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When it comes to inspiration, sometimes we can get it from anywhere or anything.  I find myself staring out a window sometimes or finding inspiration from a smile from one of my sons or husband.  I also find inspiration from different books and when I least expect it – a light bulb can go off in my head and inspiration opens the doors to greatness, whatever it may be at that time.  Why all this talk about inspiration you ask?  Well, in the last few months I have literally been in a rut, looking for inspiration for my writing, for life, for planning and have found some of that inspiration from a book I’ve been reading.  Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Joy of Less is a compilation of 101 Stories about having more by simplifying our lives.  It’s a great read and I’m going to share a little about it with you today.

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A collaboration with Amy Newmark & Brooke Burke-Charvet, The Joy of Less is a book that includes a variety of stories (101 and to be exact) that help you to say “no” to the things that don’t matter and say “yes” to the things that do.  Let’s face it – after so many years on this earth, we evolve into people that just kind of go with the swing of things and every day life and sometimes we need a little guidance to pull us down to earth and remind us that we need to do for ourselves sometimes in order to be successful.  I’m still making my way through the book, but I just had to share my thoughts on it so far with all of you.  These types of books are the kind that usually have me picking it up and reading a story or two at a time when I need a little inspiration, or need to establish goals for myself.

“Go into the world and do well.  But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” – Minor Myers

Chicken Soup for the Soul has been a favorite from my childhood – offering myself and my siblings an array of inspirational stories over the years.  In fact, I still have a few of those books from my elementary school years on my current book shelf today.  But, while they all have a special place in my heart, I think this one really resonated with who I am.  It’s a book that really brings about stories on how other people simplified their life… whether it be because they learned to let go of the clutter that surrounded them (sell them, donate or just throw them out) or learn to remove the “people” clutter from their lives to really just focus on building themselves as a person.  This book includes stories that help you (or me, or anyone) learn how to really get rid of the things that weigh us down – no matter what it is and find things that will uplift us emotionally, physically and in general.

“Passion is energy.  Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

A few years ago, I remember cleaning out our storage unit and discarding my old yearbooks from when I was in school.  I had several from elementary school and middle school I decided I would part with.  Let me tell you, the job and task at hand was easier than I had thought it would be.  I didn’t give it a second thought and just threw them out, making room for other things or just leaving the space void.  I couldn’t understand why it was so simple for me to do.   Then after reading The Joy of Less, I stopped and thought about those moments in silence.  Hmmm… why was it so simple for me to move on past them and get rid of it.  Well, the answer now was staring me in my face… I realized that those items didn’t feed me or who I am currently and nothing in them would benefit me now or my future.  They were reminders of my childhood that I didn’t need… people who I don’t even remember now were in those, so why would I keep them around.  I realized then, that while memories are wonderful things – I could always keep what I wanted to remember and throw out what wasn’t needed.  It was a lot easier now that I realized why and cleaning has been fun and exciting since.

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If you are looking for a little inspiration or need to know that all your purging that you’re doing is a good thing – I definitely suggest you picking up The Joy of Less from your local bookstore.  There is everything in this book and stories on how some people learned how to “unplug from the world when they needed to”,  “sharing and donations” and learning how to “count your blessings”.  While this is a book I’ve been thumbing through and reading all about, I find that I also enjoy going back to re-read some of the stories I have already gone through.  Sometimes, it’s really nice to see that others are living and going through the same struggles you are and find out how they were able to get passed it.  Like I said – inspiration can be found EVERYWHERE and reading these stories reminded me that if these people who have shared their stories with us have gone through it and succeeded, well – then, I certainly can too.  It’s practical and definitely reminds you that you are not the only one going through this – there are others out there too.

Fans of the New York Times bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo will find CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: THE JOY OF LESS an inspiring read, and those looking to simplify their lives will find motivation and freedom by letting go of material possessions and focusing on what matters most in their lives.

ABOUT CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL

Chicken Soup for the Soul, the world’s favorite and most recognized storyteller, publishes the famous Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. With well over 100 million books sold to date in the U.S. and Canada alone, more than 250 titles, and translations into more than 40 languages, “chicken soup for the soul” is one of the world’s best-known phrases and is regularly referenced in pop culture. Today, 23 years after it first began sharing happiness, inspiration and hope through its books, this socially conscious company continues to publish a new title a month, but has also evolved beyond the bookstore with super premium pet food, television shows and movies, and a variety of other digital content and licensed products, all inspired by stories, as it continues “changing the world one story at a time®.”

With school starting up again for the littles, I think this book would make great gifts to teachers, parents who have some extra time in their life to declutter and anyone else looking for a little inspiration.  Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Joy of Less is sold at most book stores and online.  I definitely suggest checking it out.  It’s a book that will offer you so much inspiration over and over again and a great read.  You don’t have to worry about this collecting dust on a shelf because I’m positive you’ll make great use out of it.

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Disclaimer:  The product mentioned in this post was sent for review consideration.  All opinions are my own, 100% honest and unbiased, as with anything you see on this site.  Affiliate links are posted through out.

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Let’s face it, raising a child at any age can be a challenge – but the first few years of a child’s life are a learning curve.  As my children grow each and every day, I’m reminded of how different they are – all three of them have their own personalities.  My eldest, well – as a baby and a toddler, he was very easy going and after he was a month old, he pretty much slept through the night allowing me to get rest and still go to work full time while caring for him.  The twins… well, that’s a whole different story.  They were up at all hours of the day and night and at different times.  They nursed differently – though they did everything together and still do – they have consistently kept me on my toes, well – they still do that too.  But, one things for sure… as a parent, while all advice may not be specifically geared to be a “fix all” for each child, they are great stepping stones for you to develop a pattern and a solution to fit your needs.  Today I share with you a really cool and interesting read called The Natural Baby Sleep Solution by Polly Moore, Ph. D.  This book has been a great addition to my library and I’m going to share a few of my thoughts with you on it today.

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If you are a mother… then you know that we have all been there… a time when we are feeling a heavy dysfunction and disarray that plagues our daily thoughts.  The lack of sleep due to a crying or fussy baby or the stress of feeling like we have failed.  Mothers (fathers too) often experience these times within the first year of their child’s life or right around the age when your baby starts teething.  It’s natural but no matter how many times I tell you that we’ve all been there, it doesn’t make the situation any better.  The Natural Baby Sleep Solution literally is the answer to many parents’ prayers.  This book is written by a scientist whose mind is naturally geared towards scientific research and connection, but also by a mother who an relate to how we as mothers are feeling.  Polly Moore understands the ins and outs of being a parent and this book is a great approach at working a little bit of experience, science and research and love into an equation that parents have struggled with for years.

By utilizing the N.A.P.S. Plan in the book – Polly Moore explains that this simple plan will help in encouraging longer sleep periods.  It’s basically a mother’s natural instinct in science form.  The plan is relatively simple:  When your baby wakes up – keep a clock for 80 minutes and then start winding your baby down for a nap when it hits that time point.  By the 90 minute mark, get your child to bed.  Even if the naps are short, back to sleep at 90 minutes to establish not only a routine but a cycle.

When my twins were younger, they NEVER took a nap.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I wanted to keep them up – but because they just wouldn’t fall asleep.  Later in the day when they were beyond exhausted, they either fell asleep unable to keep their eyes open or they were so wired from the lack of a nap, they stayed up all night.  The Natural Baby Sleep Solution allows you to use a few tips in guiding your child into sleeping so that they know what it feels like to be tired and want a nap – therefore giving your child the skills needed to stay asleep longer at night.  The concept is genius and one I wish I had known about prior to having my children.  Should I have any more kids in the future, I’m glad that I was able to read this book and hope to incorporate the teachings in this book for later.

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By reading this book, I think it’s a great asset in teaching a parent to watch for the signs of when a child is ready to rest.  It’s not a sleep training type of book but instead gives you the tools to be able to better see the cues from your child to help with that type of situation.  It also helps in you guiding your child to be able to sleep easily – “goodnight” and close the door, etc.  Like with anything else you read that are “baby help” books, you must have an open mind and know that what might work for you and your child may not work for others and vice versa.  Again, each person is an individual – as are their children and books like these should be used as a guide and a tool – not a strong arm.

I enjoyed reading through The Natural Baby Sleep Solution by Polly Moore, Ph.D. and I am glad I was able to experience this book and the N.A.P.S. Plan.  I look forward to  including this book for other mothers at baby showers or baby gifts as I think it would make for a great read for anyone with a new born or little one.  I look forward to trying out some of this technique should I have any more children or nieces/nephews in the future.

Have you read or heard of this book before?  If so – what are your thoughts, if not – is this something you could utilize or incorporate into your mommy guide library?

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Disclaimer:  The product mentioned in this post was sent to me for review consideration.  All opinions are my own, 100% honest and unbiased – as with anything on this site.  I was not paid to provide my thoughts on this product or to feature it.  Affiliate links listed thorugh out.

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I’m not a closet reader… in fact, anyone that knows me, knows that I LOVE to read and it’s one of the things that helps keep my mommy brain sane for long periods of time.  I wish I had more time to cuddle up with a great book, but lately – life has taken over.  My mom used to tell me as a child… “hey, speed read through it – utilize the skills I have taught you so you can get through the book faster.”  But, I hated to speed read… I wanted to be able to get lost in a book, feel every emotion and live every situation.  Because of this reason, it has taken me months to finish reading this book I’m talking about today.  I’m ashamed to say it has taken me so long… but I literally had to read it while in the car waiting in the parking lot for my twins to finish with school each day; When it was quiet and I could hear every thing described, smell everything and feel like I was a part of the story.  I struggled to be able to put the book down the last several months even if it took me a long while to get to the end.  But, today I finally give you my thoughts on Town Red, by Jennifer Moss.

Town Red, Jennifer Moss, Town Red by Jennifer Moss, Book review, review, books, reading, kindle, kindle edition, book talk

Now, I’m just letting you know now that I am not the type of person to ruin a good story line or offer up all the info prior to the other person reading it, so you won’t really get much of that here if that is what you are looking at.  I do suggest you get the book – available via Kindle Edition and read it for yourself.  The story line goes quickly and you’ll easily enjoy reading it without needing any spoilers.

I am usually someone who loves to read about romance and you can find collections from Nicholas Sparks and Danielle Steel in my library at home quite frequently – so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reading Town Red.  I had hoped it would offer up a little bit of romance with a crime mystery entwined through out the story.  It was just that and so much more.  See, many do not know that I married into a family of law enforcement, so when it comes to crime novels or anything along those lines, I pay great attention to detail with regard to accuracy and protocol.  I was consistently amazed with what I was reading and how accurate each detail was with regard to story line and the law enforcement side of it all, even the lingo.  The detectives lives seemed realistic, like it was plucked straight from the precinct and every word was not only believable, but it allowed you to really get into the story and feel the emotion and life of each character.

After his partner is killed and girlfriend takes off, Chicago homicide detective Ryan Doherty has one last chance to save his career with the double murder of ad execs Scott and Carly Redding. Ryan quickly learns that life wasn’t so lush at the Reddings’ agency, Town Red Media, where the list of ex-employees runs fifteen pages long. At the top of this list is Catharine Lulling, a former Vice President at Town Red.

He becomes obsessed with Catharine from their first meeting. She is charming, intelligent, wealthy, and possesses abilities even he can’t understand. Catharine draws Ryan into her unconventional world where he will risk the case-and his life-to find out if she’s for real, or if she’s the real killer.

There were many times I laughed, felt sad or emotional and darn right angry because of the actions of some of the characters.  It was easy for me to not only relate to them, their lives – but their situation.  As a reader, I look for books that can take me to the place where it is all happening and put me right in that spot as if I was there and this book did that and did it well.  It was well written and you could tell that Jennifer really took the time to research information regarding the story prior to completion.  This book has a unique twist to it and I can usually tell the outcome of a mystery prior to finishing it… but was stunned and held my breathe up until the last moment.  I also loved reading about Jennifer Moss and how she was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois which made the story real and each detail outstanding.

This book is whitty but captivating.  It is a page turner that is difficult to put down and I struggled to do so when I needed to break from the read.  The characters are not only realistic but her descriptions of each one make you feel like you are literally a real person in the book’s story line.

I actually own Jennifer Moss’ first book – The One-in-a-Million Baby Name Book and absolutely loved her debut of Town Red and how different it is in writing style and mystery than what I had expected.  If you love crime and mystery with a little romance and suspense, Town Red is a great book and one you will surely enjoy.    I can’t wait to start reading some of the others that Jennifer has written because if they are anything like this one, I’m sure I’ll love them.

You can check out Town Red and other books from Jennifer Moss in the Kindle Store through Amazon.  Thank you Jennifer for giving me the opportunity to read Town Red, I truly enjoyed it!

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Disclaimer:  This book was sent to me free of charge in exchange for my review – which is long overdue.  All opinions are my own, 100% honest and unbiased and I was not paid to provide my thoughts on this product.  Affiliate links are posted through out.

It’s that time again… Monthly Favorites.  June 2014 Favorites

Yay for Summer – but boo for how fast June went by.  This month – I tried a few new products I have never used before and a few that I am loving that were already in my collection.  Check out my video for all the details here:

I have a June Favorites for Kids video coming up as well… the boys are all gathering up their favorite kid items from the month so stay tuned for that. 😉  I know it’s been quite a while since I have featured kid favorites and I am working my way to making it a part of our routine every month.  So stay tuned for that – everything from clothes and toys to food and activities.

Products Listed:
Silk Coconut Milk – Original
To A Child, Love is Spelled T-I-M-E: Simple Truths
Too Faced Natural Eye Palette
Too Faced Sweetheart Flush Blush in Candy Glow
Crown HD Brush – Powder Brush
Milani Lip Intense Lip Color in Violet Addict
Jordana Matte Lipsticks in Lavender Lady and Pink Passion
Milani Power lip – Raspberry Tart and Pink Lemonade
Jordana Fabuliner Liquid Pen Liner
NYC High Definition Liquid Liner
Sally Hansen Gilty Party
Sally Hansen Debu-tint

I hope you had a wonderful June.  The twins will be starting school on August 1st and my eldest goes back to school on that day as well.  It’s bitter sweet for me but I’m so excited for them because they are excited to be going to school.  Wishing you all a wonderful rest of your summer.

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