Fire & Brimstone By R.L. Mathewson | Book Review

FIre & Brimstone R.L. Mathewson, book review, romance novel, rom com, If you are a bookworm then you probably have those authors that you buy every one of their books as soon as they come out. R.L. Mathewson is one of those authors for me.

Fire & Brimstone is the latest book in her Neighbor from Hell series. This series is based around the Bradford family. A family of men that have bottomless pits for stomachs, and knack for driving women crazy…literally.

The latest installment is Lucifer’s story. Lucifer owns the restaurant Fire & Brimstone, which he has banned his family from due to their insatiable appetites. Lucifer has earned his namesake. He is a gruff man that can have the tendency to send his staff off crying or worse quitting altogether.

Then there is Rebecca his Achilles heel. Where others run and hide she defies him at every turn. He tries to fire her on a regular basis, but she ignores him and continues to push his buttons. Rebecca has a sickness that has been plaguing her since she was a child but after many years of doctors telling her it is all in her head she’s given up hope of finding out what is wrong with her. Lucifer’s brother is a doctor and he insists that Rebecca lets his brother try one last time to figure out what is wrong with her.

Their story is full of hilarious scenes that will make you laugh out loud. Mathewson always has a unique story that doesn’t fall into the typical romance storyline. Seeing the progression of Lucifer with Rebecca is sweet. Nothing like seeing a brute of a man with a soft spot for his lady.

If you like a good romance with a lot of humor this book is for you. Really all of the Neighbor from Hell books are worth a read. I give this book a 5/5 because in my eyes R.L. Mathewson does no wrong when it comes to romance and comedy.

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More Than a “Nappy Headed Negro”

“Do not remove the kinks from your hair– remove them from your brain.”                                                                                                      -Marcus Garvey 

I’ve got a newsflash… the hair that grows out of the head of most, if not all black people is curly. I know this comes as a surprise to many considering the ignorance going around about Gabby Douglas and her hair.

It’s incredulous  to me that people are “going in” on her hair when she is making history. It’s amazing to me that we are quick to say black lives matter, but then cut down someone doing something so big over something so trivial.

I suppose it was different when Don Imus called Rutger’s women’s basketball team “Nappy headed hos”? The uproar from his words was not minuscule. Yet here we are so many years later ridiculing our own people in a similar manner. Make sense? Not at all.

As a young girl, I remember worrying about things like this. I particularly remember being in color guard and worrying that someone on the other team would see my edges and comment because I was due for a relaxer. It wasn’t my own teammates I was worried about, they were all caucasian and had no clue about relaxers, it was the opposing teams I worried about.

Anyone who has ever had a relaxer, hair pressed out or anything of the sort knows those things and water don’t mix well. This woman goes out and does strenuous work where I’m sure she sweats, so you tell me how you expect her edges to stay laid. More importantly, tell me why the hell does it even matter?

Seems to me that this stems from self-hate. So ashamed of what naturally grows from our head. So much so that instead of acknowledging the barriers she is breaking that people are cutting her down. We are constantly trying to prove ourselves to the world and progress, so why are we having to prove ourselves to ourselves?

Instead of tweeting about her hair, we should be spreading positivity about her accomplishments. In a day in age where it is as scary as ever to be black in America seeing someone succeed should be a win for everyone. It should be a motivation that we can achieve excellence despite the struggles we face.




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Until Harry by L.A. Casey Book Review | BookWorm Wednesday

Author L.A. Casey, Until Harry, Romance novel, slow burn romance This book came at a perfect tme. I wanted to start implementing “BookWorm Wednesday”, and this book is the perfect first book. I downloaded Until Harry on a whim because there was an audible version I could listen to at work. It just so happens that I bought this book on the day that it released.

I’ve never read anything by L.A. Casey so I had no preconceived expectations. Let’s just say if I had, they would have been blown out of the water. This is the story of Lane and Kale. They are from York and have been best friends since birth.

Harry, the book’s namesake, is Lane’s uncle. He is one of Lane’s biggest confidantes. Due to Lane’s unrequited love for Kale and the loss of a very close friend, she decides to move to New York City. During her time in New York she cuts off all of her family except for her uncle Harry. She goes six years without speaking to them until Harry’s death. In light of his death she travels home for the first time since she left.

There is so much in between and after, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. L.A. Casey does a phenomenal job of going from past to present to explain the depth of Lane and Kale’s relationship. Her details and the story she weaves is that of a seasoned storyteller.

I’m a sucker for a good friends to lover story, and this is one of the absolute best I have read. There were times I felt my throat choaking up  while I tried to fight tears from forming. This story will take you on an emotional roller coaster in many ways. It is 100% wortht the ride.

This book was a 5/5. No question.


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7 Things I’ve Learned From My Lifestyle Change & Weight loss

weight loss journey, lifestyle change, healthy living, healthy lifestyle,

A lifestyle change can be an out and out battle. Not just physically but  emotionally and mentally. I didn’t expect some of the things that I have felt and learned through this. I thought I would share for anyone who may be going through the same things.

  1. My Journey is mine and no one else’s- When I first started I was looking at a lot of “fitspo” on Instagram. I was seeing people with drastic weight loss in like a year’s time, give or take some time. I was instantly saying I was going to drop drastic weight in a year. I would get down on myself when I didn’t hit a certain number each week. Then I finally had to realize that my journey is my own. It isn’t a race. It isn’t a temporary quick fix. It is a way of life.
  2. I’m a food addict- Addiction comes in many different forms. My drug of choice is food. It is hard to admit, but I struggle with food. I always have and I probably always will. Sometimes when I want to give into something when I know I have had enough treats for the week it is literally a mental battle.
  3. You can’t beat yourself up over a piece of cake- Not just cake, but any of your vices. We all eat things that don’t fit into our new way of life or that weren’t planned for that particular day or meal. You have to just forgive yourself and move on.
  4. Non-scale victories are important- I could call the scale a few choice words. I have such an unhealthy relationship with it that I need to cut ties. Sometimes it won’t budge, but you feel changes. Your pants are getting bigger, you’re running longer, people are noticing your transformation. Those things are great ways to gauge your progress. The scale can’t be your only indicator.
  5. I don’t like exercise- When I’m scrolling through Instagram I see people raving about how they love working out. I am not that person. I love the results, but I don’t love the act. I like seeing how I progress, get stronger and build my endurance, but it still doesn’t mean I like it.
  6. It’s about health, not just weight loss- I have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure,  and high cholesterol. You name it, it probably runs in my family. I knew that if i did not change my habits I was destined to a life of medication and potentially crippling disease.
  7.  Don’t give up and stop “starting over”- I used to be on a “diet”, mess up, and give up. A lifestyle change is just that, a lifestyle. One bad meal doesn’t mean it’s the end or you are starting over. It just means you get back on track and you keep going.
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The Great Debate: Changing My Last Name

Marriage, relationships, changing last name, marriage debate

Deciding to marry my husband was a no brainer. Deciding to change my last name, the name I’ve been identified as for 20-something years, was not so easy. I never put much thought into it until it got closer to our wedding day. Suddenly the thought of giving up the name that I’ve been known by my whole life seemed crazy and impossible.

My last name is unique and is a part of who I am. My last name came from a line of strong people, and I feel passionate about my last name. Not to mention I was referred to by my last name or a shortened version by many of my high school friends. It is who I am. It is one of the last pieces I have of my father. With all those thoughts I really had to think long and hard about if I would keep my name, my identity or take on my husband’s.

My husband and I had been together for seven years before we got married. We have been through some serious life changes together. You know the saying ride  or die? Yeah, he is the epitome of that. No, we aren’t going out doing hood rat things with our friends, but he has weathered a lot of craziness since being with me. Not necessary within our relationship, but outside things that definitely tested it. Things that a weaker man may not have been able to handle, but that’s a whole other story.

I thought about it, I asked my mom about it, and I read articles about it. I truly kept going back and fourth. Finally, I thought about all of the things he has dealt with because of his love for me. I thought about all of the nice things he does for me. I’m not talking about buying me gifts. I mean those mornings I’m running late and tired and he makes my coffee. The cold midwest mornings when he goes outside and cleans off my car so I don’t have to. The way he just understands me and supports my dreams and visions.

I knew that for me that it would be a way of honoring him and returning the love he shows me every day. I will always be me, my name does not define me. So if you are like me and on the border of what to do about changing your name. Do what is in your heart. Whether you keep your maiden name, hyphenate, or take your husband’s name do what is best for you. The person you are will be the same either way.


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Elopement & Cabin Honeymoon at Robinwood Inn

Cabin, honey moon, robinwood inn, brown county, indiana , gigi cupcakes, wedding cake

After seven years of being together my husband and I eloped! When we first got engaged we began planning a traditional wedding. I quickly realized that it was way more stress than I was willing to deal with. It still took us a while to realize that eloping was the best option for us, but I’m so happy we finally did.

Contrary to what some people think, it did take some planning. We planned for about two and a half months. We secured our venue, honeymoon cabin, and photographer pretty quickly. It didn’t take me long to find my dress either. The planning was relatively quick and painless.Elopement, wedding, budget friendly wedding, wedding on a budget, why you should elopeWe opted for a wedding in a little chapel. It was just us, the officiant, and the photographer. The ceremony its self was short, sweet, and honestly kind of surreal. It’s crazy to think you walk in technically single by law, and walk out as one. Cabin, honey moon, robinwood inn, brown county, indiana
For our little honeymoon getaway we stayed at the Robinwood Inn in Brown County Indiana. The property consists of five cabins. We chose to stay in the Tree Top cabin. This place was so beautiful and peaceful. They have chickens that greeted us at the door of our cabin, miniature horses, and the owners have a friendly dog that roams around sometimes.Cabin, honey moon, robinwood inn, brown county, indianaCabin, honey moon, robinwood inn, brown county, indianaThe whole goal of Robinwood Inn is to feel like you are away from the hustle and bustle of life.  There is no formal check in. They leave your keys in your cabin ready for you, and then you leave them there upon your departure. The owners leave you to  enjoy your stay and you quite possibly may not see them during your stay. They do make their contact information readily available if you do need them. 
Cabin, honey moon, robinwood inn, brown county, indianaCabin, honey moon, robinwood inn, brown county, indianaMy favorite part was the hot tub. The hot tub was reason enough for me to not want to leave the cabin at all. Lucky there were local shops and eateries not far in downtown Brown County for when we did decide to part with the hot tub.Cabin, honey moon, robinwood inn, brown county, indiana , hot tubCabin, honey moon, robinwood inn, brown county, indiana , gigi cupcakes, wedding cake

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Sinful Colors Nail Polish: Kylie Jenner Collection

Sinful Colors, kylie jenner, Kreme De la kreme , kryptonite

I don’t know much about the Kardashians or Jenners, but I do know a little something about Sinful Colors. Sinful Colors happens to be one of my favorite nail polish brands, and I have used both their regular colors and their SinfulShine before.Sinful Colors, kylie jenner, Kreme De la kreme , kryptonite

With all the hype about the Kylie lip kits, I decided that the nail polishes were something I could give a go. I picked up Kryptonite and Kreme De La Kreme. I am not a huge fan of the nail polishes that are “gel tech” from any brand, but these held up pretty well. The Sinful Shine line is a two step process. The first step is applying the nail color of choice, and then topping it off with the top coat. It doesn’t require any lights to cure or set.

Kylie Jenner Sinful Color collection, kreme de la kreme, kryptonite

Where normally by the end of one full day of use my nails are severally chipped, my nails were still pretty well intact with these. By day two, my left hand still looked  pretty good. There were small chips at the very top of my nails, but nothing major. My right hand, which is my dominate hand, had a bit more wear and tear.

Do they hold up to gel polish? No, at least not for me. Do they hold up better than regular nail polish? I would say yes they do. I got a good two days out of them before they started looking really chipped.

Kylie Jenner Sinful Color collection, kreme de la kreme, kryptonite

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Blazers for Spring |Plus Size Style

Plus size fashion white blazer, charlotte russe, boyfriend jeans

Spring is almost here! It is almost time for us midwesterners to shed the coats and heavy sweaters. I am super excited because I went to Charlotte Russe and found some really cute pieces on their clearance rack. I found two blazers and a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans for $15 a piece. That is a steal!

Blazers are a staple piece that can be styled so many ways. They can be dressed up for an interview or a business casual work place, or paired with some jeans and heels for an evening out for drinks. I went for the later in this post to showcase the cute jeans I got as well!

Plus size fashion, White blazer, spring time

Plus size fashion white blazer, charlotte russe, boyfriend jeans

Plus size pink blazer, charlotte russe, spring fashion, staple piece

plus size pink blazer charlotte russe, staple piece, fashion, plus size fashion

Check out my lookbook here:



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Maybelline Dream Velvet Foundation Review

I’m a sucker for a new foundation, especially matte foundations. I have oily skin so anytime I hear that something will give you a matte or soft matte finish I want to try it. I picked up Maybelline’s Dream Velvet Foundation in Coconut, the darkest color. Aside from the lack of range in color, I was pleasantly surprised by this product.

Dream Velvet Foundtion, soft matte, coconut

I did a first impression of the product on my YouTube channel. Check it out below for my full thoughts and opinions!

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Protein Crepes with Blueberry and Strawberry Compote

I follow a lot of “fitspo” on Instagram and that is what led me to try the Kodiak Cakes Protein mix. It has 14g of protein and is only 190 calories per serving. It is a great option for when you need some pancakes in your life, but you are trying to keep a healthy balance.

More recently I decided to try making crepes with the mix. I also decided I’d get a little creative and try a compote for my topping. The first time I made it I had some frozen blueberries on hand and just used those. Today I threw in some fresh strawberries I had as well. The compote is a great alternative to syrup and is super easy to make.

Kodiak Cakes Crepes, blueberry compote. strawberry compote

You can really just use the mix with water and be done, but I like to add a little more flavor to the crepes. I don’t follow the directions on the box for the crepes. I measure out the mix like normal and then add more water than the box recommends. You want the mix to be pretty thin, but not straight water like.

Protein crepes kodiak cakes , blueberry, strawberry, compote

For the compote all you need is:

  1. Blueberries, Strawberries, or in this case both.
  2. Water
  3. Honey (optional)- You could also use a sweetener like stevia.

I put the berries in a sauce pan and then put enough water in the pan to barely cover them. I don’t measure the honey, just squeeze a bit in. Then I bring it to a boil. Once it boils for several minutes, I turn it down to a lower heat and let it cook the rest of the way down until there is little to no water.

Berry, strawberry compote, crepes, protein crepes

Bada-bing-bada-boom! Breakfast is served!


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