This Tuesday, Treasure Seekers, I am shining a Spotlight on Book Reviews. As an Author, it is something that is a good practice to get into, reviewing books. It helps your peers, to get reviews on their work. It helps your followers to decide what book they might or might not want to read next, in their free time. It does take time away from writing, to read other books and review them, so I am not going to be writing them constantly. Once I get enough purchases registered on Amazon.ca, and I switch my profile on Goodreads to reflect my pen name as the Author I am, then I will be reviewing more books there. This is my first book review since I have become an Author. I am still writing my first book, with plans for 5 more. I hope that I will be so lucky as to have people enjoy my books enough to write some kind words about them someday.
I am going to review two books today. They are both completely different, with a common…noodle of thought. The title of the first book will explain that comment a little better.
Sarah Tyley started writing her debut novel, Spaghetti Head in 2006. I understand what she describes when she says that she started writing it, and then she stopped. I have started writing my own first novel, and it is in progress. I am working hard to find the time to work on my own book. Classified on amazon.co.uk as a Contemporary Fiction novel, Spaghetti Head is currently for sale as an ebook for Kindle. When I looked into the future publication plans that Sarah has shared on her social media, she will be launching the paperback version in June.
With a name like Spaghetti Head, I didn’t quite know what to expect. This novel has many twists and turns, much like a bowl of spaghetti. Add in a few solid meatballs, like Granma, Sally and Ty to support the main character Nell; and you have some great personalities to write a story about. The complications arise when Nell Greene, the main character, is presented with a major life choice. In the world that Sarah has created, there are population issues, and Nell is nominated for an Award. It is not your typical award for journalism, her chosen career, but rather to receive it she must become a Mother. This comes with its own form of spicy complications. The sauce of the story lies in the inner voice that Nell has been listening to for years. This voice has its own personality, and name. You will have to read the book to learn more about that.
You can’t have a good bowl of spaghetti without sprinkling on a bit of cheese. Enter Alice and Shilly, the robotic companions of Nell and Ty, respectively. They provide distraction, advice and laughter throughout the novel. Just a hint of something extra, to enhance the flavour of the book.
Being a fan of randomness myself, and fighting with my own internal gremlins, I do understand how the title suits the book since I have finished reading it. One of the things that Nell decides to do to help her make her decision to accept the award or not is to go to therapy. Here is the noodle I referred to earlier. There are techniques used in this book and the second book to be reviewed here that are to help move the characters in this book, and the readers in the second book, beyond what is holding them back. As I am writing this to encourage people to read the books, I am not going to give away the secrets, but I did find it interesting to read two completely different books, and find tools being used both in the world of Nell in Spaghetti Head, that I found also while reading …
The Path to Courage by Debbie Burns. If you are a regular here on my website, you may recognize this author’s name. If not, you might be more familiar with me writing about Facebook Groups. I happened to find Creative Central, a Facebook group that is founded by Debbie Burns. It is one of many projects that this amazing woman has on the go. Not only is this group free, but it has other writers like myself, finding their way to becoming authors, one word at a time. To be in a welcoming, positive safe group with my peers is absolutely priceless. Enough about who Debbie is, time to tell you what I thought of her book.
When Debbie announced that she was having an online launch party for this book, I had to make sure I made it to at least a part of it. I happened to be home that day, so I was there for the start. I downloaded my copy, and read the book, cover to cover, the same day it was launched.
The common noodle is in this book also. There are things people can do to help themselves, and both books reinforce this, in completely different ways. In Spaghetti Head, Nell uses the tools in the book to help her solve her own issues. In The Path to Courage outlines some of the same tools, but in a practical guide for the reader.
Reading The Path to Courage was like having a conversation with Debbie, where she imparts her own wisdom of how to find courage inside of the reader. It is full of joy and personal stories. She describes what happened in her life that brought her to need to write this book, and how she has overcome all of the things in her life that tried to stop her in her remarkable journey. She calls herself the Head Unicorn, she has fabulous pink hair to help support that claim. She writes about glitter and fireflies and how to change the way you think with simple tools, that like I have written before, you will have to read the book to discover.
Spaghetti Head was a wonderful story thought up by Sarah Tyley, and I am a fan. She is currently writing her second book and I will be waiting to read what she has to tell in her next story.
The Path to Courage is an insightful book that helps the reader find their own way. Full of spunk and anecdotes, it is a book that I will likely read more than once, as there are exercises inside that I want to test to help me find my own Path to Courage.
There you have it. A spotlight on book reviews makes its first appearance in Treasure Seeker Tuesday. It is a topic that I see growing into this category and will help me to find other Treasures to seek and share with you here, on the Blog. I hope that you check these books out, and if you do, please let me know what you thought of them. Myself, I enjoyed them both, each for their own unique style and story.
This week in Trust Your Gut I am going to write about defeating inner gremlins. What are inner gremlins, you might be wondering? Inner gremlins are those little voices that whisper negative things to you, kind of like the devil on your shoulder if you prefer that description. I have been doing a lot of work on myself, and this past winter I have been having a hard time. I have difficulty being active in the winter, and I also lack gumption. It could be Seasonal Depression, but it has never been officially diagnosed as such. It does seem to be related to the winter months, and I have noticed a change in this over the last few weeks. I am perking up with the sunshine. Or it could just be an elaborate excuse told by the inner gremlin.
In my journey to become a healthier version of myself, I can honestly say that it has been a lacklustre event since the fall. I have had spurts, but not a long-term plan of action. I think the plans up and talk myself out of them. Or rather my inner gremlin talks me out of them. I want to do things that make me feel better, but I just let lazy Tish win. She is a real pain in the ass. She doesn’t want to put an effort into anything that isn’t absolutely necessary, and she is a real downer. She listens to the inner gremlin and believes what it says. It makes her tired and cranky. Negativity will do that to the best of us. I know in my heart what I need to do, and I just don’t do it. I am perfectly capable of doing anything I want to. I just don’t believe it. Because the inner gremlin tells me otherwise.
Something I am preparing for in my journey as an author is an official author profile picture. I don’t let on that it bothers me. I am in pics all the time. I am morbidly obese. This is something I deal with internally. I don’t want my pictures to show the worst version of me, I want them to show the best version of me. I will take the time to do my hair and makeup, and wear the dress I picked out. I will make myself look nice. That is the plan. But the inner gremlins have been working against me for a while now.
When I moved away from home to go to university, I lived in a dorm for a few years. When I moved off campus, I started a ritual in my bathroom in the mornings. I turn on the water for the shower, and while it is heating I take off my glasses and take a close up look at my face in the mirror. I have been doing this for years. At first, I was just checking to see what I looked like that day and if there was sleep in my eyes or drool on my face from sleeping. Then I started looking and hearing the gremlin whispering, “How do I look today?” Not such a negative thought. It seemed harmless, so I never thought anything else about it.
Until the other morning.
I was taking my morning look, and I heard the gremlin whisper, “How bad do I look today?” I realized the whisper had changed, it was negative and hurtful. It was nasty. I thought to myself, wait a minute. How long has this been what I think when I am looking at myself in the morning? I honestly didn’t know.
This was the first time I had paid attention. I heard it, I recognized it, and I decided that I had to make a change in that thought process right away! I also decided that it was important enough to write about it here, to share this and try to help other people like me.
If your inner dialogue, aka your inner gremlins, are so smart that they fool you into thinking they are harmless, you are just like me. I didn’t even know that they were waging war on my self-esteem on a daily basis. But they were. And they WERE winning.
That is until they whispered loud enough that I actually heard the message. If you ignore them, or you don’t hear them, they can still do damage. They are there, whispering all the negative thoughts, sometimes too quietly to hear. Other times they do what mine did, and the change is subtle, so subtle that they can be missed. If you overlook them, that is where the danger lies, because you are not defending yourself, and you are not taking them seriously. They are nasty little buggers, and they need to be defeated. In this case, ignorance is bliss for the inner gremlins.
After I had that realization, I made a decision. It is going to take me a while to be able to say that I have conquered the inner gremlins, but I have a plan. I am going to say something positive to myself every morning as I look in the mirror. It will take me a long time of doing this to make it feel genuine, that it is real. I have to start somewhere. I hope that it will help me with my goals of becoming a healthier version of myself. I need to not just say that I am worth it, I have to believe it. This is the first step in a new direction on that path.
In Trust Your Gut this week, I’m writing because Something Has Changed! The Shrinker is working! The Shrinker must be working! I am not talking about the scale and the pounds here. I am talking about my metabolism. I feel real hunger again. It can mean different things. My activity level has not increased dramatically. I have started drinking the Shrinker to boost my metabolism. I am choosing to believe that it is what is happening. The only other option is that I am not eating enough. I can’t say I am totally convinced one way or the other on this. I do eat 3 meals a day. I have snacks. I don’t think that is the answer. Which leaves the possibility of the combination of foods I am eating as wrong. I am open to that also.
*Note* My apologies for being so late with this blog post this week. I was having a hard time collecting my thoughts, but I figured it out!
I’ve been eating fewer carbs and more protein. I cannot eliminate carbs completely. I start losing control of my hunger and my sugars when I do that. That is something that makes THM different from protein-based diets like Atkins. I need the balance. I learned today that Keto may be similar to THM. I might look further into that.
I plan some prep cooking on Sunday. It is the best way for me to stay on the plan. It is hard work to live a healthier lifestyle, and that is why it is hard to keep myself motivated. All I can do is my best when I feel up to it, and the rest will fall into place.
Now I am asking myself, what step should be next in my journey? THM experts say to start with one thing, and when you master that one thing, build upon it. I am having such success with the Shrinker, it is time I got serious about my beverages. I am not giving up wine. I am having WAY too much fun learning about different wines, and searching for “the one.” I drink my coffee black, and I also have a lot of fun reviewing the coffees that I try. I am going to go back to the THM basics for this one. I am talking about Good Girl Moonshine, aka GGMS.
With the Shrinker, the oolong tea, cinnamon and cayenne pepper are working together to increase my metabolism. Since I seem to be hungrier more frequently, I can assume that the fuel I am putting into my body is being burned up more quickly. That is what I am hoping is happening. The GGMS has a different recipe, and therefore a different method to how it works.
GGMS in its basic recipe, is water ginger, apple cider vinegar, and optional sweetener of choice. I use Swerve. It is Erythritol, and it does not leave an aftertaste in your mouth. It does leave a cooling sensation, which is different, but not unpleasant. I notice it more when I bake with it, rather than when I put it into my beverages.
People use a variety of different additions to the basic GGMS recipe, to make it their own. My own personal favourite is the Black Cherry Berry Celestial Seasonings tea. I add 4 tea bags to every batch, which is about 1 tea bag for every 500ML of GGMS. That was all I needed to make this beverage tasty.
Apple cider vinegar can have an effect on your teeth. It can weaken your enamel. I have talked to my dentist about it, and as long as I am using a straw, which THM recommends as well as a glass drinking container. It is also important to have water after, to make sure your mouth is rinsed out. You can brush your teeth after rinsing with water if you are really concerned about the enamel on your teeth. I don’t always brush, but I do rinse with water (which most of us do not drink enough of anyway) and because it is supposed to be helpful to losing weight, I don’t spit it out, I drink the water. I am just adding to the benefits this way.
You can find the Shrinker and the GGMS recipes on the Trim Healthy Mama Website, under the Recipes page. Check it out! I can honestly say that I know I feel better, and I start the scale going in the right direction when I am following the plan. If you are more curious, I recommend their books as well. They have several out now, and that includes recipe books. One thing I have yet to try in my healthier lifestyle is to make a recipe that includes okra. That is something I plan to figure out when I get a chance. Trying new foods is an adventure, and I love spaghetti squash, so I’m up for trying new foods on occasion. Sometimes I am surprised, and I like them. Do you eat okra? Do you have any tips for me? Leave a comment below, and it may help me get over the nerves of trying a new food.
In Treasure Seeker Tuesday this week, it is time to tell a story. Once upon a time, more than a few years ago, I was chasing another dream. A local craft store had decided to close. I talked to the owners, I made a business plan, I presented it to a committee, and it was rejected. It was rather deflating. The dreams were dashed, and I put it away. It is hard to put yourself out there for a dream to have it crushed. Really hard.
Inexperience was probably the biggest factor in the rejection. I did not know how to make a business plan. I didn’t have any money of my own to use as an investment. From that rejection, I then tried to create my own jewellery business, which I have yet to officially launch here, on the website. It used to be known as Tish’s Treasures, which was launched years ago at the local Farmer’s Market. I gave it a good try, for 2 years, but there were restrictions. There I was, a brand new entrepreneur, chasing my dreams of turning my hobby into a sustainable source of income; stuck following someone else’s rules. I was allowed to sell beaded ornaments and suncatchers, but not my jewellery. That venture was doomed before it even started.
Tish’s Treasures turned back into a hobby, one that made appearances with me as a vendor in different craft shows. I did sell a piece or two, here and there, but it never really took off. It wasn’t until this past January, when I pulled my product out of a local store, that I realized that the old business, under the old name, was holding me back.
I haven’t launched any of my product here yet, officially. I have shared my new business name, Tish MacWebber, Always Blinging… I have yet to take pictures to post products for sale on this website. I have dreams and plans, but they are larger than life. My imagination knows no boundaries.
Writing books and being a jewellery designer is something that works in my mind. I don’t know if I am going to be able to make it work in the real world. As I started writing this, I realized what is holding me back. I’m terrified of failure. Literally terrified.
I have followed my dreams before. Not with as much conviction as I have had this time, but I have tried before. I do not like being told no, and I certainly do not like to be proven to be wrong. I can admit when I am wrong and apologize. But how do you apologize to your toughest critic, yourself?
I have grown a lot since I wrote my first business plan. One of my peers is encouraging me to use her template to write my own business plan. I have been avoiding it like the plague. You guessed right, I am scared to try.
Which sounds ridiculous when you think about it. I have spent very little money on my adventure this far, and I am not ready to give up. Not by a longshot. Despite this very thing, I am avoiding writing my books right now. I am scared of not being able to finish them. Yeah, I know, stopping is the fastest way to never finishing them. I have bailed on a lot of projects in my life. This dream is not going to be one of them.
You might think I have things all together on this side of the computer. Nope. I am not an organized planner at all, even though I have two 2018 agendas that match and are waiting to be used. I bought two sizes so that one could be portable if I needed it, and the other would be my main desk planner. One does help me to keep track of appointments and my husband’s work schedule. They are not being used to their full potential.
Neither am I. While I am Always Thinking… I am not always doing. Therein lies one of my problems. I am not taking action. I am keeping up with the Blog, but it has been a lacklustre effort of late, and I am changing that right now. I am writing something meaningful again, not just writing for the sake of the commitment to the schedule I set up for myself.
I am at a crossroads while I write this. I have two choices. I can say to heck with it and walk away. That would be the easy option. It would lead me back to a life of putting up and shutting up. Taking whatever comes at me, and losing myself in circumstances. Woe is me, the universe is out to get me, and I am helpless to do anything about it. That really is what my life was like before I started putting myself out there and trying to find my purpose and passion. There is the teeniest, tiniest spark left inside of me. That flame needs to be fanned, and nurtured, and fed to grow. It is the part of me that makes me shake my head when I am writing about giving up. It is the part of me that fuels my passion, and I have to let it flourish. To let this spark go out is to let the creative dreamer inside of me die of boredom, frustration, and hopelessness. That is not something I am willing to do, no matter how scared I am of putting my work and myself out into the world again. A failure is only a true failure if you let it beat you. If you pick yourself up and shake the negativity off, to try something different, change your perspective and attack it from a different angle, you win at life. I want to win at life. I need to follow my dreams. I haven’t felt this good about one of my blog posts in a while, so I am taking that as a good sign, and that I am on my way out of whatever was dragging me down.
I have to share one more experience here, with you. It was from before I even tried to open a craft store on my own, and failed. I was in need of legal advice. I met with a lawyer. I told him about my issues, and he advised that it was not the kind of thing that he could help me with. We had a conversation, and he listened to me talking about this crazy idea I had to open my own craft store. I had a floor plan and had talked to people about flooring and storage and the interior design. I wasn’t ready to present the business plan at that point, but it was clear to the lawyer that it was something that lit a fire inside of me, he could sense that I was passionate about this idea. I had other friends at the time see the same thing, and they were excited for me and with me as I gave it my best shot. It didn’t work out.
The lawyer did two things that day that I will never forget. The first one was that he didn’t charge me a dime. How often do you ever hear people say that about a meeting with a lawyer? Not too many. The second thing was a little more insightful. He encouraged me to keep working on my dreams. He told me that he wasn’t sure that this was the right path for me at that time, but he was certain that I was going to be successful at something, he just didn’t know what, or when. Here I am trying something new, and pushing myself harder than I ever have before.
I might just surprise myself and do just what I set out to do this time. Write my books and design jewellery together, because that is how I want it to be. My passion, my dreams, and my rules.
This story may appear in part or in whole in my second book. I am calling it The Art Of Surprising Yourself, which I announced earlier on my social media platforms this week. This is just an example of something that you might find in my second book. What do you think?
In this, the third Makeup Monday, I’ve got my eyes on the prize. I have been dabbling a little in make-up, and thinking about a new hairstyle. Oh, and now I have new glasses to work with. I am really liking them!
I tried to do my hair Saturday, and it did not cooperate. I want to try the beach hairstyle. If you google it, you will know what I mean. It was not meant to be. I might try one more time. But it didn’t happen this time. I made it work.
I am trying to learn a new eyeshadow and eye makeup technique. I have made a friend that sells Younique, and I have been watching her videos. I saw one that I want to share here so that you can see the look I am going for. Stacey gave me permission to link to her video here.
I am not using her makeup, but I wanted to try out the technique. After purging my makeup last year, I have 3 palettes with 4 colours in them. I have 2 eyes. I decided to wear the same palette on both eyes Saturday night, and today after work, I used the other two, one for each eye. As I am testing mascaras out, I used 3 different mascaras also.
Top: Maybelline Mocha Motion palette, L’Oreal Blackest Black Voluminous Butterfly Effectwaterproof mascara, with Marcelle Expresso Waterproof Eyeliner. Bottom: left Revlon Illuminance Wild Orchids Creme Shadow, Maybelline Lash Sensational Full Fan Effect Mascara, center worn on both eyes, essence Gel eye pencil waterproof gunmetal eyeliner, and on the right, Lancome Colour Design Sensational effects eyeshadow and essence Lash Princess False Lash effect mascara.
Saturday’s look was the full makeup, and the lipstick was actually applied after I grabbed the pics. Here is a collage of before and after.
I was happy with the look, although I don’t see the depth of colours after I blend the eyeshadows. It is the top makeup the picture above.
Today I just did the eyes. The left is the purples, and the right is the Sensational Effects Eyeshadow Palette.
2 Different eyes, 2 different looks.
What I learned is that I do not know how to make the ‘v’ or the ‘7’ properly yet. The essence mascara is sticky. The Loreal mascara from Saturday looks great, and although the brush is weird, it did an okay job.
I don’t know how to get the colours on properly, and the creme eyeshadows I applied with my fingers. Then I tried the blending brush, but I really don’t know if I was supposed to or if I should blend with my fingers, or not at all.
Makeup is fun. I will keep playing. I will do something different for next month.