Saturday…oops SUNDAY surprise — July Wrap-up of Lorelei’s life — and a “Christmas in July” contest!!

August 2, 2020

JULY was a whirlwind for us. Our girls and their families were home, we had a wedding in the midst of a pandemic, we headed to Texas to drop off the newlywed’s gifts since their car is small and friends and family were very generous! Then we decided…what the heck…we have an RV, we can social distance at all the outdoor spots we’ve always wanted to see, so we meandered down to Houston and back up here–we were gone for 11 days and got home late last night. So a day late, here’s the month that was:

FAMILY TIME — all the girls and their families were here for the wedding so we had a houseful (which after being empty-nesters is my favorite thing) We cooked, drank, laughed, hosted a bachelorette party, hung out, played games…and yes, went to the lake. Here’s a pic of me holding the precious granddaughter on her very first boat trip!


It hails here frequently so I’m used to flowers, vegetables, cars and our house getting damaged. But this storm was something else. In the 35 years of our marriage I’ve NEVER seen baseball sized hail. Heard about it, but never seen it firsthand…until now. There was only room in our garage for 3 cars so mine and my son-in-law from Bellingham’s vehicles bore the brunt. It knocked chunks of drivet off our house. Here’s a pic Mr. James took of some of the hailstones:


Maybe it was crazy to hold a wedding during a pandemic, but we took as many precautions as we could. The venues for the outdoor ceremony and reception were great about setting up social distancing parameters and we provided masks and hand sanitizers to everyone. Attendees mostly stayed within their family groups and even the dance party after the dinner featured a large dance floor. The weather was sunny and warm but not hot. The ceremony was so personalized and so perfectly them. The flowers were incredible thanks to my mom 🙂 The wedding party looked fantastic and my daughter was beautiful and HAPPY. We had quite a few cancellations the week of the wedding, but that was to be expected. Our daughter and fiance have been dating for 7 years and engaged for a year and a half, and were ready to make that lifetime commitment in front of those who could attend. Yes, I cried at the wedding, but I really cried during the father/daughter dance when I heard that she’d picked “Wide Open Spaces” by The Dixie Chicks (now The Chicks). So many memories of that song and the words just gutted me this time. Anyway, here’s the happy couple!



With all the wedding stuff, and kids home, and traveling, I only managed to finish three books in July. I started a few but didn’t get through them.

Daring and the Duke, by Sarah MacLean, historical romance–this is the last book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series and the love story I’d been waiting for. I ADORED this book so so much. Unconventional heroine, brooding, nearly mad with love and hate hero…star-crossed lovers, heavy sigh. I cannot wait to see what series the author comes up with next.


Boyfriend Material, by Alexis Hall, male-male romantic comedy–I’m a huge Alexis Hall fan and I’ve loved his other work. This one was a departure, in that the intimate scenes were closed door, not what I’d expected at all from this author. It’s a quirky romp, if you’re so inclined to give it a try.



Pretty Things, by Janelle Brown, psychological suspense?/mystery/confessional?–all the question marks are because I don’t know how to classify it. I’d read another book by this author and remembered liking it. This one…it took me 2 weeks to get through. It was weird in that the characters are pretty unlikeable, it moved slowly, and I guessed a big plot point right away, (but that’s the mystery author in me and not unusual) but it had a couple of plot twists I didn’t see coming. It was written a bit unconventionally which threw me and it’s a pricey book–$14.99 digital. I didn’t hate it, but I have tons of other books I wish I’d finished instead.


Again with all the family, wedding and travel, I spent very little time watching TV. However, I did make time for THIS the day it released!

Hamilton, musical, streaming on Disney


I was blown away. The music, the story…THIS MUSICAL IS EVERYTHING. Period. I really can’t recommend it enough.


Palm Springs, movie on Hulu — This is a hilarious update on Groundhog Day and I liked it way more than I thought I would! It’s funny and poignant and crazy fun. Watch it!


8:46, Dave Chappelle Special, streaming YouTube — Dave Chappelle is a motherfucking comic GENIUS and a master at honest social commentary through performance. I’ve loved him for years, watched every special, seen every episode of The Chappelle show and this…Jesus, this special, there wasn’t a whole lot funny about it. And that’s why EVERYONE should watch this. He filmed it post George Floyd murder, and it is so insanely spot on that I cannot get it out of my head. WATCH IT.



Again, with all of the July hullaballooooo, getting people fed and ready was more important than trying something new or healthy. July was the first month I’d eaten in a restaurant since MARCH. We didn’t go out for our anniversary, and even when we traveled for 11 days, we ate at a sit-down place a total of 3 times. I did manage to snap pics of a few things I made…just so I could share them with you all!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake — leftover pineapple and cherries…makes sense to make a cake, right? It was a new recipe and I loved how the bottom carmelized,

Quiche — again, needed to use leftovers so it had bacon, spinach, onions, cheese, basil…super easy and was even better the second day. This will go into rotation at our house because it’s an easy way to use up veggies and eggs and cream that are almost past their prime!










Tomatoes — this was the first picking from my cherry tomato plants! SO many and of course I couldn’t use them all before we left, so I made:



Bruschetta –(FYI did you know it’s pronounced brU-SKET-taH and not bru-SHET-taH?) It is one of my favorite things to eat in the whole world — I LIVE for fresh tomato season! All tomatoes and basil from my garden!

Since I still had a ton of leftover tomatoes, I pulled out my dehydrator and decided to make “sun-dried” tomatoes. Let me tell ya, they are YUMMMY. It took about 16 hours in the dehydrator (8 hours, then I shut it off overnight because I’m weird that way and then plugged it back in for an additional 8 hours the next day) Then I packed them in a little jar and poured just regular olive oil over them. It’s supposed to keep in a dark cabinet for 4 months (don’t refrigerate!)…next time I might try freezing them after dehydration. I’m posting pics of the process and the finished product as well 🙂



I was lucky enough to spend my birthday in Houston and my daughter MADE me purple ravioli for my birthday dinner. I didn’t get a pic of the cream sauce she whipped up to finish the purple pasta meal, but trust me, it was DIVINE.




We had such a great time on our mini-vacation, knowing it’d likely be the only time we went anywhere this summer, that I want to talk briefly, about the stunning places we were able to visit:

Royal Gorge, Colorado–not what I expected, but fun to traipse across the bridge and look down 1200 feet below. Chances of me ever ziplining across it? ZERO. This view of the bridge is from atop a steep hill.

Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado — I had NO idea this place even existed. But it was only like 20 miles out of our way, so we opted to go, and man, am I ever glad we did. We are planning to go back! Since we had Copper with us, we only walked a little way out into the dunes when the sun made the sand too hot for his paws. I have no idea how the people made it to the top of the dunes when it was 125 degrees on the sand and were….sand-boarding. I do love this pic. It looks airbrushed, doesn’t it?

San Juan National Forest– Colorado/New Mexico — it was ridiculous how breathtaking the scenery was for MILES and HOURS.


Utah Badlands, Utah — we have Badlands in South Dakota, so it was cool to see them elsewhere.

Arches National Park in Moab, Utah — one of the coolest places we’ve ever been and I cannot wait to go back! You can’t imagine the vastness and stark beauty of the place unless you’re standing there. We’re already making plans to go back when there’s no moon so Mr. James can get pictures of the night sky above those immense rock formations.



Telluride, Colorado — my daughter and her husband have been telling us to go to Telluride–a skiing and mountain biking mecca– for a few years so since it was only a 2 1/2 hour drive from Moab, we added it to the trip. It is a gorgeous city, up high in the mountains, very dog friendly! We loved it and again, we want to hike there next year when we have more time. This pic is from the Gondola that goes from Telluride to San Sophia Overlook which is about…10,000 feet, and that’s the town below us. Crappy pic but nothing does the view justice.


SO I’d heard of the “Million Dollar Highway” and we decided to head to Ouray, Colorado, which is where it starts. Ouray is another beautiful part of Colorado. What I didn’t know was the highway is one of the TEN SCARIEST DRIVES IN NORTH AMERICA. And we were in an RV, pulling a trailer. Yeah, there were NO GUARDRAILS, drops of 1000 feet and it was harrowing for me and I wasn’t even driving. Hell, I was so freaked out about plummeting to my death that I didn’t enjoy the scenery at ALL. So when we got to the top at 11,000 feet, I took this pic of this bucolic green mountain with its babbling brook and fields of wildflowers to calm myself….


I managed to finish one thing in June that was a gift for a close friend, but I didn’t get it mailed to her until July, so that counts for this month, right? Anyway, this kit was supposed to be a mix of cross stitch and beads, but I revised it so the entire berry is made from beads. It turned out great and of course it deserved a blingy frame 🙂

CONTEST — I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I have a RELEASE ON TUESDAY. WANT YOU TO WANT ME, book 2 in the Want You series, Nolan Lund and Gabi Welk’s fun, quirky, sexy sweet love story. Leave a comment about your remaining summer plans and I’ll pick a winner for a signed print copy! The more you share this post, the more copies I’ll give away! I’ll announce the winner next week!

I’ll be around all social media this week, so stop by the FB chat room or check in on Insta or FB or Twitter to see what’s up during RELEASE WEEK!

XOXOXO 💚💙💗💖💓



Share This Post:


  1. Erin Bajcar said:

    LOL – LOVE the Royal Gorge! I’m born and raised 3rd generation Coloradoan- and I STILL can’t get enough of the sites. Next time – stop at Crested Butte – just as beautiful as Ouray (but they have guardrails ;).

    Thank you for sharing about your month – for someone stuck at home for work and various other un-fun-things – it’s nice to hear about someone else’s adventures.


  2. Lisa Rounsley said:

    Had an amazing birthday weekend with friends in the hills so now on to this month of August. Plan on traveling to the hills more this month. Have a granddaughter who turns 1 and a grandson who turns 5 so BIRTHDAYS.


  3. Jeanne Stone said:

    I’m spending a lot of time coaching the Basic Riders Course for new motorcyclists. I’ve also been sitting on the back deck, reading and enjoying the Wyoming summer after five years of hot and miserable in Alabama. I might bogey up your way next week for that little 😉 motorcycle get together.


  4. Dar said:

    The rest of the summer I will be PACKING! I have sold my house where I have lived for 20 years and am closing at the end of the month. Downsizing is my first step in getting things lined up so I can retire in 5 years. While I thought I had been getting rid of a lot of “stuff” these last few years, I realized I should have done more. Some local charities are going to get some good stuff 🙂


  5. Jeanine Lesperance said:

    Your trip looks glorious. The Bride was beautiful and I am going to check out your things to watch. Thanks so much for sharing with us.


  6. Ellen Bartel said:

    Our little family rented a house on a river in the White Mountains, NH for the last week of August. I’m so excited to get up there and chill. Until then, working, cooking and cleaning, watching Yellowstone and reading.


  7. bn100 said:

    watching movies


  8. Kimmy Potts said:

    Yay! You were in my neck of the woods on the west slope. Ouray is my happy place, although Ridgeway is a close second. I’m glad you guys made it over Red Mountain pass (aka the million dollar highway). Glad to hear your daughters wedding went well, I cannot imagine how stressful that would be during a pandemic. Your granddaughter is adorable! I’m really looking forward to Tuesday, bring on Nolan and Gabby!


  9. Sharon said:

    Love Arches, you also need to see Bryce Canyon especially on a full moon night, Zion National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park. Looks like an amazing trip!!


  10. Jenny Black said:

    Daughter goes back to school in less than 3 weeks. We have no fun plans for various reasons, most having to do with my husband’s job. Hopefully I can get in the mood to work on my cross stitch some more. As it is I’ve barely touched it over the last couple of months.


  11. Linda McCoy said:

    I final among my feet after surgery but now want to relax and catch up on my reading.


  12. Rolanda Tovey said:

    I have been to all those places you went to but I was on a motorcycle. It was so much fun and we loved it and hope to go again before we die…..but not by bike. We are getting too old to travel that far by bike. The rest of the summer? Just dealing with stuff and hoping for the world to get back to normal….. 🙂


  13. Leslie said:

    Keeping my yard up from all the storm damage this summer!


  14. Angie Rasmussen said:

    Telluride is a gorgeous visit. We went for a wedding about 15 years ago and want to go back.
    As for the rest of the summer, my girls start sports practice tomorrow so it will be mostly close to home. Boating the Missouri and getting ready to calve fall cows. I’m sure there will be more farm duties as well.


  15. Jennifer Beyer said:

    My pictures from Wyoming are all so beautiful! People ask if I enhanced them but they look like your pictures. So bright and unreal!


  16. Michelle D Holden said:

    Your daughter is a beautiful bride. Love her bouquet. Your grand daughter is adorable.

    That road trip sounded amazing.

    July was a slow reading month for me too, I read the ARC for Nolan and Gabi (LOVED IT), a fun read by Iris Morland (it was a freebie and a second book in a series-I found out later) I am now reading the first book in that series and purchased the third in the series as well.

    My basset hound, Murphy, is still living up to his Basshole reputation. He is a little shit.

    When it comes to crafting, I purchased more supplies for my collection to scrapbook/card make–I should not be allowed to buy any more items as it looks like I used to own a craft store that went out of business. I hope to retire in 5 years and put all my supplies to use.

    I ordered during this pandemic 15 puzzles have not started even 1 yet.
    Lucky for me I am still employed and work 4 10’s but I also have worked overtime almost every Saturday at least 6-7 hours we’ve been so busy.


  17. Rushell said:

    Your granddaughter is a cutie & your daughter is beautiful! Her groom seems just as handsome! I love the song she used for the father/daughter dance. That song was my personal soundtrack as a young woman & reminds me of my relationship with my dad. I wish Inhad thought ti use it in the same way. Love your vacation pictures!


    1. Debra Bard said:

      Well. This is not what I want to do in the summer, but I will have minor surgery. That in itself is not a problem. What is a problem is having surgery during a pandemic. I have to self quarantine for 7 days prior to the surgery AND get a COVID-19 test.
      Life has we knew it has changed. I will be reading before and after surgery.


  18. Ginna said:

    Working, reading and trying to keep my annuals alive in this oppressive heat.


  19. Dee Young said:

    Sounds like an amazing summer. The wee one is adorable! We’re actually in your neck of the woods, Sturgis for Hubby’s big birthday.


  20. Shirley Long said:

    Thanks for sharing all the great photos. Your grand-daughter is gorgeous. And the bride was beautiful. Looks like you saw some beautiful places on your trip. What part of Texas did you come to? Being a Texas girl, I’m just curious.

    I’m not doing much this summer. Just trying to survive the heat and humidity that is my beautiful East Texas. Altho, the last couple of days have been pretty spectacular as far as temps go. I walk an hour in the early mornings so I’m really enjoying the cooler days.

    We’re staying pretty close to home just trying to stay safe and well. I go out when I need to and pretty much do whatever needs doing but since Texas is blowing up right now, I’m trying to be cautious. But as my sweet mama always told me, this too shall pass.

    Thanks again for sharing all the great photos.

    Have a great week.


  21. Amanda Ralls said:

    No real plans for the rest of the summer except reading and, hopefully in the fall we will be taking my oldest to college.


  22. April P said:

    Unfortunately I didn’t get to do anything fun for the summer and I won’t get to do anything fun for summer but I’m hoping to make up for that during Thanksgiving break.


  23. Caroline said:

    We were supposed to go to Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone and the Badlands this month, but they cancelled our trip. Now it looks like I’ll be making pickles instead! Not quite the same, but maybe we can sneak in some day trips to Boston and New Hampshire


  24. Holly White said:

    We are celebrating my step-daughters 16th birthday on Friday!! I can’t believe she will be driving! Then on the 22nd of this month we are getting our puppy!! 😍😍


  25. Ruth Smithson said:

    I am trying to get ready for the kids to go back to school but it all is up in the air. Fingers crossed 🤞.



  26. joanna biggs said:

    We have no summer plans. I am currently repainting all the trim. I’m so excited for this next book!


  27. Maggie said:

    Hoping our truck gets fixed soon so we can get some camping in yet this summer, or even this fall. I love fall camping, less crowds and cooler weather win-win.


  28. Elisa A said:

    Not much planned rest of this summer. The garden is just starting to come to fruition. I grew 21 different varieties of tomatoes (a mix of cherry, paste, and beefsteak styles). I started them off from seeds in April. Will likely be canning tomatoes and beans for the rest of the summer!

    Hobbies: In July when the C/2020 F3 Neowise comet was in clear view, I spent a number of nights trying to get a good photo. Like Mr. James, I have interest in night skies, night photography and astrophotography. So for about a 2 week period, I stayed up all night, going to bed after 6 AM! But so worth it!

    Thanks L! Looking forward to your new book!


  29. Anne Stevens said:

    Plans for the summer…read and watch some of the above! Lol. Just enjoying the heat and trying to do some social distance get togethers with friends, cause my kids and I miss seeing everyone.



    WOW !! You make ME dizzy just reading about your Adventures In Covid-19 :). Congrats to the lovely couple, your daughter looked even lovelier and the groom was handsome too, no one mentions the groom much lol.
    Well as you all know Australia is in winter not summer, I’ve done 3 macramé key chains, and some calligraphy and teaching my Great niece how to colour-in she’s not quite 2 year old, very independent and we think she’s ambidextrous (using both hands to hold pencils and pens). Dug a new veggie patch and just waiting for it to settle before planting. Being in Queensland we are managing to keep covid outbreaks to a minimum, unlike Victoria and New South Wales who are experiencing 2nd wave infections/outbreaks and the government has now ordered Victoria into STAGE 4 LOCKDOWN. Weird times all over the world people stay safe everyone, thanks for sharing Lorelei I love your monthly updates xx 🙂


  31. Bobbie Sue Kearse said:

    What a great month for you! And your daughter is stunning! She looks beyond happy! I can’t wait for the new book, thank you for your life updates.


  32. Aly P said:

    Congrats again for you daughter and your son-in-law. It looks like a wonderful celebration.

    I can’t wait to read Nolan and Gabi!!!


  33. Sherri Atwood said:

    I’m planning on doing some purging and cleaning around the house. As well as reading some good books. I can’t wait to read “Want You to Want Me”.


  34. Tracy Barbour said:

    We finally graduated our oldest daughter from high school & move her into college on the 10th. The other two are busy with football & softball practice & will start back to school on the 12th.


  35. Valerie S said:

    Just returned from impromptu weekend including visit to local winery and short train excursion. May try to get another unplanned trip in if we think we can do it safely.

    On a side note, while we were having lunch at a table set up in a closed off street, I found myself noticing men who I pictured as a Lund or a West or a McKay or a character from the Mastered series! Thank goodness for sunglasses!


  36. Anne Fortunato said:

    I plan on spending as much time as I can with my grandchildren before they start school and I have to stay away.


  37. kc said:

    Beautiful pic of the bride & groom! I’m glad it all worked so well. and your trip pictures really took me back! Growing up, our annual family vacations visited family in Missouri, Kansas & Denver & then up into the mountains. I remember all the places you showed us & Ouray was one of Mom’s favorite places. But she hated heights so as we went over that pass & the rest of us were looking out the windows she was knitting for all she was worth & keeping her head down! One trip, she ran out of wool so she unraveled what she’d knitted & started knitting again! And many of those trips we (Dad) was driving a large wagon & pulling a travel trailer. Yeah, it was challenging!


  38. SARAH TAYLOR said:

    Congratulations To Your Daughter and Son-in Law and Thank you for sharing the Beautiful pictures!


  39. Moran Videletz said:

    July sure was a busy month for you.
    First of all congratulations and Mazal Tov to your daughter on her marriage. Such a beautiful picture of the happy couple.
    Your granddaughter is so cute 😍
    Thanks for sharing pictures from your vacation, they are all amazing and since I’m not going anywhere anytime soon at least I can feel like I travel by seeing pictures from far away places.
    I read an ARC of Want You to Want Me and it was amazing! My print copy was shipped today and my Kindle copy will arrive in a few hours 🥳🥳


  40. Lisa Kendall said:

    what a busy month it was. I want to go to Ouray, we watched a video about it just yesterday


  41. Pamela Gomes said:

    Just returned from my Tahoe vacation and the next thing to look forward to the baby shower for our first grandchild. Can’t believe the summer is over half way gone!


  42. TERI A MAYS said:

    Hopefully will get to the waterpark one last time with my grand kids. Can’t wait to read this


  43. Lesley Lindsey said:

    Planning to spend more time at our lake house and try to keep to ourselves and stay healthy as we send our oldest off to college.


  44. Carrie McEachern said:

    Unfortunately, the rest of my summer involves work and not much else. The best thing to look forward to is spending time with my granddaughter who is 8 months old in August.


  45. Linda A Gawthrop said:

    Luckily we planned a road trip to AZ and NM in March – pre-shutdown and had a wonderful time with a family reunion with our sons in Sedona. To celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary we had reserved a fall adventure package in Yellowstone next month but it was cancelled – so we decided we would try again next year. Staycationing for now!


  46. Anne said:

    I have no plans, not just because of COVID, but hot weather kills me. I’d rather work in the A/C. The unfortunate thing about working from home is that I’m paying for the A/C.


  47. Karen Lauterwasser said:

    You’ve had quite the action packed summer! I’ve made a few short visits to a small lake in NH (my in-laws have a place there) with a few more short visits in the next month. Mostly I’ve been working – who knew that working at Target would make me essential? And lots of Zoom meetings with friends, my knitting group, my book club, etc. with more to come. Take care and stay safe!


  48. Angel said:

    Your trip sounds amazing! And the pictures are great!! We only have one trip left, and we are going to a wild animal park for a tour and a chance to swim with Asian Otters. This trip is a bday trip for the kiddo!!


  49. Jana Leah said:

    Wow. You had a busy month. No special plans, just trying to stay cool & get in as much reading as possible.


  50. Katherine Pratt said:

    The summer plans are different this year as the same day my kids went to their dads house, my fiancé of four years left me. So now I’m just pouring myself into working and staying busy and out of my head. But I will enjoy a River day or two.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to
the Blog

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address to receive notification of new posts by email. After signing up, please check your inbox for a confirmation link.

Latest Releases



Subscribe to the Newsletter

Keep In Touch!