All posts by theodene@gmail.com

What is The Brand That Fits?

In the last year or so, I’ve been hearing a lot about how I should create and promote my “personal brand”. It’s been a year and I still have little to no idea what my personal brand is. It’s easy for me to pick it out for others, but in myself? I’m at a total loss!

A couple days ago, someone asked for a ladies to read a book in beta form. I wasn’t sure I could squeeze it into my schedule, but I did it! I put my other books aside for a couple days and focused specifically on this book, The Brand That Fits by Sabrina Evans. 

She goes over a lot of tips that I’ve heard before and have never done yet, such as a professionally photo for my profile and writing a blog using search engine optimization (SEO) words. There were also tips on things I have attempted before, like writing down who I am and creating my target market. Everything we do and post online is part of our personal brand. 

The book encourages readers to get out of the house and attend events outside the home. This helps us to show that we are willing to get out there and make new friends and have a variety of experiences. 

Personally, I find it sifficukt to attend events outside the home unless it is something that I can convince my husband and son to go to as well. Occasionally, I will go with my son and very rarely alone. My son loves to tag along with me. This shows that I care about my son and that I do things with my child. 

However, after reading this book, I am encouraged to find an event or two a week to get out there and make myself uncomfortable. Stretch to help create my personal brand. 

Another thing I’ve started that this book recommends is a blog. This helps to create a personal brand because of the writing that we do that showcases who we are and what we care about; what we are an authority in. 

As mentioned before, This book is in beta form and when published it will be an excellent read for anyone interested in creating their personal brand. 

Keep your Eyes Wide Open even when you cannot see clearly

What do you do when you think a branch jumped out to hit you? When you’re unintentionally walking into fire hydrants? What about when you’re doing a media blitz because you’re cast for a part in a television sequel and then the program doesn’t get beyond the first season? How do you react when you’re the only blind law clerk? Or you take over a construction company and learn its failing?

This and many more are circumstances that Isaac Lidsky encountered throughout his life. The main challenge he has had throughout all of it was slowly losing his sight due to an inherited disease in the eyes, retinitis pigmentosa. He has an impressive resume of high honors at Harvard University and Harvard Law School as well as editor of Harvard Law Review. Lidsky has spent his life learning to overcome the circumstances of losing his sight and never let that consume him, living life with his Eyes Wide Open.


In this book, Lidsky shares the struggles he’s gone through and how he overcame them. He shares about how life as we know it is more than just what we see in front of us. We need to be more observant of what’s behind what we think we see. How do you do that? It is important to notice if the words and facial expressions and tone all match up. It’s important to ask questions and get reasonings behind each response. 

Lidsky goes into detail about our plans versus God’s plan, acceptance versus surrender, how to measure your success, and having your ears and heart wide open as well. When you converse with others, there’s more than what you see in front of you. There’s a back story for responses and the why’s behind everyone’s answers or responses. It’s a lifestyle of digging deeper into the responses people give you about anything.

Although it took me a while to read this book, I do highly recommend it. I’m not the same person after reading the words in Eyes Wide Open. It’s not easy to have my eyes wide open in every situation, but it’s a good practice at least a few times a day. An electronic copy of Eyes Wide Open by Isaac Lidsky was provided complimentary in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity to review, Net Galley and Tarcher Perigee.

Mediterranean Love Plan is inspiring and intimate

So many tips on intimacy can be found in the daily lives of those in Italy, France, Spain, Greece, and Israel. There are such great ideology that can be integrated into our hustled lives here in America. The ideas mentioned in Mediterranean Love Plan are spot on and suggest amazing tips and suggestions to creating more intimacy in your marriage. 

Although I have never been to Europe, I know many who have. They return with stories of the relaxing and love-filled atmosphere. It reminds me of scenes in a movie or in books that I read. Mediterranean Love Plan encourages readers to increase intimacy through interactions with one another. Some of these interactions can be planned and sometimes a surprise. A mixture of activities will benefit both husband and wife. It is important, though, for both partners to participate in order to increase intimacy.

When we create activities to do together, it becomes memories made, like when we first began dating our spouses and we did things intentionally to flirt and have fun. It’s what attracted you to each other when you were dating, so why did some of us stop after getting married? 

Personally, I hope to inspire some of the activities in this book, Mediterranean Love Plan by Stephen and Misty Arterburn. The eating healthier, exercise, and spending more time outdoors are at the top of my list before I even started reading the book and now I feel a stronger desire to get to it sooner rather than later! My husband and I recently went to a marriage conference, which was exciting for both of us to learn and grow together. As suggested in Mediterranean Love Plan, it helped us become more attuned with one another in an environment we talked about for weeks! 


There are 7 secretary’s to live-long passion in marriage, according to Mediterranean Love Plan:

  1. The secret of attunement
  2. The secret of playfulness
  3. The secret of savoring food
  4. The secret of enjoying beauty
  5. The secret of creativity
  6. The secret of health and longevity
  7. The secret of blending the sacred and sexual

Although it would be awesome to work on all secrets all at once to create a more passionate marriage, it would likely be easier to work on one thing at a time. Whether it’s to linger your hand on your spouse’s while driving or cooking a festive meal together, the idea is to do one thing this week and focus on that for starters. You know where you are in your relationship, so start there! 

When I first started reading this book, I posted a quote on my social media: 

“There really can’t be too many compliments from husband to wife, or wife to husband, in a marriage.” (Arterburn, p.41) There were several responses and one in particular that caught my eye. A friend said she saw this post and immediately complimented her husband on a text message. I hope that more compliments between spouses are thrown about whether electronically or face-to-face.

I was provided the opportunity to read a copy of Mediterranean Love Plan before it’s publication date of tomorrow, April 4, 2017, and be a part of a launch team. I am truly blessed to have read this amazing book and hope to get copies to couples in all lengths of marriage, from newlyweds to golden anniversaries or longer. 

Educational and informative story about Renaissance Italy 

Renaissance Italy is a time period commonly known for it’s architecture and paintings. There is much history from this time period that we commonly see influenced today. How much do you know about the Renaissance era?

“If You Were Me and Lived in… Renaissance Italy” by Carole P. Roman and illustrated by Silvia Brunetti is a very educational and informative story that brings the reader to the late 1400s. The descriptions of type of work, clothing, inside the homes, education, etc are exceptional and makes the reader feel like they are right there. As the wealthy Medici are described as the owners of the largest bank in Europe, they spend a lot of money for elaborate paintings and architecture. They often had balls where they constantly needed new gowns and outfits made of the finest fabrics brought in from other countries like silk from China.


Children often shared a room with their siblings, boys in one room and girls in another. Sometimes the home had a shop in it where there was a hole in the floor above the shop so the father could see if anyone came into the shop. The boys would wear clothing like their father’s, just in smaller sizes, while the girls would wear clothing like their mother. The status of the family was often evident with their clothing. The boys often went to school and the girls would stay home to practice their daily chores and duties like sewing, cooking, cleaning, and baking. 

Prior to this book, I knew very little about the Renaissance era and now I feel very informed. The book includes historical information and commonly mentioned names from this time period. I read this aloud to my 8-year-old son, who perked his head up when I said the names of MIchaelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, and Raphael. This is when he realized the turtles he’s been watching on television were named after famous men from Renaissance Italy. It’s always great when he can connect the dots on his own!


This is one of many in the “If You Were Me and Lived in…” series by Carole P. Roman. As I will be sharing about more of these great books, I’d like to comment about how this story in particular was educational for me as a grown adult! Thank you for teaching me more about what I thought I knew already!

A soft cover copy was provided for an honest review. I highly recommend this book and the others in this series to anyone interested in learning more about other cultures and time periods. It;s a simple read and the illustrations are very relevant.

Book launch teams

Every now and then, I find opportunities to become a part of a book launch. These are awesome because you get the book free or discounted. You also have a chance to join a community of individuals who are also in the book launch team.

Have you ever read a book and reviewed it on Amazon or Goodreads? It’s the same thing!! 

For a few years now, I’ve been writing book reviews right here on this site. I also post on Amazon and Goodreads. Although I don’t get much traffic as a whole, it encourages me because I love reading. And since I read anyway, why not share about what I loved or felt about the books, right? 

So the book review blog began. I do typically review children’s books and Christian books. But more recently I’ve found myself reading more self-development books and young adult. There are several sites that I get these books and where I post my reviews. Often times I can message the author or publisher nor both, on Twitter and they’ll repost and the views increase. It all depends on the popularity of the author’s social media, though. I’ve gained some subscribers because of that extra effort. 

So, if you could join a book launch team, which genre would you prefer?

We can all agree: Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me

They used to come knocking on the door and we’re called a traveling salesman. Most often, they were men while the women stayed home with thee children. Then the sales industry picked up on new technology called the telephone and became a nuisance at dinner time. More recently, with social media where most people spend much of the day, sales has taken over the social media platform. I may have missed a few steps in between, but this is just the main idea.

Now, there has always been a “salesy” language and ways to cold call or hard close and whatnot. But do those even work these days? I think many of us prefer to buy from people we trust. Usually, the people we trust are those who are learning more about us and using what hey learn to focus conversations. It’s all about really listening!


In the book “Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me”, Greg Koorhan shares how people in the sales industry don’t want a lecture. Don’t tell me what your product or service does and it’s benefits. He says to ask questions, learn more about me, and use those answers to better direct the conversation. Basically, if someone says they are looking for a desk that has all these functions to be better organized, don’t sell him a table that does none of what he’s looking for! 

Asking questions is quite important and active listening. So many people out there are so busy thinking about what they’ll say next that they don’t even hear what is being said. Stop being preoccupied during conversations! How can you build any trust with anyone who really isn’t listening? 

Koorhan suggests that in the sales industry, after learning more about the buyer, there should be story telling. See stories should be relatable to the buyers needs and wants. Real examples are always great! The author goes on to describe how to build your stories and use  it to your advantage in telling, not selling!

I enjoyed this book as I am in direct sales myself. This book confirmed much of the training I’ve received from my leaders and has provided me with more concrete process to get the story developed. If I learned anything in the past year, it is that connecting with others often comes with story telling. When you create emotions in someone’s heart, they tend to remember you and the emotion that was created within their heart.

Provided complimentary for an honest review through Reading Deals, I am thankful for the opportunity to not only read this book, but also to build myself better stories. For anyone who is trying to connect with anyone, sell anything, this is an amazing book to read. 

A cute and fun adventure when Ellie Camps Under the Stars

An adorable addition to the Ellie the Elephant series, Ellie Camps Under the Stars takes the reader to an outdoor adventure of hiking, waterfalls, and camping under the stars. This is very reminiscent of my own camping adventures as a child!

As in any camping trip, Ellie and her friend Pudgy the Penguin sets up their tent. And like many of my own tent building attempts, sometimes the wind flips the tent over or we get tangled in the tent. And that’s just the beginning of the adventure!


Hiking is a common activity when camping. Ellie and Pudgy make a wise choice to take a short hike at first. It is so important to know you can get back safely when you go on a hike for the first time! Staying on the trail is highly encouraged!

When Ellie and Pudgy get back, they enjoy a nice meal and always clean up to keep other creatures away. They play some games and do some reading. I love how there are pages that asks the reader questions. This keeps the child engaged with the story. 

I absolutely love these Ellie the Elephant books! This latest one my son didn’t want to read with me, but I have a feeling he will later. He loves stuffed animals and I encourage him to take photos with one of his animals to share with Ellie. He used to line them up to take a group photo when he was younger. 

This is a book I recommend for any preschool-aged through early readers. It’s cute, fun, and engaging. The adorable Ellie and Pudgy and friends is mesmerizing and their adventures are so realistic. A complimentary paperback copy of Ellie Camps Under the Stars was provided for an honest review. 

Book reviews needs more motion

It’s been a long while since my last book review.. this is not because of a shortage of books, rather a shortage of time to review. While the books keep piling in, I’m still getting through books, slowly. But apparently, I need to get back to the reviewing!

Please help encourage me to complete more reviews, as I know it is helpful to those who want to purchase books. It certainly helps to know if the book is worth the money you pay, right?

My reviews are a brief summary and filled with morals or things the book brings up in my head. It’s very much a process when I read as I sometimes find myself daydreaming about the “what ifs” in my own life. Stories are a great way for me to find resilience, to temporarily step out of my own life for a few moments. I love how it brings me more peace.

Everyone finds balance in their own way, this is just mine. Please tune in for future book reviews as I just received three more children’s books yesterday! I need to get on top of these reviews because the books keep coming!

Christmas Confessions & Cocktails: fun, festive, & fantastic!

Reflecting on Christmas past isn’t always easy. We have moments we think are normal then moments we would rather forget ever happened. There are those quirky things our family does that drive us crazy and then those things we wish would last forever. Add some cocktails to the mix and it’s loaded with more excitement and interesting chatter, right?

Well, I have found this book full of short stories of Christmas past along with fun little cocktails, mainly a recipe for one! It is so well written, I feel like I’m right there, taking up space in Vicki Lasage’s super tiny apartment in France where the Christmas tree gets knocked over every time you turn! And I can understand the family quirks as my own family has our own.


Personally, I can’t see myself ever sharing about family quirks or life during the Christmas season. It actually sounds boring to me, but in Christmas Confessions & Cocktails, even the mundane seems exilerating! You know a writer is amazing when what may be boring suddenly becomes a sitcom.

Add in some cocktails to enjoy during the read is so much fun! If I was able to actually enjoy a recipe or two while reading, we’d have a much more entertaining review, I’m sure! 

I am thankful for the chuckles I had while reading this book by Vicki Lasage. Wow, and to think there’s more where this came from! Awesome!

Christmas Confessions & Cocktails was provided complimentary from Reading Deals for an honest review.

Christmas time is here!

There are so many books out there that have the cheerful, loving Christmas spirit, it’s overwhelming! How many of these can you read in one season?! 

Personally, I could read it all year round! Unfortunately, in my life this rarely ever happens! You know how we often Have bigger eyes than our tummy can consume when we grab food at a buffet? Yes, my eyes are bigger than I can consume in reading!

I’ve read many books this year and haven’t had a chance to review them all! I really wish I could just sit down to write book reviews every day for the rest of the year just to catch up! I maybe have enough read to write one a day the rest of 2016! Aaahhhh! That’s too many! I hope I don’t forget what I read before I get to review these amazing books!

What are you trying to accomplish the rest of this year? There’s 20 days left!!