OMG! I Just Have to Share!


Photo courtesy of Marci Passaglia (because my photography skills are seriously lacking)


Okay. I don’t normally put any reviews or promotions on here, but I seriously have discovered the best thing EVER. I decided to splurge on myself and get a little just for me fun. I ordered a beta box for a brand new subscription company, GRRLBox. I need more of this in my life, y’all.

Let’s be honest ladies. Once a month, you need a little extra TLC. You need some pampering and some relief. What if you could get everything you need in a single box delivered right to your door?

GrrlBox comes packed with FULL size products, not samples like other boxes. There are snacks (something salty, something sweet, and chocolate), a pampering item, a stress relief item, a hygiene item (that you get to customize), and a new cute pair of undies.

Want to know something even better? The owner tests each product and only includes what she would use herself AND she provides a Facebook support group as well. I’m not kidding when I say I am in love.

There are three types of GRRLboxes: a PMS one, one just for young teens, and a menopausal option as well. The level of customizing is awesome too. You get to pick your chocolate preference, what type of hygiene products you want, and of course, the size of your undies.

You do not want to try the competition. Seriously. I tried a pretty packaged one last month thinking the price was better. It was trial sized junk and dollar store “goodies” that were not worth my time. I was so disappointed. Then I found out why. Two guys are trying to deliver what we need most at our worst? Nope. That is no bueno. I would much rather pay a little more and get much, much more. Plus, if you subscribe to 3 months or more, you get $10 off. Not a bad deal. Especially when I realize how much I spend on impulse buys to make me feel better.

Seriously. Run to Cratejoy and grab your own GRRLBox. You will not regret it. Oh, and guys, seriously, give the gift of comfort and fun. You won’t regret it either.

(I received no compensation or benefits for this post. No affiliate link or anything. Serious just true love forever.)



Remembering This Day

A group of Jewish men being humiliated before a crowd - courtesy of Yad Vashem archives

A group of Jewish men being humiliated before a crowd – courtesy of Yad Vashem archives

In the late hours of this day, November 9th, the sounds of glass breaking, shouts, and the sight of flames sent a clear warning to the world of what was to come. It has been 77 years now, but it still remains a clear warning.

On Kristallnacht, November 9-10th, 1938, over 1,000 synagogues in Germany and Austria were destroyed. Sacred objects were desecrated. Jewish hospitals and homes were attacked by mobs incited by Nazi leadership. They destroyed Jewish owned businesses and schools as the night wore on into early morning of November 10th.

At least 91 Jewish citizens were killed. Another 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Many more sustained various injuries. All were afraid.

Most view this night as the beginning of the Holocaust. It is believed that the pogram was planned long before and only awaited a “reason” for the violence. The assassination of German diplomat Ernest vom Rath in Paris by a Jewish man, Herschel Grynszpan on November 7, 1938. He had recently received a postcard from his family explaining that they had been expelled from the German city of Hanover. When he was arrested for the shooting, he carried the postcard in his pocket and said, “May God forgive me… I must protest so that the whole world hears my protest, and that I will do.”

The unfortunate choice of vom Rath lies in the politics of this career diplomat. He is believed to have held strong anti-Nazi sympathies and was actually under surveillance by the Gestapo at the time of his death. However, Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda machine never wasted an incident they could spin. Suddenly, vom Rath became a patriotic German who was slain mercilessly by a dangerous Jew. Of course, Grynszpan had no way to know that he was killing a friend and not enemy.

In fact, his protest was heard around the world. The resulting pogrom in Germany and Austria was as well. It was reported by international journalists as it happened. The message was very clear that Jews were being targeted and were not safe. To the dismay of the Jews of Europe, the world did not act upon this message. The Nazi persecution of Europe’s Jews and other minorities would continue for years and cost more than 6 million lives in the Holocaust.

For further learning:

Benno and the Night of Broken Glass – a children’s book from the point of view of a cat. A fantastic and gentle way to introduce children to the story of this night.

Kristallnacht: The Nazi Terro That Began The Holocaust – a collection of primary sources regarding the events of November 9th and 10th, 1938

American Experience: America and the Holocaust – a fantastic (as always) look at the American response to Kristallnacht and the Holocaust as a whole

Background and Overview of Kristallnacht – resources and other links from the Jewish Virtual Library

Archival Footage of Synagogue Burning – shot by a fireman who was watching the synagogue burn but on hand to ensure the fire did not spread to any non-Jewish property

Read this the next time you’re ready to give up on your dream.

I have always been a reader. I think I was a reader before I was able to read. I was raised in a home full of books. I can remember gathering a STACK of books, and my mom reading each and every one to me (multiple times, I’m sure). I’m sure my mother never wants to read a Berenstain Bears book again even 30 years later.

The thing about really bookish people is that our love of reading usually leads to a love of writing and a dream of being an author. Most of us don’t ever write that book. Even less end up being a bona-fide, published author. So many of us give up without trying.

True, not everyone needs to be an author. Like other childhood dreams, being a writer goes  the way of being an astronaut-fairy princess policeman. They grow up and find something else that becomes THE dream. Then, they chase that dream with a fury and never think about being an author again.

The ones who never let go of that dream though often give up anyway. Why? Well, odds are, you won’t get published. Odds are you will never have a bestseller and will never get to have tea with J.K. Rowling. So, people keep that dream tucked away and never do anything about it because life gets in the way or they don’t want to fail.

I know. I was that person. I gave up after being told by a high school English teacher that I wasn’t good enough. I gave up when medications for a health issue in college seemed to disconnect the synapses needed to write coherently. I gave up when I needed to just find a job and be a grown up. I gave up when I found myself pregnant unexpectedly and bogged down with anxiety and exhaustion.

Then, I realized that it was impossible to NOT write. I have lived with this story that I absolutely HAVE to tell. If I don’t get this out, I will have not done the one thing. I will not have chased THE dream. Plus, I REALLY want to have tea with J.K. Rowling. (Call me, Jo?)

I’m poor. I’m busy chasing two toddlers. I stay up late and I get up early. I write during naps and while they play outside. It sucks some days. It gets hard and they interrupt. They have asked 500 questions and requested my help 20 times while I write this post.

So, what is your dream? What is the big thing you struggle and fight to do? Don’t give up. DO NOT GIVE UP. It isn’t impossible. Focus on the small step you CAN do today toward that dream. Do it.

My Latest Obsession…


I don’t have to tell other writers (especially freelancers) about the 5 million gurus who will tell you everything you need to know to wake up a millionaire tomorrow. They are EVERYWHERE. They are full of unrealistic, really terrible advice. No one is getting rich off their advice except them.

So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled across Melissa! She is a-maze-balls. Seriously, no more smarmy, salesy advice. Plus, she makes me snort laugh, FULL ON WEIRD NOSE NOISES. I got to spend a week in her Obsession preview class and let me tell you. She has nailed it. This was not another free training that is really just a long infomercial. She brought it all to the table.

In a business that is run by big egos and selfish intentions, Melissa is a breath of fresh, generosity-filled air. (And I am not just saying that because I won a sweet prize! What?!?!)

Seriously, if you are wanting to take your business to the next level but want to do it right, you need to check out Melissa’s Obsessed course. A full year of awesome advice, challenges and attention from the best? YES PLEASE!

And hey, if you are just getting started and that just isn’t in the cards yet, check out her self-paced training, The Swirl Effect. Everything this girl does is bangin, on point phenomenal.

Overlooked History: Indian Boarding Schools

Education is a gift. It is the key to many things we as a country hold dear: freedom, democracy, and upward economic mobility. It can never be a bad thing, right?

Except it can be and has been. The Indian Boarding School Movement was a dark period in education from the late 18th century into the early 20th century in the United States. These were often began by Christian missionaries and then funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The philosophy of most can be summed up in the words of the founder of the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, Richard Henry Pratt, “Kill the Indian. Save the man.” These schools sought to assimilate Native children by (often forcibly) removing them from their families and tribes and punishing them for any signs of “Indian” while at the school. They were not allowed to speak their Native language or follow any customs, including manner of dress or hair.

The proponents of these schools spoke in flowery terms of opening opportunities to the students to join “civilized” society and be successful. The result however was the near extinction of many Native languages and cultures. The children were often subjected to physical abuse in addition to the emotional damage caused by the removal from family and being taught that their very essence was wrong and something of which to be ashamed.

To learn more about this movement and the impact on Natives to this day, you can check out:

Our Spirits Don’t Speak English – d1x“a Native American perspective on Indian Boarding Schools. This DVD produced by Rich-Heape Films, Inc. uncovers the dark history of U.S. Government policy which took Indian children from their homes, forced them into boarding schools and enacted a policy of educating them in the ways of Western Society. This DVD gives a voice to the countless Indian children forced through a system designed to strip them of their Native American culture, heritage and traditions.

View collections of photographs at:

An Indian Boarding School Photo Gallery and Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center

Further Reading:

Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences, 1879-2000

Oh NaNoWriMo…

It is November so of course I am slogging away to write my first project ever for National Novel Writing Month. I am so excited to see if I can knock out the first 50,000 words toward my first novel, Winds of Revelation.

I am so thrilled with this project and just cannot stop the ideas from bubbling up. Now for the hard part of organizing them all and getting it down on paper. I cannot wait to complete this and share it with all of you. Here is a little look forward to where I am going…

photo 4

Of course, as always happens, I spent my first full day of the month busy with the little minions instead of being able to write. I am sure it will not be the only day that makes this challenge all the more interesting. For now, I am going to jump back into the world of Nievgorow and see what secrets Will is uncovering today.

Anyone else participating? Share your username in the comments and let’s be buddies!

Is Content Marketing Like Hitting a Brick Wall?


Hey you! Yes, I see you. I see your big dream for your business turning into a big nightmare because some entrepreneur guru told you that you HAVE to blog and you HAVE to be all over social media. You are the idea person. You are not really the word person or the marketing person. Well, stop trying to move that brick wall and save your energy for the magic only you can do.

I offer multiple options (and will customize a package just for you!) to help you get quality content for your marketing without the stress and frustration. I do the writing and posting. You do you!

Check out the details here and then contact me at for details or to get a custom package for your business.

What is the Key to Your Child’s Success?

It may seem like an obvious answer but a love of reading and literacy is linked to long-term success in multiple, seemingly unrelated areas of life. This is news to most parents. The trick is not what but how. How do we help develop this in our children without losing our mind?

The answer is not making us and our kids crazy and frustrated by standing over them and forcing them to read and read until they get it right. The answer isn’t phonics or sight words exclusively either. In fact, the answer isn’t about the mechanics of teaching them HOW to read. So, what is the answer?

Exposing your kids to quality books is essential. The goal is not to make them read. You want them to love reading and learning. So, what makes a great book? Well, that depends on their age.


Babies and Toddlers

For babies and toddlers (yes, you should read to babies and toddlers!), you want illustrations with high contrast and text that is repetitive and rhymes. Also, go ahead and get those board books that will stand up to little hands and mouths. Let them have free access to them.

When you read with them, let them wiggle and be active. Let reading be fun for them. Engage them with interactive questions about the illustrations like “Can you find the bird?” or “Where is the red balloon?” and all those little extra questions. Don’t worry about skipping pages or not reading all of the words. It is more important that reading is fun for them at this point than anything else.


Books that encourage acting out the text or give directions are great at this age. These books not only encourage pre-literacy skills but get your kids moving and active. Give kids at this age a chance to “read” with you and build their confidence. A great way to make this happens is with repetitive text. Let them say the repeated phrase for you while you are reading to them. Another great activity is to let them finish the last word in a rhyme. This helps them develop an understanding that the printed words are connected to the language they speak every day.

A fun way to “read” with your preschooler is to get a wordless book and make up stories together to go with the illustrations. Kids love to be the storyteller and will enjoy being able to take the lead even though they cannot read yet.

Independent Readers

Once a child starts to read independently, many parents stop reading out loud to them, assuming they no longer need or want it. Not only do they still enjoy the special time with their parents, but they also benefit from being exposed to vocabulary that is above their reading level. By reading to them, you can help them learn and enjoy things that they are not able to read to themselves yet.

Also, at this stage, relationships and the interactions between characters in stories open up great conversations with your child about things like empathy, integrity, and other lessons in character.

While learning the skills needed to learn how to read, don’t forget to expose your children to other important literacy skills such as cultural literacy and emotional literacy. Expose your children to various cultures and types of people throughout their books and also include stories that address how to express and handle emotions healthily and handle relationships with other people.

I believe so strongly that the quality of the books you have in your home matters that I am sharing a one-time special discount to all of my readers at Barefoot Books. Just enter the code FALL2015 to get 20% off your entire order before October 31, 2015.

(Disclaimer: I am an Independent Ambassador for Barefoot Books and do earn commissions from sales. However, a portion of my profit goes to various non-profits working to encourage literacy and help at-risk families with various problems such as domestic violence and poverty.)

5 Ways Buffy the Vampire Slayer Warned Me about Motherhood

During high school, I lived for each new episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wanted to be Buffy. I even got my hair cut like Sarah Michelle Geller’s at one point. Who didn’t want to have Angel moon over you? Let’s just pretend the last 3 seasons didn’t happen (because really, the earlier the better when it comes to Buffy). I never realized watching my favorite show would teach me how to survive the early years of motherhood.

 A monster doesn’t always look like a monster.

The opening scene of the first episode shows a sweet, fresh faced girl sneaking into the high school with a boy.  She is all school girl innocence until she morphs into a monster and kills the boy.  We all think our children are the cutest and most adorable babies ever.  We also know that given an exact combination of conditions, our sweet little angels can become monsters (pun fully intended).

The morph into evil can happen with zero warning.

We all remember what happens if Angel gets truly happy.  One moment, he is all love and sentiment; the next minute, he is trying to kill you and everyone you love and their pet fish.  One moment my boys are all coos and giggles.  Suddenly, they lose their minds.  This will always happen in an embarrassingly public way.  Can you say checkout line at Target?

Silence is terrifying.

Oh crap on a cracker! Hush was the most terrifying and creeping hour of television I ever watched. I still have nightmares about the Gentlemen 15 years later. Of course, in a house with toddlers, I know that silence is a sign of destruction somewhere. The last time I realized the house was silent, I found a very happy little guy playing in the snow he made by dumping a container of creamer everywhere.

There is such a thing as too much love.

Remember when Xander decides he needs to cast a love spell on Cordelia and instead has the entire female population (and then some) of Sunnydale chasing him? They were ready to tear him apart in their need for him. Yeah, my boys love me a lot. Sometimes, they love me too much. I spend many days wondering if I will ever get 5 minutes without someone wanting to touch me again. Ain’t love grand?

You will not survive without your Scooby Gang.

We all need our friends and we need different friends. You need the older, wiser Giles to see you through and the goofy Xander to keep you from taking yourself too seriously. Your Willow will know just where to find the answer to your question, and Cordelia will point out that you at least aren’t as big a failure as someone else.

Some days feel like the end of the world (again!) when you are stuck in the monotony of diapers, drop-offs, and homework help. The good news is YOU are the slayer and you will figure it out just in time. Now, put the kids to bed, grab some snacks, and binge watch some Buffy. You’ll be five by five in no time.

Julius Rosenwald and His Legacy of Fighting Oppression

Julius Rosenwald is not a household name. He is not held up as one of the great heroes of the twentieth century. I would argue, though, that his reach far exceeds those of many whose names are more often uttered.

Julius Rosenwald was an astute businessman. In fact, he was the mind behind Sears, Roebuck, and Company becoming the household name that he never was. At the turn of the twentieth century, amid the robber barons and the gilded age, a man with that fortune lived a life of luxury unseen before among any but royalty. What did Rosenwald do with this well-earned fortune? He founded the Rosenwald Fund.

Rosenwald partnered with Booker T Washington to construct more than 5,000 schools for rural African-American communities in the southern United States. This alone would earn him accolades of how generous he was as a wealthy businessman from Chicago to care about children that were not his and communities that were as far removed from his as possible at the time. It was his legacy that shows this was more than a kind gesture.

His sons, Lessing and William, worked within various organizations in the US to help refugees of World War II before the US was part of the war. Hundreds of people were able to escape the atrocities of Nazi Germany due to their efforts. His granddaughter Nina has been an activist and funder of various initiatives as well.

What does this say about him? We cannot be sure but I believe it shows that he taught his children explicitly to use their position, influence, and financial strength to benefit humanity. I see generations of a family following his example because it was very real and not just a check written and forgotten.

So, what do we have to learn from Mr. Rosenweld? I will tell you what I have learned. It does not matter whose child is in need. It does not matter if they look like me, talk like me, or worship like me. It does not matter if they are useful to me. It does not matter if they live near me or far away. What matters is that there is a human being in need. What matters is whether or not I have the means to help. What matters is that my sons learn that they are on this planet to love and care for ALL of mankind. That is all.

What will your legacy be?