Wednesday, December 30, 2015

So how did you do on your goals for 2015…

It feels like only yesterday I was writing out my goals for 2015.  There is just something about starting a new year that inspires us to make goals.  A new year beginning just seems like a great time to make positive changes.  The challenge is to actually stick with those goals.  Some years I do much better than others.

With 2016 only days away, I began cleaning off my desk and opened up a notebook with my list of 2015 goals:
1.    Read 100 books
2.    Blog post at east two times a week
3.    Publish two fiction books
4.    Organize and scan Mom’s photos
5.    Drink more water
6.    Make an inspiration board

It’s a pretty good list, ambitious but not extreme.  I can happily report that I made pretty good progress, some items were much more successful than others. 

1.    I didn’t quite make it to 100 books, so far I am at 82 books, and I do have a couple more days to read but I doubt I will get all the way to 100.  I am still very impressed that I made it all the way to 82 books. If you aren't on Goodreads yet, you really should be.  Their reading challenge is a fun way to keep track of your reading.  

2.    Regarding my blog I am amazed to say that I have published 94 blog posts this past year.  A few of those were guest posts, but I came very close to my goal of two blog posts a week – and I am incredibly proud of that. 

3.    I did not manage to publish two fiction book so I didn't  get nearly as far with this goal.  On the bright side, I did publish one short story, The Locket, in February.  I have one fiction story that I began during Nano of last year (2014) but I am still not happy with it, so I have not published that one yet.  I started a fun chick lit book, but I am not sure if that is really the genre for me, and I still have two young adult historical fiction stories that I have begun, but not finished.  I feel like I am close to a big writing breakthrough – so maybe 2016 will be my big year. 

4.    I spent a great deal of time going through my mom’s old photos, and I did manage to scan a large portion of them, but there are still several albums and boxes to go through.  It is a big task, but it is also fun.  I made good progress, but it's still a goal, and once I scan all the photos – I need to organize them and add info that I can (names and dates). I have enjoyed sharing some of the photos on social media.  

5.    I still have a challenge of drinking enough water, but this year I gave myself permission to drink flavored water without guilt.  Yes, I know plain water is better, but I am just not good at drinking water so I had to find something that worked for me.  I prefer drinking Propel, and I have made a conscious effort to keep my fridge stocked with plenty so I stay adequately hydrated.  I still need to work on increasing, but I am doing better.  Giving myself the gift of drinking Propel guilt-free was a big step.

6.    Despite my good intentions, I did not manage to make that inspiration board last year.  I still think it’s a really good idea, so I think I’ll just roll that into this years goal list.I like the idea of getting an old picture frame from Goodwill and using that.  

Overall I feel like I did fairly well, especially considering the fact that this year; my husband had surgery, my daughter got married and I broke my foot.  Somehow we all survived and I was even able to accomplish at least some of my goals. I wonder what 2016 will hold in store.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Shine On – a fun adventure for all of us Forty-to-Forever gals

Ever since I wandered into a bookstore several years ago and picked up a copy of The Wildwater Walking Club, I have enjoyed reading books by Claire Cook.  I liked that first book so much that I began to look for other books that Claire Cook wrote, and one by one I read them all. 

Claire Cook is the queen of reinvention, and her optimistic and slightly sarcastic humor is always a fun escape for me, so I am excited that she has released a new book, and I am even more excited that she asked me to read and review it. 

Shine On: How to grow Awesome Instead of Old  is the second non-fiction book by Claire Cook.  Reading this book feels more like a conversation with a good friend.  Full of tips and practical advice on dealing with midlife, this book also shares stories; some funny and some very personal. From make-up and diets to setting priorities and achieving your goals, Claire Cook is open and honest as she shares what she has learned and offers encouragement for her readers to ‘shine on’ too.  

As a big fan of Claire Cook, I always enjoy her stories full of women with spunk, who are ready to challenge whatever is the next step in their life, and it is clear after reading this book that Claire Cook is not just writing about reinvention - she is living it.  

I had so much fun visualizing Claire walking her tape balance beam down the hall. I giggled as she described Kayaking down the river, only to realize that she was in water only a few inches deep.  I love how Claire confronts challenges head on, and if she realizes that something isn't for her, she is able to simply move on.  At times while reading this book, I felt like we were so much alike, from a tendency to walk around barefoot, to the struggles of trying to appreciate yoga, and failing to enjoy the experience, it often feels like she is describing me and my life.  

Full of inspirational quotes as well as practical suggestions, this is a perfect book to begin a new year on the right foot. 

Download a copy and start your own ‘Shine On’ notebook, let's grow Awesome instead of Old together.  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

My Review of Suffragette

There are some movies that seem to stick with us, long after we watch them.  Suffragette is surely one of those movies.  As we in the United States are consumed with our current presidential election, including not one, but two female candidates, it is hard to even fathom that less than 100 years ago women did not have the right to vote in this country.  

This movie is a very personal look at the history of the women’s suffrage movement in England in the early 20th century through the story of a working wife and mother named Maud Watts, brilliantly portrayed by Carey Mulligan.  Maud reluctantly joins a group of woman who are fighting for equality and the right to vote.  The incredible Meryl Streep plays a small but pivotal role as Emmeline Pankhurst, a political activist who encourages the movement, and inspires Maud to keep fighting.  Maud is subject to humiliation, abuse and the loss of her child, but this only seems to make her more determined to fight on.  The cast was brilliant and I have no doubt that Suffragette will be included in the list of movies being discussed for awards. 

I found this movie gripping and emotional, and incredibly painful to watch.  It is hard to see the struggle that women went through in their fight for the vote, only to realize that so many women today don’t even bother to vote. 

I highly recommend Suffragette, a powerful look at our history. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Book Blitz; Temperance by Chrissie Parker

As my NaNo month continues, here is another fun new book to check out.

About the Book:

Gabriel is weary, hunting for a murderer.
Patience is adrift, her life a complete lie.
Nate is scared, hiding from his worst fears.
Juliet is frantic, her time is running out.

As four fragile lives collide, the truth is finally revealed.

And betrayal and death become inevitable.

Book Links:
GoodreadsAmazon KDP * Amazon Paperback * Barnes & Noble * KoboiTunes

Read an Excerpt: 

Lake Tranquil was vast.  So much so that Patience couldn’t see where it ended or began.  Despite its size, it was deserted.  She was the only human in sight and she loved the thought of being so alone, immersed in the beauty of nature.  An occasional bird flitted in and out of the trees, or swooped down to land at the water’s edge.  In the distance, a rabbit ran through the trees, its tail bobbed, flashing white as it ran for cover.
Trees lined craggy mountains that surrounded the lake.  They were thick, green and tall, and reached to the shoreline; only a small wavering line of pebble-covered beach sat between the shimmering waters and the forest.  

It was heavenly. 

It wasn’t the first time Patience had been to Lake Tranquil.  Once, as a child, she had visited it with her mother and enjoyed a week of blissful freedom away from the chaos of life.  Now here, fleeting memories flooded back.  Swimming in the lake as her mother sat on the deck and read.  Running through the trees playing hide and seek, and sitting on the shore as the sun set.  Watching the stars appear overhead as her mother cooked fish over a smoky fire.  It was a time in her life that stuck in her mind, when her mother had been truly happy and content. 

It was why Patience was here. 

For her mother.To try to be closer to her, to try to understand her.To try to find some peace.

About the Author:
Chrissie lives in Devon, UK, with her husband and is a freelance Production Coordinator working in the TV, documentary and film industry.
Chrissie is also an Author.  Her thriller Integrate was released in October 2013 and her historical fiction Among the Olive Groves was released in July 2014.
Other written work includes factual articles for the Bristolian newspaper and guest articles for the charities Epilepsy Awareness Squad and Epilepsy Literary Heritage Foundation.  Chrissie has also written a book of short stories and poems, one of which was performed at the 100 poems by 100 women event at the Bath International Literary Festival in 2013.

Chrissie is passionate about Ancient History, Archaeology and Travel, and has completed two six-month Archaeology and Egyptology courses with Exeter University.   She is learning to play the Ukulele and likes to read, collect books, listen to music. To find out more about Chrissie visit her WEBSITE

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