Book Review: The Fifth Avenue Artist Society



Breakout author Joy Callaway, wrote the alluring novel The Fifth Avenue Artists Society. This summer I was looking for a great novel to take on vacation. A suggestion from Everyday Reading intrigued me. Normally, I read mystery novels, but I wanted something different this time.

Callaway's novel didn't disappoint. She masterfully pulls you into each scene, and captivates you with the emotion of the young protagonist. I kept reading and analyzing the book. I knew there was something not right with the characters, but I couldn't place it. Being a writer, it frustrated and enchanted me.

So not to give away the ending, I will not tell any more. The ending is unexpected and shocking. It will hold your attention until the last page. Let me know your thoughts about this book. I'd love to know.

Happy Reading,

Amanda

Affiliate links are in this post. Thanks.

Now a Vegan!

 

How many of you are vegan? According to a Harris Interactive Study, only eight million people in the United States are vegan. I'm joining their ranks.

At the beginning of 2016, Kevin and I changed our diet and began to exercise regularly. I thought the change would be immediate. We cut out most processed foods and even more sugar.  We ate so many greens, I thought my hair had green highlights.  After three months it was time for my physical. The results were not what I expected.

My cholesterol was high. 247! The doctor put me on the lowest dosage statin, and I was advised to see a dietitian. The changes we made were not enough. I needed to do something to lower my numbers.

The answer was becoming a vegan. For a person that is used to having cheese, this was a major change. Hello! I live in Texas. We were raised on steak and BBQ. The dietitian knew the change would be astronomical and suggested that I become 80% vegan.

The other 20% will be reserved for bacon!

Okay, it won't be all bacon. The point being, I have to make drastic changes to see minimal results. I'm not obese and my blood pressure is perfect. On the other hand, my mother had high cholesterol. Genes are playing a large role in the vegan ballet.

After a few months on the new diet, it was time for my follow up. The numbers were better than expected. My cholesterol is now 139! The good cholesterol is up, and the bad down. All the nights spent working out and eating the healthiest of food made a difference. If my numbers stay low, I hope to stop taking the statin.

If you are struggling with health issues, don't stop looking for answers. They may be in the most unlikely of places. Take control of your health.

Now a vegan,

Amanda

Living with Life Insurance


Experiencing the lose of a parent is hard at any age. I never thought I would lose my mother at the age of 58. She was young and had so many years ahead of her. The unexpected happened when she was diagnosed with glioblastomia. It's an extremely fast growing brain cancer.

From the time of her diagnosis to her death was only 18 months. For years my sister and I implored our parents to get medical and life insurance. They didn't. By the time Mom was diagnosed, it was too late.

They had to rely of the generosity of family to cover the funeral expenses. Their medical debt was astronomical.

For as long as I have been married, my husband and I have had life and medical insurance. It is a non-negotiable. We don't want to burden anyone else with our expenses. It's the grown-up thing to do. It's the responsible thing to do.

My mother thought she had many more years on this earth, and her planning reflected her beliefs. Please don't make the same mistake as my parents. Get life insurance. Get medical insurance. They are necessary evils.

You never know what the future holds. Hopefully you will not have to use your life insurance for a very long time. Just in case you do, you will have the peace of mind that it is there.

If you would like more information on choosing the right life insurance for you, please check out this article from Reviews.com.

Planning ahead,

Amanda


This is not a sponsored post.

Book Review: I Want My Hat Back


It's no surprise that I visit a bookstore and frequent the children's section. After all, I'm a children's writer. The best part is finding books that make me laugh out loud. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen is such a book. I almost think it appeals to adults more than children. 

The end of the book is unexpected. If you know someone that needs to good laugh, is having a bad day, or is constantly misplacing something, you will want to check out this book. 

Bear has lost his hat, and he asks everyone in the forest if they have seen it. He finally finds his hat, but then the culprit suddenly goes missing. 

Add this hysterical book to your children's reading list. You'll love it too.

Happy Reading,

Amanda

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7 Things I've Learned From 15 Years of Marriage

On June 22, 2001 the doors to the church opened. The sun was setting behind me, and a halo of light filled the auditorium. It was the day I married my best friend.

After the fifteen years, too many moves to count, three children, and all the ups and downs in between, I've learned a few things.


Don't do the math, but I married at the ripe, old age of 19. I know! I was a baby! Kevin and I basically grew up together. The best part; we grew closer instead of growing apart. We have a lot more to learn, but here are a few things that make our marriage work so well.

Communication
Talking to one another is the number one reason we are still happily married. Without communication, I wouldn't get what I want. Our house would be in shambles if we didn't talk to one another. You have to talk about everything. Feelings, bills, raising the kids, the best part of your day, and the tire pressure all have to be discussed. Communicating is key!

Picking Our Battles
Sometimes the best way to communicate is to not speak at all. Kevin does this thing where he changes up the beginning of words to sound like something else. To me it's the equivalent of scrapping your nails against a chalk board. At first, I made a big deal about it. Now, I try to let it go. If changing up the English language every once is a while is the worst thing my husband does, then we are doing alright.

Learning From Regrets
If you are starting out your marriage and do not have children yet, then please read this post. We made some major oops early on in our marriage. If we could go back, we would. The good news is we can learn from those ignorant years and not have anymore regrets. You will make mistakes. Your marriage will be defined by how you overcome them.

Defining Roles
Have I ever mentioned that washing dishes is my favorite thing in the entire world? No? That's because it's not. We decided early on in our marriage that we needed to assign roles. When we are sick or see the other needing help, we happily jump in. For the most part, we have our own household duties, and it keeps the peace.

Kevin is responsible for the trash, paying bills, cooking, yard work, and the cars. I handle pretty much everything else. The roles have changed through the years, and we adjust when life throws us in the thick of it. Take on certain responsibilities, and adjust when needed. So, I do the dishes with a smile.

Sex
Have it! Find out what each other likes, dislikes, and the heck nos. You must talk about coitus with your spouse. Oh, and have lots of it. You both need it.

Doing Things Together
We are two different people, and we like different things. I love reading, and can spend countless hours at the bookstore. Kevin enjoys fishing. When we go to the bookstore, he looks at magazines about guns or tech stuff. On fishing outings, he baits my hook so I don't have to touch the slimy, wiggly worms. We look for ways to enjoy the other person's hobby.

Love and Respect
Whether I'm talking to the kids or in front of a group of friends, I always talk my husband up. He deserves respect. The more respect I give him, the more he strives to earn my respect.

In return, he isn't afraid to show me love. He gives affection without hesitation. Love and respect go hand and hand. The more respect I show my husband, the more love I am given. It takes two giving their all to make a marriage work.

I could write a book about everything I've learned in marriage. It's beautifully hard, and wonderfully challenging. What would you add to the list?

Still in love,

Amanda

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