April is National Poetry Month

April in National Poetry Month and besides Edgar Allan Poe, my favorite poet is my son Christopher. Please enjoy one of his published poems titled Ohio.

Ohio

Bleeds its soul from the smoke
Of the Appalachian valleys
Deep in the hills and mountains
Where the townsfolk sing hymns
And recite generational tales

All the way to the inner city haste
Of cynical suburbia and the only
Colors that matter to the hustling
Dream-walkers are scarlet and grey.

Hopes rest in lakes which flow
Into the river streams lined
By riverbeds where dreams soak
Into the muddy pillows where heads
Of the homeless reside along
Floodwalls with murals painted
By labored hands.

Streets lined with needles
That escaped the haystacks
And found their new hideaways
In the intravenous passages
Of innocent mothers and fathers
That find perfect rest in SUV’s
Along highways with children
Having to become adults too soon,
Having to become what they are
And not what they want to be.

There’s a beauty in the tragedy
That fills the air with anti-gravity
Tears as the perfumes and colognes
Disguise the scent of sadness
Into a happiness that only a sherbert
Color sky can create.

The Bible belt is strapped too tight
And the waists of the well-fed
Evangelists are still healthier
Than the hungry drunkard
That drinks their life in sips
And moments of profound despair.

A beautiful disaster.
A beautiful disaster.

(Christopher Bailey)

A Christmas Story Giveaway




If you’re a fan of A Christmas Story movie like I am, you’ll love this giveaway. The grand prize winner will receive a personalized autographed picture from each cast member from the original A Christmas Story movie, a digital hang out with cast members, $500 in cash, AND feature as a guest on the new A Christmas Story Family TV Series - Coming Soon! You can enter win win here: https://upvir.al/ref/Bh49974056

Win a Set of Trading Cards From Card Trader Deluxe


When I was a kid, I really loved collectible/trading cards...sports cards, Garbage Pail Kids, Nicktoons, etc. I had binders and stacks full of them. As I got older though, I stopped collecting and over time my cards got lost or thrown away and the remainder perished in a house fire in 2009. I really hadn't thought about trading cards again until recently when my cousin, Luke, started designing and selling them at Card Trader Deluxe. Talk about feeling nostalgic! At Card Trader Deluxe, you'll find American Ninja Warrior, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things,  The Golden Girls, I Love Lucy, Doctor Who, and Avengers Endgame collectible cards.

According to Luke, most of the design process is done via Photoshop. They search for the very best images and then do some editing and then incorporate it into the design. The design process takes the longest. They start with framework to have a layout that is unique and specific. For instance, the Stranger Things design has a framework of a retro video game and if you're a Stranger Things fan you'd understand the significance of this. The background is then chosen from a memorial idea of each season. After that, Luke personalizes each character's card by adding a small description, fun fact, etc. and an image of something that signifies each character. After the layout is finished, making each character card takes about 30 minutes so as to guarantee a unique and custom style. Luke takes a lot of pride in designing looks that are unique, personal, and fabulous and really bring the idea of the show into the cards. 

At Card Trader Deluxe, you can also order personalized custom cards that are tailored to your specific needs and requirements, such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, etc. All you need to do is provide an image with specific details for your desired card design, layout, and colors. Luke will send you sample layouts to choose from and you pick what works best for you.  





Since I'm a Stranger Things fan, Luke sent me collectible card sets from both seasons 1 and 2. These are very high quality, thick, well made, glossy cards with fun designs, all reminiscent of the show. You can really tell that a lot of thought goes into each design. These cards are a great way to remember some of your favorite and even not so favorite characters from shows you watch, as well as some of the lesser known characters who only had a short run. For instance, I love that Luke included a Benny Hammond card (played by Chris Sullivan). He was only on two episodes but he was the first person to help Eleven.




You can sign up for Card Trader Deluxe's newsletter to save 10% off of your first order and you'll also receive free shipping on orders over $15. You can also enter the giveaway below where one US winner will receive a free set of cards of their choice. 

GIVEAWAY


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Make Twitter Stress Free By Muting Specific Words

When I initially joined Twitter over a decade ago, it was a place for me to find giveaways and sweepstakes to enter, product recommendations, and recipes. I could also discuss my favorite books, television shows, and movies with likeminded folks. Twitter is also the reason I started blogging. I have even made a couple of people I would consider friends on Twitter. Basically, Twitter used to be my happy place.  

In the last couple of years, however, there has been nothing happy or lighthearted about Twitter. I slowly saw my Twitter feed become less and less about things I loved and more and more about politics and everything that goes along with politics such heated debates about one topic or another that eventually lead to people arguing and bashing each other. Twitter no longer was my happy place and the chaos of my Twitter stream actually stressed me out. 

I did a massive unfollow of a lot of negative people, as well as people who mainly tweeted about things that were not relevant to me or no longer interested me. I also found that another good way to enjoy Twitter is muting specific words. For instance, if I no longer want to hear about politics, specific movies or TV shows, or specific people, I just mute words like Trump, president, presidential, republican, democratic, Avengers, Thrones, Kardashian, Jenner, etc.  You can choose to mute specific words from your notifications and timeline forever (which you can always go back and change of course) or you can choose to just mute them for 24 hours, 7 days or 30 days. 

Don't know how to mute words on Twitter? It's pretty easy. All you do is go to settings and privacy, then privacy and safety, then muted, and finally muted words. Viola! You can enjoy Twitter again. 


What about you? Has Twitter, or social media in general, ever stressed you out? What steps have you taken?

Win a $5,000 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card

If you love cooking and entertaining guests, you'll want to get you hands on Tasting Table's first-ever cookbook, Cooking With Friends. According to the authors, Geoff Bartakovics and Todd Coleman, this cookbook "puts the fun back into entertaining by way of 12 menus inspired by the way we live today and designed to be made with a few gracious co-hosts who arrive early to be your sous chefs." And when you pre-order a copy of Cooking With Friends, you'll be entered to win a $5,000 (no, that's not a typo) Williams-Sonoma gift card. Cooking With Friends will be available May 7th and you can find out how to pre-order your copy here.