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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Book review: Once In A Blue Moon

The relationship between siblings - particularly sisters - can be extremely close or strained. What happens if those sisters are separated at a young age and find each other 30 years later? That's the scenario in Eileen Goudge's newest release Once In A Blue Moon, which hits stores on October 6th.

Lindsay and Kerrie Ann, the sisters, were placed in different foster homes after their neglectful mother was sent to prison. Thirty years later Lindsay who was adopted by a loving couple still searches for the baby sister she lost. She's the owner of a bookstore in Blue Moon Bay, California, and is in the center of a battle that threatens her comfort and hard work.

Kerrie Ann has her own fight on her hands. After being sent to foster care, she was bounced from one home to another until she ran away as a teenager and became a drug-addicted single mother. Now sober she is fighting to regain custody of her daughter who was taken from her.

When the two finally meet things go a little wayward as assumptions are made, expectations are crushed and feelings hurt. Eventually they're drawn together and come to understand, respect and care for each other. This is a story about the bond of family and the changes that occur when family stands together to fight, grow and learn.

This novel, which is the first I've read of Goudge's who is a four-time New York Times bestseller, is an engaging read filled with witty dialogue, believable scenarios and the beauty of vivid descriptions. I didn't want to stop reading once I started because I just had to find out how everything turns out. Did Lindsay's and Kerrie Ann's court battles turn out in their favor? Does Kerrie Ann chose uncertain love? Will Lindsay settle for comfort and familiarity over passion and connection?

There's way more to this story then I first realized. If I were you I would grab a copy of Once In A Blue Moon as soon as it hits the shelves on October 6.
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October already?

There's no denying that the cooler temperatures are signaling the beginning of the fall season. And, I guess this being the first day of October is a clue as well, huh? I can't believe it's already October. This past month has flew by pretty quickly. Before I know it it'll be Thanksgiving and then Christmas.

So much has happened this year that it's all a fog. There's some dark, scary fog that I can remember and some light fog that left a little mist on everything. It's all memories... some I hope to keep close to me and others I hope will dispel with the fog. I think there are a couple of things I need closure on. I liken the lack of closure to a wound that heals and leaves a keloid behind. I think that one thing I'll be able to get complete closure on and another will kind of hang around in the unknown.

As I sit here, drowsy from little sleep, the hot tea I keep drinking and the constant attempt to keep up with my 2-year-old daughter, I wonder about those things. I wonder about a lot of things. Maybe next year I'll have more answers. But, for now, I'll enjoy the cooler temperatures and hope I get a long and peaceful night's sleep very soon.
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Reflection


5 Minutes for Mom WW participants
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Feel my soft skin

I dare you. ;)

As many of you know I am extremely addicted to skincare products. You can see a sample of that here and some of my other product reviews here.) All you have to do is tell me it softens, it's natural, it reduces wrinkles and fine lines or any of the other variety of benefits and I must try it. It was no different when I learned about Skin Free™, which has the slogan: A New Direction in Skin Care.

I chose to review Skin Free's Niaouli Butter Stick and the Super Moisture Body Balm, but it took me forever to design on the products. Each one, on their SkinFree.net, lists the ingredients and benefits. Skin Free products have no fragrance, colorants, petroleum products or harmful chemicals, which is a definite plus. The company reports that patients with eczema have seen results from using just the soap, but Skin Free recommends using it in conjunction with one of their moisturizers.

I am really impressed after trying the products. The body balm is really thick and contains 100 percent of super rich butters and natural oils that were selected for their healing and emollient properties. I only had to use about a nickle to quarter-sized amount to cover both of my legs. It soaks in pretty quickly and I didn't feel oily or greasy. This balm is great for those with delicate and sensitive skin like I have. The only downside, if this classifies as one, is sensitive to extreme temperatures. So, if it gets too cold the ingredients separate. To alleviate this you can remove the top and pop the bottle in the microwave for a minute. Not only will it be a smooth oil-like cream, but it will be a nice warm, spa-like treatment.

The butter stick is perfect for those rough, dry areas like heels, knees and elbows. I smooth the stick on my heels daily and they are soft and crack free. I've seen women in the street who I want to stop and tell them about the Niaouli Butter Stick, I'm just saying.

I am more than pleased with Skin Free and I'm sure you will be as well. You can see the full line of products at SkinFree.net and there's a broad selection at Drugstore.com and CVS.com.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Weekly Inspiration: Thoughts, memories

Normally, when I think of the things, situations or people that are inspiring me I try to focus on the positive, the lovely, the blessings. This week it's not only good memories that are inspiring me, but bad memories and thoughts are also my fuel.

That's the push behind expressing my thoughts and getting back to a way of releasing some of the poetic, tortured contemplations that happen within my brain. There are times that those thoughts make way for inspiring, positive and equally poetic musings, but - as many artists (written, visual, etc.) - realize the creative bunch of us are often fueled by emotionally charged feelings.

Now, the reason the not-so-positive memories and thoughts are fueling me is because I want to remember what has happened over the past two years and the past month. Some of the pain and emotional hurt that I have felt needs to be released. The pain hurts my health, my heart and my life and trickles over into every activity, word and interaction that I have. There aren't any more tears that I wish to unleash.

There are times when the tears flow without my permission. When a thought triggers a pain I can not control. I hope to use that pain to fuel creativity, ideas and some type of positive release.

That is what's inspiring me this week.



What's inspiring you this week? Head on over to Maternal Spark to share your inspirations and inspire others.
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Feet first

Like most women, I like to look nice. Even with a limited budget I try to wear stylish gear that highlights my best features. One thing that I am always on the lookout for is a great pair of heels that can be dressed up or dressed down, but that are comfortable, practical and sexy. Pretty large order to fill, huh?

For the most part, the types of shoes that I like the most are classic pumps with about a three-inch heel and a slight platform; strappy sandals with fabulous sex appeal as well as wedgies, clogs and high-heeled thongs. And, of course, I like to throw on a regular pair of flip flops now and then.

With colder weather approaching, I'm thinking about buying sexy (notice a theme, here?) women's winter boots. Although I don't normally worry about footwear for the winter, I saw a leather jacket in a catalog that was really nice and got to thinking that it would look great with a pair of tight jeans, high-heeled boots and a red motorcycle. ;)

Regardless of the type of shoe I want to wear I have to find a great deal at a retailer that carries exactly what I need. Speaking of shoes I need, I better be on the lookout for deals for the kids as well; they need some new shoes too.
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I'm in ALL YOU Magazine

Even though I've been a writer and editor for about 15 years, I still get a thrill out of seeing my name in print. There have only been a few times when I'm on the other end of the pen (being written about), and this is one of those times. I am in Issue 10 (October 23rd) of ALL YOU magazine.

Pick up a copy and flip to page 53 to see what I'm talking about. Once you've done that come back and let me know what you think then read some great articles, clip some coupons and enjoy a fab magazine.

(BTW: You should heard my squeal when i saw my picture!)
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Do your kids like water?

If you have trouble getting your children to drink water then you will probably want to introduce them to WAT-AAH! Rose Cameron, founder of WAT-AAH! is asking moms to take the challenge to see if their children will choose WAT-AAH, which has no sugar, over soda and juice drinks. She says the results will surprise you.

Now, I must admit, that I really don't have too much trouble getting my children to drink water, but the do like it better if they have a water bottle. When they got a look at the cool WAT-AAH bottles, they were completely sold. Especially my youngest who is hardest to convince to drink water over juice or milk.


Not only did the eagerly reach for the bottles, they wanted to know what they said. They thought the logo is cool and the words funny: Feel supaah! Think smartaah! Grow strongahh! Run fastahh!

Two-year-old Anna didn't even have to be told to drink her WAT-AAH!


Four-year-old Amareah waited patiently for me to open hers.


And 5-year-old Andre summed it up best, "Wow!"


Visit their blog, check out their site or purchase it from Amazon. I took the challenge; you should take it too. If you do, come back here and let me know. I'd love to see pics of your kids drinking WAT-AAH!
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Impromptu trip

There were a couple of things I had been looking forward to this month. One was a trip to Miami on my birthday. Didn't happen. And, at the risk of causing some sort of emotional turmoil, I'll avoid telling you why. (Well, actually I don't want everyone to know. LOL...) Also, if anyone asks: Yes, I was out of town.

Wait, I've already digressed.

The other thing is a trip to the coast of Georgia for a friend's cousin's wedding. Then when the van thing happened, (I didn't have transportation for three weeks - tell you more about that later) that trip didn't seem possible either.

BUT I am pleased to share that myself and the three younger children were able to travel to St. Simons Island for an overnight visit. (Yup, I have transportation. YIPPEE! Thank the Lord!) I had kind of decided not to go because when I got the van on Saturday it was early afternoon, but my sister-friend Kellie encouraged me to go and the friend (Frankie!) said he still wanted us to come even if it was just overnight.

Besides, he was "coming by" to visit on his way back to Maryland and it made more sense to go get him than for him to take the bus. Add to that the fact that I really wanted the kids to go to the beach so I sucked up my dislike of driving and made the trip. Boy, am I glad that I did. I love the beach and just being able to enjoy it for about an hour or so was soothing and inspiring.

Before we walked down to the beach I took a couple of pictures of the kids sitting on the rocks while Frankie went to the store. When I turned around there was a lady who asked if I'd like her to take a picture of the four of us.


It was actually a perfect day for walking on the beach. The clouds kept creeping in front of the sun so it didn't get too hot and the breeze coming from the somewhat choppy ocean was refreshing. The two middle children go soaking wet! They loved getting down into the water and letting the ocean knock them over.

I walked out until the water was to the bottom of my shorts then ended up getting splashed on the booty when a nice-sized wave snuck up behind me. It was pretty funny.


The scenery was beautiful and I took several pictures that I'll share with you over the course of the week. Maybe I should say that I plan on sharing them with you over the course of the week. Hopefully I won't forget. :)


After such a trying month, emotionally speaking, this was a much-needed break. What did you do this weekend?
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