Studying Best of Anthologies

I like reading, but I find that I typically gravitate toward romance, paranormal romance, adventure, and thrillers. I’m currently in a class that goes on for 18 weeks where 8 students are led by an established author and read a few stories from The Best Horror of the Year, The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, as well as The Best American Short Story of the Year. While we read particular stories, we are also reading our peer’s short stories. Each student is to write four short stories, each around 5,000 words for the duration of the class.

I’ll be honest with you. I LOVED this class. Each class we would review stories from one of the anthologies. We read and then analyze why the story worked or didn’t work. Our instructor would first break down each story to make sure we understood what it was about and then discuss why he thought it was in the anthology and what was great about the story. Afterward, each student would do the same.

My favorite anthology by far was The Best Horror of the Year 2022. A majority of those stories had me on the edge of my seat while I read them. To me, they fit Freytag to a tee! I loved how the stories increased the tension in just the right areas. And then bam, a fantastic ending I didn’t see coming. They left me wondering how particular characters could do certain things. One of my favorite stories was by Christopher Golden, “The God Bag.” I remember Christopher Golden because he wrote a lot of the Buffy and Angel novels I read when I was growing up, my favorite- Pretty Maids All in a Row.

My least favorite anthology was The Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy 2022. It wasn’t anything against the authors, I just don’t care for science fiction. That is not a genre I read. A lot of the stories fell flat for me, but I appreciated the techniques the authors used. I’m used to my characters being put into intense situations and adventures.

The anthology that surprised me the most was Best of American Short Stories 2022. Although these stories were literary fiction, something I typically don’t read the real life stories of the characters in this book was intense. There were a few stories in there that were my favorite. One being, “The Wind.” That one was super intense. I felt like I was reading Bird Box again.

I’m a week away from this class ending and I’m getting pretty upset. This was by far one of my favorite classes and I am going to miss it dearly once it’s completed. I really wish it lasted all year, but alas it does not. To help keep me on my A game I am now going to refocus on the short stories I did write during this course and try to make them even better than before. Then I’ll start to them out.

To me, one of the best things I’ve ever done is continue my education in my writing. I’m starting to see my stories get better and better. And I couldn’t be happier.

But what about you, have you taken any writing classes recently? If so, where and what class was it?

Fruit Salad

There is nothing better than a ripe fruit salad to eat at breakfast or as a snack. It’s only of my go to’s when I want something healthy, yet sweet.

Serving Size: 1/2 cup


1 whole pineapple, cored and chopped

2 cups of grapes

2 cups strawberries, chopped

2 apples, cored and chopped


  1. Prepare all the fruit as described above.
  2. Pour all into a large bowl and refrigerate.
  3. Enjoy. And if you have some vanilla or plain greek yogurt feel free to add a dollop of that.

Fajitas for Dinner

Over the past week I spent some time at Le Creuset. I was able to do a cooking demonstration using their new grill pan. It’s a 9.75 inch cast iron grill pan with raised sides. I’ll tell you more about it. But I was able to cook chicken fajitas for Cinco De Mayo. Here is the recipe below.


1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 pack of chicken tenderloins

1 packet of taco seasoning

1 bell pepper, sliced

1 large onion, halved and sliced

1 lime

1 avocado

1 pack of flour tortillas

  1. Brush oil all over the cast iron skillet and turn the heat to about medium.
  2. Sprinkle the taco seasoning on both sides of the chicken, but be sure to leave half for the veggies.
  3. Put chicken on the grill. Allow the chicken to cook fully. Once there are grill marks on 1 side then flip over to the other.
  4. When the chicken is fully cooked, transfer the chicken to a plate.
  5. Oil the pan again and place the peppers and onions on the grill.
  6. Season the veggies with the rest of the taco seasoning.
  7. Cook until wilted and charred.
  8. Place chicken back on the grill to rewarm.
  9. Place both chicken and veggies on a plate.
  10. Take 1 tortilla at a time and warm them on the grill.
  11. Put 2-3 chicken tenderloins in a tortilla and top with peppers, onions, and slices of avocado, and squeeze a little lime juice on the meat.
  12. Sit down and enjoy!

After I made the chicken fajitas, the employees chowed down… and they loved it. I have to say their new grill pan was a dream to work with. I liked it a lot. Just make sure to use a silicone brush and brush on the oil. You don’t want to heat up the grill pan dry. I loved the fact that I was able to get some nice grill marks on the meat and veggies without having to be outside.

If you are in the market for a grill pan, check out Le or go to your nearest outlet where you might be able to find a few steals.

How to read the Bible

When you are beginning your walk with Christ, sometimes you don’t know how you should go about the journey. One thing that you should always do is open your Bible. If you wanna know more about God, you have to get to know him through his word. Why his word? Because it literally shows you who he is and the promises he has for his children, the ones that choose to serve and love him. God literally spelled everything out in his word, the Bible.

So when you want to get to know God, crack open the Bible and get to reading. I remember when I was a new Christian, I was like- I don’t know what to focus on. Looking back, I’m like the whole entire book. But that can be overwhelming. When I’m reading the Bible, I usually pray and ask God, where should I read? Ask, he will answer you.

Once I know what I’m reading I will pray before hand and ask for understanding of the word. And then read. I read from two different Bibles- The life application Study Bible and Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible. For my morning reading, before I go to work, I’ll use the life application Bible and then read the notes at the bottom of the page that are linked to the Bible verses I read above. It helps me get a clear understanding of what the Bible is discussing in words I can understand. And later that night (when I can get in depth) I’ll read from the Dake’s Bible where I read a chapter and also read the extremely detailed notes that accompany what I just read. The Dake’s Bible is extremely thorough. It’s an awesome Bible to have.

After I read the Bible, I’ll pray again and then declare scripture over myself for the day. I have a few I say on a daily basis that are a mainstay for me. Remember your words have power and the breath God gave you has the power to speak life or death. So choose to speak life over yourself.

I know the Bible can seem intimidating especially when you don’t know where to start, but if you follow a pastor or a prophet (one with an immaculate track record) you can always study out the scriptures and areas around those verses to get full understanding. Or start with Proverbs or Psalms. It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you start. God wants a relationship with you, but you can’t fully understand who he is unless you spend time with him in the book that he has written, the Bible.

Do you have a favorite book in the Bible? What about a favorite scripture?

I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time have a great day!

My Experience with Le Creuset

I recently switched from Nonstick pans to Le Creuset and I have really enjoyed my experience with the cookware. I will have to say though, it is a different way of cooking so I have had to make some adjustments.

When cooking with Le Creuset you never want to use olive oil when cooking at high heats, which I have done and it stained my 3.5 qt braiser. Fortunately, I was able to remove the stain with a little elbow grease, but lesson learned. Since then, I have started using coconut oil and I have had no issues. I would also suggest that as you heat up your pan, don’t heat it dry, add oil to it. 

We also have some of their bakeware. It was awesome! The sheet pans and also the muffin tins are fantastic. Everything that I cook on them slides right off. It makes it such a breeze to bake with. As a baker this has been one of the best purchases we have made.

So far, I have had no issues with my purchases from Le Creuset. I’ve actually really enjoyed cooking in them and I am really pleased with my investment. This year, one of my goals was to cook more at home and eat healthier and Le Creuset fits perfectly within that plan. 

Another plus, the people at Le Creuset are awesome. They are extremely helpful and are always willing to answer your questions to help you make the right decision when buying Le Creuset products. I still go in there to see if they have any new items that would compliment my collection and I enjoy every visit.

Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots

As I’ve grown up I really love the idea of preparing my food and just tossing it into the oven and moving on with my life. I always make enough that it lasts me for 4-5 days. I like to make sure I am efficient in my time. One of my favorite meals is roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots. It’s one of my absolute go to’s when I want something simple, yet tasty.

Cook time: 40-50 mins

Servings: 3-4

Chicken quarters and Veggies in a Dutch Oven


3-4 Chicken quarters (or thighs)

3-5 russet potatoes (peeled and cubed)

5-6 carrots (peeled and cubed)

1-2 Tbsp dried rosemary

1-2 tsp garlic powder

1-2 tsp onion powder

salt and pepper, to taste

1-2 tbsp oil


  1. Peel the potatoes and carrots, then chop them.
  2. Put the potatoes and carrots into a bowl and pour half of the oil over them. Then season them with 1 tsp (each) of garlic powder, onion, rosemary, and salt/pepper.
  3. Pour the contents from the bowl into either a dutch oven or 9×13 inch pyrex pan. You may need two dishes (a dutch oven and a 9×13 pyrex pan)
  4. Chicken- pour oil onto the chicken and coat it lightly.
  5. Sprinkle and massage in the remaining garlic powder, onion, rosemary, and salt/pepper.
  6. Place chicken on top of the veggies. Put the dutch oven lid on top or aluminum foil on the pyrex and place in the oven.
  7. Cook covered for 20-30 mins and then uncover for the remaining 20 mins.
  8. Before taking the pots out, check inner temperature of the thermometer for 165 degrees.
  9. Once it’s done, place on top of the stove.
  10. Enjoy.

Grammar isn’t my area

I was never really good at grammar. Growing up, my grammar always had to be corrected when I wrote, but also my punctuation. Commas? I like my sentences fast, just like how I move. LOL. But seriously I either had tons of run ons or had way too many in a sentence. Honestly, it made me very self conscious about my writing. I started to question whether my writing ideas would be taken seriously if my punctuation was all over the place or if I it wasn’t completely sound grammatically. So every time I submitted an assignment for a writing class my stomach just hurt. I was dreading the feedback because it was always brought up.

I finally got sick of it and went in search for some grammar classes. I was already taking writing classes at Litreactor and one day I saw an online class for Grammar 101. Say what? It was exactly what I needed. And guess what they even had a Grammar 102 class later on that year. I ended up signing up for both classes.

Taylor was our instructor and she was so nice! She has a real sense of humor too! Every few days we would have a different grammar topic she would cover with us. There was a total of 8 topics in each class. She typed up a whole lesson for us to read and provided us with examples as well to help us understand. Then we would look at the homework tab and she would have an assignment for us to do. After 1-2 days she would post the answers and if we were confused or had questions she was always an email away.

I’m gonna be honest, half the stuff I don’t even remember learning. I’m like did I block all this stuff out or what? Maybe I did.

While I took grammar classes I also snuck in some writing classes as well. During the break between Grammar 101 and 102 I took another writing class. There was a group of 8 students and we would have to write a story each month and then turn it into the whole group. Well, one of the students didn’t give me any feedback saying that the lack of punctuation made it difficult to even read the paper. I found that laughable at best considering her story which I read and actually gave feedback on what half done and in some parts made no sense. It seemed like she rushed it and then thought it was the best thing she’d ever written. She needed a reality check, so I know she was pissed with some of the comments I made regarding her story. Needless to say we didn’t get along and I ignored her and her stories for the rest of the class. Now before anyone thinks I’m petty, she never gave me any feedback on my stories for the rest of the class either. She accidentally sent her feedback on someone’s story to everyone, and the comments were so rude and harsh to the other writer. I understand someone my have comments on a writers work, but there is no need to be nasty. If I never have her in another class with me again I’ll be ecstatic!

So while I was working on my grammar I got to know Taylor a little more in the Grammar 102 class. I emailed her privately and told her I felt like I was struggling and she even took a look at one of the stories I’d written to identify where I was having issues. Punctuation was my main issue. I really appreciated her feedback. She also gave me some reference books to look at, the main one being- Chicago Manual of Style. Taylor said this would be a great reference if I didn’t understand something about punctuation or grammar. But not to just read it (which I was gonna do), but look up exactly what I needed at that time. And I have. I would also highly suggest this book as well.

My grammar is still a work in progress, but trying to learn it and understand the rules made me more aware of my writing and how I create my sentences. Heck, I even read books a little differently trying to see how other authors structure their sentences while noticing their punctuation.

We are all going to have some type of weakness as a writer. Mine just happens to be punctuation and grammar. But I don’t let that stop me. I feel like I am finally in the groove of writing and I just keep going. I try to find any mistakes during my editing, but I also have my sister look for punctuation or grammar issues with my work as my Beta reader. And yes I do buy her gifts of appreciation as a thank you because she really does help me.

But enough about me. What’s a perceived weakness in your writing? And how are you overcoming it?

Keep writing!

Trip to San Francisco Day 3

Golden Gate Bridge in the distance

My last day in San Francisco was a lot of fun. The whole time I was there the weather was amazing and I was able to bask in the sun. And today was no different. I had to work until 3pm, but after work it was time to play. I had been doing a little bit of research on what to do if I had some down time so I had an idea of where to go. First stop for me, off to the pier.

I had seen some advertisements of boat tours and I was interested in seeing the sights of San Francisco from the water and this did not disappoint. I bought a ticket for a boat tour that would take me around the San Francisco Bay. The boat would take me to the Golden Gate bridge and around the infamous Alcatraz Island. Whenever I travel to a new city and they have an option for a boat tour, I always take it. The view from the water gives you a different perspective and it is one of my favorite views. 

I boarded the boat with a giddiness, I couldn’t wait to hop on board and enjoy the ride. I sat atop the boat which was uncovered as I wanted to get the full effect, beautiful weather shining on me with a nice ocean breeze flowing over me. The captain of the boat was speaking over the intercom giving us a history lesson about San Francisco. I couldn’t make out everything he said because of the wind in my ears. 

Golden Gate Bridge

The view was majestic and I could see why people fell in love with San Francisco. I was able to see the Golden Gate bridge up close and far away and it created a picturesque view. The water was calm as the boat made its way through. In the distance, I saw sail boats taking advantage of the beautiful weather. After an upclose view of the Golden Gate bridge we traveled towards Alcatraz.

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz was very interesting. I’ve heard of the stories of prisoners escaping from Alcatraz, but I thought it was further out to sea and not in the bay of San Francisco. It almost seemed like a stone’s throw away from the main land. I was amazed to see what comprised Alcatraz. A multitude of buildings that I would imagine would be drafty on the inside. To be honest, from a distance I thought the island was beautiful, but I could only imagine the horrors that the prisoners faced from the inside. 

As the tour continued the ocean breeze picked up and it became colder. I started to shiver a little and made a mental note to get something hot to drink to warm up afterwards. After about a two hour tour, the ride came to an end. I quickly off boarded in search of a hot beverage. At the pier, to my surprise, I found a Biscoff store. For those of you who travel Delta, you may be familiar with the buttery and crispy Biscoff cookies we get with our coffees. They are my absolute favorite. I had no idea they had stand alone stores. And in my case, they also sold hot drinks! They had coffees, ciders, and hot chocolates. It was already 6 pm and I thought it was too late for coffee, so I tried a hot apple cider and to my delight they gave me free biscoff cookies! Within minutes of sipping my cider I began to warm up. I walked the pier and decided I better get some dinner, so I took my hot drink and went to the Waterbar. 

The wonderful Biscoff Coffee Corner

The Waterbar was a beautiful restaurant that was right off the pier. I sat outside next to a heat lamp and continued sipping on my hot cider enjoying the view of the water. The staff was friendly and I ordered the Pan Seared Black Bass which was also served with a potato stuffed gougere. The fish was a little salty for me but altogether good. Sitting at the dinner table, I realized I was tired. I didn’t realize sitting on the boat had taken energy out of me. I also noticed my face was a little irritated, I had gotten a little too much sun because I hadn’t brought a hat and I only wore my 15 spf moisturizer with my sun glasses. After paying the bill, I decided it was time to get back to my hotel and get ready for my flight home.

Pan Seared Black Bass served with a potato stuffed gougere

Overall, I really enjoyed my time in San Francisco. I can see why people fall in love with San Francisco, the lovely weather and beautiful views. If you have time or an opportunity to visit San Francisco I would highly recommend it. This was my first time there and I am looking forward to coming back. 

My Switch from Nonstick Pans to Le Creuset

If you google nonstick pans you will see that there is a lot of controversy on whether they are good for you. I had my nonstick pans since I graduated college, about ten years, and I really wanted to get some new pots and pans. Recently, I heard that nonstick wasn’t good for you and upon further inspection of my nonstick pots and pans I realized some of them were scratched! I knew I needed to change my cookware immediately.

I started to search cookware brands and see which ones had the highest ratings but I couldn’t find anything that I really liked. One weekend, Alaina and I went to our Outlet mall and we came across a Le Creuset store. We went in, not really expecting to buy anything, but I was shocked to see the amount of items they offered. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. I really liked the assortment of enameled dutch ovens and pots and pans that were enameled or made of stainless steel. I had so many questions and had no idea what would be a good fit for me, but the store manager, Jennifer, was extremely friendly and answered my many questions. I told the manager I would be back because I couldn’t remember which pans I had ie 2 qt, etc.

I spoke to family and friends and they all said Le Creuset was an amazing brand and that they had their dutch ovens for years. I also noticed in the many cooking shows that I watch that ALL Chefs had a Le Creuset pot or pan in the background. It actually became a game for me and Alaina, find the Le Creuset piece in the background. I reviewed my pots and took note of the sizes and with my list went back to Le Creuset to buy my new cookware. 

Alaina and I went back to the store on a weekend and we were happy to see Jennifer was working. I showed Jennifer my list of sizes that I needed and she walked me through the whole process. Ultimately, I ended up with a 3.5 qt braiser, a 10 qt stockpot, stainless steel 2qt and 3 qt pots, and a grill pan. I have no regrets. I love every item that I have bought. The only improvement I can think of is, instead of a 3.5 qt braiser, I should have gone with a 5 qt braiser because I do a lot of meal prep. Now, when I selected my pieces I decided to go with different colors, I wanted an assortment because I didn’t want to commit to one specific color. I like the vibrant colors and by having different colors I could always add to my Le Creuset collection and not limit myself. 

Overall, I have really enjoyed my new cookware. I am happy with the way they perform and I look forward to using them for a lifetime. If you are looking to upgrade your cookware may I suggest Le Creuset, you won’t be disappointed. 

Do you cook with Le Creuset? If so what is your favorite item? Or do you love them all?