Nature Photos From a South Carolina Hiking Trip #WordlessWednesday

For the past few years, hubby and I have gone on a hiking trip in the Fall. We love the cooler weather, and the chance to enjoy nature. This year's trip was to South Carolina's Foothills.

It was rainy, and hazy so some of our views were diminished, but we still had a great time. We even did our first moderate trail! This is a big deal for me because a year ago, I was barely able to finish a short easy trail because of Psoriatic Arthritis. Now, I'm controlling the disease instead of it controlling me. Life is good and I'm ready to explore it!



Mary Lambert's Debut Album, Definitely Worth a Second Listen. #HeartOnMySleeve #O2O

When I first heard "Secrets" on the radio, it immediately caught my ear and it replayed in my head throughout the day. I couldn't get enough of it, and had to hear it again. It's such as an honest song where Mary Lambert puts it all out there in a very offhand, oh well, this is me kind of style. There is just something very inspiring about the song that reminds us that we all have things we're not proud of, but those things are what make us who we are. We need to be better at being okay with being ourselves and putting it all out there.

Because of how much I enjoy the song "Secrets", I couldn't wait to hear the rest of Mary Lambert's new album Heart on My Sleeve.

I have to admit that, at first,  I was a little disappointed in it. I expected to hear more upbeat songs like "Secrets". I wanted that same inspirational high from bouncing along to that song that first caught my ear. When I didn't hear it right away, I skipped through the rest of the album hoping to hear something just as bright, but I didn't find it so I set the album aside.

The next day I decided to give it another try. This time with fresh ears and an open mind. I sat down and listened to the album without the built up hopes that I had first heard it with. What I found was that there is inspiration, and there is brightness and honesty; I was just blinded to it by my own expectations.

Mary Lambert puts her raw emotions into her songwriting. You can feel the passion she has for love and life in her lyrics, and her voice makes you feel the emotions along with her. One example of this is on "So Far Away", where we are reminded of that deep loneliness and struggle that can come from being in a long distance relationship. You are so lonely when you're apart, but the time together makes it all worth it.

In the album's title song "Heart on My Sleeve" Lambert confesses her desires to be with the "one I gotta have". It's full of all the excitement and hopes that come rushing in with a new relationship.

I've now listened to this album several times, and find that I really like it.  I can see quite a few of these becoming radio hits, and yes, some of the songs have weaved their way into my head on repeat. There's even a cover of "Jessie's Girl" that Lambert gives a whole new sound to.

With "Secrets" rising up the charts, and the powerful love songs on this album, I would expect to hear a lot more from this singer/songwriter. She has a great career ahead of her.

Heart on My Sleeve is available on iTunes and Amazon
Follow Mary on Twitter @MaryLambertSing 

I participated in the Mary Lambert Heart On My Sleeve album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.

A Special Look at Disney's Feast

Disney will premier its new short "Feast" in front of "Big Hero 6" which opens in theaters on November 7. Here's a look at it.

Doesn't that little dog just look adorable?! Now, along with looking forward to seeing the adventures of the Big Hero 6, I'm also looking forward to seeing "Feast"!

Disney's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Shows How Many Negatives Make a Positive. #VeryBadDay

There are certain children's books that just seem to stick with you. Even after the kids are grown they have a lasting memory for you, and maybe you still pick it up and read it even though there aren't any kids anywhere around. For me, one of those books is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.

Because I like the book so much, I was wicked happy to hear that it was being made a movie, and even more happy that it was being done by Disney. Along with that excitement came a little bit of uncertainty about how well it would translate to the screen. You just never know with such a loved book how it will do in live action form, but...I'm happy to say that Disney did an excellent job!

Disney's "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" tells the story of Alexander, a middle school aged boy who always seems to have those days while the rest of his family seem to have absolutely perfect days all the time. This all changes when Alexander makes a wish for them to understand what a very bad day is like.

The movie does a great job of sticking with the tone of the book, including an opening scene with Alexander waking up with gum in his hair which is straight from page 1. This is really a fun and humorous movie with a delightful story that delivers a message about the importance of positivity.

If you're looking for something to watch with the whole family, this is good because it really offers something for everyone. And, if you're like me, and your kids are all grown up, go see it anyway because it's fun. Besides, with all the very bad days that us grownups have we need a reminder that it's all going to be okay. Remember, "You have to have the bad days to love the good days."

Disclosure: I attended a free screening for this movie in order to complete this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are my own. This site may contain affiliate links.

Why Did I Wait So Long To Make Homemade Brownies? Recipe is Easy and Delicious!

For the longest time, I've wanted to make brownies from scratch, but for one reason or another, (laziness) I always went back to using a box mix...until now!

I found this awesome recipe on Pinterest. Um, where else? Everything is found on Pinterest these days, so that's almost a given. Anyway, I found it on Pinterest awhile ago, and I kept looking at it, and I finally did it. My oldest daughter came home this weekend, and we baked these babies up, and OH MY GOSH!
These are A-mazing!
I can't go back to a box mix after this!
For real!
Not only were they incredibly good, but they were also incredibly easy! I don't know why I thought it would be so much harder to do. I've wasted so much time messing around with trying to find the best mix in a box when all along the best mix was made of stuff already in my house!

Homemade brownies

Even the batter was happy to be mixed up! Look at that smile.

Brownies made from scratch with easy recipe

For the recipe, head over to Buns in My Oven.
The recipe is so perfect there is no reason to change a thing, but I replaced the vegetable oil with Pecan Oil because I prefer it over vegetable oil. Coconut Oil is also a great option here. I also left out the espresso powder, just because I didn't have any.
For something different; you could add nuts, or top it with melted peanut butter cups or caramel.

By the way this recipe is for a 9x13 pan so there is plenty to enjoy. Go ahead and eat half the pan and tell them it was just a regular size brownie recipe. They won't know the difference, and I won't tell.