Back to School Next Week – The Unofficial End of Summer

Julia’s had a busy summer. This was just one of many books she had to finish.

 

This time next week, my girls will be back to school. I’m usually quite ready for this, but this time I’m a bit anxious. I cannot say why exactly, but I just don’t feel prepared. It has certainly been a busy summer, and that may be part of it, but other factors may be at play too.

Neither of my girls really required much back to school preparation this year. Sure, we’ve done some shopping, but nothing like when they were little and we’d fill a shopping cart at Target with every imaginable office supply known to man. Of course, the summer began late with end of school happening later than ever. I’m excited that blizzard bags have been instituted for this upcoming year ensuring a much earlier summer release. And of course there’s that little milestone that my oldest, Julia, will be experiencing in May –  high school graduation. Oh my, don’t even get me started! And then there’s my baby, Ally, who finished driver’s ed this summer and will soon be getting her permit. How can this be?

It’s going to be a big year. One that I am excited for, but a little apprehensive about too. As I write this, I’m thinking that invoking #MartiniMonday, as detailed in last week’s post, would be a good idea. It’s still summer after all!

On the bright side of things, I welcome the fall weather, more of a routine and more exciting things for Musing Mediterranean.

Blog Tour

Speaking of which. Musing Mediterranean is currently on a virtual blog tour. I am posting like mad about it and hope you will check out some of the great book blogs out there that have been kind enough to host me.  Here is a list and if you follow me on other social media platforms, you are sure to see more about each blog stop there.

August 27:

1: Rogues Angels

2: Edgar’s Books

3: fundinmental

4: This and That Book Blog

5: Welcome to My World of Dreams

6: Mixed Book Bag

 

August 28:

1: Fabulous and Brunette

2: Locks, Hooks and Books

3: Independent Authors

4: Readeropolis

5: Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin’

6: Musings From An Addicted Reader

 

August 29:

1: Author C.A.Milson

2: Straight From the Library

3: T’s Stuff

4: Deal Sharing Aunt

5: Our Families Adventure

6: Sea’s Nod

 

August 30:

1: Bookaholic review

2: The Avid Reader

3: Reviews by Crystal

4: B-Gina Review

5: BooksChatter

 

August 31:

1: FUONLYKNEW

2: Kimmi Love

3: Sharing Links and Wisdom

4: Wake Up Your Wild Side

5: It’s Raining Books

6: Notes From a Romantic’s Heart REVIEW

7: Rainy Day Reviews

 

 

 

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High School Senior Portraits – Emily O’Brien Photography

Julia pose 1 high school senior portraits

If you have a rising high school senior, now is the time to be thinking about high school senior portraits.

In North Andover, a little controversy has arisen over this topic. The high school has mandated that yearbook photos be taken by a school sanctioned photographer. This has many parents up in arms and, truthfully, I’m not thrilled either. But the yearbook is just one thing. I’ve known the photographer I want to take Julia’s high school senior portraits for years. I’m thrilled to have Emily O’Brien capture this moment in time for Julia.

Emily O’Brien Photography

I feel so lucky to know Emily O’Brien of Emily O’Brien Photography. Not only is she talented, but I knew she’d be the perfect person to make Julia feel comfortable and fully engaged in her photo session.

What I love about Emily is that she’s young, with a current sense of style. Hailing from Boston’s South End she brings a sophistication and coolness to her high school senior portraits that I simply adore.

Emily O’Brien

Whether your senior wants portraits on the beach, in a garden, or among the fall leaves, Emily creates a personalized and memorable experience.

Check out all of Emily’s options here, including Bestie Sessions!

Julia’s High School Senior Portraits

Julia wanted her photos to reflect how she’s see her future and that’s in the heart of a big city. She and Emily (and Julia’s good friend Sophie) met at a charismatic location in Boston. Julia loved the opportunity to express her individuality while collaborating with Emily on looks, locations and poses.

“Working with Emily changed my experience having photos taken,” says Julia. “She made me feel so comfortable and at ease while posing in a busy public setting, when normally I’d fear embarrassment or judgement. Not only did Emily help set up poses, but her fun persona kept me laughing and looking natural throughout the experience. I’d absolutely recommend Emily to anyone looking to have photos done. It’s completely worth it to be comfortable and happy with the end product.”

Here’s just one more from Julia’s session. Her sweet smile says it all!

Julia high school senior portraits pose 2
That smile is so genuine!

Also, check out another gorgeous senior session as shown on Emily’s blog.

Senior Representative Team

As part of Emily’s senior rep team, Julia was lucky enough to join six other soon to be high school seniors for a fabulous group photo shoot. This unique program brings this team together for a true modeling experience complete with hair, makeup, art direction and more. Any one of these beautiful ladies can tell you just how amazing it is to work with Emily. Contact Emily to find out more about this opportunity for the senior class of 2020. This is a great example of how Emily goes above and beyond when it comes to senior portraits.

Phone: 508.667.3520
Studio Address: 60 Island Street, 3rd Floor, Lawrence, MA
Mailing Address: 725 Harrison Avenue E201, Boston, MA 02118
EmailEmily@emilyobrienphoto.com

 

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Where a Kitchen Television Used to be & Local Author Night

The featured photo shows a little spot on my kitchen counter where, formerly, sat a little TV. I’d watch that kitchen television in the mornings when I got the girls off to school or I’d have it playing in the background while I cooked a meal. I liked the distraction and, if you know me, you know I’m a TV junkie, so I take it whenever I can get it.

My kitchen television was rendered defunct when the cable box was moved to another TV location in the house. We have way too many TVs for one small family. When the change was made, I was fine with it and still am. Admittedly, I miss my kitchen television at times, but I’ve gained something much greater in its absence – peace of mind!

The vast majority of my kitchen television viewing was the local news. While I can honestly say that I hate watching the news even while watching it, I find myself constantly drawn to it. For the most part I want a quick check of the weather. Yet, the next thing I know, I’m sucked into all of the unbearable news stories that clutter the airwaves.

It would be one thing if I heard the nasty news of the day once but, as we all know, local news is on repeat for multiple hours of the day. The redundancy of such tragic stories is enough to leave even the most steady-minded person uneasy. For me, and my anxious ways, it’s just too much. The more I watch, the more cynical I become.

Now, without my kitchen television, I find I get what news I need online. I read it once and walk away. While I do feel a bit out of touch, I’m more serene. Not starting my days with negativity has left a lot of room for positivity and I’ll take all the positivity I can get.

Tonight – Let’s Talk Travel!

Please Join Me at Local Author Night At Steven’s Estate! I’d love to see you!

 

Musing Mediterranean – Purchase Now!

 

Available at Amazon! 

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Dogs in Need at Sweet Paws Rescue – Cuteness Overload!

dogs in need from Sweet Paws Rescue
Credit: Emily O’Brien Photography

If you know me, you know I love dogs. I adopted Oscar when he was seven years old. I truly believe that rescuing, fostering and adopting dogs is a gift. Not only for the dog, but for the adopter as well.

When my friend, and photographer extraordinaire, Emily O’Brien reached out to her team of senior portrait representatives, of which my Julia is a part, to help on a volunteer mission at Sweet Paws Rescue, Julia jumped at the chance. She has always wanted to help dogs in need but, as life goes, we’d never gotten around to setting something up.

Dogs in Need

Emily brought the call to Julia’s attention and off she went to spend a day she describes as “so awesome and a really positive experience.”

Julia and several other high school seniors arrived at Sweet Paws Rescue to assist Emily and her husband Nick. Together they photographed a sweet slew of puppies who had arrived in from Mississippi, Alabama or Massachusetts.

dogs in need at Sweet Paws Rescue
I just can’t! They are adorable!!!! Credit: Emily O”Brien Photography

While the experience for Julia was a great one, the extreme need at Sweet Paws Rescue for foster providers and volunteers is even greater. If you have ever considered helping dogs in need, check out the links below to learn how you can get involved.

Learn more about Sweet Paws Rescue HERE!

Volunteer

Sign up to volunteer HERE!

Foster 2 Adopt

Apply to adopt or foster to adopt HERE!

Meet & Greet this Sunday

Want to learn more? Join the folks of Sweet Paws Rescue for a Pups, Plants & Putts Meet & Greet at Nunan Florist Greenhouse & Mini-Golf on Sunday July 22 from 10-12:30. More detail HERE!

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – Book Club

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste NG

Book club met recently to talk about Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. We liked it, but thought the ending was a bit weak.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Synopsis (an excerpt from Goodreads)

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

Review

Ng’s writing is deft and developed. It was intriguing to learn that the story is set in a real place with real rules and restrictions. Ng painted a clear picture of what a structured community, such as Shaker Heights, would be like.

We appreciated the insight into the teen relationships and friendships of the Richardson children and Pearl Warren. Their experiences were familiar and relatable.

Above and beyond anything else Ng’s character development was exceptional. It was easy to visualize and  connect with the characters through her strong and well thought out descriptions. I knew Ng had done an incredible job when, after reading the book, I could name every character.

Although, for me, the book was slow to start, I was really into it in the end.

The Ending

Little Fires Everywhere left a lot of unanswered questions, however there is good opportunity for a sequel. I’d love to know what becomes of the characters after Shaker Heights.

Next Up

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

 

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON-order my debut travel book Musing Mediterranean today!

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