheese crunchies.  Oh.My.Gosh!  They are so good!  The corn snacks have a cheese and truffle flavor, more truffle than cheese.  If you're a truffle-loving fan, you have got to try these!  They just might become a staple around our house.


Looking for a special gift for a graduate?  Birthday gift for a girlfriend?  Something for your very own self?  Check out this personalized stationery.  I love it!  Stationery is always nice to have on the ready when you need it.  Personalized stationery is even better.  With this set, you choose from 20 fonts for the personalization and 19 envelope colors.  Don't you want some?

5.  What a good idea...


Hope you have a wonderful weekend!  We are hoping to get unpacked from vacation and put all our beach stuff away.  Oh, and there is still all the laundry.  It will feel great to get it all done though.  Pop back in next week for more fun!

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

2022 Trip to Orange Beach, Alabama

Hi friends!  Thanks for stopping by Thinking Out Loud Thursday where I share something on my mind and invite you to link up and do the same.  Today I'm thinking about our vacation last week to Orange Beach, Alabama!

I was in desperate need of a vacation and Eric was more than happy to come along.  When we started talking about getting away for a week, I knew I wasn't going to have a lot of time to plan a trip.  So I fell back on a trip I took last year with my friend Linda and rented the exact same condo we stayed in less than a year ago.  The condo was located in the Regency Isle building in Orange Beach, Alabama.  It's a short walk on the beach to the infamous Florabama and sits right on the beach.  I was hopeful sitting on the balcony, overlooking the waves coming in on the white sand, would melt my stress and give me the fresh start I so desperately needed.


Our journey started bright and early on Saturday morning.  We were facing a 12-hour drive to our beach destination.  After crossing Illinois, we entered Kentucky.


From Kentucky, we drove straight into Tennessee.


Nashville was the perfect distance from our home to stop for lunch.  We love finding quirky little dining places and were drawn to Bare Bones Butcher.  This joint is a combination butcher shop and diner.  Word on the street was they have the best burgers in Nashville.  I would have to do more taste testing to confirm that, but I can attest to the fact that the burger was delicious!




It was great to get out of the car for a bit, but we still had a seven-hour drive in front of us.  We loaded back up and headed out.  

The next state we hit was Alabama!  We were getting closer to our final destination!


To get to the condo, we had to drive into Florida, then barely back into Alabama.


We pulled into our home-away-from-home for the week at about 8:30 pm.  The sun had already set for the day and we quickly unpacked the car and settled in.  

To be honest, the week didn't quite unfold like I had hoped it would.  Work kept me busy the majority of the time, but working from the beach did have its upside.  One was the view of the sunrises and sunsets!




The weather was gorgeous!  The beach was literally steps away from the condo, which made it easy to take a break and go for a walk on the sand and let the water wash over our feet.  




We also made it a habit to celebrate happy hour every day.  Why don't we do this at home?






We divided the time during the day when I wasn't working between sitting outside on the balcony and hanging out on the beach.  I'm not sure what it is, but the rhythm of the waves washing ashore is one of my most favorite things.  


We did break away one night to go on a dolphin cruise.  Eric did a little research and selected Surf's Up Dolphin Cruises.  Best decision ever!  We loaded our boat and took off for the open water on a beautiful evening.  This particular cruise company takes two boats out and when they spot dolphins, they position the boats on either side of them and cruise as fast as they can.  The dolphins love to play in the wake between the boats.  Boy did we see a show!  Can't say enough about this company.



Friday was the only day the weather wasn't perfect.  Honestly, I still loved sitting on the balcony watching the clouds roll in.  By late afternoon, the sun was out and we enjoyed our last day of vacation.  

I'm not going to pretend the vacation turned out to be the relaxing one I'd dreamed of, but it was still wonderful to have a change of scenery for a week! 

Now it's your turn - what are you thinking out loud about today?  Link up and share!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter