Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

“In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the slayer.”

Welcome back to the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer…minus Buffy. In Kiersten White’s new young adult series set in the same universe, Buffy may be gone but a new slayer is picking up where season 8 ended. (For those unfamiliar with season 8, that’s because it exists in comic book form instead of on TV)

Nina and her twin sister Artemis have grown up in the Watchers Academy where they are trained to act as guides to the slayers. The girls’ mother serves on the Watcher’s Council alongside some familiar Watcher families, and Nina really wants no part of the lifestyle. Artemis has always seemed born for the storm, not her.

To top it off, Nina’s hatred of Buffy runs deep – when Buffy destroyed magic, it prevented witches from using their powers, ended the slayer line and also deeply impacted Nina’s life in more ways than one. So when it’s Nina instead of Artemis that begins to manifest slayer powers, it’s a shock to everyone at the Watchers Academy. And she really, really does not want to become a slayer.

In the first few chapters, White does a great job of catching up readers who might be unfamiliar with the Buffyverse and even though this is an original story, it fits in nicely with the tone the TV show set for it.

And just because Buffy is gone, she’s definitely not forgotten; her presence can be felt in a big way within the story, especially when Nina and her friends start taking down demons and vampires.

Slayer kicks off a new and exciting young adult series that should appeal to fantasy fans even if they didn’t grow up watching BTVS. A solid first effort.

 

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Me at Buffy’s House in Torrence, CA

 

Teejay’s Sweet Tooth

Who doesn’t love ice cream? It’s one of America’s favorite treats, and with so many places to get it, standing out and offering something unique to your customers is a must. Teejay’s Sweet Tooth is doing just that by bringing something to Indianapolis that we’ve never had before: donuts and ice cream.

Yes, you read that right!

TeeJay’s Sweet Tooth opened last August on Indianapolis’ northwest side near Trader’s Point, and has been offering its customers two unique creations ever since: the Donut Ice Cream Sandwich and a Fruity Pebble Treat.

Owned by two dental hygienists, Jerome Tiah and Taylor DeBruce, the little ice cream shop offers a wide variety of flavors which change every few weeks. I sampled all of them and highly recommend the Carmel Rainforest Crunch, Pralines and Cream or Graham Central.

I also tried both the Fruity Pebble Treat AND a Donut Ice Cream Sandwich, leaving the store on a sugar high! My favorite? The Donut Ice Cream Sandwich, although I think kids would probably enjoy the Fruity Pebble Treat more.

So how exactly does TeeJay’s make their signature creations?

For the Fruity Pebble Treat, two circular bars are made out of Fruity Pebble cereal and formed into what looked and tasted like a Fruity Pebble Rice Krispie Treat. Then two scoops of ice cream are placed in between those, and topped with a topping of your choosing.

The Donut Ice Cream Sandwich is made in a similar fashion. TeeJay’s get their donuts from Jack’s Donuts, another local Indianapolis business, and their ice cream comes from Sundae’s near Geist.

In addition to their two signature creations, TeeJay’s also makes milk shakes, other types of ice cream sandwiches, and offers sorbets for vegan and gluten free options.

Most of their recipes are from online sources, but they’ve started incorporating other cereals into the mix as toppings. Jerome said they hope to start making other signature treats out of cereals soon.

For now, Jerome and Taylor plan to concentrate on making quality treats for their customers at their Purdue Road location, but expanding in Indy isn’t totally out of the question. Both still work as full time dental hygienists and are the only employees at TeeJays at this time, so there’s a lot on their plate.

That doesn’t seem to detract from the quality of their product though, so if you find yourself looking for a unique ice cream spot, stop by TeeJay’s Sweet Tooth – you’ll be helping support a dream AND a local business.

Store Location: 8660 Purdue Road, Suite 8666-600, Indianapolis, Indiana 46268
Instagram: @TeeJaysSweetTooth
Facebook: TeeJay’s Sweet Tooth
Twitter: @TJ_SweetTooth

Veal’s Ice Tree

Nestled just off I-74 on Indianapolis’ southeast side is a winter spectacle that’s been delighting Hoosiers for over 50 years. Since 1961, the Veal family has been creating the ice tree in their back yard, and today their granddaughter Wynter Veal-Drummond continues the family tradition.

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The tree started by accident. Wynter’s grandparents Mabel and Vierl Veal were trying to make a hill for their children to sled down, so they started pumping water out of the pond next to the house to make an ice hill. The wind had other ideas, and blew the water onto some nearby bushes, creating the first ice tree. The family thought it was pretty and decided to keep growing it. Eventually, it took on the form of the ice tree that we see today.

Building the tree is a pretty involved process and as soon as it starts getting cold out, Wynter begins building the frame. She uses 2×4 boards for a steady base and adds branches from the neighbors’ tree trimmings.

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Photo courtesy of Wynter Veal-Drummond

Once there are several days of temperatures 30 degrees or lower, they turn the hoses on and begin pumping the water out of the pond to spray on the tree form. As the tree grows, Wynter adds more hoses, and during the 2013-2014 season, the tree grew to 80 feet tall!

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The dying process gives the ice tree that magical look that people love to use for unique photo backdrops. Wynter dyes it using a powder form of food coloring and most years they are able to hook a special spray bottle that contains the food coloring up to the hoses and dye it that way. This year, though, she had to do it the way her grandfather did and dye it by hand.

It can take hours to get the final results and on Wednesday, the coldest day of the year, she was outside dying the tree for six hours in negative degree temperatures.

She leaves the backside of the ice tree in its natural state, which looks beautiful as well. Wynter offered to let me climb the formation using cleats, but I decided to stay safely on the ground 🙂

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Her mother, Janet Veal-Drummond, lives in the family home next to the tree and estimates there have only been about eight winters that haven’t been cold enough for them to grow the ice tree.

This year’s season may also be a short one; since I visited on Saturday, Indiana has had some unseasonably warm temperatures that will begin to melt the ice formation. Wynter says that once the tree starts to melt, it’s very hard to rebuild it.

Creating the ice tree may be a lot of work, but it’s a family tradition that Wynter hopes to continue for years to come. She says not only does it help her feel close to her grandparents who have both passed away, but it gives her joy to see how happy it makes other people when they see it.

How to get there: 11333 Southeastern Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46259. From I-465 take I-74 east toward Cincinnati. Exit at #99, Acton Rd. 3. Go south to Southeastern Ave. (1st road) and turn left. Turn left at the first drive after the sharp curve.

Follow Veal’s Ice Tree on Facebook & Instagram for the latest on the tree’s condition.

 

 

Cute & Casual Valentine’s Day Looks

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! I’ve never made a big deal about the holiday – it’s fun to go out to eat and get your significant other candy, but huge, grand gestures are just not my thing.

I do however love to bust out the heart print things! I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite outfits that celebrate the occasion – some of these pieces I’ve had in my closet for years, but I’ve tried to link things that are similar in my ShopStyle widget on the right hand side of my post.

Continue reading “Cute & Casual Valentine’s Day Looks”