Tuesday, January 31, 2012

NYNY Power Stretch & Sculpt Exercise DVD R&G!!


So, remember my giveaway last week for the Pure Pump from Tonya Larson? This week I am reviewing and giving away a copy of her other exercise DVD, Power Stretch and Sculpt! This is an alternative to yoga and is a wonderful toning DVD. Check out my review and then make sure to enter the giveaway! Tonya shipped me two copies of this so I have one I will be mailing to a winner. If you are serious about your exercise, you will want a copy of this DVD.

I have occasionally done a yoga workout before. As a Christian I tend to shy away from some of the terms used in these programs. I am not trying to get anyone upset but personally I have a conviction about this. I tried a couple different ones and had problems with each of them. With all that being said, I still like some of the toning you get from a yoga workout. It is also a very calming experience. And believe me, I have tried some of the Christian ones out there. They either are too calm and you don't get a workout, or they still use the yoga terms. So let me tell you, I was anxious to see how this one turned out.

After doing her other exercise program I guess I shouldn't have worried. I was super impressed with this DVD!!! Tonya leads you in a yoga like workout that is still very Christian. There is Christian music playing in the background that ranges from just instruments to music with vocals. There are no yoga terms I had problems with. Everything was done nicely and in order. Also, like with the other Tonya Larson DVD, this is a very well filmed program. There is another lady who does the workout with her and it looks professional. If you are worried about a cheesy or poorly filmed workout, you don't have to! This is well done!

The workout starts nice and slow. You warm up by stretching your muscles in a seated position. Let me tell you, some of this is hard! I am nowhere near as limber as I should be and this program shows that. I can't stretch anywhere near what she does. She then progresses to a standing session and then on to more serious sculpting. My favorite part of the program is the Abs and Core Focus. This really makes you hurt!! But boy do I feel better afterwards!

If you are someone who has been looking for a good alternative to a yoga program, check out this DVD. And, if you want a nice Postnatal workout, I would urge you to find out more about this one. This is great as a Postnatal workout! So, if you want a great Christian sculpting workout, pick up a copy of this program!

Readers, one of you will win your very own copy of Tonya Larson's Power Stretch and Sculpt! I will be mailing this out so US only! Giveaway will end 2/16.

I received a copy of this DVD for my review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Wonderful Contest from Uncle Bens and Healthy Cooking Tips!!

Today I have a fun writing opportunity from Social Moms and a great contest!! If someone has not heard of Uncle Ben's, I don't know where they have been:) Uncle Ben's is the most well known rice company and I love using their products!! They have a contest going on right now called Ben's Beginners. This is all about teaching your children to cook together. Do your children help you when you cook? Do they even have recipes of their own that they can make? If they do, check out this contest!

So, below I am giving some tips on healthy cooking for your family. Do you know that what you start with them as a child will often lead them into habits as an adult? What better habits to start than eating healthy!! I am determined that my children will grow up eating good for you foods and getting plenty of exercise.

1.Start Healthy.
Many times we start out with an unhealthy food and then build on it. If you can begin with a veggie or a rice, that makes the meal so much better! I personally like to start with a salad or a brown rice. A salad is good to have before you even have your main course as it fills you up with good veggies that are great for you! Put in plenty of broccoli, peppers, onion, snap peas, etc. And if you have rice on the side or as the base dish this fills them up as well.

2.Substitute for Better Foods.
Instead of eating white rice, opt for the healthier brown rice. I also personally like to use white cheese instead of yellow cheese. It just makes me wonder about the dyes that are put in this stuff. Maybe you can change the 2% milk to a skim milk? Some people I know can't change that much but it helps if you can. Another one I like to exchange is burger. I like to use turkey instead of beef. This is much healthier than beef.

3.Get The Children Involved.
I know this isn't really healthier but in a way it can be. Get the children involved in the cooking and let them pick out some of your veggies. Let them choose a new veggie or fruit every week to try. And have the whole family try it, not just the adults. If they don't like it, then pick a new one. But you never know when you will find a delicious vegetable that the family will enjoy:) Having them up helping you also gets them away from the computer games and television. Get them moving in the kitchen!!

So, do you have any habits you wnat to change? Or maybe some tips that you think would be good for this list? Leave them below in a comment!!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Uncle Ben’s blogging program, for 6,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Friend That Loves to Plan

Thanks for the guest post by Esteban Vinson

My friend Lucy sent me a link for Stream Energy Texas - Get Info so I could see some more options for electricity providers before moving. I am going down to Texas in May and she is trying to make sure I am amply prepared for it. Lucy has always looked out for me. When she was getting married, she sent me deals for airplane tickets just about everyday. She wanted to make sure that I had gotten my ticket and that the ticket I purchased was for the best possible price. She really loves to look up deals and figure out the best method to do different activities and tasks. I think she should work for a company like LivingSocial so she can constantly see and get great deals. She has sent me just about everything you can think of related to moving to a new house. Cook books, furniture, utilities, you name it and she has probably sent information to me about it. It has been so helpful so far. I am tempted to ask her to just plan the whole move for me!

Sinful Colors Nail Polish R&G!!

Boy oh boy! I have to tell you, I have nail polish coming out my ears:) Not literally, but you get what I am saying. The bad thing is, nail polish is so nice you could have 30 bottles and always find something new. So, when I was offered to review a company called Sinful Colors, I jumped at the chance!! With little sisters who like to play dress up and do their nails, they are always borrowing mine so it is nice to have extra. For my review I was sent 7 bottles for review. Check out my review below and get your entries in for the giveaway!

For my review I only opened some of the bottles. I saved two just for the giveaway and I gave some to my little sisters. And I hate to say it, but I didn't really care for this nail polish. I like the bright colors and all the different ones that there were, but something about it was a pain, and I will tell you about that later.

The first one I tried was the Emerald Green.
This is an Irish green:) I personally love the Irish, Scottish colors and this is that color green. I wasn't sure how I would like it on my nails but it came out pretty good overall. This is something though that you would definitely need clothes that matched, otherwise you will look pretty stupid:)

The next one is the Purple.
This is way lighter than how it looks in the bottle!! From the outside of the bottle I thought this was going to be a Gothic, heavy purple that was almost black. So not true!! It is a light airy purple that is very girly. I love the shade!!

Now, the main thing I didn't care for with this nail polish was the trouble getting it off. It went on nice and easy, stayed on for several days without chipping and I liked it until the moment I went to get it off. I used a regular nail polish remover and let me tell you, it was a pain! I am used to nail polishes that come off easy, sure you have to scrub a little, but this was a royal pain. I also didn't like that it left a pale coloring on my fingers. I understand a little bit but this was bad. It took two days for it to leave. Now I am not saying that I will never use this nail polish again. But it was something I wanted to bring up. I try to think of anything that a person might say against this product and this is what I found.

I personally love the purple color and have used this a couple times since then. My little sister loves the Silver Nail Art. I am not that far into using those bright colors yet:) So, if you like nail polish, get your entries in on the Rafflecopter form. The winner will receive the Sinful Colors Silver Nail Polish and the Gold Nail Art shown below. These have not been opened at all and I will be mailing them out myself. The company is not sponsoring this giveaway.


Giveaway will end 2/13. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. I received product for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Childrens Clothing

Tell me, are your children the type who like to sleep comfortably? In our house, one child could care less if she is in her pajamas, but the other one wouldn't go to sleep without putting on her pj's! And let me tell you, it can be fun browsing for girls pjs and sleepwear! There is so much out there!

One thing I like with sleepwear is finding the old fashioned cotton gowns. Both girls like wearing them and they keep very warm at night. There are also footie pajamas and they like to double up wearing these underneath the gowns. That is only for the really cold nights but even in the summer time they have light cotton gowns that they wear all the time. If you can find the silk pajamas, they are excellent for summer or spring. If you are looking for girls sleepwear, check out the site above. Lots of different characters and you can choose from silly to feminine!

I have not purchased from this site. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Keeping Your Car Clean

I am not really a neat freak. I mean, really, I am not! But I do like keeping things clean. And one area I am big on is my vehicle. Car mats, car pockets, toys, books, etc. I like to keep things organized and neat. Have you ever tried vacuuming oreo out of the carpet? Or getting a smushed candy bar out of the back seat pocket? Below are some tips I have to keep the vehicle neat and tidy. They have certainly helped me so maybe they will help you out.

1.Keep Trash Bags Handy.
In our vehicle, people are always snacking or eating. And guess what happens to the wrappers? They end up on the floor:) One way to keep this from happening is to keep a garbage bag handy. Whether it is a grocery bag or the small trash bags, they are best to keep in the glove box and then pull out when you need them.

2.Utilize Bins.
Plastic containers are good to keep in the trunk or the back of the van. You can use one for misc. items that are being used and one for tools or an emergency kit, etc. If you have other things you need one for, just add another bin. And you can put lids on these as well so you don't have to worry about them falling over and spilling. Keep a shopvac in one of them for those nasty clean up times when you are out and about.

3.Have A Car Clean Day.
One day a week I make sure the car is spotless and all cleaned out. At that time you clean the car floor mats, vacuum the vehicle out, wipe everything down with a spray cleaner, spray down the outside to get the salt off(If you are up north in winter time), etc. This will really go a long way to keeping the vehicle in working order.

So, have any tips for me? Leave them in a comment below:)

I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog for car floor mats
and was compensated. However, the views and opinions are my own.

NYNY The Smarter Science of Slim By Jonathan Bailor


I know we have all seen the diet books. They are on every corner and every aisle you walk down it seems. So I am very skeptic when I get asked to review another one. I have done enough of them, believe me. But this one sounded different. The Smarter Science of Slim by Jonathan Bailor is a life changing book. And it is not a set pattern of limiting this amount of food. You can eat certain foods as much as you want. And he has a unique view on exercise too:) Check it out!

As our knowledge of the human body becomes ever more exact, scientists have made remarkable leaps forward in many fields. Yet for one question that many of us would like answered--What causes the body to burn fat?--we find all sorts of confusing claims. Since we know so much about how our body works, can't science tell us the answer?

As it turns out, science already has.

I have spent over ten years reading thousands of fat-loss studies. Not theories promoted by diet gurus. Only the proven data.

My investigation uncovered all kinds of scientific findings:
- Studies stating how certain foods cripple our ability to burn fat
- Scientists showing how to burn fat while eating more food
- Researchers revealing how to get all the benefits of traditional exercise in a tenth of the time
- Physiologists finding out how eating less sets us up to gain fat in the long run
- Doctors discussing how a few minutes of a new form of exercise immunizes us against fat gain
- Endocrinologists explaining how we fix the underlying condition causing us to gain fat

We deserve to know the proven facts about fat loss, but who has time to read tens of thousands of pages of scientific studies? The study took me more than a decade. It should not take you that long because the facts have been summarized in this book. They have also been simplified, so anyone who wants to lose weight can understand them. Make no mistake. Tons of clinical studies have shown the best way to trim off those unwanted pounds.

It is time to stop listening to marketing myths about how to lose weight. We tried it. It failed. It is time to move on to a smarter science of slim.

MY REVIEW-Like I said above, this is not your normal dieting or weight loss book. It is pretty much a way to change your life. Dr Bailor has done so much research it isn't funny. Even with what is in this book, it is amazing how much has gone into this book. And I had a hard time reading the studies that he puts in here! Imagine how much he has gone through:)

Basically the rules of this book are to eat SANE foods instead of inSANE foods. Believe me, this sounds a lot harder than it is. Jonathan gives all the information for what foods you should be eating and what you shouldn't be partaking of. One simple rule he talks about is eating foods you can pick. He doesn't tell you that you are only allowed to eat so much, no, he gives you unlimited ability to eat these foods. I was very impressed with this aspect of the book.

The other part he deals with is exercise. And boy oh boy, is he different about this! Forget about the hours in the gym or the long, tedious moments spent lifting weights. He gives a specific amount you neet to do but a lot of it is toning with a heavy weight. Now, I normally use weights with my daily exercise. Whether they are small weighted gloves or actual dumbbells, I use them every time I do my walking, etc. But he pushes for even more weight. I am not sure how far I would go with this, but I definitely give him credit for not pushing for what everyone else is.

Overall a good book. This is one that takes time to read through and digest. Don't expect to pick it up and be done within a day or two. And you are goingt o have to determine that you really want to change if you are going to do this. I enjoyed reading it and will be looking further into it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Juice Lady's Weekend Diet Weight-Loss FIRST WildCard Tour!!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Siloam (December 13, 2011)

***Special thanks to PUBLICIST'S NAME of PUBLICIST'S COMPANY for sending me a review copy.***

MY REVIEW-This is an excellent book with a lot of good information. Whether you want the change of a lifetime or a weekend jumpstart, this book shows you how to do it all, and with raw foods! You can decide if you want a one day or the whole weekend, and Cherie gives a specifc list of what you should have and at what times. I will be trying this in the future! I am not really all into the whole raw foods only thing but I would love to try it for a few days to see if it works. Who knows? Maybe I will become a believer!


Cherie Calbom, MS, is the author of The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet, The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution, and Juicing for Life, which has nearly two million books in print in the United States. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, Cherie has worked as a clinical nutritionist and has a master’s degree in nutrition.

Visit the author's website.


Jump-Start Your Diet…

Detox Your System…

Lose a Dress Size…

Shrink Your Love Handles . . .

…with this two-day diet program that helps you get healthy for life.

Start Friday night with a juice or green smoothie dinner. Then have an all-liquid Saturday and Sunday breakfast and lunch, followed by a raw food dinner Sunday night. It’s easy, delicious, and requires only a weekend commitment!

Look and feel great for a special event

Motivate yourself for continued weight loss

Cleanse your system after a stressful week

Jump-start your living foods lifestyle!

Product Details:

  • List Price: $12.99

  • Paperback: 224 pages

  • Publisher: Siloam (December 13, 2011)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 1616386568

  • ISBN-13: 978-1616386566


Weight Loss on a Mission

The World Health Organization estimates that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, incurring health costs beyond $117 billion per year in the US alone.1 It’s obvious that we need to do something differently. We need a new way of life—a revolution in how we eat, one that we adopt for the rest of our lives.

What if you found a weight-loss program that could help you lose weight more effectively than anything you’ve ever tried? And what if that program didn’t involve expensive meals you had to order, pills you had to buy, or anything other than great whole foods you prepare in your kitchen? What if that program helped

you look and feel better than ever? And what if it was such an energizing way of life that you wanted to follow it for the rest of your life? Are you interested?

The Juice Lady’s Weekend Weight-Loss Diet is a fast track to just such a program. This two-day jump start can lead you into a transformative lifestyle that is helping thousands of people lose weight, keep it off for good, and completely revolutionize their health. This is what I call weight loss on a mission—the mission is

to help you become healthy, happy, and filled with life, as well as slim and fit. (You’ll find a complete weight-loss juicing program in my book The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet.)

Freshly made vegetable juices are at the center of the weekend weight-loss diet. They provide concentrated sources of very absorbable nutrients. They are low in fat and calories, so replacing higher-calorie foods with fresh juice is a shoo-in for weight-loss success.

But the benefits of juicing don’t stop there. Vegetable juices help curb cravings because they satisfy your body’s nutrient needs. They’re alkaline, which is very helpful to balance out a system that’s most probably too acidic. They’re also high in antioxidants that are antiaging and immune enhancing—that means you’re giving your body the things it needs to start looking and feeling younger.

Fresh Juice—a Cornucopia of Nutrients

Every time you pour a glass of juice, picture a cornucopia of nutrients cascading into your body, promoting health, revving up your metabolism, balancing weight, and increasing vitality. This melange of nutrients can change your life—completely change your life—as it completely changed mine! Here’s what every glass of juice provides.

Amino acids

Did you ever consider juice to be a source of protein? Most people would say no. Surprisingly, it does offer more amino acids than you might think. We use amino acids to form muscles, ligaments, tendons, hair, nails, and skin. Protein is needed to create enzymes, which direct chemical reactions, and hormones, which

guide bodily functions. Fruits and vegetables contain lower quantities of protein than animal foods such as muscle meats and dairy products. Therefore they are thought of as poor protein sources. But juices are concentrated forms of vegetables and so provide easily absorbed amino acids, the building blocks that make up protein. For example, 16 ounces of carrot juice (2–3 pounds of carrots) provides about 5 grams of protein (the equivalent of about a chicken wing or 2 ounces of tofu). I don’t recommend drinking that much carrot juice because of the sugar content, but that’s an example.

Vegetable protein is not complete protein, so it does not provide all the amino acids your body needs. In addition to lots of dark leafy greens, when you finish your weekend weight-loss kick start, you’ll want to eat other protein sources, such as sprouts, legumes (beans, lentils, and split peas), nuts, seeds, and whole grains. If you’re not vegan, you can add eggs and free-range, grass-fed muscle meats such as chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef along with wild-caught fish.


Most vegetable juice contains good carbohydrates. The exceptions would be carrots and beets, which have higher sugar content. They should be used in small quantities and diluted with low-sugar vegetable juices such as cucumber and dark leafy greens. Carbs provide fuel for the body, which it uses for energy, heat production, and chemical reactions. The chemical bonds of carbohydrates lock in the energy a plant takes up from the sun and soil, and this energy is released when the body burns plant food as fuel.

There are three categories of carbs: simple (sugars), complex (starches and fiber), and fiber. Choose more complex carbohydrates in your diet than simple carbs. There are more simple sugars in fruit juice than vegetable juice, which is why I recommend you juice primarily vegetables, use low-sugar fruit for flavor and a little sweetness, and in most cases drink no more than 4 ounces of fruit juice a day.

Both insoluble fiber and soluble fiber are found in whole fruits and vegetables—both types are needed for good health. It’s amazing how many people still say juice doesn’t have any fiber. It contains the soluble form—pectin and gums, which are excellent for the digestive tract. Soluble fiber also helps to lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and improve good bowel bacteria and elimination.

Essential fatty acids

There is very little fat in fruit and vegetable juices, but the fats juice does contain are essential to your health. The essential fatty acids (EFAs)—linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids in particular—found in fresh juice function as components of nerve cells, cellular membranes, and hormonelike substances called prostaglandins. They are also required for energy production.


Fresh juice is replete with vitamins, but heat and processing destroy vitamins. We need these organic substances because they take part, along with minerals and enzymes, in chemical reactions throughout the body. For example, vitamin C participates in the production of collagen, one of the main types of protein found in the body that keeps your skin looking fresh and youthful rather than sagging and aging. Fresh juices are excellent sources of water-soluble vitamins such as C, many of the B vitamins, and some fat-soluble vitamins such as E and K, along with key phytonutrients like beta-carotene (known as pro-vitamin A), lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin. They also are coupled with cofactors that increase the effectiveness of each nutrient; for example, vitamin C and bioflavonoids work together synergistically to make each more effective.


There are about two dozen minerals that your body needs to function well, and they’re abundant in fresh juice. They make up part of bones, teeth, and blood, and they help maintain normal cellular function. The major minerals include calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. Trace

minerals, which include boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel, selenium, vanadium, and zinc, are those needed in very small amounts.

Minerals occur in inorganic forms in the soil, and plants incorporate them into their tissues. As a part of this process, the minerals are combined with organic molecules into easily absorbable forms, which makes plants an excellent dietary source of minerals. Juicing is believed to provide even better mineral absorption than whole vegetables because the process of juicing releases minerals into a highly absorbable, easily digestible form.


These living molecules are prevalent in raw foods, but heat, such as cooking and pasteurization, destroys them. Enzymes facilitate the biochemical reactions necessary for life. They are complex structures composed predominantly of protein and usually require additional cofactors to function, including vitamins; minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron; and other elements. Fresh juice is chock-full of enzymes. Without them we would not have life.

When you eat and drink enzyme-rich foods, these little molecules help break down food in the digestive tract, thereby sparing the pancreas, liver, and stomach—the body’s enzyme producers—from overwork. This sparing action is known as the “law of adaptive secretion of digestive enzymes,” which asserts that the body will adapt or change the amount of digestive enzymes it produces according to what is needed. According to this law, when a portion of the food you eat is digested by enzymes present in the food, the

body won’t need to secrete as much of its own enzymes. This allows the body’s energy to be shifted from digestion to other functions such as repair and rejuvenation.

Fresh juices require very little energy expenditure to digest. That is one reason why people who start consistently drinking fresh veggie juice often report that their digestion and elimination improve and that they feel better and more energized right away.


Plants contain substances know as phytochemicals that protect them from disease, injury, and pollution. Phyto means plant, and chemical in this context means nutrient. There are tens of thousands of phytochemicals in the foods we eat. For example, the average tomato may contain up to ten thousand different types of these nutrients, with one of the most famous being lycopene. Phytochemicals give plants their color, odor, and flavor. Unlike vitamins and enzymes, they are heat stable and can withstand cooking. Some of them, such as lycopene, appear to be more effective when cooked.


There’s one more substance abundant in raw foods that is more difficult to measure than the others. It’s known as biophotons, which is light energy that is found in the living cells of raw plant foods. These photons have been shown to emit coherent light energy when uniquely photographed (Kirlian photography). This light energy is believed to have many benefits when consumed, such as aiding cellular communication and feeding the mitochondria and the DNA. They are believed to contribute to our energy, vitality, and a feeling of vibrancy and well-being.

Now that you’ve learned about the powerful nutritional punch packed inside each glass of juice you drink, let’s consider how this applies to weight loss.

Power Foods That Give Your Weight Loss a Big Boost

In addition to some of the basic steps you can take to achieve weight loss success, there are specific foods you can add to your weight-loss program that will make a huge difference in assisting your body in burning fat. These super foods can help you succeed and give you super-size health dividends at the same time. Be sure to add them to your weight-loss program.

Green juice: the number one fat cure. In honor of his hundredth show, Dr. Oz served on the set his favorite green juice drink to one hundred people who had lost thirteen thousand pounds combined. This blend of cucumbers, apple, and leafy greens started a new wave of interest in green juices for weight loss. So why do green juices work so well? Dr. Oz cites the fact that they compensate for the fact that most of us are simply not getting sufficient nourishment from standard diets. He says, “We know we have to have at least five fistfuls of leafy green vegetables and fruit every day, so we make a morning green drink.”2

There’s evidence to suggest that even if we took the time to chew up five cups of green veggies each day, we wouldn’t get as much benefit from them as we would from juicing them. The mechanical process of juicing the vegetables breaks apart plant cell walls and makes absorption better than even when the best “chewers” chew their food at least thirty times before swallowing. It has an effect like throwing marbles at a chain-link fence rather than tennis balls; their contents are going to go through in a way that tennis balls can’t.

The juices contain easily absorbed micronutrients that will do more than slim you down—they’ll optimize your overall health and wellness. There’s science behind the green juices transformative powers and a number of reasons why the juices, along with a high intake of living foods, energize your body, fire up your metabolism, speed slimming, and overhaul your health. Here’s the evidence as to why it works.

Green Veggies Help Lower the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Because of their high magnesium content and low glycemic index, green leafy vegetables are also valuable for persons with type 2 diabetes. One study revealed that an increase of just one and onehalf servings a day of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 14 percent lower risk of diabetes.3

Magnesium-rich greens ramp up your energy. A British study comparing the metabolism of female twins found that magnesium intake was the most important dietary variable that determined adiponectin levels.4 Adiponectin is a fat cell hormone that promotes insulin sensitivity. This hormone has recently gained attention from researchers because of its regulation of glucose and fat metabolism. Elevated levels of adiponectin are associated with increased insulin sensitivity and fat burning. Adiponectin also seems to work closely with leptin—a hormone that helps control the appetite. As you lose weight, this hormone gets a boost. Fresh fruit and vegetables have a positive influence on this hormone, which is made in fat cells. It boosts metabolism and helps regulate inflammation, which, consequently, helps to prevent weight gain, becoming a type 2 diabetic, or developing heart disease.

This new study shows very clearly that adequate magnesium is imperative to maintaining adiponectin levels. This means that a deficiency of magnesium, which is common in America, is a clear contributor to the problems people have with weight management. Magnesium also plays a key role in fighting off stress and anxiety, supporting restful sleep, preventing restless leg syndrome, and boosting energy.

Further, magnesium helps prevent fat storage. When magnesium is low, cells fail to recognize insulin. As a result, glucose accumulates in the blood—and then it gets stored as fat instead of being burned for fuel. Green plants, which are rich in magnesium, are far superior to magnesium supplements because the supplements’ particles are a bit large for the body to entirely absorb. (I’m in favor of taking magnesium supplements, if they are needed, but as an adjunct to a magnesium-rich diet.) Green plants take inorganic minerals from the soil through their tiny roots and incorporate them into their cells. They become organic particles that are much smaller and easier for the body to absorb. It is estimated that more than 90 percent of a plant’s minerals is delivered to the cells when you juice the greens. So juice up those leaves—chard, collards, beet tops, parsley, spinach—the five highest in magnesium, plus kohlrabi leaves, kale, dandelion greens, lettuce, and mustard greens.

Here’s the good news—you’ll increase your energy with this highoctane fuel! That means you’ll get more done and feel more like working out, so you’ll burn more calories and build more muscle.

Enzymes Speed Fat Burning

Our bodies produce enzymes that are used in digesting the food we eat. They can be found in the saliva, small intestine, stomach, liver, and pancreas. These hardworking little catalysts break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into fatty acids, amino acids, and forms of glucose that feed your cells.

Enzymes are responsible for a host of reactions in the body. All the minerals, herbs, vitamins, and hormones we take can’t do their jobs without enzymes. When your diet is deficient in enzymes from live foods (uncooked, not processed), your body has to work harder to produce the enzymes it needs. If you’re deficient, you may experience weight gain, depression, and many other maladies that plague modern society.

Enzymes are truly weight-loss supermen. But these magic bullets start decreasing as we age—by age thirty-five most people see a decline in their enzyme production. Still, we need them for weight loss and good digestion. It’s enzymes that assist in the breakdown and burning of fat.

This is where juices come to the rescue—as I mentioned earlier, they’re packed with enzymes. Eating a high percentage of raw food is important because cooking and processing our food destroys enzymes. When you drink fresh, live juices and eat plenty of living foods, the enzymes they contain kick your metabolism into gear by helping to spare your liver and pancreas from working so hard. Then these organs can focus on their metabolic tasks of burning fat and producing energy. And your digestion will improve. This affects your whole life, your whole being.

Three Super-Hero Enzymes

Lipase. Lipase is a fat-splitting enzyme that is abundant in raw foods. It assists your body in digestion,

fat distribution, and fat burning. However, few of us eat enough raw foods to get sufficient lipase

to burn even a normal amount of fat, not to mention any excess fat. Without lipase, fat accumulates.

You can see it on your hips, thighs, buttocks, and stomach. Lipase is richest in raw foods that contain

some fat, such as sprouted seeds and nuts, avocado, and fresh coconut meat.

Protease. As your body burns flab, toxins are released into your system. This can cause water retention and bloating. Protease is a digestive enzyme that helps to break down proteins and eliminate toxins. Eliminating toxins is essential when you’re burning fat. If your body is storing toxins, it’s very difficult to burn fat. But protease comes to the rescue and attacks and eliminates toxins. So, as you can see, it’s crucial to have plenty of protease during weight loss. Protease is richest in the leaves of plants. So juice up those

green leaves and burn fat. Plus, the greens are also rich in antioxidants that bind up toxins and carry them out of your system so they won’t hurt your cells. That means you’ll get double action with green juices.

Amylase. Amylase is a digestive enzyme that breaks down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. It’s also present in saliva. So while we chew our food, it goes to work on carbs. That’s why it’s recommended that you chew each mouthful of food about thirty times. The pancreas also makes amylase. And amylase is plentiful in seeds that contain starch. (You can juice most seeds of fruits and vegetables.) Its therapeutic use is in regulation of histamine, which is produced in response to recognized invaders to the body. Histamine is a responder in allergic reactions such as hay fever and is what causes hives, itchy watery eyes, sneezing,

and runny noses. Amylase breaks down the histamine produced by the body in response to allergens like pollen or dust mites. Some health professionals believe it may help the body identity the allergen as not being harmful so it doesn’t produce the histamine in the first place. This is one reason that people on a high raw plant diet often experience improvement in their allergies. For the most effective approach to increasing

enzymes, you may also want to take an enzyme supplement. I especially like an enzyme formula that

is taken between meals—it cleans up any undigested particles of food floating around the system and

greatly improves digestion. A popular side benefit is that your hair gets thicker and your nails grow

stronger. (For more information on these enzymes, see Appendix A.)

Greens Alkalize Your Body and Promote Weight Loss

Many people eat a high-sugar breakfast consisting of foods and drinks such as orange juice, toast, jam, honey, sweetened cereal, sweet rolls, doughnuts, muffins, waffles, or pancakes. All this sugar and simple carbohydrates (which turn to sugar easily) promote acidity and cause yeast and fungus to grow. They also produce a lot of acid. Traditional high-protein breakfast foods such as omelets, cheese, bacon, sausage, and meat promote elevated acid levels in the body as well. Add to that highly acidic drinks such as coffee, black

tea, sodas, alcohol, and sports drinks, and acidic foods for lunch and dinner, and you’re consuming loads of acid-forming foods throughout the day. Keep in mind that acid-forming food does not mean the state of the food when you eat or drink it but the final ash residue after it is metabolized. As a result of this style of eating, along with not eating enough green veggies and other living foods, many people suffer from a condition known as mild acidosis, which is an out-of-balance pH leaning toward acidity. This means that the body is continually fighting to maintain pH balance.

One of the symptoms of acidosis is weight gain and an inability to lose weight. That’s because the body tends to store acid in fat cells and to hang on to those cells to protect your delicate tissues and organs. It will even make more fat cells in which to store acid, if they’re needed. To turn this scenario around, it’s important to alkalize your body. Greens are one of the best choices you could make because they’re very alkaline. And juicing them gives you an easy way to consume a lot more than you could chew up in a day.

To give your body a great start in rebalancing your pH, make 60 percent to 80 percent of your diet alkalizing foods such as green vegetables, raw juices, grasses such as wheatgrass juice, fresh vegetables and fruit, raw seeds, nuts, and sprouts. Greatly limit or avoid your consumption of acid-forming foods such as meat, dairy products, chocolate, sweets, bread and all other yeast products, alcohol, carbonated drinks, sports drinks, coffee, and black tea. When pH balance is achieved, the body should automatically drop to its ideal, healthy weight unless you have other health challenges. (But those should heal too over time.) As the acidic environment is neutralized with mineral-rich alkaline foods, there will be no need for your body to create new fat cells for storage of acid. And since the remaining fat is no longer needed to store acid wastes, it simply melts away.

This is also a great way to restore your health. Many diseases such as cancer thrive in an acidic state. Take away the acid, and they don’t do as well. An alkaline diet also boosts your energy level, improves skin, reduces allergies, sustains the immune system, and enhances mental clarity.

Thermogenic Foods Rev Up Your Metabolism

Thermogenesis means the production of heat, which raises metabolism and burns calories. Thermogenic foods are essentially fat-burning foods and spices that help increase your metabolism. This means that with some of your kitchen staples, you can burn off fat during or right after you eat and increase your fat-burning potential just by eating them. So include these super foods often in your juices and recipes.

Hot peppers. Imagine eating hot peppers and revving up your metabolism enough to lose weight. A study in 2010 found that obesity was caused by a lack of thermogenic response in the body rather than by overeating or lack of exercise. “The animals developed obesity mainly because they didn’t produce enough heat after eating, not because the animals ate more or were less active,” said Dr. Yong Xu, instructor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and co-lead author of the study.5 Another study found that hot peppers turn up the internal heat, which helps in burning calories.6 You can add hot peppers or a dash of hot sauce to many juice recipes or almost any dish and make it taste delicious.

Garlic. When it comes to weight loss, garlic appears to be a miracle food. A team of doctors at Israel’s Tel Hashomer Hospital conducted a test on rats to find out how garlic can prevent diabetes and heart attacks, and they found an interesting side effect—none of the rats given allicin (a compound in garlic) gained weight.7

Garlic is a known appetite suppressant. The strong odor of garlic stimulates the satiety center in the brain, thereby reducing feelings of hunger. It also increases the brain’s sensitivity to leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that controls appetite. Further, garlic stimulates the nervous system to release hormones such as adrenalin, which speed up metabolic rate. This means a greater ability to burn calories. More calories burned means less weight gained—a terrific correlation.

Ginger. Ginger contains a substance that stimulates gastric enzymes, which can boost metabolism. The better your metabolism, the more calories you’ll burn. It has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory—

inflammation is implicated in obesity. Ginger helps improve gastric motility—the spontaneous peristaltic movements of the stomach that aid in moving food through the digestive system. When the digestive system is functioning at its best, you’ll experience less bloating and constipation. It has also been found to

lower cholesterol. And ginger is the top vegan source of zinc, which gives a big boost to your immune system. Top that off with the fact that it tastes delicious in juice recipes, and you have a super spice. I add it to almost every juice recipe I make.

Parsley. This dark green herb offers a great way to make your dishes and juices super healthy. Parsley helps you detox because it’s chock-full of antioxidants, like vitamin C and flavonoids, and it’s loaded with minerals and chlorophyll. It’s also a natural diuretic, which helps you get rid of stored water. That means thinner ankles, feet, and fingers. And it improves digestion and strengthens the spleen as well. You can add a handful of parsley to almost any juice recipe and you won’t even know it’s there.

Cranberries. Studies show that cranberries are loaded with acids that researchers believe are useful in dissolving fat deposits. When fat deposits settle in the body, they are hard to get rid of, so it’s best to get them before they get “hooked on” you. Some studies point out that the enzymes in cranberries can aid metabolism, which gives a boost to weight loss.8This tart little fruit is a natural diuretic, helping you get rid of excess water and bloating. Of all the fruits, cranberries rank number two for antioxidant content, which helps detoxify the body. And they promote healthy teeth and gums, fight urinary track infections, improve heart health, and keep cancer at bay.

Kathy, who was featured in my “Holiday Fat Buster” article in the December 27, 2010, issue of Woman’s World, issue, lost 5 pounds in seventy-two hours drinking a cranberry, pear, cucumber, and ginger

cocktail along with the rest of the Turbo Juice Diet Program. Within a week Kathy’s tummy was down 5.5 inches—she said she had to keep measuring to make sure it was right. Regarding the juice diet program, she said, “Overall, I had a lot of energy and no hunger.”9 You can add cranberries to many recipes for a delicious enhancer to your juice drinks and a boost to your weight loss at the same time. If you buy these berries when they’re in season, you can freeze a few packages to have on hand for seasons when they aren’t available.

Blueberries. A 2010 study found that blueberries can help you get rid of belly fat, thanks to the high level of phytochemicals (antioxidants) they contain. The study also showed that blueberries are helpful in preventing type 2 diabetes, and the benefits were even greater when the blueberries were combined with a low-fat diet.10 Moreover, blueberries can also help fight hardening of the arteries and improve the memory.

Lemons. Adding just a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to your water, salad, or soup will help ward off cravings, alkalize your body, and keep your insulin levels in check. Hot lemon water with a dash of cayenne pepper is a great way to start your day—it gets the liver, your fat-burning organ, moving in the morning. It’s also a natural diuretic and helps clear out toxins from your system. Further, it aids the digestive process and prevents constipation. It can also help alleviate heartburn—just add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to water and drink with your meal. Limonene, a compound in lemons, helps short-circuit the production of acid in the stomach—lemons are very alkalizing. Meyer lemons, my favorite, are sweeter and are available in the winter.

The Low-Glycemic Benefits of Juicing

The glycemic index has become a popular weight-loss tool based in part on the fact that high-glycemic foods raise blood sugar levels, cause the body to secrete excess insulin, and lead to the storage of fat. Originally developed to help diabetics manage blood sugar control, the glycemic index has become popular in the weight-loss market largely because it works so well. Researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that patients who lost weight with a low-glycemic diet kept the weight off longer than patients who lost the same amount of weight with a low-fat diet.11

The glycemic index (GI) diet refers to a system of ranking carbohydrates according to how much a certain amount of each food raises a person’s blood sugar level. It’s determined by measuring how much a 50-gram serving of carbohydrate raises a person’s blood sugar level compared with a control.

Virtually all carbohydrates are digested into glucose and cause a temporary rise in blood glucose levels, called the glycemic response. But some foods raise it more than others. This response is affected by many factors, including the quantity of food, the amount and type of carbohydrate, how it’s cooked or eaten raw, and the degree of processing. Each food is assigned an index number from 1 to 100, with 100 as the reference score for pure glucose. Typically, foods are rated high (greater than 70), moderate (56–69), and low (less than 55). Low-glycemic foods, especially raw carbohydrates, can help control blood sugar, appetite, and weight. Though helpful for everyone, they are especially helpful for people with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome.

Low-glycemic foods are absorbed more slowly, allowing a person to feel full longer and therefore be less likely to overeat. Raw food experts such as Dr. John Douglass have found that raw carbohydrates such as the raw juices are better tolerated than cooked carbs. They don’t elicit the addictive cravings that cooked foods cause. Douglass believes, as does the Finish expert A. I. Virtanen, that the enzymes in raw food play an important role in the way they stimulate weight loss as they do in the treatment of obesity.12

When you get to chapter 6, “Beyond the Weekend,” you will be encouraged to choose most of your carbohydrate foods from the low-glycemic index and a large percentage of those foods as raw. The foods I recommend eating after you’ve completed your weekend weight-loss diet (see Appendix B) are for the most part low glycemic and are nutrient-rich, not refined, and higher in fiber—like whole vegetables, fruit, and legumes (beans, lentils, split peas).

Not All Carbs Are Created Equal

Different carbohydrates take different pathways in the body after digestion. For example, some starchy foods are bound by an outer layer of very complex starches (fiber) like the legumes (beans, lentils, split peas), which increases the time it takes for them to be digested. So even though legumes are relatively high in carbohydrates, they have a lower glycemic response because of their complex encasing.

There is also the antioxidant potential of foods to consider, meaning the amount of antioxidant nutrients a food contains, such as beta-carotene and vitamin C that are abundant in many fruits and vegetables. In Chinese culture, carrots are often used as cooling medicine. Carrots, beets (both very rich in beta-carotene),

and other brightly colored vegetables are especially important to include in our diet to prevent disease. These days many health professionals suggest we eliminate carrots and beets because of their glycemic rating, but the weekend weight-loss diet does not exclude them because of their high nutrient and fiber content. But I do recommend that you use them in small amounts because they are higher in sugar.

Also, please keep in mind that not all low-glycemic foods are healthy fare. Low-glycemic foods include candy bars and potato chips. These foods are very nutrient depleted, contain sugar or turn to sugar easily,

and lack fiber. You need to get the best nutrition for your choices. With this plan, there’s no obsessing over the glycemic index either, just a basic understanding of the principles. Keep in mind that certain factors can change a score, such as the riper the fruit, the higher the glycemic index score. But always choose ripe fruits and vegetables over unripe; they are healthier by far. Adding good fat to foods can lower the GI score. And keep in mind that the GI response to any given food also varies widely from person to person.

It can even vary within the same person from day to day. So it’s important to listen to your body and determine how the foods you are eating are affecting you.

More Than Weight Loss

Years ago when I was taking prerequisites for my master of science program in whole foods nutrition at Bastyr University, I worked for a weight-loss center part time as a nutrition counselor. I noticed that a number of people who entered the program looked healthy, meaning they had good skin color and tone and vibrancy—they were just overweight. Soon into the program, I noticed that though they were losing weight, they weren’t looking healthier. I observed a loss of skin tone, skin color turning a grayish pallor, and a loss of energy and vitality. I was alarmed. Even as a student I knew that it was not just about dropping weight; it was about getting healthier. I quit the job, unable to promote something that I felt did harm.

When you embark on a weight-loss program, it should be about getting healthier along with losing weight. Whether you want to lose 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 200 pounds, it isn’t just about getting the weight off any way you can. I know people who have lost weight through drastic means and ruined their health in the process.

Losing weight with vegetable juices and kicking off your program with the Weekend Weight-Loss Diet is the first step in choosing a weight-loss regimen that doesn’t sacrifice your health. That’s why I’m excited about introducing you to the Weekend Weight-Loss Diet. I know what it can do for you. So many people have praised this program and my other juice diets because of the increased health and energy they experienced. And if they can experience these great results, you can too. You’re off to a great start and a

lifetime of fitness!

Where Wildflowers Bloom Book Tour + Exciting Contest!

Well, I have plenty of book reviews this week. Seems like a week for reviews:) Today I have one of those sweet stories that you want to read on this type of day. Where Wildflowers Bloom is by Ann Shorey and is just one of those stories. Ann is a wonderful writer that really pulls you into the book. Check out my review below and make sure to enter Ann's contest!!!

The War Between the States stole a father and brother from Faith Lindberg-- as well as Royal Baxter, the man she wanted to marry. With only her grandfather left, she dreams of leaving Noble Springs, Missouri, and traveling west to Oregon to start a new life, away from the memories that haunt her. But first she must convince her grandfather to sell the family's mercantile and leave a town their family has called home for generations.

When Royal Baxter suddenly returns to town, Faith allows herself to hope that her dreams might come true. Does he truly love her? Or could another man claim her heart? Will she find that following her dreams may not mean leaving home after all?

MY REVIEW-The main character in this book happens to be a young lady with my middle name:) Faith wants to get away from her home town where all she has are bad memories. But her grandfather is not doing well and there is no way she can travel without him. Her grandfather started the mercantile and still runs it but one night he turns it over to Faith for her to take care of. This is pretty much the basis of this story but there is much more to it.

I had a hard time with Faith at first. She jumps at people in a way I thought was rude. But then she is different throughout the rest of the book and I quickly fell in love with her. I loved Curt from the beginning and kept wanting to slap Faith that she didn't see the good in him faster. But Faith has her heart set on a young man who left to fight in the war and hasn't come back. Of course, he shows up a little bit in and courts Faith.

Rosemary is Curt's sister and she is fighting the prejudice of the people because she helped nurse soldiers in the war. I liked her a lot and she is strong, even when she doesn't seem to be. Faith's grandfather is such a sweetheart and I felt so bad for him. He is battling to remember simple things and to finish hi memoir before he dies. I just wanted to cry when Faith and Royal find him out in the middle of the night!!

Overall this is an excellent book with good characters. Nice story where you don't have to trouble yourself about a mystery or anything. Nice change of pace from my normal reads:)



In Where Wildflowers Bloom, Book 1 in author Ann Shorey’s brand new Sisters at Heart series, Faith Lindberg wants nothing more than to escape her small Missouri town, and the graveyard of painful memories left by the Civil War. She plans to sell her grandfather’s mercantile, and join a wagon train bound for Oregon. But her grandfather, and a handsome stable man have other plans!

To celebrate the story, author Ann Shorey and Revell Books are proud to announce the MERCANTILE MEMORIES giveaway, featuring three incredible prizes.


Our Grand Prize winner will receive an heirloom chess set, handmade from 1830s chestnut & cherry wood, just like the one Judge Lindberg and Curt use in their chess battles.


Our Second Prize winner will receive a deluxe, Missouri-shaped box of mercantile goods from the Missouri Mercantile company. The box features an assortment of items just like those stocked by Faith in Lindberg’s Mercantile.


Our Third Prize winner will receive a Memoirs Gift Set. Write your memoirs just like Judge Lindberg does in the story! The set includes the bestselling Writing the Memoir book, and a $30 gift card to Blurb, to create and print your story.

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Available January 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kids Locker Shop

Do you have children? If you do, probably one of the biggest issues children have is keeping their things private and separate from their siblings. I remember when I was little I had such a problem with that. I was so worried my siblings would see my journal or my private papers. So, one of the best ways to keep privacy is kids lockers.

Childrens lockers are a really nice way to keep things separated. They feel special because they have a lock on it and they know the way to get in. You know, the old secret stuff:) And believe me, times have definitely changed. Lockers today are a lot different than they were back then!! I couldn't believe what I found when I went browsing!

Whether you want wacky lockers for kids, sophisticated, girly, etc, they have them all! You can get them for the classroom, storage, or even for the cubbie. And you can use them for toys, papers, games, or clothing. I personally like the rolling ones they have for the clothing. They also have ones with the sliding doors. It is amazing what you can find:)

So, trying to find a new way to organize things? Or your children getting irritated about siblings seeing their papers? Check out lockers!

I have not purchased from this site. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Safe Driving Tips for Winter Time

Hi everyone! Social Moms is back again!! I personally love their writing opportunities and if you aren't already a member, you should join up. Check out the link at the bottom where you can become a member. Anyways, today they have teamed up with Esurance to give driving tips and help on insurance. I remember when I first started driving and how it felt. On the interstate, back country roads, etc, nothing compared to driving in snow. Slick roads with ice on them and snow coming down do not make for the best driving results. This is one of the worst times for accidents, so pay special attention! Below I have included some tips on how to drive safely during the winter time.

1.Get Some Experience.
Okay, this sounds like a no-brainer, but I am amazed at how many people throw their children out in the snow without getting the experience of driving in the cold. When you have your first light snow, get some time out driving in it. Driving in snow is quite different and braking times are a lot slower. This is better to get used to slowly.

2.Ask Others for Advice.
If you know someone who has driven in snow a lot, ask them to drive with you to get some hints. They will know certain things you may not know without having driven in it. I learned about having to break earlier and it was something I never would have known if someone hadn't told me.

3.Slow Down in Your Speed.
They say you should slow down by 50 percent in winter conditions. I am a normally slow driver anyways but this is something I adhere to especially in snow and ice. Slower driving makes for less accidents. But at the same time, a really slow driver can be a hazard. You don't want someone coming up on you and not being able to see because of the snow. Use common sense and drive right. I am so tired of seeing drivers fly by in the snow.

4.Keep Good Control of the Vehicle.
This is something you do period, but especially true in the winter time. Vehicles skid very easily on ice and it is sooo easy to hit the brakes. Don't!! This just makes it worse and you tend to spin. Very gently follow the direction of the skid and curve into it. Keep a light touch on the wheel for the instant you do hit a patch of ice.

5. Keep the Vehicle in Good Condition.
If you live up north you know about this, but many don't know about it. Make sure your tires have a good amount of air in them and that you have a kit in the car for emergencies. Nothing worse than getting stuck on the side of the road and not having a spare or the kit to help you change the tire. Keep things in good working order and emergency kit in the vehicle.

So, these are some of the tips I have for safe winter driving. If you have any others, leave them in a comment below! And, if you have any questions about Esurance, check them out below! Like them on Facebook!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Esurance blogging program for 8,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

What Are the Mistakes You See in Beginner Writers?

What are the mistakes you see in beginner writers?

By Stephanie Abbott

Unwillingness to revise. For whatever reason, many writers don’t like to self-edit, especially if they intend to use a professional editor. But ruthless self-editing is essential to improving your craft. Question the relevance of every sentence. Never use a word unless you know its precise meaning. Ferret out those times when you repeat yourself. Your editor’s job is to help you determine if your story works, if your characters are worthwhile, if the book succeeds. Not to rewrite every awkward sentence.
Trying to stretch a novella or novelette into a full-length book. Let the engine of your story, the message you mean to deliver, determine the length. Back in the bad old days, you had to hit a certain word count to be worth the cost of publication – in fact, old-school writers still crow about that. (“My editor would laugh in my face if I presented him with a 60K word “novel.”) Well, times have changed. There is a market for shorter fiction, and no reader wants to wade through padding.
A perfect lead character. Not long ago I wrote a blog post called “Why Batman is Better than Superman (And Always Will Be.) The gist: Superman is perfect. He doesn’t make errors, he always means well, he’s kind to his mom and stands for truth, justice and the American way. Batman has issues. Batman can’t maintain a normal relationship and he spends every night beating the stuffing out of nameless malcontents. He’s covered with scars and will no doubt cripple himself by the end, but the intensity of his compulsion spurs him on. So, Batman or Superman – which character is more interesting?
Underestimating your audience. This ties in to #3. Usually when I gently tell a writer their protagonist is dull (perfect) the writer replies, “I know. But if I give Mary Sue any real flaws, the readers won’t understand.” Trust me, they will. Fiction junkies are not Victorian grandmothers; they won’t get the vapors if your protagonist has anger issues, feels unappreciated at the office or takes daily medication for a chronic disease. At least, the vast majority won’t. There will always be some blue-haired, tight-lipped prude who’ll take you to task if your fiction includes sex, violence, adultery, etc. But you can’t spend your whole career writing about Barbie and Ken to avoid scandalizing a few oddballs.
Assuming all criticism is equally valid. This cuts both ways. If you have a supportive mom who loves everything you do, her boundless adoration of your manuscript doesn’t count. If you have a frustrated writer friend who “just isn’t ready” to query an agent or self-publish, yet tears apart your writing line by line, her critique may say more about her than you. Finding a good, honest critique partner is very much buyer beware. This should be someone who has no vested interest in building up your ego OR tearing it down. Such a critique partner is hard to find, but worth their weight in gold.
About the author - Stephanie Abbott is the face behind the popular pseudonym, S.A. Reid. Well-known for her “real and likeable characters”, she also writes paranormal fiction (a new series titled Past Lives is currently being penned), fantasy, and sci-fi. Additionally, she also pens cozy mysteries as Emma Jameson.

A Wonderful Online Planning Website!!

I have to tell you, one thing that I cannot live without in my day is organization. With a big family, and even with a small one, you just can't make it without this one thing. And I have recently run across one of the best online planning sites I have ever found!! GoalForIt is a family planning website. And am I telling you, you won't want to live a day without it:) Whether it is a chore chart, a list for a trip, daily goals, etc, they have it all!

Whether you have a large family or just need the extra rules to make sure you get things done, this site is one I will be using every week. It is all free and you can make as many lists, chore charts and plans as you need. Basically you start a profile using your email, a username and a password. You never put in a credit card or anything like that. I know how many sites tell you they are free but then to get an updated version or a special service you have to pay for it. Not with GoalForIt! This is absolutely free, all of it!

Once you make a profile you can start out right away making a list or a chore chart. You get to choose which subjects you want, such as daily chores, health, etc. I put several ones on my chore chart. This has a spot for you to give points and specify what days you would like these to be done. Now, the main reason I like this site is that you can print these off!! Once you make it, you can print it and hang it on the fridge or chore wall.

This is an excellent site with a ton of good points for families. But again, this is not just for a family. If you are single, you can use thise for simple things like what time to get up, making sure you drink enough water, read your Bible in the morning, etc. Love this site!!

I was given the opportunity to try out GoalForIt through MomSelect. I was compensated for this post but all thoughts are 100% mine.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Organized Grime Book Review

I have long been a fan of mystery books. I especially enjoy the ones where you don't know who that bad guy is before the ending. I mean, what is the fun of reading a suspense novel if you figure out who did it by the middle of the book? So, I am always on the lookout for authors who write good mystery books. And let me tell you, I found just such an author in Christy Barritt. And today I have a review of her new book, Organized Grime.

Gabby St. Claire knows how to clean up scum. She can get blood out of carpet, pick shattered bones from plaster, and clean up other less-than-enticing fluids from nearly any surface. St. Claire also knows how to clean up another kind of scum -- the scum of the earth. — Crime scene cleaner and wannabe forensic investigator Gabby St. Claire knows her best friend, Sierra, isn’t guilty of killing three people in what appears to be an ecoterrorist attack. But Sierra has disappeared, her only contact a frantic phone call. Crime scene evidence Gabby discovers while cleaning tie seemingly random murders together -- and point to Sierra as the guilty party. Just what has her animal-loving friend gotten herself into?

If that’s not disturbing enough, who’s the person following Gabby? A federal agent who hopes Gabby will lead him to Sierra? Or someone with more sinister plans? To find Sierra and prove her innocence, Gabby will have to rely on all of her training and abilities, plus the help of a man she loves and the protection of a God she’s only recently begun to believe in.

Now, if that doesn't sound interesting I don't know what does? Not ever day you get the chance to join a crime scene cleaner doing her daily job? But in this book, not only do you get to join Gabby doing her wonderful grisly job, but you also get to come along as she solves a crime, save her best friend, and best of all, fall in love! And let me tell you, this book is adventure the whole way through:)

This book is the third book in the Squeaky Clean Series. So if you have not read the others, you just might want to pick them up first. You can read this one as a stand-alone novel, but you will definitely be better off having read the others before-hand. There are some things you will not understand if you only read this book. Her array of friends, family troubles, and the three men in her life will be much easier to keep straight.

I really liked the mystery in this book better than the others. I did not figure out who did it before the ending of the story. Of course, Gabby has her job of cleaning up crime scenes and at times this can be a bit grisly. But the main part of this mystery is dealing with enviromental crimes that everyone thinks her best friend, Sierra, did. Such as blowing up a building etc. Gabby never turns her back on Sierra but has a hard time when she can't even find her. There are several stalkers in this book:) Ohhh the mystery!!

One thing Gabby is dealing with in this book is her recent salvation. I like how Christy writes about this. Gabby doesn't get saved and all her problems disappear. Gabby still has daily trouble with bitterness, guilt and forgiveness. Her father has gotten away from the bottle and seems to be on the right path for good. But Gabby can't forget the way he treated her all her life. And she can't get away from the guilt of not watching her brother better the day he was kidnapped. I don't want to reveal too much for those who haven't read the book yet but there was wonderful closure to this aspect of the book.

The other aspect of this book was her relationships. Not only with her father but with Riley, Chad and Parker. If you have not read the other books, you will not know who these men all are, but they all at one time had a dating relationship with Gabby. This is very confusing and detailed in the explanation so I am not going to say much. And let me tell you, it gets on the edge trying to figure out who she will end up with. But Christy came through and Gabby marries the guy I thought she should:)

So, overall a very good book. I noticed a couple typos that did not really detract from the reading at all. A suspenseful mystery and a great ending to this series. Can't wait to read Christy Barritt's next book! And readers, if you haven't bought a copy of this book yet, you can enter my giveaway for Organized Grime, or purchase a copy off Amazon at this link-Organized Grime.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation.
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