Five Things Friday: Fall Photographs

I find it hard to brainstorm when I have a headache. The cause: math and tedious work on Excel spreadsheets. Just when I get cocky about learning how to do taxes, I have to deal with more numbers. My head hurts just thinking about it.

Sitting in front of a glaring computer screen doesn’t help the burning in my eyes. This morning as I was preparing for a long day at work, I remember telling myself not to worry about the blog. I’ll do it right after dinner.

So then I went to the movies. I mean, what else was I going to do during matinee pricing time with the help of a gift card? Geostorm looked awesome, it had epic storms and Gerard Butler! Honestly, I would’ve liked it better if it had more storms.

Here I am now, wanting to catch up on my TV shows or get back to a 500 page book I’m reading. But I feel obligated to write, so here’s what’s on my mind.

Five Favorite Fall Things to Photograph

1. Trees and Changing Leafs

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I love an opportunity to sneak in a picture of this handsome dog into this blog. Look at him, Chauncey the Corgi is stunning. Yes, he’s wearing a pumpkin costume, it’s earned him a few “accidental” dropped hot dogs. I love watching the leaves change color during this time of the year, and they make this corgi look stunning.

2. Pumpkins and Gourds


Carved pumpkins are great as long as I don’t have to deal with the slimy innards. I love how pretty the little pumpkins and gourds look.

3. Coffee and Hot Chocolate

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Hot beverages always taste best during the colder months. Surprisingly, I can’t find a good picture on my computer. I’ll have to fix that.

4. Doughnuts and Cider

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If you can splurge on $8 a gallon, fresh cider is the best thing next to fresh doughnuts.

5. Fall Decorations

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I prefer fall decorations over Halloween decorations. They’re much prettier and showcase everything that is beautiful about the season. I’m particularly proud of this wreath I made last year, hot glue gun burns and all.

Happy Fall!

-Kristina Wise



Five Things Friday: The Cider Mill

All the best things about fall, in my opinion, can be found at an Apple Orchard or Cider Mill. I’ve never lived more than half an hour away from one. Almost every fall, with family, friends, or just by myself, I would be there. The sights, sounds, and smells are unbeatable. In fact, I’m going to TWO of them tomorrow! Life is good.

Five Favorite Things About a Cider Mill

1. Fresh Doughnuts

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Sweet doughy goodness. There’s nothing better than a doughnut fresh off the assembly line at a cider mill. Dip it in some powdered sugar and they’re perfect.

2. Apple Cider


Sure, it’s probably going to cost you double than what you’d pay at the store, but it’s doubly delicious.

3. Orchard Picked Apples


This is my husbands favorite part about going to the orchard. That whole saying: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” he’s living proof of it.

4. Picking Out Pumpkins


It’s so much fun to pick out the perfect pumpkin for turning into a jack-o-lantern.

5. Tracker Rides


It’s even better when you can get a ride on the tracker so that you don’t have to carry that giant pumpkin. I remember the best one my family ever found. It was huge! My dad struggled to carry it. We were so excited until it wouldn’t fit in the trunk and we had to get a smaller one. Drats!

Happy Fall

-Kristina Wise

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer Breakdown

“Did you watch it?”

I gave my co-worker a look, something like, no duh! Or, are you kidding me? Or, don’t you know me well enough to know that I’ve watched it at least a dozen times?!

Of course we were talking about the new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It premiered last night during halftime of Monday Night Football. I started on the edge of my seat, unable to follow the instructions of the sports anchor, “Breathe, just breathe.” By the end of the trailer my knees were on the floor as I clenched onto the coffee table, shaking and trying to process all the new information.

I think I looked like a frightened porg.

It took me a few repeats to settle down and start making sense of the scenes that might be mismatched and misleading.

Rey Turns to the Darkside

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It’s a bit unsettling. “I need someone to show me my place in all this.” The scene then shows Kylo Ren with his hand outstretched. Is Rey joining him, joining the darkside? No, uh-uh, not happening! Ren tortured Rey in The Force Awakens, and then they dueled, and it was clear that Ray didn’t like him. She wanted to find Luke Skywalker for a reason, and I don’t think she was giving him a meaningful look when handing over his saber because she wanted a cash reward.

Luke Refuses to Teach Rey Because of Her “Raw Strength”

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“I’ve seen this raw strength only once before, it didn’t scare me enough then. It does now.”

So, what does Luke chose to do when he encounters Rey’s power? Send her away? To what? The other choice she has is Ren, whom she doesn’t like. And why would Luke LET her go to him? That doesn’t make sense. I think that Luke tells her that he’s scared so that Rey knows to be careful. Beware the darkside.

I’m wondering if Rey had another vision, or a premonition here. She had them before when she first held Luke’s lightsaber. It scared her then and it’s scaring her now.

My thoughts are that after Rey has this vision, Luke sends her to find the book of Whills. I think they’re in a cave only accessible by swimming under water. When she comes back, and Luke is standing there, her will is resolved to help the people in her vision.

Kylo Ren is Struggling to “Let the Past Die”


“Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to.” People are still struggling over the death of Carrie Fisher. Do you really think we’ll have to watch Leia be shot down in front of our own eyes…in IMAX…in 3D? Gees, I hope not! Kylo paused before killing his father, this is his chance to decide not to kill his mother. Doesn’t he know that Uncle Luke has been found and that there’s going to be an encounter sooner or later? I’d leave Snoke behind and hope that his mother can forgive him.



Who is Snoke? What are his plans? Where does he come from? Is he a Sith? Will we find out? I think I have more questions about him than anything else.

Get Over Yourself, Porgs are Awesome!


I don’t give a fluffy Ewoks behind if you think the Porgs are annoying and loud. They’re adorable and cute, and I want one. Wait, I already have a Funko Porg. Well then, I want another and another. I want a whole army of Porgs!

I Think We Were All Surprised by the Ice Fox


Finn VS. Phasma


I’m on Finn’s side, but I think he’s going to get his rear end kicked. Phasma has got to be ticked off that he put her in a garbage compactor.

“This is not going to go the way you think.” Luke Skywalker has become very wise over the years. We should take his words to heart. Whatever happens in the glorious two and a half hours of The Last Jedi, it probably won’t happen the way we think it will.

Only 65 days until The Last Jedi hits theaters.

-Kristina Wise

Five Things Friday: Art Prize Nine

ArtPrize is an amazing array of art of any kind, displayed at many different venues, all competing for large prizes. This is my third year going, and it’s been around now for nine years. A lot of people in my area enjoy visiting the city of Grand Rapids to view the art. Even people who don’t like art. There’s something for everyone and it’s impossible to see it all. For example, Big Joe’s Worlds Largest Bean Bag Chair that is going into the Guinness Book of World Records this year, but we were too far away to walk a few blocks just to see that. Oh, well.

Here’s some of what I did see and enjoy.


Five Favorite ArtPrize Entries

1. Imagine

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This is one of the first pieces of art that I saw at Art Prize this year. I love how Michael Duran created this with the swirls of paint and how it creates this pathway. I also took a few up close pictures and have one set as my iPhone background.


2. lllll.still.lllll

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A beautiful landscape by Marie Wohadlo, and when you look close enough, you can see that it’s made from tiny glass beads. Around 168,603 in quantity.

3. TARDIS Shared Library

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I spotted the large, wooden, time and space traveling machine from half a block away. Then, I nearly ran into oncoming traffic in my excitement to see it up close. This version of Doctor Who’s TARDIS means: Totally Awesome Reading Dispensary in Society. It’s a library, the take a book leave a book kind. Because books are fantastic!


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This polished stainless steel piece by Ryan T. Schmidt was spotted outside the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. It caught the reflection of the large fountain it was situated next to.

5. A. Lincoln

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A portrait of Abraham Lincoln, made of approximately 24,500 Lincoln pennies. Richard Schlatter is the creator of this masterpiece and won the Public Vote Grand Prize!

ArtPrize is only around for 19 days at the beginning of fall, so if you want to see it, you don’t have much time. My husband and I waited a week, it was the difference of ninety degree weather, and sixty. My parents came too, it’s always more fun to go with a group because no one sees a piece of art the same way you do. That reminds me of a quote from a favorite author of mine:


-Kristina Wise

Crowdtap With Unilever Sample Review

2017-09-18 17.21.01Crowdtap is one of my favorite places to earn a little cash and hopefully get picked for a sample. The last one that I got a couple weeks ago was a mystery box. I know that there would be products by Unilever, that’s it.

I felt like I hit the jackpot. The box was heavy and I was stunned to see full sized samples inside. It made me want to take a shower right away to try everything. Since I had just gotten my hair done, that had to wait a few days.

The Nexxus Shampoo and Conditioner are high end, I couldn’t even find it at the store. I rarely splurge on salon quality products. I had high expectations for the Nexxus Caviar Complex. Expectations that fell very short. The scent wasn’t awesome, it didn’t lather well so I had to use a lot of it, and the conditioner didn’t do much for my long air.

Dove Clinical Protection deodorant is also a bit pricy. I can be sensitive to fragrances in my pits, so I was worried when the powder fresh scent was strong. I had no sensitivity issues, that was good. However, at the end of an eight hour work day, I didn’t smell so great. That’s a big turn off.

I didn’t have much use for the Tresemme Keratin Smooth spray. I don’t use a flat iron or curling iron. I used a few sprays before drying my hair. This stuff smells amazing! I didn’t notice a difference, but that’s only because I wasn’t using it to it’s full potential.


I’m always grateful to try samples and leave reviews of my experience.

Because of Crowdtap and a sample of the Olay Duo, I’ve purchased another one and highly recommend it.

The box full of samples I got from Unilever recently just don’t fit in with my needs.

-Kristina Wise