Thursday, July 25, 2019

Reading Challenge 2019: My Ratings

  • Murder in Two Acts (Creative Woman Mysteries Book 11) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 3 stars
  • Rains of Remorse (Lantern Beach Romantic Suspense Book 5) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Temp Job of Murder (Lacy Steele Mystery Book 11) by Vanessa Gray Bartal ~ My Rating: 3 stars
  • Deadly Isle (The Cost of Betrayal Collection) by Dani Pettrey ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • In the Dead of Winter (Ivy Towers Book 1) by Nancy Mehl ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Fire Storm (Kaely Quinn Profiler Book 2) by Nancy Mehl ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Clean Break (Squeaky Clean Mysteries Book 15) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • The Piper's Pursuit (Hagenheim Book 10) by Melanie Dickerson ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Unspoken by Dee Henderson ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Trained to Defend (K-9 Mountain Guardians Book 1) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Home to Chestnut Grove by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Threads of Suspicion (Evie Blackwell Cold Case Book 2) by Dee Henderson ~ My Rating: 2 stars
  • Wreck the Halls (Worst Detective Ever Novella Book 9) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Joke and Dagger (Worst Detective Ever Book 8) by Christy Barritt ~ 4 stars
  • Priceless by Joel Smallbone ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Brink of Danger (Fog Lake Mysteries Book 3) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • On The Run (Summer of Suspense) by Debby Giusti ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Missing (Summer of Suspense) by Mary Ellis ~ My Rating: 3 stars
  • Fading Into The Night (Summer of Suspense) by Vannetta Chapman ~ My Rating: 3 stars
  • Afterglow (Summer of Suspense) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Code Pink Stolen Baby (Summer of Suspense) by Patricia Bradly ~ My Rating: 3 stars
  • Storm Warnings (Summer of Suspense) by Mary Alford ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Hazardous Duty (Squeaky Clean Mysteries Book 1) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Suspicious Minds (Squeaky Clean Mysteries Book 2) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Organized Grime (Squeaky Clean Mysteries Book 3) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Dirty Deeds (Squeaky Clean Mysteries Book 4) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Winds of Danger (Lantern Beach Romantic Suspense Book 4) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • The Cradle Conspiracy by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Grace Revolution: Experience the Power to Live Above Defeat by Joseph Prince ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Random Acts of Murder (Holly Anna Paladin Mysteries Book 1) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Random Acts of Deceit (Holly Anna Paladin Mysteries Book 2) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Random Acts of Malice (Holly Anna Paladin Mysteries Book 3) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Random Acts of Scrooge (Holly Anna Paladin Mysteries Book 3.5) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Random Acts of Greed (Holly Anna Paladin Mysteries Book 4) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Random Acts of Fraud (Holly Anna Paladin Mysteries Book 5) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Random Acts of Outrage (Holly Anna Paladin Mysteries Book 6) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Random Acts of Iniquity (Holly Anna Paladin Mysteries Book 7) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Keeping Guard by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Margin of Error (Fog Lake Suspense Book 2) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • The Last Target by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Race Against Time by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Ricochet by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Hidden Agenda by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Mountain Hideaway by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Key Witness (The Security Experts Book 1) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Lifeline (The Security Experts Book 2) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • High-Stakes Holiday Reunion (The Security Experts Book 3) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Home Before Dark (Carolina Moon Book 1) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Gone by Dark (Carolina Moon Book 2) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Wait Until Dark (Carolina Moon Book 3) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Taken By Dark (Carolina Moon Book 4) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Light the Dark (Carolina Moon Christmas) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Ready to Fumble (The Worst Detective Ever Book 1) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Reign of Error (The Worst Detective Ever Book 2) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Safety in Blunders (The Worst Detective Ever Book 3) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Join the Flub (The Worst Detective Ever Book 4) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Blooper Freak (The Worst Detective Ever Book 5) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Flaw Abiding Citizen (The Worst Detective Ever Book 6) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Gaffe Out Loud (The Worst Detective Ever Book 7) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Conspiracy of Silence (Tox Files Book 1) by Ronnie Kendig ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Vanish by Lynn Shannon ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Gathering Shadows (Finding Sanctuary Book 1) by Nancy Mehl ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Deadly Echoes (Finding Sanctuary Book 2) by Nancy Mehl ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Rising Darkness (Finding Sanctuary Book 3) by Nancy Mehl ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Crisis Shot (Line of Duty Book 1) by Janice Cantore ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Lethal Target (Line of Duty Book 2) by Janice Cantore ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Beauty in Flight (Beauty in Flight Book 1) by Robin Patchen ~ My Rating: 3 stars
  • Beauty in Hiding (Beauty in Flight Book 2) by Robin Patchen ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Beauty in Battle (Beauty in Flight Book 3)  by Robin Patchen ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Danger in the Shadows (O'Malley Book 0) by Dee Henderson ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Her Last Chance (Without a Trace Book 6) by Terri Reed ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • On the Lookout (Lanter Beach P.D. Book 1) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Attempt to Locate (Lantern Beach P.D. Book 2) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • First Degree Murder (Lantern Beach P.D. Book 3) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Dead on Arrival (Lantern Beach P.D. Book 4) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Plan of Action (Lantern Beach P.D. Book 5) by Christy Barritt ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Ranger Protection (Texas Ranger Heroes Book 1) by Lynn Shannon ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Ranger Redemption (Texas Ranger Heroes Book 2) by Lynn Shannon ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Once Bitten by Betsy St. Amant ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Twice Upon a Time by Ashley Clark ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Entanglements by Rachel McMillan ~ My Rating: 3 stars
  • Between Stairs and Stardust by Pepper D. Dasham ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Oath of Honor (Blue Justice Book 1) by Lynette Eason ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Called to Protect (Blue Justice Book 2) by Lynette Eason ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Code of Valor (Blue Justice Book 3) by Lynette Eason ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Divine Intervention (Divine Christian Cozy Mysteries Book 1) by Hope Callaghan ~ My Rating: 3 stars
  • Divine Secrets (Divine Christian Cozy Mysteries Book 2) by Hope Callaghan ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Divine Blindside (Divine Christian Cozy Mysteries Book 3) by Hope Callaghan ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Mind Games (Kaely Quinn Profiler Book 1) by Nancy Mehl ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • For Better or Hearse (Annabelle Archer Book 2) by Laura Durham ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • To Love and To perish (Annabelle Archer Book 3) by Laura Durham ~ My Rating: 3 stars
  • Dead Ringer (Annabelle Archer Book 3.5) by Laura Durham ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Death on the Aisle (Annabelle Archer Book 5) by Laura Durham ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Fatal Frost (Defenders of Justice Book 1) by Nancy Mehl ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • The Captive Maiden (Hagenheim Book 4) by Melanie Dickerson ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • The Warrior Maiden (Hagnheim Book 9) by Melanie Dickerson ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Lily Fields (Garden of Love Book 1) by Melanie Wilber ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Lilac Springs (Garden of Love Book 8) by Melanie Wilber ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Raindrops on Roses (Garden of Love Book 10) by Melanie Wilber ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Sunflowers (Garden of Love Book 11) by Melanie Wilber ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Deadly Hunt (Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations Book 1) by Margaret Daley ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Deadly Intent (Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations Book 2) by Margaret Daley ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Deadly Holiday (Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations Book 3) by Margaret Daley ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Deadly Countdown (Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations Book 4) by Margaret Daley ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Deadly Noel (Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations Book 5) by Margaret Daley ~ My Ratings: 5 stars
  • False Security by Angela Ruth Strong ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Convenient Lies (Hidden Truths Book 1) by Robin Patchen ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Amber Alert (Dangerous Book 1) by Linda K. Rodante ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • As Long As You Both Shall Live (Dangerous Book 2) by Linda K. Rodante ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Splashdown (Dangerous Book 3) by Linda K. Rodante ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Looking for Justice (Dangerous Book 4) by Linda K. Rodante ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Pursued (Dangerous Book 6) by Linda K. Rodante ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Warrior (Dangerous Book 7) by Linda K. Rodante ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Seeking God's Heart (Devotions for Women Book 1) by Melanie Wilber ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Amish Country Ambush (Amish Country Justice Book 4) by Dana R. Lynn ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Amish Christmas Emergency (Amish Country Justice Book 5) by Dana R. Lynn ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Dead End by Lisa Phillips ~ My Rating: 3 stars
  • The Sleuth's Miscalculation (The Librarian Sleuth Book 1) by Kimberly Rose Johnson ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Bodyguard for Christmas (Murphy Book 3) by Carol J. Post ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Just let go (Harbor Pointe Book 2) by Courtney Walsh ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Bookishly Ever After (Book Nerds and Boyfriends Collection Book 1) by Sarah Monzon ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Literarily For Keeps (Book Nerds and Boyfriends Collection Book 2) by Sarah Monson ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Novelly Upon a Time (Book Nerd and Boyfriends Collection Book 3) by Sarah Monzon ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • The One I Trust (Chop, Chop Book 11; The One Book 1) by L.N. Cronk ~ My Rating: 3 stars
  • In the Stars (Amber Reed Mystery Book 1) by Zanna Mackenzie ~ My Rating: 1 star
  • One Night in Tehran (Titus Ray Thriller Book 1) by Luana Ehrlich ~ My Rating: 3 stars
  • Angels Among Us (Matt Foley Series) by V.B. Tenery ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Shadows of Doubt by Susette Williams ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Last Chance by V.B. Tenery ~ My Rating: 2 stars
  • A Rock and Roll Christmas by Lillian Duncan ~ My Rating: 4 stars
  • Slumbered to Death (A Saide Cooper Mystery Book 2) by Vanessa Gray Bartal ~ My Rating: 3 stars
  • The Princess and the P.I. by Angela Ruth Strong ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Hallowed Ground by Mary Alford ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Fire by Lynnette Bonner ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Jill Came Tumbling After (Madison Falls Book 2) by Lesley Ann McDaniel ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Deadly Exposure by Lisa Phillips ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Dead on Arrival by Angela Ruth Strong ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Termination Dust by Alana Terry ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • For Love or Money by Virginia Vaughan ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Vendetta (The Nikki Boyd Files Book 1) by Lisa Harris ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • In the Nick of Time (The 12 Mysteries of Christmas Book 1) by Susette Williams ~ My Rating: 5 stars
  • Not Alone (The Detectives of Hazel Hill Book 1) by Liz Bradford ~ My Rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Some of My favorite songs

I enjoy a very wide range of music genres—minus rap and heavy metal.

I really enjoy the old classic country and a lot of upbeat music in general. I don't necessarily like any one genre in particular. I go mostly just the song itself and the artist.

Some of my favorite artists are Michael W Smith, Hillsong, Danny Gokey, George Strait, The Piano Guys, Newsboys, For King and Country.

I also love to sing along to songs. I am NOT a good singer but I do enjoy belting a tune out.

Beautiful by Jim Brickman. This is my all-time favorite song, it's beautiful and one I love to sing along with it.

You Are Loved by Josh Groban. This is another song which speaks to me and just to read the lyrics is so good. It is such an uplifting song.

Perfection from Smallfoot. This one is currently one of my favorite songs to "dance" to.

God Only Knows by For King and Country This is a very meaningful and empowering song.

Friends by Michael W Smith. This is a simple and meaningful song, one that you can share with a close friend.

New Day by Danny Gokey This one is very upbeat song that is fun to sing and dance to as well.

This is Your Fight Song by The Piano Guys. This song doesn't have any lyrics but it's still one of my favorites because I know the original song and once in a while I like to listen to these kinds of songs and just hum along instead. Plus the drums are really cool.

A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman and The Piano Guys. Who doesn't love this song? Another one of my favorites to sing along to, I just find it very beautiful and meaningful.

City Lights from The Identical. I saw the movie and I immediately fell in love with this song, it doesn't really have any special meaning to me it's just a cool song.

The Climb by The Texas Tenors. I enjoy a lot of songs by The Texas Tenors and this is the most recent one. Another one of my favorites to sing along to.

Careless Whisper by George Michael. This isn't necessarily the cleanest song, because of the meaning of the lyrics but this song is special to me because every time my parents and I listen to this song in the car we all sing along. Even though none of us are that great of singers it's a special memory.

Oceans by Hillsong Young and Free. This is a meaningful song for those of you that like Christian music.

A Thousand Years by Christina Perri and The Piano Guys. Cause who doesn't like a love song once in a while? I like a lot of love songs but this is one of my newest ones.

Stealing Cinderella by Chuck Wicks. I am looking forward to the day I get married and I get to have that dance with my dad. This song is definitely in the running along with a few others.

Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver. I mean come on... It's a classic country song, how could I not love it and share it?

Prince Charming by Leanna Crawford. I ran across this song while on Facebook and I immediately fell in love with it, it is yet another beautiful love song.

Rewrite the Stars from The Greatest Showman and The Piano Guys. I, of course, like the original but I also love the version by The Piano Guys. It was beautifully done and one song I love to hum along to.

Honestly, if I know the song (even if I don't like it) I will sing along and there is the possibility I will dance as well. If it's a song I don't know but it has a cool beat then I'll definitely dance to it.


Friday, July 19, 2019

Summer Hair Care

I decided to share my Summer hair care routine, We have very hot summer days here in Arizona.

I normally only wash the length of my hair once a week but with the heat, and how much I end up sweating while going on walks or riding, my scalp gets really itchy. Therefore, I do a simple scalp wash to deal with this issue halfway through the week.

I wash my hair every Friday.  Allow me to share my routine: I apply this mask to my hair before I wash—in the video she only puts it on the length of her hair but I apply it on all of my hair including my scalp. My hair is also shorter and not as thick therefore I make less —I just use a smaller spoon but the same measurements.

I also prefer to add a little oil in the mixture as well. I recycle a regular plastic grocery bag to cover my hair and I then cover the entire thing with a bandanna. It's not cute but it works for me.

I let the whole thing sit for one hour.

I then just wash out the mask, put a little conditioner on my ends and shampoo my scalp. I use this scalp scrubber. I also use this brush and comb through my hair when it has conditioner in it.

I rinse then apply conditioner all over my hair including my scalp and run the brush through my hair once again. I then leave my conditioned hair alone while I shave so it can soak into my hair for a bit.

I once again rinse.

I towel dry my hair with this towel,  It comes in many different sizes and it's perfectly safe for your hair as well. They do have larger sizes as well for some of you longer haired gals.

After I do this entire routine, I just let my hair air dry. It does take a while but I'd rather it take a few hours compared to damaging it with any heat.

Using this on my hair works super well, my hair texture is a little coarse and is just inches from classic—below my bottom.

Mid-week, I do a scalp wash. It's very simple!

All you have to do is loosely braid your hair and slip it into your shirt or secure it in whatever way works best for you.

Then, just proceed to wet your scalp either in the tub or at the sink. I prefer to do it in the sink and use a cup to pour water on my head with more ease. I then use my scalp scrubber once again. After that, I just get a hand towel and dry my hair a little, remove my braid and let my hair air dry.

I generally don't have to use any or much oil on my hair during the Summer but I do the day before I wash in the winter. My hair is low porosity, which basically means that oils don't really penetrate into my hair. They just sit on top. If  I use too much oil you can really see it and my hair look greasy. Therefore, I have to be careful when using hair oil.

I know many women like coconut oil. My hair does not unless it's mixed in with something else. My preferred oils are date oil and Moroccan argan oil. The date oil is the one I put in with the hair mask recipe mentioned above.



Monday, July 8, 2019

The Sleep Styler Curlers: A Review

We all know that curly hair is very popular at the moment. I have been seeing a lot of different ways to curl your hair without heat but they take so much longer cause you to need to wait for your hair to from wet—or damp—to completely dry compared to blow-drying and just using a curling iron.

My hair is down to my tailbone. This means that for me personally—as well as a lot of other girls with long hair who don't like to use any heat on their locks—we have to find other ways to curl our hair without heat and, hopefully, somewhat speedily.

I recommend the Sleep Styler. They are foam rollers that can both straighten your hair or curl it and they work on long or short hair. To use, simply roll them in with damp hair and let it dry! They are pretty comfortable to sleep in.  They are a little big and can get in the way depending on how close you roll them to your scalp and how many of them you use. The foam is covered by super absorbent yoga towel material. The foam is removable so you can wash the material whenever you want—or need to.

I have recently tried the Sleep Styler in my hair. I put them in at about 7:30 at night (with damp hair) and I removed them in the morning at about 7:30.

My hair was completely dry and it was curled. I didn't put any product in it what so ever before—or after—using them and my curls hung around for about three and a half hours before they started to droop a little. This, for me, is a great success.

It seems my hair does better when I don't use any products. Although, I may try a little hair spray next time.

I used eleven curlers—which comes to about a pack and a half as there are eight per pack. I separated my hair into smaller sections which is the main reason I used so many curlers. You certainly can make smaller sections and only use the eight provided in one pack.

Here is a little video on how to apply the curlers to your hair. Click here

You can buy your Sleep Styler curlers here.

Below is a picture of how my hair turned out after I took the curlers out. Sorry for the picture quality but its all I have.



Thursday, July 4, 2019

July 4th, 2019

Happy Independence day!! How are y'all celebrating the day?

Are you looking for a way dress up your hair for the festivities?

Well, there are some really pretty hair accessories you can add to any hairstyle.

Shown below is the website I get most of my hair jewelry from. This place is amazing, they sell hair clips, bobby pins, headbands, u-pins, and hair sticks. It's everything you need for your hair! There are all kinds of styles to match whatever you're wearing from casual to dressy.

Want to add some stars to your hair in honor of the 4th? Here is the perfect hair accessory!

Photo by: Lilla Rose


Been wanting to add some bang to your hair? Well now you can with this amazing hair clip!

Photo by: Lilla Rose


Want something simple yet still patriotic? How about this American Flag clip?

Photo by: Lilla rose


Just want something very simple? Here are some super cute Firework bobbies, these bobbies are super secure and stay in their place for as long as you need.

Photo by: Lilla rose


This is by far my favorite 4th of July clip out of the Lilla Rose collection and the one I own. I think it's super cute how its a little bow that looks like the American Flag.
This style is currently out of stock.

Photo by: Lilla Rose


Lilla Rose is an amazing company.

I am a little addicted to most anything hair, especially hair jewelry. I love their clips, they have many different styles and sizes to fit all hair types.

I also adore their bobby pins. They are very strong and actually hold their place, plus they are super cute and have many different styles to suit everyone.

I think my very favorite of their products is their headbands. I can get headaches very easily and normal headbands would give me headaches all the time, ripe my hair out, give me marks, and slip like crazy. But, since finding out and trying my first Lilla Rose headband, I have loved them. They don't give me headaches, ripe my hair out, leave marks,  and they hardly every slip (depending on my style.) And, they come in many different colors and styles to fit with whatever you prefer.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Hello, July

I can't believe it's July already. This year has really flown by!

July will be a busy month for me but, I am looking forward to every moment and all the memories I will make with my family throughout the month, and the rest of the year.

I am very excited to be celebrating our Independence day in a few short days! I will be sharing my hairstyle for the day and a little hair clip that is perfect for the 4th!

How do y'all celebrate the 4th? In my family, we usually just all get together for a huge meal and then watch the fireworks in the distance while sitting on the grass.

I am very thankful for everyone who has served this amazing country and those who will serve in the future. It is a great sacrifice and we can never thank them enough. What is something you can do to thank a serviceman or woman not only on the 4th but every day?

Stay tuned for more patriotic posts leading up to the 4th!