Confessions of a Capital Mother: Feeling American

On this day, September 11th, 2015, I am feeling particularly “American,” which, maybe oddly, isn’t a feeling I get very often. I’m not even one to feel very patriotic on the classic bank holidays: Labor Day, Independence Day, not even Memorial Day–the day I should feel the most “American.”

Today is a day that I feel like a Capital mother again–a mother so used to not even noticing just how privileged my children are to live in a nice home with well-made clothes and access to Netflix at the touch of a button.

No one, besides my grandfather and my husband’s grandfather, from our immediate family is in the military and I feel like I am the classic American case of the soft, fat-and-happy citizen that is completely disconnected from the sacrifices that our military men, women, and families make every single day. I know that they make so many of them: spouses not seeing each other for months at the time, the very real and present truth that each time they speak may be their last time, one parent raising children by themselves, many not even being present at their children’s births, moving every few years and uprooting from friends and schools, living where they have no grandparents or other family to help raise kids. They do this all so I can sit here in my comfortable house and type this. So I can choose the schools my kids attend. So much. I can’t even begin to imagine being a military spouse, much less military personnel.

Today is different, though, and oddly, this year hit me harder in the gut than any of the past anniversaries of 9/11.

Jason and I flew to New York in January 2012, just two months after the attack. We went to ground zero, which, at that point, looked like a construction site with mounds and mounds of flowers, notes, tributes and photographs tacked to the plywood barriers. Even standing there, in the same place that so many people had fled, I felt disconnected. The ground on which I stood had been worn under feet that were panicked, scared, frozen–quite probably the sidewalk where many, many, many people had stepped not even two full months earlier in what would be their last steps on a New York sidewalk–that ground was like another planet to me and I was an outsider looking in.

It’s taken me this long (and a marriage and two kids later) to even begin to grasp what that day was like for so many. I’ve recounted my “Where Was I” story every year, but this year, as I was telling my 8-year old about the day, I couldn’t finish because tears were running down my cheeks. I suddenly felt very connected to everyone around me–not as human, not as Southern, not as any particular group except “American.”

I’ve only felt this way once before that I can really remember, and it was in a completely different capacity. Of course, it was after reading a book–because isn’t that the point of reading? To evoke strong emotion and reaction?

This book, which I read in eighth grade, is titled Nothing but the Truth: A Documentary Novel, written in 1992 by Avi (pen name of Edward Irving Wortis).

Nothing_But_the_Truth_(Avi_novel)_coverShort synopsis: A boy hums during the National Anthem during the pledge break in his 9th grade homeroom class. He’s asked to stop; he doesn’t. He is suspended. The media goes CRAZY. He changes schools. He’s asked to lead the National Anthem (because hello, he was suspended for being super patriotic, right?) in his new class. He can’t. He doesn’t know the words.

The book is written in a documentary style by using diary entries, press memos, newspaper articles, etc. surrounding the event. Can you guess what the take-away lesson was? The media doesn’t always tell the whole truth. Get the whole story. Look at things from every angle.

It was while reading this book that I felt suddenly and intensely “patriotic.” “American.” How dare this boy take something so far by using our American symbol? Of course, I was in eighth grade, so I couldn’t even name the emotions that this book evoked, but it was strong.

I’d like to see this book updated to employ a modern approach to the same story. This version would include emails, texts, snapchats, Instagram, and especially Facebook posts. I’m sure the outcome would be no different, but it would certainly be something that would resonate well with students.

Have you read this book, Nothing but the Truth: A Documentary Novel? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

For now, on this somber day that even the weather is feeling, I wish everyone the power and courage to recount their own “Where Was I” story. To tell it with tears running down your cheeks. To never, ever, ever forget that deep, horrible feeling in your gut when, as you were watching the same new I was watching, you saw the second plane approach the towers.

I will never forget. I will continue to try to thank our first responders and our brave military personnel and their families for their sacrifices and contributions to our great country. For even though we complain about our first-world problems, we would have it much worse without those that defend our rights to the death.

Read Up.

Been gone a long, long time…

Do you ever feel like you’ve got life figured out and on the right path only for it catch up to you and then plow right over? Awesome, I thought you would.

I have a confession: I haven’t read a work of fiction in a long, long time. It went from a reading slump to a full-blown reading melt-down. I’ve picked up and downloaded so many books, yet I just. cannot. read.

I did, however, read one non-fiction–rather, a self-help–book recently and I hope it’s pulling me out of this very dark non-bookish world.

The book was entitled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo and it truly did have quite an effect.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I’ve sent more bags of “stuff” to Goodwill or to other charitable causes than I care to admit. I found “trash” (read: clothing tags, broken things, bad batteries, etc.) around my house than I could’ve even guessed existed. We downsized W’s room to the smaller guest bedroom (along with downsizing her belongings).

The result? Our house stays straighter, longer and I’m not so ridiculously stressed about cleaning and washing and organizing and in general working another full-time job.

Another confession: I also hired a housekeeper who will be coming 5 days a week for a few hours to “straighten” the house and do the laundry for me. It’s such a first-world problem, but it saves my sanity, Jason’s sanity, and allows us to spend much-needed time with the kiddos.

I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of this wonderful little book that can be read in just a few hours. Warning: read it on a Friday night so you have the weekend to purge and renew your life!

Keep those fingers crossed that I can get out of this slump soon (doesn’t Maggie have another Raven Boys installation coming out this fall??)

Read Up! (Don’t worry about keeping up at this point–just keep reading ; )

Problems in Panem: Guilty Confessions of a Capitol Mother

grassroots corner

I remember when The Hunger Games got really popular and we all played the game that gave us our ID cards with the District and job, etc. Mine said I was from District 12 and had some really awesome rock-identifying job of some sort.

Well, the game got it wrong. I imagine it probably got it wrong for a lot of us, because I, for one, am definitely from the Capitol.

I’m sitting in Grassroots this morning, feverishly studying. My first exam is next Tuesday and I’m beyond nervous: and this isn’t even THE exam. I’m beyond stressed.

I’ve been struggling for a long while now about my body image and I’ve been thinking long and hard about posting a series of progress and/or fallbacks with the emphasis on positive reinforcements and encouragement, and especially in dealing with the guilt that accompanies a person like myself during these times.

I’m taking this short digression from studying to write the first post because a series of events have happened in quick succession this morning such that I’ve ended up here, in the back corner of the coffee shop, to avoid seeing (and thus, having to speak) to anyone I may know that comes in (and since this is Thomasville, that means pretty much everyone).

1) No shower, dry shampoo, hair pulled back into a bun. Like…slicked back in a bun. And not intentionally. Gross.

2) The jeans I wanted to wear simply wouldn’t fit…over my thighs.  (I also know that it is all my fault…well, mine and Snickers) (and Red Bull) (sugar-free…).

3) Twenty minutes ago, I called my dietician and clinic nurse who manages my weight to make an appointment to come weight in and start a PA diet…again.

4) I’m worrying a few bumps on my face and hairline. Weren’t these supposed to magically go away forever when I turned 21?

5) Overall, I’m feeling gross, yucky, stressed, fat, un-attractive, etc. (this is not a line cast for compliments…just accept this and move on).

6) This morning, little W came down is the prettiest little dress and shoes and she felt so good about her outfit and I just thought about how much I always want her to feel that way about herself.

7) Five minutes ago, a complete stranger (again…strange in Grassroots) stopped by my table (in the back corner, by the restrooms) and just said, “Excuse me, I just wanted to say that you are so pretty.” And then she walked away.

And so, here I sit. Feeling sorry for myself and feeling guilty that I feel sorry for myself when there are so many things happening in the world today that I should be nothing short of immensely thankful that I am not directly involved in.

Not only is it the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, but there is war, families being torn apart, killed, enslaved. Children around the world being abused in horrific ways. Poverty so immense that families must sell children just to survive. Cruelty. Sickness. Death.

And all I can worry about is the 22 pounds I’ve put on in five months.

But, a stranger, who also knew all about all of these world issues, thought it imperative enough to stop and tell me I was pretty. And I’m so glad she did. Not because I needed to know that someone thought I looked at least half-way decent, but as a reminder that, as I sit in the back, worried that people I know will be disgusted by my unwashed, ragged-from-studying self, I should stop being so selfish as to think that people (whose negative opinions really shouldn’t matter) would actually think I was disgusting, unwashed and ragged-from-studying. I honestly don’t think people are that mean. Normally. More on this later…

So today, I’m turning over a new leaf. I can’t do much to help those around the world with problems far beyond my reach, but I can try harder to both improve my own self-awareness of those around me and compliment and encourage whenever and wherever I see fit. To remind those that, even though I have no idea how they feel about themselves, I think they are beautiful. Or pretty. Or have a nice necklace. Or whatever little words of encouragement I can give.

Let’s do it together.

Have you and any small words of encouragement lately?

Read Up!

Book Swag, DBF Schedule plus One Very Sad Audi.

DBF is so close!

Little Jones W is so excited about going to meet authors, which in turn, of course, makes me even more excited!

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to hang around the Teen Stage all day Saturday and Sunday. This means I’ll be missing quite a few fantastic authors who are going to be speaking. On the bright side, my budding author of a daughter is going to meet some “real-life” writers and perhaps gain a little perspective on what it’s like in the profession. She’s the kid that, when asked what she wants to be when she grows up, quickly answers, “author.” 

Before we hit the Decatur Book Festival, though, we’ve been invited by Harlequin Teen to a book signing at The Book Worm in Powder Springs (basically Atlanta…just like Decatur is also basically Atlanta) for Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Geography of You and Me, and a new author, Adi Alsaid, author of Let’s Get Lost.



Harlequin sent over a pack of swag pre-event, so I’m hoping to get a few things (like the awesome tote bag) to give away here after the Festival! Thanks Harlequin Teen!

Let's Get Lost Book Swag courtesy of Harlequin Teen

Both authors will be at DBF, but by going to the signing the night before, I’ll be free to visit a few other authors.

I’ve been working diligently on my schedule. It may be my first time at DBF, but it’s not my first time at an action packed convention. Try scheduling a cake show! That bad boy takes weeks to iron out…but I digress.

Here is my current list of the authors I plan to see, and hopefully get a signed copy from:

Children’s Authors: Mac Barnett (Telephone), Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Uni the Unicorn), Molly Idle (Flora and the Penguin), Eric Litwin (Bedtime at the Nut House)

Teen/YA Authors: Maggie Stiefvater (Sinner), Maya Van Wegnan (Popular), Jennifer Armentrout (Don’t Look Back), Katherine Howe (Conversion), Mary E. Pearson (Kiss of Deception)

We’re also hoping to have some fun in the Maker’s Tent and catch a few performing arts exhibitions on the Bandstand (namely Atlanta Ballet).

Not only is W going with me to DBF, but my mom, an avid reader of anything I download onto her Nook, will be attending, too. It’s going to be a fun road trip! We’ll be staying with my older brother, Hal, who has a coffee shop, Drip, not all too far from the Festival! Check it out here.

I’m also making the drive to ATL for another reason. Cue sad face.

My wonderful, beautiful, new (to me) Audi Q7, which I haven’t even gotten around to posting for you to see…was backed into in the Publix parking lot last week. I’m so sad. It’s the curse of the new car. I can’t go three weeks without having an accident in a new car. At least this one wasn’t my fault.

audi dent


We’re going to visit the Audi deanship for a nice detail to make her feel better and to see if they can get an estimate for me to repair the big ‘ole dent over the wheel well. It sure isn’t pretty!

Are you heading to DBF this weekend or any other bookish event? Which authors are you going to see or wish you could meet? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget…

Read Up!

Fangirling over the Wilis or Why I Need to go to Seattle

PNB's 'Giselle' Opens this Friday, May 30th in Seattle

It’s Spring, which means that ballet season is in full swing. In fact, I’m actually writing this post while sitting in the theatre, prepping tech for a ballet production of The Wizard of Oz.

Oh, you didn’t know there was a ballet season? Why yes, there is. Companies usually take a break over the summer so that professional dancers can take a little time to rest (from performances, but not class) and pre-professional dancers can be whisked away to exotic destinations (read: NYC/Seattle/LA/Paris/Canada) to study with the very best and hope and pray for an audition with a company.

In full disclosure, I never went to these camps. I spent my summers at horse camp, usually. I do, however, remember enviously spying over other (read: much better) dancers’ 3-ring binders that were filled with applications (pre-online application) and watching the photo shoots every year as they all took photos at the barre in various positions and poses so the applicant judges could see their potential in a few photographs.

I don’t perform anymore (you’re welcome), but I still work for a ballet company and I have a healthy appreciation for the art. Currently, I’m lusting over Pacific Northwest Ballet’s new staging of the ballet, Giselle.

Here’s a quick synopsis, courtesy of the Seattle Times and from a Nouvelle Gamine post about The Royal Book of Ballet:

At first called “Giselle ou les Wilis” (“Giselle, or The Wilis”), the ballet tells the story of an innocent peasant girl driven mad by romantic deceit. After her death, she is transported to a moonlit glade haunted by Wilis — the vengeful ghosts of young women who died before their wedding night. The story was inspired by two sources: a Victor Hugo poem about a girl whose love for dancing caused her death, and a passage about the Wilis (a Slavic legend) in a Heinrich Heine work. (via ST)

Giselle, falls in love with Duke Albrecht who has disguised himself as a peasant. his secret is betrayed by Hilarion who also loves Giselle. Knowing she can never wed her noble lover, Giselle commits suicide.

The region is haunted by the wilis, vengeful ghostly women who destroy any man unfortunate enough to cross their paths at midnight. sure enough, the queen of the ghostly wilis claims Giselle’s soul and they drown the mournful Hilarion.

When the grieving Albrecht visits Giselle’s grave the wilis appear and attempt to kill him. Giselle tries save him but is under the queen’s power. Only the 4 o’clock morning bell, heralding dawn, saves Albrecht. The wilis return to their graves, except for Giselle. Her love for Albrecht has released her from their control and she is able to rest in peace. (via NG)

Not usually a ballet fan? Picture this: costumes from Pride and Prejudice, Downton Abbey & The Infernal Devices all dancing around on stage. If for nothing else, you should fall in love with this ballet for the costumes. 

The costumes. Oh, the glorious costumes. I’m not one to lust over ball gowns and red carpet designers. But tutus? Oh, I love them. Especially the romantic length tutus of the wilis (the spirits of jilted lovers) in Giselle. This new production features all new costumes, designed by renowned (the ballet world) designer,      Here’s a really awesome Q&A with him about the costumes for this new production.

Giselle’s costume is modeled specifically on the one worn by Carlotta Grisi on that 1841 opening night. It’s two costumes, but one design: The Act II version is the same dress, rendered in all-white. (via Seattle Times article)

Giselle’s costume is modeled specifically on the one worn by Carlotta Grisi on that 1841 opening night. It’s two costumes, but one design: The Act II version is the same dress, rendered in all-white. (via Seattle Times article)

Each performance uses 82 costumes, all of which were constructed at PNB’s costume shop. They include 800 yards of ribbon trim, 900 hand-sewn buttons, 13 top hats, and 550 yards of tulle — the latter only including the Act I women’s skirts. Each Wili in Act II wears a six-layered skirt (four layers of tulle, two of silk), with each layer approximately 14.5 yards in circumference. For 19 Wilis, that’s 1,653 yards of fabric — the equivalent of nearly 14 football fields. (via Seattle Times 10 Fun Facts about PNB’s Giselle; read the entire article here)

 Love, love, love this photo mashup with PNB dancers Jahna Frantziskonis, Elizabeth Murphy & Elle Macy modeling their new Giselle costumes alongside historical Giselle illustrations of the same costume and pose. We opens Friday! Jahna Frantziskonis top and bottom left corners, Elizabeth Murphy top and bottom right corners, Elle Macy middle right.

Love, love, love this photo mashup with PNB dancers Jahna Frantziskonis, Elizabeth Murphy & Elle Macy modeling their new Giselle costumes alongside historical Giselle illustrations of the same costume and pose. 
Jahna Frantziskonis top and bottom left corners, Elizabeth Murphy top and bottom right corners, Elle Macy middle right. (via PNB’s FB page)

Here are my absolute favorite. For professional dancers hating life because they’ve been relegated to the corps, know that I love you dearly. The precision of the corps is my favorite part of watching a ballet. The corps girls make up the cast of the village girls and most beautifully, the Wilis. Dear corps girls, honestly, I could watch just you. Giselle could go somewhere else for all I care. Of course, then I may as well just be watching Le Sylphides…


A note about the beautiful white wili costumes, from the Seattle Times article, states:

The wispy, white-clad Wilis are part of a tradition of ballet-blancs, or white ballet, performed by an all-female corps de ballet and popular in the 19th-century romantic era. The first white ballet was a chorus of dead nuns (!) in the opera “Robert le Diable” (1831); other examples are the wood nymphs in “La Sylphide,” the underworld specters of “La Bayadere,” the Wilis and the swans of “Swan Lake.”

These beautiful illustrations of the ballet were found in The Royal Book of Ballet, published in 1962.

Painting of 'The Wilis' from The Royal Book of Ballet, published 1962


Here are a few more photographs, from various companies, of the gorgeous and ethereal Wilis:

Another reason I adore the ballet, Giselle, is that pretty much any ballet book you can read mentions Giselle. Especially if it’s a memoir. There must be something about the love story that just speaks to dancers. One of my favorite movies as a kid, Dancers (starring Mikhail Barishnikov, the ‘dancer guy’ that non-dancers would recognize from Sex and the City), was loosely based on art in life as the dancer befell a major meltdown (like Giselle’s character) while rehearsing for…Giselle. Think early version of Black Swan. One of my more recent reads, Astonish Me, by Maggie Shipstead, even mentioned the sad story of Giselle and how it related to her own unrequited love with a male dancer in her company. Here’s a link back to a previous post about that book and some other ballet books worthy of mention.

Now, here’s my big admission…I’ve never seen a professional ballet performance live. I know! I can’t even believe this myself, but it’s true. I’ve seen Tallahassee Ballet and South Georgia Ballet perform dozens upon dozens of productions from The Nutcracker (16 seasons worth) to Copellia, The Sleeping Beauty and many more. I’ve seen professional productions online and in movies. My two-year old son loves to watch the fight scene between the Montagues and Capulets on YouTube from various professional productions of Romeo and Juliet.

I’ll get there one day. It would be amazing if I could make it across the country and all the way to Seattle to see this production in all it’s gloriousness, but it’s very unlikely to happen. For now, I’ll live through their Facebook posts and adore the costumes, sets and dance from afar.

South Georgia Ballet & SGB Conservatory present The Wizard of Oz, this weekend!

If you happen to be in Thomasville, or our area, this weekend, instead of in Seattle, stop by the Municipal Auditorium and catch a performance of The Wizard of Oz by our company, South Georgia Ballet, and school, South Georgia Ballet Conservatory. If for no other reason, our little reviewer, W, is in the Saturday evening performance as a Kansas Daisy and in the Lollipop Guild ; )

Read Up!



What the Civil Wars, Florence Welch, my 8th grade boyfriend, and Lena Duchanne’s claiming all have in common.

My dear sweet Audi Q5 has been having a few heart problems lately. After Dr. Theresa at German Auto Imports here in TVegas did all she could for him, he had to visit the specialist at Audi Gwinnett.

These trips entail road trips to Atlanta, 4-hours each way. I went up last Friday and then again this Saturday (16 hours in the car). I made both trips by myself. They were great ; )

Mr. J offers to go with me every time I have to make a trip to Atlanta (which is more often than you might think), but I usually end up going by myself. As an introvert, 8 hours in the car is actually a great time for me to recharge my batteries. I don’t think Mr. J understands this, even after 10 years of marriage. I think he thinks I’m kind of crazy (and secretly up to no good) when I insist on making the 8-hour round trip by myself (which I somehow always manage to turn into a 12-hour trip every time…Tanger Outlets are right in the middle).

For an introvert, it’s empowering to have complete control over a situation. To go when we want, where we want. I choose the time I leave. I choose the route. I choose where I want to eat lunch (I don’t mind eating at sit-down restaurants by myself…another thing Mr. J doesn’t understand). I choose when to stop for potty breaks. If I decide I want to detour over to the Wesleyan campus for a quick walk around memory lane, I can do that without consulting anyone.

Don’t get me wrong, I also love road trips with my family. I love stopping at little road-side vegetable stands. Impromptu trips to High Falls to play in the water and hike down a trail. Sharing the Wesleyan campus with my kids.

But when I really need to unwind, a long trip in the car on my own is perfect. Probably the best part of solo road trips though, is choosing the music.

Just like my taste in books, my range of favorite music genres is vast. I can listen to most anything. On these trips, the route is one I can pretty much drive blind-folded (though I don’t, you know…for safety purposes), so I love to roll down every window, open the moon roof as far back as it will go, let my hair down to fly around my face, and sing at the top of my lungs to my four favorite artists and albums with no regard for anyone else’s preferences. It’s pretty sweet.

I’m always downloading new music, but it seems that over the past year or so, I consistently listen to the same four artists/albums:

The Civil Wars: Barton Hollow

1) The Civil Wars: Barton Hollow

Their album, Barton Hollow, is perfect for starting a trip. I’m a sucker for mountain music. If my cousin, Daniel, a professional upright bass player in this very genre, read this, he would probably hate me forever because I’m sure that that’s not what the actual genre is called. But it reminds me of Tennessee and West Virginia and I just don’t have anything better to call it. There are plenty of other artists in this genre that I love, but it’s this one album that I just can’t get enough of. Favorites: C’est La Mort and Poison & Wine.

Florence + The Machine: Ceremonials Album

2) Florence + The Machine: Ceremonials (and other soundtrack singles)

I adore Florence Welch. Any and every single song from Florence + The Machine is on my phone. Every song is different, but they’re all SO. GOOD. These songs are like fantasy fiction in music form. All of the magic from every book I’ve read can be summed up in a Florence + The Machine song. Which is probably why they also write the songs for either the movies or the movie trailers for a lot of the most popular YA paranormal books. My personal favorites, most from the Ceremonials album, are Seven Devils, Breathe of Life, No Light, No Light and Spectrum.

Mayday Parade: A Lesson in Romantics

3) Mayday Parade: A Lesson in Romantics (and other albums)

I know, this is probably ten miles away from the other genres and not even close to what I usually listen to (which on the radio is NPR, country or pop). I’m not even sure what this genre is. Ska? Is that still a genre of music? Alt? I don’t know. I came across this band when some of my high schoolers were fangirling over their music during drama class a few years ago. I asked who it was and they told me it was a local band from Tallahassee. They were “so cute!!!” and “their music is so awesome!!” and “one of the guys is from Cairo!!” Hmm…with that comment, I thought I’d heard the name before, but not sure where. With a little research, I found out that the drummer (the one from Cairo) was a guy I grew up with, and was even my boyfriend for a hot minute in 8th grade! I use the term ‘boyfriend’ very loosely. We were in middle school. Regardless, I actually know his aunt very, very well. I’ve been the production manager for her ballet company for the past dozen years. Back to the music, though. It’s actually not bad at all. If you love contemporary YA lit, especially from the guy’s POV, then I’d venture to guess that you’d love Mayday Parade. Angst-ridden love songs that sound like they’re being sung by love-stung teen idols (when really they’re probably all around my age…and the drummer’s age….which is NOWHERE NEAR high school). If I were an author of YA lit, this band would definitely be on my inspiration playlist.

Beautiful Creatures: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

4) Beautiful Creatures: Official Soundtrack from the Film

Let me begin by saying that this is probably my least favorite book-to-film adaptation ever. It was terrible. Visually and musically, it was great, but the storyline just dropped way, way too much (and you all know that I’m really forgiving when it comes to b2f adaptations). I can’t imagine a film being made of the second book just because so much was taken out.

Regardless, the score is fantastic. Fun fact about me: I was the drum major of my middle school marching band. I know. Touch me. I sizzle.

Thanks to this little bit of history, the muscle memory from the down beat never left and I love to really get into  conducting a score. I’m sure the people driving by me probably think I’m either crazy or possibly yelling at someone on the phone. I get really into it. I have a lot of scores that I’ve listened to on road trips for years (Jurassic Park  and Queen of the Damned are other favs), but lately, I’ve really started to adore this one most.

So there you have it. I don’t listen to audiobooks while I drive, but I do stick with the themes and really jam out on my long and lovely solo road trips.

Thankfully, I got to spend some time with my older brother and a good friend while I was in Atlanta and my dear Audi Q5 is all better now and back home.

What do you prefer to listen to on long drives? Solo or with company? Let me know! I love, love, love comments : ) If you want to hear a few snippets, I’ve linked to each album (plus a few more) in the Jones’ Book Store through Amazon (or just link through the album covers above). Listen Up and Read Up!


Blood Of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus) Cover Release!

We here in the Jones home adore anything and everything Rick Riordan. Have you read any of his series? They top our “highly anticipated” list. So happy to see that Blood of Olympus finally has a cover!



The cover for the fifth and final book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus Series had been released today by USA Today .
What do you guys think?.I personally really like it. I haven’t read the HOO Series yet but I have read Percy Jackson and The Olympians Series and I loved it! I have reviews for each book posted. This Series along with Harry Potter are the only books Im planning on reading next month and starting off my summer with. I already own all the HP books and Im ordering all the HOO books; Im really excited to jump back into Percy’s fantastic world. It will also be the perfect Series to get me out of the horrible slump and hangover that I know City of Heavenly Fire will put me in. Camp Half – Blood can break me out of any slump / hangover.
The book Blood…

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I’d Rather Be Reading, but apparently, not everyone agrees

I came across this article via a shared by shared by shared by Facebook user. I read religiously to both of my kids, but I can’t say I ever remember seeing my 13 year old niece reading for pleasure…hmm…looks like I’ve got a job to do.

Read up…and in the meantime, do our future a favor and share a good book with a kid.


Southern Glamour or Why You Should Get Married in Thomasville

Ya’ll…it felt weird typing that.

I promised I’d post about the wedding event of the year (or, production week for me) that I was privy to a few weekends ago, so, before I forget, here it is. I’ll keep it short, simple and of course, sweet as Georgia sweet tea.

Bride: the one and only, Emily Loftiss (whose “friends” call her Loftiss, which I am apparently not one of because she’s always been and will always be “Emily” to me…sorry Emily…name your first-born Loftiss and maybe I’ll catch on) If you don’t know her personally, you may know her as the fashion blogger du jour at I’ve mentioned her before, only because it’s the only fashion blog I subscribe to because, let’s face it…I am not fashionable. Her dress, which she designed herself was the epitome of glamour.

Groom: Jay Carlington, Mr. Handsome and oh-so-perfect for Emily (who I’ve only met a handful of times prior to the wedding…the first being at a field party or concert or something on the night one of our dogs ran away and terrorized a neighbor and I was probably really bitchy…more so than normal…so, Jay, if you’re reading, I’m sorry that you probably hated me the first time we met)

Wedding Venue: Thomasville First United Methodist Church (Since I was managing logistics of the reception, I didn’t get to go to the ceremony…sad face…)

Reception Venue: Pebble Hill Plantation (I’ve been obsessed with this place for years. Long before I met Jason, though by some alignment of the stars, we ended up there on our very first accidental date. We also married there…10 years ago!)

Colors: Peach, Masters (as in golf tournament) Green (So….I’m just going to throw this out there…Jay, you do realize that you’re NEVER going to go the the Masters in Augusta ever again? Your anniversary trip…which you know you will be taking…will screw those plans from here till death does you part…unless the Masters are on a different weekend every year, in which case, disregard what I just said. I know nothing about golf. I do, however, know about having a screwy anniversary…since I was the brilliant one to get married the day before Halloween and then seven years later give birth to a child on the very same date. Brilliance)

My Part in the Party: Reception Director/Cocktail-to-Reception Logistics Coordinator/Production Manager/Golf Cart Driver/Guest Chauffeur/Set Decorator/House Manager/Stage Manager…just pick one. Whatever I did, it was fun. I moved a lot of antique furniture, shed blood, sweat and tears (I do not lie), got an awesome sunburn (which, ironically, Emily gave me sunscreen the night before at the rehearsal dinner…) and had a fantastic time. Getting to wear a pretty dress, dance the night away and then breakdown and load out is pretty much what my husband and I do for every production! Well, I wear the dress…he wears a tux and an awesome bow tie ; )

The Guests: All of their friends from NYC and LA. Being the small-town southern gal (I don’t ever actually use that word, btw), I didn’t know any of them. Well, Becca Tobin was there (Kitty on Glee), but I figured fangirling out on someone at a wedding would probably be frowned upon, considering our genteel southern manners. Also…I haven’t watched the last 6 episodes of Glee, so that would probably not be cool. What if her character had been killed off or something? Yikes. Talk about an awkward conversation. I did get to catch up with an old friend from my dancing days, though. Shout out Katie Lumpkin!!!

The Food: “southern” food that I actually try to avoid because it’s everywhere. Chicken strips, grits, salad (a good harvest salad, not the classic southern chef’s), biscuits (the Biscuit Bar was quite cute, if I must say so), banana pudding, peach cobbler, lemon squares and carrot cake groom’s cake (photo at the top, which Kyler at Sweetpeach Cakes baked and I decorated…what do you think?).

Best part about the entire thing: PHOTO BOOTH!!! Ya’ll (I promise to never type this word again after this post), I LIVE for photo booths. Love, love, love. I’m the annoying person that drags everyone over and pre plans poses.

Now, I could link to a bunch of “southern” themed books, but I won’t. I’ll let you dig around for those yourself. In the meantime, if you’re ever in TVegas, make sure to schedule a stop at Pebble Hill, especially if you’re a horse person. The entire main house is equestrian themed (think custom-built ribbon closets, a room dedicated to stirrups from around the world, you get the picture) since Miss Pansy, the last owner, was more horse crazy (with the money to go with it) than most of us combined. Check out the awesome shot of her jumping!

Miss Pansy riding.

Miss Pansy riding.

Hope you enjoyed this peak into the ritzy lift…which, apparently, is just like our normal lives. With more photos. And make-up. And camera-ready poses. Read Up!

Little Jones Reads: W’s review of It’s a Firefly Night

The not quite smallest, but certainly not tallest, Jones is learning to read and write. Little W is in Kindergarten and says that her favorite part of the day is writing in her journal in the morning. The only bad part, she says, is that she “always runs out of room to write!” What a problem to have for a budding author.

W reviewed her first book this week. She picked from a selection of digital arc’s (this particular book is a reprint, originally published in 1997). The downside, especially for kiddos, is that she didn’t get the size and tangibility of the book, which I think is an integral part of a learning reader’s relationship with books. This is especially true for W, whose librarian says that she always separates herself from her class in the library for an odd reason: she wants a particular type of book. She has a preference for thickness, shape and size. I am always entertained at his TBA stack on library day. The books stack and shelve perfectly, but their subjects range from horses to historical fiction. She says “it just has to feel right in my arm, mom.” As if that’s an odd thing!

This week, W picked It’s a Firefly Night, by Dianne Ochitree; art by Betsy Snyder.

It's a Firefly Night

Here is W’s handwritten review (with my translation/clarification below):

It’s a Firefly Night

{Written} by Dianne Ochitree; art by Betsy Snyder

{Favorite lines from the book:}

‘…their dancing-light show.’

‘My hand is a cage for one tiny star.’

‘I whisper good-bye, then I let it go.’

‘Soon many fireflies {open their} wings…’


It was about a little girl who caught some fireflies, but she said ‘they are not mine,’ so she let some fireflies go.


I liked the book because the {pictures} were {nice}. And because at the end, I liked learning about fireflies.


W read the book all by herself and mentioned along the way that she liked the color of the sky because it looked like it was getting darker and later at night.

As a parent, I agree! The artwork was beautiful! The variations in the color of the painted skies had a time-lapse quality; the gold and yellow tones surrounding the fireflies glowed and gave life to the page. I also enjoyed the imagery of the words.

My jar’s like a lightbulb that’s just come alive.

Flickering quicker, they sparkle and shine…

Aren’t these fun to read!

The character in the book is a little girl, but both W and S enjoyed it, so it’s certainly appropriate for boys and girls.

W is in Kindergarten and could read the vast majority of the words. She tripped over a few, but for the most part, it was a clean read for her. She could not, however, read the ending section where the facts about fireflies live. To be honest, I usually skip these sections of the book. The lilting rhythm of the writing that captures kiddos attention is gone and we’re into bone dry facts. W said she liked learning about them, but it’s mainly because I used my Awesome-Mom/Actress/Totally-Enthusiastic-Wow-Isn’t-That-Amazing voice. Otherwise, she was done.

The book is also a counting book! One to ten, then back down again as the little girl releases her fireflies into the night. This makes it appropriate for younger children learning counting and sight words.

It’s a book with lovely artwork and a fun story about the wonders of our natural environment and it’s fit for boys and girls, without being about princesses or trucks.

Pick it up in our Book Store and keep Reading Up with the Joneses, big and small!