Giving is a Gift-Write a Review!

Giving is so easy to do but also so easy not to do. Remember that when you give a review, you may be making someone’s day and giving them hope. There are so many ways to give if we just take the time!

I recently went to California and found a coffee shop/juice joint that I loved and went to three times in the course of a weekend! I went wild and gave them reviews and raves on Yelp, Trip Advisor, Instagram and Facebook. The owner and worker bees were thrilled and so grateful. In particular I loved the Coconut Activated Charcoal latte, which I have pictured here. So, if you find yourself in Newport Beach, go to Juice Mi!

Small shops and restaurants are great places to start reviewing to help give them a boost. Pick your favorite platform and give your favorite spot a shout out!

At the end of the year, charities are often in desperate need of donations, particularly financially. Why not research and donate to three charities this month! You can also drop off clothing, canned foods, etc. or spend some time volunteering. In November, I donated to The Gathering Place, Warren Village and Nica Nadadores. [Read more…]

Lighter Living: Declutter. Organize. Simplify.

Lighter LivingMy latest book is now available in paperback or Kindle on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You may also buy on IndieBound.

You may find professional reviews on BlueInk Reviews as well as Foreword Reviews.

Clearing clutter is much more than cleaning out a closet crammed with things or getting rid of the contents of boxes piled in your basement, attic, or storage unit. Most of us have unfinished business that might make us feel like we walk around dragging a heavy ball with a chain connected to our ankle. When you declutter and possibly downsize, you can free yourself of weighty matters that tie you down physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

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Tiny House Living

In an effort to bring awareness to benefits of living in smaller spaces, I interviewed Molly King about her recent move to a tiny house.
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1. What event or situation prompted you to think about living in a tiny home?
 
I recently realized that my love of tiny homes and cozy spaces, in general, can be traced back to my love of the Boxcar Children books. I always loved the concept of running away and living in a “found space” away from the normal lives of other people. I grew up building forts in the woods, and seeking out small nooks and corners to curl up in. 
 
Fast forward to 2016, when I seriously started researching Tiny Living—whether it was in a tinyhome, RV, or van. I learned as much as I could over the course of 8 months, and ended up realizing I didn’t want a mobile living structure—mostly because I still wanted to be in cold environments, and winterizing exterior pipes and dealing with the waste water / electrical seemed like a hassle. 
 
I ended up tabling the idea and living in a house in Breckenridge, CO for a year and a half. But the idea of tiny living was always still percolating. 
 
Come the fall of 2018, I began a dance partnership that resulted in me wanting to move to Salt Lake City, UT. And of course, when thinking about moving there, all I could picture was living in a tiny home. Within 3 months, I’d stumbled upon a tiny home space to rent. And, as of February 1, I’ve been living in my dream home! 🙂 

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In Search of the Superfluous

I love the word superfluous. It is an adjective and according to dictionary.com, it means being more than is sufficient or required; excessive. It also means unnecessary or needless. But wait, there is more! Obsolete, possessing or spending more than enough or necessary; extravagant.

When I grabbed onto this word, I began to use it in many ways. I walked around my home opening every cabinet, cupboard, drawer, closet and box. I evaluated the contents of every nook and cranny in my house in search of the superfluous. It was everywhere. How many office supplies do I need? How many duplicate kitchen items do I have? How many spare linens and towels do I require? [Read more…]

Lessons to Learn from a Tragedy

In the Summit Daily News on December 29, 2018, I read the story entitled, Family remembers Arvada man who died following cardiac event at Keystone. The picture shows a smiling man on the ski slopes, Daniel Mares, age 52. He was three years younger than I am, which caught me eye. His first cardiac event killed him without warning on December 22, 2018.

The article provided Daniel’s background and a glimpse of his personality and passions.  It stated that he was “characterized largely by his effortless intellectualism, a carefree and joyful disposition, and the love he shared with his children.” He had two kids age 23 and 21, who are now struggling to deal with his loss on many levels.

I enjoyed reading about Mare’s life until I got to the point where it was revealed that he had not done any planning for the inevitable, his ultimate death. I then felt heartsick for his kids, who are just a bit younger than mine. The article quoted his daughter, “This was his first cardiac event, so I don’t think even he was prepared for it. There’s no will, no life insurance and no financial records…so we have nothing, and were the only people our dad had.” [Read more…]

Favorite books of 2018

This year I read or listened to an average of a book a week. So I had over 50 books to choose from as my favorites for 2018. The following recommendations are the cream of the crop from my perspective.

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment by Martin E.P. Seligman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was filled with tests. I found it valuable to think about my level of happiness and signature strengths. I thought about what virtues I have and which ones I might want to place more focus upon in the future. I wish I had read the chapter on raising children when my kids were little. I understand more about how I can achieve more lasting happiness. And what I like most about the book is its hopeful and optimistic nature. It was very inspiring and I have recommended it many people.

 
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Outstanding! I have been recommending this book right and left to young and older people alike. I found the power posture concept invaluable. The imposter syndrome rang true for me at times in my life. The book is filled with gems and I know I will read it again and soak in even more of its valuable content.

 

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Being a Daughter of the “Greatest Generation”

Tom Brokaw wrote the book The Greatest Generation in 1998. These men and women grew up in the US and experienced the Great Depression. During and after World War II, this generation stepped up to do amazing things. In the book, Brokaw wrote, “it is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced”. He argued that these men and women fought not for fame and recognition, but because it was the “right thing to do”.

My dad, Robert Shultz, fought in World War II, serving in the navy on the USS Missouri battleship. When he returned from the war, he utilized the GI bill to get a university education. He then went on to become a successful businessman. Men returning from the war threw themselves into rebuilding their lives and the economy with a zest of working hard.

Baby Boomers like myself were born roughly between 1946-1966 following the war. (I was born in 1963.) The “Greatest Generation” bar was set high for us boomer kids. In some respects, that was a good thing. I learned to value hard work, education and strong morals. Sons born to this generation may have been more affected by the high bar of standards than daughters. What if the sons could not achieve the level of success of their fathers under ordinary circumstances? Is it possible that dads might look down upon their sons or boys might find it difficult to match or surpass their father’s bar of success? [Read more…]

Meaningful End-of-Life Books

I never thought I would enjoy reading books about death. I participate in a virtual book group entitled A Year of Reading Dangerously-Exploring Death and The Afterlife Through Books (we do not meet in person). Each month we read a book that has something to do with dying, death, the afterlife, grief and other related aspects of the end-of-life. At the end of the month, the moderator interviews the author and listeners have a chance to ask questions. Recordings of the interview remain accessible to those who missed the call. There is also a Facebook group associated with the book club. [Read more…]

Tips for Writing Book Reviews

It is a gift to authors when you write positive, honest book reviews. A bad review stings as well. Be thoughtful in what you say in your review. If you only slam the book, that does not help the author improve. If there is one thing you can praise even if you did not like the book, be sure to mention it.

In writing a positive review, here are some tips:

Think about and then write some stand out points you gleaned from the book. What section was most valuable to you and why? Did you become inspired to take some type of action as a result of what you read? Did the book provoke emotion in you? Why might someone else enjoy or benefit from the book? Be specific; vague statements of praise are rarely helpful to discerning, prospective readers.

Make sure you review more than one author or Amazon will think you are biased. I know two people who were banned for life from writing future reviews on Amazon because they had not written reviews for more than one particular person. Share the love!

Most reviews can be kept to 2-5 sentences, which does not take much time. You can write a much longer review, but it may not be necessary and be considered a rant. [Read more…]

Favorite Books of 2017

On Goodreads, I read and reviewed 52 books in 2017. Many friends have asked if I would share my favorites of the year. This is a challenging task, but I will attempt to narrow it down to my 2017 best reads for you. To see all my reviews, be sure and see my Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge and connect with me there for ongoing reviews.

Favorites in Fiction:

A Gentleman in Moscow

What a treasure! I was enchanted from the beginning and fully engaged all the way through. The reader on Audible is delightful and brought the character to life. It made driving a pleasure even in heavy traffic to hear the voice of the narrator and the story unfold. [Read more…]