Penny's Passion: August 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Five on Friday - September 1, 2017

Happy Friday!  Let's hear it for September.  And welcome to a holiday weekend!  Eric and I have had a productive week and I'm ready for a little bit of relaxation over the weekend.  Of course, I've loaded my to-do list up with many, many more things than I know I could physically accomplish so we'll see how much relaxing actually gets done.  :)

It's been fun recapping our trip to Paris on the blog.  If you missed it, you can see Day 1 HERE and Day 2 HERE.  More Paris updates will be coming next week, but today is Friday and you know what that means -- Five on Friday!  So here's my five for this week.

1.  National Food Bank Day
National Food Bank Day is timed perfectly this year because our friends in Texas could use all the help they can get.  Hurricane Harvey has left thousands of people not knowing where their next meal will be coming from.  Please consider celebrating this national day by giving to the following organizations:   Galveston County Food Bank, Food Bank of Corpus Christi, and the Houston Food Bank.

National Food Bank Day - First Friday in September

2.  Tulip Fever
We just saw a preview for this film on our date night Tuesday and it looks very intriguing.  Tulip Fever opens today.  Rotten Tomatoes says this about the film, "In 17th Century Amsterdam, an orphaned girl (Alicia Vikander) is forcibly married to a rich and powerful merchant (Christoph Waltz) - an unhappy "arrangement" that saves her from poverty. After her husband commissions a portrait, she begins a passionate affair with the painter (Dane DeHaan), a struggling young artist. Seeking to escape the merchant's ever-reaching grasp, the lovers risk everything and enter the frenzied tulip bulb market, with the hope that the right bulb will make a fortune and buy their freedom."

My friend Linda loaned me this book and I was hooked from the first sentence.  Here's the summary from Amazon, "Madeleine is trapped—by her family's expectations, by her controlling husband, and by her own fears—in an unhappy marriage and a life she never wanted. From the outside, it looks like she has everything, but on the inside, she fears she has nothing that matters.

In Madeleine’s memories, her grandmother Margie is the kind of woman she should have been—elegant, reserved, perfect. But when Madeleine finds a diary detailing Margie’s bold, romantic trip to Jazz Age Paris, she meets the grandmother she never knew: a dreamer who defied her strict, staid family and spent an exhilarating summer writing in caf├ęs, living on her own, and falling for a charismatic artist.

Despite her unhappiness, when Madeleine’s marriage is threatened, she panics, escaping to her hometown and staying with her critical, disapproving mother. In that unlikely place, shaken by the revelation of a long-hidden family secret and inspired by her grandmother’s bravery, Madeleine creates her own Parisian summer—reconnecting to her love of painting, cultivating a vibrant circle of creative friends, and finding a kindred spirit in a down-to-earth chef who reminds her to feed both her body and her heart.

Margie and Madeleine’s stories intertwine to explore the joys and risks of living life on our own terms, of defying the rules that hold us back from our dreams, and of becoming the people we are meant to be."

Click HERE to check it out.


4.  Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat
Fall is on everyone's mind so bring on all the pumpkin flavored everything.  Nestle jumped on the wagon this year with pumpkin pie flavored Kit Kats.  Have you spotted these babies in the store yet?  If so, go ahead and break yourself off a piece of that pumpkin pie Kit Kat.  Enjoy!  

5.  Did you know.....

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Have a great weekend!  We are having dinner with Ian and Kayla tonight and I'm going to a party on Sunday afternoon.  I'm looking forward to getting a couple craft projects tackled and some organizing done (it's really cleaning, but I like the sound of "organizing" better).  See you back next week!

Linking up with:
Simply Sweet Home
High Five for Friday
5 on Friday
Oh My Heartsie Girl
This post contained affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase.  Thanks!

Friday Favorites - September 1, 2017

Welcome September!  It's hard to believe that the summer months are behind us and we're heading into fall.  Hope you enjoy the link ups today and have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:
Jerri at Simply Sweet Home - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Maisy at Becoming Alice - FB | G+ | Pin
Sheree at Stage Presents - Twitter | FB | Pin | Inst | Inst
Lisa at Condo Blues - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Penny at Penny's Passion - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Kelly at Under a Texas Sky - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL
If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!
You can show your love for this week's favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!
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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Paris - Day Deux

Welcome to Thinking Out Loud Thursday.  I'm continuing my recap of vacation and I'm thinking out loud about our trip to Normandy today.

Day two of vacation started bright and early.  We had booked a tour to Normandy from ParisCityVisions and the driver was picking us up at the hotel at 6:30 am.  Just a side note - you can go through Ebates to book any of the tours through ParisCityVisions and earn 2.5% cash back.  Bonus!

Our driver was right on time, we loaded up in the van and picked up a few other people at their hotels before arriving at the ParisCityVisions headquarters.  There we were routed to the luxury air-conditioned coach that would be transporting us to Normandy.

Touring Normandy was on Eric's top five things he wanted to do while we were in France.  We chose to do this tour on Monday because our plan was to get museum passes which had to be used on consecutive days, which meant if we went to Normandy on Monday we would have Tuesday through Friday to use our four-day museum passes.

After the two plus hour drive northwest of Paris, we arrived in the Caen and toured the Caen Memorial Museum.  This museum is dedicated to the D-Day landings and the Second World War.  Most of the displays focused on the British liberation of the city.  Honestly, we both agreed we could have skipped this portion of the tour.

Lunch was included in our tour, which as served at this museum.  The food was not blog worthy and was very disappointing.  Take me back to the cafes to Paris!  By the expressions on our fellow tourists, I got the impression they were thinking the same thoughts.  The saving grace to the whole meal was the wine!

After lunch, we loaded up and headed to Pointe du Hoc, the American Rangers' landing site.  Pointe du Hoc is the only location to still house the German emplacements from the Atlantic wall. To stand in the very spot the enemy stood, shooting at our troops was unnerving.  I can't begin to comprehend how those men felt on that June day.

Over seventy years later, the landscape is dotted with the huge craters left from the heavy artillery and aerial bombardment.

Our next destination was Omaha Beach.  On our drive to Omaha Beach, many of the homes along the way flew the American Flag.  It made me so proud to be an American.

The most touching of our stops for me was the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer.  To see rows and rows of headstones representing our American soldiers who lost their lives defending our country was almost overwhelming.  This pristine 172.5 acre cemetery holds 9,387 American lives.

If you've seen the movie Saving Private Ryan, you know that two of the Niland brothers had died.  They are buried side by side at this American Cemetery.  They are just one of 45 set of brothers buried here.

Our time was really not long enough at this site to explore the grounds and museum as thoroughly as we would have liked.  We rushed through the museum and was sad we didn't have more time to view the exhibits.  What we did see was very impressive.  

On our trip back to Paris, you couldn't help but reflect on the sacrifices our soldiers and their families made to ensure the freedoms we enjoy today.  Seeing the actual locations where battles were fought and men had lost their lives was such a humbling experience.  

So what's on your mind today?  Feel free to link up below and share what you are thinking out loud about today.

Paris - Day Un

Several of you having been asking me when I was going to start posting about our trip to Paris.  Well, it starts today!  After several drafts and many rewrites, I've decided to just go day by day and give you a rundown of what filled our days in the City of Lights.

I'm not going to lie, I just don't feel comfortable writing posts titled things like The Best Way to See Paris, 10 Things You Must See in Paris - you get the idea.  We loved our vacation, but what we did (and loved) might sound horrid to others.  So today I'm going to tell you about our first day and if you're planning a trip to Paris, maybe some of this will help you.

Day Un (1)
We arrived in Paris on Sunday morning a couple hours later than anticipated due to flight delays.  I had arranged a car through our hotel to pick us up at the airport, but they were not able to wait for our arrival.  Luckily, after a phone call from the airport courtesy phone to the car company, they arrived and scooped us up.

We had a wonderful driver who pointed out many attractions on the way to our hotel, Hotel Duquesne Eiffel.  The first site of the Eiffel Tour took my breath away!

He also drove by Arc de Triomphe.  This structure was inaugurated in 1836.  It just amazes me that this monument has been standing for 181 years!!  There's not many structures in the US we can say that about.

We also drove by the tunnel and memorial to Princess Diana.  After sitting mesmerized looking at this location on my television in 1997, it was quite eerie to see it in person.

Upon arriving at Hotel Duquesne Eiffel, we got the delightful news that our room had been upgraded.  Don't you love hearing that when you check in!!  This adorable little boutique hotel is wonderfully placed between the Eiffel Tower and Dome des Invalides (Napoleon's tomb).  Since the Eiffel Tower was my draw to going to Paris, I wanted a hotel with a view of the magnificent structure.  Trust me, waking up and peeking out the window to see it daily made my heart happy.  It's twinkling lights were also the last thing we saw before turning in at night.

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After relishing the view from our room, we headed out to check out what would be our neighborhood for the next week.  We gravitated to the Eiffel Tower and after a quick 10 minute walk found ourselves under it.

Our stomachs soon made us aware that we needed food.  On our stroll back towards the hotel, we had many outdoor cafes to choose from.  Our pick was Le Champ de Mars.  It was located at the peek of a wedged street and looked inviting.

We had wine, of course! And our first bowl of French Onion Soup of the week.  It was delicious!  We also ordered a plate of meat and cheese.  Both of us were a little underwhelmed.  But the deliciousness of the soup made up for the lack of love for it.

At this point, we were TIRED and headed back to the hotel for a quick nap.  The long flight and time difference had caught up to us.  The two hours we napped were well spent because when we woke up we were ready to head back out and do more exploring.  The beauty of Paris is everywhere you look and we were content just randomly walking up and down streets.

Walking the streets of Paris was everything I had hoped it would be.  The sites and smells were so stimulating.  We walked around a bit, popped in another cafe for dinner and headed back to the hotel.  We wanted to get a good night's sleep because we were headed to Normandy bright and early on Monday morning.

By the way, I booked our flight and hotel as a package deal from Travelocity.  We got an excellent price and had no issues whatsoever with them.  Check them out if you are looking for good prices.

Linking Up With

Monday, August 28, 2017

Weekending - August 25, 2017

Wow - what a great weekend.  First I must say, while we were having a fantastic weather weekend in the St. Louis area, the people in the Houston area were heavy on my mind.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as the clean up begins and life tries to get back to normal.

Our big news of the weekend was Ian and Kayla adopted a new kitten!!  His name is Albus and he is as cute as can be!  I visited on Saturday while Eric was at work and then we visited again on Sunday so Eric could meet the little guy.

He's so playful and fun!  And I believe he's pretty darn photogenic too.

Backing up to the beginning of the weekend, Friday night was beautiful and we hit up an art fair in Fairview Heights with my friends Tracy and Sherri.  As the sun set, we meandered through the artists tents to check out the creations.

Saturday morning Eric and I had a bit of time before he had to head off to work so we spent it seeing a movie.  We picked All Saints starring John Corbett as pastor Michael Spurlock.  Michael was sent to a small church to shut it down, but the arrival of a group of refugees shake things up a bit.  This inspiring true store is definitely worth a watch.  Don't forget to bring tissues.  Lots of tissues.  If you have an ounce of humanity in you, you will be touched by this film.

Eric headed to work and I headed over to meet my new grandkitten.  I couldn't resist making a goody bag for the new addition to our family.

I bolted out of church on Sunday and rushed to book club.  My book club is a club that really doesn't talk about books.  We get together once a month and talk about everything under the sun and occasionally we get around to talking about what people have been reading.  So I like to refer to this group as my non-book book club.  Regardless, I love getting together with this group of gals and try not to miss our monthly gatherings.

When Eric got off work, we headed over to Ian and Kayla's so Eric could meet Albus.  I would say the meeting went quite well!

We left their house and ran around doing some errands.  Just in case you missed the news, Beauty Brands is having their annual Lash Bash.  My favorite is Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 mascara and it normally sells for $23.  So excited to pick up a few at $10.99!

Lash Bash

Sunday night we cleared the DVR of shows we needed to catch up on and got ready to start the work week.  It's hard to believe that this is the week before Labor Day.  Summer has flown by!  As much as I love Fall, I'm still a little sad when Summer comes to an end.

Hope you have a wonderful week and enjoy the last few days of August!

Check out what others were up to this weekend.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Five on Friday - August 25, 2017

Happy Friday!  This week has flown by for me.  How about for you?  We had the excitement of the eclipse on Monday.  On Tuesday Eric and I watched our friends' son play in a Frontier League baseball game.  Then on Wednesday I met a friend I hadn't seen in 8 years for dinner while she was in St. Louis on business.  Whew - it's been a fun, but fast week!

I barely had time to get my five together for this week, but here they are ~

1.  National Kiss and Make Up Day
Do you have someone in your life that you haven't spoken to and it's been so long you don't even remember why?  Well, today is your day to put that behind you.  It's National Kiss and Make Up Day!!  End the quarrels, the arguments, the fights and make up!

2.  Cookies and Screeem M&M's
You might want to add a trip to Target to your to-do list this weekend so you can pick up a bag of these M&M's Cookies & Screeem treats.  We now have Oreo flavored M&M's!!  These little babies have white chocolate centers and dark chocolate coatings all covered in a black and white speckled shell.  Sounds pretty darn tasty to me!

3.  All Saints
John Corbett is hitting the big screen today in All Saints.  Here's the summary from Movie Guide:

ALL SAINTS is a powerful story that’s very heartrending and entertaining. Pastor Michael is on fire for God. When a group of Burmese Karen Anglican refugees show up at his church, his heart goes out to them. Praying about how to feed and take care of them, Michael hears from God that they should turn the beautiful land around the church into a farm. After alienating the big box store trying to buy the land, he convinces the church council to give him until January to make a go of the farm and the church. That is easier said than done.

ALL SAINTS is extremely well-directed and acted. It’s not a big action adventure, but the jeopardy is intense and the dialogue is real. The strong Christian faith in the movie, which leads to signs and wonders, is to be applauded. Although it has a few ambivalent comments, they are very few. The story is uplifting. ALL SAINTS is a must-see movie for people who want stories with faith and values and people who need stories with faith and values.

Sounds like this would be an excellent pick for a family movie night!  It's definitely on my list to see.

4.  Whisk Wiper
It's no secret I have a soft spot for gadgets, but this one looks super cool.  The Whisk Wiper scraps not only your whisk, but the bowl too!  No more batter all over the counter tops.  Click HERE to check it out.  This one comes with a whisk for a perfect fit.

5.  True statement...

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Now let's get through Friday and start the weekend!!  Eric and I are joining some friends for the Midwest Salute to the Arts tonight in Fairview Heights, IL.  If you are looking for a fun outdoor activity this weekend, head to Everett Moody Park in Fairview Heights!  A hundred artists will be gathered to display (and sell) their creations all weekend long.  There is also a great entertainment line up.  Visit their website (HERE) for a full list of activities.  It's fun for the whole family!  

Linking up with:
Simply Sweet Home
High Five for Friday
5 on Friday
Oh My Heartsie Girl
This post contained affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase.  Thanks!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Friday Favorites - August 25, 2017

How did Friday get here so fast?!?  It's predicted that we are going to have great weather in St. Louis over the weekend.  I'm looking forward to kicking back and reading all your links.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:
Jerri at Simply Sweet Home - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Maisy at Becoming Alice - FB | G+ | Pin
Sheree at Stage Presents - Twitter | FB | Pin | Inst | Inst
Lisa at Condo Blues - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Penny at Penny's Passion - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Kelly at Under a Texas Sky - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL
If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!
You can show your love for this week's favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!
And if you love all of this week's favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week's linky party!

Thinking Out Loud Thursday - August 24, 2017

It's time for Thinking Out Loud Thursday!  Hope you link up below and share what's on your mind today.

I'm still thinking about our trip to Paris.  It was such a wonderful vacation and I would be lying if I said I was glad to be home.  Wandering around the city of lights was awe inspiring.  It was our first trip to Paris and it was all we had dreamed it would be.

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Eric and I each made a list of five "must do" things we hoped to get accomplished on this vacation.  Here's our lists ~

Eric's List
See the Eiffel Tower
Eat pastries

Penny's List
Have a picnic under the Eiffel Tower
Take a river cruise
Enjoy the street cafes

Happy to report that we were each able to check off all the items on our lists!

I'll be sharing our experiences over the next few weeks.  For now, let me just share some of our photos ~

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We did many more things that weren't on our top five, but I'm so glad we had the list and checked off the items.  The one thing I didn't want to happen was to be on the flight home and talk about the things we wished we would have done.  We may have had long days, but in the end they were so worth it!  

What are some things you do to make sure your vacation is all you want it to be?  I would love to hear your secrets!

Enjoy more Thoughts for Thursday at: