Are You Living or Existing?
About the Book:
Isn’t it time you got started on the road to your dream life? You are not alone in your journey. This book will help you not only get off the starting line and reach your destination.
You want more from your life. You can visualize the life you dream about but may not know how to get there. This book was designed to be a road map to help you make the changes you have dreamed about and make those changes stick. Life is too short to wait for happiness. These 9 simple steps will help you take action and claim the life you truly deserve.
Kimanzi Constable lays out this plan with an easy to read style that combines specific advice with anecdotes from his own experience. Kimanzi shares with you his method, his experience, and his advice in an entertaining yet practical guide. The method he describes can be applied effectively to your specific dream. Kimanzi has used this same plan to go from a life and work that made him miserable for ten years to becoming a successful international speaker, life coach, and author.
A couple of weeks ago, Art and I took a road trip to Oregon to scout colleges for his degree. Art’s parents live in Central Oregon, so we stayed with them two nights on the way up and one night on the way back. It was fun to catch up and hang out.
One morning, Art’s mom made us Eggs in a Nest. I’m not a big fan of baked eggs (pretty much hard boiled or scrambled are it for me), but Art loved them so much I asked her permission to share the recipe on my blog.
1 bag frozen hash browns (shredded, not patties)
salt and pepper
4 large eggs (or however many you need for your family)
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Spray a muffin pan generously with cooking spray. Scoop 3-4 tablespoons of frozen shredded potato into each hole. Use your fingers to press down the sides and bottom in each muffin hole to make a nest. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and spray the nest with cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, watching to make sure they don’t burn.
Allow the nests to cool. Crack an egg into each one. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake just until the whites are set, about 15 minutes.
Bud is very hard on cell phones. I think he has averaged two phones a year since we got him his first when he was 13 or 14. Since a cell phone contract is usually for about two years, Bud has had to buy replacement phones off ebay or beg hand-me-down phones off friends and family.
Last year, he lucked out and got a hand-me-down iPhone from his girlfriend. We don’t pay for data plans for either of our kids, but Bud was happy to be able to use the apps wherever he could get wifi access.
Three weeks ago, the iPhone finally gave up the ghost. The good news was that Bud was eligible for a discounted cell phone. But he wanted a smartphone (in fact, on the AT&T website there were no basic phones – only smartphones) and the only way we could get one discounted was to sign him up for a data plan. We made the rule a long time ago “no data plan unless you have a job”. So what to do?
Art was grocery shopping one day and saw the GoPhone display. We knew people who had GoPhones – it’s AT&T’s pay-as-you go cell phone service.
Here’s what it looks like out of the package:
All we had to do was pop in Bud’s old sim card and he was all set. A perfect cheap replacement until he can afford his own data plan. GoPhone even has smartphones as low as $30 which can be used with wifi and no data plan, if desired.
I received no compensation for this post nor was I given a cell phone or anything else. This was just Art’s brilliant idea which I thought you might enjoy and appreciate.
I’m not sure if the other wireless providers have pay-as-you-go phones. If you know how their program works, please leave a comment below.
Scent of Triumph
About the Book:
Scent of Triumph is the story of Danielle Bretancourt, a talented young French perfumer with a flair for fashion and a natural olfactory gift. In the language of perfumery, she is a Nose, with the rare ability to recognize thousands of essences by memory. The story opens on the day England declares war on Germany, and Danielle and her family are caught in the midst of a raging disaster sweeping across Europe.
Her life takes a tragic turn when her husband and son are lost behind enemy lines. She spies for the French resistance, determined to find them, but is forced to flee Europe with fragments of her family. Destitute, she mines her talents to create a magnificent perfume that captures the hearts of Hollywood’s top stars, then gambles again to win wealth and success as a couturier. Her intelligence and flair attracts the adoration of Jonathan Newell-Grey, of England’s top shipping conglomerate, and Cameron Murphy, Hollywood’s most charismatic star.
Danielle charts her course through devastating wartime losses and revenge; lustful lovers and loveless marriages; and valiant struggles to reunite her family. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, here is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.
Everything about this book is beautiful. The people are beautiful, the scenery is beautiful, even the tragic scenes in Scent of Triumph are achingly beautiful. But most beautiful of all, are the descriptions of the scents and smells that Danielle experiences every day, as well as the description of her perfumes:
She inhaled again, going farther, detecting the bouquet of jasmine and rose, rich and silky, entwined with a spicy note of carnation, adding verve and vitality, robust brilliance.
Can’t you just smell it? The words themselves are intoxicating.
I had to stop wearing perfume about ten years ago, due to my asthma, and I can’t even walk through the candle aisle of Bed, Bath and Beyond without holding my breath, but through Jan Moran’s narrative, I can feel like I am right there in the perfumery, smelling the wonderful scents and trying all the exquisite parfum.
Beyond the magnificent detail, the story line is compelling, weaving in the stories of intrigue, subterfuge and abandonment in World War II Europe with the raucous, craziness of post World War II Hollywood. Arching over it all is the story of Danielle, strong and beautiful, intelligent and feminine. Happy sigh.
I give Scent of Triumph 4 1/2 perfume bottles!!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for review from Jitterbug PR and from the author as part of a virtual book tour. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
About the Author:
Jan Moran writes smart, stylish, sensual sagas. She’s also written several books on perfume.
“My most recent book, SCENT OF TRIUMPH, was inspired by my love of perfumery and history. In writing, I drew upon my own family history and my mother’s memories of World War II, imagining a young entrepreneur whose talent, determination, and fearlessness catapult her to the pinnacle of success, despite mounting personal tragedies and the elusiveness of love.
“I write about strong, capable, female entrepreneurs. I’m a world traveler, so I also enjoy writing about different destinations.”
Jan Moran is the author of SCENT OF TRIUMPH, a historical novel, and FABULOUS FRAGRANCES I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list. She is at work on more series in fiction and nonfiction.
As a fragrance and beauty expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN and Extra, Women’s Wear Daily, Allure, InStyle, and O Magazine. As an editor and writer, she has covered fragrance, beauty, and spa travel for a variety of publications.
Leave a comment below to be entered for a chance to win an ebook of Scent of Triumph. Winner will be picked on or after 5/1/13. Open worldwide. Winner will be picked by Random.org
The author is also giving away three signed paperback copies here
Zackery Alexander Humphreys
About the Book:
Hundreds of years into the future mankind has gone under-ground to relocate to Epsilon; a beautiful city run by a strong, secretive government that keeps its citizens in check by subtle manipulation and strict schedules. No one questions the city’s authority and no one is unhappy. ALN-896, an average man who is just trying to live a normal life, begins to have dreams; something strange and rare in Epsilon. In his dreams a man named Harry dies. ALN-896 shrugs this off as if nothing has happened. It was only a dream. The next day, however, he is suddenly arrested and sent to prison for killing Harry. Now inside prison, ALN-896 begins to learn about what the government of Epsilon has been doing and he plans on escaping. Not only from prison, but from Epsilon. This one decision turns him against everything he has ever known and forces him to face against centuries of lies. To escape means to live, but what will it cost?
I fell in love with this story the further into it I got. ALN-896 (or Alan) is a compelling character who goes from believing everything the government tells him and living a life of pure “existence” to questioning everything he is experiencing, even is real and what is not. I couldn’t wait for the end of the book to see how the author tied all the loose pieces together.
My main problem with the book is with the ending. I felt like the author, as driver of the book, steered me straight into a brick wall at high speed. I was left smashed, dazed and confused. If you like a book that leaves you questioning, even at the end, exactly what happened, then you will love Epsilon A.R. For me, I wish I could get all the unanswered questions out of my head.
I give Epsilon A.R. three question marks.
About the Author:
Zackery Humphreys is 21 years old and is currently attending the University of California, Santa Barbara studying Theater Acting. He has been writing for about seven years, mostly concentrating on poetry and novels. He has a love for books and for storytelling. Now, through his writing, he is hoping to bring those two worlds together.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review through Charisma Media Network. All opinions are 100% my own.
Check out the other tour stops:
4/15 - http://all-things-books.blogspot.com – Author Interview
4/16 - http://bookcrazyreviews.com - Review/Book Feature
4/17 - http://www.becausemymommasaysso.com - Book Feature
4/18 - http://pargasjunkyard.com - Review
4/19 - http://teressamorris.com - Review/Interview
4/20 - http://www.thenovicechristian.com - Review
4/21 - http://stressedrach.co.uk - Review
4/22 -http://newsblaze.com - Review
4/23 - http://devotedmommyof3.blogspot.com - Review
4/24 - http://www.ashabutterflys.com - Review
4/25 – http://www.farmgirlbook.com Feature
4/26 - http://productreviewsforeverydaypeople.com - Review
4/27 - http://www.officialeverafterpr.blogspot.com - Review
4/28 - http://www.dogearz.blogspot.co.uk/ - Review
4/29 - http://inspirationsbysimone.blogspot.com – Review
4/30 - http://www.bookishlydevoted.blogspot.com – Review
5/1 - http://sandlingallday.blogspot.com - Review
5/2 - http://jacintaz3.co.uk - Review
5/3 - http://fairytalereviews.blogspot.com - Review
5/5 - http://beautybrite.com - Book feature/Preview
5/7 - http://www.tpankuch.com - Preview/Feature
5/8 – http://www.loupdargent.info - Preview/Feature
5/9 - http://stephaniestream.blogspot.com - Review
5/10 - http://thesmellofparchment.blogspot.in - Review/Preview/Feature
5/11 - http://sparkling4books.blogspot.com - Review
5/12 - http://gimmethescoopreviews.blogspot.com - Preview/Feature
The other night, Boo made the two of us a delicious dal recipe of her own concoction. Dal (or dhal), is a thick lentil stew eaten in India, Pakistan and other nearby countries. It is often served over rice, or with a side of flatbread for dipping. It is traditionally made with ghee (clarified butter), but Boo’s is made with olive oil.
|1 Tbsp. olive oil||1 onion, finely chopped|
|2 cloves garlic, finely chopped||1 Tbsp. ginger, finely chopped|
|4 cups water||1 cup dried red lentils,rinsed and sorted|
|1 tsp. cumin||1/4 tsp. cinnamon|
|1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper||1 tsp. salt|
|hot sauce to taste||2 Tbsp. tomato paste|
In a 3 qt. stock pot. heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent.
Add the water, lentils, spices and salt, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are very tender.
Add the tomato paste and continue stirring until well combined. Continue to cook until dal is the desired consistency (I like mine fairly thick – like a porridge).
Friday night was a VERY BAD NIGHT. I don’t want to go into detail on the actual events (don’t worry – Art didn’t do anything wrong), but suffice it to say I had an emotional breakdown. Had an episode of hysterical crying for almost an hour. It was miserable and not a regular occurrence, believe me. It was very hard to calm down and I only got about four hours of sleep.
The next day was not much better. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. Everything that happened seemed surreal and wrong. Art started to get upset with me because I was overreacting to everything, which is not my usual behavior. I took a break to take some deep breaths. Once I calmed down, I thought of an analogy:
An emotional breakdown is much like an asthma attack. You can take your meds and avoid your triggers, but sometimes something unusual will happen and you’ll have an attack anyway. For me, it was a perfect storm of working ten hours more than usual, not taking my meds (which are “as needed”) when I started feeling anxious, and not getting enough rest. Afterwards, like an asthma attack or earthquake, you are more susceptible to having another attack. Just like ripples on a pond, the more days that go by without upset, the less likely you are to have another attack.
For me, the best way to recover from an attack, be it asthma, emotional or otherwise, is self-care. Yesterday, I took my anti-anxiety medication, had a two hour nap, and took a long walk with Art. Stayed away from people and situations. Watched silly shows on TV and read a book I really enjoy. Worked on deleting my overflowing email box. Easy stuff that took my mind off my troubles.
Today, after a good night’s sleep, I felt much closer to myself. Still stayed home, but did some yoga, finished everybody’s taxes, answered emails, did five minutes of grocery shopping, and even wrote this blog post.
Tomorrow I’m back to work, but just my regular schedule. I am going to take my meds if I feel even a little anxious and take time for plenty of self-care, including yoga, prayer and meditation. I don’t want to risk another attack.
Do you have a chronic illness? How do you handle your ripples and aftershocks? Please leave a comment below.
One of my very favorite children’s books is Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup with Rice. At one time I had the entire book memorized. Its verses were so comforting to me, just like a nice steaming bowl of chicken soup with rice!!
Here’s the verse for April:
In April I will go away
To far off Spain or old Bombay
And dream about hot soup all day
Oh, my, oh, once, oh, my, oh, twice
Oh, my, oh, chicken soup with rice
So, as you can guess, the recipe for today is for Chicken Soup with Rice!! The broth and chicken come from the poached chicken recipe I posted last week.
1 quart chicken broth (ours was frozen)
12 oz. cooked chicken meat, cut into half-inch cubes, (or you can use a can of chicken)
1/2 pound carrots, cut into thin coins
1 cup long grain rice (not minute)
The beauty of this recipe is that you don’t have to add a lot of herbs and seasonings since you already this when poaching the chicken.
Thaw the frozen broth, then pour into a medium-large stockpot. Bring to a boil. Add carrots and rice. Reduce to simmer and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Add rice and chicken. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes or so, until rice and carrots are cooked through.
A few weeks ago I showed you some of the cute Easter and spring-themed merchandise from CafePress. I love how all their items are customizable with whatever picture or saying you like!!
I was so excited when I was finally able to order my very own item from CafePress. I wanted something for our new house that would make me think of home and family. I could have customized anything from a water bottles to area rugs to pajamas, but I chose a microsuede throw pillow. Since I was in a bit of a rush to get my new pillow (once I make up my mind, I want it RIGHT NOW!!), I decided to go with one of CafePress’ premade designs.
I chose “There’s No Place Like Home” from my all-time favorite movie (The Wizard of Oz) on a dark brown microsuede pillow. I loved how it looked on the screen, but I was a little nervous about what it would look like once it finally arrived. I ordered the pillow on a Thursday and it had arrived by Wednesday, less than a week later. This was with standard shipping over Easter weekend!!
When the box arrived, I was so excited, I could hardly wait to get it open. Inside the box, the pillow was very carefully packed in a protective green sleeve with the CafePress logo on it.
When I pulled the pillow out of the sleeve, I was so happy!! The throw pillow was absolutely perfect – exactly like it looked on the website!! I knew exactly where I wanted it:
I received a complimentary gift code for CafePress in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.
CafePress has generously offered a $20 gift code to their site for one of my lucky readers. To enter, click here and scroll down to the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of the page. Giveaway ends 4/17/13 and is open to US residents age 18 and older. Not affiliated with Facebook in any way.
This little cutie is Bud at about six weeks old. I remember when Boo and Bud were born, how anxious Art and I were to protect those fragile little souls. Boo was born the beginning of January and I was so afraid she would catch pneumonia that I didn’t take her out of the house for a month (except to the doctor’s office).
We were very fortunate that we had an excellent health plan at the time, and that we live in a first world country where we have access to clean water, plenty of food and health education.
But what about those families who don’t have the things we take for granted?
According to Impatient Optimists, the blog of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:
- Nearly 3 million newborns die each year globally
- 99% of these newborns die in low and middle i
- A child is 45 times more likely to die in the first month of life (when compared to children ages 1 month to 5 years)
- The major causes of newborn deathare prematurity, infection, and birth asphyxia (when a baby’s brain and other organs do not get enough oxygen before, during or right after birth)
- Complications of preterm birth are the second leading cause of death in children before their fifth birthday.
But the majority of these deaths can be prevented with proper maternal healthcare during pregnancy, skin-to-skin contact after birth, breastfeeding and proper handwashing.
From April 15-18 in Johannesburg, South Africa, individuals from around the globe will gather for The Global Newborn Health Conference to focus on how we take those interventions that save lives and encourage their use in regions of the world where newborns are most at risk of dying. And this conference is part of a larger, ongoing conversation on newborn health to generate action.
What Can We Do To Help?
- Follow Dr. Gary Darmstadt (@gdarmsta), Director of the Family Health Division of the Gates Foundation on Twitter. Retweet his daily “Did You Know?” facts until the conference starts on April 18th.
- Follow the conference by live stream once it starts and tweet or share what you learn.
How can you be an advocate for global newborn health?