Monday, September 28, 2015

Currently Reading: Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off! by Lisa Tillinger Johansen & $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

I have a review of this book due tomorrow, but I am not finished with it yet. So far I am really liking the author's no nonsense approach.

Title: Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!
Author: Lisa Tillinger Johansen
Publisher: J. Murray Press
Pages: 350
Genre: Nonfiction/Nutrition/Health
The Paleo.  The Zone.  The Gluten-free.  Another day, another diet.  We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry.  But do these diets really work?  And how healthy are they?

Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype.  And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts.  With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.

For More Information

  • Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off! is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LISA TILLINGER JOHANSEN, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients on a wide range of health issues. Her debut nutrition book, Fast Food Vindication, received the Discovery Award (sponsored by USA Today, Kirkus and The Huffington Post).  She lives in Southern California.

Her latest book is the nonfiction/nutrition/health book, Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!
For More Information

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fall and Halloween Decorating Ideas

I've always loved fall. It's my favorite season. Here are some links to fall decorating ideas.

Ten top design bloggers share their favorite fall decorating trends:

Country Living shares 27 ways to decorate your mantel this fall:

Southern Living offers more than 80 fall decorating ideas:

Country Living gives you 57 great Halloween crafts to create a spooky holiday this year:

HGTV shares 55 of its favorite Halloween decorating ideas:

Popular Mechanics shows you how to build your own fog machine:

What are some of your favorite fall and Halloween decorating ideas? Please feel free to share links in the comments section.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mailbox Monday - September 21

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

It's a beautiful New England day here. The weather has cooled off a bit, so my hot flashes don't bother me so much.

After two months of life being crazy, I put on the brakes and decided to take a weekend off. Gasp! Did I just say that aloud? Finally said we were all overdue for some family time, so I played mom and wife this weekend. Even got in a bit of gardening. Also gave me a chance to celebrate Papou's 85th birthday.

As for my mailbox, nothing came from my wonderful mailman this week, but the Kindle fairy delivered me three books I can't wait to read.

The prequel to the Dominion Falls story that finally reveals how Jane Doe's best friend became the woman we know and love.


Katherine Daugherty will do anything to avoid an arranged marriage at the tender age of fifteen. Running away from Dominion Falls, the only home she’s ever known, seems her only hope. She enlists the help of the one man she knows will never tell her parents the truth—the town’s nefarious brothel owner, Cole Mitchell.

She makes her escape and winds up in Chicago. For three years she keeps her head down, but when she turns eighteen she steps into the world ready to take it by storm.

Katherine takes a chance and asks a well-known rake to help her learn a few indecent things. Little does she know, life itself is about to teach her more than she ever expected.

Cole Mitchell runs the busiest saloon and brothel in Dominion Falls. He keeps his women at a distance, unwilling to relive a past he worked hard to forget.

Until the night Jane Doe falls into his saloon bleeding and near death. She wakes with no memory, only the firm belief someone tried to kill her. In the strange world of amnesia she manages to find solace in Cole’s arms and he finds home in hers.

While they work together to solve the mystery of her appearance, their pasts – her lack of, and his buried – build a barrier between them.

To make matters worse, Jane’s past isn’t willing to let her go. A stranger proves he’ll kill to keep his secrets safe. With those she loves in danger, Jane’s errant memory is all that stands between them and death. Cole can only do so much to protect her, will it be enough?

[I've read some of Cole and Jane's story in its draft stages, so I am eager to experience the final product.]

Alan Richards returns to Lake Point for the holidays, counting the minutes until he can accomplish the dreaded goal of dealing with his aging parents and get back to the city. Finding his former soul mate living in the town they left together and swore they’d never return to tosses his ordered plans right on their head.

Ivy Nowell has never looked back since she left the city and her ballet career to raise her daughter in Lake Point. Alan’s homecoming dredges up old hurts and the love she never quite let go, but he hasn’t changed, with his relentless commitment to goals that differ completely from hers.

The attraction and instant understanding between them lingers, but neither are who they used to be. Alan wants to give it a chance, but Ivy is worried he’ll change his mind and won’t risk hurting her daughter.

It’ll take Santa and all his magic to keep them from walking away from each other again, maybe for forever this time.

That's it for me. What did you receive/buy last week?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Less Than 50 Days Until Countdown to Christmas

Now I know the holidays are approaching because I just received an email that there are less than 50 days until Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas. This is one of my favorite holiday traditions: watching Christmas movies on Hallmark. Some of them are old and some of them are new, but all of them warm the heart and capture the spirit of the season. Hallmark Channel's Countdown To Christmas starts on October 31 (another of my favorite holidays).

You can like Hallmark Channel's Countdown To Christmas Facebook page at for updates.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Mailbox Monday - September 14

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

I'm writing this post late at night, so please pardon any typos.

It's been another busy week in the real estate world. Placed an offer over the weekend and might be placing another one tomorrow. I think I will try to take a day off later in the week.

The mailman only delivered one book, but it is one I really wanted. I've read most of the books in this series, so I am glad to see the latest one come out.

Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her husband Hutch travel to Morro Bay to celebrate their son's wedding. The festivities are complicated by the murder of the maid of honor. At her son's request, Tempe investigates too many suspects and clues from the spirit world.

The blog tour for this book actually starts tomorrow. You can follow it at

Friday, September 11, 2015

Book Review: Guilt Free Motherhood: A 5-Step Guide to Reclaiming Your Time, Health And Well-Being by Amber Khan

Which mother out there hasn't felt guilty at one time or another? I think I've carried around more than my fair share of guilt over the years. In Amber Khan's Guilt Free Motherhood: A 5-Step Guide to Reclaiming Your Time, Health And Well-Being, moms learn how to free themselves from the power guilt has over them.

Khan gets right to it, helping the reader discover what she feels guilty about and letting you know you're not alone. As she acknowledges, times have changed and moms are pulled in more directions than ever before. In Part One, she talks about different things that can make moms feel guilty and overwhelmed--like being unable to say no (something I really struggle with). In Part Two, the reader learns to recognize the "guilt traps" they fall into. From balancing family life and career, to neglecting your health, to over-committing, and more, Khan takes the reader through these traps so the reader can understand what she's dealing with. Then in the final part of the book, Khan provides a 5-Step Guide to help you live a guilt-free life.

The author has kept this book to only 154 pages, so it's easy to read, but still offers a ton of great information. It's not a philosophy where you are expected to totally change your life. It's realistic and will help you learn how to take things one day at a time. The exercises get you thinking how to make this work best for you.

If you're a mom who feels guilty for one reason or another, I believe Guilt Free Motherhood can help.

File Size: 905 KB
Print Length: 154 pages
Publication Date: April 29, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

I received a copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

In the News: Decline in Self-employment

Nationally acclaimed economist, Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. stated on his blog yesterday that despite the variety of Internet apps for working remotely, self-employment has declined. Today it is 6.5% as opposed to 7.7% in 2005 and 8.5% in 1995.

You can read his 70-word blog post on the topic at

Do you find it odd that despite better technology, fewer people are self-employed?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Mailbox Monday: September 7

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Labor Day, everyone! It's a rare mostly full day off for me. Having sold four houses in two weeks and signed up a few new buyers recently, I am happy to have most of today to family time and a bit of blogging.

This weekend, we took the girls to see 5 Seconds of Summer, usually called by our teen and tween, 5SOS. It was a fun time. I had a showing and a house inspection earlier that day, so it was a bit of a rush to get home on time, but once we were on the road all was good.

As far as reading and books go, I am having a hard time getting it all done, but hopefully fall will bring me some additional reading time. A few weeks ago, I won a copy of Dark Wine Waters by Fran Simone, PhD. I haven't had the joy of sharing it with you until now. It sounds like a very moving story.

One woman's heartbreaking story of a marriage destroyed by her husband's addiction to alcohol.

The dynamics of codependency are illuminated in this gripping tale. Author Fran Simone describes her husband's attempts at treatment and subsequent relapse, his suicide, and her own recovery through a twelve-step program for families.

I hope everyone makes some time to relax this holiday weekend. Let me know what arrived in your mailbox.

P.S. I was a bit tired of the old blog design, so I made a background change. Let me know what you think. It's not permanent, but I was feeling a bit bold today.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Kids in the House Announces Their Top 100 Parenting Blogs and Websites

Kids in the House has announced their Top 100 Parenting Blogs and Websites list honoring blogs and websites that share useful, meaningful, and entertaining parenting advice.

Click here to review their list!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Author Interview: Jill Kemerer, Author of Unexpected Family

Jill Kemerer writes contemporary Christian romance novels with love, humor and faith. A full time writer, she relies on coffee and chocolate to keep up with her kids’ busy schedules. Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund, Jill adores magazines, M&Ms, fluffy animals and long nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website,

Thank you for having me today!

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in farm country. We lived a few miles from Oakley, a small town in mid-Michigan. I spent a lot of time running around barefoot, playing with my sister and cousins and sitting around reading. We moved to Saginaw, Michigan when I was twelve, and I think I’ve been moving ever since!

When did you begin writing?

It was a cold January day. I was twenty years old. I’d finished my college homework, so I read a romance novel. Well, I didn’t like the book and figured I could do better than that! I grabbed a cheap spiral notebook and began writing. My characters would fall in love, and they wouldn’t have all those pesky problems the other fictional couples seemed to have. Twenty-two pages later, the book ended. Turned out the problems were the point! Yes, I had a lot to learn, but once I started writing romance, I never looked back. I’ve been writing them ever since.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I write my books during the day, but I write blog posts, short stories and other projects whenever I can sneak a few moments.

What is this book about?

Unexpected Family is about a single mom who finally gets the guts to tell her ex-husband they have a daughter. Here’s the back-copy:

His Surprise Daughter

After five years apart, Tom Sheffield is shocked to find his ex-wife, Stephanie, on his doorstep. The news that they share a child he's never met sends him reeling. Four-year-old Macy has his eyes, his mouth and, from their first encounter, his heart. Things with her mother are much more complicated. He doesn't understand what went wrong between them or why she kept their daughter a secret. And he's afraid of falling in love all over again. Yet he feels a glimmer of hope that somehow he can convince Macy and Stephanie to stay in Lake Endwell—and with him—for keeps.

What inspired you to write it?

Inspiration comes at the worst time! I was trying to fall asleep, and all of a sudden, I thought what if a guy got a call from the police saying, “Your wife and daughter were in an accident,” and the guy responded, “But I don’t have a wife or daughter”?

I got up and wrote it down. The idea would not go away, and the basis for Unexpected Family was born.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

The road to publication was not only bumpy, it was steep! I wrote twelve novels and submitted nine before getting a contract. I’ve been writing for over twenty years, but I’ve only been writing full-time for eight. Last year, I finally got the call I’d been waiting for. My debut novel, Small-Town Bachelor, released in April. It, too, is set in Lake Endwell and features Tom Sheffield’s sister, Claire.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

No. God used the time to draw me closer to him. I gained humility and confidence in my writing. I’m thankful for every step of my journey.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Readers can find purchase links to all major booksellers on my webpage for Unexpected Family. Paperbacks are available in stores such as Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Kmart and local grocery stores.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Never give up! And don’t let worries and doubts keep you from writing. Some authors get published with their first or second book. Some self-publish. But if you’re like me and want a traditional publisher, just keep trying. I’m living my dream, and you can too!

What is up next for you?

The third book in the Lake Endwell series will release sometime next spring, and I’m currently writing the fourth book. I love my job!

Thanks again for having me today!