Penny's Passion: 2024

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop - July 17, 2024


  3. Sinea – DUCKS ‘N A ROW | FB | IG | PINTEREST | X



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Thursday, July 11, 2024

Five on Friday - July 12, 2024

 Hello!  Welcome to Five on Friday.  Let's get right to it ~

1.  Fly Me to the Moon
Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tutum's new movie, Fly Me to the Moon, released today and it looks worthy of a trip to the theater!  Besides Scarlett and Channing, the film also has Woody Harrelson and Ray Ramono.  Here's the summary from Fandango ~
Starring Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum, Fly Me To The Moon is a sharp, stylish romantic comedy set against the high-stakes backdrop of NASA’s historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Brought in to fix NASA’s public image, sparks fly in all directions as marketing maven Kelly Jones (Johansson) wreaks havoc on launch director Cole Davis’s (Tatum) already difficult task. When the White House deems the mission too important to fail, the countdown truly begins…

I'm excited to add Emily Giffin's new book, The Summer Pact, to my reading list.  It sounds like the perfect book to have on vacation!  Here's the summary ~
Four freshmen arrive at college from completely different worlds: Lainey, a California party girl with a flair for drama; Tyson, a brilliant scholar and aspiring lawyer from Washington, D.C.; Summer, an ambitious, recruited athlete from the Midwest; and Hannah, a mild-mannered southerner who is content to quietly round out the circle of big personalities. Soon after arriving on campus, they strike up a conversation in their shared dorm, and the seeds of friendship are planted.

As their college years fly by, their bond intensifies and the four become inseparable. But as graduation nears, their lives are forever changed after a desperate act leads to tragic consequences. Stunned and heartbroken, they make a pact, promising to always be there for one another, no matter how separated they may become by circumstances or distance.

Ten years later, Hannah is anticipating what should be one of the happiest moments of her life when everything is suddenly turned upside down. Calling on her closest friends, it soon becomes clear that they are all facing their own crossroads. True to their promise, they agree to take a time out from lives headed in wrong directions and embark on a shared journey of self-discovery, forgiveness, and acceptance.

In this tender portrayal of grief, love, and hope, Emily Giffin asks: When things fall apart, who will be at our sides, helping us pick up the pieces?
The Olympics are coming!  When the Olympics happen, my whole world revolves around the games.  How fun would it be to have these Reese's shaped medals around to snack on while you're watching all the action!?!  If I put together Olympic goody bags, these are definitely going in them.  Do you have an Olympic event coming up?  Better stock up with some Reese's medals!

Are the kiddos starting to wear you down this summer?  Need a quiet activity for them to do?  Check out this hidden picture puzzle book!  I'm getting ready for my niece and nephews to visit and am stocking up on fun things to keep them busy when we have downtime.  There will be four kiddos here and while one is taking a bath or finishing breakfast, the others can search for the hidden pictures.  I think they will love it!

5.  Simply fact...

Have a great weekend!  I'm working with my next bride tonight to get their save-the-dates ready to go.  Speaking of brides, I blogged about the wedding we did in May this week.  If you missed it, you can see it HERE.  Sunday we are celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary!  Boy, did those years go by quickly.  See you next week!

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Sarah and Travis Get Married

Welcome to Thinking Out Loud Thursday.  It's a time when I talk about something I'm thinking about and invite you to link up and do the same.  Today I'm reflecting on a wedding we coordinated this past May!

On a beautiful day in May, Sarah and Travis had the most magical wedding and reception.  I had worked with the couple for almost a year getting ready for their big day and the planning paid off.  Their wedding was beautiful!  Let's take a look ~

Photo credit: Rachel Myers Photography

Luckily, my friend TW came into town to help pull off this event.  People often ask what we do when coordinating a wedding and the answer is whatever it takes to make the day a dream come true for the bride and groom!  For this wedding, we did many of the paper products like invitations, menues, programs, welcome sign, table numbers, etc., etc., etc.  

Sarah chose The Jewel Box at Forest Park in St. Louis for their ceremony venue.  It was a great decision!  The botanicals made the most beautiful background for their nuptials.

As the guests trickled in, they were welcomed with the beautiful music of a harpist, Sonja Westberg, and violinist.  It set the stage for the wonderful event about to happen.  

Programs were available at the entrance ~

After an exquisite wedding ceremony, everyone traveled to the reception site at the St. Clair Country Club in Belleville, Illinois.  The bride did a quick dress change into her reception dress and we were ready for the evening!

In place of a traditional guest book, guests were asked to leave a message on the mat of a picture of the Jewel Box.  I personally love this idea!  

Guests could drop their cards in a vintage mailbox ~

We also had welcome table set up with pictures of the bride and groom's parents and grandparents wedding pictures.  

Everyone could find their table from the seating chart displayed in the lobby ~

Inside the reception area, the flowers by Flora Milou transformed the space into something magical ~

An element I love to do at weddings is creating a little basket of essentials for the ladies restroom ~

Another element that's becoming very popular at weddings is creating a QR code for guests to share their pictures.  This is such a great idea!  Sarah used Never Miss Moments.  We shared the code on the menus and had on signs at the bar.

Desserts at receptions have been all over the place lately, but I have to say I love a good old fashion wedding cake.  Sarah and Travis's cake was gorgeous and delicious!

The party was taken up a notch when the light sticks came out!  Everyone loves these things!

I can't thank my two wedding buddies enough for all their help pulling off the decorating, organizing, glueing and everything else needed to make this wedding a success.  Thanks Eric and TW!

Good luck Sarah and Travis!  I wish you a lifetime of happy memories and blessings.

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

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Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop - July 10, 2024

Welcome to the Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop!  We are so glad that you stopped by.

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.

  3. Sinea – DUCKS ‘N A ROW | FB | IG | PINTEREST | X



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! 

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Sunday, July 7, 2024

Let There Be Light!

We've recently purchased some fantastic lighting from Amazon, and I'm thrilled to share it with you! 

First up are our outdoor landscaping lights.  We hoped to light the front and sides of our house without spending a small fortune on electric lighting.  Many of the solar lights we saw didn't do it for me because I had a problem with the lighting color.  Then we saw these lights and fell in love with them!  Their warm white light was just what I was looking for!  

These particular lights come with adjustable poles so you can select the height of your lights.  They were super simple to assemble and install.  We could not be more happy with our new landscaping lights!

Next up is our new under-counter lighting.  We had push button, battery-powered lights and they were fine.  Our new lights are GREAT!  We saw them in action at our friend Sherri's house and the first thing I did when we got home was to order them for our kitchen.  

I love the look of under-counter lights, but again didn't want to hire an electrician to outfit our cabinets with electric lighting.  These are rechargeable and so easy to install!  You can set them to stay on or activate when there's motion.  

Now that we've tried these lights in our kitchen, next up is putting them in our closets.  How nice will it be to open the closet door and the light pop on!  

Years ago, we bought outlet covers with built-in lights. They've illuminated the bottom of our stairs and hallways beautifully. They were easy to install and have worked perfectly since day one.

We are all lit up now with our lighting from Amazon!  These small additions have made a huge difference in lighting at our house.  

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Five on Friday - July 5, 2024

Hope everyone is enjoying this 4th of July holiday!  I love having a long weekend to kick off July.  Now on to Five on Friday ~

1.  Forever Postage Stamps
On July 14 the cost of Forever postage stamps will be raised from 68 cents to 73 cents.  I like having a stockpile of stamps on hand for when I mail cards and letters.  Now is a great time to replenish my supply before the cost goes up.  If you like sending cards and letters or if you have a big project coming like save the dates or event invitations, now would be the perfect time for you to stock up too!
Liz Moore's fifth novel came out this week and it is titled The God of the Woods.  It sounds like a captivating mystery!  Who needs to add a mystery book to their summer reading?  I do!  Here's the summary ~
Early morning, August 1975: a camp counselor discovers an empty bunk. Its occupant, Barbara Van Laar, has gone missing. Barbara isn’t just any thirteen-year-old: she’s the daughter of the family that owns the summer camp and employs most of the region’s residents. And this isn’t the first time a Van Laar child has disappeared. Barbara’s older brother similarly vanished fourteen years ago, never to be found.

As a panicked search begins, a thrilling drama unfolds. Chasing down the layered secrets of the Van Laar family and the blue-collar community working in its shadow, Moore’s multi-threaded story invites readers into a rich and gripping dynasty of secrets and second chances. It is Liz Moore’s most ambitious and wide-reaching novel yet.
Our friend Sherri introduced us to these fabulous under-counter lights and we couldn't wait to get them!  We had battery-powered push-button lights before these.  We loved those, but were constantly having the change the batteries.  These are rechargeable and motion-activated!  Those two features alone make them hands down better than our old lights.  They are super simple to install and do not require any drilling or special tools.  Next - our closets maybe?

Tired of your towel falling off the back of your beach chair?  Check out these adorable bands that hold your towels in place!  They are packable and a definite upgrade from the clips I used to use.  And the patterns are so darn cute!  
5.  Something to think about...

Now let's get back to the weekend!  We're going to some friends' house Saturday night to enjoy a fireworks show.  I'm hoping to do a little organizing to set myself up for a great July!  See you next week.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

What I Read in June 2024

Happy 4th of July!  Thanks for stopping by Thinking Out Loud Thursday today.  Since it's the first Thursday of the month, I'm sharing what I read last month.  It was a great month of reading!  Here are the titles I got through ~

My first two books of the month, The Happily Ever After Playlist and Life's Too Short, were a continuation of the The Friend Zone series by Abby Jimenez.  I loved the first book in the series, The Friend Zone, and couldn't wait to jump into the next two books in the series.  I read them in record time!  They are just fun, easy reads, and great for summer.  All three books in the series are available free if you have Kindle Unlimited.  If you don't have Kindle Unlimited, now might be the perfect time to sign up!

Here's the summary for The Happily Ever After Playlist ~
Artist Sloan Monroe just can't seem to get her life on track. But one trouble-making pup who randomly jumps into her car with a "take me home" look in his eyes is about to change everything. With Tucker by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker's owner reaches out. He's a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan's not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can't deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There's no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

Life's Too Short was the final book in the series.  Here's the summary ~
When Vanessa Price quit her job to pursue her dream of traveling the globe, she wasn't expecting to gain millions of YouTube followers who shared her joy of seizing every moment. For her, living each day to its fullest isn't just a motto. Her mother and sister never saw the age of 30, and Vanessa doesn't want to take anything for granted.

But after her half sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her baby daughter, life goes from "daily adventure" to "next-level bad" (now with bonus baby vomit in hair). The last person Vanessa expects to show up offering help is the hot lawyer next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. No one warned her that he was the Secret Baby Tamer or that she'd be spending a whole lot of time with him and his geriatric Chihuahua.

Now she's feeling things she's vowed not to feel. Because the only thing worse than falling for Adrian is finding a little hope for a future she may never see.

Next up was my book for our library book club, The Anthropocene Reviewed, by John Green.  You've heard me say this before, but one of the reasons I like book clubs is because sometimes you read books you would never have read if they weren't a book club selection.  This was one of those books for me.  It didn't grab me right away, but soon grew on me and I really liked it by the end.  Everyone is book club enjoyed it also.  Here's the summary ~
The Anthropocene is the current geologic age, in which humans have profoundly reshaped the planet and its biodiversity. In this remarkable symphony of essays, bestselling author John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale—from the QWERTY keyboard and sunsets to Canada geese and Penguins of Madagascar. Funny, complex, and rich with detail, the reviews chart the contradictions of contemporary humanity.

John Green’s gift for storytelling shines throughout this masterful collection. The Anthropocene Reviewed is an open-hearted exploration of the paths we forge and an unironic celebration of falling in love with the world.

The last three books were all ones I listened to, mostly while I was driving to and from work.  

I had seen a review of The Echo of Old Books and it sounded pretty interesting so I added it to my playlist.  Here's the summary ~
Rare-book dealer Ashlyn Greer’s affinity for books extends beyond the intoxicating scent of old paper, ink, and leather. She can feel the echoes of the books’ previous owners—an emotional fingerprint only she can read. When Ashlyn discovers a pair of beautifully bound volumes that appear to have never been published, her gift quickly becomes an obsession. Not only is each inscribed with a startling incrimination, but the authors, Hemi and Belle, tell conflicting sides of a tragic romance.

With no trace of how these mysterious books came into the world, Ashlyn is caught up in a decades-old literary mystery, beckoned by two hearts in ruins, whoever they were, wherever they are. Determined to learn the truth behind the doomed lovers’ tale, she reads on, following a trail of broken promises and seemingly unforgivable betrayals. The more Ashlyn learns about Hemi and Belle, the nearer she comes to bringing closure to their love story—and to the unfinished chapters of her own life.

Barbara Davis's writing style appealed to me, so I added another one of her books to my playlist - The Last of the Moon Girls.  I liked this one even more than the last one!  Here's the summary ~
Lizzy Moon never wanted Moon Girl Farm. Eight years ago, she left the land that nine generations of gifted healers had tended, determined to distance herself from the whispers about her family’s strange legacy. But when her beloved grandmother Althea dies, Lizzy must return and face the tragedy still hanging over the farm’s withered lavender fields: the unsolved murders of two young girls, and the cruel accusations that followed Althea to her grave.

Lizzy wants nothing more than to sell the farm and return to her life in New York, until she discovers a journal Althea left for her—a Book of Remembrances meant to help Lizzy embrace her own special gifts. When she reconnects with Andrew Greyson, one of the few in town who believed in Althea’s innocence, she resolves to clear her grandmother’s name.
My last book of the month was one I really enjoyed.  How to Read a Book is a charming novel about second changes, unlikely friendships, and the life-changing power of sharing stories.  Here's the summary ~
Violet Powell, a twenty-two-year-old from rural Abbott Falls, Maine, is being released from prison after serving twenty-two months for a drunk-driving crash that killed a local kindergarten teacher.

Harriet Larson, a retired English teacher who runs the prison book club, is facing the unsettling prospect of an empty nest.

Frank Daigle, a retired machinist, hasn’t yet come to grips with the complications of his marriage to the woman Violet killed.

When the three encounter each other one morning in a bookstore in Portland—Violet to buy the novel she was reading in the prison book club before her release, Harriet to choose the next title for the women who remain, and Frank to dispatch his duties as the store handyman—their lives begin to intersect in transformative ways.

How to Read a Book is an unsparingly honest and profoundly hopeful story about letting go of guilt, seizing second chances, and the power of books to change our lives. With the heart, wit, grace, and depth of understanding that has characterized her work, Monica Wood illuminates the decisions that define a life and the kindnesses that make life worth living.
Now it's your turn.  What are you thinking out loud about today?  Link up and share!

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