Friday, December 19, 2014

make your dream life a reality.

As I've gotten older, I have found it more difficult to live my life with purpose. When you get older you have more responsibilities. You have less time to focus on what's really important and are more distracted by the things that are not. This is that very special time of year when we actually start to care. We want to focus on being healthy and happy. We make resolutions for ourselves. We put things in perspective. This year, I challenge you to pick up a copy of Live It!: Achieve Success by Living with Purpose by Jairek Robbins because becoming the happiest, healthiest, and most fulfilled version of yourself is right there on the pages. And that's pretty much the best resolution ever.

This is what I got out of the book: We would all love to make our dream life a reality, but it's more realistic to start planning for your dream day, so Robbins starts with that. Think about your ideal day, and make yourself some goals to get there. We have all heard of the saying, "choose a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life." Chapter 5 touches on falling in love with hard work. It's not as if we are running away from hard work by wanting to change our jobs or other aspects of our lives that bring us down, we simply want to work hard at something we feel passionate about. Chapter 7 reminds us that we are not guaranteed a tomorrow. Death creates clarity and makes you face what you really should be doing with your life. If death doesn't put things in perspective, I don't know what will. So many of the chapters grabbed my attention and made me realize that it's never too late to change things up and create a life you love.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

people tools two.

"Mastering the art of working well with others is the key to success." Oh. So this is where I've been going wrong all these years. This is the philosophy behind Alan C. Fox's People Tools for Business books, I am reviewing his latest today, People Tool's for Business: 50 Strategies for Building Success, Creating Wealth, and Finding Happiness which is actually filled with tools for people in general, not only those in a traditional business setting. This book is a follow up to Fox's People Tools: 54 Strategies for Building Relationships, Creating Joy, and Embracing Prosperity. If you found value in his first book, then I know you will find value in this one as well.

Let's be honest, we could all use a life coach. Someone's who's been where we are, who made the same mistakes we are about to make, but stops us right before because they know better. Well, that's pretty much Alan C. Fox in a nutshell. He's your life coach, full of insight. He runs an extremely successful real estate company. He has advanced degrees in accounting, law, education, and professional writing. His personal life is ridiculously put together. Yeah, he's made a ton of mistakes getting here, but he also owns a billion dollar company, so I'd listen and learn if I were you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I know I always say this about Jodi Picoult novels, but it's just TOO true to ignore. I get smarter while reading, and after I'm done, I am an expert on whatever subject Picoult has decided to invest herself in while writing. For Leaving Time, it was elephants. I now know that a baby calf under the age of two cannot survive in the wild without their mother, even though they are part of a heard. I learned that elephants truly never forget. I learned that Asian elephants and African elephants have two completely different personalities, just like the people. I also learned that Picoult just keeps getting better and better.

Leaving Time is written from four different perspectives. Thirteen-year-old Jenna's mother Alice disappeared ten years ago, and no one has any idea if she is alive or dead. Jenna has made it her goal to find her. Alice (who we hear from in the past tense) has spent her adult life researching elephants and how they grieve. Spending time in Africa before meeting Jenna's father and moving to New England where he owned an Elephant Sanctuary after she found out she was pregnant with Jenna. She continued the research with the elephants in captivity until tragedy struck. Jenna enlists the help of Serenity Jones, a former celebrity psychic who was famous for finding missing people, and Virgil Stanhope, the police officer who was there the night her mother disappeared, to help her solve the mystery. Jenna is single-minded in her search and will do whatever it takes to find her mother. I have to be honest, when the truth came out and slapped her in the face, I felt the sting.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

cannabis for christmas.

I'm not going to get into the whole marijuana debate right now, should it be legalized, should it be available in the form of your favorite treat at the corner cafĂ©. Everybody has an opinion. But marijuana is everything right now, so if you feel uncomfortable about it, think of it as a folk remedy and get educated OR move along.

Marijuana for Everybody!: The DEFINITIVE GUIDE to Getting High, Feeling Good, and Having Fun by Elise McDonough is extremely informative, even for those of you who have been hitting the volcano bong for decades. Because let's be honest, you STILL don't know how to manage your high, and Elise can help. She's of the smoke 'em if you got 'em philosophy and shares an interesting history, cooking and rolling tips, along with new research on the kushy stuff. This IS the marijuana book right now, it has everything you could ever want to know included, no stoner unturned.

Monday, December 15, 2014

the engineering revolution.

I don't know much about the engineering education crisis our country is facing today, I'm too overwhelmed with my own Common Core crisis, and being a teacher in general is just fricken hard right now. But the struggle is real for these engineering programs at the high school and college level, and reform is on the rise thanks to educators, David E. Goldberg and Mark Somerville, and their book A Whole New Engineer: The Coming Revolution in Engineering Education.

Transforming engineering education is a must because of the change of times. Curriculum needs to be updated to roll with the punches of the 21st century. We are doing no favors to future engineers or their employers if we don't make a change, and that is what this book is all about. Whether you're a parent of a child interested in engineering, a student, an educator at BOCES or college, it is your responsibility to acquire the tools needed to get students ready for the real world of engineering. A Whole New Engineer includes pilot programs, five pillars of engineering educational transformation: joy; trust; courage; openness; and, connectedness, collaboration and community, and other strategies that will unleash student potential. This resource will improve undergraduate education in engineering if you'll only let it.

Friday, December 12, 2014

being a parent just got a whole lot more fun.

In This House, We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love, and Laughter a Daily Part of Your Family Life by Courtney DeFeo is filled with parenting wisdom that can easily be applied to your everyday life. No tricky concepts, just twelve straightforward chapters, one for every month, that highlight a virtue to teach your child. Along with the twelve virtues are Bible verses and activities to help easily implement them in your household, and GIGGLE ideas, which both kids and parents will love. Virtues include: joy, love, faith, patience, perseverance, respect, responsibility, service, humility, gratitude and generosity. Courtney proves that teaching children Christian values does not have to be drab, no lectures are necessary, just as much fun needed to get the job done.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

make hosting as enoyable as possible.

I adore Martina McBride, but I mean, who doesn't?  Like most female country music stars, she seems so genuine and sweet because she IS genuine and sweet. She shares her sweetness and her passion for entertaining with us in her very first book titled Around the Table: Recipe and Inspiration for Gatherings Throughout the Year where readers are invited to make themselves at home right in her kitchen as she shares her family traditions.

In another life, Martina says she would be a party planner. Well, that's pretty obvious in the beautiful themed gatherings, delicious recipes, and menu planning advice she inspires readers with, and the photographs are just gorgeous. I for one am going to take a whack at the Spring Brunch Outdoors once the weather improves, and maybe even throw together a Mistletoe and Martinis during this wonderful time of the year. Her themed nights are festive, fun and organized in such a way that it will be no trouble at all pulling them off.