Tuesday, September 26, 2023

A Brief History of Impulse Buys by Sarah Raplee McDermed

Have you ever made an impulse purchase? Like a mug with a pithy saying that resonated with you that had you smiling all the way home? Did you come across the heavy, oversized and underused cup months later gathering dust at the back of the cupboard?

Unfortunately, I have done something like this more than once.

A couple of months ago, my husband and I stopped in at a charming boutique with a coffee bar. The coffee was excellent, so much so that we bought  a special pour over drip pot just like the one the barista used. And 100 filters, and coffee beans. And we found two perfect mugs as well! We had so much fun, and we enjoyed several pots of wonderful pour-over drip coffee in the days that followed. 

But...we discovered we were too busy to enjoy the coffee making ritual on a regular basis. We rarely...okay, NEVER use it any more. Luckily, we love the mugs (normal-sized). My DH visited schools wearing a Smokey Bear costume when he was a firefighter years ago. The cat on my mug is the spitting image of our cat, Neko.

Over ten years ago, my husband decided he wanted to learn to speak Russian in order to communicate with a prospective customer. 

While cleaning out the home office closet the other day, I came across the complete course he ordered in the unopened box - including CDs and MP3 files. SIGH.

Then there's the rabbit watering pan sitting on my kitchen counter... 

We live on an acreage in the country. Unfortunately the last few years our road has been used as a dumping ground for unwanted bunnies bought on impulse for Easter. (The kind thing to do is to turn them over to a humane society or rabbit rescue group.) 

(PLEASE, don't buy pets on an impulse. Do your research and think things through.)

We've had a hot, dry summer. During the final heat wave, we put out water for the birds. While on a trip to the feed store, we bought a stainless steel water pan for the poor bunnies. The next day it rained and the weather cooled off. 

We could return the pan, but why bother? These bunnies will most likely get eaten over the winter (some are already gone), but there will probably be a new crop of Impulse Bunnies next summer.

What have you bought on impulse and regretted later?

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Worst Vacation Ever By Kathy Coatney


         This month’s theme for Romancing The Genres is the worst shopping trip ever. Since I'm not much of a shopper, and I absolutely adore shopping online, I decided to share my worst vacation ever.

         When our children were young back in the late 80s, four and seven, we had friends with kids that were the same age. They invited us to their cabin on a private lake. We were excited and left early on a Saturday morning for a three-day weekend. It was about an hour from our home. We parked and hiked in about half a mile, arriving midmorning, then began unpacking. The kids were crazy excited and raced into the bedroom to play.

         Not five minutes later, a howl came from the bedroom. I raced in to find our four-year-old had jammed his knee into his eye. It was quickly swelling, and turning purple and black. Fortunately, it wasn't serious enough for an ER visit. After a few hugs and kisses, he was back on track and playing with the rest of the kids.

         We finished unpacking and went out for a hike. In my memory, the hill we climbed was almost vertical, but in retrospect, I doubt it was really much of a hill. We hiked to the top, then started back down. We’d barely gone fifty feet when our youngest tripped and fell, rolling down the hill before we could grab him. He came up covered in scratches and blood, but again, nothing serious enough for an ER visit. We cleaned him up, put on Band-Aids where needed, and he was off playing again.

         We had dinner and everyone was exhausted, so we headed to bed early. I’d been asleep about an hour when I suddenly had to rush out to the outhouse with the worst case of diarrhea I'd ever experienced. I came out to find our oldest son with the same issues. We spent the night in and out of the outhouse. By morning I was exhausted and ready to go home, even though we’d planed on staying another day.

         We began packing and our friends offered to let the boys stay with them, but my husband and I felt like we wanted everybody home as we weren't sure what catastrophe would happen in our absence.

         This was one of those vacations where you never want to repeat it, but at the same time, it becomes something we laugh about on a regular basis. These are the memories I use when I'm writing to bring humor into my stories. I feel it’s essential since I tend to deal with heavier topics.

         In my first book, Falling For You…Again the couple lost their 14-year-old daughter in a boating accident two years before the book began. I interspersed humor in that story often to deal with the heavier topics.

         In my latest book, Falling in Love With Her, book 5 in The Murphy Clan—Falling in Love Series, I used humor throughout the book as my heroine, Ingie Pulaski, was abandoned by her mother at a young age. This meant she had heavy issues to contend with, so I used levity to soften her pain. I also had the Trench Coat Brigade on hand to add humorous moments to the book. What you'll find in almost all of my books is a serious topic infused with laughter to provides heartwarming prose and a happily-ever-after that will leaves the reader smiling and happy at the end of the book.

         Do you like humor your books?

         Falling in Love With Her is available now.




Love, marriage, and a family aren’t in the cards for me after my fiancĂ© left me at the altar. I was so certain he loved me, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. My mother’s words haunt me. “She’s an ugly duckling. She’ll never attract a man. A husband and family aren’t in her future.” Instead of dwelling on the past, I focus on running Three Rivers Fly Shop and Boat Repair, the legacy from my father.

Two years later, Ian Callahan, my brother’s best friend and my childhood heartthrob, returns home. Certain he’ll never see the swan lurking beneath the ugly duckling, the same as when we were teenagers, I protect my heart by insisting on a friends with benefits relationship. The fact is, I don’t need love. I have my work, a persnickety, one-eyed cat, and keeping the Trench Coat Brigade in line—a wacky group of seniors with a penchant for meddling, matchmaking, and mystery-solving.


After my last relationship crashed and burned, I left my job as an arson investigator and firefighter in Seattle to return home. Ready to settle down, my hometown is the only place I want to put down roots. And the only woman I want to make a life with is Ingie Pulaski. She’s smart, sassy, and fearless, but she wants a causal relationship 

When a building is torched and a body is found, I find myself keeping tabs on the Trench Coat Brigade to ensure they stay out of trouble. But there’s an added benefit to that assignment—I’m spending a lot more time with Ingie. And I’m making it my mission to show her there’s more to our relationship than friends with benefits.


I’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places until I meet up with Ian again. Now I have to conquer my deepest fear—abandonment—or lose the only man who loves me just the way I am.

Order your copy now because men like Ian are one of a kind!

Buy here: https://www.kathycoatney.com/falling-in-love-with-her-a-romantic-mystery/

         Thank you so much for stopping by today. I think finding humor is vital, and I hope you'll stay in touch and follow me @




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Thursday, September 21, 2023

To shop, or not to shop...that is the question

 I feel as if the pandemic made us all internet shoppers when many of us had never bought anything online before.

Groceries, clothes, everything from toothpaste to shoes.

I never shopped online prior to being locked down in 2020-21. I found it not only daunting, but was always worried about cybertheft of my credit cards. Of course, the pandemic changed that. When you can't go out to a grocery store to purchase groceries, you have to get them from somewhere. The obvious answer is...online.

The theme for this month's blog post is your best or worst shopping experience, ever. I'm lucky enough to say I've never had a bad shopping experience. The law of averages states I should have had at least one by this advanced age, but...nope.

The best experience I had was, surprisingly, with an online purchase.

My daughter was getting married during the height of Covid and there was no way I could shop in a real store. My immune system on the best of my days is lousy, so precautions were not being thrown to the wind. I found a dress from an obscure company online. I say obscure because I'd never heard of them. I sent my measurements and was told the dress would ship in 3-4 weeks. No worries, since the wedding was 3 months away.

3 weeks went by, then 4, then 5...6... and I got worried. I emailed the company several times but always got the standard response of thank you for the email. Someone will be back to you shortly.

Shortly turned into another week, then another.

When the wedding was less than 3 weeks away I panicked and called the number directly - the company was located in China! So surprise, surprise, I had to wait for an English speaking sales rep. After multiple attempts to get what I was calling about across, I was told my dress was on a ship currently stuck in that embargo pile-up of ships waiting to get into the country.

I didn't cry. I didn't yell. I took a breath and said, is there any other way we can get a new dress to me by this date ( wedding day)? She said to wait a moment. When she came back on the line she said they were going to make another dress for me and within 48 hours they were sending it via air freight to the States.

I asked the obvious question of how much was that going to cost me. Nothing, I was told. The freight and cost of the other dress would be eaten by the company with apologies for the delay.

Gobsmacked and flabbergasted don't come close to what I felt.

True to her word, five days later my dress arrived via air-freight carrier.

Sometimes, in life, when all around you looks like it will end in catastrophe, a ray of sunshine bursts through the dark clouds and gives you hope.

Best experience shopping evah!!!!

Now, the cynics will say that original dress was never on the embargoed ship to begin with, and the only reason they where being so nice was because of that.

I tend to ignore cynics.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Shopping: A Blast or Dreaded? … by Delsora Lowe

I’ll start off by saying, in general, I do not enjoy shopping. As a teen, I loved wondering stores with my friends to dream about new outfits. I had a clothing allowance, so I had to be frugal. That meant sewing many of my outfits. But truthfully, I can’t remember a most hated experience while shopping. Unless you want to count the day I was pickpocketed, as a teen, while shopping for fabric to make an outfit. I still had fun, since I loved envisioning new outfits and matching a pattern to new fabrics. And, I didn’t realize someone had stolen from me until I got home. As an adult, I avoid at all costs shopping just for fun. And now when I shop, lesson learned: I clutch my purse tight in front of me.

Having said that, I do love shopping for anything to do with food. This is where I differ from most people I know, who HATE grocery shopping. Maybe loving to shop for food is because I used to work food service, where besides hostessing and waitressing, I also cooked in restaurants, in a fraternity, and as a caterer. Shopping for food means that I am bringing to life my creative recipe ideas.

Some of my favorite scenes in a Hallmark-type movie are watching a couple wander and meet at a farmer’s market. Or bumping into each other in the produce aisle reaching for the same, small cabbage that will feed one instead of a huge family. Or their hands touching over the last bunch of asparagus. But I digress, as my imagination of romantic food-related encounters crowd my mind.

My local Farmer's Market on a grassy mall in the middle of downtown

As I was saying, going to the grocery store is an adventure. My list consists of meat, seafood, veggies, bread, fruit, etc. And by that, I mean I literally write those words on my list. Because I never know what seasonal vegetable may inspire a recipe idea. Or which items at the seafood or meat counter may catch my eye and inspire dinner for that night, or lunch for tomorrow.

Love the variety of vegetables, jams, bread, meats, seafood at my local farmers market.

For that very reason, I also love going to the farmer’s market. I usually go on the early side and spend time gazing at the colorful displays of ripe red tomatoes, or dark leafy bunches of kale. I conjure up a recipe using green tomatoes, besides the usual fried green (which are delicious.) I perfuse the variety of lettuce or potato or colorful vegetables, some I have never tried before. I usually ask the farmer ideas on use, and then research the vegetable for more ideas, once I arrive home.

I feel about farmer’s markets as others feel about yard sales—discovering a prize to add to my cooking repertoire. Also, people tend to talk to each other at a food market, versus in other shopping arenas.

“The melons are so juicy this time of year.”

“Don’t those scallops look delicious, and on sale too!”

“How do you usually cook that cut of meat?” Or “I love that cut of meat. I have a great recipe for…”

“Have you tried this new flavor of the goat’s milk yogurt? It’s my new favorite.”

I love going to the farmer’s market in the fall, when the crowds of tourists have headed home, and the newly arrived students who walk from the college blocks away are discovering the magic of a farmer’s market. Bunches of fall flowers are for sale. Jellies and jams from the summer bounty of berries and fruits appear. This time of year, just as early spring does, affords me the opportunity to chat with the farmers without holding up the line. Ask questions about their product. Learn tidbits about farming. And enjoy the crisp fall air—my favorite season of the year.

Do you love or hate shopping for food? And why? There are no wrong answers. And I won’t judge if you hate the kind of shopping I love!

Check out a Fall Wedding: The Love Left Behind



~ cottages to cabins ~ keep the home fires burning ~

Delsora Lowe writes small town sweet and spicy romances and contemporary westerns, from the mountains of Colorado to the shores of Maine.

Author of the Starlight Grille series, Serenity Harbor Maine novellas, and the Cowboys of Mineral Springs series, Lowe has also authored short romances for Woman’s World magazine. The Love Left Behind is a Hartford Estates, R.I. wedding novella. A Christmas novel (The Inn at Gooseneck Lane) and novella (Holiday Hitchhiker) were released in late fall 2022. Look for book 3 of the cowboy’s series, as well as book 2 of the Hartford Estates series, in 2024.


Social Media Links:
Author website: www.delsoralowe.com
Instagram: #delsoralowe / https://www.instagram.com/delsoralowe/

Photos and Clip Art:

Monday, September 18, 2023

Shop Till You Drop!


By:  Marcia King-Gamble


Browsing through stores has always been therapeutic for me.  In fact, I enjoy doing so when times are good, and times are not so good. I find peace and a certain tranquility from wandering through aisles, sniffing perfumes, and touching fabrics.  It’s not about the buying of things, it’s more about sensory overload.  The smells, the sights, the sounds, the people around me can jumpstart me into a good mood.

Strolling through stores is a relaxing endeavor. There are times I buy absolutely nothing, and there are times I leave like Baa, Baa, Black Sheep with three bags full. This may sound like an expensive proposition, but the truth of the matter is I’m a bargain shopper.

’m fortunate enough to have a body type that fits into one-of-a kind items. Those items are often on the clearance racks of the more expensive stores. What I pay for these finds is far less than those shopping in Walmart would. Shoppers Tip - First search the clearance racks of the Upmarket stores. Go the evening before the sale is advertised, this way you miss the crowds and things are not picked through.

There’s a secret to bargain shopping. Time, energy, and knowing where and when to shop. A dress size that’s not the norm helps, as does a willingness to search for the rare gem with the unbelievable price tag. Don’t let distance be an obstacle. And don't go shopping with anything particular in mind.

Speaking of distance, I have been known to rent an SUV, (comes with a full tank of gas and puts less wear and tear and mileage on my car), and drive to an outlet over 200 miles away. Why? Because when I can buy a beautiful dress at a Sak’s outlet for under $25, or a pair of leather, designer boots for a few cents more, why not?

I am happy to make a fun day of it. Laden down with bags, tired feet, or not, at the beginning or end of an outlet there is always a restaurant where I can put my feet up. It offers a meal, wine, and a relaxing place to look at my bargains.

What are some of your favorite places to shop? You tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine.

About Marcia King-Gamble

On Kindle Vella as Sari Smith  and Marcia King-Gamble read her Estate of Mine, First three episodes free ASIN: B0CC8HWQ52 and HotShot Doc ASIN: B0CB1TWHCY amazon.com/kindle-vella

USA bestselling romance writer, Marcia King-Gamble originally hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. This former travel industry executive has spent most of life in the United States. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned over 34 books and 8 novellas. She has contributed to Michael Fiore’s DigitalRomanceInc and served as a moderator on the now defunct eHarmony advice boards.  Having witnessed the bad, the ugly, and the not so good in relationships, she still prefers to write about happily ever after. Caring for her animal family keeps her grounded and sane.

Visit Marcia at www.lovemarcia.com or “friend” her on Facebook: http://bit.ly/1MlnrIS

Be sure to join her newsletter mailing list.

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Saturday, September 16, 2023

SHOPPING: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by Dari LaRoche


Shopping can be fun. Or, shopping can be awful. It can draw us together. It can separate us and cause fights and rifts. Many times, it has nothing to do with money. It may be solely an attempt to impose our will on another as if we know better. Like sisters, spouses, even friends and work colleagues.

One of my shopping trips was funny in retrospect, but still embarrassing and the worst. It happened at Christmastime in a huge Nordstrom store in a major mall outside Washington, D.C. I was trying to do some last-minute shopping for Christmas.

THE GOOD: I Love Christmas

I adore the decorations and the store window displays in the malls. I always smile when I see them and I see the wonder in the children’s eyes at all the toys—dolls, trucks, blocks, books, trains—you name it.

I like to dress in Christmas colors at work, so on this particular day I wore a bright red dress with a full flowing skirt that came below my knees. I even wore ruby red earrings in each ear and an additional emerald in my earlobe with a double piercing.

After many packages and a couple hours, I needed to find a restroom. In this case, it was on the second floor on the back wall. I had to pass the pianist, decked out for Christmas in a suit with a red bow tie, playing on the black baby grand in an area of the store featuring higher budget women’s wear.

Well, everyone knows that when shopping alone, you need to maneuver yourself into one of those little stalls and make every effort not to set your bags on the floor. I managed that, and came out, washed my hands, and refreshed my lipstick. Only slightly frazzled, I gathered my packages from the sink counter and headed out the door, happy that I only had to search for one more gift.


THE BAD AND THE UGLY: Can you guess?

I had to wend my way around racks of clothing and lower display counters, past the grand piano with the man playing Christmas music, and then past an assistant at a podium in this specialty area in order to make it to the elevator. As I passed him, he called to me, which I ignored, since I was thinking about the last gift I needed to find. A few more steps and I felt his hand on my shoulder as he urgently pulled me back and leaned down to whisper in my ear.

“Your skirt is tucked in your panty hose!”

I am sure many of you have been there. Not the men, of course, but if any men are reading this, I am certain there have been times in your lives when you have left your zipper down and someone used some odd expression to try to tell you. One that comes to my mind is…

“Buddy, you left the barn door open.”

And there are many others. So we have all been there. AWKWARD!!!!

Needless to say, I hustled back to the restroom, fixed my skirt, splashed some cold water on my face to cool my cheeks, and left. I uttered a heartfelt thank you as I passed him on my way out of the store. I had done enough for this trip and decided I would live again to shop another day. Christmas was still a week away.

 What about you? Any moments like this in your shopping life? Did you survive?


Dari LaRoche contacts

For more info about me and my writing, check out my website at https://darilaroche.com where you can sign up for my occasional newsletter. Follow me on Facebook at Dari LaRoche Author and Instagram at @darilarocheauthor.