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Pattern Test: Sofilantjes’ Foliis Jacket and Dress

Sofilanthes Foliis Jacket

Brrrr…it’s getting cold outside. Well, at least, it’s starting to here in Kansas, anyway. It’s been a good while since I’ve done a pattern test, and when I saw that Anne Jacobs of Sofilantjes was doing a call for testers for a jacket, I knew I needed to sign up.  The pattern includes directions for a cropped jacket, a long A-line jacket, and a dress. The Sofilantjes Foliis Jacket & Dress pattern has a hood and options for long or 3/4 length sleeves. I made the long jacket option with long sleeves for my gal. 

The Fabric

v3498-001Solid - Blue - Verhees French Terry KnitFor the jacket, I used this gorgeous Verhees jersey Hologram Elephant digital print I got from Mabel Madison.  Originally, I had planned to make something for little guy using this fabric and some French terry I have (also from Mabel Madison).  I wound up choosing to make the Foliis from these two fabrics instead (and I have just enough left to still make little guy the shirt I’d wanted to make him). The fabrics are soft, and while the elephant print is not sweatshirt or French terry fabric, it is thick and heavy enough to hold up for this project. 

The Foliis Pattern

In the same style as other Sofilantjes’ patterns, the Foliis is easy to follow. Anne Jacobs breaks down the steps into easy-to follow directions that are the big reason I enjoy making her designs. The Foliis itself is not piece-heavy. Every pattern piece serves a functional purpose, and the illustrations were great. I made the 18 months size for my petite almost-3 year old girl. When pinning into place to cut, it’s important to make sure the words and the graphic on the pattern are going in the same direction. I wanted to be sure my elephants would all be the right way when the project was finished. 

I used the elephants for the body of the jacket and for the outer hood and the French terry on the cuffs and hood lining. The zipper was easy to modify and install given the instructions in the pattern. I decided to add a beaded zipper pull for a little bit of flair. The whole thing was quick to sew up – but it did require a bit of hand sewing. I put on the latest This Is Us episode and stitched the hood lining to the neckline in what seemed like no time at all (in reality, it took the episode plus a little extra time to finish.)

The Photo Shoot

I finished sewing my test early, but we had to leave town. The teenager was set to visit Simpson College in Indianola and Creighton University in Omaha. I took the finished jacket with us on our trip so I could take photos on one of the college campuses. There was a gorgeous park next to Simpson College that worked perfectly for the photo shoot. The jacket fits Little Miss perfectly – AND she loves it. It’s a win-win situation. We got lots of compliments on it while we were hanging out around town. It was 40 degrees once it warmed up, but still pretty windy and cool. Even though the jacket was made of jersey, she was warm enough in it to be comfortable for photos. 

How to Order the Foliis

Sofilantjes’ Foliis Jacket and Dress pattern is on sale for €6.05 ($5.30 USD) here until 11/30/2016 (affiliate link).

I received a testing and final copy of the Foliis pattern in exchange for my honest feedback on the pattern. All opinions about the pattern are my own. 

I’m thinking it would be really neat in a quilted cotton jersey. 🙂 What kind of fabric do you want to see the Foliis made up in?

TLC Tours Book Review: Forever Painless by Miranda Esmonde-White

I have been dealing with nasty chronic pain for almost 5 years now. I took an antibiotic, Cipro, that wreaked havoc on my entire body. Some days, just standing up is a chore. Other days, I feel fine. When I was offered the opportunity to review the book Forever Painless by Miranda Esmonde-White, I jumped at the chance, hoping that I might garner some new knowledge about things I can do to combat the pain in my life. 

The premise of Esmonde-White’s book is that we need to move more to combat pain using the Essentrics method. This method involves stretching and muscle conditioning. She wants doctors to pay more attention to the role chronic pain plays in health and wellness, and she wants it to become a routine part of our checkups – and one that doesn’t immediately and automatically resort to medication when it crops up. I can definitely jump aboard that ship. Prior to getting pregnant again, I was relying on the smallest dose of Motrin possible to get through the day relatively pain-free. That’s a dependency I’d rather not have. I cannot take stronger medications since I tend to be allergic to everything. 

Through the early chapters of the book, Esmonde-White talks about the root causes of chronic pain as well as the body’s built-in mechanisms for healing pain. She then talks about how a sedentary lifestyle can lead to chronic pain. Many of our modern jobs are built on sitting. She writes:

When we wake up in the morning, we usually feel a little stiff from a long night of immobility. The less we move upon waking, the stiffer we feel–but after some stretching, the stiffness can go away. 

Magnify that just-out-of-bed stiffness many times over, and you may better understand the sort of stiffness that many people chalk up to the aging process. Most people respond to this discomfort by moving less. But the less we move, the more our connective tissue solidifies, creating a chain reaction and exacerbating the problem. Remember: Pain is a message from the brain telling us that there is something dangerous happening to our body. The message of stiffness is a precursor to the pain message. (p.27)

This theory does make sense, as many times when I feel pain it is after having spent a day resting – because I felt pain! My back pain is the worst if I sleep in.  I feel like I can barely move. I also have a lot of hip pain following my last pregnancy that manifests most after I sit for a while.  

Once you’ve read through the introductory chapters, Esmonde-White introduces her readers to the exercises one can do to help combat pain. She organizes this section by area where one is having pain. This is really helpful for those who want to stick to her promise of helping you to “reclaim your life in 30 minutes a day.” You can follow her structure and focus on the areas that need to be focused on.

Overall, I’m hoping that following the guidelines in this book will help me to get on a path to being consistently pain-free. I recommend it for anyone who is looking for ways to fight back against chronic pain in low-impact ways without resorting to medications. 

forever-painless-cover

About Forever Painless

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (November 15, 2016)

End chronic pain—for good—with this practical guide from the PBS personality behind Classical Stretch and author of the New York Times bestseller Aging Backwards.

Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States. Twenty percent of American adults accept back spasms, throbbing joints, arthritis aches, and other physical pain as an inevitable consequence of aging, illness, or injury. But the human body is not meant to endure chronic pain. Miranda Esmonde-White has spent decades helping professional athletes, ballet dancers, and Olympians overcome potentially career-ending injuries and guiding MS patients and cancer survivors toward pain-free mobility. Now, in Forever Painless, she shows everyone how to heal their aching bodies and live pain free.

The root of nearly all pain is movement—or lack thereof. We need to move our bodies to refresh, nourish, and revitalize our cells. Without physical activity, our cells become stagnant and decay, accelerating the aging process and causing pain. People who suffer chronic pain often become sedentary, afraid that movement and activity will make things worse, when just the opposite is true: movement is essential to healing. In Forever Painless, Miranda provides detailed instructions for gentle exercise designed to ease discomfort in the feet and ankles, knees, hips, back, and neck—allowing anyone to live happier, healthier, and pain-free no matter their age.

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About Miranda Esmonde-White

Miranda Esmonde-White is one of America’s greatest advocates and educators on healthy aging. She is best known for her PBS fitness show Classical Stretch, which has been on the air since 1999. A former ballerina, she designed the Essentrics technique, which uses low-intensity strength and stretch exercises to relieve pain, prevent injury, and slenderize the body. Esmonde-White works with professional and Olympic athletes and celebrities, and teaches classes to thousands of students worldwide each year.

Follow Esmonde-White on Facebook.

Book Review: Earning It by Joann S. Lublin

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I was excited to review Earning It by Joann S. Lublin. As a small business owner, I figured there would be some tips in this book to help me succeed, and there are. But, I also found the chapter on sexual harassment in this book to be problematic. The advice? The equivalent of “Don’t make yourself easily harassed and suck it up, Buttercup.” 

Perhaps it’s the fact that so many women I know who reported sexual harassment had this prematurely destroy their careers, while they experienced backlash from not only those reported but other women in their workplace. Perhaps it’s the fact that I chose myself to not make a big deal about the fact that I was called a “dumb broad” during a presentation by a male superior, and when I took it to his superior I was told “You could have a case, or you could have a career.” Either way, telling women, “Don’t put yourself in positions where you get harassed” and “Suck it up if you want to get ahead,” are akin to telling a woman not to get herself raped. 

I don’t think that was the intent of Lublin. I believe she thinks that the advice dispensed in the chapter is sound advice – because it’s the advice that many of us have been given in our careers. I just also don’t think that the advice really helps when there is a situation where, say, a coworker is regularly watching pornography on his computer or where “locker room” banter is prevalent and makes the women in the office uncomfortable. It’s no more helpful than telling girls not to wear short skirts – because as we all know, women who wear pants get raped too. 

I think as long as one is reading this book with a keen sense of “This is the traditional advice that has been given to women,” there are real gems of advice to gain from it. But telling a woman to avoid her harasser and stay out of his way is a valid method of dealing with sexual harassment long-term just continues to perpetuate the problem. 

earning-it-coverAbout Earning It

• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: HarperBusiness (October 18, 2016)

More than fifty trailblazing executive women who broke the corporate glass ceiling offer inspiring and surprising insights and lessons in this essential, in-the-trenches career guide from Joann S. Lublin, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and management news editor for The Wall Street Journal.

Among the first female reporters at The Wall Street Journal, Joann S. Lublin faced a number of uphill battles in her career. She became deputy bureau chief of the Journal’s important London bureau, its first run by women. Now, she and dozens of other women who successfully navigated the corporate battlefield share their valuable leadership lessons.

Lublin combines her fascinating story with insightful tales from more than fifty women who reached the highest rungs of the corporate ladder—most of whom became chief executives of public companies —in industries as diverse as retailing, manufacturing, finance, high technology, publishing, advertising, automobiles, and pharmaceuticals. Leaders like Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, as well as Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, and Brenda Barnes, former CEO of Sara Lee, were the first women to run their huge employers. Earning It reveals obstacles such women faced as they fought to make their mark, choices they made, and battles they won—and lost.

Lublin chronicles the major milestones and dilemmas of the work world unique to women, providing candid advice and practical inspiration for women of all ages and at every stage  of their careers. The extraordinary women we meet in the pages of Earning It and the hard-won lessons they share provide a compelling career compass that will help all women reach their highest potential without losing a meaningful personal life.

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joann-lublin-apAbout Joann S. Lublin

Joann S. Lublin is management news editor for The Wall Street Journal and works with reporters in the U.S. and abroad. She frequently appears at conferences to discuss leadership, executive pay and corporate governance. She created The Journal’s first career advice column in 1993. She shared its Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for stories about corporate scandals. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with honors from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in communications from Stanford University. She lives in Ridgewood, N.J.

Find out more about Joann at her website and follow her on Twitter.

Book Review: Girl Unbroken

Sometimes, it helps to understand what someone else may have been through; sometimes, it helps to read about someone who has survived in the most dire of circumstances.  In Girl Unbroken by Regina Calcaterra and Rosie Maloney, we follow the lives of five siblings with five different fathers and an alcoholic mother through their abusive upbringing. There are parts of this book that made me angry, and there are parts of this book that really warmed my heart. The hardest part is when the siblings are separated and Rosie’s fate becomes much darker and scarier. The book celebrates strength – emotional and physical, and it celebrates continuing to fight to get through the violence and abuse to come out the other side stronger, and unbroken.

This is another book I recommend without reservation. You won’t be able to put it down. 

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About Girl Unbroken

• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 18, 2016)

In the highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times bestseller Etched in Sand, Regina Calcaterra pairs with her youngest sister Rosie to tell Rosie’s harrowing, yet ultimately triumphant, story of childhood abuse and survival.

They were five kids with five different fathers and an alcoholic mother who left them to fend for themselves for weeks at a time. Yet through it all they had each other. Rosie, the youngest, is fawned over and shielded by her older sister, Regina. Their mother, Cookie, blows in and out of their lives “like a hurricane, blind and uncaring to everything in her path.”

But when Regina discloses the truth about her abusive mother to her social worker, she is separated from her younger siblings Norman and Rosie. And as Rosie discovers after Cookie kidnaps her from foster care, the one thing worse than being abandoned by her mother is living in Cookie’s presence. Beaten physically, abused emotionally, and forced to labor at the farm where Cookie settles in Idaho, Rosie refuses to give in. Like her sister Regina, Rosie has an unfathomable strength in the face of unimaginable hardship—enough to propel her out of Idaho and out of a nightmare.

Filled with maturity and grace, Rosie’s memoir continues the compelling story begun in Etched in Sand—a shocking yet profoundly moving testament to sisterhood and indomitable courage.

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Regina CalcaterraAbout Regina Calcaterra

Regina Calcaterra, Esq. is the bestselling author of Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island, which has been integrated into academic curriculums nationwide. She is a partner at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz and is a passionate advocate for children in foster care.

Find out more about Regina at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Book Review: Carry On

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Sometimes, you want to read a book that knocks you on your feet with the story it tells. When I agreed to review Carry On, I was excited because the story sounded so good. I’ve always been a big fan of books and films that let you get to know someone – either fiction or biography – to the point where you feel that you know that person. Lisa Finn’s Carry On is one of those books. 

The only constant was the black canvas duffel bag Dartanyon carried with him, large enough to fit a child. Having worked as a detention officer in the juvenile justice system, McKinney knew what that bag meant. ‘Nobody needs to carry a bag that big unless they are carrying everything they own, to a destination unknown,’ McKinney said. Dartanyon was transient.

Kerry McKinney was a wrestling coach who wound up in one of Ohio’s most impoverished schools. When he came into the gymnasium, he learned that most of the kids were barefoot and that the team only had two pairs of shoes for seven kids. He recruited Dartanyon to be on the wrestling team due to his size, and noted his skill for learning the wrestling moves. He moved smoothly…and then…McKinney learned Dartanyon was blind.  

From the first pages, Carry On draws you in. From Torry Robinson taking over the team and meeting Leroy Sutton, a “Lower-extremity double amputee” to the piecing together of a family born of love rather than blood, this book is beautiful in its storytelling as well as the story itself. Fenn does a majestic job of showing these two phenomenal athletes and telling their stories. 

strongly recommend this book. It’s possibly the best I’ve read thus far this year.

 

Carry On coverAbout Carry On

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (August 16, 2016)

In the spirit of The Blind Side comes a deeply moving memoir about the unexpected bonds that would transform three lives.

Lisa Fenn produced human-interest features for ESPN for over a decade, but one particular story came into her life and never left. After seeing a newspaper image of two young wrestlers from one of Cleveland’s tougher public high schools, Lisa followed a hunch and flew back to her hometown to meet the boys that very day. What she found caused her spirit both to sink and to soar.

Leroy Sutton, who lost his legs in a childhood train accident, could often be found riding on the back of Dartanyon Crockett, who was legally blind and had no permanent place to call home. Initially drawn together by their handicaps, the boys soon developed a brother-like bond. When one wrestled, the other sat on the edge of the mat, and their cheerful friendship was a source of inspiration throughout the halls of their high school.

As Lisa filmed her feature about this remarkable friendship for ESPN, she grew to understand the suffering Leroy and Dartanyon had endured, and she fought for their trust and their confidence. The three formed a surprising and meaningful connection—and once the television story ended, Lisa realized she couldn’t just walk away.

Though Leroy’s and Dartanyon’s futures were limited by abject poverty, Lisa resolved to give them the chance she knew they deserved. She worked tirelessly to see them through school and athletic pursuits, broken hearts, phantom limbs, and the bewildering obstacles that, at every turn, tested their individual strengths even while strengthening the bonds between them.

More than a story of two underdogs overcoming innumerable hardships, Carry On is a touching tale of an unlikely family forged through barriers of race, class, and disability. It is a powerful memoir about grit, love, hope, and faith—and the courage to carry on, even in the most extraordinary circumstances.

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Photo by ESPN

Photo by ESPN

About Lisa Fenn

A three-time winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award and a six-time Emmy Award—winning feature producer with ESPN for thirteen years, LISA FENN interviewed every big name in sports. Today she is a sought-after public presenter, speaking on leadership, poverty, and trans-racial adoption, in addition to her Christian faith and its relevance in both her media career and her daily life. Lisa received her BA in communications from Cornell University. Her work has been featured on ESPN,Good Morning America, and World News Tonight. She continues to produce sports stories and write about the redemptive power of love. Lisa resides in Boston with her husband and two young children.

Connect with Lisa on Facebook.

#DrinkPink with OneHope Wines

#DrinkPink OneHope Wines

It’s October. That means it’s time to start thinking about breast cancer awareness, but it’s also time to start thinking about the holidays. What if I told you that you can stock up on great wine while also helping breast cancer research? You can, by purchasing OneHope Wines #DrinkPink campaign wines and products. In addition to supporting various causes, when you make a purchase from OneHope, you’re also supporting an entrepreneur looking to build her business. 

Be sure to read through to the end, where you’ll find a giveaway for a Drink Pink water bottle (worth $33, and big enough to hold an entire bottle of wine – not that I advocate that kind of thing – wink). 

What Are OneHope Wines?

shareable_miniglitterbrutcasesThe OneHope vineyard is in the Rutherford AVA in Napa Valley. There are plans for developing an on-site winery with a tasting room. The company was founded by eight individuals who wanted to allow people to enjoy wine while also helping their communities. They consult w,ith Rob Mondavi, son of wine mogul Michael Mondavi, to make their quality wines. 

With each sale of OneHope Wines, donations are made to various causes. According the about page on their website:

“To date we have made more than $2 million* in donations, providing over 2,600* clinical trials for cancer patients, 13,000* forever homes for shelter animals, 1.1* million meals for children, 33,000 life-saving vaccines and much more.”

That’s a lot of really good things being helped along through the sales of wines. When I spoke with representative Christine Kinney, and I learned about both the variety of wines available and OneHope’s mission, I knew I had to share information about this company with my readers. You can learn more about the wines by watching this video.

ONEHOPE Wine Brand Video from Billy Kostka on Vimeo.

What Types of Products Are Available?

giftingshare2OneHope offers a variety of wines from a 2011 Reserve Pinot Noir to a 2015 Lodi Symphony wine (I have notes on another Symphony wine that I need to share with you soon). Sales of two bottles of the 2013 Pink Glitter Edition California Chardonnay go to fund a clinical trial for one woman who has breast cancer. This wine has aromas of apple and pear pie, butterscotch, vanilla, and toffee, making it a wonderful white wine for fall. The glitter bottle makes it a festive addition to a girls’ night. 

enter-to-winIn addition to wines, OneHope offers coffee and gift products.  OneHope coffee proceeds go to help small businesses in developing countries (in fact, the sale of one of the gift boxes available, the Good Karma Gift Box), funds a microloan. Other products include aprons and oven mitts, bestie wine glasses, and dog bowls. All product sales support various causes. It’s a pretty neat company. I’m looking for Baby 4’s arrival in May for many reasons, but I’ll  be able to taste some of their wines then. 

Enter to win a #DrinkPink Water Bottle

Enter to win a water bottle that can hold an entire bottle of wine – er – water! Meanwhile, if you’re able to, support this great effort to combine two things I love – wine and philanthropy. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

GUEST POST: The 6 Best Oktoberfest Celebrations in America

Oktoberfest Celebrations

Please enjoy this guest post courtesy of Harry Parsons from Arcadia Publishing.

Germany isn’t the only country that looks forward to Oktoberfest every year. It’s just as popular here in America, and it’s not hard to see why. To begin with, many Americans are of German descent themselves. Also, what red-blooded American doesn’t love a good reason to eat fantastic food, drink delicious brews of all kinds, and celebrate life in excellent company?

Even so, not all Oktoberfest celebrations are necessarily created equally, and you don’t need to shell out the cash for a plane ticket to Munich to experience a great one. The following are just a few of the most epic Oktoberfest celebrations that take place every year right here in the United States of America. Some might say they’re so exceptional that they are worth traveling for! Consider adding one or more to your end-of-summer to-do list if you’re still deciding where and how to celebrate this year.

1. Wurstfest (November 4th – 13th)

If you live in the Austin, Texas area (or are planning to be there this November), you really might want to consider giving Wurstfest a gander. This is no modest weekend celebration, by any means. It’s a full 10-day festival that celebrates Bavarian culture in all the best ways. Family friendly activities include multiple carnival rides, a polka competition, and plenty of live music. Sample Bavarian fare to please any palate, and drink your fill of plenty of different beers as well.

Also, you should know that the entire town of New Braunfels magically transforms into a different place during those ten days, so don’t just limit yourself to the festival grounds. Enjoy special wurst-themed comedy performances at the Circle Arts Theatre. Check out Kunstalle as well, which is a seasonal arts and crafts market that sets up shop right next to Wurstfest itself.

2. St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest (September 23rd – 25th)

Chicago is already well known for its long-standing ties to beer, brewing, and all things German, thanks to the high numbers of German-American citizens who have called it home over the years. That said, it’s probably not surprising to learn that it’s also home to more than 25 different Oktoberfest celebrations over the months of September and October.

However, the St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest really stands out for taking place in and around the historic Lakeview church for which it’s named. Are you a craft brew enthusiast? You won’t want to miss Craft Beer Night, a golden opportunity to meet and greet more than 20 regional brewers, as well as sample their very best beers. Planning on bringing the little ones with you? You’ll love Kinderfest, a family friendly event complete with face painting, dance parties, and plenty of delicious German food that’s sure to please younger palates, as well as adult ones.

3. Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (September 16th – 18th)

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati isn’t just one of the most famous American Oktoberfest celebrations. Over half a million people attend each and every year, so it’s also the largest one in the entire United States. Naturally, it’s the place to be if you feel Oktoberfest is all about the food. Enjoy best loved staples like real German bratwurst, sauerkraut balls, potato pancakes, strudel, pretzels, and – of course – a wide array of German and domestic beers.

The entertainment is also top-notch here. Take in some live music at any one of the seven stages you’ll find set up within the festival grounds. Watch a beer stein race featuring traditional German waitresses. Check out a real live barrel roll as well.

Best Oktoberfest Celebrations

4. Oktoberfest by the Bay (September 23rd – 25th)

If you’re located on the west coast, then you’ll definitely want to consider making a trip to beautiful San Francisco for Oktoberfest by the Bay. It’s well known for its Old World ambiance and traditional feel. Plus, what could possibly make a cold beer and a perfectly salted pretzel taste better than a gorgeous ocean view from Pier 48?

Join an eclectic mix of festival goers from all walks of life in a toast to all things Bavarian. Enjoy the stylings of the locally based, 21-piece Chico Bavarian Band. Indulge in second helpings of all your favorite German dishes – everything from soft pretzels, to juicy sausages, to strudel. Don’t forget to join in the non-stop singing and dancing as well!

5. Oktoberfest Denver (September 23rd – 25th and September 30th – October 2nd)

Oktoberfest Denver isn’t quite the biggest celebration in the country, but it certainly comes close, with more than 350,000 people in attendance every year. Denver is also nothing if not a completely unique city with its own special vibe, so you can rest assured that their approach to Oktoberfest stands out as well.

For instance, there’s a variety of unique activities to be enjoyed. They include the incredible Stein Hoisting Competition, the Keg Bowling National Championship, and the Long Dog Derby (yes, an actual wiener dog race). That’s in addition to an abundance of cheerful traditional music, concerts from award-winning artists, mouth-watering German cuisine, and as much delicious beer as you could possibly hope for.

6. Leavenworth Oktoberfest (September 30th – October 1st, October 7th – 8th, and October 14th – 15th)

If you’re the type of person who wants your Oktoberfest experience to be as authentic as possible, then look no further than Washington’s Leavenworth Oktoberfest. Those who list it among their favorite celebrations describe it as the next best thing to celebrating in Munich itself.

Enjoy an impressively expansive selection of traditional German foods, a large collection of beers from around the world, and non-stop live music of all kinds (including traditional music from German bands flown in from the motherland). For those who can’t picture Oktoberfest without a good parade, there’s a wonderful one through the town each Saturday. Don’t forget to stick around for the mayor’s Keg Tapping Ceremony! It happens just after the parade and marks the official start to each weekend of the festival.

Of course, these are just a few of the many incredible Oktoberfest celebrations taking place all across the United States throughout the late summer and fall. Consider adding a few to your own itinerary or Oktoberfest bucket list!

Shadows of the Forest Cover Reveal

Shadows of the Forest
Emma Michaels
Publication date: November 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Everyone is dying to live in the Shadows of the Forest.
They gave me three rules to follow in exchange for my brother’s life:
1. Do not enter the West Wing;
2. Do not go outside after darkness falls; and
3. There is only one exit; The Gates.

This is what happened when I broke them…

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Author Bio:

Emma Michaels is the award winning author of the Society of Feathers series with over 15 publications under her belt. With a love for all things story-telling this bibliophile plans to take over the world one cup of coffee at a time. A rule breaker who isn’t afraid to have uncommon opinions she is an avid lover of mathematics and stand out fiction which transcends both its genre and format whether books, games, movies, or otherwise. A good story is a good story. When she isn’t online she is out dancing in the Washington rain or seeking new adventures.

Website / Facebook / Twitter

 

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An Announcement…

Be sure you watch this video aaaaaaaaaaall the way through. 

 

https://youtu.be/toE9XImY6oc

You watched the video, right?

With that announcement, comes the announcement that I’ll be needing a few guest bloggers to write about favorite wines between now and June.  I have several review notes ready myself to post, but it would be great to have others’ voices as well. If you’re interested, read my guest-posting guidelines and drop me a line with your ideas. 

Book Review: Do Your Om Thing

Do Your Om Thing cover

I definitely need to learn how to chill out more. When I saw that there was a call by TLC Book Tours for people to review Rebecca Pacheco’s new book, Do Your Om Thing, I was excited to volunteer.  The book, after all, promised to be a way for me to not only learn more about yoga, but also a way to learn more about how to meditate and retreat from the stresses of every day life.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for my review.  In addition to Pacheco including a lot of information about the practice of yoga and the practice of meditating, she has a lot of suggested exercises to help readers think more about their lives and about how yoga can be seen not just as something that is done for exercise but something that can help us stress less, reconnect with our bodies more, and get away from those pesky devices that keep wanting to pull us in. 

Pacheco starts off the book fairly early by talking about “the eight limbs of modern life.” These are:

  • Yamas: attitudes toward the world
  • Niyamas: attitudes toward self
  • Asanas: yoga postures
  • Pranayama: breathwork
  • Pratyhara: withdrawal of the senses or turning inward
  • Dharana: concentration
  • Dhyana: meditation
  • Samadhi: enlightenment (p. 14) 

For each of these limbs, Pacheco goes through and describes different yoga aspects and asks readers to consider some things. For example, questions asked after the section “Practice Kindness” include:

In what ways do my thoughts, words, and actions cause harm? […]

What’s one negative thought pattern (samskara) that I need to change to create more peace in my life and the world?

Instead of being a martyr/victim, how can I respectfully hiss to protect myself? (p. 21)

While at times, the book got a bit hippie-dippy for me, in all, I found it an interesting and well-thought out grounding in the philosophy behind yoga. Later in the book, she discusses yoga postures and practices to help readers become more spiritual. All of this provides the reader (in this case, me) with handy tools to help when stress strikes. 

About Do Your Om Thing

• Paperback: 288 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (September 6, 2016)

Sometimes an hour-long yoga class is the only chance we get to connect meaningfully with our bodies and our minds during an otherwise hectic week. For a brief moment we’re able to let our worries melt away and feel relaxed, centered, and fully ourselves. Have you ever wondered how it would feel to bring that experience out of the yoga studio and into your everyday life?

In Do Your Om Thing, master yoga teacher and creator of the popular blog OmGal.com Rebecca Pacheco shows us how to do just that. The true practice of yoga, she says, goes deeper than achieving the perfect headstand—it is about bringing awareness and intention to every part of our lives. In her warm, personal, and often hilarious prose, Rebecca translates yogic philosophy for its twenty-first-century devotees, making ancient principles feel accessible, relatable, and genuinely rooted in the world in which we live today.

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About Rebecca Pacheco

Rebecca Pacheco is an acclaimed yoga teacher, writer, speaker, and creator of the popular yoga blog OmGal.com. She has been practicing yoga for nearly two decades and began teaching while studying English Literature at the University of Richmond. Previously a master teacher at the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute, Rebecca now offers her signature Om Athlete and creative Vinyasa yoga classes. A longtime runner and Boston Marathon finisher, she is also the resident yoga expert for Runner’s Worldmagazine.

In addition to teaching internationally, Rebecca has had the honor of leading the first-ever yoga class on the field at Fenway Park. She lives in Boston with her fiancé, Dan Fitzgerald.

Find out more about Rebecca at her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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