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New Hampshire Adventures

NH Adventures

Have you ever wanted to visit the beautiful state of NH? Last summer I had the opportunity to live there for two months while my husband renovated a log cabin. We stayed in a little cabin that was secluded out in White Mountains and it was gorgeous. There is so much to do especially if you love the outdoors and have adventurous little ones. I would highly recommend  visiting. There are so many campgrounds, hotels, and quaint towns to visit. 

Even if you do more winter sport activities- NH is still a great place to visit. While we were there we hiked Mt. Moosilauke and Camel’s hump (VT) both were challenging, fun, and stunning aerial views. We also spent time hiking remote areas with our metal detector, went snorkeling and swimming in the swimming holes. They are everywhere and glorious. We even spent time gold panning in some of the river beds. The sound of the water flowing, nature chirping in the background and the pure silence of the hustle and bustle was just what the doctor ordered. 

If you want to go into town, the food is so good and affordable. Great local spots for ice cream- we visited Moose Scoops more than I care to admit. There are zip lining and rope courses downtown, the polar caves, and Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves that I would definitely recommend checking out for some education and fun. 

We went mini golfing one day, visited a local winery and brewery, and scavenged for covered bridges- there are over 50 in NH. Storyland is also a great spot for kids to visit. You can surely find fun for everyone when visiting. They have beautiful lakes and great pull offs for photo opportunities of the great mountain landscapes.

Another unique experience that I got to do was to pick daisies, boil them down, and dye my own yarn. I learned how to knit and I even made a hat. It was such an amazing experience. I read a book in I don’t know how long, lounged in a hammock, and really got to do some great soul searching and self care. It’s so important to take time to listen to what your body needs. 

If you are looking to get away and find some tranquil, fun and low key family fun- I would say you have found a great place to go.

 

Beauty

Summer Nail Colors

Need nail color suggestions for this summer? Look no further- I’m here to deep dive into the best color choices for 2021 summer that are trending right now venturing from classic style to bold new looks.

Here are the top 10 colors right now that will add some flare and style to your already cute outfits this season:

1- Cajun Shrimp
A vibrant and summery red nail polish that is classic and goes with everything.
2- Minty Green
A beautiful color that screams summer to me. You can dress it up or down and it’s a bright and warm hue of green!
3- Lavender
Who doesn’t love lavender. It’s relaxing and gives you that zen feeling. The pastel palette is sure to add a nice pop of color.
4- Yellow
Yellow is such a vibrant and happy color whether it’s neon or pastel. It’s a great summer vibe and sure to bring a smile to your face, even when it’s raining.
5- Blue
Sky blue and navy are both popular this season whether you’re traveling or going to a wedding. These colors are sure to compliment your look.
6-Orange
Who doesn’t like to go bold and be different. A bright and neon orange is a popular summer choice this season and will give your look a pop of color.
7-White
Classic white is a staple color. You can do a french manicure or fresh white manicure that will make you feel grounded and ready for any adventure.
8-Pink
There are so many shades of pink out there. I personally love a pastel pink that can match any outfit or event and give you a more natural feel.
9-Gray
This color can match any mood, outfit and adventure you are embarking on this summer!
10-Taupe
Something about a warm light brown color that brings you the sense of self awareness, comfort and the attitude that you can do anything.

I hope you enjoyed this summer nail color run down. I think pastel yellow is my next manicure!

 

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4th of July Picnic Recipes

The 4th of July is almost here and more and more people are wanting to get out and celebrate! What better way to do so than with a picnic followed by a fireworks show? Here are 10 recipes that are sure to dazzle and amaze!

 

Drinks:

Strawberry Lemonade

Who doesn’t love a good strawberry lemonade on a hot, summer day? Put it in mason jars for easy transportation for a great picnic drink option! Click here for the recipe.

Patriotic Punch

This is a great drink to show your patriotism for the 4th of July! Just make sure that all 3 juices/drinks have different amounts of sugar content per ounce.This will help keep the layers separated. Check out how to make it here.

 

Appetizers:

Salsa

What’s one of the first things that you think of when you think of picnics and appetizers? I think of dips! This homemade salsa recipe is the perfect start for your 4th of July picnic!

Avocado Spinach Artichoke Dip

Another dip to include is this cool twist to a spinach artichoke dip option! You can bring a bunch of tortilla chips to enjoy both dips on this list! Find out how to make it here.

 

Entrees:

Pulled Pork Sliders

These sliders are a great option to keep entrees in individual sized portions to help keep everything organized! They’re great to make ahead of time and warm up right before you pack your picnic! You can find the recipe here!

Beef and Mushroom Burgers

You can’t not have burgers to celebrate the 4th of July, right? These beef and mushroom burgers are a perfect addition to your picnic basket! Learn how to make them here.

 

Sides:

Deviled Eggs

Who doesn’t like deviled eggs?? They make for a great pairing with both entree recipes listed! Check out a delicious recipe for classic deviled eggs here.

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad with Walnut Pesto

Another great side to pair with the entrees listed is this awesome version of pasta salad! Veggies and pasta, what isn’t there to love? Find out how to make it here!

 

Desserts:

Sugar Cookie S’mores

Cookies? S’mores? What’s not to love about this fusion?? It’s a great dessert option that’s portable! You can find the recipe here.

Patriotic Candy Bark

How do you show your patriotism apart from drinking some patriotic punch? You also indulge in patriotic candy bark! Check out this delicious recipe!

 

Do you have a go to 4th of July picnic recipe that never fails? Comment it below!

 

If you are not following me on Instagram, you can find me here. And if you would like updates on everything that’s going on with both my romance books and my children’s book series, sign up for my newsletters!

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Summer Wines

It’s summertime! Which means turn on the grill and hang out, right? But what if you want wine to go with it? Summer grilling usually means lots of protein and lots of sauces. How do you figure out how to pair a good wine with so many options?

When deciding which wine to pair with something straight from the grill, you want to consider how hearty the food is and what is the dominant flavor. Lighter foods, such as white-fleshed fish, veggies, or chicken breasts, oftentimes go with lighter wines. While heartier foods, such as steaks or burgers, pair better with a more robust wine. Identifying what the dominant flavor is for your food can help you determine which flavors in your wine will compliment the best.

However, there is no specific science to pairing wine with food. Win is high in acidity. This tends to help refresh the palate. A lot of red wines also have fat-cutting tannins in them. With a huge assortment, have fun playing with different pairs! I have listed a few different wines that are awesome for the summer and also won’t kill your wallet.

White & Rosé Wines

2020 Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Experience a combination of brash lime, herb, and tropical flavors for only $17 a bottle.

2020 Commanderie de la Bargemone Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé

With flavors containing juicy melon, berry, and orange-zest, this bottle goes for $18.

2020 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc Made with Organic Grapes Reserva

This wine smells similar to a spicy margarita! If you’re into that, you can pick it up for $12 a bottle.

2020 J Lohr Arroyo Seco Sauvignon Blanc Flume Crossing

This wine has sweeter melon and ripe citrus flavors and costs only $14.

2020 Cousiño Macul Isidora Sauvignon Gris

This is a white wine with a little more body and spice being from Chile. You can take it home for $15 a bottle.

Red Wines

2019 Layer Cake California Cabernet Sauvignon

This red wine has luscious blackberry flavors with a gentle cedar note for only $14 a bottle.

2019 Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina

You’ll love this red wine that is well-balanced with ripe fruit and floral notes. Check it out for $18.

2018 Masciarelli Montepulciano di Abruzzo

This wine is thankfully easy to come by and is loved by many with its red fruit and peppery flavors. Find it for only $12 a bottle.

2018 Codirosso Chianti

For $13, you’ll definitely want to check out this wine with a soft texture and intricate flavors.

2019 Pavette California Pinot Noir

This Pinot Noir has great toasted spice aromatics and bright, ripe red-cherry flavors. It might become a staple in your home for only $12.

 

If you don’t see your favorite summer wine listed, comment below!

If you are not following me on Instagram, you can find me here. And if you would like updates on everything that’s going on with both my romance books and my children’s book series, sign up for my newsletters!

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Wedding Must Haves

Must Haves for Wedding Planning

With the world opening back up again, wedding season is coming back in full swing! Here are 10 must haves for a successful wedding plan!

1. Budget Cushion

Budgeting for a wedding is super important to be able to accurately plan. But sometimes unexpected expenses still occur. Make sure you set aside a set amount of money within your budget to solely be for the unexpected. If it goes unspent, then that’s a little extra for the honeymoon!

 

2. Separate. Email. Address.

From bridal shows, to registry information, to vendors, and anything in between, having a separate email address to funnel all the information to is one of the best tricks! It can even match your wedding website if you create one. Once the wedding is done, you don’t have to worry about future emails spamming your personal inbox!

 

3. Attire Time

Clothes are always tricky, but with special occasions such as weddings, you want to make sure everything fits like a glove! Make sure you allow for plenty of time between finding your perfect wedding outfit, needing to assess and confirm alterations, and the big day. In most instances, it’s good to start searching for wedding dresses 9-12 months prior to the big day and having your first fitting scheduled at least 3 months before show time.

 

4. Vendor Information

In this technological day and age, our smartphones rarely leave our sides. Keeping a live document like Google sheets filled with your vendors’ contact information is great for on the go needs. You can also include organization columns in the document to track how much the vendor costs and how much has already been paid (and how much you’re thinking about tipping – see #7 on the list)!

 

5. RSVP Tracking Plan

It is standard practice to expect that not all RSVPs will be submitted correctly. Some guests will even forget to include their names. A trick that I have seen and love is to number the back of the RSVP cards and match it to an excel or Google sheets document that has the guest information.

 

6. Weather Watch

Everyone knows to have a plan B in place in case of the dreadful “R” word (you know, rain). But what a lot of people don’t think to research is the timing of the sunset. If you are holding a late afternoon/early evening wedding, make sure to note the time of the sunset that day. Your photographer will be grateful that you prepared that information to help coordinate. If you’re holding an outside celebration, having your photographer take sunset photos might be an amazing plan, as well!

 

7. Vendor Tips and Gratuities

You have paid for the price of services for your big day, but also remember tips and gratuities are not included. This goes for services such as catering, the DJ, etc. The best way to not stress about tipping on the big day is to calculate those amounts ahead of time. I love the idea of pulling cash out beforehand and placing each planned amount into specific labeled envelopes. On the big day, you can task a member of your bridal party or family to hand the envelopes out accordingly!

 

8. Nice Hangers

A lot of people forget to bring aesthetically pleasing hangers to the wedding location. However, photographers love to get shots of the wedding dress hanging on its own! If you want photos of the bridesmaids’ dresses alongside the wedding dress as well, nice, uniform hangers would make the picture that much better!

 

9. Emergency Kit

A lot of people remember the wedding-day emergency kit for the bride, but most forget about having one for the groom! Bandaids, Tums, etc. go a long way for both parties getting married. Make sure the maid/matron of honor and the best man remember to pack these so you’re not stressing over it!

 

10. Comfy. Shoes.

This goes for both parties standing up at the altar. Your ceremony shoes might look so stylish, but style doesn’t always equate to comfort. Make sure to include a pair of shoes that won’t make your feet cry after dancing the night away!

 

What are other ideas that you believe are wedding must haves? Comment below!

 

If you are not following me on Instagram, you can find me here. And if you would like updates on everything that’s going on with both my romance books and my children’s book series, sign up for my newsletters!

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Puerto Rico Adventure

Traveling to Puerto Rico

Want to discover some amazing cuisine? GO TO PUERTO RICO! I’ve had some of the best food here and it’s where the Piña Colada was invented. I had the opportunity to go to Old San Juan for a few days and I can’t wait to dive in and tell you all about it. I stayed at the El San Juan Resort and it was beautiful! The room was perfect for the four of us girls and the pools and beaches were very well kept. 

Our first stop was Pamela’s for dinner. It was delicious and, on the beach at sunset – talk about perfection. The next night we ate inside a shell; literally the La Concha hotel is shaped like a beautiful sea shell that sits right on the water. The food was magnificent and the vibe there was wonderful. There was dancing and music to enjoy in this hotel. We walked there and then to a rooftop bar. Actually, we went on foot almost everywhere and felt very safe.

Of course we had to try local foods, too; the mofongo and plantains were fantastic and they can be served multiple ways. The food was just incredible! I can’t say enough about it. We walked downtown and stopped at random local restaurants that had great vibes and ate our way through the city.

The beaches were breathtaking and always had a light breeze. I rented a paddle board while I was visiting. It was so much fun and great to see the island from the water. The water was crystal clear and a beautiful aqua blue color. 

I was only there for a few days for a girls trip, but I definitely want to go back to explore the national forest and do some hiking and kayaking. Puerto Rico is known for its bioluminescent algae night kayak tour and El Yunque National Forest. These are two things I will most certainly do when I return next time. There are so many tour options for all different activity levels so everyone can enjoy the views and beautiful wildlife PR has to offer.

I did sightsee in Old San Juan and loved the old architecture and history that the city had to offer. You can walk along the coast where you will see many stray cats hanging around, and they may even follow your path for a while. 

You can take a ferry ride to the rum distillery. Ferries also go to St. Thomas, where you can go explore the beautiful island for the day. I highly recommend this if you have enough time during your stay in Puerto Rico.

I hope you will add this beautiful island to your travel list of must-sees and I know I’m so excited to make my plans to head back soon.

Remember that Off the Grid Missions is looking for donations and volunteers to help maximize this effort. If you are interested, please reach out to [email protected]

In addition, any books or products (both children’s and romance series) purchased through Katie Melko, a percentage of those proceeds will go towards this cause!

If you are not following me on Instagram, you can find me here. And if you would like updates on everything that’s going on with both my romance books and my children’s book series, sign up for my newsletters!

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Last Minute Memorial Day Trips

Do you suddenly have free time this Memorial Day weekend? As the weather starts reflecting summertime more and more, the urge to book getaway trips are rising as well. Here is a list of a few of the best spots that either have in-person activities to celebrate Memorial Day or have great ways to kick off the summer with outdoor adventures. Check out some of these great places for a last minute trip to have fun and relax!

Waterloo, NY Did you know that Memorial Day has a home town? The idea to celebrate the fallen was first suggested in 1865 and then was made a formal holiday, later, by General John Logan. In present days, the celebration includes a parade, illumination ceremonies, a downtown Waterloo historical scavenger hunt, and so much more! Some forms of celebration are still on hold while everyone still tries to keep safe. But there is still plenty to dive into while you’re there!
Miami, FL If the beach is more your scene, check out Miami! This beach city comes alive even more during the Memorial Day weekend. Events include music, fireworks, the Flamingo Gardens Memorial Day Kidz Fest (which has it’s Big Bugs exhibit opening this weekend), and more! Amongst the festivities, take a break at the beaches where you can still socially distance while basking in the sun.
Washington, D.C. One of the more obvious spots to celebrate Memorial Day is Washington, D.C. where the largest Memorial Day parade in the country is held! This year, the parade will be filmed for television only, and will not be open to the public. But it will still be an event you won’t want to miss watching! “And for the first time, the American Veterans Center is proud to present a very special Independence Day television companion: Our Sacred Honor: An American Salute. Televised on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CW stations nationwide, the National Memorial Day Parade and Our Sacred Honor commemorate the shared values of service and sacrifice that have brought us together throughout our history.”
Denver, CO During Memorial Day weekend, Denver is a great place to go for the Colorado Music & Arts Festival that takes place in Centennial Center Park. There you can experience live music, great food, and so much more! Everything is put together with COVID safety in mind.
Seattle, WA The Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle celebrates Memorial Day by featuring more than 800 musical performances in multiple genres. It also includes events such as cultural dance workshops, storytelling sessions, film screenings, cooking demonstrations, and conversation panels about the arts. You can even join in during some of these events!
Whatever you decide to do this weekend, remember to stay safe!   Remember that Off the Grid Missions is looking for donations and volunteers to help maximize it’s non-profit organization effort. If you are interested, please reach out to [email protected]   In addition, any books or products (both children’s and romance series) purchased through Katie Melko, a percentage of those proceeds will go towards this cause!   If you are not following me on Instagram, you can find my romance page here and my children’s book series here. And if you would like updates on everything that’s going on with both my romance books and my children’s book series, sign up for my newsletters!
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Get to Know the Author Part 2

The second set of questions to get to know me as an author! Can you relate to my answers?

 

What’s your hardest thing about being an author?

Critics- Sometimes its hard being on the other end of that review – when people seem to forget that their is a human on the other end. Everyone does their best and I for one always try to give my readers the best.

If you could give any new up and becoming author any advice what would it be?

Write it, publish it, do it- There is no better time than the present to go for your goals and do the scary thing.

What novel of your own is your most favorite and why?

The book that is coming out this Christmas is my favorite so far…. SPOILER- Mistletoe Mountain – comes out November 2021. It is a feel good holiday book about a winery that is failing and the woman, Abby, finds a man who got lost in the mountains behind her winery. He’s lost his memory, but knows a lot about business and marketing. Their love story just gives me all the feels and the suspense twist is great lol I think!

If you had to choose one drink for the rest of your life what would it be?

Seltzer!

If you could write about any location what would it be?

Greece- Its on my travel list and then I’ll be sure writing a book about it!

What’s one thing you hate the most about writing?

Editing process and of course when I hit a block.

Do you collect anything?

Yes, I do. I collect Delft blue collectibles and smashed pennies from everywhere I go!

What age did you start writing/reading?

Seriously writing- college. I’ve always loved creative writing when I was younger.

If you have any questions you want answered by me, leave them in the comments!

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Get to Know the Author Part 1

I realized that I don’t really post much about myself, so I thought this would be a great start to show my supporters who I am!

 

What kind of stories do you write? What made you start writing them?

My first book was Paw Elementary: Roxy’s Adventure to the School Dentist. It’s a children’s book. My dog Roxy just passed away and I decided, while reflecting on how short life seems sometimes, that I was going to go for it and publish my first book with Roxy as the main character. I then decided to write my first romance novel- Bottle of Uncertainty. I love a good romance with a twist and one day I just started writing.

What are your Favorite things about writing?

The escape that it provides the readers and myself when creating. It’s a place that I can fall into a creative being and just be myself.

What is your favorite color?

Blue

What is your favorite candy?

Candies that are peppermint and toffee for hard candies

If you had to choose one, what character in your stories would you like to be like and why?

Amelia from Bottle of Uncertainty – There are so many great qualities to Amelia, especially when you’ve read all that she’s been through. I would love to be able to channel her bravery and strength. She also is a huge advocate for animals and so am I.

How many books to date have you written that’s including ones that are in the process of being written?

11- a few aren’t published yet

What is your holiday of choice that you like or love and why?

Christmas. I absolutely love this time of year- I love to donate, sponsor, and give. I think it’s a time that usually people are less selfish and more loving, kind, and giving. It makes me super happy and yes all my Christmas decorations are blue and white, haha.

What’s one of your fears?

Being a failure. Not being good enough. Letting people down.

What are other questions that you would like me to answer? Put them in the comments!