Lifestyle, TV & Film, Writing

July In A Nutshell

*too tired to make a grand entrance under my own power – so uses dynamite to add some flair to my appearance*



Hello, hello, hello, chums.  Obviously, this Nutshell is about a week overdue.

It was imperative to my blogging schedule that I publish my Summer Aesthetic post first, while we still had a full month of official summer.  Because of that, everything got a little squirreled up.


So that week’s delay I’m SURE has you champing at the bit for my nutshell, riiiiighhht?

WHAT?  WHAT’S THAT?  DID I SEE AN EXPRESSION OF INDIFFERENCE ON YOUR FACE?  Are you implying that you WEREN’T waiting on pins and needles for this post???

(this is how I entertain myself, folks – please tolerate me)



Unfortunately, the Nutshell isn’t too impressive, since I got sick AGAIN just a week or so after I recovered from the Plague I contracted in June.



Do to this unforeseen setback, I didn’t get quite as much done as I would have liked.



Fortunately, there were quite a few things I could still accomplish even when I lost my voice for a few days!  Let me tell you, ALLISON LOSING THE ABILITY TO SPEAK IS A DARK AND UGLY THING, YOU GUYS.



But enough of this.  You’ve been quite patient with me and now we shall tootle forward into the July’s wrap up.  Punch it!




Rosemary and Thyme (TV show)

It’s an old-fashioned buddy story, but featuring two women, making it unique and fun.  Even better, they are mature women instead of wannabe teenyboppers, making this show doubly refreshing.  Laura and Rosemary feel like two people you could actually know in real life (I rather want them for my aunts!).  More to the point, they could be the mystery-solving aunts you’ve always wanted.  They look like real people and real women instead of Hollywood Dolls.

Laura and Rosemary are a combination of co-workers and sisters and have a unique relationship that is truly fun to watch in this well-scripted and well-acted TV show.  Add to that intriguing plots filmed in marvelous locations and a usually stellar supporting cast, and we found a TV show that we’ve had on repeat for some time.


Cadfael (TV show)


I’ve watched a LOT of whodunnits in my life, and a lot of them were even historical, but I’ve never watched a detective show set in the Middle Ages before, and it was definitely an intriguing combination.  The highlight of the show was definitely the energy and camaraderie between Derek Jacobi (Cadfael) and Sean Pertwee (Sheriff Hugh), both of whom were very fine actors.  But, sadly, Hugh was recast in the next few seasons.  *ANGRY SOB*   WHO WAS THE JOKER THAT DECIDED TO RECAST HUGH AND SWEEP THAT BRILLIANT PERFORMANCE AND DUDE CHEMISTRY UNDER THE RUG?


Nevertheless, the show retains intriguing plots, interesting settings, and (for the most part) engaging characters and our family had  fun binge-watching our way through the first few seasons.  Unfortunately, the series started getting dark and gory after a few seasons –


 – and so we kicked the habit.  (GET IT??? HUH??  HUH???)


Roman Holiday


This was a cute film and I can see why it was a classics but, in all honestly, I don’t have much more to say after that.  It is as straightforward as it can be.  A nice film, and I’m glad I watched it, but it’s not going to be one I’m going to have on repeat.  Audrey Hepburn, as always, sparkles.  It’s interesting to see her earliest role after watching films from throughout her career and seeing so clearly how her confidence blossomed with each film and her demeanor began to alter.  Gregory Peck is one of my favorite actors and is always marvelous and believable.  A charming little love story but, to me, rather forgettable.


The Last Jedi


That’s right, it was for the first time.  I had seen clips of the movies, but I had been so mad ever since the film released that I never wanted to watch it.  After enough time passed, I was curious enough to try it.

I knew it wasn’t a real Star Wars movie and should be excommunicated from the Star Wars canon, but perhaps I could enjoy just as a standalone space opera movie.  Maybe it was a well-made film!

I sat down with it with a fairly open mind.

Several hours later, I  wrote a long review smashing this movie apart.



Buuut – I figured nobody would really wants to read it – so I went back and reduced my review to a few gifs.  Enjoy.



Still, it’s just a film – let’s not end our relationship over it.  I’m still friends with people who love this movie – so you’ll just have to return the favor and keep being friends with me even though I hated it.  Fair’s fair.  🙂



– READ –


I read 20 books in the month of July!






I participated in my sixth Camp Nano ammmmd – WE HAVE A WINNER, FOLKS.



I hosted my own cabin this year (The Alchemists) and hosted my lovely friends, Mary, Tracey, and Bethany.

This was the also the first time I’d ever done minutes instead of word counts for Camp Nano – and it was a refreshing change for me.  Sadly, I didn’t get a lot of “actual writing” done this month, as I was mostly working on an outline and brainstorming for my Peter Pan retelling.

BUUUT, I DID get a little writing in, just a bit.  Enough to finish my THIRD TALES OF AMBIA SHORT STORY.  *collapses and waves hands in a feeble display of victory*  This one is focused on Cynthia, and I finally have all the short stories off my plate.  Except for, you know, beta-reading and editing and cover design and publishing . . .


Speaking of beta-reading, I submitted my short story, Poppy’s Peril, to my very awesome beta reader (you know who you are!) and I’ve been able to work with her a bit on polishing this baby up for publication.  This year, guys, this year.  You’re going to get SOMETHING Ambia-ish.

The only other news in the writing front is that one of the stories I submitted to a magazine back in June got a response . . . annnnd, it was another rejection.



I’m still waiting for a response on that other article.



Sooo, I submitted that one and another article to two new magazines.  HECK, WHY NOT?



It’s quite possible I WILL be cold and dead by the time I get accepted by a magazine and have to be honored posthumously and the money sent to my remaining family – BUT I’LL STILL TAKE IT.

And just to one up them, I submitted a new article to a new magazine so now I’m throwing THREE stories/articles at the world in a fit of retaliation.


– LIFE –


Visited an antique stores and found some wonderful treasures.



FINALLY planted my morning glories.  I’m not as plant wild as my mom and sister (I have a tendency to kill things, so that takes the edge off my interest) but I must admit I am dotty about my morning glories.  I talk to them when I water them.  “Hey guys – LOOK AT HOW YOU GREW LAST NIGHT.  I’m so proud of you!  Just keep going the way you’re going.  You need to climb alllll the way up this trellis.  Now drink up and grow hard so that you can bloom and be BEAUTIFUL.”



Posted another song to my Youtube channel!  Two months in a row, I’ve been consistent, guys!  *is proud of self*



Bake to backing!  I made macarons, cream puffs, brownies, and chocolate strawberry cupcakes this month.



The macarons and cupcakes were marvelous but, unfortunately, the cream puffs weren’t very successful (do not grease your pans when making something that is supposed to be puffy and airy, folks) and only about four of them turned out.


But I was curious to see if I could make them at home, and I more or less did.



Played the piano for the first time in a long while.



Put together my very first bookstagram challenge!  It started on August 1st and every prompt is fairy tale themed and relating to my Tales of Ambia series.  Speaking of my books, I am giving away signed paperbacks, ebook editions, as well as an ARC of my next release!  If you would like a chance to win these goodies, you can enter the challenge RIGHT HERE!



Celebrated our beautiful country over the 4th of July weekend!  Mostly just enjoyed our free time by getting out, playing some games, eating fun food, and watching the President’s special live stream and military salutes.



*gathers up cloak in a dignified manner and prepares to sweep off the stage*  Annnnd, we’re done.  I told you it wasn’t that impressive.



Did you manage not to get sick?  Did you do anything special for the 4th of July?  Did you do Camp Nano?  If so, how did it go?





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10 thoughts on “July In A Nutshell

  1. “I’m not as plant wild as my mom and sister (I have a tendency to kill things, so that takes the edge off my interest).” Same, trying to work on that though.

    I watched fireworks over the ocean at the beach, so definitely a fourth of July best.

    Dad, one sister, and I went to watch The Last Jedi in theaters (he was Star Wars mad as a typical 70’s kid/teen, now he pretends at least to sneer at them, but he still watches some) on a whim. We walked out going, “What the heck, wow, what a lot of nothing.” I did like the few Kylo and Rey scenes (Kylo being a man in this one rather than a whiny joke from the earlier film).

    1. Argh – the Toil and Trouble of the Black Thumb. *sympathetic look* What flowers or plants are you attempting to grow, my friend?

      WOW, those fireworks must have been amazing!

      Sounds like great company at the theater, at least. 😛 HAHA, precisely, how I felt about it . . . among other things. I’ve watched hundreds upon hundreds of movies, and TLJ is certainly one of the poorest ones I’ve er seen – just technically speaking, from every angle, it was sloppily made. I can see why people ship Kylo and Rey, because they’re the only thing remotely interesting about the series anymore. ?


  2. Sorry you got sick last month ???❤️ That is ROUGH. Hoping next month will be healthier and happier! ❤️
    And, those shows/movies look GOOD! Also good points on The Last Jedi. I do agree some – there was too much stuff I did not like about it and it kind of clouded over what I did like about it. I am a rather hardcore Star Wars fan, so if there’s a Star Wars movie = I generally like it. But a lot people have quite strong opinions about SW and I am mostly terrified of them. ? I’m curious, did you like The Force Awakens or not? I’d like to hear what you thought!

    1. Aw, thanks, Penny!! *HUGS* <3

      *grin* Rosemary and Thyme and Roman Holiday are probably the nicest. 😛

      *nods* That makes sense! HAHA - I KNOW. Opinions on Star Wars these days can get S.C.A.R.Y. ?

      I thought was so-so. Technically speaking (scripting, cinematography, editing, music – etc), it was better than TLJ – but, that’s not saying much, hehe. I thought it was pretty apparent that the story development was a little willy-nilly (adding in more of Poe at the last second, etc), and it still felt a bit more like a Star Trek universe than Star Wars (i.e. too much “soul” for the robots, more liberal philosophies, old/sad characters). I personally, would rate it okay, not great, but okay. Haha, long answer.

      I’ve felt that the recent Star Wars films best efforts have been the standalone films – Rogue One and Solo. Modern filmmakers seem to do better if they have a few storytelling perimeters and are using former greatness as a foundation. 🙂

      Of course, all this to say, THE ONLY STAR WARS MOVIES THAT REALLY MATTER ARE THE EWOK ADVENTURE MOVIES MADE IN THE 80S. ?? They are the TRUE masterpieces! I don’t suppose you’ve heard of those? 🙂

      I’d love to hear you thoughts, Penny! Did you like The Force Awakens?

      AW – *SQUEEZES* Thanks so much! And thank you for commenting!!

  3. Nice entrance. Do you often carry dynamite for such a purpose?
    I also enjoyed Right Ho, Jeeves recently. Wodehouse can write some fantastic descriptions.
    I didn’t get much baking done last month, but I did manage to make a gooseberry pie. Ridiculously happy about that. When I was a tot someone read me a book that featured gooseberry pie, and I had been wanting to try it ever since.

    1. Thankee. *bows*

      Why, of course! One never knows when a stick of dynamite might come in handy. 😛 😛


      AHH – you’re a Wodehouse fan, Blue?? *excited flapping* That’s marvelous! I am becoming a rabid fan – they are so well-written and hilarious!

      Yum, that sounds yummy! Even though, to my shame, I’ve never tasted a gooseberry! *chagrined look* Does it have any kind of facsimile, as far as taste?

      Your vocabulary made me grin – “when you were a tot” – nicely phrased. 😛

      I actually have childhood visions that have lingered in my head for years about certain book foods, as well! Mainly dishes from Narnia or Redwall. Shrimp and Hotroot Soup and Mrs. Beavers marmalade roll have taken on a sort of larger-than-life mystique in my mind. Even if I attempted the recipes, I could probably never fulfill the gloriousness of the fictional versions I have held in my mind for so long. 😛

  4. Pt. 1

    I am sooo sorry you got sick again! But it still looks like you ROCKED the month!

    I have never heard of Cadfael, but a detective medieval show sounds like a BRILLIANT and utterly unique idea. o.o That’s a shame it got a little meh after a while. Because, really, what a neat idea!

    I’ve honestly never even seen the new Star Wars movies so…yeah. XD Buuut to be truthful. I, erm, am not much of a Star Wars fan? *ducks and hides* WAIT, WAIT. I don’t hate it, it’s just not really my thing. I appreciate the fandom and actually wish I was a part of it. I’ve TRIED to like Star Wars, I really have. I just can’t seem to get into them. *sniffles* Sooo I probably won’t have a strong opinion of the new ones either way since it’s just not my thing… (But your gifs highly entertained me!)

    Oooh, you read The Gammage Cup! I love that one! What did you think of it?

    1. Pt. 2

      CONGRATS ON WINNING CAMP NANOOOO!!! *throws confetti and glitter everywhere* And I am in constant awe at you always submitting so many things to magazines. I am so sorry you keep getting rejected, but you WILL be accepted one day. YOU WILL! Keep going for it! *fistpump* And what is this about new Ambia stories coming? YESSSS.

      I always love hearing about what’s going on with meh Allison. ^_^ I do hope the rest of August is a fabulous one for you!

    2. AW, thank you, Christine!! *hugs*

      It WAS BRILLIANT. It is a shame and a pity it eventually went south, but it was a wonderful concept!

      HEHE – I have that exact same reaction to other fandoms, so no judgement here! *laughs* Glad the gifs could entertain you, though! 😛

      I REALLY ENJOYED THE GAMMAGE CUP! It reminded me of a bunch of Bilbo’s forced to take the adventure ahead of them! I loved the friendship and adventure, it was marvelous!

      THANK YOUUUU!!!!! *spins in conffeti*

      Aw, haha – that’s just me being stubborn. 😛 But thank you! *HUGS* YES, progress is slow on the short stories, but they’re coming!!!

      *BEAMS* You are the best – and so sweet! I hope you have a smashing rest of the month, Christine! <3

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