Friday, April 27, 2018

Fun Friday: Melody Factoids

Get to Know Melody

(giggles) This is interesting. Most of my info is in my Google+ profile about section; however, I just tried to visit that "page" and it's not as easy to read as I thought. I'm last to go, so this is the finale of our part of the Fun Friday series. Kind of sad, but now we can work on meshing all these posts into a profile page.Then all our factoids will be on one page. 
Of course, we like you to view the actual posts too. Page views, you know. Love them!

My full name is Melody Quinn Silverleaf and my birthday is January 14, 1990. Boy that makes me sound old!
I have a couple of nicknames. Sometimes my sisters and friends call me Mel or Melly.
Pets, well, Coconut was my first pup. I still miss him. 
Coco is my sweet pup; and Licorice is one smart kitty. 
Razzi defected to team Lanie (giggles), but Starburst really likes me best.
Felicity is my doll. She's really cool! 
I have a ton of hobbies. I listen to music, sing in choir, read, watch TV, write short stories, bake, hang out with my sisters and friends, shop, and create with Lego. We got a great new set this week and I can't wait to build it.


Animal: no favorites, I love them all!
Book: Okay, too many to list here. I start to type one in and think of another and another and another! (giggles)
Color: Purple or plum.
Food: Lemon meringue pie
Flower: Carnation
Instrument: Standing bass and harpsichord.
Movie: All the Harry Potters! Dumbledore's Army for-ev-er! (giggles)
Number: 4
Rock Group(s): Muse, Adele, Adam Ant, RUSH, Paramore, Coldplay, Linkin Park, Vampire Weekend, Junior's Grades, Friends of Marty, Willow Creek, LoveBettie, Van Morrison, The Doors, Vance Joy, The Black Keys, and Selena Gomez.
Sport: Lacrosse! Love it! I play on the defense; sometimes point, sometimes cover point. I also love Volleyball. 
Tea: Earl Grey, of course.
TV Show: The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon can be hard to live with, but I love how his friends manage him.

  1. Do you have a favorite photo from my shoot? If yes, which one?
  2. Do we have anything in common?
  3. What surprised you the most?

I hope you enjoyed this post series and learning a bit more about us. We will be doing other things in the Fun Friday series. Come back again soon.

Best wishes,

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Tea Review: Rhododendron Tea

Thirsty Thursday #27

Rhododendron Tea from Nepal

Hey, Kaya! What's up?
Time for a tea review.
What are we trying today?
The rhododendron tea Xyra received from her boss.
That's the one he brought back from Nepal, right.
I love the bag!
I know, right!? It's super cool and has all our favorite colors in it.
So the front of the pouch has a label on it that says the blend ingredients are "tea plant and rhododendron flower."
Looks like the label will be easy to remove.
Inside the woven zipper pouch is a foil pouch holding the tea.
Check out the label! It's in English. Yay! 
It also has brewing and serving instructions. The photo is a little blurry, but you get it.
this feels like loose leaf.
Yes, it is. Look at how pretty!
Smells nice too.
Oooo, yeah! Floral, but not too flowery, if you know what I mean.
Yeah, I do. (giggles)
I'll set the timer for 4 minutes.
I'm glad she chose the rhododendron.
Yeah, It's unique. I just hope we can adequately describe the taste.
[Timer beeps]
It smells really nice, a light floral aroma. A little sweet too. But we can't see it very well.
I think we should pour it into our clear pot.
Oh, look at how lovely that color is?
Wow! A warm amber brown.
Let's taste it!
(sips) Oh! I don't know what I expected, but this is really nice! You get the warm, malty notes of the black tea and a lightly sweet floral from the rhododendron. Not bitter or perfumey.
My turn. (sips) It's almost fruity. Light.
The instructions suggest adding a bit of sugar and milk or honey.
So we go through our regular routine. (giggles)
This time we've added regular sugar. (sips) Very nice. Kind of enhances the flavors in a good way.
(sips) You're right. Brings everything together.
With milk and sugar. (sips) I like this too.
(sips) I don't think there is a bad way to enjoy this tea.
(giggles) My cup is empty.
Perfect! Mine too. Now we can start over and try with honey. (giggles)
(sips) Even the honey tastes good. A bit more rich.
(sips) Yeah! I still can't figure out which way I like it best.
There's plenty to take it a different way each time.
This rhododendron tea is really a pleasant cup of tea. We are enjoying it. It's not something you will find easily around here and you don't want to go trying to make your own. 
Apparently, some rhododendrons are toxic or some parts of the plant are.

Xyra's Notes

  • I found a link to the tea my boss and his wife brought back from Nepal. If you are interested, you can learn more or or order here - Nepal Dream Tea. Other tea blends are here.
  • The blend is unique in a good way. Light, delicate, but hearty enough to stand sweetened with milk.
  • In Nepal, tea is automatically served sweet with milk.
  • I have re-steeped the leaves Kaya and Lea used twice. Both times resulted in a nice cup, but this last (or third) time was definitely weaker than the previous two.
  • The rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal.

 Happy sipping!

Note: Tea Time with Melody Q is not affiliated with American Girl or Nepal Dream tea. The tea reviewed was a gift. the unsolicited review is comprised of our own opinions, thoughts, and words. Links are provided should you want to learn more; however, no purchase is required to enjoy the review.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

XBR4OF #11: Red Rising #1

Xyra's Book Reviews for Older Followers

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

A friend of mine from The Leaky Cauldron posted something about this book on Facebook; I checked it out, read the blurb, and thought the premise sounded interesting albeit brutal. 

The front cover has a quote...
"Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow." ~Scott Sigler
I haven't read Ender's Game, but I have read The Hunger Games. Mentioning Katniss, if you are familiar with her and all her people went through, then you can guess how brutal this story could be. As I have read the Hunger Games trilogy, I could see bits that reminded me of Katniss's story. However, the Golds are capital residents on steroids; and all the tributes are their own⏤not from outlying districts.

Red Rising is book one in a series. The series currently has five books. Book six is yet untitled. Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star, Iron Gold, Dark Age...

The Blurb

"I live for the dream that my children will be born free, " she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.""I live for you," I say sadly.Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more."
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

     Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his bloods and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
     But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow⏤and Reds like him⏤are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
     Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forded to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies...even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

The Review

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Things that make you say, "Whaaatt??" That would be the ending...and that's no spoiler, well, maybe a small one.

I had never heard of this series until a friend suggested it. A very good suggestion. However, the first chapter did not impress me. In fact, I almost put the book down. The style seemed disjointed and character overly crass. In the past, I would confer with my GUSIALI friends and they would tell me, "Just keep reading." Though we do not chat as we used to, their voices urged me to continue, to look for more. I found it.

Darrow is fantastic. Emotional. Sometimes not quick to think, other times a tactical genius.

Otherwise there are so many characters, I'm not 100% certain who will continue through the entire series. I can guess the ones that are more developed like Cassius, Mustang, and Sevro (who I keep calling Servo) will make themselves present as the story progresses (I have not visited the Howlers fan sites; will wait until after book 2).

This is a quest rebellion adventure. Darrow is the chosen one (or maybe one of many; the most successful perhaps). A dream planted by a wife, tended by a carver and rebels, grew through dangers untold in a cruel academy.

Once into part two the pace really picked up for me. By part four, I stopped reading before bed because I was having a hard time putting it down; I had to know what was going to happen next.

Twists, turns, surprises. Blood, battle, betrayal. Love, loyalty, and hatred. You'll find it all in these pages. The book comes to a close, but does not stand alone. The quest is not finished.

As I want to learn what happens next and will be calling the library shortly to see if I can get book two, I'll say this is a good read. I am glad I did not quit on Darrow. Maybe I am a Howler.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Saturday Fun Finds

Woo Hoo!

Doll Finds

Honestly, I rarely happen upon the fun stuff, but this past! Franz and I were in Virginia visiting friends and picking up a few new things for his collections. Our hostess planned a girls' morning at a local multi family yard sale. The third set up I noticed something obviously American Girl and checked it out. Price marked $10 for the set...I knew there were some parts missing, but $10. I snapped up this "set." 
I washed and ironed the bedding, but the bed and scooter are clean and lovely.

Girls Find

Grace, Kirsten, Melody, 2 or more

Hey, what's this?
Is that a bed and scooter?
I love the butterflies!
Looks like Missy approves of the bed. (giggles)

This is great! A daybed, so we have a fun couch as well as a bed.
Missy definitely approves!
Looks like Bonbon and Coco do too.
I love that it's blue.
It's an interesting blue.
My favorite color.
Do you think your quilt will look good on it?
We'll wait here, you go get it.
Here we go. I think it's great.
Well, maybe not the butterfly pillow. (giggles)
Yeah, we might use that some place else.
Missy still likes it.
I kind of think Lanie's quilt will look better or even Kaya's.
(gasps) But blue...
Let's try putting the bedspread on.
Looks cool. 
Should be more comfortable this way. (giggles)
Quilts make great mattresses. (giggles)
Yeah, they do! This is great. Oh, Coco...oof...(giggles) I think my quilt will go better with this bedspread.
Yeah, it will!
We're all agreed the bed is really cool.
Yep. Absoluely!
And the scooter!
Fun, fun, fun!
Can I try?
This is great!
I think we need to take it to a bigger space.
Let's go.
This is awesome!
Here I go!
Hey, come back! (laughing)
My turn! See ya!

Xyra's Notes

  • Missing pieces: the trundle drawer, both mattresses, the pillow, and pillowcase. There are some great tutorials to make these items...well, not the trundle drawer. 
  • Love how the bedding is a nice sturdy cotton fabric with actual embroidered design on the bedspread and sewn on rickrack at the top of the sheets.
  • The scooter is outstanding!

So who do you think will get to claim the bed as her own?
The butterfly pillow?
How long do you think it will take Xyra to make a mattress, pillow, and pillowcase?

Best wishes,