Monday, September 30, 2019

Visiting George Washington's Mount Vernon

My son and I took our first trip to Mount Vernon in August. What an incredible way to spend a day! If you ever come to Washington, D.C. to tour the Smithsonian Museums and other sites, I'd highly suggest adding a day at Mount Vernon to your schedule. It's a day well spent!

The first thing you should do is visit the Mount Vernon website. Check out their calendar of events to see if anything is happening the day you're planning to visit. Check as soon as you decide to plan the trip because their events fill up rather quickly. The next thing you need to do is pick out a time to tour the mansion. It's part of your ticket, but you don't want to show up and realize you don't have a time set up.

Before you purchase your ticket, be sure to check out their social media. Facebook and Instagram will show you if they have any promo codes you can enter. I used their code "SMF2019" to get 20% off the regular ticket price. Also, if you're military you receive $6 off the adult ticket. If you have a Purple Heart entry is free year round!

The drive to Mount Vernon is beautiful. It's a partially wooded drive as you cruise along the Potomac River. When you arrive, parking is free! You'll start your day (more than likely) at the Ford Orientation Center and enter the grounds from there.

We passed by the slaves quarters, shoemaker's shop, and stove room. I don't know about you, but looking through these rooms is very difficult. A brief glance into what their lives looked like is a harsh reminder of our history, a place we never want to return to. They received 2 shirts and 1 pair of pants... for a YEAR!

From there we walked around the path until we made it to the mansion entry line. We learned so much about the mansion from the volunteers! It started off being owned by George Washington's father and it was only 1 1/2 stories. Seriously, they couldn't have picked a more picturesque location!

The tour of the mansion was delightful. I think I was most fascinated with the beds we saw and the study. It would be amazing to have a bed like the one in the Blue Room or Lafayette's Bedchamber. The plaster decoration on the ceiling is stunning and the carving on the marble mantle piece is spectacular. They point out how George Washington paid homage to his heritage of working the land with the intricate designs above the doors and on the mantle.

After we completed the tour we saw a fife and drum band from Michigan dressed up in period apparel getting ready to play period music. It was awesome! Next to the Bowling Green is the Upper Garden. You know I had to walk through there. Oh, you have no idea how much I loved it! The flowers and the garden are wonderful. What's fantastic is, they harvest the seeds from the plants AND sell them in Lady Washington's shop as well as the larger shop at the front of the grounds. They have a sunflower that I absolutely MUST get my hands on next spring or summer.

My son and I decided to have lunch after the tour. Since we didn't have reservations at the restaurant we went to the food court. We should've checked with the restaurant. I would say in comparison to what you'll spend at the food court, it's worth your while to eat at the restaurant. I'll share more about my experience enjoying their food in a future blog post.

After lunch we wanted to check out Washington's tomb. Thankfully since we were full, we took a shuttle down to the wharf and then walked up to the tomb. We passed by the pioneer farm, but we didn't see any activity down there. What I didn't realize was, there's also a slave memorial & cemetery. It's a beautiful area on the grounds just past Washington's tomb.

We wandered the grounds some more passing by the coach house, stable and lower garden. We didn't spend much time because it was getting late in the day. I was bummed we didn't take time to walk through the Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center. I did take time to walk through the two big shops. My daughter would love the smaller one as they have an entire Christmas section! In the larger shop they have some amazing creations made from wood that was found on the grounds. There are also books galore!

Trust me, this is one visit you won't want to miss! You come to VA or Washington, D.C. It's well worth your time and you will thank me later! My next visit I hope will be by candlelight during the holidays!

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Spice King By Elizabeth Camden

The Spice King
by Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764232114

Ok, so, let's just have this be our little secret. This is my first Elizabeth Camden novel! 😳
I know, it's shocking. I'm so bad at trying "new to me" authors. When I saw this book come through as my book option for review from Bethany House, I caved. WOW! Was that ever a good choice!


Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building an acclaimed global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before they spiral out of control, he returns to his ancestral home for good after years of traveling the world. 

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience. 

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?

My Review:

Just when I think my love for historical fiction is hemmed in nicely, I meet a new author who makes me want to devour their books! The Spice King has made me an immediate fan of Elizabeth Camden!

Annabelle is a feisty young lady who needs to keep her temporary job at the Smithsonian. Actually, she needs a permanent job for her and her sister, Elaine. With her sights set on Gray Delacroix, she's intent on getting what she needs. Sakes alive I enjoyed this character. She is young, but she has insight, wisdom, and humor that help her in numerous situations.

Then there's Gray Delacroix. Wow, what a crabby patty! When he and Annabelle first meet, you know he's going to be a hard nut to crack. By meeting Gray we also, by default, meet his unreliable brother, Luke, and his society-centered sister, Caroline. As I got started with the book, one of my first thoughts was, "Please let there be stories about Caroline and Luke!"

With Annabelle's grit, she's not going to give up trying to convince Gray to work with her. Gray, while his interest is piqued in her determination, has zero desire to work with the Smithsonian or any government agency! Reading them trying to come to terms with how to each get what they need had some rather amusing moments.

As with any good novel, there's intrigue and drama. Unfortunately, the political drama that unfolds around them could destroy what both are trying to accomplish. You know, it's hard to share a review sometimes because you want to talk about scenes with others. There's a carriage ride later in the book with Gray, Annabelle, and Gray's ship's captain that seriously cracked me up!

I think my favorite takeaway from this novel was the history lesson I learned! I knew nothing of President McKinley and his wife. This book not only helped me learn more about this time in history, I actually did some research! Go figure. Me checking out actual history! Now doesn't that convince you of how fantastic the writing is?

And you know it, I'm absolutely looking forward to book 2 in the Hope and Glory series. And yes, it will be about one of Gray's siblings. Can you guess who? While you wait to find out, be sure to read an excerpt from The Spice King!

About the Author:

Elizabeth Camden ( is best known for her historical novels set in Gilded Age America, featuring clever heroines and richly layered storylines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award, and she lives in Florida with her husband, who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

THIRST By Jill Williamson Cover Reveal & Pre-Order Goodies

I'm excited to be sharing with you the cover reveal for Jill Williamson's newest book - THIRST!

How gorgeous is it?!

Wanna know what the book's about? Of course you do. Without further ado:

The end of the world is only the beginning. A waterborne disease has contaminated the world’s fresh water, decimating the human race. Seventeen-year-old Eli McShane and his friends flee the chaos and violence in Phoenix and journey north toward the rumored location of a safe water source. They add several to their number, including the mysterious Hannah, who is being hunted by a dangerous man. Desperation brings out the worst in many of the travelers, infecting even those closest to Eli. When division comes, will he be able to hold his group together or will each fall victim to their own thirst for survival?

Join some old friends from Glenrock and Jack's Peak in this thrilling first book of the Thirst Duology. Best-selling author Jill Williamson has brought back the breathtaking suspense of the The Safe Lands series in this chilling prequel that will leave readers panting for the next installment.

If that doesn't grab you, do you have a pulse? Just sayin'!

Here's your chance to pre-order it! BUT you have to be one of the first 50 (FIFTY) shoppers! Not only can you get your order in early, check out some goodies you'll receive:

Ok, so remember, those are only for the first 50 pre-orders! Don't miss out!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

YESTERDAY On Digital TODAY & Giveaway

If you saw any of the commercials for the movie YESTERDAY, you had to have wanted to see it! I mean, how could you not? I grew up listening to the Beatles, and while I enjoyed them, I wasn't a crazed fan. THAT being said, this trailer for this movie sparked something in me that compelled me to have to see it! When I found out I was going to receive a copy for myself and one for a giveaway there was no way I could refuse!

Includes original musical performances not seen in theaters, an alternate opening and ending, gag reel, loads of deleted scenes and more. Bring family and friends together with The Beatles’ music inspired film Yesterday, on Digital September 10, 2019 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand September 24, 2019.





Universal City, California, August 13, 2019 – Bring family and friends together with The Beatles’ music inspired film Yesterday, on Digital September 10, 2019 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand September 24, 2019. Jack’s life is changed forever when he discovers he is the only person on earth who remembers the music of The Beatles and must decide if he truly wants the spotlight, or if all he needs is love, after all. Filled with heart and humor from beginning to end, Yesterday on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital comes packed with exciting bonus features including deleted and extended scenes, live performances at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, an alternate opening and ending and several featurettes with the filmmakers and cast that take fans further into the charming story. Hailed as “Funny, original, and touching” (Patrick Stoner, “Flicks” WHYY-TV (PBS)), Yesterday is a rock-n-roll comedy about music, dreams, friendship, and the long and winding road that leads to the love of your life. Stay in, “re-experience the Beatles' songs as if they're brand-new” (Mara Reinstein, Billboard) and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ Abbey Road this year with the perfect at-home movie night when you own Yesterday on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital.
Jack Malik was just another struggling songwriter...but that was yesterday. After a mysterious blackout, Jack (Himesh Patel; BBC’s “EastEnders”) discovers he is the only person on earth who remembers The Beatles! As he rockets to fame by passing off the Fab Four’s songs as his own, Jack risks losing Ellie (Lily James; Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Cinderella) – the one person who has loved him and believed in him from the start. Kate McKinnon and Ed Sheeran also star in this romantic rock ‘n’ roll comedy from Academy Award®-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later) and Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually).
The soundtrack to YESTERDAY is available on digital/streaming services as well as CD from Capitol Records/Polydor Records. The album will be available on vinyl this Friday, August 16.
*DVD format includes over 35 minutes of bonus content

  • Alternate Opening*
  • Alternate Ending
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Corden & Roxanne – Includes deleted performance by Himesh Patel of “Something”
    • Late for School
    • Nutters Italian Ice Cream
    • Sortisimus
    • Moscow Audience
    • Alexa
    • A Gonk
    • W Hotel
    • Jack Calls Ellie
    • Hilary in the Mirror
    • Nick and Carol
    • Hazel's Selfie
  • Gag Reel*
  • Live at Abbey Road Studios - Watch Himesh Patel perform "Yesterday", "I Want To Hold Your Hand", and "Let it Be" at Abbey Road Studios.
    • "Yesterday"
    • "I Want To Hold Your Hand"
    • "Let it Be"
  • Ed Sheeran: From Stadium to Screen* - Acting in his first major role, Ed Sheeran reflects on his experiences making the movie.
  • Agent of Comedy: Kate McKinnon* - Kate McKinnon shares how eager she was to play the role of "Debra Hammer" while the cast and crew reflect on the fun and energy that the queen of improvisational comedy brought to the set.
  • A Talented Duo* - Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle, two of the most successful British filmmakers, team up for the first time.
  • Playing for Real* - The re-interpreting of the Beatles songs was a huge undertaking for newcomer Himesh Patel. Learn how he spent months learning to play the songs perfectly as the production decided to take the more challenging route of recording the musical numbers live on set.
  • Soul Mates* - Beyond the music and the laughs, the film is, of course, a love story. This piece looks at the relationship between Jack & Ellie and the actors playing them.
  • A Conversation with Richard & Ed* - Long-term friends Richard Curtis and Ed Sheeran have a funny and informal chat about the making of YESTERDAY.
  • Feature Commentary with Director Danny Boyle and Writer/Producer Richard Curtis
Yesterday will be available on 4K Ultra HD in a combo pack (4K Ultra HD+ Blu-ray™ + Digital). Bonus features on the 4K Ultra HD will all be delivered in stunning 4K resolution.
  • 4K Ultra HD is the ultimate movie watching experience. 4K Ultra HD features the combination of 4K resolution for 4X sharper picture than HD, the color brilliance of High Dynamic Range (HDR) with immersive audio.
    • Yesterday 4K Ultra HD is available with HDR10+™, providing premium HDR picture quality. HDR10+ transforms your movie watching experience with incredible brightness and contrast for each scene, delivering brighter brights and deepest darks.
  • Blu-ray™ delivers a pristine HD picture and theater-quality surround sound.
  • Digital lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download.
  • MOVIES ANYWHERE is the digital app that simplifies and enhances the digital movie collection and viewing experience by allowing consumers to access their favorite digital movies in one place when purchased or redeemed through participating digital retailers. Consumers can also redeem digital copy codes found in eligible Blu-ray™ and DVD disc packages from participating studios and stream or download them through Movies Anywhere. MOVIES ANYWHERE is only available in the United States. For more information, visit
* Exclusive to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™ & Digital 

Instagram: #YesterdayMovie

Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James with Ed Sheeran and Kate Mckinnon
Score By: Daniel Pemberton
Costume Designer: Liza Bracey
Editor: Jon Harris
Production Designer: Patrick Rolfe
Director of Photography: Christopher Ross ASC
Associate Producer:­ Emma Freud
Story By: Jack Barth And Richard Curtis
Executive Producers: Nick Angel, Lee Brazier, Liza Chasin
Produced By: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Matthew James Wilkinson, Bernard Bellew, Richard Curtis, Danny Boyle
Screenplay By: Richard Curtis
Directed By: Danny Boyle

TECHNICAL INFORMATION 4K ULTRA HD™:Street Date: September 24, 2019
Selection Number: 61203051 (US) / 61207088 (CDN)
Layers: BD-100
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 2.39:1 Widescreen
Rating: PG-13 for suggestive content and language
Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
Video: 2160p UHD HDR10+/HDR10
Sound: English Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish and French Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Run Time: 1 hour 56 minutes

TECHNICAL INFORMATION BLU-RAY™:Street Date: September 24, 2019
Selection Number: 61203050 (US) / 61207083 (CDN)
Layers: BD 50
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 2.39:1 Widescreen
Rating: PG-13 for suggestive content and language
Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
Sound: English Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish and French Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Run Time: 1 hour 56 minutes

Street Date: September 24, 2019
Selection Number: 61203049 (US) / 61207082 (CDN)
Layers: DVD 9
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 2.39:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: PG-13 for suggestive content and language
Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
Sound: English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1
Run Time: 1 hour 56 minutes

About Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE – is a unit of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG). UFEG produces, acquires, markets and distributes filmed entertainment worldwide in various media formats for theatrical, home entertainment, television and other distribution platforms, as well as consumer products, interactive gaming and live entertainment. The global division includes Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Brand Development, Fandango, DreamWorks Animation Film and Television and Awesomeness.  UFEG is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience.  NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.
 Now you have the opportunity to win a Blu-ray/DVD of YESTERDAY!

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Creative Commons License
Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.